August 5th, 2008
09:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: It’ll cost ya

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

I mentioned yesterday how I am strangely drawn to the story of Clark Rockefeller. Today’s details have me hooked for another day.

Rockefeller was flown from Baltimore to Boston today – fellow passengers say he had coffee, read The New York Times and seemed to enjoy the attention – where he was charged with felony parental kidnapping, assault and battery and assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

The prosecution isn’t so sure this guy is Clark Rockefeller, though his attorney, Stephen Hrones, says he never questioned his client’s identity. Why? Because he told Hornes his name was Clark Rockefeller.

Hornes describes his client as a clam, collective, good guy who loves his daughter “dearly”. He is confident Rockefeller will not be found guilty, saying he couldn’t have kidnapped his 7 year old daughter, Reigh, because he is her father. In his words, “It’s his own daughter. He had the right to take that gal.”

Suffolk County DA Dan Conley responded to that reasoning in court. “He was under an order issued by a judge in this court that he could not have physical custody of that child,” said Conley. “Just because he's Reigh's natural father doesn't absolve him of what he did to that child.”

As he learned of the official charges today, the Boston Globe reported Rockefeller’s fingerprints may link him to an unsolved murder in California. Hornes denies the claim, calling it “total garbage” and “completely untrue”. Two LA homicide detectives are on their way to Boston to interview Rockefeller about the 1994 cold case.

We’ll continue to follow any developments.

At least nine companies were hit by hackers who allegedly stole more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers. That’s comforting. Eleven people were indicted today – I can only hope no one else is lurking in the shadows, continuing the dirty work. I had my checking account hacked into once. It is scary, beyond upsetting and leaves you feeling more vulnerable than you can imagine. 

Your time is valuable, especially at $4+ bucks a gallon, so the next time you’re stuck in construction traffic, maybe you should try to get some of that time and money back.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
August 5th, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 8/5/08

For what’s in the program take a look at tonight’s Evening Buzz.

Be sure to check out Anderson and Erica on our live web camera from the 360° studio. 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
August 5th, 2008
08:56 PM ET

Wednesday Buzz: Calling all Trekkies

Lisa Ort
AC360° Producer

Here’s a look at some of the stories on our radar for tomorrow:

RAW POLITICS: Sen. McCain will be in Ohio for most of the day while Sen. Obama appears with Evan Bayh at Notre Dame.  Michelle Obama joins the campaign trail and hosts a roundtable with military spouses in Norfolk, VA. 

FREDDIE MAC EARNINGS RELEASED: The mortgage company Freddie Mac releases its second quarter financial results.

BASELINE KILLER TRIAL: Tentatively scheduled date of trial for Mark Goudeau, accused of being the Baseline Killer, responsible for nine murders in Phoenix between 2005 and 2006.

BABY SNATCHING MURDER CASE: Scheduled date of court hearing for Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong, accused of murdering Araceli Camacho Gomez in a park and cutting her baby out of her body.

OFFICIAL STAR TREK CONVENTION: This major Star Trek convention attracts numerous stars from the franchise including Leonard Nimoy and Scott Bakula.

OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY IN BEIJING: The Olympic torch relay is scheduled to begin in Beijing two days before the opening ceremonies.

Filed under: The Buzz
August 5th, 2008
08:38 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Where's Caylee?


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/CRIME/07/30/caylee.grandmother/art.missing.florida.girl.ap.jpg ="Two-year-old Caylee Anthony, shown here in this undated photo, went missing in early June."]
Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Is two-year-old Caylee Anthony dead or alive?  And does her mother know?  Investigators in Orlando, Florida believe Casey Anthony is hiding something. Today, prosecutors charged the single mother with child neglect and filing a false statement, but not her disappearance. Police say Casey lied and didn't report her daughter missing for more than a month.  Casey says she left Caylee in the care of a babysitter on June 9th and when she went to pick her up she says Casey and the sitter were gone. She didn't call police. Instead, Casey launched her own search for her daughter. And when she returned home 5 weeks later, without Caylee, the little girl's grandmother was worried. The grandmother called 911 and told the dispatcher, "I told you my daughter was missing for a month. I just found her today. But I can't find my granddaughter. She just admitted to me that she's been trying to find her herself. There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car."  Investigators confirm the strong odor coming from the trunk of the car. They say Casey has told several lies and discovered the apartment where she claimed to leave Caylee with a sitter has been vacant for months. Tonight on 360°, we'll have the latest twists in this bizarre case.

We'll also have a dose of raw politics. In the op-ed section of today's New York Times David Brooks asks the question, "Why isn't Barack Obama doing better?" We'll put that question to our own political gurus. And, we'd love to know what you think.

Also, just moments ago, we learned that federal investigators will announce tomorrow that the anthrax case is solved. The decision comes after Army scientist Bruce Ivins committed suicide last week. But several holes remain in the case. Tonight, we'll look at the unanswered questions.

All that and more tonight on 360°.
Hope you'll join us!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
August 5th, 2008
08:32 PM ET

Paris Hilton for President?

Barclay Palmer
AC360 Senior Producer

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/art.paris.jpg width=292 height=320]

Now Paris Hilton leaps into the presidential contest, releasing her own "campaign ad" with a tart reply to John McCain.

Last week, McCain mocked Barack Obama in an ad calling him the “biggest celebrity in the world,” mixing images of Obama with pictures of Hilton and Britney Spears, and asking, "But is he ready to lead?"

Well, in her own ad, Paris Hilton fires back at McCain, with a voiceover that says, "He's the oldest celebrity in the world. Like... super old. Old enough to remember when dancing was a sin, and beer was served in a bucket. But... is he ready to lead?"

Then Paris appears, smiling warmly from a poolside loungechair and wearing a leopard-print bathing suit, and says saucily, “I want America to know that I’m like, totally ready to lead.”

"That wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for president. So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude."

Then in a single sentence, she offers her own energy policy, calling it "a hybrid" of McCain's and Obama's energy policies: “Energy crisis solved!”

The video is classic Warhol-like Paris. Check it out.

Hilton has often been called a celebrity just for being a celebrity. But, as her website happily points out, she has been a model, recorded an album, published a tongue-in-cheek autobiography, starred in a hit movie and TV show, and launched several business ventures. Oh, and she went to jail ever so briefly last year.

In response to her ad, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds says, "Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan."

No response to that little jibe from Camp Obama - not yet, anyway.

The raw politics is getting rawer, ain't it?

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • John McCain • Paris Hilton • Raw Politics
August 5th, 2008
07:07 PM ET

Our dance with Edouard

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/edouard2edouard2.jpg caption="A highway sign warns motorists as rains from tropical storm Edouard move across the state along Interstate 10 in Houston."]

Sean Callebs
CNN Correspondent

It really begins with the packing. Covering a hurricane is a world of Gortex and velcro. So, for the second time in two weeks I stuffed rain gear, power bars, and battery powered lights in the suitcase and headed for Texas coast.

The weekend, had been busy, including an 18 mile kayak trip down the Mississippi. So, when they said “Edouard could turn into a hurricane,” I thought, “great, where did Edouard come from?” The radar image showed Edouard staggering through the gulf like an over-served tourist trying to guide his way home from Bourbon Street.

We flew into Houston and headed for Kemah. Think of a very, very small Coney Island. Problem was, Monday evening it was bright and sunny. So, the order - get some rest, chase it in the morning.

At 4:30 am, producer Mike Phelan, photographers Dave Rust and Ken Tillis and I were sent to Port Arthur about a two hour drive. Edouard picked up steam through the night and was poised to make landfall much earlier than had been planned. FULL POST

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Sean Callebs • Weather
August 5th, 2008
06:52 PM ET

Battle of the storms: Edouard vs. Dolly

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/edouardedouard.jpg caption="Tropical Storm Edouard hit Galveston"]
Reynolds Wolf    
CNN Meteorologist

I was struck by how quickly Edouard came ashore and how uneventful it was in comparison to Hurricane Dolly–which also struck Texas a few weeks back.

Anyone in Galveston who went to sleep last night at midnight and woke at 9am missed the full brunt of the storm.  It passed that quickly.
From our position on Seawall Boulevard, winds rarely exceeded 50mph.  The rain was heavy at times, but also sporadic.  

Leading up to this morning's landfall, Galveston was actually the bull's–eye for Edouard on all the National Hurricane Center forecasts, yet the storm turned north, sparing the barrier island.

Still, many people here are concerned with what may occur inland. Their worry?  The potential for flooding across parts of South Central Texas.  It's true that much of Texas is desperate for rainfall–they've been mired in an historic drought.  Still, too much of anything is rarely good, and the flooding is a legitimate fear.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Weather
August 5th, 2008
06:26 PM ET

Removing girls to protect them – again

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/fldswomenfldswomen.jpg caption="FLDS women at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, reacting to the removal of more than 400 children in April."]

Chuck Johnston
CNN National Desk

Two weekends ago, I saw the pictorial in the Sunday New York Times Magazine on the FLDS families living in San Antonio that were profiled, and thought to myself, what comes next in the investigation stemming from the April raid on the polygamy ranch in Eldorado?

And today we learned that the Texas Department of Child Protective Services is seeking foster care for eight children who returned to living with their families on the ranch back in June.

CPS is asking a judge to put the children into foster care because they say “their mothers have refused to limit the children’s contact with men involved in underage marriages.”

CPS is asking the mothers of all girls aged 10-17 to sign safety plans to protect their children from sexual abuse.

Mothers of the eight children who CPS is seeking foster care for have refused to sign the safety plan.

According to CPS, among other things, the safety plan requires that mothers keep children away from a man who “married underage girls or agreed to an arranged marriage on an underage daughter.”

CPS is asking hearings to be set for removal of the eight children.

No word yet on whether the court will grant the hearings.

Filed under: FLDS update • Polygamy
August 5th, 2008
05:44 PM ET

Don't go Congress, there's still work to do

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/05/art.dontgosite0805.dgm.jpg caption="Online activists on the right launched a new Web site Tuesday."]
Martina Stewart
CNN Associate Producer

A group of conservative online activists launched a new Web site Tuesday to support a call by House Republicans to reconvene Congress and vote on an energy bill.

The site, dontgomovement.com, is intended to be a clearinghouse for information about a protest House Republicans began Friday soon after Congress adjourned for its August recess. Instead of heading home to their districts, some House Republicans have remained in Washington and taken to the floor of the House to protest Congress' failure to act on an energy bill.

“They provided the spark but we were the energy that was already out there,” Patrick Ruffini, a founding editor of the conservative Web site thenextright.com, said on a conference call with fellow online activists Tuesday afternoon.

More than 1100 people have signed up for an e-mail distribution list associated with the site since a preliminary splash page for it went up on the Internet Monday, according to Eric Odom, one of the organizers behind dontgomovement.com.


Filed under: Energy • Martina Stewart • Raw Politics
August 5th, 2008
04:11 PM ET

Great white sharks – up close

Watch Anderson Cooper in the water with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa.
Watch Anderson Cooper in the water with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa.

Anderson Cooper

It is an odd sensation. Lowering yourself into water teeming with great white sharks. There is a cage between you and the sharks, but its open on the top, and when the first shark emerges from the shadows, moving full speed toward you, its giant mouth open, revealing rows of razor sharp teeth, the cage is little comfort.

I spent last week off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa for Planet in Peril: Battle Lines. The second installment of our documentary series that will air this December. Sharks are hated creatures, and because of that there is little outcry at their destruction. Each year, as many as a hundred million sharks are killed, many slaughtered for their fins which are used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in Asia.

Great white sharks however are a top predator in the sea, and if they disappear, the entire underwater ecosystem will be affected.

What’s really interesting is that scientists don’t know much about great white sharks. FULL POST

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Planet in Peril • T1
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