Saturday, December 22, 2007
If He's Innocent, Set Him Free
--Jami Floyd, Court TV Anchor

After 17 years in prison, Marty Tankleff has won a new trial. Yesterday, an appellate court vacated his sentence, imposed in 1990 after Tankleff was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents. Shortly after his parents were found butchered in their Long Island home, Marty was subjected to hours of isolation and manipulative interrogation. Ultimately Marty, just 17 years old at the time, made admissions used against him at trial, even though he had immediately recanted. Word spread amongst his supporters, lawyers, investigators, journalists and others, even before the court's decision was made public. His team has worked tirelessly for the better part of a decade to secure his release. They are elated. But they also know the fight isn't over. Next comes a bail hearing. And the Suffolk County DA has said he will appeal the decision.

I visited Marty Tankleff in prison last month, to decide for myself whether or not he was guilty. I have studied the case for years and had decided long ago that the prosecution was dirty. But I learned in practice that the only true way to tell if a man is innocent is to look him in the eye. A guilty person can fool you. But an innocent person never can. Marty Tankleff is one of those: Innocent. Now, he should be freed.
Posted By CNN: 6:17 PM ET
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Friday, December 21, 2007
Clumsy, but not racist negative campaigning
--David Gergen, 360 Contributor

Some viewers and readers have inquired about last night's small dust-up on AC 360 about the Hillary Clinton campaign. Anderson asked our panel about various ways that the Clinton campaign has gone negative toward Barack Obama, what's the strategy, what it is accomplishing, and the like.

I expressed the view that the Clinton campaign is justified in some of its complaints about this issue, that indeed, Barack did fire first and that he has had more flattering press coverage than she has.

But, I added, I questioned the way the Clintonites were counter-attacking. It has seemed clumsy at times, its sudden acceleration contradicts her recent "likeability" emphasis, and it may well backfire because it reminds voters of old-style politics, -the very thing that Barack has been campaigning against.

Jennifer Donahue of New Hampshire, another panelist, went farther, she asserted that the Clinton campaign was playing "the race card" agasinst Obama. She and I then got into an exchange about her opinion and I argued that it is unfair to make that charge.

I would invite viewers and readers to offer their judgments. My own is that saying someone is playing "the race card" is a serious accusation. To play the race card, as I see it, is to intentionally exploit the race of another person, usually a minority, by appealing to racial prejudices.

Growing up in the South, I often saw segregationist Democrats play the race card against moderate or liberal Democrats who were working for greater racial equality.

We saw some Republicans in South Carolina play the race card against John McCain in the 2000 primary when they spread outrageous rumors that he had fathered a black child.

To paraphrase the Supreme Court, we may not be able to define racism easily but we know it when we see it.

By sharp contrast, I do not believe the Clinton campaign or its surrogates, based on the record so far, has been playing the race card by raising questions about Obama's past (and acknowledged) experiments with drugs as a young man.

To raise the drug question does not automatically bring his race into the conversation. After all, we had huge questions in the 1992 campaign about Bill Clinton and drugs and in the 2000 campaign about George W. Bush and drugs.

A white professor who might have been on the Supreme Court had to withdraw over his past drug use. Past drug use, whether the candidate is black or white, often plays out in American campaigns.

Bottom line: it is certainly fair to criticize the Clinton campaign on all sorts of things but, in my view, it is unfair and unseemly to accuse it of playing the race card. Again, I would welcome your view.
Posted By CNN: 2:29 PM ET
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Miracle man?
--Sanjay Gupta

Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett, who suffered a spinal cord injury during a tackle in a game on September 9, may show up at his team's home game against the New York Giants this weekend. It will no doubt be an inspirational moment for everyone. You will remember Kevin originally arrived at the hospital paralyzed from the neck down. He received very quick surgery by the Bills' doctors, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Andrew Cappuccino and neurosurgeon Dr. Kevin Gibbons.

The question many people may ask themselves is "Why did Mr. Everett recover when so many others don't?" Some will say his spinal cord injury wasn't as bad as originally thought. Others will say it had to do with a controversial therapy, known as hypothermia, where the body and spinal cord are chilled. Some will say it is a miracle.

No one could argue that Everett's recovery is on track, and that's a good thing. But as a neurosurgeon, I feel a wholesale endorsement of a highly controversial - and in medical literature, largely unproven -- treatment (one that's potentially quite dangerous - it's linked to everything from infection and cardiac arrhythmias to pneumonia and organ failure) does warrant a little more discussion, which is why I am blogging about it.

First off, the rehabilitation doctors at Memorial Hermann TIRR stated in a press release that Kevin Everett actually suffered from a central cord syndrome, as opposed to a complete spinal cord injury. This is very important because we know the vast majority of patients (97 percent) with central cord syndrome do actually improve to the point of walking again. So, Kevin already had the odds in his favor.

And here's what is incredibly striking. Kevin's improvement and recovery began before the hypothermia was ever started. Dr. Gibbons - who was right there, treating Kevin alongside Dr. Cappuccino, and who had largely stayed out of the limelight during Kevin's treatment -- had this to say in a yet unpublished letter to the Editor of Sports Illustrated: "Kevin's dramatic recovery of movement began before the placement of the catheter and before effective cooling."

So, why is this so important? Well, because many people around the country who have suffered a tragic injury to the spinal cord may point to hypothermia as the key to recovery. That may offer false hope. As with most things, it is not that easy. Of course, none of this really matters to Kevin, and I will tune in to see him walk at the game. It will be a great moment.
Posted By CNN: 11:09 AM ET
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Happy holidays, and don't be offended
--Lisa Bloom, 360 Contributor

I suppose I am one of the "politically correct idiots" Roland Martin refers to in his piece chastising those of us who wish our friends nondenominational holiday greetings.

My cards this year, from the Museum of Modern Art, feature a series of cut-out white doves, with the simple message, "Peace." For some reason this makes Mr. Martin's blood boil.

Since I'm Jewish, I light Hanukkah candles with my children. We don't celebrate Christmas, nor do we celebrate the holidays of any other religious faiths, unless we are invited to someone's home, and then we'll happily raise a glass with them.

In recognition of the fact that I live in the beautifully diverse city of New York, for the entire month of December I sign my emails "happy holidays," and I give "holiday" gifts. Some of my friends celebrate Kwanzaa. Some are atheists. Some are Muslim. Some Hindu.

It makes as much sense to wish these folks, and me, "Merry Christmas," as it does to wish us Happy Boxing Day, the British holiday none of us celebrate.

But there is a key difference between us and Mr. Martin. We are not the least bit offended at being wished "Merry Christmas."

We smile at the pleasantry, which is obviously intended in kindness. Hey, any time someone wishes me positive thoughts, I'm good.

Why on earth are some pundits so offended, so upset, so flat-out angry at a well-wisher giving them a friendly "Happy holidays?"

Why is this fury trotted out every Christmas? And why always by people who bemoan that we have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas?

Just asking.

Happy holidays, everyone.
Posted By CNN: 10:57 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Morning folks....IT is FRIDAY!!!! Unfortunately, AC360 is pre-empted tonight by AFTER JESUS, narrated by Liam Neeson, but I figured you could use a little Morning Buzz anyway....

Top Stories

Airline glitches cause of delays
Flight delays caused by airline glitches are now creating longer passenger slowdowns than congestion in the skies, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Mosque bomb
A blast targeting a former Pakistani interior minister on Friday killed at least 50 people and wounded dozens more, local police told CNN.

Bush boxed in his congressional foes
Just over a year ago, a chastened President Bush acknowledged that his party had taken a "thumping" in the congressional elections, and he greeted the new Democratic majority at the weakest point of his presidency.But since then, Democrats in Congress have taken a thumping of their own as Bush has curbed their budget demands, blocked a cherished children's health initiative, stalled the drive to withdraw troops from Iraq and stymied all efforts to raise taxes.

Raw Politics

Poll: Obama makes gains, is even with Clinton in N.H.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a dead heat among New Hampshire voters in a statewide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, underscoring the volatility of the race less than three weeks before the nation's first primary.

Clinton says wife a 'world-class genius'
Former President Clinton says his wife is a "world-class genius" when it comes to improving the lives of others.

Giuliani secretive as mayor
When a mayor of New York leaves office, little goes out the door but memories — unless he's Rudy Giuliani. Government rules discourage the city's most powerful officeholder from departing with more than token gifts collected on the job.

Crime & Punishment

Internet hoax that led to deadly shooting
The tragic story that began with a sick joke on the Internet is coming to a close as a Riverhead, New York, jury deliberates the fate of 53-year-old John White, on trial for killing a friend of his son.

Fox gets $15.5 million
In what is believed to be the largest award of its kind in Illinois history, a federal jury Thursday awarded $15.5 million to Kevin Fox and his wife, after deciding Will County sheriff's detectives falsely arrested Fox in the sexual assault and murder of his 3-year-old daughter, Riley.

Keepin' Them Honest

Spending Bills Still Stuffed With Earmarks
Twice in the past two years, Alaska lawmakers lost congressional earmarks to build two "bridges to nowhere" costing hundreds of millions of dollars after Congress was embarrassed by public complaints over the pet projects hidden in annual spending bills.
This year, Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who are Alaska Republicans, found another way to move cash to their state: Stevens secured more than $20 million for an "expeditionary craft" that will connect Anchorage with the windblown rural peninsula of Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Now what Alaska has, budget watchdogs contend, is a ferry to nowhere.

AC360 folo

Firings over prank-call shock treatments
Seven people have been fired over electrical shocks given to two emotionally disturbed teenagers at the direction of what turned out to be a prank caller, the operator of the group home where the incident occurred said Thursday.

What YOU Will be Talking about Today

World's tallest snowwoman
The world's tallest snowman, 113 feet, 7 inches, was built in this western Maine town back in 1999.Now the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce is setting out to one-up itself, but with a twist. This time the commerce will attempt to build the world's tallest snowwoman.

All-star holiday tour in Iraq, Afghanistan
Robin Williams and Lance Armstrong took a swipe at the French, Kid Rock strummed "Sweet Home Alabama," comedian Lewis Black grumbled about the falling snow, and Miss USA told the troops to keep "kicking butt."

Muslim rite of sacrifice collides with law
For six years, it has been a tradition for Muslims in the Research Triangle: After morning services on the first day of Eid al-Adha -- the "festival of sacrifice" -- scores of families leave the tweedy environs of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill and head toward an obscure plot of land on a two-lane country road.They come to visit Eddie Rowe, a hog farmer.

Tonight at 10 pm -- AFTER JESUS, narrated by Liam Neeson. CNN presents this sweeping documentary on the tumultuous early years of Christianity, from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to the conversion of Constantine, the Roman emperor who first legalized Christianity in 313 A.D. CNN examines how the earliest Christians spread their message, despite infighting over the faith and violent persecution by Rome.

Posted By CNN: 5:17 AM ET
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Thursday, December 20, 2007
Priorities? Not....
--Jamie Floyd, Court TV Anchor

Am I the only one who is sick and tired of hearing about Jamie Lynne Spears? Did anyone count the number of TV hours devoted to that story since "news" of her pregnancy broke as compares to the number of hours we spent on, say, the war in Iraq? Wait. Don't tell me! 'Cause I don't want to know. But here's what I DO know. Thousands of US Soldiers have died in Iraq, not to mentions tens of thousands of Iraqis. Maybe we'd be more interested in THAT real news story if Jamie Lynne's baby daddy were in uniform.
Posted By CNN: 11:35 PM ET
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Did Romney Lie?
--Roland Martin, CNN Commentator

Did Romney lie about his dad marching with Dr. King?

In golf, this time of the year is called the silly season because of the thousands of dollars players can earn for tournaments that don't count. And with the presidential primaries nearing, it's also the silly time for politicians to offer up thousands of ways to stretch, bend and twist the truth to score political points. And in former Gov. Mitt Romney's case, it appears flat out lie.

During an interview on "Meet the Press," Romney told Tim Russert that his dad marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Another time he said he actually saw his dad march with Dr. King. So, the Detroit Free Press checked his story out and what did they discover? Romney was flat out wrong.

"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he watched his father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, in a 1960s civil rights march in Michigan with Martin Luther King Jr.," the paper wrote. "On Wednesday, Romney's campaign said his recollections of watching his father, an ardent civil rights supporter, march with King were meant to be figurative." "He was speaking figuratively, not literally," Eric Fehrnstrom, spokesman for the Romney campaign, said of the candidate.

Wait? Figuratively? How does someone march figuratively? You either put your feet on the pavement and hit the streets or you don't. The Free Press continued: "Romney's campaign cited various historical articles, as well as a 1967 book written by Stephen Hess and Washington Post political columnist David Broder, as confirmation that George Romney marched with King in Grosse Pointe in 1963.

"He has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb," Hess and Broder wrote in "The Republican Establishment: The Present and Future of the GOP." Free Press archives, however, showed no record of King marching in Grosse Pointe in 1963 or of then-Gov. Romney taking part in King's historic march down Woodward Avenue in June of that year.

"George Romney told the Free Press at the time that he didn't take part because it was on a Sunday and he avoided public appearances on the Sabbath because of his religion.
"Romney did participate in a civil rights march protesting housing bias in Grosse Pointe just six days after the King march. According to the Free Press account, however, King was not there."

Is this a big deal? Compared to the Iraq War? No. But it does speak to truthfulness and the ability of a candidate to speak candidly. What do I think Romney was doing? Trying to score some political points by showing his commitment to civil rights by virtue of his dad. Politicians are always trying to link themselves with King because he is such an iconic figure. They see it as bolstering their bonafides, especially when trying to appeal to African-Americans. But to claim he marched when he didn't? That's like claiming you attended the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom when you were just passing through the DC airport.

Mitt, do all of us a favor and stop lying. Correct the facts and move on. And fire that idiot of a spokesman who doesn't know the difference between actual marching and visualizing a march.
Posted By CNN: 8:02 PM ET
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Hitting the road (literally) with some faithful
Check out Gary Tuchman's story on

DALLAS, Texas (CNN) -- If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."

Now, is it possible that this "highway" mentioned in Chapter 35 is actually Interstate 35 that runs through six U.S. states, from southern Texas to northern Minnesota? Some Christians have faith that is indeed the case. It was with that interesting belief in mind that we decided to head to Texas, the southernmost state in the I-35 corridor, to do a story about a prayer campaign called "Light the Highway."

Read the FULL STORY on

Watch Gary Tuchman's report tonight at 10p ET on 360.
Posted By CNN: 6:23 PM ET
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Anderson's View
Ok, ok, so I didn't blog yesterday. I know. I've already broken my new year's resolution. Who doesn't? I started to blog a couple times yesterday, but got caught up in other work. Sorry.

Did you see last night's show. We had planned a completely different program, and then literally a few minutes before airtime found out we had an exclusive interview with the three teenagers who'd been lost in the woods since Sunday. I'm always wary of intruding on people at a difficult time, but the kids and their mom seemed more than happy to talk, and it was so nice to have a happy ending to a story like that. I saw today that all of the kids went to the hospital again today, but I hope it's nothing too serious.

We're still working on what will lead off the program tonight. Most likely politics. I think this race is without a doubt the most interesting one I've ever covered, and I am really looking forward to the Iowa caucuses. I may try to sneak out for an hour to do some Christmas shopping, but most of that will have to wait for the weekend. See you tonight.

- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 4:47 PM ET
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Justice in Nicaragua?
--Brittany Harris, 360 Producer

American Eric Volz has been imprisoned in Nicaragua for more than a year for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Doris Jimenez, which he says he did not commit.

The evidence supporting his claim seems overwhelming, including an airtight alibi with 10 witnesses, cell phone and email records all putting him 2 hours away from the scene of the crime on the morning Doris was killed.

On Monday, an appeals court in Nicaragua agreed with Eric, overturning his conviction and ordering him immediately released from custody. However, the appeals court decision requires that the judge who originally convicted Eric, Ivette Toruno, must sign his release papers, and she has refused to do so.

The fact that one judge can single-handedly delay Eric from leaving prison even though his conviction has been overturned is unfortunately not surprising to me. I had first hand experience with Nicaragua's judicial system when I traveled there in April with correspondent Rick Sanchez and photojournalists Emmanuel Tambakakis and Dave Allbritton to cover Eric's story. We wanted to interview him in prison, but before we could do so, we needed permission from the very same judge Toruno.

We arrived in Rivas, Nicaragua on a blazing hot Wednesday afternoon and found the courthouse on a cobblestone street lined with small shops and cafes. We were there in keeping with the judge's orders to show her our passports, after which she said she would give us a letter allowing us access to the prison where Eric was being held.

With the help of our fixer, we found the judge's courtroom and explained why we were there. We told her we had followed her orders, we had come in person to request permission to interview Eric, and we had brought our passports and credentials. She went into her office to think it over.

After a few minutes, her assistant emerged with a signed document from the judge, giving permission for "3 journalists" to enter the prison. We asked if she could put our names on the letter, rather than "3 journalists," but the assistant said the letter would be fine and the judge would not be discussing the matter with us further. Discouraged, we had no choice but to take her word for it.

The next morning we hit the road early to pick up Eric's lawyer, who was going to accompany us to the prison. We drove to the prison and up to the gate with our letter from the judge, which we presented to the guard. He made a phone call, then had a long conversation with our fixer. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but his expression was enough: No.

Our fixer told us the problem: the judge hadn't specified our names. Without names, the prison wouldn't let us enter. The guard told us if we got a new letter with our names on it, he would let us in. This was at 10am.

For the next six hours, we stood outside the prison, trying to get a new letter. We called the judge's office in Rivas and were told she was at her other office in Grenada.

We called her Grenada office and they told us she was in Rivas. We tried to talk to the guards again, we said clearly this is a mistake, the judge herself had said that our names weren't necessary, but they would not relent. We left messages for the judge at all of her offices but we never heard back.

By refusing to take our calls, she effectively barred us from entering the prison, even though it seemed like she had given permission. I guess we will never know if that was her intention, but my guess is that it was.

This week, the refusal of the judge to sign Eric's release papers has allowed time for the prosecutor in Eric's case to appeal his acquittal to the Supreme Court. The order of the appeals court to immediately release Eric is apparently being ignored, and the Supreme Court in Nicaragua may take years to hear his case. He is in prison at this moment, and remains at the mercy of the Nicaraguan judicial system.
Posted By CNN: 2:58 PM ET
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Unheard voices in Saudi Arabia
--Reza Aslan, 360 Contributor

"Terror Free Tomorrow's", poll of opinions in Saudi Arabia toward al-Qaeda and the US is good news, no doubt.

90% of those polled had an unfavorable view of al-Qaeda (85% held unfavorable views of bin Laden) while a surprising 40% held favorable views of the United States.

These are important numbers and we should all be grateful to "Terror Free Tomorrow", an international public opinion research group based in Washington, for providing them. This should take the wind out of the sails of those pundits who love to shout from their perches (usually on Fox) about how the Arab world feels about us, despite having never actually been to the Arab world, or spoken to an actual Arab (Fouad Ajami doesn't count).

Still, what would have been truly fascinating is if "Terror Free Tomorrow" had figured out a way to get not just into the homes of Saudis, but into their kitchens, their garages, their gardens, where millions of poor Pakistanis, Indians, Malaysian, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, etc. toil at little more than slave wages.

Exact numbers are hard to come by but foreign workers make up one-third of Saudi Arabia's population, and according to a 2004 Human Rights Watch report, many suffer horrific abuses at the hands of their Saudi employers. I wonder what these migrant workers think of al-Qaeda and the US?
Posted By CNN: 1:55 PM ET
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Is 600,000 dollars a lot of money?
--Drew Griffin

I hope you will watch my report tonight. It's another example of how politicians waste our money.

In this case the politician is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the waste is the 600-thousand dollars she handed over to further fund one of her political pals' dreams, something called the International Museum of Women which says its purpose is to "amplify the voices of women worldwide through history, the arts and cultural programs that educate, create dialogue, build community, and inspire action."

For some of you, the name alone is enough to make you roll your eyes. But for the rest of you who think this is a worthy enterprise, let me remind you of a few things.

Not one dime of the 600-thousand dollar earmark to the IMOW will take a homeless San Franciscan off the streets, not a dime will immunize an uninsured child, not one dime will help a working single mom pay for daycare.

When we asked Speaker Pelosi why she felt it important to spend your money on the IMOW her response was that this really isn't a lot of money.

Since she didn't earn it, I guess it's not. But to the American worker who had the money withheld from his or her paycheck, I think 600-thousand is actually a huge amount of money.

I think you will see the absurdity behind this kind of government spending. Watch and let me know what you think.
Posted By CNN: 12:09 PM ET
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No insurance, No chance?
--Sanjay Gupta, CNN Senior Medical Correspndent

There is more evidence than ever that not having health care insurance can cost you your life. I was pretty struck by a report this morning showing that cancer patients were 1.6 times more likely to die in five years if they did not have insurance.

And, here is something even more striking: A patient with grade 2 cancer has a 90 percent survival rate at five years if the patient is insured. A patient with grade 1cancer (a better stage to have) has an 80 percent survival rate if the patient is not insured. Yes, you read that right. According to new data from the American Cancer Society, being uninsured makes you less likely to survive, even if you start with a lower-grade cancer.

There are more insurance issues raised in the study, and many of them have to do with lack of access to care. For instance, 86 percent of insured women get pap smears, compared to only 68 percent of uninsured women.

And, to make matters worse, if you do develop cancer, it is often difficult to get insurance because you now have a pre-existing condition. In fact, health care proposals released by presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson have few provisions for people to obtain insurance if they already have a medical condition.

That is all the more ironic, given Mayor Giuliani's history of prostate cancer, Sen. McCain's history of melanoma and Sen. Thompson's history of lymphoma.

The insurance industry is taking steps to try to create plans for people with pre-existing conditions that are not prohibitively expensive, but for many people that relief may not come fast enough. Have you had a hard time getting insurance, even when you wanted to buy it? What did you do about it?
Posted By CNN: 11:54 AM ET
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Jamie Lynn Spears, the law, and missplaced shame
--Lisa Bloom, 360 Contributor

Jamie Lynn Spears, who hails from Louisiana, is pregnant at 16. Louisiana is an abstinence-only education state, teaching teens only chastity, not birth control. We know that abstinence-only jurisdictions have the highest rates of teen pregnancy. Girls with older boyfriends are also statistically significantly more likely to be sexually active, to not use birth control, and to experience unintended pregnancies.

Can she be fired from her job as star of a Nickelodeon program? In my opinion that would be unlawful pregnancy discrimination. Actress Hunter Tylo successfully sued the producers of "Melrose Place" when they fired her for being pregnant. She was represented by my mother, feminist attorney Gloria Allred, who argued that no woman should have to choose between her baby and her job.

The jury agreed, awarding Tylo over $5 million. The same argument and the same law applies to Jamie Spears.

Could Spears' 18 year-old boyfriend be prosecuted for statutory rape? If the sex occurred in California, the answer is yes. Sex between a person over 18 and a person under 18 is a misdemeanor there, increasing to a felony when the age gap widens. If the sex occurred elsewhere, it would depend on state law. In any event, it would be Spears' boyfriend, not Spears herself, who may have committed a crime.

Nevertheless, the shaming and outcry against Spears has begun, ("THE SPEARS FAMILY SHAME," screams the New York Post headline this morning) as if she became pregnant all by herself, and notwithstanding the fact that nearly 50% of 16 year olds have had sexual intercourse.

Many of the sanctimonious pundits criticizing her probably were sexually active at her age, male athletes who father children out of wedlock, male celebs who don't even visit their own children, are not shamed.

In 2007, sexual shame is still reserved for girls. The same pundits who oppose educating teens about birth control and who oppose abortion rights shame this teenaged girl, who has made the choice to keep her baby. That, my friends, is a crying shame.
Posted By CNN: 11:03 AM ET
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Jamie Lynn spurs a father-daughter talk
--Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent

I am among the billions of people on planet Earth who have more pressing concerns than the pregnancy of 16 year-old Jamie Lynn Spears. But like many other parents I suspect, the topic of this teen star dominated my morning, as my 10 year old daughter, and I had THE discussion.

" Have you heard about Britney's sister?" , I asked Samantha who enjoys they 16-year old's TV show.

"Yes Daddy", she said.
So I asked her what her feelings were about it.
Samantha told me she thought Jamie Lynn will have to be off her show for nine months.

I explained to my little girl it's a bit more complex than that, that when an adult gets pregnant, she often works very close to her delivery date, and then may take a few months off, and come back to her job.

But Jamie Lynn, I told her, is a different situation. Nickleodeon, I explained, has to decide if she will even be able to keep her job, because I assured Samantha the cable network never had plans to have episodes with Jamie Lynn informing the world's adoring child viewers that she is expecting a baby.

I also told my daughter that in my humble fatherly opinion, the Spears sisters are demonstrating to their adoring public that they are "role model" challenged, and although they are sometimes entertaining, it would not be great to be inspired by Jamie Lynn's or Birtney's behavior.

My daughter seemed to accept my commentary, and agreed to keep me informed about the discussion around the 5th grade "water cooler." I'm sure we will talk more about this, particularly after Samantha sees or hears about mother-to-be Jamie Lynn on the cover of OK magazine, a cover story, that surprise, I'm not particularly OK with.

Call me old fashioned, but beating the publicity drum about this doesn't strike me as particularly tasteful.
Posted By CNN: 9:50 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning...It is Thursday!!! Not a ton of BIG headlines out there today. But take a look at today's morning buzz...

Top Stories

Rescuers spot lost family's twig 'Help' sign
Stranded in the snowy California woods for three days after losing their way while searching for a Christmas tree, a father and his three children fashioned a "Help" sign out of twigs on a nearby unpaved road, according to the helicopter pilots who found them.

Key Setbacks Dim Luster of Democrats' Year
The first Democratic-led Congress in a dozen years limped out of Washington last night with a lengthy list of accomplishments, from the first increase in fuel-efficiency standards in a generation to the first minimum-wage hike in a decade.

Congress -- Tax trap?
More than 20 million taxpayers will escape the alternative minimum tax this year, thanks to a stopgap measure Congress approved Wednesday. But lawmakers waited so late in the year to vote that many early filers could have to wait until March to get their refunds.

Realignment of the Army
President Bush has approved what officials are describing as the most significant realignment of the Army since World War II, signing off on a plan that will keep more troops than previously envisioned in Europe and add large numbers of soldiers to bases in Colorado, Georgia and Texas, Army officials said Wednesday.

New Zealand rocked by 6.8 quake
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake off New Zealand's east coast rocked much of mainland New Zealand on Thursday, emergency officials said.

Raw Politics

NEW CNN Iowa Poll -- It is down to the wire
Two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses and itappears to be a dead heat in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in the Hawkeye State, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Thursday morning. Thirty percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers support Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York as the nominee, with Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois at 28 percent and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina at 26 percent.

Giuliani taken to hospital
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was taken to a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, with flu-like symptoms and is spending the night there, a Giuliani spokesman confirmed to CNN early Thursday.

Kerrey apologizes to Obama
Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey has apologized to Barack Obama for any unintentional insult he committed by raising the Democratic presidential candidate's Muslim heritage while endorsing rival candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Huckabee defends record on clemencies
Republican Mike Huckabee on Wednesday defended his handling of requests for clemency when he was Arkansas governor and in turn accused Mitt Romney of denying such requests to protect his political future.

Keepin' Them Honest

TONIGHT ON AC360 Drew Griffin reports: It's only fitting the International Museum of Women would be found in an international city, like San Francisco. There's just one problem.... It can't be found- and trust Drew, he looked all over.

Crime & Punishment

Congress OKs Va Tech-inspired gun bill
Congress passed a long-stalled bill inspired by the Virginia Tech shootings that would more easily flag prospective gun buyers who have documented mental health problems. The measure also would help states with the cost.

Aruba to detail evidence in Holloway case
Prosecutors on Thursday plan to divulge evidence they gathered over the last eight months against three young men who will not be charged in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway because it was not sufficient to charge anyone.

AC360 folo

Nicaraguan prosecutors appealing American's release
Nicaraguan prosecutors are appealing a court's decision that overturned an American man's conviction in the killing of his former girlfriend and set the stage for his release, officials said.

What YOU Will be talking about Today

Hitting the road (literally) with some faithful ***tonight on AC360***
If you turn to the Bible -- Isaiah Chapter 35, Verse 8 -- you will see a passage that in part says, "A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness."

Whales may be related to deer-like beast
The gigantic ocean-dwelling whale may have evolved from a land animal the size of a small raccoon, new research suggests. What might be the missing evolutionary link between whales and land animals is an odd animal that looks like a long-tailed deer without antlers or an overgrown long-legged rat, fossils indicate.
Posted By CNN: 5:21 AM ET
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
An email, a hoax and a death.
--Barclay Palmer, Senior Producer, Anderson Cooper 360

Tonight, 360 Correspondent Jason Carroll reports on one family who lost their son, and another family in danger of losing a father to prison.

For an instant -- they thought they were mortal enemies. But they were wrong -- all because of an Internet hoax.

Some hoaxes can be funny. And some can break your heart.

Come hear Jason's report if you have a couple minutes, tonight on AC360.
Posted By CNN: 10:04 PM ET
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Presidential Stocking Stuffers
--Roland Martin, CNN Commentator

What in the world is going on with these Christmas ads from the candidates?

First, Mike Huckabee garners a ton of attention for his over-the-top, cross-lovin' Christmas ad.

Now lo and behold, Obama, Clinton, Edwards and Giuliani are trotting out their Christmas ads.

I'm not impressed. Ron Paul is sitting on $16 million in Internet donations. When is he going to release his Christmas commercial?

Here's my suggestion--Paul should hook up with Dennis Kucinich, and they should put under their tree Christmas gifts for each of their opponents, with Mike Gravel playing Santa:

For Clinton, a cup of spiked eggnog and a helping of holiday warmth;

For Obama, a name change so we don't have to hear even more "Osama" flubs;

For Chris Dodd, a one-way ticket back to the senate;

For Joe Biden, one of those back to the future cars, so he can run all over again in 1988;

For Bill Richardson, a account, cuz he'll need one a month from now;

For Edwards, a lifetime membership to Supercuts;

On the GOP side, for Mitt Romney, more hairspray;

For Rudy Giuliani, more hair;

For John McCain, how about a teddy bear, because he's coming off kind of abrasive;

For Fred Thompson, a case of the energy and caffeine drink Red Bull;

For Mike Huckabee, the George W. Bush foreign policy primer from his 2000 campaign;

For Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter, an all-expense-paid trip to Cancun, for two.

And for Paul and Kucinich themselves, a free, round-trip ticket on UFO Airlines;

The last thing we need are Christmas ads that are really just regular, boring political ads.

Have fun! Be irreverent! Do something different! But for goodness sake, stop being traditional!

Editor's note: See Raw Politics on tonight's 360: What's behind the candidates' holiday spirit. Coming right up at 10PM ET.
Posted By CNN: 9:33 PM ET
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Still Waiting for Hurricane Rita Relief
Check out Randi Kaye's story on

SABINE PASS, Texas (CNN) -- Christmas will be anything but merry this year for Helena Saunders. The 69-year-old grandmother, who's been living inside of a cramped FEMA trailer since her home in Sabine Pass, Texas, was devastated more than two years ago by Hurricane Rita, says there isn't enough room for a Christmas tree.

Hurricane Rita slammed into the Texas and Louisiana coast on September 24, 2005, destroying thousands of properties and causing an estimated $9.4 billion in damages -- making it the ninth costliest storm in U.S. history, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Read the FULL STORY on

Watch for Randi Kaye's report tonight at 10p ET on 360
Posted By CNN: 7:33 PM ET
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Iowa, and the gathering storms
--David Gergen, Former Presidential Advisor

There is a growing disconnect right now between the turmoil in the financial markets and the tumult on the campaign trail. As the candidates make their closing arguments in Iowa, they seem almost oblivious to the rising fears about the U.S. mortgage crisis and a global credit crunch.

Just yesterday the Fed proposed new rules to curtail high-risk mortgages while the European Central Bank poured half a trillion dollars into the markets, apparently stunning investors. Will these be enough? Do we need far more action? Among the candidates, only Chris Dodd -- as head of Senate Banking -- has been speaking up loudly to say more is needed.

A far clearer cry came yesterday from Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary and highly respected economist. He thinks we are likely heading toward a punishing recession and is urging -- surprisingly for a Democrat -- a $50-75 billion package of tax cuts and spending increases; he also wants the Fed to act far more aggressively to reduce interest charges and increase spending by consumers.

If any of these candidates were in the White House today, they would be seized with these economic questions and debating the Summers proposal. But they are off in a different universe. Just a few days ago, Mike Huckabee didn't even know about the new intelligence finding on Iran until 24 hours after it had already caused an explosion among diplomats.

When the frenzy of these early primaries is finally over, the country needs the winners to settle down and have a serious conversation with us about how they think we should navigate the gathering storms.
Posted By CNN: 11:38 AM ET
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Houston, we've got a problem...
--Barclay Palmer, Senior Producer, Anderson Cooper 360

Earth to the Fed! Yes, those too-good-to-be-true home sales helping drive the economy for so long were too good to be true. Now the Federal Reserve has is targeting deceptive home loan practices--but thousands of families already stand to lose their homes, and the mortgage credit meltdown is already putting a drag on home sales and the economy.

And The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Fed and other regulators shrugged off warnings that lenders were luring people into risky mortgages they could not afford, and some were using deceptive practices. But the Times reports the vaunted Alan Greenspan didn't act.

So now we have the Fed's proposed solution. Is this the right move, or is it too little too late?

We'd like to know what you think.
Posted By CNN: 10:55 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
Good Morning...It is already Wednesday, the week is half over!!! It is just flying by!!! Here are the stories making headlines this morning...make sure you grab plenty of coffee, there is a lot going on today...

Top Stories

Powerful quake shakes Alaska's Aleutian Islands
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the western end of Alaska's Aleutian Islands early Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Iraq war funding
After months of stalemate, the Senate late Tuesday passed a huge government spending bill that includes billions of dollars requested by President Bush to continue the war in Iraq.

Judge orders hearing on CIA videos
The administration must answer questions about the destruction of CIA interrogation videos of two Al-Qaeda suspects, a federal judge said Tuesday, rejecting the government's efforts to keep the courts out of the investigation.

Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A.Tapes
At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials.

Dozens killed in Pakistani train derailment
A Pakistani express train derailed early Wednesday morning, killing at least 41 people and injuring at least 135 others, police said.

Raw Politics

POLL: In Iowa Democratic Caucuses, Turnout Will Tell the Tale
Turnout will tell the tale of the Iowa Democratic caucuses, where Barack Obama's theme of a fresh start in the nation's politics is resonating strongly against the bulwarks of Hillary Clinton's campaign -- strength, experience and electability.

Crying in politics
Having a Muskie moment isn't necessarily a bad thing anymore. Tears, once kryptonite to serious presidential candidates, today are more often seen as a useful part of the political tool kit.

Economy rivals security as top concern for voters
As an election approaches, campaigns often brace for a last-minute event that could alter the political landscape. But the surprise this time isn't a scandal or a calamity overseas. It's an abrupt shift in the debate away from the battlefields of the Middle East and toward kitchen-table issues, such as the economy.

Keepin' Them Honest

Effort to cut FEMA red tape knocked back
A week after Hurricane Katrina, a FEMA official in charge of streamlining the flow of disaster aid issued a directive that would have cut through the red tape and expedited a staggering 1,029 rebuilding projects and $5.3 billion.

Addicted doctors still practice while in rehab
Troubling cases in which doctors were accused of botching operations while undergoing treatment for drugs or alcohol have led to criticism of rehab programs that allow thousands of U.S. physicians to keep their addictions hidden from their patients.

Crime & Punishment

Trial in Slaying of L.I. Man
I did what I had to do; you might as well put the cuffs on me now. This is how the lead prosecutor began his closing arguments Tuesday, echoing words attributed to a black man on trial for manslaughter in the shooting of a white teenager. According to trial testimony, that is what the man, John H. White, 54, said to the police who arrived at his house in Miller Place, on Long Island, after the shooting on the night of Aug. 9, 2006.

White separatist group sues town of Jena
A white separatist group planning a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Jena is suing the town, claiming officials are violating the Constitution by asking participants not to bring firearms, changing the parade route by one block and requiring the posting of a bond.

Fight over heat makes wife hot
A woman who was angry because her husband wanted her to turn up the heat pulled out a gun and shot their flat-screen TV while he cowered behind a pillow, Macomb County authorities say.

AC360 folo

Mom pushes for Internet harassment laws
The mother of a teenage girl who committed suicide after being taunted online urged a state task force on Internet harassment Tuesday to recommend criminalizing such behavior.

What you WILL be Talking about Today

Britney Spears' 16-year-old sister pregnant
Another Spears baby is reportedly on the way -- and it's not Britney's. Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old "Zoey 101" star and sister of Britney, told OK! magazine that she's pregnant and that the father is her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.

Omaha store to reopen Thursday
Enticing shoppers back into the department store where the deadliest mall shooting in U.S. history took place is the delicate task now facing Von Maur employees.

Scandal threatens Florida State
An academic cheating scandal could leave Florida State without as many as 25 players for its Music City Bowl game against Kentucky on New Year's Eve, coach Bobby Bowden said Tuesday.

Posted By CNN: 5:13 AM ET
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Earmarks reformed.. really?
--Drew Griffin

The most transparent earmark process ever! That was the promise-or one of them-of the new Democratic house.

In the end, just a lie.

Sunday night they released details of the omnibus spending bill. Monday they voted. The earmarks passed in less than one 24-hour news cycle.

We'll spend some time now going back and looking at some of the ridiculous pet projects that passed. Still, they passed. And once again lawmakers laugh in the face of taxpayers.

Earmark reform? Here it is: Instead of the Republicans taking the lead in wasting our money, now the Democrats are taking the lead in wasting it.
Posted By CNN: 9:56 PM ET
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An Ambush That Can't Be Forgotten
Check out the story from CNN's Nic Robertson on

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- I've been on many military embeds. But when I stepped off the Black Hawk Helicopter on September 12 at Forward Operating Base Keating, I knew it was like no other I'd been to.

We'd landed on boulders in the middle of two fast-flowing rivers, in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, just 15 miles from the Pakistan border. Mountains towered over us, incredibly steep and imposing, on all sides. The sun sets early here.

Read the FULL STORY on

Watch for Nic Robertson's report tonight at 10p ET on 360
Posted By CNN: 6:54 PM ET
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The New Hillary
--David Gergen, Former Presidential Advisor

Was the Clinton campaign listening to AC 360 last week when Joe Klein of Time Magazine memorably observed that in the Des Moines Register debate, she no longer seemed to be speaking from her diaphragm but through her nose, making her sound harsh and tense? Maybe, because we were hearing a completely different Hillary on the show last night.

As Anderson pointed out, she used the word "change" over a dozen times in a new sound bite from Iowa. But it was not just her language that changed -- her voice changed so much that she almost seemed a different person. She was soft spoken, relaxed, and very warm -- she sounded like a mother reading a bedtime story to her child.

Don't underestimate how important a voice is for a presidential candidate. Voters know that the person who is in the Oval Office will also be in their living rooms for the next four years. And they don't want to hear someone whose voice grates or annoys. Where this new campaign to soften up Hillary will work -- and whether she can keep her new voice -- remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that Bill and Hillary have decided she must reach people's hearts as well as their heads.
Posted By CNN: 1:54 PM ET
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Anderson's View
Damn that NBC Nightly News. OK, here goes. I hadn't wanted to say anything about this until we'd reached a decision, and had a signed contract, but now that NBC News has announced that Michael Douglas will be doing the voiceover introduction to their nightly newscast, our hand has been forced.

For about six months now we've been working on having someone with a very distinctive voice introduce 360 every night. It all started for us when CBS got Walter Cronkite to introduce their broadcast. We formed an exploratory committee which met once a week in a backroom at Michael's restaurant in New York. Week after week, cobb salad after cobb salad, we argued over whose voice to use. Sometimes the discussions got very heated, and eventually we were asked not to return to Michael's. I actually think some NBC News executives may have overheard our discussions there one afternoon and it might have given them the idea to use Michael Douglas. (We never actually talked about using him, but Catherine Zeta-Jones was high on our list for a long time.) Water under the bridge.

While we have not made a final decision, I thought I'd let you know about our four finalists, and if there is anyone else you think should be considered, please let us know. In no particular order, the four people we are considering hiring to introduce 360 everynight are:

Fran Drescher
Clint Eastwood
Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman)

Personally, I'm arguing for Fran Drescher, but I'm keeping an open mind.

- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 1:24 PM ET
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The Importance of Foreign Policy Experience (or not)
--Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Does foreign policy expertise matter in this scary post-9-11 world? Four names: Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John McCain. Go look up their resumes on and then check out their poll numbers.
Posted By CNN: 9:23 AM ET
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Teachers, Children and Sex
--Jamie Floyd, Court TV Anchor

Today we have the latest in the Lafave mess -- as in Debra Lafave, the Tampa teacher charged in 2005 with lewd and lascivious battery on a child after she performed oral sex on a 14- year-old student and had intercourse with the boy several times in a single month.

Today she is back in court owing to a conversation she allegedly had with a minor, in violation of her probation. This alleged victim is a female, however, a co-worker at Lafave's new place of employment, a Tampa restaurant.

The behavior may be different this time around, but our fascination with Lafave is the same. The media loves Lafave, and we loved Mary Kay Letournou before that. I've thought a lot about this and why. And I think it goes back to the fantasies of boyhood. I mean think about it: Whenever an adult man (or even not-so-adult boy -- e.g., Genarlow Wilson) has sex with a girl, the outrage is manifest, on cable and elsewhere, about said pedophile.

But let it be a pretty blond woman seduce a teenage boy and the reaction is entirely different. In the community, sympathy not outrage. In court, a slap on the wrist not prison. And on TV my colleagues, most of the men at least, are singing a very different tune: Hot For Teacher.
Posted By CNN: 9:12 AM ET
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Morning Buzz
It is Tuesday....and here is your morning buzz... You may need a few cups of coffee today, lots of headlines to get through....

Top Stories

House passes $516 billion spending bill
The House Monday approved a $516 billion measure funding 14 Cabinet agencies and funding for troops in Afghanistan, setting the stage for a year-end budget deal with the White House

Secretary of States Arrives, Unannounced, in Iraq
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit Tuesday to Kirkuk in the oil-rich Kurdish region, where the U.S. administration has emphasizing what it sees as new signs of cooperation and progress, and then flew to the Iraqi capital for meetings with national leaders.

Turkish troops cross into Iraq
Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels Tuesday, two days after Turkey's military launched air assaults across the border, according to the chief of staff for the president of the Kurdish regional government.

U.S. Helps Turkey Hit Rebel Kurds In Iraq
The United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has helped the Turkish military target a series of attacks this month against Kurdish separatists holed up in northern Iraq, including a large airstrike on Sunday, according to Pentagon officials.

Oklahoma still in the dark after storm
Rebeca Rascon bundled up her two children against a brisk wind as she arrived to report power at her south Oklahoma City home was still off more than a week after an ice storm battered the state.

Raw Politics

Poll: Electability key among Democrats
Democratic voters increasingly are focused on nominating the most electable presidential candidate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fares better than New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton against prospective Republican rivals.

McCain Senses Momentum Is Starting to Help Him
Senator John McCain is making a push to attract independent voters in New Hampshire and plans to restart his Iowa campaign.

For Romney, a Course Set Long Ago
George Romney had big ideas for his youngest child. Mitt Romney had already made millions as the founder of a giant buyout firm. But his father wanted Mitt to follow him into politics, convinced he could unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts.

Keepin' Them Honest

Still NO Federal $$$$
It's not just Katrina.. and Louisiana.. it's Texas! Only thirteen Texas families whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Rita have received federal aid. This is now more than TWO years later. About 4300 families applied. State officials distribute the money -- just like in NOLA. Congress gave Texas more than half a billion dollars after Rita for housing relief and infrastructure repairs.. but the state has only used TWO percent of it. This is all according to a state audit. Governor Rick Perry says state had to guard against abuses of federal hurricane aid.. HELLO! It's been more than two years and only 13 families have new homes.
Of the 1.2 billion in housing relief money that WAS spent.. $230,000 went for administrative expenses such as salary and travel at the state department.

Crime & Punishment

Police brutality cases on rise
Federal prosecutors are targeting a rising number of law enforcement officers for alleged brutality, Justice Department statistics show. The heightened prosecutions come as the nation's largest police union fears that agencies are dropping standards to fill thousands of vacancies and "scrimping" on training.

Songs of Love and Murder, Silenced by Killings
Mexico’s country music stars are being killed at an alarming rate — 13 in the past year and a half, three already in December — in a trend that has gone hand in hand with the surge in violence between drug gangs here.

What you WILL be Talking about today

NJ inmates make Shawshank-style escape
Two jail inmates used photos of bikini-clad women to hide holes they used to escape and left behind a thank-you note, signed with a smiley face, for a guard they claimed helped them, officials said Monday.

'Dear Santa' Letters Get Nasty
The holiday cheer in one Canadian city was stifled last week when as many as 15 children received nasty letters signed by their favorite holiday icon: Santa Claus.

Christmas card mailed in 1914 finally arrives
A postcard featuring a color drawing of Santa Claus and a young girl was mailed in 1914, but its journey was slower than Christmas. It just arrived in northwest Kansas.
Posted By CNN: 5:25 AM ET
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Monday, December 17, 2007
The Christmas Campaign
--Drew Griffin, 360 Correspondent

How intense and early this presidential race has become. Just when things should be slowing down for the holidays, campaigns are conducting air attacks on television and in helicopters across frozen states.

I don't recall the holidays being intermingled with presidential politics before. Do you?

Who are these people who would push everything aside just to be president? I'm having trouble just finishing and shipping my Christmas gifts. I can't imagine having to beg for votes in a far off state at the same time.

I'm glad they are all running. I'm glad someone wants to be president. I just can't imagine why.
Posted By CNN: 9:24 PM ET
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Rape victim "pardoned"
--Lisa Bloom, Court TV Anchor

In 2007, in a country that is a close U.S. ally, a woman was sentenced to prison and a whipping (let's call "lashing" what it is) for getting herself raped. And the world outcry has been muted because we all need Saudi Arabia's oil.

She'll still need male permission to travel or have surgery. She still must be veiled in public, and could always be prosecuted in the future if she dares go out in public without the appropriate male escort.

In the U.S., civil rights advocates called racial profiling "Driving While Black." In fundamentalist Islamic countries, women can be arrested for little more than Breathing While Female.
Posted By CNN: 9:20 PM ET
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Protecting the Innocent
Check out the story from 360's Randi Kaye on

DENVER, Colorado -- A Colorado man terrorized by threats after testifying against his daughter's abusive boyfriend says he has spent $10,000 on a security system, hired a bodyguard for his son's wedding and never leaves home without a .45-caliber handgun strapped to his chest.

The man, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case, says the state did nothing to protect him after the 1999 conviction of Keith Reynolds for domestic abuse -- even after prosecutors told him a hit had been put on his family.

Read the FULL STORY on

Watch for Randi Kaye's report on 360 at 10p ET.
Posted By CNN: 5:45 PM ET
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Serial Killer Mystery
Check out the story from 360's David Mattingly and producer Ismael Estrada on

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri (CNN) -- Timothy Krajcir got away with murder for decades, police say. They say he preyed on women he could easily overpower. He always struck at night to avoid detection. When he killed, he never spoke of it to anyone. Police even say they considered a cop might be behind the killings.

Read the FULL STORY on

Watch David's report tonight at 10p ET on 360.
Posted By CNN: 5:30 PM ET
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Anderson's View
So this past weekend we had the 360 holiday party. As far as I know there were no terribly embarrassing incidents. You know the kind of thing, when, late at night, you decide you really, really have to tell your boss what you've always thought of him. No one seemed particularly sheepish this morning in the office, so unless some incriminating photos suddenly surface, it was a successful party. There was an after party that involved karaoke, and who knows what else, but I got sleepy and didn't attend. The truth is I've never understood the appeal of karaoke, and being asked to sing some song by Journey just seems like a nightmare to me.

Tonite Mike Huckabee is on Larry King, so we thought we'd start our broadcast with a look at his record. He is without a doubt one of the more personable men on the campaign trail and voters are responding to that, but how much do people really know about his record? Not much. Tonight we'll fill in the gaps, and also look at a number of the endorsements that have occurred over the weekend. Do endorsements by newspapers or celebrities make a difference to you? Do they influence your vote? My guess is they don't, but I'd be curious to hear from you.

We're also looking in depth tonight at witness protection programs across the country. You may remember the story I did for 60 Minutes about the "Stop Snitchin" movement, encouraging people not to talk to police. Well, those who are brave enough to come forward are often left unprotected. Randi Kaye reveals the extent of the problem tonite.

See you later!

- Anderson Cooper
Posted By CNN: 3:08 PM ET
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HD TV, and reality TV
--Jami Floyd, Anchor, Court TV News

Now even The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is going HD. As in HD TV. You may know that President Bush signed a bill into law requiring networks to stop broadcasting the old analog format by 2009. Until now, that seemed a long way off.

But if Jim Lehrer is going HD, well heck, then EVERYbody needs to get busy. And it's a good thing for sports where, with HD, you can see every flag on the field; or in nature programming where HD can capture in crisp detail the wing of a butterfly or the reflection on a raindrop.

CNN's recent Planet in Peril was shot in HD and the very beauty of our planet only served to underscore what we stand to lose.

But there is one group for whom HD TV is nothing to write home about, and that's the "talent" -- the industry term for reporters, network correspondents and anchors, actors, late night hosts -- basically anyone whose face shows up on camera.

Which brings me to my point. All that richness of detail? All that sharp focus, the clarity, the purity? Well, they may be terrific when studying a cat's whiskers or even each blade of grass. But they are not good news for the lines, blemishes, and scars of life that many of us heretofore have been able to hide with a little bit of make up.

No, my friends, for this reporter, HD brings a whole new meaning to the prhase "reality TV."
Posted By CNN: 2:29 PM ET
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Presidential Politics, and the Numbers
--Gary Tuchman, 360 Correspondent

Twenty years ago this week, when I worked for a local station in West Palm Beach, I interviewed George Herbert Walker Bush for my first time. He was in his second term as Ronald Reagan's Vice President, getting ready for the 1988 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary as he sought the GOP presidential nomination.

An unpredictable and unprecedented era was set off by Mr. Bush's White House victory. Since that win two decades ago, we have only had two families in the White House.

The last five terms read like the name of a law firm: Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, and Bush. And if Hillary Clinton is lucky enough to win two terms, that "firm's" name would be Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton and Clinton. If that happens, there will be 28 consecutive years of the same two families in the Oval Office.

But if you include the senior Bush's eight years as Vice President, that would be 36 years, which means that the two familes would have one of the two highest offices in the land for 15 percent of the entire history of the United States! (That's 36 Bush and Clinton years divided by the age of the U.S., if Hillary completes a second term, which would be 240.) And who knows if Jeb might want to go for broke one day!

The purpose of my political-mathematical exercise is not to infer this is bad, good, or neutral. I think it's just interesting and ironic this is happening in a nation whose origins include shaking off the yoke of royal family rule.
Posted By CNN: 12:14 PM ET
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From Bill to Bali
--David Gergen, Former Presidential Advisor

So far, Bill Clinton has been a major campaign asset for Hillary. But his recent, highly publicized emergence as the power behind the skirt, instructing her campaign team on strategy and tactics, could easily damage her. If voters think that in every crunch Bill will be taking charge, they will have much less confidence in her as a strong, effective leader. Hillary must show that she is capable of winning on her own.

Meanwhile, the world this weekend, slipped perilously closer to an environmental disaster as nations in the Bali conference could agree only to vague declarations about carbon reductions. Clearly, the Bush Administration won't to step up the challenge. Which of today's presidential candidates is now willing to come forward with courage on climate change?
Posted By CNN: 11:10 AM ET
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The Death Penalty, right or wrong..
--Jami Floyd, Anchor, Court TV News

New Jersey just became the first state to repeal its death penalty since the U.S. Supreme Court reopened the door to capital punishment. That was way back in the '70s, and at that time, New Jersey opted to re-up the death penalty. But with its abolition this week, the Garden State takes a giant step toward justice.

Forget that the death penalty has been proved time and again to have no deterrent effect. Forget all the questions about whether the way we kill people is "cruel and unusual." And never mind that victims tell you that when the ultimate penalty is imposed, it does not bring them any closure.

Forget all of that, and consider only this: The hundreds of exonerations in this country in just the last decade. Dozens of men who were on death row. THAT is why the death penalty is wrong.

Because human beings get it wrong. Only God should take away that which cannot be returned in the event of error. Human life. And that's the last word.
Posted By CNN: 11:06 AM ET
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What's your life worth?
--Randi Kaye, 360 Correspondent

I asked myself that recently while shooting a story on witness protection in Denver Colorado.
Witnesses in Colorado, and around the country, are getting killed just for testifying against the bad guys in court.

Why? Some witnesses tell us they weren't even told Colorado has a witness protection program. We met one man who had to pay $10,000 of his own money to protect his family and a woman whose son was gunned down after deciding to "do the right thing" and testify. She says he was never told he could get protection.

In all, the state spends on average less than $1,000 to help these people relocate and start a new life.

What kind of incentive is $1000? Is that worth getting killed for?

What would you do if you witnessed a serious crime: testify and take your chances, or keep your mouth shut?

I'll be reporting on this on AC360. And I'd be interested to know what you would do.
Posted By CNN: 10:48 AM ET
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Is the world upside down?
--Barclay Palmer, Senior Producer Anderson Cooper 360

Good morning, 360 readers..

It seems the war we were winning we're now losing, and the war we were losing we're now winning.. Really?

In Saudi Arabia, the rape victim has been pardoned for her crimes.

And it's freezing in much of the country even before it's, technically speaking, winter.

Is the world upside down?

Maybe today, but only today, right?
Posted By CNN: 10:43 AM ET
  5 Comments  | Add a Comment
Morning Buzz
Good Morning all!!! Happy Monday...Winter is here, lots of snow on the ground. Turn up the heat and grab some coffee, it is time for the morning buzz...

Top Stories

US general says Iraq violence down
Violence in Iraq is at its lowest levels since the first year of the American invasion, finally opening a window for reconciliation among rival sects, the second-ranking U.S. general said Sunday as Iraqi forces formally took control of security across half the country.

Bush Faces Pressure to Shift War Priorities
With violence on the decline in Iraq but on the upswing in Afghanistan, President Bush is facing new pressure from the U.S. military to accelerate a troop drawdown in Iraq and bulk up force levels in Afghanistan, according to senior U.S. officials.

King pardons rape victim
Saudi King Abdullah has pardoned a rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison in a case that sparked international attention, a Saudi newspaper reported.

Furious snow storm
Northern New England should brace for as much as 18 inches of snow as a winter storm, blamed for three deaths, blows through the Great Lakes states late Sunday.

Raw Politics

Lieberman to Support McCain
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent, will endorse Republican Sen. John McCain for president, officials close to both Lieberman and McCain familiar with the plan tell CNN

Candidates Scrambling
Just one month ago, Mitt Romney's supporters thought that they had Iowa fairly well in hand. But there was Mr. Romney last week, telling several hundred people at a high school cafeteria in Marion that he was the underdog and pleading for their help to keep him from being derailed at the caucuses by the rise of Mike Huckabee.

Paul raises $6 million in 24-hour effort
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul's supporters raised over $6 million Sunday to boost the 10-term Texas congressman's campaign for the White House.

Papers pick McCain, split Obama, Clinton
In the battle for influential newspaper endorsements in the Democratic primary race, it was a split decision Saturday evening between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Keepin' Them Honest

Why are witnesses to crimes dying in Colorado?
Maybe because the city of Denver spends more money planting flowers and trees than the state of Colorado does to protect witnesses willing to testify against alleged criminals. 360 introduces you to a man who fears for his life years after testifying in court. He says prosecutors never even told him a witness protection program existed. He had to spend $10,000 of his own money to protect his family, including hiring a bodyguard for his son’s wedding. Now even his 13-year-old grandson knows how to shoot. Why aren’t prosecutors and Colorado doing more to protect witnesses? The state only budgets about $50,000 for witness protection. The federal program spends about $40,000,000. Shouldn’t more be done to protect those who risk their lives? Randi Kaye is Keeping them Honest tonight on AC360

Crime & Punishment

Death in a seaside paradise
They are sons of La Jolla, five friends who came of age on the edge of the Pacific.They all played on La Jolla High School's football team. One was the defensive player of the year. Another was a star quarterback mentored by former pro standout Doug Flutie, who said he'd be proud to have the boy as his own.

Couple arrested in $7.4M armored car heist
By age 24, she had been married, given birth to a son, gotten a divorce, filed for bankruptcy and tried to make extra cash as a model. By age 22, he had played plenty of the computer game Halo, and found a job at an armored car company. They also loved to play Dungeons & Dragons, and now they're accused of a plot as far outside the realm of their ordinary lives as that fantasy role-playing game

What you Will be Talking about Today

Singer Dan Fogelberg dies
Dan Fogelberg, the singer and songwriter whose hits "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne" helped define the soft-rock era, died Sunday at his home in Maine after battling prostate cancer. He was 56.

Dad sells son's 90-dollar video game online for more than 9000
After catching his 15-year-old smoking pot, a father sold the hard-to-get "Guitar Hero III" video game he bought his son for 90 dollars for Christmas at an online auction, fetching 9,000 dollars.

On Facebook, Scholars Link Up With Data
Each day about 1,700 juniors at an East Coast college log on to to accumulate “friends,” compare movie preferences, share videos and exchange cybercocktails and kisses. Unwittingly, these students have become the subjects of academic research.
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