May 21st, 2008
09:29 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 5/21/08

We start tonight with fighting words from Sen. Hillary Clinton and perhaps a new endgame. Today she told the Associated Press she'll take her campaign all the way to the convention. She's now talking about a floor fight to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan if she loses a party ruling late next week.

Down in Eldorado, Texas, child welfare workers were turned away from Warren Jeffs' Yearning for Zion ranch. They were trying to investigate reports that children remain inside the polygamist compound but sect members said the agency didn't have a search warrant. David Mattingly was allowed in through and he's keeping them honest. You can read about what's going on in court in this dispatch.

Forty dead young men across the country. Smart, popular, promising students found drowned and at place where they fell into the water a smiley face. Is it coincidence or the sign of a team of serial killers? Randi Kaye investigates. Check out her blog for a sneak peek.

And be sure to check out our live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features Anderson and Erica behind the scenes on the set. We'll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We'll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
May 21st, 2008
07:39 PM ET

Behind the scenes investigating "the Smiley Face killer"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/21/art.smileyface.jpg caption="Smiley face painted near one of the crime scenes"]
Randi Kaye
360° Correspondent

As a reporter, I’ve moved around a lot. Little Rock, Arkansas. Dallas, Texas. New York, New York. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Some stories stick with you along the way, some actually haunt you, like the story I am reporting on tonight on Anderson Cooper 360°.

While I lived and worked in the Midwest for seven years, I reported on at least half a dozen college-age men who had simply vanished.

These men would disappear after a night of drinking with friends, and their bodies would turn up in the Mississippi River or some other body of water weeks or perhaps months later. Local police always wrote them off as drunk college kids losing their way and accidentally drowning.

But what was strange was that college-age women didn't disappear, and it only happened during the winter months, never during the summers when college guys, no doubt, were also out partying.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
May 21st, 2008
06:54 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Up, up and away

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent
I can’t believe we are days away from the unofficial start to summer: Memorial Day. I know, it’s not the solstice, but who needs one when there’s a sale everywhere you look? And we’ll need them. Chances are, this Memorial Day weekend will be different from years past. Maybe you’ve decided to skip the road trip this year (AAA says you’re not alone) thanks to the ever-increasing cost of gas. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sticking around the home front may not be much of a bargain, either.


Everything from beer to buns to briquettes will likely cost you more than they did last year. Paper plates are almost 14 percent more than last year. Lettuce is up 9 percent. And those hamburger buns? Up almost 17 percent. This is the highest food inflation we’ve seen in nearly two decades – which is also a major factor in the food crisis. The worst part? These prices aren’t coming down.


And neither are airline prices, especially if you’re flying American.


Filed under: American Airlines • Economy • Erica Hill • Food crisis
May 21st, 2008
06:23 PM ET

Manson's Death Valley ranch: bullets and bones

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/21/art.mansonranch.jpg caption= "Investigators and scientists search for evidence at the Barker Ranch in Death Valley"]
Ted Rowlands
CNN correspondent

We’re up in the remote Barker Ranch in Death Valley for day two of the search for human remains. This is a big day on a lot of people.

For Charles Manson fanatics it may be the day that rumors of murder at the Barker ranch will be verified.

For forensic scientists from the national lab in Oak Rridge, Tennessee, it may be a confirmation of the soil data compiled that prompted them to recommend a dig.

For Sgt. Paul Dostie, the local police detective who along with his dog Buster found the five dig sites a year ago, today may be the day that he feels vindicated for pushing authorities to dig or as he puts, he may end up “feeling like a fool”.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Ted Rowlands
May 21st, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Dispatch from FLDS hearing: 11-year-old girl wants to "return home"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/21/art.polygamycourt3.jpg width=292 height=320]
Editor's Note: The following is a dispatch from CNN's Senior producer Tracy Sabo inside the FLDS courtroom hearings.

Courtroom B, Case #2

Note: The next case was going to be postponed to take place at the same time as all the other 11 children in state custody… but the guardian for this child had dialed in by phone/”Court call” at the personal cost of $55, and the Judge could not guarantee reimbursement… so they proceeded in hearing this one case of the 10.)

Mother: Rebecca
Father: Marion Steed

Child: Angela, age 11


  • Some confusion over the case plan which was filed here for the wrong Angela (one from the earlier hearing), but that was eventually sorted out by the Court.
  • The father was first shown with the service plan as he walked into the courtroom, so he needed an extra 15 minutes to look it over. He filed an objection as to its “generality” but said that he would sign it and work the plan.
  • Mother atty filed objections to the plan arguing that the summary at the beginning of the document included incorrect ages for all the children and was full of errors and therefore she was arguing that the 14-day hearing was unlawful). The argument was overruled by the court, but attached to the case file.
  • The couple says they are legally married to each other and lived on the ranch in a single family dwelling with all their children.
  • DNA testing was done for both parents and children.
  • The caseworker spoke with mother Rebecca about the plan and about visitation plans thus far.

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • FLDS court hearing • FLDS update • Polygamy
May 21st, 2008
04:10 PM ET

Taking race out of the race...

David Gergen says Sen. Hillary Clinton should tell racists that she doesn't want their vote
David Gergen says Sen. Hillary Clinton should tell racists that she doesn't want their vote

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer


Wanted to share something David Gergen brought up last night during 360°'s primary coverage.

Exit polls from last night's Kentucky primary reported 21% of voters said race was important in making their decision... 81% of those people voted for Clinton.

As Anderson pointed out, these results came from people who were confident enough to admit their feelings on race to a complete stranger taking a poll – Mindful of people unwilling to admit this, the number could be even higher.

David Gergen asks the question – shouldn’t Hillary Clinton come out and say 'If you are voting against Obama because he is black, I don’t want your vote...'

…Taking race... out of this race

What do you think?

Watch the clip and share your thoughts.

May 21st, 2008
03:55 PM ET

Dispatch from FLDS hearing: ”The children are all fine, medically...”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/21/art.polygamycourt2.jpg]
Editor's Note: The following is a dispatch from CNN's Senior producer Tracy Sabo inside the FLDS courtroom hearings

Courtroom B, Case #1
Mother: Louanna Jessop
Father: Leroy J. Jessop (not present)

Note: This mother/father have 7 children.

  1. Angela, age 2
  2. Virginia, age 4
  3. Harmony, age 10
  4. Zane, age 5
  5. Shem, age 1
  6. Leanna, age 7
  7. Miranda, age 8


  • Caseworker has not had any contact with father, Leroy J. Steed, and has not been able to locate him thru calling the ranch, etc. Will continue trying to reach him thru the attorney name/number (court-appointed?) provided today by the mother (she does not know where he is, per her atty).
  • Louanna has done DNA testing. None done on the father, as far as anyone in court is aware.
  • Mother has signed the plan and added some comments and a home schooling curriculum as well as a complaint that it lacked specificity.
  • When the caseworker was asked by the mother’s attorney, Charles Grimm, “Did you have anything to do with creating this plan?” Martinez answered, “I did not have anything to do with this plan. It was already created.” Martinez went on to say, “It was tailor-made for the FLDS parents.” He clarified by saying it was a fairly standard CPS plan “is very close to what we use all the time… This is a starting point… We will individualize it.”

Filed under: FLDS court hearing • FLDS update • Polygamy
May 21st, 2008
03:03 PM ET

Inside a Senator’s brain

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how doctors will pinpoint the location of Senator Kennedy's brain tumor.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains how doctors will pinpoint the location of Senator Kennedy's brain tumor.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent

Somewhere deep inside the brain of Sen. Edward Kennedy, the neurons in his left parietal lobe were becoming angry. This is an area of the brain at about eye level just behind the ear. Something had invaded their space, a foreign mass of some type, and they were about to react in a way that would frighten the senator and those around him.

It was this past Saturday when the brain had a sudden burst of electrical activity and caused a seizure, also known as a convulsion. Certain parts of his body would first become rigid, and then start to shake. He would lose consciousness.

In most people, including the senator, there was really no way he could’ve known it was about to happen. Warning signs in the past may have been a vague headache, possibly some numbness in his right arm, maybe even the loss of a word when he was speaking. Any of those things may have been quickly forgotten or dismissed. A seizure, on the other hand, is a stern warning that the brain has reached a break point.

Full story...

Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Sen. Ted Kennedy
May 21st, 2008
02:55 PM ET

Jim Webb's Time to Fight

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/21/art.jim.webb.jpg width=292 height=320]

Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor, The Nation

Jim Webb can make the Four Seasons feel like a diner in Owensboro, Kentucky. It's that kind of blue-collar street cred that may be just what it takes to propel the first-term senator from Virginia onto the Democratic ticket as vice president.

On Monday night, at a party for his latest book, "A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America," the first term Senator from Virginia filled the dining citadel of elitism with a spirited mix of active duty and retired Marines and New York's media glitterati. After he said a few words, Webb remained at the made-for-the-occasion podium–as if he were campaigning–and took questions.

Ronald Reagan's former Secretary of the Navy has refocused the warrior ambition that made him the most highly decorated Vietnam-era Marine from his Naval Academy into a passionate, progressive and patriotic populism. When asked, by The New Yorker's Rick Hertzberg, what he thought of those who opposed the Vietnam war, Webb said "I never had a problem with those who properly opposed the war. I had a problem with the way vets were treated when they got home."

Filed under: Jim Webb • Katrina vanden Heuvel
May 21st, 2008
11:44 AM ET

Beat 360° 5/21/08

Hey Bloggers!

Sit... Stay.... Roll-over, its time for 'Beat 360°"

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic of the day: Former President Bill Clinton pets Nelson, a Saint Bernard, outside a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky.

Beat 360°

Here's one to get you started:

"What’s that boy?!?
You say Hillary’s trapped in a never-ending primary campaign?!?
Over on the road to the White House?!?"

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out last night's Beat 360° winners!

Filed under: Beat 360°
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