February 22nd, 2012
09:25 PM ET

Letters to the President #1129: 'And now...lent'

Reporter's Note: I write to the president with the fervor of a monk. He refrains from responding with equal dedication.

Dear Mr. President,

Since I wished you a Happy Mardi Gras yesterday, I suppose it is only appropriate that I welcome you to the season of Lent today. Not sure how much you get into it, and frankly I’m not certain how much I get into it either. Usually I try to give something up for a while, but sometimes I’m just not sure what to do. Sure, I could give up something big like…oh say, junk food…but I’m pretty sure I would fail at that. On the other hand, giving up something like scallions just seems silly. I mean, what would that mean; skipping one entrée at a favorite restaurant? Hardly seems like a sacrifice.

A friend made a great suggestion some years ago. He said, “Instead of giving something up, why not commit yourself to doing something good?” He didn’t mean good as in “going to more hockey games because that is a good time,” but rather, he meant “do something good that might help someone else.”

It really is an interesting idea and seems quite in keeping with the religious themes of the season. After all, if I cut out watching television for the season, what difference does that really make? I will agree in a heartbeat that it is always good to promote self-discipline, and self-denial is a pretty good way to do that. But a few less episodes of The Big Bang Theory are not really going to make me a better person. (On the other hand, I think a few more episodes might accomplish that…have you seen this show? Really great fun.)

Anyway, I have not decided what I might do that would be good for others, but I am giving it serious thought. I’ll let you know if I come up with something.

Hope all is well with you and the family. Call if you can. Great run down by the river this morning. It’s like spring out there!



February 22nd, 2012
01:25 AM ET

Video: Marie Colvin's last call to CNN

American journalist Marie Colvin was with a baby in Syria when he died from his wounds. She described the conditions in Homs to Anderson Cooper. Tragically, Colvin was killed shortly after she gave this interview.

Here's a transcript of the conversation:

Anderson Cooper: A reporter was in the room when the child died: Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times of London, who joins us now from Homs. Marie, to be in that room with this young baby passing, we've seen many children killed in this conflict, but to be there, what was that like?

Marie Colvin: It's a very chaotic room. But the baby's death was just heartbreaking, possibly because he was so quiet. One of the first shocks, of course, was that the grandmother had been helping - completely coincidentally - helping in the emergency room, and just started shouting, 'That's my grandson, where did you find him?' And then the doctor said there's nothing we can do. We just watched this little boy, his little tummy heaving and heaving as he tried to breathe. It was horrific. My heart broke.

Anderson Cooper: Do we know how the child died? How he was wounded?

Marie Colvin: We know there's been constant shelling in the city, so I have to say, it's just one of many stories. His house was hit by a shell. He - another member of his family - it's chaos here, but another member of his family arrived later, but after he had died, and said the house had been - the second floor - had been hit. This little boy, obviously it was just one piece of shrapnel that caught him right in the chest.

Anderson Cooper: There are some who will see those images and say we shouldn't show those images, that it's too much. We discuss this all the time. Why is it important, do you think, to see these images? Why is it important for you to be there? Right now you may be one of the only Western journalists in Homs - our team has just left.

Marie Colvin: I had a discussion with your people, Anderson. I feel very strongly that they should be shown. Something like that, I think, is actually stronger for an audience, for someone who is not here, for an audience for which the conflict, any conflict, is very far away. That's the reality. These are 28,000 civilians, men, women and children, hiding, being shelled, defenseless. That little baby was one of two children who died today, one of children being injured every day. That baby probably will move more people to think, 'What is going on, and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening everyday?'

Anderson Cooper: The regime in Syria claims they're not hitting civilians, that there is no armed conflict, that there is no war inside Syria, that they are basically just going after terrorist gangs.


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Filed under: Syria
February 22nd, 2012
01:23 AM ET

Video: Adoption custody battle for Veronica

Adoptive parents are appealing a ruling that forced them to give their baby to her biological dad. Randi Kaye reports.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
February 22nd, 2012
01:21 AM ET

Video: Federal law alters child's adoption

Anderson Cooper and Areva Martin discuss how the Indian Child Welfare Act sent a baby back to her biological father.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
February 22nd, 2012
01:19 AM ET

Video: Ajami: We are watching death of a city

Anderson Cooper talks with Fouad Ajami after he met with exiled Syrian leaders about the fate of the people in Syria.

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Filed under: Syria
February 22nd, 2012
01:14 AM ET

Video: Baby's heartbreaking death in Syria

Graphic video shows the death of a child in Syria, yet the Syrian regime says it only attacks terrorists.

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Filed under: Keeping Them Honest • Syria