September 29th, 2008
04:48 PM ET

A reckless vote

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

The vote by the House of Representatives today against the bailout bill was one of the worst mistakes I have ever seen the Congress make. It was shockingly irresponsible.

Yes, it is true that Americans are deeply offended by the idea of this bailout and yes, it is inconsistent with principles of a country that believes in free enterprise. But it represents an urgent and temporary intervention by the only institution in our country that can stabilize the financial markets and head off a potential calamity for millions of Americans.

Every Member who voted against the bill today should be held personally responsible at the polls this November if people are badly hurt by this.

In the meantime, one can only devoutly hope that our political leaders on both sides of the aisle can resurrect this bill and get it - or a close cousin - passed immediately. This is a dangerous moment for America.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • David Gergen • Economy • Raw Politics • TV
September 19th, 2008
05:03 PM ET

360 Webcast: Finances, Zagnuts, and bad birthday questions?

David M. Reisner
AC360 Digital Producer

Ok so now we're cookin'! Thanks for watching the '360 Webcast' last night! The viewers are growing more and more each day. If you watched our online show last night you now know what all the fun is about.

We had our first repeat customer: Suze Orman. She came back to help us make sense of the lastest moves on Wall street. A day when the market ended UP 400 points doesn't mean we are out of the woods yet... and we asked Suze some extra questions about the market and your money during the break.

We talked birthdays too.... If you watched the show last night, Anderson talked about how embarassed he was for something he asked erica during the '360 Webcast.' I think it was an honest mistake, but hey, I'm not going to tell you what happened – its best you just see for yourself!

For those of you who didn't catch it – be sure to watch tonight – during commercial breaks!
all you have to do is click here – and the rest is magic!

Read more about what the '360 Webcast' is all about

Filed under: 360 Webcast • Behind The Scenes • TV
September 19th, 2008
02:37 PM ET

Former Secretaries of State to next President: Get over it. Get real. Be smart

Program Note: 5 former Secretaries of State tell Christiane Amanpour & Frank Sesno what advice they have for "The Next President."

Watch The Next President: A World of Challenges. Saturday, 9 p.m. ET


Frank Sesno | BIO
CNN Special Correspondent

There we were, sitting alongside five people who had made history and shaped American foreign policy for nearly four decades. Vietnam and détente. Hot war with Iraq and Cold War with the Soviet Union. Mideast peace conferences and arms control. Kosovo and Iran. Rwanda and Iraq. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the scourge of drought, poverty and AIDS in the developing world. Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell. Five former American Secretaries of State. The conversation was remarkable for its candor, depth and realism.

We gathered at the George Washington University, where I teach, to talk about the challenges facing the next American president. Christiane Amanpour brought her experience and hard edge to the questioning. The list of challenges we asked about was daunting– from big global issues like climate change and poverty to decisions about how to deal with the new, more assertive Russia, how to handle Iraq and Afghanistan, whether to reach out to Iran, how to fight terrorism and fix America’s tattered image in the world.

Here’s what the secretaries’ bottom line was: get over it. Get real. Be smart. The world is a complicated place. America has to lead. Play down the ideology, they seemed to say, and approach the world rationally and with perspective. Imagine that.


September 17th, 2008
04:18 PM ET

My trip to the bin Laden mansion

Video from Yemen TV shows burnt cars and blood on the ground following an attack on the U.S. Embassy.
Video from Yemen TV shows burnt cars and blood on the ground following an attack on the U.S. Embassy.

Peter Bergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN National Security Analyst

After al Qaeda blew up the USS Cole in October 2000 killing seventeen American sailors, I visited Yemen to check out Osama bin ­Ladens’s ancestral village in the Hadramaut region, in the south of the country. His father, Mohammed, left there as a teenager in 1931 to seek his fortune in what is now Saudi Arabia.

I traveled through Wadi Doan, a 100 ­mile-­long valley in which the road is not much more than a rocky path. Black-­robed women flitted like wraiths down the alleys of the wadi towns, avoiding eye contact with foreigners. Out in the fields, women harvested crops while completely swathed in black, wearing distinctive conical hats made of straw. Attempts to photograph the Hadrami women produced such a volcanic explosion of rage by my local driver that I abandoned the enterprise.


Filed under: Global 360° • Peter Bergen • T1 • TV
September 11th, 2008
07:02 PM ET

Spending seven Septembers hijacking my religion back

Editor's Note: We are devoting many posts today to the anniversary of 9/11, with first-hand accounts, insight, and commentary dedicated to that day seven years ago that changed our world. Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of themuslimguy.com and Contributing Editor for Islamica Magazine in Washington DC.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.911islam.jpg]

Arsalan Iftikhar | BIO
Founder, themuslimguy.com

Mahatma Gandhi once said that, “I have nothing new to teach the world…Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills.” Since time immemorial, our human experiment has revolved around the enlightened advancement of collective human thought. Within the current ungodly global mix of perpetual war, everlasting human poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism; our human race has completely and utterly lost its collective mind. Since our world has gone completely bonkers, the unquenchable thirst for social justice of this young American Muslim human rights lawyer and public diplomat must be positively channeled at this juncture of infinite global sadness towards a purpose-driven life guided down an untaken road called Islamic Pacifism.

9/11 was ten days after my twenty-fourth birthday. As a second year law student at the time, even though I had already lived more than two decades; in many ways, my life only truly began at 8:46 am EST on September 11, 2001. Because as an American Muslim, that would be the day that my country was attacked by people who would also infamously hijack my religion.


September 4th, 2008
12:44 PM ET

Outrage in Pakistan for American-led attack

Nic Robertson
Senior International Correspondent

It's been over a year since I've been in Pakistan.

For the longest time I couldn't get a visa, my reporting on former President Musharraf's failed policies to take on the Taliban had apparently won me powerful enemies Pakistani insiders told me. But that's all changed now.

The former military dictator is out of power and the new government says it wants to open it's doors to all reporters. Political leadership isn't the only thing that's changed. When I was last here Spring 2007 the Taliban were a growing problem in the border region, now they are much stronger and the government is waging an increasingly violent war against them.

When I pick up the daily news papers here the headlines are dominated by reports of pro government tribes taking on the Taliban, government jets bombing Taliban hide outs. It was never this way before.


Filed under: Global 360° • Nic Robertson • TV
August 31st, 2008
02:52 PM ET

Anderson's View: The calm (and crabcakes) before the storm

Anderson Cooper

I'm sitting at a bar.

I know, I know, there's a massive storm coming. Don't worry, I’m not drinking. I hadn't eaten all day and this is the only place I could find open in the French Quarter.

"We never close," the bartender yelled out as he waved me inside. "I knew you would be here," the chef said, rushing into the kitchen, "I'm going to make you up some crabcakes."

How could I say no? It's a small place called the Oceana Grill, and it’s packed with cops and reporters. That's a good sign, it means most of the residents and tourists have left. The Quarter is empty, boarded up, calm. I've spent today walking and driving around, checking up on evacuations and preparations.

So far the differences between the response to this storm and Katrina are obvious. Lessons seem to have been learned. The governor appears on top of the evacuations, city officials seem to be working together.

We haven't gotten a final count on how many of the estimated 30,000 people who needed help to leave have actually gotten out. But there have been buses evacuating people since early yesterday. As for the levees, we simply don't know. The work on them is not completed, and there are serious concerns about how strong they really are. we will be watching them closely.

We will be broadcasting a two hour special tonight. We have a large presence here, and are ready to cover whatever happens. We have staked out multiple locations to be at during the storm, and we hope to stay on the air as long as possible even during the worst of it.

"How long are you staying open for?" I ask the bartender as I pay my check...
"til," he says.
"til what?"
"til we get tired."

Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Hurricane Gustav • TV
August 31st, 2008
01:54 PM ET

Levee Breaches: Explained

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

Three years ago, it was the failed levee system that inflicted the most damage to New Orleans.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his concerns for New Orleans related to areas of potential weakness in the levee system.

There were over 50 levee breaches 3 years ago. Rebuilding the levees is still a work in progress.
In fact, New Orleans’ levee infrastructure is not expected to be complete until 2011.

When you hear the term ‘levee breach,’ what does that mean exactly? A levee breach can come from any number of scenarios. I put together a slideshow to show you all the different ways a levee can fail. Take a look:

Levee Breach slideshow

Filed under: David M. Reisner • Hurricane Gustav • TV
August 29th, 2008
10:02 AM ET

3 rules to get your family ready for a Hurricane... and 2 are free

Editor's Note: Anderson Cooper 360° is in New Orleans tonight, as Tropical Storm Gustav barrels toward the Gulf of Mexico, expected to reach Category 3. We'll look at whether New Orleans is ready, after being devastated by Hurricane Katrina exactly three years ago today. Watch our special report tonight at 10p ET.

David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer

The Hurricane season has picked up this past week, with one storm headed for the Gulf Coast, and another on course to become the 8th named storm of the year.

General Honoré was known best for serving as commander of ‘Joint Task Force Katrina.’ He was responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the Gulf Coast. Now retired, he spends much of his time in the region, and works to prepare families for future natural disasters.

I caught up with the general as he was traveling from his Georgia home to New Orleans last week. Our conversation covered as much ground as the general did, and we will share with you parts of that conversation over the course of the day.

We talked about how families readiness. How people can't simply rely on the government to bail them out, as we saw in Katrina. He provides us with 3 rules that every family in a danger zone should follow, and plan for.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.katrina.shelter.jpg]

You’ve taken hurricane preparedness to the next level – how can people prepare themselves?

I’m a Red Cross volunteer, so i follow that doctrine. It’s time proven, and the Red Cross is the gold standard for family readiness.

  • Rule # 1: Have a plan. If you live in a hurricane prone area, you must have a plan as to where you are going to evacuate to… and what time you should leave. If you live in Tampa and say the storm gets to Key West, say ‘we have to leave.’ Now you don’t have to leave at that point , but if you don’t, guess what, you can spend 12-15 hours sitting on the road trying to get out of the hurricane danger zone. You saw on this week with “Fay”, people leaving Key West – a lot of people were stuck in traffic 4-5-6 hours. Everybody tried to leave at the same time. If you look at most of the deaths from hurricane Rita, it came from people who were trying to evacuate Houston... not from the storm itself. So having a plan and determining when you are going to leave and where you are going.
  • Rule #2: Stay informed. We stay informed by watching TV, and watching local news, but they key to staying informed is to have a weatherproof radio. One of those radios that will wake you up in the middle of the night, if there is a tornado warning, or it alerts you that the eye of the hurricane is coming and will be of danger…
  • Rule #3: Have an emergency kit. Have a 3 day supply of food and water and have an emergency preparedness kit. If you have to leave in a hurry you grab that kit and leave. The key parts of that that kit are food water and emergency rations, important papers and documents, and maybe a fresh set of clothes for you to wear.

The first two rules don’t really cost you money; having a plan and staying informed.

What is the biggest threat we pose to ourselves?

August 29th, 2008
08:46 AM ET

Putin Unplugged

In an exclusive CNN interview with CNN's Matthew Chance, Russian PM Vladimir Putin claims a U.S. role in the Georgia conflict.
In an exclusive CNN interview with CNN's Matthew Chance, Russian PM Vladimir Putin claims a U.S. role in the Georgia conflict.

Matthew Chance
CNN Senior International Correspondent, Moscow

Something strange and unexpected is happening in Russia. In the aftermath of the war in across the border in Georgia, I am suddenly being granted access to the country’s leadership. Remember, this is nation where Western journalists are barely given the time of day by the Kremlin. That is until now.

The call to interview Russian president Dmitry Medvedev came on Tuesday afternoon, out of the blue (although we of course have long standing requests in for a meeting). By Wednesday morning, we were on a two hour flight from Moscow to the Black Sea city of Sochi, with an appointment to have a sit down, one-on-one, interview. We have never interviewed Medvedev since he was elected in March, so we jumped at the chance.

We were corralled into the Sochi press centre, told we had 4 hours to setup our gear, and would be granted 7 minutes of the president’s time. As I struggled to decide which questions I should ask in such a short window, Medvedev appeared on Russian state television, somberly announcing his unexpected decision to recognize as independent states the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia – obscure territories which swept to prominence earlier this month when Russian and Georgia went to war over them.

Minutes later, Medvedev was sitting in front of me, explaining why he had recognized them in the face of international, in particular American, opposition.

Ok, good days work. But there was more: the phone rang and on the end of the line was Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s press flak. The main man, Prime Minister Putin, wanted to give us an exclusive. A full length, sit down interview.


Filed under: Global 360° • Matthew Chance • TV • Vladimir Putin
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