Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moral Clarity and Perverted Minds

The program starts with Breaking News about two terror suspects in Illinois and Texas. Jeanne Meserve gives us the details -- one tried to blow up the Federal Building in Springfield. The FBI set up a fake bomb and this nutcase tried to trigger it via cellphone. He converted to Islam in prison, was an admirer of John Walker Lindh, AKA the American Taliban. Lovely.

In Texas a Jordanian citizen, in this country illegally, said he came here to commit jihad. He targeted a 60-story office tower in Dallas, FBI set up a fake carbomb there as well.

These were independent incidents, they don't know each other; however, the FBI coordinated the timing of the stings in order to not spook one when the other was grabbed.

Meanwhile, the Afghan airport-shuttle driver arrested in Denver has been charged with plotting a terrorist attack. Susan Candiotti reports on the updates, that he was purchasing hydrogen peroxide and other items to build a bomb.

Anderson talks with Peter Bergen and former FBI agent Don Clark. Bergen says hydrogen peroxide is a signature of al Qaeda training camps and makes very effective homemade bombs. It's what was used in the 7/7 attacks in London.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu spanked the UN for letting Ahmadinejad speak and deny the Holocaust. Anderson talks with David Gergen and Reza Aslan. Anderson says Ahmadinejad was baiting people with the speech, trying to shift focus. Gergen says Netanyahu brought "moral clarity." Reza says Bibi considers the UN an enemy of Israel and that he forgets what the charter is: even the crazy leaders have a voice there. Anderson asks Gergen about the criticism of Obama, Gergen says he worries whether Obama is tough enough. Reza has more to say, but time runs out. Damn it!

Erica Hill has the first 360 Bulletin: Big Russ (Tim Russert's dad) has died at 85; UN Security Council passed a resolution to reduce nuclear threat, chaired by Obama, the first time a US president has done that; the Obamas now in Pittsbugh for the G20; a man w/metal detector finds largest Anglo-Saxon gold horde ever. Wow. And ka-ching!

An "Uncovering America" segment is about an Arizona couple who took a couple pictures of their kids in the bath, and when they developed the roll a Walmart employee reported them for child porn. The kids were put in protective custody for a month, parents added to a list of sex offenders, wife suspended from her job for a year. Judge ruled they were not porn, but the State Attorney General continued to pursue the case. Parents now suing cops, Walmart, the state, etc.

Jeffrey Toobin joins Anderson and admits the whole thing is crazy. "People have perverted minds." What's the lesson here? Get a digital camera!

Next, Sanjay Gupta reports that a new HIV vaccine has positive possibilities. Subjects were given 6 shots over 6 months. 16,000 in trial, and results show a 31% reduction due to vaccine. Still, there are so many sub-strains of HIV that there may have to be several different types of vaccine. It may be years before this is available, but it is the first positive sign, so everyone is hopeful.

The segment I was dreading all day... The Big 360 Interview with John McCain, who basically criticizes Obama for not saying certain things at the UN, all of which he's said in prior speeches elsewhere. Moving on now...

David Mattingly reports on the death of a part-time census worker whose body was found hanged on a tree in a forest in Kentucky. AP says the word "Fed" was scrawled on his chest, but no one will confirm. David says that the man's feet were on the ground, which is ... odd. Authorities are not sure whether this was a suicide or a murder. Weird.

Erica has the second Bulletin: Jaycee Dugard's lawyer says she has mixed emotions but knows terrible things were done to her; the Russians have a sex tape of a diplomat with a prostitute, but we say it was doctored; an Indonesian woman gave birth to a 19 pound baby. Ouch!

The Shot:

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A couple of bonuses tonight: first, some photos of Anderson at Tuesday's kickoff luncheon for Joy Behar's show (click for large version):

And today on BackStory, they did a special program about AC360's week in Afghanistan. One of the segments was done by Neil Hallsworth, with cameos from Anderson, Charlie Moore, Phil Littleton, and (in a non-speaking role) Peter Bergen. A lot of it focuses on the behind-the-scenes craziness of getting ready for a live program in the middle of a warzone:

The program also had a long "debrief" with Sanjay Gupta, which you can see on and a piece on Michael Ware's team -- producer Tommy Evans and videographer Sarmad Qasiri -- which you can see on my site.

And thanks to Julie, we have word that Anderson will guest-host Regis & Kelly on October 9 (and one of the guests? Daniel Craig!!!)

Phew! And that is a wrap for tonight!

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All Things Anderson is a blog dedicated to CNN's AC360 and its host Anderson Cooper.


judy said...

Cyn: We all knew when AC met with Kelly they would talk shop and come up with a hosting date. Always good.
Also good to see Sanjay looking more like himself. Almost back to his handsome normal.
Although the couple in Arizona went through a lot and I truly feel for them, it seems to me, their story was a movie theme. Maybe I'm dreaming, but I thought it was and if it wasn't it should be. Even with a digital camera, some people want hard copies and don't print them out themselves. This should be a lesson.
Good to hear that AC will be interviewing William Jefferson. It's about time he got some of the big names on his program. If Jon Stewart can do it, so can he.
The UN should be open to everyone, even the crazies. That is what the original purpose was and so it remains. I know it gives credibility to those who are undeserving but at least we know what "their up to."

ACAnderFan said...

Scary stuff about the people wanting to carry terrorist acts. I am glad they're being caught and thus their plans being stopped. Good discussion with Peter Bergen and Don Clark. I had no idea that hydrogen peroxide was used in bombs.

The piece about the family whose kids were taken away because some idiot prude at walmart thought the pictures were "offensive" was crazy. Everyone has pictures like that of their kids. There was noting offensive or wrong with those pictures. Some people are just entirely too sensitive and that prude at walmart is one of them Its ridiculous. Good for the family for suing.

I saw the Backstory episode last nite. I hardly ever watch that show, but for some reason I put it on last nite. Great show. Best thing I saw on TV yesterday. The debrief with Sanjay was fascinating. I'm glad I watched it.

aries moon said...

For a minute I thought we were about to have an uncharacteristic pundit fight between Reza Aslan and David Gergen - it got a little heated in their discussion - I hope they get an opportunity to continue it. I was expecting McCain to be tougher on President Obama than he was during AC's interview - he *almost* sounded reasonable, but then again it's probably not a good thing when conservatives are complimentary of a Democratic president, if they like what he's doing, then it's probably not something he should be doing. :P David Gergen was pretty critical of President Obama. Too many of these pundits are wrongly characterizing Obama as "weak" or "naive" simply because his approach to dealing with world issues isn't as bombastic as the previous administration. Anderson seemed to enjoy speaking with McCain, but I'm more interested in his interview with former President Clinton on Friday night. The Walmart baby photo story was scary - people are going way overboard and seeing sinister situations where none exist - that family will probably never live down the stigma and that's a shame.

So, did that dinner party with Kelly bring about another co-hosting day for AC on R&K? Who knows, but I always look forward to him sitting in for Regis. Which reality TV star will he piss off this time? ;)

ACAnderFan said...

@Judy, are you thinking of the move One Hour Photo??? That is a creepy and disturbing movie.

Parker said...

I totally agree with David Gergen summarizing “this as an overlapping issue - the ability for Iran to acquire enriched uranium as well as the disarmament of their nuclear program”, what I find most frustrating with conversations the likes of which Anderson had with Raza and David is that Anderson just like almost every other American seems to be so impatient when it comes to the results of the President’s actions on the International stage. America’s reputation on the International stage was tarnished over an 8 year period; it’s not going to turn overnight. The International Community and the G20 have a long way to go, before we can rebuild that trust and consensus again. They can not expect this President to perform miracles overnight. He certainly has come a long way in the mare 8 months he has been in Office and has a ways to go. Give the man an opportunity to do his Job, why don’t you?

As for the story regarding the photos of the kids during bath time, I truly and sincerely believe it was the right thing to do for the Wal*Mart Associate/Management to bring these photos to the attention of the Police as well as for the Police to take the appropriate action that they did. I found Anderson’s tone and the way he questioned W*M intentions a tad condescending and rather irritating.

Nobody in their right mind can tell me that is matter hasn’t come up before in the US, and that Wal*Mart haven’t taken this kind of action before, which I believe were the appropriate steps to take to ensure the safety and protection of the children. Jeff Toobin had it absolutely right when he said it’s the right decision/duty by W*M to report these kinds of pictures. What I did not agree with Jeff was when he said “W*M should know the difference when it’s child porn versus family – guess what Jeff, unless you are in that situation to report or not to report to the Police – wouldn’t you rather them air on the side of caution and report it, God forbid if they were right and these kids were being abused & it wasn’t reported, what then? Think about that Jeff/Anderson, than pass judgement.

As much as this family may think these photos are innocent, what if it were someone else with less then stellar intentions and those kids were in danger of child abuse and the W*M Associate neglected to report them, what then? If that were you, could you live with yourself knowing you allowed that kind of behaviour to continue, fully knowing you could have potentially save a child? Additionally, the position that W*M has taken to report these kinds of photographs is not something new. They’ve had this policy for Years on end, and it is applicable in all they Business Units across the globe – in EVERY Country they operate. THIS IS NOT NEW, and for anyone to claim ignorance of not knowing this policy - it’s simply ridiculous. Believe me, I feel for the family, but having traveled to various Countries around the globe, I know for a fact this practice is put into practice in all their stores, and this time, I believe W*M made the right decision, and should not be chastised for it.

The one question Anderson did not ask Sanjay about the HIV vaccine is WHY? Why is/would the virus be different in Thailand versus North America, what makes the virus/sub-type different in each Continent? That would be interesting to know?

MichellenLomita said...

Kelly on R&K gets to sit and talk with two of the most beautiful, interesting, successful men--AC and Daniel Craig--at the same time! Her show is frivolous, but she is to be envied. What an elevating experience! And she is AC's friend and sees him often. I can just picture her sitting between the two of them with their bulging muscles, and her in hunk heaven. She really knows how to appreciate gorgeous intelligent men. You Go, girl!

aries moon said...

@Parker, I always look forward to reading your comments because they offer a strong and challenging perspective that usually makes me reconsider my own thoughts on a particular issue and your latest post is no exception.

Phebe said...

The Phoenix family that was thrown into chaos by Wal-Mart and CPS (Child Protective Services) has many more nuances that AC360 was able to touch on in the few minutes devoted to the story last night. First, for those of you who did not understand why the family is suing Wal-Mart, it has nothing to do with Wal-Mart reporting the suspected abuse to law enforcement, the family actually applauds Wal-Mart for this policy. The family is suing Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart did not have their policy posted (think ‘this coffee is hot on Starbucks’ coffee cups) for customers to see. It’s basically just the family going after the deep pockets to try and generate some cash to cover all the legal expenses that this situation has caused. Like Starbucks and other companies have learned you must state the obvious for all to read (coffee is hot, inappropriate photos will be turned over to law enforcement) .
The real outrage, and criticism, should lie with the State of Arizona and with CPS. Arizona for allowing the wheels of justice to turn so slowly, this case should have been cleared up in days, not a month. And CPS because time after time children fall through the cracks resulting in unimaginable abuse and the death in this State. I realize CPS case worker’s case loads are just impossible to be managed successfully by one human, but again this comes back to Arizona. The agency is grossly understaffed and our State legislature has just passed even more cuts to their funding in an attempt to balance the State’s budget. Why is it that when States need to trim spending children and the poor are always the first who have services cut?
So before you judge the family too harshly for suing consider that the system did not serve them well.

Em said...

I thought last night was pretty good. Would love to have heard more of the Reza/Gergen debate as well.

I also disagree with those who have said the President's more cautious reasonable approach is weak. To me it is a breath of fresh air after the "bring it on" mentality.

As far as people getting so crazed over these dictators praising Pres. Obama I was thinking that even buffoons can be surrounded by very intelligent men. I am pretty sure they are aware of the conflicts going on in the U.S. between the right and the left and love nothing more than stoking the fires.

It is interesting to me that the President was elected because we wanted the economy fixed, health care fixed, the environment fixed, and to bring an end to cowboy diplomacy yet, POTUS doing exactly those things is what has the public up in arms. Honestly sometimes I think we aer a little too eager to give the biggest whiner the microphone.

As an old CPS worker, the laws pretty much instruct people "when in doubt to err on the side of protecting a child". I think many businesses and organizations report things like the Walmart pictures as SOP. It is up to authorities to sort it out. My question is if these pictures were so benign, how the heck did it take Arizona a year to figure that out. That I do not understand.

I am anxious to watch AC360 tonight. Bill Clinton is usually a very interesting guest.

Em said...

@Phebe, all I could think was isf this the whole story? If so, Arizona CPS really screwed up. As far as lack of staff, the same thing happened in our state. When the economic downturn really hit full stride the first cuts made in the budget where to programs for People with Disabilities and CPS. CPS lost 300 employee's. That makes no sense if you understand abuse and neglect...when the economy goes south, children often get neglected and abuse skyrockets. It is a travesty to cut budgets during those times.

Parker said...

@ Aries Moon - 3.11 pm the feeling is mutual. The feeling is absolutely mutual my dear, except when y’all get in to discussions about his anatomy, as a guy, those are conversations/discussions I’d rather abstain from.

judy said...

@ACAnderFan: Yes! You are absolutely right. It was, and now I can't remember who stared in that movie, but his intentions were less than honorable.
In New Jersey, CPS can get way out of hand. After teaching public school for many years, CPS can do more harm, in certain cases, than good. Parental and custodial reputations are often on the line here and many times they are wrong. Lives are tarnished forever. There's always that lingering doubt. More law suits need to be filed against them. As for W. M. they too, have proven to have a less than stellar reputation when it comes to their own management and their employees. Patrons need to realize that Walmart is acting as the "third party," in these litigations and should be forewarned.

sydney said...

Sanjay was looking much healthier last night. For that matter, Anderson was looking better than he has for a week or so. Seems everyone is on the mend.

Between these attempted bombings and the hanging of the Census taker, it's a little nervewracking to be a "fed" nowadays!

Well, maybe now parents will think twice before taking all these bath/potty/bearskin rug shots that have been humiliating their kids years later for generations LOL! (I'm not trying to make light of a horrible situation, just an observation that for as long as I can remember, parents have always taken these kinds of pics of their kids.)

ACAnderFan said...

@Judy, I think Robin Williams and Michael Vartan were in One Hour Photo. Its been so long since I've seen it, I think I need to see it again. Great movie, really makes you think twice about having stuff developed at a photo shop though.