May 30th, 2008
02:57 PM ET

Crane collapse: What wasn't supposed to happen again, just happened...

Check out my video of the crane collapse from across the street of the accident
Check out my video of the crane collapse from across the street of the accident

David M. Reisner
360 Digital Producer

It wasn’t the way I expected to wake up. I was up rather late the night before… so I could have used hitting the ‘snooze’ button a few times. But the alarm went off, I got up, and began to hear the howl of fire-engines and the wail of ambulance sirens.

This happens a lot in NYC, as emergency vehicles barrel down these wide avenues to get to fires and emergencies all throughout the city. What made this different was that the sirens didn’t trail off... like the usually do. They grew louder. But it was the monotonous ‘thump-thump-thump’ of a helicopter… hovering… as if right over my apartment… that really woke me up. I knew it must be close, and I knew ‘this’ must be big.

I shot out of bed – flicked on the TV – and saw a local station reporting the collapse. I didn’t even need to see the street sign, or the read the information in the breaking news banner – I knew exactly where this was… Just 3 blocks away.

I grabbed my keys, my phone, my camera, and rushed out to the scene. Neighbors and people who work in the area were already spilling out into the streets to stare at the accident that lay across 1st Avenue.

Some say they heard a loud noise; a ‘snap’ – like a giant toothpick – One of our iReporters said the crane collapse sounded like a "prolonged car accident."


Filed under: Crane Collapse
May 30th, 2008
02:09 PM ET

Poverty-A reporter's response

Watch the original report by CNN's Gary Tuchman
Watch the original report by CNN's Gary Tuchman

Gary Tuchman
360 Correspondent

Having this blog site opens up a lot of opportunities for those of us who work on Anderson Cooper 360. It gives us the space and the time needed to take you behind the scenes and show you what happens before, during, and after we work on a story. And now is a good time for me to do just that.

On the day before the Kentucky presidential primary, we decided to do a story on poverty and politics. In travels around the country I have done since the primary and caucus season began, I have talked with many poor Americans who in high proportions, feel Washington hasn’t a clue about what they are going through. While many Americans feel people in abject poverty should just “get a job,” many of the poor truly want honest steady work, but for a variety of reasons, can’t get it. And now with four dollar a gallon gas, driving to find a job (particularly in wide-open rural areas) is prohibitively expensive. So with all that in mind, we decided to do a story on poverty and politics. We reported the story in Manchester, Kentucky, which is the county seat of Clay County, on the day before that state’s primary.

A day after our story aired, I received a letter from a Kentucky state senator. It wasn’t the warmest note I’ve ever received.


Filed under: Gary Tuchman
May 30th, 2008
12:13 PM ET

Payback time in Eldorado

David Mattingly
360 Correspondent

It looks like payback time in Eldorado. Members of the secluded, polygamist sect felt vindicated yesterday when the Texas Supreme Court agreed state authorities did not have the right to take all 400-plus children into custody. But the FLDS families don't plan to go home quietly. Come November...they plan to vote.

I spoke at length with sect spokesman Willie Jessop about plans to register five to six hundred FLDS voters. Schleicher County has fewer than 19 hundred registered voters and no candidate is safe.

Sheriff David Doran, one of the leaders of the April raid at the YFZ ranch was the leading county vote-getter four years ago with just 903 votes. He's in for the re-election campaign of his life.

The County Commissioner from the precinct where you find the FLDS compound should also be worried. He ran unopposed four years ago and got into office with just 154 votes. Just a couple hundred write-in votes could conceivably land a sect member a seat on the county commission.

Filed under: David Mattingly • FLDS update • Polygamy
May 30th, 2008
11:17 AM ET

The Great Gig in the Sky

Candy Crowley
360° Contributor and CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Bloggees – Today's driving tip: Do not take the Kennedy Expressway from downtown Chicago to O'Hare in a driving rain at 6:45 a.m. on a Friday.

Should you ignore this advice, at least avoid the cabbie who drives like a bat out of hell with a fogged-up window, talking into his bluetooth while laughing uproariously at an irritatingly cheery radio program featuring rude conversation from people invited to share why they want to dump their significant other.  Now, I know what you're thinking:  "Somebody is grumplestiltskin today."     FULL POST

Filed under: Barack Obama • Candy Crowley • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
May 30th, 2008
07:16 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks....

Tonight on AC360 Anderson goes knee to knee with Scott McClellan. The former White House staffer making all the headlines this week...You have heard all the reaction from the White House and the Bush Administration about McClellan's tell-all book, NOW hear from the man who wrote it...
THIS will be MUST SEE TV, folks...

Out on the campaign trail, there appears to be more preacher problems for Barack Obama...His name is Rev. Michael Pfleger, he gave a sermon this past Sunday from a pulpit in Chicago. Yup, from Trinity United, Obama's church. AND it was ALL caught on tape... Apparently, in his sermon he said Clinton's eyes welled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt "entitled" to the Democratic nomination and because "there's a black man stealing my show." Pfleger said the former first lady expected to win the nomination before Obama's sudden popularity. "She just always thought that, 'This is mine. I'm Bill's wife. I'm white.' ... And then, out of nowhere, came 'Hey, I'm Barack Obama." And she said, 'Oh damn, where did you come from? I'm white. I'm entitled. There's a black man stealing my show,'" Pfleger has apologized for his remarks, BUT WHAT WAS HE THINKING? We will have the latest reaction to this preacher problem tonight...

Filed under: The Buzz
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

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/29/art.obama2.jpg]
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
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