Friday, August 31, 2007

A Time To Remember and Celebrate Love

(thanks to Ms. Lori for the great pic)

Good evening all, I hope you have all had a terrific week. Can you believe August is over??? I am not sure I like the idea of summer pretty much being over but that just means we have a great couple of months ahead of us before 2008! I have recently become the very proud owner of a first edition copy of a book called "Love Poems" that Anderson’s mother Gloria Vanderbilt had published back in 1955. I will be sharing some of those poems every once in a while but I wanted to share one tonight because as I read it, it had a sense of foreshadowing that I am sure Gloria had no idea of. In 1955, Wyatt, Carter and Anderson were not even twinkles in Ms. Gloria’s beautiful eyes but it seems fitting for my post tonight.

I brought him a speckled egg blue and brown

I gave him laughter and little sadness

I gave him my hand as we crossed the brook

And a fern at dusk which I don’t think he took

I gave him a bowl of apple blossoms

And warmth in my bed when snow fell all day

A dazzling music I can’t quiet describe

And a look from my heart that splintered my eyes

I gave him sunlight

When there was none

And no tomorrows and no good-byes

Yet he left this morning

And here I sit with my head held high

And my hands brimming with many more gifts

And the house so silent

I start to cry © Gloria Vanderbilt - 1955

The reason I thought the poem by Gloria was a terrific fit for today's post is I came upon the realization today that tomorrow, September 1st, would have been Wyatt’s 80th birthday. I am one who is of the opinion that a person is never truly gone as long as there are people who help to keep that person’s memory alive. Although none of us had the pleasure of actually meeting Wyatt, through the stories Anderson shares and the stories Wyatt himself shared with the world, pieces of Wyatt’s life are out there for anyone and everyone to remember.

In honor of such an intriguing but way to brief life, I thought I would take this time to remember Anderson’s dad, Wyatt through some beautiful photos.


In 360 related news:

*I wanted to take a quick moment to wish one of our favourite AC 360 subs, John King a very happy 43rd Birthday. Many warm wishes from ATA John!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*Don’t Fret……The lovely Ms. Phebe will be posting a review of tonight’s special “Anvil of God” on Monday night.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Didn't See That One Coming.

Before I start complaining about the Anderless AC360 on Thursday I have something new to share from the Planet in Peril site? Enjoy!

Wow! I didn’t see that one coming. When Soledad did the tease on LKL I was gobsmacked (to use an Andersonism). I turned the channel to Big Brother, but I kept switching back. I was just so sure he was going to be back in the studio tonight. Could it maybe be because he told us he was heading home? As he wrote in his blog post on Wednesday “But let's not forget that tomorrow the cameras will leave, the anchors will fly home (myself included), but the people and their problems will remain.” So if the anchors will fly home, himself included, then why wouldn’t I assume the vacation was over? I give up!

What I would have done if I was AC? I would have stayed in NOLA for this weekends Southern Decadence. What’s is Southern Decadence you ask?

The Southern Decadence celebration is a circus gone amok with wildly aberrant, unusual, motley, slightly crazy bunch of avant garde attitudes in drag; that congerie of costumed marchers who take to the streets of the French Quarter in a route only the Grand Marshal knows on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. These strange creatures arrive mostly to imbibe of the grape; mostly to be outrageous and have fun doing it.
Not even the fire from a dragon's breath would keep participants and watchers from assembling in the 1200 block of Royal Street on the first Sunday before Labor Day for a celebration that has gotten bigger and more wonderfully insane each year since its casual creation in 1972.
That day, usually between 10 a.m. and noon, an unknown quantity of men and women, Gay and
straight, begin to assemble at the corner of Royal and Barracks Streets. They will huddle on the banquette in front of a favorite Gay watering hole named the Golden Lantern, the Home of Southern Decadence, there for over 35 years. They will spill out into the street.
No one ever knows exactly how many will show up, but recent years have seen the numbers grow into the tens of thousands. By around noon traffic will have to slow down or detour because Royal Street will be overflowing with marchers mostly costumed in drag, scare drag and traditional drag, and any other kind of rig they can conjure up from their imaginations. You will see the playful, the whimsical, the pretty, the ugly, the satirical, the witty, and the obscene. But whatever you see, it will always be totally decadent. It's a scene from a
Technicolor Fellini film extemporaneously created. It's a happening of haberdashery fit for an LSD Alice In Wonderland. It's a casting call for Lord of the Rings.
When the time c
omes to march, the Grand Marshal blows his/her/its whistle and the whole drunken, rowdy group weaves its drunken way down the streets of the Quarter, one year cutting through St. Louis Basilica when a Mass was in progress, another year giving attitude to the tourists in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, or on the Moonwalk, or wherever they can go. The secret route always depends entirely upon the imagination of the Grand Marshal. But it's always decadent, outrageous, and, of course, includes all the Gayle's bars and other favorites; it's always an extemporaneous demonstration of cutting edge freedom of expression, a walk on the wild side, a flourish, a smile, a brave conceit of the past.

Doesn’t sound like Anderson, but it does sound like fun to me.

A special thanks to Annie Kate for finding the link to an interview Anderson did on WWL radio in NOLA Wednesday. Enjoy!
Don't forget Tom Foreman's Anvil of God is on Friday night. Have a great weekend everyone.

credit for Southern Decadence information from author Keith I. Marszalek posted on August 28, 2007

Make A Date With AC For Next Weekend

CNN’s Anderson Cooper Investigates Afghan Drug Trade, Political Challenges

CNN: Special Investigations Unit – Narco State: The Poppy Jihad

Premieres Saturday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. (ET)

Six years after the Sept. 11 attacks, CNN’s Anderson Cooper investigates the world’s largest producer of opium – Afghanistan. Despite the millions of American dollars spent on eradication, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan remains out of control with the heroin produced from the opium finding its way to the streets of America and Western Europe.

After a three-month investigation, CNN: Special Investigations Unit – Narco State: The Poppy Jihad uncovers how opium became 46 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, and what the United States is doing to stop the drug trade and interrupt its links to organized terrorism. Narco State premieres on Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. All times Eastern.

The documentary reveals that Afghan farmers do not earn much for their crop, but it is more than they can earn growing anything else.

“They [poppies] bring eight times the price of wheat, even though the soaring rate of cultivation means that traffickers will pay less money for the crop this year than last,” Cooper says.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations on earth, providing almost no financial support for farmers. Hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of opium help fund the Taliban and possibly al Qaeda. Afghan government and NATO forces have been reluctant to cultivate enemies among the farmers by interfering with poppy growing. As the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency destroys a poppy crop, a farmer protests: “You have destroyed my crops. I will have no harvest. How will I pay back my loan? What will I eat?”

Cooper points out how the loan likely came from drug lords who may demand one of his daughters for repayment.

International support for developing other institutions and loan programs for farmers has been nearly nonexistent despite the offer of some promises. A U.S. counter-narcotics expert confirms that farmers no longer trust the United States and other governments to help them convert to legitimate agriculture.

Narco State – The Poppy Jihad features interviews with CNN terrorism and Afghanistan expert Peter Bergen, British terrorism journalist Peter Jouvenal, U.S. and Afghan counter-narcotics agents, U.S. intelligence agency officials, and Afghan tribal leaders, drug mules and farmers. The program and Cooper traces the web of links between the drug trade and the resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

“Anyone who wants to remember 9/11 should be very concerned about what’s happening in Afghanistan right now,” says Norine MacDonald, a U.S. counter-narcotics expert.

Katrina Two Years Later

We don't care much for anniversaries on this program, solemn remembrances of stories long since past. But tonight we come to you from New Orleans to report on a story that is still very much unfolding. Two years ago tonight these streets were filling with water. Levees poorly build over decades on shifting sand failed. And two years ago tonight what was a national disaster became, very quickly, a man made one. Now, two years later, the recovery of this city, this region, is underway and it too is man made. Two years ago government failed, the people here have not. New Orleans is rising again. ~ Anderson Cooper What a great beginning Anderson's words were to an amazing special edition of AC360 from NOLA. We were reminded of the gentle spirit of Ms. Connie and the utter devastation of the woman in Waveland who knelt on the lawn where her home had stood, trying to uncover something of her lost life. And the wonderful attitude of Myrtle who "vacuumed her house to the moon so when they came back they'd have a pleasant environment". As Anderson noted, 2 years later, Myrtle and Bill's sense of humor is still intact but their optimism is gone". So many of the people Anderson has brought into our homes were revisited. I wish their progress would have been greater, but they must know they are blessed just to have survived Katrina's wrath."Two years ago we made a promise....a promise that we would not forget what we've seen in New Orleans and in Waveland and all along the Mississippi Gulf. That we would not let anyone forget what happened here. Since then we've broadcast from this city nearly 20 times and tonight, yet again we're here to report on progress or the lack of it."~Anderson Cooper It seems that it is much easier to find the lack of progress than the successes. AC360, actually Randi Kaye, came down hard on Dr. Blakely, the NOLA recovery czar that Nagin hired. If the report was all fact and no slant what a shame that the people of NOLA are not being served and represented as they should by Blakely. And I was totally shocked to hear such a negative report on Habit for Humanity, done again by Randi. This really was the first time I have ever heard anything but praise for Habit. AC also criticized the Road Home program for it's slow/no fund disbursements and the city of New Orleans for demolishing people's homes without cause. Mentioned also was the surge in crime and the lack of a fully functioning crime lab. In the plus column Anderson mentioned the French Quarter is back and better and cleaner than ever. The restaurants have some of the best food in the country, the bars are open and you can have a lot of fun in the city. AC did a great interview with Julia Reed, from Newsweek, who lives in NOLA. She had some great points as to why New Orleans will be better than ever, as a direct result of Katrina. The failing school system has been rebuilt from the bottom up. Citizen's have become involved in their community like never before, they are holding their politicians accountable and also people are no longer complacent about the high murder rate. Good things have come from bad.

One thing I do wish AC360 would have included in Wednesday's program was Mr. Herbert Gettridge. If you missed Oprah today there is good news. Herbert's 'old lady is back'! Here's the clip courtesy of Annie Kate.

ATA wasn't around when Katrina hit NOLA 2 years ago. But Katrina was really the catalyst for beginning our blog. I looked back tonight at some of our early posts marking the various anniversaries of Katrina, 6 months, 8 months, one year, etc. Most of what AC360 focused on then is still an issue today. In March of 2006 I wrote:"Tonight's show from New Orleans was indicative of what Anderson Cooper does best. He's great in the studio, excels in communicating via the written word, but always shines brightest when in the field. Personally, I feel his father's Gulf Coast roots fuel Anderson's passion for delving into the struggles and triumphs of Katrina victims. It's like his father has given Anderson another gift from the grave. A voice that is finally being heard by a significant portion of Americans. And with this newly empowered voice Anderson now holds an awesome responsibility to show us other injustices in our imperfect world. This new prominence, this louder voice carries with it a large responsibility. One that I know AC feels and I just as surely know he is up to fulfilling."

I guess nothing much has changed. NOLA still has far to go and Anderson is still doing a damn good job as their champion.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oprah and NOLA

Sorry to be a bad blogger but I'm late, I'm late, I'm very, very late, for a very important date. (Maybe I've been watching too much Big Brother with their Alice in Wonderland theme?) So here's the Oprah show in caps, please give us your impressions in comments.

For me the highlight of the show (I bet you thought I was going to say the buldging bicep!) was finally meeting Mrs. Gettridge . She's every bit as endearing as her sweet husband. What a wonderful story theirs has been for AC.

Some of us have our issues with Oprah and her producers. I've never read an article about the Oprah machine as well written and interesting as this one written by Chris Rose, a guest on today's program.And finally, thanks to Sydney for the link to a Katrina article in her hometown paper with mention of AC and a picture too.

The Best Anderson Interview Ever!

A little sumpin to brighten your day, courtesy of Charlie Rose. Enjoy!

Bits and Pieces, part two

Have you checked out the new pictures on the Planet in Peril site lately? Thanks to AnnieKate for tipping us off to the new wallpapers:

And pictures:
Just a reminder to sent your TIVO's for Wednesday's Oprah. I will post screencaps as soon as the program is over (west coast time 4PM). And tomorrow night Anderson is live from NOLA. ACAnderFan has put together another great video for us. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Vintage John Roberts

If you're an American Morning viewer you're probably relieved to have John Roberts back from vacation. No one can replace JR, but personally, I enjoyed Rick Sanchez subbing. I hear I'm in the minority though. This week Kiran is out and Heidi is co-anchoring with John. I'm liking this pairing, Heidi fits well with early morning television and the AM team.

While JR was away, Ms. Book Asylum did some research and found vintage JR on You Tube.
The first one is a commercial for a local news station where JR was the anchor.

This next video is from John's music news days. If you aren't familiar with his career he began in radio news, spent some time in music journalism and then back to hard news. I have no idea who these guys are that he's interviewing, but thank God they've faded to obscurity...they seem a little full of themselves!
This next one is vintage JR at the Live Aid concert and BTW it's a great U2 clip as well. Ms. Purple Tie should love this one!

And one more from the early years.

If you missed it over the weekend John answered 5 questions for TV Newser, just follow the link. Would it be tacky to remind everyone that John answered over 25 questions for us? Probably, but I did it anyway!
Ms. Sheryn (who's up to her lovely eyebrows in bubble wrap and packing boxes) was totally pleased that John's favorite video is Duran Duran's "Girls On Film". She tells me that JR is now 'righteous' in her book.
And on that note I'll leave you with my favorite John Roberts' clip of all time. I know I just posted it two weeks ago, but I could watch this one a thousand times over (and probably have) . Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Thanks to AnnieKate for the wonderful wallpaper. She calls it 'Andy's Expressions'.

There's lots going on in my life right now (yes, I really do have a life outside of ATA) so AC picked a perfect week to go MIA, as far as I'm concerned. We've found no sightings, so maybe this really is a much deserved vacation?

We'll fill the void with a few bits and pieces of AC360 related news:

• We received an email today from Erica Hill regarding your comments to her question & answer post. It read: "I just finished reading the posts – ATA readers are the best! Everyone was so kind; it made my day. Thank you for making me a part of the site. " She's just the sweetest person and I'm thrilled that she took the time to read your comments, since you all said such wonderful things.
•On Friday, August 24, 2007, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joined Atlanta’s mayor Shirley Franklin for her monthly book club featuring his new book, Chasing Life. Once a month Mayor Franklin selects a particular book and invites the author in for discussion. Dr. Gupta spoke to a crowd of about 60 city employees.

• Several of our readers were kind enough to send us the TMZ link about Richard Quest. He's slated to be one of the contestants on the new season of 'Dancing With The Stars'. I don't know where Book Asylum gets her information, but she had this story before anyone else and blogged about it at our sister blog, ATC, several weeks ago. The girl will not reveal her source, maybe she's been making nice with Mr. Quest?

•Did you catch Arwa Damon’s report last Wednesday about five-year-old Youssif, an Iraqi boy who was doused with gasoline and set on fire by masked gunmen? When CNN launched their IMPACT YOUR WORLD initiative earlier this year they had visions of empowering viewers to take action regarding news stories. Youssif's story is heartbreaking and has triggered an outpouring of support for him, and his family, from CNN viewers. The Children's Burn Foundation - a non-profit organization based out of Sherman Oaks, California has agreed to pay all expenses for Youssif and his father to come to the United States and has established a fund so viewers can donate. To see the full story and find out how you can help just follow the link.

•And since it's hurricane season and we've been missing our favorite anchor I'll leave you with one of Ms. Quitty's great Nth degrees. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My thoughts on Nola and 360

All pictures taken by Purple Tie in Summer 2006
Click on any picture for a clearer, bigger view

On the eve of the 2nd anniversary of Katrina I'm thinking about my trip to New Orleans last summer. I had been to New Orleans as a child and remember thinking how dirty it was but also how lively and noisy it was. Walking down Bourbon Street, my Mother would cover my eyes to avoid certain windows sporadically throughout our walk. Even then I had a feeling it was something sleazy, something about sex in those windows. As an adult I pretty much know I was right!

I also remember young boys tap dancing for change in the middle of the street. In fact, I have a picture of me throwing coins into their box and it looks like I'm dancing with them. I also have fond memories of the zoo, even though it was, like, 100 degrees when we went. But for me, the best part were all the people in the streets just having fun and all the music. Even as a child I could appreciate the jazz streaming out from the clubs on Bourbon Street.

Going back last year was sad. Almost a year later I knew it was still bad (by watching 360) but I had no idea! It was as if time had stopped in most of the if it were a movie on pause. I suppose I thought that maybe there would at least be piles of rubble where people had cleaned up some of the streets and parking lots but for most of the areas I saw outside of Downtown and the French Quarter, nothing could be further from that thought. I remember driving by a mall, which I believe was in the Lakeview part of the city. A year later, debris, rubble, paper, pieces of clothing, signs and even some cars still hung in trees, on roofs and all throughout the parking lot.

Driving towards the French Quarter late at night from I-10 all I could see were street after street of darkness. No street lights and no house lights. Neighborhood after neighborhood of nothing, not even Fema trailers. From TV you can not possible grasp the enormity with which this storm as effected the area! I was blown away by how it just went on and on.

Another odd site were all the broken down water-logged cars that had been dumped under almost all the highway overpasses I saw. Even in the Downtown area there were still buildings boarded up and high rises with windows still blown out. We didn't venture down to the lower 9th Ward because locals told us it wasn't safe, not even in the daytime. I kept thinking "How could it still be this bad a year later?" The sad part? It's probably hasn't changed much in the year since I've been there.
Shame on Mayor Nagin, Governor Blanco and President Bush. It gets me so angry to think that these people don't seem to give a crap about the people in their own country. Mayor Nagin is a joke and I can't believe people voted him back into office. He's done nothing!

I hope that Anderson shows us what has and hasn't been done in Nola this coming Wednesday when 360 has it's 2cd Anniversary special. I also keep hoping he'll do a "Keeping them Honest" on what little good Nagin has done for Nola. I think he and others should be exposed for what they've neglected to do. And also show what they have done. (Little I'm sure)
For me, the worst part of my trip back, was to see a city that was nothing like what I remembered. I don't just mean the rubble and the debris but the spirit of New Orleans is in debris and rubble. Walking down Bourbon Street was sad, not only because there weren't many people but there literately was no jazz or blues floating out into the street as I had remembered. It's as if the soundtrack to New Orleans was now a whisper instead of horns and trumpets blaring from every corner of the French Quarter. How sad it is....

On another note, I found a really interesting cemetery not far from where we stayed and took some pictures. It's kinda creepy but also kinda cool.

In the week to come we'll be talking more about Katrina and AC360's coverage of it. I hope everyone watches and continues to remember the people that are still effected. Have a good week!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stuck in the Mud

Well, I guess we'll be Anderless for a few more days...Broadcasting & Cable has posted the AC360 schedule this week and it looks like we won't be seeing Anderson until Wednesday. He will be in New Orleans for the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Soledad will be hosting AC360 Monday and Tuesday night.

The clips you frequently see of Anderson covering Katrina show him in the 9th Ward, Mississippi Gulf Coast, or chewing out members of Congress. But, before Katrina hit, Anderson was stationed in Baton Rouge. With the 2nd anniversary of Katrina looming, I thought I'd post a clip of Anderson in Baton Rouge pre-Katrina. This is one of the few videos of Anderson covering Katrina that you can laugh at!

Anderson, next time watch out for that Mississippi mud!

Keeping Them Honest

I was really excited when I saw that Tom Foreman was filling in for Anderson Cooper tonight. WOW! Friday night and we're getting an hour live with Tom Foreman?!?? That delusion lasted for about 10 minutes & then reality took hold when the Keeping Them Honest special started.

Jeffrey Toobin was back again tonight with the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal- this story just won't go away! Vick has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely. Toobin still loves his dog.

David Mattingly reported from the midwest on the massive flooding. The Coast Guard got involved in rescuing a house full of pure bread cats- 63 adult cats plus kittens that had been born since the flood occurred.

Most of the hour was an AC360 Special: Keeping them Honest

The program included:

Congressional earmarks with reports from Drew Griffin and John Zarrella.

David Mattingly's report on anesthesia awareness during surgery. This report is just terrifying to watch. Its incomprehensible that this would be allowed to happen.

Joe Johns story on the overpriced Smithsonian executive

John Zarrella's report on the QuikSCAT Satellite that helps predict a hurricane's path and was supposed to have been replaced by now, but hasn't. If this satellite failed during a major hurricane, how fast do you think it would take them to start pointing fingers?

Tom Foreman's report on ethanol production. reports that Anderson will be reporting from New Orleans on Wednesday night with an AC360 special "Katrina, Two Years Later: Keeping Them Honest".

Just a reminder, God's Warriors will be reairing on CNN this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday nights. We've posted reviews of the series on All Things CNN.