May 24th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

The AC360 Weekly Buzz: Senate investigates vets charity, pastor's anti-gay sermon, school shocks students, Chen's escape, Arab Spring program

What everyone’s talking about:

Our Keeping Them Honest reports on the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), a non-profit organization that claims to collect donations for veterans, have gotten the attention of lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Anderson spoke with Sen. Max Baucus and CNN’s Investigative Reporter Drew Griffin, who has been working on this story with CNN Producer David Fitzpatrick for a couple years. Sen. Baucus and fellow Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Richard Burr have launched an investigation to determine if the charity is abusing its tax-exempt non-profit status.

A North Carolina pastor said gays and lesbians should be rounded up and confined in an electrified fence until they die off. Keeping Them Honest, Pastor Charles Worley also made anti-Obama remarks in his sermon, which could be a violation of the church’s tax-exempt status. Anderson spoke to one of Worley’s supporters who defended the pastor’s comments, and CNN’s Gary Tuchman talked with a lesbian mom who has attended his sermons in the past and was saddened by the pastor’s words.

The Pakistani doctor, Shakeel Afridi, who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden was sentenced by a tribal court to 33 years in jail for treason. Anderson spoke with CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend about the trial. She said the current Pakistani investigation could lead to the death penalty if Afridi is charged with treason in the federal court.

Today’s Scoop:

Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng tells Anderson about his suffering while detained, his harrowing escape, and his new life as a law student in the United States. He also expresses concern for family and friends still in China. Hear Chen tell his story of defiance and survival for the first time since arriving in New York.

We told you about a Massachusetts school that uses electric shocks to try to control the behavior of students, including some who are autistic. The Judge Rotenberg Center’s (JRC) website says the shock therapy is FDA approved. We’re Keeping Them Honest on that claim. Earlier in the week, Anderson asked the Director of Research at JRC about the medical research supporting the method. Tonight, Anderson will speak with Massachusetts State Sen. Brian Joyce who is opposed to the school’s practices of aversive therapy. Tune in at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.

A look ahead:

You don’t want to miss our special report “Arab Spring: Revolution Interrupted” Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Anderson will talk to CNN International correspondents Arwa Damon, Ivan Watson, Nic Robertson and former CIA officer Bob Baer about the progress and trouble in the Middle East.

Just for laughs:

Ever danced to tunes spun by a Royal DJ? You may get the chance. Find out who landed on our RidicuList!

Follow Deena Sami on Twitter.

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  1. rose macaskie

    The truth is that the religious do exactly that, round up those who dont agree with them and put an electic fence round them in the psychological sense. They manage to report such vile things of them and to stamp out knowledge of good homosexuals say and to make people so scared that contact with gays will lead to putting their own sons at risk from contagion, that they create a stronger barrier between the homosexual community and the straight one than they could hope to with a more physical barrier, like an electic fence.
    Ever since i read a book I found, a spanish treaty on physical types and what they allowed you to perceive of the mentality of those who owned them, a book from faschist times here, I have been convinced of this use of words to create barriers. The strong physical type, the working class I presume, were, in the book, said to be good people but people with little control of their emotions, ie, who might suddenly lose it and attack you, kill or rape you. The OK class was sort of quietly dressed and nondescript. and the other class were hook nosed and only liked money, an anti smetic book it seems.
    The description of stronger body types it seemed to me, served to create a space between the working now called middle class and the more accomodated class, if they were inclined to lose it, then they, though nice were a bit frightening and it might be better to maintain a distance from them. The same sort of way of thinking keeps people of African origin separated from those of other countries the rumour is just spread that they are strong and sexy this means we hardly notice the weak unattreactive african they dont respond to our expectations, not only doe s this mean that they are accused of hav¡ing less noble qualities and if you talk to them it must necessarioy be because you like the purely physical a barrier is also mad eby accusign those who try for a friendship wit them of a whole lot of other unflattering reasons for looking for such a freindship, they say you like the exortic and you are attracted to their physical superiority, rahter than t ha tthey are nice and clever, merely find them sexy and such. I thought it could be the religious who want to create that sort of barrier for thos of african origen, much as they like adquiring more souls for the church from exotic places, a whole lot of new souls from places with strange religions mixing with your more purely christian community might mean that what was left of African religions got taught to the christian comnmunity and that is undesirable for some. So many things about the KKK come straight from the burnings of heretics of the inquisition, look up "auto de fe" in google if you want to see what I mean about the KKK and the inquisition and this rather reinforces tha tidea tha thte religious have a lot to do with racism.
    Of course a fence is made round homosexuals by suggesting that they are merely perverse and that they are very promiscuous.
    It is not only by aislating charicteristics that frighten people of certain groups that you can aislate them from other parts of society, it is also by stopping knowledge of the more boring and quiet and responsable members of the groups becoming public, giving little press to gay peope with very respectable lives and a long partnerships, things that could allow others to identify with them.
    You can also create a barrier around whatever you deem to be miscreants by hassling them so much that the stress you make them suffer marks them and makes people think them strange. rose macaskie madrid.

    May 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  2. Charles Marsh

    On January 19th 2012 the RI newspaper, The Westerly Sun published the article, “Work starts on WARM Center’s expansion project”. The WARM project, funded by HUD grants, is a poster child for the wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. Thanks to earmarks from Senators Reed and Whitehouse, the enthusiastic of support of congressman Langevin, and to several “Go Along to Get Along” (GAGA) town politicians, this mindlessly expensive project exists.

    The WARM/HUD project is a blatant example of how special interests groups and incumbent politicians have aligned to facilitate a costly taxpayer funded project. Dozens of safety related town ordinances were waived and minimum mandatory ADA handicap parking requirements ignored to gain the project’s approval. The WARM/HUD project not only wastes taxpayer dollars, it is dangerous. It exposes vulnerable mentally and physically handicap people, living above the soup kitchen, to hundreds of strangers each week, not to mention the constant danger of kitchen fire and smoke from the commercial size soup kitchen itself.

    WARM Inc. a 501c non-profit organization is spending 2 million dollars of taxpayer money to build 6 affordable housing units, a 45-seat commercial size soup kitchen, 6 offices, and 7 parking spaces on a 10,330 sq ft lot (less than ¼ acre). To put this in perspective, a 10,000 sq ft lot is the minimum space required by the Town of Westerly for one mobile home.

    The $400/sq ft cost of each apartment is about what it costs to construct a luxury apartment in Manhattan. (Hmmm, “Manhattan Project”.) The cost to construct an average apartment is $125/sq ft. In my opinion this project is an example of how non-profits are used as a front to line the pockets of a few well connected developers. Just follow the money for an intriguing story of state and small town corruption that puts money before people's safety.

    May 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  3. 3dscanman

    People like this are making a dystopian future b-movie into a documentary. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindi, Sikh's, Buddhists... all religions have their own color, flavor and interpretation of their fellow man. The issue here for me, isn't one of dogma but rather... one of the constitution – this is why it was plainly stated by the founders of this nation there needs to be a separation of church and state. Church ideology has no place in the laws of our country – like it or not, that's the way it was written when this nation was founded and has been what led this nation to prominence as a world power. Sorry, but even "even-tempered" Christians have no right influencing or determining law. The reason is obvious, everyone that subscribes to their own dogma is limited by that dogma – and this country is the melting pot of the world – no place for religion driving the poorly conceived Amendment One in NC. That's where this "church" made its media hay, influencing voters on an extreme right wing conservative/Christian bill – and that is just wrong anyway you turn it.

    The polarization of the left and the right over the last 20 years is destroying this country from within and extremists like this idiot fuel both sides of the argument even more so. I hope she realizes that the constitution for the country she lives in guarantees certain rights – including her right to be ignorant.

    I love NC, there are a number of great people here and a wonderful culture – sans people like this – unfortunately, it is voices like Mrs. Pritchard that will stick in the minds of folks from all over. For those that read this, know that she does not represent NC as a state; she represents a backwater church with a medieval solution to a perceived problem.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:41 am |