October 12th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 10/12/09

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Is it a risky strategy for the White House to take on Fox News? We've got the raw politics. Plus, Rev. Al Sharpton takes aim at Rush Limbaugh's possible bid for the St. Louis Rams. And, new facts on the H1N1 flu and vaccine from 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.

Want to know what else we're covering? <strong><a href="http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/category/the-buzz/&#034; target="_blank">Read EVENING BUZZ</a></strong>

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. 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 $#&amp;*)

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
October 12th, 2009
08:23 PM ET

Resiliency in Indonesia

Editor's Note: At least 608 people were killed in Indonesia following two devastating earthquakes more than a week ago. Hundreds are still missing and authorities fear the death toll will climb as more bodies are found in the rubble.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/05/indonesia.earthquake.school/rubble.classroom.art.jpg caption="Students inspect their damaged classroom, with tables broken and shards littering the ground."]

Allison Zelkowitz
Program Manager, Save the Children in Indonesia

October 11, 2009, 11:26 pm

Our distribution teams had a packed day – with just 14 people, we managed to provide nearly 1,500 families with hygiene kits and household items such as a small gas stove, cooking pots and utensils, mosquito nets and blankets. Before I arrived in Padang eight days ago, I never knew how much planning, organizing and effort goes into providing needed supplies, or “NFIs,” as they’re called in humanitarian aid lingo. NFIs stands for non-food items (which I’ve always thought a rather vague term).

Besides selecting, procuring, storing, shipping and transporting NFIs, distributing them requires an intensive process. First, Save the Children staff members meet with community leaders, assess the damage in each community, determine each community’s need and help community leaders develop a list of recipients — the people who most need them.

The actual distribution of NFIs usually begins the next day, and that’s when it can get tricky. The goal is to make sure the right goods get to the right families, while maintaining a secure environment for those who are receiving items as well as for those who are distributing them. Crowds are sometimes unpredictable.


Filed under: Impact Your World • Weather
October 12th, 2009
07:58 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Oct. 12

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/10/12/fake.veteran/art.veteran.imposter.cnn.jpg caption="Richard Strandlof says he didn't mean to cause harm when he lied about being a military veteran."]

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

It’s been a while, dear blog readers… but I’m still kicking around the 7th floor offices. While more desks may be empty than usual, our rundown isn’t showing signs of Columbus Day.

And since I’m not assigned to a story today, I thought I’d hop back on the blog with a “news Note”; thanks for indulging me.

Sadly, every day provides ample opportunity for disappointment and outrage when you skim the headlines. But sometimes, there is a silver lining in those stories – today’s can be found in a long overdue arrest.

Richard Strandlof’s name may not be familiar, but his story is difficult to forget. Earlier this year, he admitted to Anderson – on the air – that he had lied about surviving the September 11th attacks. Lied about surviving a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Lied about the injuries he sustained in that fictitious blast. And he used those lies to make a name for himself, founding the “Colorado Veterans Alliance” and campaigning for politicians, all the while touting his 9/11 and battle field scars.

He even lied about his name.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
October 12th, 2009
07:09 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Block Limbaugh from the NFL?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The Rev. Al Sharpton is taking on Rush Limbaugh. Sharpton wants the NFL to block the conservative talk radio host's potential bid to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Sharpton sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"Rush Limbaugh [has] been divisive and anti-NFL on several occasions with comments about NFL Players including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb and his recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons, was disturbing," Sharpton wrote in the letter.

Do you agree? Should Limbaugh be stopped from making a bid for the Rams? Share your thoughts below.

Tonight on 360°, we're digging deeper on this controversy. Anderson will talk with Rev. Sharpton and former NFL star "Mercury" Morris.

Here's some background: Limbaugh is teaming up with a partner in an attempt to get a 60 percent stake in the Rams. But his comments about Vick and McNabb could come back to haunt him. For example, back in 2003, Limbaugh resigned as a commentator on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show after this comment:

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well," Limbaugh said. "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

Limbaugh has been called everything over the years from a racist to God. On NBC's "Today Show" this morning, Limbaugh said his critics are wrong. He says he's not a racist. Limbaugh also told NBC his 2003 comment about McNabb was actually a comment about "Social consciousness in the media" and not critical of the Eagles QB because he is black. "The leaugue (NFL) wants black quaterbacks to do well," Limbaugh told NBC.

You may be wondering: Why would Limbaugh be interested in owning part of the Rams? Perhaps he wants to transform the team into champions. After all, the Rams are 0-5, after losing to the Vikings 28-10 yesterday. Ouch! But more likely it is because Limbaugh wants to support his "home team." He is a Missouri native and a huge sports fan. (I know he now lives in Palm Beach, Florida - but it seems Limbaugh isn't forgetting his roots).

Rams players are trying to distance themselves from the controversy. "I'm paying attention, but I'm not even touching that one," running back Steven Jackson told the Associated Press. "Because if I start touching it I might go somewhere I don't want to go."

But Donovan McNabb is speaking out. He told the AP, "If he's (Limbaugh's) rewarded to buy them (the Rams), congratulations to him. But I won't be in St. Louis any time soon."

Also tonight, animals on attack. Humans have taken a beating recently from pythons, raccoons and even an emu in Florida. An animal expert will join us live to provide some life-saving tips if you find yourself face-to-face with a wild animal.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
October 12th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Sharpton's letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

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Reverend Al Sharpton
President, National Action Network

Dear Mr. Goodell:

I was disturbed to learn that there is a potential bid by Rush Limbaugh to buy the St. Louis Rams and I would like to request a meeting with you to discuss the myriad of reasons as to why he should not be given an opportunity to do so. Rush Limbaugh been divisive and anti-NFL on several occasions with comments about NFL Players including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb and his recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons, was disturbing.

I commend the executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith for publicly asking that the League seek to unify not divide in a letter to the executive committee.

Mr. Smith courageously implored that the league reject divisiveness, and we, at National Action Network,
and countless people across the country, strongly echo his sentiments.

I look forward to hearing from you to set up a meeting in the near future.

In Progress,

Reverend Al Sharpton
President, National Action Network

Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
October 12th, 2009
05:21 PM ET

Quiz: H1N1 swine flu


The H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, has spread rapidly around the globe since it was detected in the United States in April. How much do you know about the virus? Take this quiz and find out.

Filed under: H1N1
October 12th, 2009
04:52 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/12/09

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:

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg performs with members of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts at the 2009 Mayor's Awards For Arts & Culture on October 6, 2009 in New York City.

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.



Joey Gardner

"50 Billion Cent."


Gayle McCauley, Malden, Mass.

“I like big bucks and I can not lie…”

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 12th, 2009
04:49 PM ET

St. Louis Rams fans sound off

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Jeff Roman
Rams Gab

News has come out over the past few days about a bids to buy the Rams by a group headed by Rush Limbaugh and a group headed by St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts. But, St. Louis Post-Dispatch has learned that the two are joining forces to submit a bit on the Rams.

First, the good news. If a group lead by Dave Checketts, owner of the Blues, purchases the 60% stake in the Rams, the Rams will not be able to leave St. Louis. Because of the NFL’s ownership rules, Checketts can own two sports teams, but they both have to be in the same city. Considering that Checketts is a new owner of the Blues, he wouldn’t be in a hurry to sell the Blues to move the Rams. Additionally, Rush Limbaugh is from Cape Girardeau, MO, so he will have a vested interest in keeping the Rams in St. Louis.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Rush Limbaugh
October 12th, 2009
04:34 PM ET

WH aide: Fox News operates like an arm of the GOP

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://images.politico.com/global/news/090430_dunn_ap_297.jpg caption="WH Communications Director Anita Dunn tells CNN's Howard Kurtz that Fox News Network is basically an arm of the GOP."]
Martina Stewart
CNN Associate Producer

Far from backing away from its recent slam at 24-hours cable news outlet Fox News, the White House is stepping up its criticism of the cable news network.

“The reality of it is that Fox often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Dunn said that Obama had recently chosen not to appear on Fox because of the administration’s belief that Fox is ideologically predisposed against Obama and his agenda.

But Dunn pointed out that during his presidential campaign and since being elected, Obama has been interviewed by Fox News, and will be again in the future.

“He’ll go on Fox because he engages with ideological opponents,” Dunn told CNN’s Howard Kurtz. “He has done that before and he’ll do it again.”

Click here to keep reading and view the clip...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Barack Obama • Martina Stewart
October 12th, 2009
04:29 PM ET

What to do if you're attacked by an animal

The Centers for Disease Control

Attacks by wild animals are dangerous because of diseases transmitted from animal to human, such as Rabies.

Wild animals accounted for 92 percent of reported cases of rabies in 2006. Raccoons continued to be the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (37.7 percent of all animal cases during 2006), followed by bats (24.4 percent), skunks (21.5 percent), foxes (6.2 percent), and other wild animals, including rodents and lagomorphs (0.6 percent). Reported cases increased among all wild animals during 2006.

Go here to learn what to do if you've been attacked by an animal.

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