April 15th, 2009
11:55 PM ET

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Filed under: 360° Radar
April 15th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 04/15/09

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Tonight, we're waiting for the crew of the Maersk Alabama to return to the U.S. We'll bring you live coverage from Andrews Air Force Base. The crew's captain won't be with them. Capt. Richard Phillips is still aboard the USS Bainbridge and will return to Vermont likely later this week.

And, don't miss Erica Hill's webcast on the homecoming and tonight's other headlines. Watch our WEBCAST

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Filed under: Live Blog
April 15th, 2009
09:04 PM ET

Stockpiling guns - and America divided

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Editor's note: See Sean's full report tonight on AC360 at 10PM ET.

Sean Callebs
CNN Correspondent

It's striking how two people can look at the same thing and see something entirely different.

A gun, for example.

I've talked with a number of Americans buying weapons - lots of them.

And I took a few shots with an AR15 semi-automatic weapon.

This gun - and don’t call it a weapon - is really at the core of a disconnect in this country between gun enthusiasts and people calling for more gun control.

One side says, “why on earth would anyone outside the military want to own something like that.. why is it even legal?”

That view drives defenders of the 2nd amendment up the wall. Here's what attorney Sean Healy told us.

"There is definitely a disconnect, there are some groups of people that don’t know much about guns, they have never been around them or exposed to them, and they don’t know how to handle them safely. And so if all they know about then is what they hear about them in the press or see on tv or hear from politicians, then sometimes they can be afraid of them.

"To another group of people (a gun) is like a tool, like a hammer - it's safe," Healy went on to say. "If you are member of the group that does not understand guns, you may think that criminals are the only ones who use guns, and there aren’t any legitimate uses for them. And I think once you become familiar with them, and their safety, you want people to have guns."

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gun Control • Sean Callebs
April 15th, 2009
08:53 PM ET

We need the military – and more

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from Christiane Amanpour tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET and watch an excerpt from the interview here.

Christiane Amanpour
CNN Chief International Correspondent

I talked with Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about how to handle the pirates off the coast of Somalia, how to handle an unstable nuclear Pakistan, and much more.

But what he said about Afghanistan intrigued me most. It wasn’t about the war. It was about quality of life.

As we talked at the Pentagon, Chairman Mullen told me, the terribly deep problems fracturing Afghanistan, and indeed Pakistan, won't be solved by the military alone.

You have to give people some reason to hope, and to take the risk of rejecting the militants. You have to give them a chance at a decent life - not a grand life, but a decent life – and an economic alternative.

And that means you have to give them an opportunity for development – of their communities, businesses, schools – some stability.

The military can help, Chairman Mullen told me, but the military can't do it alone.

That sounds like nation-building. People don't like the sound of that. Nor the cost. Nor how long that could take.

But to solve a problem that has spread into the U.S. - costing the lives of troops and billions of dollars already - the U.S. government and people may have to listen to advice from its most senior military official.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour
April 15th, 2009
08:30 PM ET

Not your grandmother’s tea party

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/15/tea.parties/art.tea.party.boston.cnn.jpg caption=""Tea party" protesters rally on Wednesday in Boston, Massachusetts."]

Barclay Palmer
AC360 Senior Producer

Are the tea party protests today grass roots or astroturf?

Who cares, right? In the Internet age, it seems, there hasn't been a lot of difference.

The more interesting question is - will conservatives organizing them succeed in using President Obama's tools against him? Will they turn out tens of thousands of supporters, and revitalize the movement?

Mr. Obama's campaign for the presidency mobilized voters via email, blogs, videos and no less than 15 social networking sites. Everyone seems to agree that gave him a leg up on Hillary Clinton and the GOP.

Now conservatives are trying some of the same techniques - blogs, videos, a website, not to mention conservative radio shows - and say they have organized more than 300 "tea party protests" across the country, demonstrating against taxes and regulation. "TEA" stands for "Taxed Enough Already.

What's your take - are conservatives succeeding with these digital campaign techniques, and shown they can rally a base frustrated by losses in the last election? And have they caught up to the do Democrats' lead in online recruiting?

April 15th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Hitmen's bloody reign all about logic

Editor's note: To hear more from Karl's exclusive report on Juarez tune in tonight to AC360 at 10 PM ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/04/15/mexico.gangs/art.mexico.drugs.cnn.jpg caption="Mexico police round up gang suspects in Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. "]

Karl Penhaul

There are no welcome signs on the approach to Camargo. It's a hardscrabble Mexican border town and home turf for "Los Zetas," a gang of hitmen and corrupt former special forces cops on the bankroll of the Gulf Cartel. Local journalists explained if we went there we'd be getting "tangled up in the hooves of the horse."

They said Zeta gunmen recently smashed one reporter's fingers with a hammer as a warning to the media to stay away. The plaza was deserted - for a few minutes at least. Then the throb of engines broke the Sunday morning peace. Scores of pickup trucks with heavily tinted windows began circling. Occasionally a window would crack open. We were clearly being watched.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Mexico
April 15th, 2009
06:38 PM ET

Tea parties – political debate or diatribe?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/15/tea.parties/art.tea.party.boston.02.cnn.jpg caption="Protesters in Boston on Wednesday complain that government is growing too large."]
Editor's Note: See Jeffrey Toobin and David Gergen discuss the Tea Party protests tonight on AC360 at 10PM ET.

Jeffrey Toobin
CNN Senior Analyst

One of the great journalism projects of the next year will be untangling the forces at work in the anti-Obama movement.

Today we see it on display in the the Tea Party movement - which seems to me to embody an amorphous set of grievances that includes anti-bailout, too-high-taxes and too-much-regulation.

The resolution in Texas about honoring the Tenth Amendment, another part of this movement, has no legal effect, and it's actually a less-extreme version of the secession movement that has started to bubble up in Texas and elsewhere.

The real mystery for me is whether this is just ordinary political grumbling, which is perfectly appropriate, or the start of something worse - a quasi-militia movement that could become sinister and dangerous.

Filed under: Jeffrey Toobin • President Barack Obama • Taxes
April 15th, 2009
06:35 PM ET

"Octomom" – that nickname is mine!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/15/art.octomomgame.jpg caption="A Texas company not affiliated with Nadya Suleman has filed to trademark an Octomom iPhone game." width=292 height=320]
Alan Duke
CNN Wires Entertainment Writer

The woman who gave birth to octuplets - Nadya Suleman - is seeking to trademark her media nickname - Octomom - for a TV show and a line of diapers.

Word of Suleman's federal trademark filings came as her lawyer confirmed he is talking to production companies about a TV show, but said reports of a signed deal are premature.

Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets in January, brought home the last and smallest of the eight Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

But she is not the only one to claim a trademark on the nickname. A Texas company not affiliated with her has filed to trademark an Octomom iPhone game.

"You press on her belly and she has babies," the company's CEO said.

One of Suleman's lawyers filed her trademark applications last Friday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, according to the documents. In the application the word is spelled "OctoMom," with a capital M.

One trademark would cover OctoMom disposable and textile diapers, dresses, pants and shirts.

The other application would give Suleman the trademark OctoMom for "entertainment in the nature of on-going television programs in the field of varity." The last word - "varity" - may have been intended to read "variety."

Suleman lawyer Jeff Czech downplayed a Life & Style magazine report that Suleman had signed with a British film company to produce six shows a year about her family over the next 18 years.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Octuplets
April 15th, 2009
06:17 PM ET

Beat 360° 04/15/09

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:

Protesters take part in a rally as part of the national Tax Day Tea Party to protest taxes and government spending in Lafayette Park April 15, 2009 in Washington, DC. April 15th marks the day American citizens must file their annual income taxes with the federal government. (Credits Getty Images) 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: 360° Radar • T1
April 15th, 2009
05:31 PM ET

Tea Bag Toss Ends White House Protest

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Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Secret Service officers were scurrying to close the North Lawn of the White House Wednesday afternoon because of a suspicious package and it appeared that trouble was brewing.

But it turned out that nothing more was brewing than an innocent little box of, yes, tea bags.

The security alert started around 2 p.m. ET, when an unidentified person tossed the box over the gate of the White House and it landed on President Obama's lawn with a thud.

Journalists were quickly banned from moving outside of the press briefing room, and hundreds of protesters gathered for a "Tax Day Tea Party" were quickly shooed out of Lafayette Park as a security robot inspected the package closely.

After about a half hour of high alert, a Secret Service official told CNN the "suspicious package" was merely some tea bags. So the threat was over, and so was the anti-Obama protest.

Filed under: Economy • Ed Henry • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
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