Sunday, April 29, 2007

Excerpts from Families

For those of you that haven't been able to read Wyatt Cooper's book, Families: A Memoir and Celebration, I wanted to share a few excerpts with you. I'll post a few this week and a few next week. I admire his writing for it's casual, unassuming style. It's interesting, to me, that Anderson shares this with his father. Enjoy....

From the Forword:

"In, September, 1974, as I was about to end this book, I went with my wife and sons to Quitman, Mississippi, to visit the farm where I grew up. My nine-year-old son Carter had often asked to see the place where my life began. Seven-year-old Anderson was looking forward to catching some fish from the pond on the land that nurtured my family for generations. I had often, in my imagination, brought them together before this, the yesterday and the tomorrow of my life, the landscape that figures vividly in my memories and the two little boys who represent my involvement in the future, and I felt impelled, before turning loose these pages, to introduce one to the other in fact.

As we drove out from Quitman in a heavy downpour, I reminded the children that the place would not look as I had described it. I knew that the house and barns were gone, the well filled in, and the land untilled and untenanted, but I was unprepared for what we found. Even the road was not where it had been. No trace remained of the house I had known and loved. Where the peach orchard had been, where the cotton fields had been, the pasture, the blackberry patches, the fences-all had been swallowed up by time. A forest of tall pine trees covered the entire 260 acres, and it seems a strange irony to me that the sale of timber brings in more income than all the cotton we ever grew."

He ends the foreword with this:

"But Christmas came, and, with it, the drawing together of my own little family group. There was the familiar joy of the children, their delight in the new bicycles they had themselves picked out, the presence of Stan and Chris, my stepsons, now fine young adults and the splendid painting that my wife, knowing the pleasure I take in her art, had made for me. Christmas is also our anniversary. This one was our eleventh, and to mark the occasion, she painted a family portrait. The setting is our living room; in it, she and I and our two boys form a continuing circle that is complete, comforting, sweet, and durable; that seems inviolate, hopeful, and somehow, sacred."

Here he writes about the Cooper Family Reunion...

"These reunions were of major importance to us. They registered the changes that took place in our lives: the marriages, the births, the moves, the prosperings and the failings to prosper. We watched each other growing up or growing old, and we felt ourselves to be a part of some timeless process, a process the rules of which applied equally to us all.

The reunions did not end when Grandma died, though they had already begun to fade some years before when she, like most of us, left her farm and moved to the town. It would never be the same in the city; there would be other demands on one's attention; one would go as one went to other engagements; it became an event sandwiched in between other events.

One needs land, really, to feel that kind of sense of family, for in those days it was the land that made you, that nourished you, that would, eventually, claim you. The land was home. It was permanent and eternal; it had always been there and would always be there; it was made of the bones of millions of years and the dust of centuries; it had known the games of Indian boys, and the battles of unnamed men. You stretched out your body upon it in the early days of spring. You felt it grow warm beneath your belly. You filled your lungs with its clean, rich, and lusty smell. You ran your hungry fingers through the tender green stubble of its surface, you lay and listened to the music of its silence, and gazed through half-closed eyes at the wide, high, pure, blue sky. It belonged to you and you belonged to it...

And to close here's one of my favorite excerpts from Anderson's book, Dispatches from the Edge, due out in paperback in May.

"I'm not sure when it happened, when I realized something had changed. I don't think there was a precise moment, a particular day. It's like when you're mourning and suddenly you become aware that the pain has faded. You don't remember exactly when it did. One day you laugh, and it shocks you. You forgot that your body could make such a sound.

Here, in New Orleans, the compartmentalization I've always maintained has fallen apart, been worn down by the weight of emotion, the power of memory. For so long I tried to separate myself from my past. I tried to move on, forget what I'd lost, but the truth is, none of it's ever gone away. The past is all around, and in New Orleans I can't pretend it's not."

Check back next week for another excerpt. Have a great week.
I'm pretty sure the caps are from bcfraggle :)

The Vault is Open!

Good Morning Everyone! I know I'm not supposed to be blogging on a Sunday but I'm pinch-hitting for my good friend Ms. Quitty who needed some time off.

I thought I wouldn't bore you with any political analysis or talk of being on the Edge of Disaster because hey, it's Sunday and we all need a day of rest, don't we? So what do you say I treat y'all to another addition of Anderson Cooper's Vault? Okay then, let's enter the secret code and see what we have laying on the shelves, shall we?

Well, first up I have these two pictures that I have not seen previous to this evening. The first picture, courtesy of, is of Anderson on the Red Carpet of the Quill Awards last October. (WARNING: Click to enlarge at your own risk. I advise you be sitting down when you do so!)

This next picture is a different view of a picture we all recognize of Anderson reporting on the streets of NYC (right). Have you ever seen this angle before? I hadn't, so I thought I'd share it with you! (Click to enlarge)

And of course, I have some video clips you may or may not have seen in the past. This first clip is the full-lenght version of Gloria Vanderbilt's appearance on WNN in which she sings to her loving son. If you've never seen this version, I just cannot rave enough about it. It is by far one of my most favorite clips. I re-watch this clip when I'm down because it never fails to make me smile. (This clip was uploaded to by our lovely Ms. Rachel.)

Well Ladies and Gents, that's all for today! I hope you enjoyed our latest visit to the Anderson Cooper Vault. I did receive your requests and post try to post each and every one as soon as they are uploaded!

Have a wonderful Sunday and I'll see you back here on Tuesday afternoon! ~Sheryn

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Yea! Good John!

Since I didn't watch Thursday's show I didn't see the Anderabsence coming on Friday. But I must say I do enjoy John King, so all is good. Friday's 1st hour was packed with interesting reports. Did you catch the Scientologists recruiting on Virginia Tech's campus? How sick is that?
I've been reading lots of blog posts lately about AC360's expert forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz. Anderson had him on the show last week to discuss the psychological makeup of the VT mass murderer. The blogs I came across all questioned the creditability of Dr. Dietz, but I really never put any credence in what I was reading. I thought if he was good enough for AC360 then he must have been checked out and creditable. When I read that 360 reported on Thursday's show that Dietz 'lied' on the stand during the Yates trial I was a bit surprised. Why would AC360 use Dietz as a panelist and then a few nights later discredit him? And then today we have Dave Doss blogging an apology and JK reading one on air too. It's all very interesting.
Friday's AC360 also included a little JK Erica banter and a few cute cat 'shots of the day'. I really want to come back in my next life as Erica Hill. Anderson loves her, John King loves her, she's got to be the luckiest woman on the planet.

Book Asylum sent me a link to an interview with John King that was posted at TV's Insider column. Enjoy!

On Air Forsh-Sh-Sh One by Michele Greppi
So what's it like to be a reporter going off the grid with President Bush, who caught nearly everyone by surprise by heading for Baghdad Monday when everyone was expecting him to be preparing for a press conference in the White House Rose Garden?

The Insider put that question to CNN chief national correspondent John King. He was asked to be TV pool correspondent on the trip because his sudden absence would not be noticed by the White House press corps.
The Insider will skip the meaty, newsy part of the trip-that was well-covered-and get right to the behind-the-scenes details for which she lives.
Mr. King's involvement started with a Sunday afternoon e-mail from Dan Bartlett, the presidential counselor who oversees communications, and a subsequent low-key meeting at a moderately priced chain restaurant on Washington's Wisonsin Avenue with Mr. Bartlett and White House Communications Director Nicolle Wallace. Mr. King had covered the White House for more than eight years and "knew the drill," they explained.
After Mr. King cleared the trip in utter secrecy with CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman, he was declared "unavailable" to work Monday. He would take CNN photojournalists Tim Garraty and Phil Littleton with him on Air Force One, which also carried a standard travel pool consisting of four print correspondents and four still photographers.
Mr. King told his ex-wife and two children he was going on "a short but sensitive trip that I wasn't supposed to talk about."
His daughter, 9, said, "'Daddy, you're going to Iraq.' It came out just like that. She actually got a little emotional and said she would prefer that I not go. I was taken aback by that and we had to talk for a little while. In the end, she was fine," Mr. King said.
The flight plan was was to go directly to Baghdad and land during daylight," Mr. King said. "The number of agents on Air Force One was higher than normal. The plane landed in a way you're not supposed to land a 747. It banks in until you get close to the airport and then it just drops. They handed out flak jackets when we landed. They said, 'Run to the helicopters.'
"The ride to the relatively safe Green Zone in Baghdad in U.S. military transport helicopters, which carried about 25 flak-jacketed and helmeted people each, was "intense. You're flying very low," Mr. King said. One soldier in back and two at the front of each helicopter were "hanging out, manning machine guns."
Air Force One stewards (whom King praises as underappreciated) served an unremarkable frozen ravioli dinner and a breakfast on the 11-hour trip over. Food was made available at the U.S. Embassy, which also served "this gawdawful coffee but it was strong, which was all we needed."
Because by then the world knew the President was in Baghdad, takeoff was to be after dark and as rocket-like as possible. So Air Force One did not leave Iraq with enough fuel for a direct trip back to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.
Everyone was told not to turn on their cellphones, BlackBerrys, computers or anything else that might give off a glow or a signal that might be tracked. Window shades were down and were to stay down. "Takeoff was just strange," Mr. King said. "You hear the engines gun and then, in a pitch-black environment, this giant 747 starts lurching forward and then just takes off. It goes as straight up as it can."
The plane refueled in England, where Mr. King called his children and saw an e-mail reporting that ABC newsman Bob Woodruff, who was nearly killed outside Baghdad on Jan. 29, had made an emotional visit to ABC News. "It made me smile," he said.
The trip was "tense and cool. The 'gee whiz' of it was cool. It was nice to have an eye on that moment." His 36 hours of it were over, but he could not not mention the troops, journalists and others "still there in a lousy situation."

I'll leave you with the much requested khaki pictures courtesy of Xtina and Ms. Sheryn. If I'm not mistaken they were taken at the Cindy Sheenan protest site called Camp Casey in Texas.

And this shot was sent to us by a reader. It was taken of Anderson during his live coverage from Virginia Tech.

That's it for me tonight. Quitty has Saturday night off this week. Ms. Sheryn will be posting something very special from the vault. Stay tuned and have a great weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2007

McDreamy, Anderson and Michael Ware

Doesn't Anderson look as if he's a little perturbed? Why? Cause I was a bad Anderfan again. Anderson was up against McDreamy shirtless in bed with angst (not literally but figuratively)! How can our favorite anchor compete with that? So as penitence I fast forwarded through the dvr and captured some screen beauty for all of you. I can only hope you'll tell me your favorite parts of Thursday's AC360 in comments.

I did notice Mr. Cooper has been shopping...that's a new shirt, correct? I likeey the purple stripes. Dare I name it as my favorite shirt? That's always the kiss of death, we'll never see it again. So I'll just be saying I hate the shirt (wink wink).

A few weeks ago Velda sent us some links to Michael Ware interviews. The following interview of Michael Ware was done by Andrew Denton in July, 2004. I love that MW talks about him mum and briefly mentions his son.

There are two types of war correspondent - those who stick to the circuit of military briefings, safe hotels and careful excursions into unstable areas, and those who throw themselves at the job with apparently reckless disregard for their own safety. Mike Ware is one of the latter. Writing from Afghanistan and Iraq for 'Time' magazine, he spent much of the past few years behind enemy lines, bringing back stories of the Taliban, Afghani war lords and, more recently, Iraqi insurgents. A few weeks ago some of those insurgents sent him tapes showing in chilling detail just how they go about their work, tapes whose images were soon flashed around the world.
ANDREW DENTON: Mike, thanks for being on Enough Rope. How does a boy from Brisbane end up in the middle of an Iraqi insurgency?
MICHAEL WARE: Yeah, I'm sort of asking myself that same question every night before I go to sleep. It's quite hard to fathom actually. But, yeah, from suburban Brisbane to the trenches in Baghdad, to having the words I write read in the White House, it's all quite a trip actually.
ANDREW DENTON: The President reads?
MICHAEL WARE: Well, so we're told, or perhaps it's read to him! I did say it was "read in the White House".
ANDREW DENTON: Your ability to get close up to groups that others can't is quite extraordinary and you describe this as 'gumshoe journalism' - you're basically on the ground with the Iraqis, earning their trust. How do you do that?
MICHAEL WARE: Well, it's pretty difficult, as you can imagine. I've been here in Iraq for just over 18 months now. I arrived before the war and then was here through all the conflict. And then as soon as the first phase, as I call it, of the war finished - the actual invasion - I quickly turned my attentions to the second phase which we're in now, the insurgency and the occupation. Now, I started off very simply with the 'bad guys' as people from the West and certainly Fox News likes to call them. In the beginning they were just ragtag groups - you, me, a cousin, Ahmed, we go out, we shoot at a passing American convoy and feel a lot better for it. So, I started just hooking up with these guys, talking to them individually. Over time, they started to get their act together and they formed into groups, then that group would join another group and then suddenly there'd be a structure and it would grow and there'd be commanders. And I just kept in touch and followed them as they progressed, so it's taken well over a year and it's had some moments, I can tell you.
ANDREW DENTON: Journalists who worked with you in Afghanistan describe what you did almost like method acting. Is that part of your approach?
MICHAEL WARE: Well, I mean, I think it's very important, I mean, not so much to be a chameleon as such, but you really do have to immerse yourself in whatever environment you find yourself in. Really, what I want to do is find out what makes these things tick. I mean, this is world history playing out before us. So, in the beginning it was Afghanistan. I mean, we had al-Qa'ida terrorist camps there, a Taliban regime, we had the American war machine charging in. Well, I wanted to see what that was all about. Now, for me I think the only way to do that is to really get down in amongst it and let it all wash over you, so I have been known on many occasions to go in Afghan drag. I mean, I grow my beard down to a suitable Taliban length, I wear what the Americans perfunctorily call a 'man dress', but it's actually a salwar kameez. I learned to speak a little bit of Pashtu, enough to bluff my way through a checkpoint, so that if I'm driving or passing through your village or eating in your restaurant you don't know that I'm not a Pashtun.
ANDREW DENTON: Nonetheless, as you said, you speak a bit of Pashtun, you don't speak fluent Arabic, I know that. How vulnerable does this make you, Mike?
MICHAEL WARE: It means I must always have a translator almost surgically attached to me, grafted on to me. It's really my 'Jiminy Cricket' or alter ego, I guess. I can't function without a translator. I might be able to order tea but I mightn't be able to ask for sugar in it. To do every little thing, I need to have a translator with me, so that becomes an integral part of your life. You've got a constant shadow with you and they become integral to you. You've either got to gel with this person and find a real trust, because you and he - it's always a he - are about to go to hell and back. That's always guaranteed. So, you've really got to know who each other is. It's quite a challenge.
ANDREW DENTON: Can you describe what hell and back means?
MICHAEL WARE: It can be anything from disease... I've had recently - a little while ago - I had typhoid, for example, or it might just be in Afghanistan, I was the proud home to a colony of rare parasite that a team of experts in Australia congratulated themselves on because they could only find reference to it in out-of-date textbooks. So it can be anything from that to being held hostage by Saddam's Fedayeen militia, which happened to me during the war very briefly, having a gun to your head, sitting in a room with a group of people, having someone walk in and in a language you don't understand ask for permission to execute you. Then a debate goes on about the relative merits of whacking you or not, and you don't learn this until, or if, you walk out the room and your translator decides to tell you about it. The other thing is the American war machine. I don't know how many times I've nearly been killed by the Americans, be it from ordnance falling from the sky, I've had a tank leap out of a ditch and ambush me, I've had soldiers shooting at me. So, hell and back can be all sorts of things. It's body and soul.
ANDREW DENTON: In amongst all this, you trust your translator who hopefully is loyal, but how do you know who else to trust? There must be a great degree of instinct and guesswork?
MICHAEL WARE: There's a very simple rule about that, Andrew. You trust no-one. People can turn on you in a minute and it's very hard to see it coming. I mean, you almost develop this intuitive sense, especially when I'm out there - I'm out there in tiger country. It's territory controlled by the other side, what the military would call the enemy. Now, I'm completely at their mercy, so the mood can change in the blink of an eye, and across the cultural barriers, sometimes it's hard to know just what different signals or body language mean. I had an incident just a few weeks ago with some of the Iraqis who were involved in the kidnappings and beheadings. Now, I'm with them. Suddenly, a flash passed over this guy's face and he turned. Now, he turned on my translator and I could have sworn I was about to see my translator executed as some kind of message to me. Now, that's how precarious it got. And we very quickly had to move to diffuse it and all that was was just a subtle hint in his voice and a look in his eyes and then it was on, so that's what it's about. It's kinda hard.
ANDREW DENTON: A few weeks ago you brought to the world's attention tapes from the insurgents detailing how they go about suicide bombings. We're going to look at an excerpt of one of those now. BLURRY FOOTAGE, COURTESY APTN, WITH MEN CHANTING IN ARABIC, EMBRACING AND GETTING IN A TRUCK. EXPLOSIONS RING OUT.
ANDREW DENTON: Mike, how did you come by these tapes?
MICHAEL WARE: They were brought to me by insurgent sources. For a over a year I've been getting a variety of tapes, pamphlets, materials. It's one of the ways that I can learn about them, about what's making them tick, how their moods are shifting, how their designs, their tactics, their goals are constantly being amended. The most disturbing thing about that tape, though, is that's essentially from al-Qa'ida. You've got Iraqi fighters defending their homeland, you've also got al-Qa'ida here fighting the global Jihad, the clash of civilisations. That's who does those suicide bombings, and that's who that tape is from. Now, apart from the disturbing images, the most difficult aspect of that whole experience for me is this - that the al-Qa'ida central committee, the shura, the group of leaders, physically sat around and discussed me by name before they gave that to me. That's not entirely comfortable, having al-Qa'ida talk about you personally, weighing up your relative merits and then deciding to hand you something very, very special, in their eyes.
ANDREW DENTON: When you look at that young man who's addressing the camera before going to kill himself, is there something for you to be admired about a man who can willingly face his death for his beliefs?
MICHAEL WARE: The important thing about what you're illustrating here is about this commitment that you see in the face of this guy and, in that tape, in the face of many others. There's no negotiation here. I mean, you can see it for yourself. These are committed individuals. They're on a path and they do not deviate from that path and they're not tempted from it. And that's the mindset that we're dealing with. That's what we've come here into Iraq and stirred up. Now, I want my mum and dad, my family, my friends and by extension, the public, to know that's what we're up against. That's what we're facing. That's what American GIs every day are dying from. We've got to understand this and to understand that it's not always pleasant, and you've got to look into the face of it just like that young suicide bomber.
ANDREW DENTON: How do you possibly combat that, Mike?
MICHAEL WARE: The only way we can combat that, the only way we can deal with really what the conflict here in Iraq has become, is on the grand scale. We're not going to stop the fighting in Iraq by addressing it in Iraq. This is now the global Jihad that Osama bin Laden inspired with September 11. This is what it was all about. September 11 was the end of al-Qa'ida, really, not the beginning. All he wanted to do was by his 'great deeds' to his mind, open the Pandora's box of Jihad and that's what's happened. That's Bali, that's Madrid, that's now the insurgency here in Iraq. You've not going do stop that in those individual places. We've got to address the big picture, the big Jihad - the big West and East. I mean, something has started here that I think we're going to be living with for a long, long time in many forms. As one American intelligence officer said to me, "I was telling my mum that this is a new Cold War," he said, "and it's going to have its ebbs and flows, high-intensity, low-intensity conflict, but we're going to be living with this". From what I see, that's nothing but right.
ANDREW DENTON: We read in our papers today, Mike, of the Tawhid Islamic group threatening to bathe Australia in pools of blood if we don't withdraw our troops. Do you know anything about this group, and should we take this threat seriously?
MICHAEL WARE: Firstly, take that threat very, very seriously. Even if it's come from a bunch of yahoos who don't have the capabilities to carry out a tenth of what's they're threatening, it doesn't matter. That sentiment expresss something very real. Trust me. I mean, Australia now, particularly since our Government's choice to involve us so publicly in the war here in Iraq, much lesser degree with Afghanistan... It's Iraq that has entered Australia into the global Jihad lexicon. I mean everyone knows. You ask them who is the coalition here - it's America, it's Britain and it's Australia. People even know John Howard's name. I see signs - "War criminals, Bush, Blair, Howard". Osama bin Laden himself has listed us as a legitimate target. When I read their material coming out on the Net and documents that I've retrieved from al-Qa'ida safe houses, we're right up there. Have no fear. So if these guys can't do it, there's others looking to. Trust me on that. Tawhid's an interesting name. The group that's here in Iraq, led by the Jordanian terrorist, a former intelligence officer by the name of al-Zaqawri, he's been a fringe player for al-Qa'ida for a long time. The Iraq war had made him the pin-up boy, the star. He now rivals Osama. Well, his group, I hate to say it is al-Tawhid. He formed that many years ago, principally as a channel of funnelling men and documents and communications between Europe and the Middle East. Eventually that blossomed into individual terrorist organisations, everywhere he goes, wherever he sets up his new branch or version, its name is a play on the word 'tawhid', which is 'unity' or 'unification'. In Iraq it's... (Speaks Arabic) - 'unity in Jihad'. This new group concerns me - this name - because it includes 'tawhid'. I don't know anything specifically about them, but at first blush, that suggests some kind of link to Zaqawri and that's not a link that we should relish.
ANDREW DENTON: What precautions do you take against being kidnapped, Mike?
MICHAEL WARE: Quite frankly, Andrew, there's not a great deal you can do. I mean, I'm literally surrendering myself to men who kidnap, and in two cases, to men I know who have been involved in the beheadings. There's certain things you can do, but it only goes to an extent. It's all about calculation, quite frankly. The big thing that I do is that I rely on again coming back to understanding the environment you're in, the culture here. In the Middle East, with the Arab world, there's a true meaning of the word 'guest'. Hospitality is a very serious thing, so if you invite me into your home, you're giving me your cloak of protection, so even if your brother comes to the house to kill me, you're honour-bound to defend me. So, using the experience that I've gained, using the contacts that I've developed, the fact that people have come to know me and know that I play it straight, then I can cultivate a situation where I will get an invitation and that will get me into a place where no other journalist can go and will get me out. The complicating factor now is the foreign al-Qa'ida presence. I can be with an Iraqi group or Prince who does protect me and shield me, but he can do nothing against the foreign fighter al-Qa'ida presence. If they walk in the room, I'm dead. So, it's a matter of calculation, it's rolling the dice.
ANDREW DENTON: I've seen you referred to by some journalists as a bit of a cowboy, an adrenaline junkie, "the Steve Irwin of Baghdad" was one description. How do you respond to that?
MICHAEL WARE: I don't bring my little boy here and hang him out over the front of insurgents. I haven't done that yet. Although, that might make a good picture! But look, yeah, I cop a bit of that, but I've got big shoulders. I mean, Philip Knightly, one of the doyens of journalism and particularly conflict writing, he said in every war someone inevitably steps forward, one person steps up. Well, at the moment, for better or for worse, maybe that's me. I don't know. So there's bound to be some flak. And there's a fundamental...I don't know, almost a failing on the part of the press corps in general. I mean, you can't report a war from your hotel room or from the hotel bar, as much as I wish I could. You've got to be out there.
ANDREW DENTON: You mentioned your mum before. I know that you were on Sydney radio a couple of weeks ago and your mum asked for a tape of it because she hadn't heard a great deal from you. I know you're dealing with a lot of fear despite the fact you're smiling now. Is there a part of you that would like to come home?
MICHAEL WARE: I mean, I guess, but...there's a lot of things here. I mean, I think there's a job to be done here. I think that it needs to be done well, because this is the war of the 21st century and this is only the beginning, so we've got to start getting into it and learning about it now. And we as journalists have to do this so someone's got to do it. Plus, sometimes I get the feeling that not many of us journalists can really do it. There's only a few of us prepared to go that extra mile. Among that few I feel there's an even greater responsibility. So I feel a kind of a sense of wanting to be noble and wanky, a sense of duty, to some degree. But there is another element that you touched on. I wouldn't call it the 'adrenaline junkie', but there's something extraordinary about living your life in conflict zones. I mean, you really see the best and the worst of what humanity has to offer. I mean, it's an extraordinary experience for me.
ANDREW DENTON: Just quickly Mike, we're nearly out of satellite time. What would you like your family to know?
MICHAEL WARE: That everything's safe. I'm in no danger, Mum, and I'm staying in the hotel bar, covering the story.
ANDREW DENTON: I hope that's all right, Mike, and that you travel safely. Thanks for being with us tonight.
MICHAEL WARE: Thank you very much Andrew. It was a pleasure. Weird, but a pleasure.
ANDREW DENTON: (Laughs) Mike Ware, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thank You Anderson Cooper

I really needed a snarky AC360 on Wednesday night and that's exactly what I got. Thank you Anderson Cooper.

The show started out with a very interesting interview with a safely-back-on-US-soil Michael Ware. He said, when talking to AC, that he had just gotten back to the States on Wednesday. Michael looked relaxed and was, as always, very informative.

Besides revisiting the Snitchin' story and lots of coverage of the capture of the world's worst Dad we also had a major part of the second hour devoted to stalking, both on campus and off.
This was the graphic that AC used to describe the attributes of a stalker. I actually was going to make light of the subject and say that I've done all of the above, but decided against it. It's easy to joke, but it's really not a laughing matter. Anderson talked about his stalker on tonight's show. He said "Anyone who's been on TV has people who stalk them at one time or another. I've got a woman who believes she has a relationship with me. And there's really nothing you can do to convince them otherwise. You know, you can try to ignore them all you want but if you send them one email to say 'Look please stop this' that just sparks it up again."
I'm sure AC has more than one stalker. He must. We hear from several of them, regularly, telling us to back off of Anderson, he's taken. Now you know why we moderate comments at ATA.

Do you remember the other night when I posted that watching the phone in segment made me so uncomfortable that, at one point, I actually watched with my hand over my eyes, peeking through my fingers. Coincidence? I think not! Well actually it is a coincidence but just play along, it makes me happy.
And good Lord, is it hot in here or what? Sorry, fangurl moment. Thanks to Ms. AnnieKate for some great captures of the lighter moments of Wednesday's AC360.

That's it for today, enjoy your Thursday. I'll leave you with a little beauty. Enjoy the view!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I think I'm lacking street cred!

Last night, in a ceremony held in Los Angeles, AC360 won a Prism Award for their report entitled, "Anderson Cooper 360: Hiding in Plain Sight-Alcoholism." For a complete list of winners, click here. Congratulations AC360!

These beautiful screencaps are from 60 Minutes courtesy of the lovely Ms. Stillife

Hi everyone! I was really impressed with last night's AC360, weren't you? I'm glad that Anderson chose to cover the Tillman/Lynch story in depth. Jamie McIntyre's report showing the computer-simulated friendly fire scenario where Pat Tillman and an Afghan soldier were gunned down was excellent. It was also nice to hear Ret. General David Grainge's commentary on the issue.

And can I tell you how impressed I am with Anderson's coverage of this 'No Snitching' policy? From his 60 Minutes piece to the in-depth coverage last night, the reports and interviews have been truly eye-opening. This issue is not one that I had been aware of until Sunday night. I have really come to admire Geoffrey Canada's candid opinions about how the music industry must try to move rap music into a more positive direction.

I was less impressed with Russell Simmons, however. I am not a stupid woman. I realize that it is Simmon's job to defend his artists. And to his credit he has tried to lead the rap movement in a more positive direction. Simmon's even held a summit on April 16th to discuss just this matter. But as far as interviewees go, he just didn't impress me at all. And I'm not just talking about last night. Russell Simmons also appeared on The Colbert Report Monday evening where I was even less impressed with him. Yeah, last night Simmons informed the viewing audience that rappers are almost never racist. But on Monday, he told Colbert apparently we white people just don't know how to read the title to his book. I guess we don't have enough street cred to do that! (My thanks to Andrew Sullivan for pointing me in the direction of this interview!) If you missed Simmons on the Colbert Report, you can click here to view the segment.

One more note about Anderson's interivew with Russell Simmons. I'm so glad that Anderson pushed back in this interview. Good for him. I know that Anderson Cooper doesn't like to "wear his opinions on his sleeve" but it was so nice to see Anderson get his ire up! It is easy to see that this subject really interests Anderson. Yesterday he was on both CNN's Newsroom and Glenn Beck's shows promoting his cause. I don't normally like Glenn Beck or his opinions but this interview was really good!

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful evening! ~Sheryn

Doesn't It Just Make You Ill?

When you compare the two major themes of Tuesday's AC360 (soldiers & snitching) doesn't it just make you ill? To think that fine young people like Jessica Lynch and Kevin & Pat Tillman joined the Armed Forces to protect our freedom and our rights. Not only were they protecting our freedom and rights, but those of Cam'ron, 50 Cent, etc. Don't tell me these rapper's disgusting lyrics, lack of morals and lawless lifestyles are worth protecting. But they are, and that makes me ill. We can't live in a free country without granting freedom of speech to all. No matter how vile, how disturbing, it is their right. What I wish those people who spew hatred toward women, the establishment and their brothers would realize is that the ONLY reason they can continue is through the goodness of the Jessica Lynches, the Pat Tillmans and so many others, who over the years have laid down their lives to insure our freedom of speech. We don't get to pick and choose whose rights we protect. So we must respect the artistic expressions of the rappers. But doesn't it just make you ill?

I feel like I need to add a word of the day to the post. Words like misogyny and misogamy, used on Tuesday's AC360, weren't ones I was familiar with. After looking them up I'm grateful that they aren't part of my world. For those of you who weren't familiar either, here are the definitions:
misogyny, misogynistic; a hatred of women
misogamy; a hatred of marriage

Did you hear Jessica Lynch mention Lori Piestewa in her speech before the Congressional committee? Jessica not only labeled Lori as her friend but as a true hero. Do you know who Lori Piestewa was? She was a Hopi Indian, from Arizona, and the first Native American woman killed in the line of duty. Lori has had many honors bestowed on her since her death, from the renaming of a mountain in Phoenix to a freeway that bears her name to a beautiful new home, built by ABC's Extreme Home Makeover, for her parents and 2 children. Like Pat Tillman, her memory will live on in Arizona long after the present administration, who bears responsibility for their deaths, has faded.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Where is the Love?

(Pat and Kevin Tillman coutesy of

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm getting older y'all people get colder
Most of us only care about money makin
Selfishness got us followin the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting their young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what the see in the cinema
Whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love, we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feeling under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feeling down
It's no wonder why sometimes I'm feeling under
I gotta keep my faith alive, until love is found

Do you recognize these lyrics? They are, of course, from the Black Eyed Peas' song, “Where is the Love?” This is the first song in my ‘Exercise playlist’ on my iPod. As I was cleaning my house this morning, this portion of the lyrics filtered into my stream of consciousness: “Whatever happened to the values of humanity?” These lyrics are very poignant today.

Did you get a chance to hear Kevin Tillman and Jessica Lynch testify on the Hill this morning about the out and out lies surrounding Pat Tillman and Ms. Lynch’s heroic moments in battle? Did you know that Pat Tillman screamed and waved his hands frantically to let his fellow soldiers know he was an American before he was gunned down? Did you know fellow soldiers were instructed to lie about that day’s events? They were told to lie to Pat Tillman’s family. This family had the basic right as Americans to know how their son died in battle.

(Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestewa courtesy of Google Images)

And Jessica Lynch, although heroic in her own right, was not the Rambo little girl from West Virginia she had been painted to be. Did you know that it was in fact Jessica’s best friend Lori Piestewa and others that were the true heroes that day? But Tillman and Lynch make great poster children for the military. The administration has trumped up these stories of heroism in battle to cover up and cloud over the public’s view of the military’s horrific treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison as well as other events which were negatively affecting the public opinion about the war. To make his point, Kevin Tillman listed countless other friendly fire deaths which had been wrongly documented by the military as well. When will the lies end? When will this administration stop using our soldiers as pawns?

Bush talks about how the Iraq War Funding bill is a slap in the face to the soldiers fighting this war. Yet this administration forced its soldiers to deceive the Tillman family as well as the world to bolster public opinion of this war. Listening to Mr. Tillman today, I felt that embarrassment I’ve been feeling a lot lately. I am embarrassed that this administration represents the American people to the rest of the world. I am tired of their lies. I am tired of their manipulations. I am tired of their ineptitude. I am tired of their arrogance. I am tired. So tired of hearing about the incompetence, lies and cover-ups.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney today. Here is the irony in this news. I said to my husband just this morning that we should impeach Bush for his arrogance and stupidity. But we should impeach Dick Cheney because he is the Grand Puppet Master. He is the brains behind this whole crooked administration. Thank goodness I’m not the only one who thinks so!

Thanks for listening to my rant today. I really needed to get that off my chest.

A couple of admin notes:
1. Don’t forget to vote for the AC360 fan site for a Webby Award! We Anderfans can pull this one out!

2. Anderson blogged this afternoon. He talks about his 60 Minutes piece which will be featured on AC360 this evening.

3. Anderson was on the Newsroom this afternoon talking to Don Lemon about this “No Snitching” policy. Here are some screencaps.

I hope everyone has a pleasant evening! I’ll see you back here tomorrow! ~Sheryn

Lots of Breaking News

Not only was Monday's AC360 full of breaking Iraq news but we here at ATA also uncovered breaking Anderson Cooper news.

• Anderson's website has been nominated for a Webby Award for best celebrity/fan site. That's the good news. The bad news is he's in 3rd place in the voting. Please take a minute (that's really all it takes) to register and vote. Voting closes on April 27th (Friday).

Harper Collins announced on its website that Anderson will be appearing on 'Live With Regis and Kelly' on Friday, May 4th to promote the paperback release of 'Dispatches from the Edge'.

• CNN announced “CNN Heroes,” ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary deeds, will kick off May 1st. Anderson, along with an array of notable co-hosts, will present the winners of awards during a special live global broadcast on CNN/U.S. and CNN International on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. (ET). The gala will include musical performances and documentary tributes to those being honored as well as to their accomplishments and continued work.

• CNN also announced the rescheduling of Larry King's anniversary celebration for next week. It was originally supposed to air last week but was postponed due to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Anderson and Ryan Seacrest will be hosting a two-hour special 'Larry King - 50 Years of Pop Culture' on Thursday, May 3rd beginning at 9 PM (ET). The wonderful PR people at CNN Atlanta were kind enough to forward this promotion picture to us. Enjoy, I know we did! How does AC keep it all straight? I have no idea. Maybe that's what he was working on so intently with his laptop Monday night? One thing I do know, he wasn't emailing me!
I had to stay off caffeine (that includes chocolate!) all day on Monday because of some tests I'm having run today. So since I didn't consume my usual gallons of Diet Pepsi I had a little trouble focusing on the show Monday night. I tried, but I kept switching to 'Dancing with the Stars' and forgetting to switch back. I planned on watching the show when I was doing the screencaps, but without that caffeine jolt I can't keep my eyes open. So I'll leave you tonight with some caps of the show and a promise that by Tuesday night I'll be running on full octane. I plan on hitting every 7-11 on my way home from the doctors for refills of my Big Gulp!

PS: I've hotlinked this post to death but I'm adding one more because I love when someone agrees with me. This article from today's Advertising Age addresses the little whirling logo that appears in the bottom corner of 360. They found it particularly annoying during the coverage from VT. I find it particularly annoying all the time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Stop Snitchin'

Tonight's 60 minutes piece from Anderson was by far the best one. His reporting seemed to be more in depth and he interviewed quite a few people on both sides of the issue.

For those that missed it, his segment was about snitching. According to the CBS website, "In most communities, a person who sees a murder and helps the police put the killer behind bars is called a witness. But in many inner-city neighborhoods in this country that person is called a "snitch."
In the piece, they talked about a shooting that happened while Busta Rhymes was making a video on Feb. 5, 2006. Israel Ramirez, was shot and killed with over 25 people reportedly witnessing the murder. None, including Busta, came forward to talk to the police to help solve the crime. Even after two years, Busta refuses to discuss the matter with the authorities to help them catch the person that perpetrated this horrible crime.

As Geoffrey Canada, a nationally recognized educator and anti-violence advocate, said "You know, I just think of him, being shot, falling down, probably thinking, 'This might be it.' And I just wonder, who held his hand? Who caressed his head? Who told him, 'I'm gonna be here?' Who stayed with him? Who made sure this man just didn't die alone for nothing?"

Watching Anderson's story made me wonder how one's career, or money or pride is more important than someone's life? Anderson posed an interesting question to rapper Cam'ron. He asked Cam'ron if he would go to the police about a neighbor if he knew the person was a serial killer. His response was that he would move but wouldn't tell the police because it would ruin his street "cred". Frankly, I think that's morally disgusting. Do people that have the same attitude as he does think about how this effects not only their very own community but their own friends and family? What if it were them or their family that was the next victim and no one would come forward with information.

I think it's a bit of a cop out (excuse the pun) to say that telling the police about horrendous and horrible crimes will hurt their careers or make them look bad in their own community. Why not report these things as an anonymous person? You are not required to give your name or contact info to the police if you give a tip. Sure, that's a simple solution but until people step up do the right thing kids will think it's okay to continue this. I find it disgusting that someone can let people get away with crime. The bad part is that these criminals who pretty much get away with any criminal activity are killing, raping and wounding mostly people in their own community.

As much as the rap and hip hop community don't want the blame I think a lot of the blame lies with them. Saying that the corporation is making money off them and find it okay is a very weak argument. If some big companies could make money off prostitution, drugs or killing people they probably would and DO. That doesn't make it right. The big corporations don't have to live in the inner city and neither do most rappers. They get to live in crime free million dollar neighborhoods while their fans live with this day to day. I think these artists need to realize they are role models (like it or not) and that until they present a good example to youths they lend a hand in making their own community far less than it could be. Not all under privileged kids will get the chance to go on to become rappers or famous people, most will be poor and stuck in the same situation their whole life. They are the ones that will have to live with these murders and criminals because people won't come forward. If they had better role models maybe this wouldn't be the case.

I know it's a much bigger problem than just this issue and I hope that things like the Don Imus incident and others will continue to open the dialogue and allow everyone to discuss this and find solutions.

To read more about this story or watch some videos of Anderson's piece go HERE.

More 60 minute caps by Phebe: