May 29th, 2008
09:34 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 5/29/08

We're following a dangerous and damaging storm system tonight that's already spawned a number of tornadoes. Tonight, we'll bring you the latest from the severe weather center on that.

Also, all the developments and repercussions from the Texas polygamy custody ruling.

And a CNN Special Investigations Unit report on a political side of Senator Obama you might not know about.

Don’t forget about the live web camera from the 360° studio. Check out 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.

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

Filed under: Live Blog
May 29th, 2008
09:26 PM ET

Texas High Court Makes the Right Call

Jami Floyd
360° Contributor, In Session Anchor

Editor's Note: Watch Jami Floyd tonight at 10pm on Anderson Cooper 360°

There is a reason two appellate courts in Texas — first a three-court panel of the state court of appeals and now the Texas Supreme Court — have ordered the return of children removed from a polygamist ranch to their mothers: It is the right thing to do.

Not as a matter of sympathy, or morality, or decency, but as a matter of constitutional law.
To be sure, the Texas Supreme Court today did not specifically find the absence of wrongdoing at the ranch — where authorities contend sexual abuse of young girls is routine. Indeed, the court acknowledged the state’s interest in protecting children from harm. But state agents cannot simply storm homes, polygamist or otherwise, to remove children without a showing of abuse. Suspicions are not enough.

It is perhaps difficult for anyone who cares about the children or their mothers (who many believe are brainwashed from birth) to understand.

But for those of us who choose to become lawyers, these are the easy cases. These are the very people our constitution is designed to protect — the least popular among us, lest they be subjected to the tyranny of the majority.

Read more of Jami Floyd's comment on the In Session blog

Filed under: In Session • Jami Floyd • Polygamy
May 29th, 2008
07:07 PM ET

Anderson's View: Sesame Street

See more images from the Sesame Workshop benefit Gala here:
See more images from the Sesame Workshop benefit Gala here:

Anderson Cooper

I had the opportunity last night to host a benefit for Sesame Workshop. They of course are the folks behind Sesame Street.

Actually, I was the co-host. Elmo was sharing the stage with me.

I was part of the first generation of Sesame Street, and to say it played an important role in my childhood would be an understatement. I had a reading problem when I was very young, a mild form of dyslexia, and Sesame Street helped me improve faster.

When I was in the first grade, my class actually visited Sesame Street, and I found one of Big Bird's feathers on the floor. Naturally, I picked it up, and it became one of my prized possessions. Some friends of mine recently suggested to me that I had actually plucked the feather directly from Big Bird, but I deny that, and since I was a minor, the records are thankfully sealed. I mention all this to explain why being able to do something for Sesame Street was a thrill.

I hadn't realized that Sesame Street is now truly a global phenomenon. Last night's benefit was for India's version of it, called Galli Galli Sim Sim, and the number of kids who watch the program in Inda is astounding.

Filed under: Live Blog
May 29th, 2008
06:55 PM ET

Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign

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Program note: Watch for Drew Griffin's report on Thursday's AC360° at 10p ET

Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN's Special Investigations Unit

(CNN) - When the Democratic National Committee meets Saturday on the thorny issue of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at its August convention, party officials will have to fashion a solution that satisfies supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton and presidential nominee front-runner Sen. Barack Obama.

It may take a Solomon-like decision to appease both candidates.

Clinton has argued that the primary results of two of the nation's largest states should count because, otherwise, millions of voters are being disenfranchised. Obama has said he is willing to work out some compromise.


May 29th, 2008
06:19 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Ouch

Erica Hill
360° Correspondent

“They're not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a friend of mine. And then all of this earthquake and all this happened and I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice, that bad things happen to you?" Those words form Sharon Stone on the red carpet in Cannes last week.

Now the Hollywood actress says she’s sorry for her comment. Good, she should be. I’m sure she didn’t mean to say the more than 68,000 people who died in China’s May 12 earthquake did something to deserve this tragic end, but her apology is – for many – too little, too late. CNN’s John Vause, who has been covering the aftermath of devastation and despair from China, has the full story.


One way to avoid the mortgage crisis? Rent. Sure, you won’t have the tax write-off, but you may lose out on a few headaches, too…or will you? Even if you’ve been paying the rent on time, holding up your end of the contract, your landlord may not be making good on their end. The number of households being served with foreclosure notices was up 112% for the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2007, according to RealtyTrac. More than a third of the properties in foreclosure are not owner-occupied.

Not good.


Just when you thought you’d never read another new tidbit about the boy wizard, Harry Potter’s creator gives us a reason to break out the butter beer: a prequel is in the works! Sure, it’s only 800 words, and there’s a chance it could remain a secret, but there’s also a very good chance the owner of this precious missive will share.

JK Rowling is auctioning off the hand-written prequel to benefit the charity Dyslexia Action and English PEN, a writers' association. Get out your checkbooks, and when you have the winning bid, let me know – I want to be among the first to get the details on what happened between the Voldemort’s murdering Harry’s parents and Harry’s 11th birthday, when he learns he’s a wizard.

Filed under: Economy • Erica Hill • Housing Market
May 29th, 2008
06:09 PM ET

Exciting theater, but what does it change?

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Candy Crowley
CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Long time no blog. Yesterday does not count. That was an unauthorized posting–no names here, but you know who you are. It was an internal e-mail I sent to colleagues and such, explaining the big primary doings this Saturday–more later...

I can't account for my whereabouts in the past months. It's like somewhere between the snow in Ohio and the 80 degree heat in denver, I got buried by sniper-fire in Bosnia and bitter voters and Jeremiah Wright and RFK and.....thousands and thousands more votes and exit polls and planes, trains and automobiles...runnin over the same ole ground and how we found, the same old fears. Wish you were here. (Plagiarized)

Anywho, when I dug myself out, there I was in Colorado with Barack Obama thinking, "wait a second, didn't we already do Colorado?" We did. Obama is not waiting until the numbers add up. He's general campaigning. (An advisor told me "McCain is out there shooting free throws and we need to get in that game." We need more women advisors to put a lid on these endless sports metaphors).

So, to catch you up to the current state of play in the democratic primary. Hillary Clinton is campaigning through South Dakota for the second day in a row, and Barack Obama is taking a down day in Chicago. Need I say more? Of course, for all I know, Obama could be behind closed doors, splitting atoms, but he's not campaigning-in public.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
May 29th, 2008
05:13 PM ET

Texas Supreme Court: Polygamist sect children should be returned to parents.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

Bloggers, wanted to update you on some breaking news in the Texas Supreme Court ruling on the FLDS case:

(CNN) In a 2-1 ruling that may clear the way for the return of more than 440 children to a polygamist sect's Texas ranch, the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday let stand a lower court's ruling that the state had no right to remove them."We are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals' decision," the ruling said. "On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted." 

The court ruled in the case of 38 mothers who had appealed the removal of their 126 children, but attorneys in the case have said the reasoning behind court rulings can be applied to the removals of all the children from the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in a raid beginning April 3.



Watch 360° tonight 10p ET for the lastest in the case...


Filed under: Polygamy
May 29th, 2008
03:27 PM ET

McCain: A Neocon realist?

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Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor, The Nation

John McCain's widely-touted speech on nuclear security has been treated by the mainstream media as a major break with Bush Administration policy. And while there are elements which diverge from some of Bush's destructive politics and policies–it is, after all, an Administration which has shredded several decades worth of bipartisan arms control agreements with the Russians– it's also important to understand that McCain continues to define the problem through the prism of the Bush Doctrine.

How, for example does McCain, who seeks to expel Russian from the Group of Eight industrialized countries, anticipate negotiating successful arms agreements with the expelled country? How does a candidate whose neocon "League of Democracies" proposal–which would exclude Russia and, in doing so, undermine any role that country could play in dealing with Iran and securing weapons of mass destruction–expect Moscow to be receptive to real efforts on nuclear cooperation? Instead of hailing McCain's stance as a sign of his newfound realism –and a Johnny-Come-Lately break with the neocons– it's critical to put McCain's remarks into a larger context.

I asked Joseph Cirincione, president of the respected Ploughshares Fund and author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, for some deeper analysis of McCain's speech:

Read full story...

Filed under: John McCain • Katrina vanden Heuvel
May 29th, 2008
02:21 PM ET

TV news under the microscope

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Jessica Yellin
Congressional Correspondent

I find myself in an interesting position. Today the blogs lit up with comments I made last night on AC360° and suddenly I’m being reported on.

It's not the most comfortable position for a reporter.

So let me clarify what I said and what I experienced.

First, this involved my time on MSNBC where I worked during the lead up to war. I worked as a segment producer, overnight anchor, field reporter, and briefly covered the White House, the Pentagon, and general Washington stories.

Also, let me say: No, senior corporate leadership never asked me to take out a line in a script or re-write an anchor intro. I did not mean to leave the impression that corporate executives were interfering in my daily work; my interaction was with senior producers. What was clear to me is that many people running the broadcasts wanted coverage that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the country at the time. It was clear to me they wanted their coverage to reflect the mood of the country.

And now I'm going back to work covering the Puerto Rico primary from San Juan.

Editor's Note: Here is an excerpt from last night's discussion:


Filed under: Jessica Yellin
May 29th, 2008
01:29 PM ET

Scott McClellan’s Ethics

Editor's Note: Bruce Weinstein, "The Ethics Guy" will analyze the ethical issues at stake with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and his new book, tonight on 360° 10p ET.

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Bruce Weinstein
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

For the past several days, there has been a lot of discussion about Scott McClellan and why he has written his tell-all book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.” Much of the criticism has focused on McClellan’s motivation for writing this book. Is he disgruntled? Does he feel guilty? Is he simply trying to cash in on his former position in the Bush administration?

As provocative as these questions may be, they are not nearly as important as the central ethical question raised by this story: was it right for McClellan to write such a book?

Looking at the ethical issues at stake, I argue the following:

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Scott McClellan
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