May 22nd, 2012
11:58 PM ET

Students receive electric shocks

The Director of Research for a school that administers shocks to change children's behavior defends the method. The Director of Yale’s Child Neuroscience Laboratory, and a father of autistic children, disagrees with the treatment; he says punishment doesn't treat the underlying cause.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Autism
May 22nd, 2012
10:45 PM ET

Church member to CNN: 'Lay off my pastor'

Just about everyone here is talking about the local pastor who made national headlines this week after a video that features him telling congregants how to "get rid of" gays went viral.

Neighbors of the Providence Road Baptist Church - where a sign advertises "old time religion" - say Pastor Charles Worley is known for being over the top, with one neighbor describing him as "fire and brimstone" whose views are out of sync with much of the surrounding community.

"I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it past the Congress," Worley told his church on May 13, in a video that has been seen half a million times on YouTube.

"Build a great big, large fence - 50 or 100 miles long - and put all the lesbians in there," Worley said. "Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them. And you know in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."


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Filed under: Religion
May 22nd, 2012
10:42 PM ET

Minister to file complaint on Worley

Rev. Barry Lynn, the Founder and Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, wants a North Carolina pastor to lose his church's tax-exempt status for remarks against Obama's re-election during an anti-gay sermon.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Religion
May 22nd, 2012
10:40 PM ET

Carville: Obama's Bain ad is legitimate

James Carville and Ari Fleischer debate both campaigns' dueling ads about Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital.

May 22nd, 2012
10:25 PM ET

RidicuList: Man cut off during all-you-can-eat meal

The sign says "All You Can Eat," and one man tried. Oh, how he tried. He accuses a restaurant of false advertising after he was told to stop eating.

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Filed under: The RidicuList
May 22nd, 2012
07:49 PM ET

Letters to the President #1219: 'Disapproval ratings'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is running for re-election. I’m running for the door to go home, just as soon as I get this letter done.

Dear Mr. President,

I suppose you’ve seen this latest ABC News/Washington Post poll asking voters that perennial question: Are you better off now than you were the last time you voted for a president?

You also probably know that the results were not exactly a ringing endorsement.

16 percent say they are better off, and 30 percent say they are worse off. They blame former president Bush more than they blame you, but they remain pretty evenly split on whether you or Romney can better lead us out of the economic wilderness.

Such assessments must be sobering for any president. I mean, you get elected amid all the bunting and balloons, everyone praises your ideas, and then a few years pass, reality sets in, and Bob’s-your-uncle everyone is saying, “Meh. I guess he’s ok. But who else do we have in the hopper?”

Oh sure, you have a genuine chance of being re-elected, and that will certainly mean a little champagne popping at the White House if it comes to pass. But even the winner in a presidential race these days can pretty much count on almost half the country not wanting him in office. That’s a lot of people. And since polls are a more day-to-day version of that same phenomenon, I guess you can’t really be upset when a bad one comes your way.

Still, I’m tempted to turn that question around: Is your life better or worse than it was during the last election? I imagine your answer might be, “Well, depends on how you look at it…”


May 22nd, 2012
06:41 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: School uses electric shocks on autistic students

Can zapping emotionally challenged children with painful electrical shocks - like cattle - actually help them? The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) in Massachusetts claims it does. But as Anderson Cooper reported last week, there’s a new push to close the school.

The renewed effort to shutdown JRC comes after a graphic video surfaced that school officials didn't want the public to see. The video shows Cheryl McCollins' son, Andre, receiving 31 electric shocks from school staff in a seven hour period. His family’s attorney says he was later treated for post traumatic stress disorder.

However, another mother, Marie Washington, said JRC saved her son's life by using the shocks to treat him, instead of medications. Washington calls the program a "godsend."

JRC is a special needs school for children as young as 3-years-old. Their website says they've provided "very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems and developmentally delayed students with autistic-like behaviors."

Critics disapprove of the method used by the school to change students' behavior. JRC calls the shocks "aversive therapy," opponents call it torture. They invented the device used to administer the shocks, and they're the only school using the technique.

Tonight, Anderson explores the medical research behind the shock therapy. He'll speak with one of the top autism researchers in the country, Kevin Pelphrey, who’s the Director of Yale’s Child Neuroscience Laboratory, and Nathan Blenkush, Director of Research at JRC, who has worked at the school since 2006. Tune in to AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Autism
May 22nd, 2012
06:39 PM ET

Friday on AC360: Arab Spring: Revolution Interrupted

On Friday night AC360 will air a special report “Arab Spring: Revolution Interrupted.” In December 2010, a young Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Mouazizi refused to pay a bribe to a local inspector who slapped him. This indignity led Bouazizi to set himself on fire in protest and Tunisians, already fed up with the unemployment, corruption and repressive conditions in the country took to the streets, quickly causing the resignation of Tunisia's president. These events sparked a wave of revolutions across the region in countries like Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria.

It's been written that a decade's worth of events have occurred in the Arab world in just over a year. Long time dictators like Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi have fallen, while the regime of Bashar al-Assad still clings to power in Syria, despite 15 months of ongoing conflict.


Filed under: Middle East