November 24th, 2012
12:02 PM ET

CNN Heroes Top 10: Pushpa Basnet

Because Nepal lacks the social safety net that exists in most Western nations, many children there have little choice but to live in prison when their parents are incarcerated.

Since 2005, however, Pushpa Basnet has been working to get some of these kids out from behind prison walls.

Basnet provides a day care program for children under 6, and she runs a home where dozens of kids have a chance to live a more normal life.

Basnet and her group have helped more than 140 children of incarcerated parents.

CNN asked for her thoughts on being chosen as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012.

CNN: What do you hope this recognition will mean for the Early Childhood Development Center?

Pushpa Basnet: I think this recognition has given importance to the welfare and upbringing of the children who will become responsible citizens of the country and the leaders of tomorrow.

I hope that ECDC is soon able to expand its services so that it is able to accommodate more children who are still living behind prison walls.


Filed under: CNN Heroes
November 24th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Letters to the President #1405: 'Christmas shopping'

Reporter's Note: I’m pretty sure President Obama has most of his shopping done by others. I’m not so lucky.

Dear Mr. President,

One of the worst burdens of growing a bit older is the realization that you no longer know what to buy as Christmas gifts. I love my family and friends immensely. There is nothing I would not purchase for them, within the parameters of my relative wealth. Meaning, I would be perfectly happy to buy them all Maserati’s if I were a billionaire. As it is, I can’t imagine a single product in the entire inventory of Bed Bath & Beyond that I would not consider gifting, seeing as how the whole lot should fit neatly into my bank account.

But I digress.

My point is that even though I would happily give the greatest gift possible to those on my list, the problem is that I already have in most cases. Seriously. You could fill a two car garage with all the gifts I have given: sweaters, jewelry boxes, bracelets, TV’s, cell phones, blouses, slacks, dresses, earrings, shoes, puzzles, paintings, decorative mirrors, pre-packed Cajun turkeys, purses, singing battery-powered catfish, novelty noise makers, pieces of luggage, gaming systems, pillows, snuggly blankets, remote control helicopters, slippers, robes, perfumes, candies, scented candles, makeup kits, footballs, basketballs, baseballs, hockey sticks, hiking boots, backpacks, umbrellas, books, movies, unrivaled collections of the greatest hits of the ‘70’s, sculptures, heated towel racks, athletic apparel, holiday dishes, desktop fountains, calendars, watches, necklaces, jeans, jackets, jean jackets, music players, guitars, ukuleles, flutes, whistles, harmonicas, electronic picture frames, model rockets, robots, and a variety of devices purporting to help massage away the stress of the holiday season, not one of which I believe to actually be effective.

So you see my problem. Here we are in the first real weekend of Christmas shopping and here I am, slack jawed, eyes glazed in the doorway of the mall staring into the abyss and once again thinking, “Perhaps this year…a gift card will do.”

Ah well. Nothing to do but grab the holiday tiger by the tail and press on, eh? Hmmm…perhaps an adorable stuffed tiger... Then again, probably not.

If you have any ideas, give me a shout.