February 20th, 2009
11:58 PM ET

All she wanted was a soda...

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Update: The suspect has surrendered to police and has been charged with four felony counts. Read more for details.

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

All she wanted was a soda. Now she’s fighting for her life.

An 11-year-old girl from Alabama is in critical condition after drinking acid police say was contained in a bottle of Sprite. Investigators believe the child’s 42-year-old cousin was operating a “shake and bake” meth lab in a trailer on the family’s property.

The girl was playing Monday afternoon, noticed the bottle and took a sip of the toxic solution. Detective Charles Plitt of the Weaver Police Department tells us it's one of the worst cases he’s ever seen.

Bathtub crank, pink elephants, soap dope, sparkle and trash: these are just some of the dozens of street terms for methamphetamine. It is a potent drug and a very popular one. A 2004 government survey reported nearly 12-million Americans snort, smoke, shoot up, or swallow the stimulant.

Kids are also getting hooked at a staggering rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 found 6.2% of high school students said they had used meth. Just think of the numbers.

The rush is immediate and the high often lasts for hours. But the cost is usually catastrophic. Lives are destroyed, or lost. This “poor man’s cocaine” has been shown to cause psychosis, paranoia, high fevers, strokes, permanent brain damage, and heart attacks.

There are many different “recipes” to make meth. And many places to cook it up. Clandestine labs dot the country. In 2007, the Drug and Enforcement Agency listed nearly 6,000 methamphetamine laboratory incidents. Missouri recorded the most incidents – 1,268 in 2007. But the homegrown drug factories are hard to detect.

Sometimes, it takes a horrific tragedy to uncover them. Such is the sad case out of Weaver.

The girl who drank the acid is in the hospital. The family hopes she survives. “If she lives,” the Anniston Star newspaper says, “she will spend the rest of her life with an IV or feeding tube.” Police say her cousin,

Wayne Thurman Tubbs, was running at least 6 meth labs. After surrendering to police Thursday night, he was charged with four felonies: two counts of unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, chemical endangerment of a child, and assault in the first degree.

Tubbs had not pled in the case as of Friday evening, police said. He was being held without the option of bail until a March 30 preliminary hearing.

Detective Plitt says Tubbs, the girl's 42-year-old cousin, appeared upset that about the girl’s hospitalization.

To give you an idea of the extent of this drug epidemic, when authorities were looking for Tubbs, they went to another home – in addition to the property where Tubbs lived and the girl was found ill – only to discover a meth lab there as well.

So the man who allegedly filled a Sprite bottle with acid used to make methamphetamine is behind bars. But the girl who tried to drink that Sprite remains in critical condition.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
February 20th, 2009
11:55 PM ET

The racial divide vs. the generation gap

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Are we cowards for not talking more about race?

Attorney General Eric Holder says that is exactly what Americans are for not directly engaging in that thorny issue. His statement has raised a lot of eyebrows from people of all colors, especially considering Holder is the first African-American to hold that position while Barack Obama, just one month ago, became the nation’s first black president.

For many Americans – black, white and otherwise – these are signs of extraordinary progress and it hardly seems the time to be putting on a fresh hair shirt over this issue. There is, after all, that whole economy business. One could argue that the only color we should be worried about at the moment is green.


February 20th, 2009
10:59 PM ET

On the Radar: Politics over people?

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Lousiana on Friday became the first governor to officially refuse part of the federal stimulus money, saying he would reject a portion of expanded unemployment benefits that would eventually require his state to raise taxes on businesses.

At least five other Republican governors are saying they also may spurn portions of the federal payout.

That's raising objections from lawmakers, mayors and other critics who say the governors are putting political ideology before the interest of their constituents who need help.

Jindal is widely considered a strong contender in the Republican Party's 2012 presidential sweepstakes. A rising political star, he's been tapped to give the GOP response to President Obama's address to Congress Tuesday.

Do you think this is all political posturing? Or is Jindal actually looking out for his constituents' long-term interests?

Candy Crowley digs deeper on Monday.

Have a great weekend and see you Monday at 10 p.m. eastern

Filed under: 360° Radar • Cate Vojdik
February 20th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 2/20/09

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Want to share your thoughts on the stories we're covering tonight? You're in the right location. Just scroll down and post your comments. This is where you can "chat" with Anderson and Erica during the program.

Want to know what we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

We're so tech savvy here at AC360°. At least, we like to think we are these days. So, we've got more goodies for you.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
February 20th, 2009
09:03 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Bank Fears

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

It was a brutal day on Wall Street. The Dow closed at a 6-year low, down 100 points to finish at 7,365.67. A lot of people are asking: How low will it go? It's anyone's guess.

But there's no guessing as it what caused today's roller coaster ride. Stocks tumbled on worries over the economy and talk that the government might have to nationalize some of the biggest banks. Such a move would wipe out shareholder value, which is why you saw a lot of bank stocks taking hits today.

Dow components Bank of America, Citigroup , JPMorgan Chase and American Express all fell though out the afternoon. But by the close, all except Citigroup managed to cut losses.

Here's what's fueling the wild ride: Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said that short-term takeovers of banks may be necessary. However, the White House is not in favor of such a move.

Do you think banks should be nationalized? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tonight, we're also looking at how America's mayors are trying to get a slice of the $787 billion stimulus plan. But several GOP mayors are vowing to refuse some of the funds for their states. Other GOP mayors who publicly opposed the plan now have no problem taking the cash now that the bill has been signed into law. We'll have the raw politics.

Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
February 20th, 2009
05:05 PM ET

Beat 360° 2/20/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan at the Foreign Ministry on February 20, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

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


Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
February 20th, 2009
04:18 PM ET


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Jami Floyd
CNN In Session

This week marks the 100th anniversary of Geronimo’s death. Now, the Apache warrior’s descendants are suing to recover his remains.

Geronimo was born and wanted to be buried in New Mexico. But he died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1909. According to legend, Prescott Bush, father of former president George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush, broke into the grave and made off with the skull, two bones, spurs and some other items personal to Geronimo. Skull and Bones, of course, is the name of Yale University’s infamous secret society (Yale does not officially recognize the group, it is important to note). According to legend, Skull and Bones still have the remains.

Whether this is true or not, Geronimo’s heirs have a right to know; and they have a right to the dignified memory of their ancestor. The disrespect demonstrated by Skull and Bones is disgraceful and completely out of place in the modern context of diversity and change.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
February 20th, 2009
04:12 PM ET

Getting the Afghanistan message right

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Adam Levine
CNN Supervising Producer

A funny thing happened as the White House tried a relatively low-key approach to announcing that it was adding 17,000 troops to Afghanistan. The military didn’t seem to be on board with the message.

The announcement by the Obama administration contrasted with how the Bush administration announced both its increase of troops in Iraq, the “surge,” and even a later addition of troops to Afghanistan last year. Both of those announcements were made in a speech from then president George Bush.

But the new administration was stuck – it knew it needed to get troops to Afghanistan to satisfy the immediate need to stabilize things, but it also knew it was not ready to announce what its strategy for Afghanistan was. You see, the administration has a review underway for a new, comprehensive strategy that looks at both the military and diplomatic needs for the war.


Filed under: Adam Levine • Afghanistan • Pentagon • President Barack Obama
February 20th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

Send us your questions on the economy

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You’ve heard about the Stimulus plan, and the Housing rescue plan, and the TARP bank bailouts. But you still have questions, right?

Ask us your questions here, and our experts will give you some answers tonight on AC360° at 10PM ET.

Filed under: Economy • T1
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