Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vermontaigne said:


He could easily be a Thunderbird.



Some Wonderfully Awkward Moments During Glenn Beck Rally Debate On AC 360

by Jon Bershad | 1:36 pm, August 31st, 2010

As CNN continues to devote tons of air time to talking about their rival, a discussion about Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally got a little awkward last night. But what made things uncomfortable? Was it seeing a polite conversation between Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi and Tea Partier Dana Loesch get heated and stop just short of name calling? Was it watching a couple of white people try to guess what all of our nation’s blacks are feeling? Or was it maybe the bizarre moment where Anderson Cooper halted the proceedings to explain that Dr. Alveda King isn’t actually a doctor.

Yes, right as he was signing off, Cooper stopped to explain to Loesch, as “a point of reference,” that King only holds an honorary degree. Loesch swiftly responded that, if King referenced herself as such, she’d “respect that.” Cooper then stammered a little and ended the segment. While nothing he said was untrue, the whole moment was just…awkward.

Check out the strange end and a bit of the debate beforehand in the video below:

Don't give Mother Nature more credit than she deserves


Re-living the emotions of Katrina at the Newseum

* A few more days of heat: Full Forecast | Code red air quality alert *
* Latest on Hurricane Earl & Live chat | Hurricane Tracking Center *

I got a chance over the weekend to see the Newseum's new "Covering Katrina" exhibit, which chronicles media coverage leading up to, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's deadly and destructive landfall along the Gulf Coast in 2005. Even if you weren't directly affected by Katrina, the exhibit's display of newspaper front pages, a video of TV storm coverage, and artifacts such as a store owner's anti-looting sign are vivid reminders of the emotions that stirred inside many of us five years ago.

Several themes in particular stood out as I walked through the exhibit:

Maybe the most heartbreaking aspect of Katrina was that New Orleans at first appeared to have avoided true catastrophe. While the initial damage in New Orleans was dramatic -- and downright devastating along much of the Louisiana and Mississippi coast -- it wasn't until some hours after the storm had passed that everyone's worst fears were realized as numerous levees failed, inundating a large percentage of the city and surrounding areas with flood waters that were as high as 15 feet and remained for weeks.

With this came an "it's-not-over-'til-it's-over" lesson for the media, with many outlets and reporters having to back-step after first reporting that New Orleans had seemingly dodged a bullet. One such example was CNN's Jeanne Meserve, whose reporting is included in the exhibit's video documentary of TV coverage. "It is just unbelievable," reported Meserve after seeing the devastation firsthand. "I told you earlier today I didn't think that this had turned out to be Armageddon. I was wrong."

Sometimes a reporter can't completely take himself or herself out of a story -- and that's O.K. CNN's Anderson Cooper and Fox News's Shepard Smith were among those in the media who -- in the midst of chaos, death and despair on the streets of New Orleans -- reported the facts as they were from the ground, spun the spin right back in the face of government officials, spoke from the heart, and became advocates for the thousands who waited helplessly at the Louisiana Superdome and elsewhere for food, water and other bare necessities.

In a particularly memorable exchange captured in the exhibit's video of Katrina coverage, Cooper reacts with passion (watch here) during an interview with Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu after she thanks "President Clinton and former President Bush for their strong statements of support and comfort" and "Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts," and goes on to say, "I don't know if you've heard -- maybe you all have announced it -- but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating."

Cooper responds:
    "Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

    And when they hear politicians slap -- you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up.
    Do you get the anger that is out here?
Don't give Mother Nature more credit than she deserves. Yes, Katrina was a powerful storm that will forever be remembered as one of the nation's worst. But to this day, as is often reflected in media coverage (especially that of local New Orleans outlets), the people of New Orleans view Katrina and its aftermath to be a manmade disaster as much as a natural one.

The main culprit is the Army Corps of Engineers, which in 2009 was ruled liable by a federal court for much of Katrina's damage due to poor maintenance of a canal connecting New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. According to court testimony, the failure of the Corps to prevent natural widening of the canal is what led to the waves that eventually overwhelmed the Corps-designed levees, the engineering of which has also been called into question. (The Army Corps had argued that the levees would have succumbed to Katrina regardless of the canal impact.)

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, for one, isn't letting anyone forget where the blame lies, as editor Jim Amoss explained earlier this year: "We avoid referring to the catastrophe as a 'natural disaster' because the floodwalls did indeed collapse because of engineering failures. ...While we don't insist on the 'manmade' language, we take care to point out the cause of the disaster -- i.e., shoddy engineering and insufficiently anchored floodwalls -- when it's germane to a story."

Amidst a sea of government failures, there was at least one smashing success: The National Hurricane Center's forecasting of Katrina, which was mostly spot on. Indicative of this is the exhibit's relative lack of focus on the forecast aspect -- had the forecast been faulty or flawed, you can be sure the press would've been all over it.

Quite the opposite, as CWG's Andrew Freedman detailed yesterday, forecasters had such high confidence in Katrina's track that they were able to issue a hurricane watch 44 hours prior to the storm's southeast Louisiana landfall, which was upgraded to a warning 32 hours in advance. More typical lead times are 36 hours for a watch and 24 hours for a warning. Most amazing was what turned out to be a sadly prophetic (at least for parts of the Gulf Coast) "doomsday statement" -- the text of which is blown up to larger-than-life size and featured as part of the exhibit -- issued by the National Weather Service almost a full day before Katrina's Aug. 29 landfall.

Unfortunately, not all hurricanes are as predictable as Katrina was. CWG's Steve Tracton recently explored in a two-part series how far hurricane forecasting has come and what the prospects are for future improvement.

"Covering Katrina" runs at the Newseum through Sept. 5, 2011.

By Dan Stillman | August 31, 2010; 1:30 PM ET

CNN Express Tour

You just missed Anderson Cooper. He was here about five minutes ago... Not even the cardboard Anderson is here... He is a very nice guy, very low key...

The Nola Now team tours the CNN Express Bus

(05:36 min.)

From: thedailycampus

Added: August 30, 2010

Description: We'll the CNN Express bus was parked outside our hotel, so we asked Dale the bus driver for a tour. He was gracious enough to give it to us. The bus was equipped with 11 televisions as well as a 47' tv screen. Among other equipment was a $25,000 camera lying on the floor. Dale confirmed that Anderson Cooper was on the bus not even 5 minutes before we boarded.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVbVsUsvGo0

CBC Scholarships


Melanie Sloan discussing CBC scholarship controversy with Anderson Cooper

(14:03 min.)

From: citizensforethics

Added: August 31, 2010

Description: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's Executive Director Melanie Sloan appeared on AC360 to discuss the recent controversy over Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson awarding Congressional Black Caucus scholarships to multiple family members.

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eCZRjBbIg

Her Relatives First


Report: U.S. representative gave charitable scholarships to relatives

By the CNN Wire Staff

August 31, 2010 -- 6:38 a.m. EDT

(CNN) -- A veteran House representative from Texas is under fire for awarding charitable scholarships associated with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to her family members and relatives of an aide.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) has said she will repay all the scholarship money this week that went to relatives, a foundation spokeswoman told CNN's "AC 360."

Todd Gillman, The Dallas Morning News' Washington bureau chief, told "AC 360" that new documents show Johnson awarded scholarship money to her grandsons, David and Kirk Johnson, as well as the children of her Dallas district director, Rod Givens, last year. Each of the relatives were awarded two scholarships last year.

Johnson is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and is a former board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which gives each member $10,000 every year to award as scholarships to students in each member's district. The scholarship money comes from tax-deductible charitable donations.

The newspaper reported that Johnson has awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships to two grandsons, two great-nephews, and Givens' children in the past five years.

David Johnson received scholarships three years in a row, and Kirk Johnson won scholarships four years in a row.

Johnson's great-nephew Preston A. Moore received scholarships for three consecutive years, and her great-nephew Gregory D. Moore II received money for two consecutive years.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's rules state eligible students must attend school in the district of the caucus member and not be related to anyone affiliated with the caucus.

In addition to violating the latter rule, none of Johnson's nor Givens' relatives who received scholarships lived in Johnson's district, according to the newspaper.

"AC 360" invited Johnson and Givens to appear on the show Monday night, but was told they were unavailable.

Muriel Cooper, spokeswoman for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, told CNN's Anderson Cooper the organization is taking the situation very seriously.

"Rep. Johnson told us that she did not know the rules of our scholarships, and that once she realized she erred, she would make retribution to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in terms of returning the money," she said.

"This is the first time, to our knowledge, this has happened."

When asked about oversight and whether the foundation has ever investigated where the scholarship money goes, Cooper said, "We've had no reason to investigate."

She said the foundation's board members will examine the situation, and board members will go back and review applications to ensure students met the qualifications. But Johnson is a former board member of the foundation, and some wonder whether an independent investigator needs to be involved.

"I can't address that issue," Cooper said. "All I can say is that we will send it back to our board. But certainly we don't want this to happen again."

Johnson has told the newspaper that when she signed off on the list of names of students who were to receive scholarships, she recognized the names, but also said, "immediate family doesn't include grandchildren."

But according to her website, "Congresswoman Johnson counts among her greatest accomplishments her son, Kirk, and her three grandsons, Kirk Jr., David, and James."

Johnson told the newspaper if there had been more "very worthy applicants in my district," she probably would not have given the scholarship money to the relatives.

Some students in Johnson's district may not have known the opportunity existed. Unlike other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Johnson does not publicize the scholarship on her website.

Scholarship applicants also have to sign off on an agreement saying they are not related to anyone associated with the caucus or the caucus foundation. It's unclear whether the relatives of Johnson and Givens were instructed to say they were not related.

Johnson is running for her 10th term as representative of Texas' 30th Congressional district, which covers parts of Dallas and the surrounding area.

Mission Accomplished, Mr. Bush? At What Price?

August 31, 2010

Bergen: Mission accomplished in Iraq?

Posted: 10:10 AM ET

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Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

Editor's note: Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that promotes innovative thought from across the ideological spectrum, and at New York University's Center on Law and Security. He's the author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."

Washington (CNN) - On May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, President George W. Bush announced "major combat operations" in Iraq had ended. The defeat of Saddam Hussein, he told the American people, was "a crucial advance in the campaign against terror."

For the umpteenth time, Bush bracketed Saddam and the 9/11 attack. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11th, 2001, and still goes on."

The president went to describe the 9/11 attacks - "the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble" - as if this had any bearing on the Iraq War.

The president also made the definitive statement that Saddam was "an ally of al Qaeda," something that his own intelligence agencies had determined was not the case before the war.

Now seven long years later, another president will again announce that the U.S. combat mission is over in Iraq, which is a good moment to ask: Was the Iraq War somehow post facto worth the blood and treasure consumed?

Look at what was lost and what it cost:

-- More than 4,500 American soldiers dead and 30,000 wounded.

-- At least 100,000 Iraqis killed.

-- Costs to U.S. taxpayers that will rise above a trillion dollars.

-- Jihadist terrorist attacks increased around the world sevenfold in the three years following the 2003 invasion.

There is no question that the United States liberated Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's demonic tyranny, but that argument was not what persuaded Americans that a preemptive war against the Iraqi dictator was in their best interests.

They were hustled to war by the invocation of putative Iraqi mushroom clouds and the argument that there was a genuine and threatening Saddam-al Qaeda WMD "weapons of mass destruction" nexus.

The war against Saddam wasn't conducted under the banner of the liberation of the Iraqi people but rather under the banner of winning the war on terrorism. And by that standard, it was a failure, giving the jihadist movement around the world a new battlefront and a new lease on life.

A study by New York University's Center on Law and Security, which I co-authored, compared the period after September 11 through the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 with the period from March 2003 through September 2006. The study found there were seven times more deadly attacks by jihadists after the invasion than before.

Even excluding terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, fatal attacks by jihadists in the rest of the world increased by more than one-third in the three years after the invasion of Iraq. The Iraq War, of course, did not cause all of this terrorism, but it certainly increased the tempo of jihadist attacks in places far-flung as London, England; Kabul, Afghanistan; and Amman, Jordan.

It also bears recalling that almost none of the goals of the war as described by proponents of overthrowing Saddam were achieved:

-- An alliance between Saddam and al Qaeda wasn't interrupted because there wasn't one, according to any number of studies, including one by the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Pentagon's internal think tank. Indeed, it was only after the US-led invasion of Iraq that al Qaeda established itself in the country, rising by 2006 to become an insurgent organization that controlled most of Sunni Iraq.

-- There was no democratic domino effect around the Middle East. Quite the opposite; the authoritarian regimes became more firmly entrenched.

-- Peace did not come to Israel, as the well-known academic Fouad Ajami anticipated before the war in Foreign Affairs. Ajami predicted that the road to Jerusalem went through Baghdad.

-- Nor did the war pay for itself as posited by top Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz, who told Congress in 2003 that oil revenues "could bring between 50 and 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years. We're dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." Quite the reverse: Iraq was a giant money sink for the American economy.

-- The supposed threat to the United States from Saddam wasn't ended because there wasn't one to begin with. And in his place arose a Shia-dominated Arab state, the first in modern history.

The administration's focus on war in Iraq also undermined America's place in the world. A poll taken a few months after the 2003 invasion found that Indonesians, Jordanians, Turks and Moroccans all expressed more confidence that Osama bin Laden would "do the right thing" than that President George W. Bush would.

As American prestige overseas evaporated, the U.S. military was stretched to the breaking point. Instead of being greeted with flowers -- as had been promised by supporters of the war -- American GIs were greeted with IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

During World War II, 3 percent of American combat deaths were caused by mines or booby traps. By 1967 during the Vietnam War, the figure rose to 9 percent.

In Iraq during the latter half of 2005, IEDs were the leading cause of American combat deaths; by October 2007 some 1,000 American soldiers had been killed by homemade bombs. Some of those deaths might have been avoidable, but only 1 in 10 of the some 9,000 military transport trucks in Iraq in 2004 were armored.

For President Bush, the troop "surge" in Iraq in 2007 was the single most consequential decision of his presidency, a decision that he made against the advice of almost the entire leadership of the military and in the face of opposition from much of the foreign policy establishment. And he did this at a time when his favorability ratings with the American people were hovering around 30 percent in most polls.

In part because of the surge, as well as other factors such as the Sunni tribes of the "Awakening" turning their guns on al Qaeda, the organization suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq.

For the Arab leaders of al Qaeda, the large role their Iraqi affiliate had played during the Iraq War was a source of considerable pride. That was reflected in several tapes issued by bin Laden in which he crowed about the successes of Iraq's insurgents against American forces. But after al Qaeda in Iraq was largely put on the run in 2007, bin Laden has fallen silent on the issue of Iraq.

However, al Qaeda in Iraq might still regain a role despite its much weakened state.

In 2008, there was a sense that al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate was on the verge of defeat.

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, said, "You are not going to hear me say that al Qaeda is defeated, but they've never been closer to defeat than they are now."

Al Qaeda had by then certainly lost the ability to control large swaths of the country and a good chunk of the Sunni population as it had two years earlier, but the group proved surprisingly resilient. That's been demonstrated by a number of al Qaeda bombings in Baghdad in the past couple of years that have killed hundreds. Just last week, a campaign of terrorist attacks in 13 locations across Iraq killed more than 50 people.

In short, the jury is still out on whether the Iraq War was the United States' most spectacular foreign policy blunder of the past several decades, or if, out of the wreckage, something resembling a coherent Iraq will eventually arise.

It is a sobering to note that -- despite the fact that Iraq is a much safer place than it was four years ago -- in the first three months of 2010 there were more terrorist attacks in Iraq -- 566 -- than in any other country, according to an analysis by Brian Fishman of the New America Foundation. Those attacks killed 667 people.

Meanwhile, Iraq still does not have a government following the elections held there in March. Its politicians are gripped in a seemingly endless deadlock over which combination of political parties should lead the country. Once that government is in place, it's anyone's guess whether the parties in power will largely follow direction from Tehran or embrace a more independent, secular line.

Gen. David Petraeus famously asked Rick Atkinson, The Washington Post reporter who was embedded with him during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, "Tell me how this ends?"

That question remains a good one today.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Peter Bergen.


August 31, 2010

House GOP leader to make 'prebuttal' on upcoming Obama speech

Posted: 09:11 AM ET

Add a comment [to AC360º blog]

CNN Wire Staff

Watch President Obama's speech live on CNN tonight at 8 ET, online, on TV and on the CNN App for the iPhone.

(CNN) - House Republican leader John Boehner will lay out a "prebuttal" ahead of President Barack Obama's prime time speech on Iraq Tuesday night.

Boehner will speak to about 10,000 people Tuesday afternoon at the 92nd American Legion National Convention in Milwaukee on Iraq and other national security issues, including Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Obama's Oval Office address is timed to coincide with the official end of the U.S. military's combat mission in Iraq.

In an op-ed published Friday in the conservative news site Human Events, Boehner said Tuesday's shift of U.S. forces from combat to an advisory mission "was made possible by the very surge that President Obama and Vice President Biden opposed."

"With all due respect to them, our troops who have served so courageously in Iraq deserve the credit for the success of the surge and, along with the Iraqi people, the turnaround in Iraq," he said.

"Then-Sen. Barack Obama, who campaigned on his opposition to the Iraq war, flatly declared that the troop surge would not work," Boehner said in the editorial.

Boehner says that at the time, Obama said: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."

The president's speech -- set to start at 8 p.m. ET -- is expected to last about 15 minutes.

The total number of U.S. troops in Iraq has now fallen below 50,000 -- the lowest level since the U.S-led invasion in 2003.

The remaining American troops will train, assist and advise the Iraqis.

Obama's remarks will also touch on Afghanistan and the broader war against terrorism, the White House said last week.

On Afghanistan, Boehner will challenge the president to keep American troop levels strong until security has been stabilized.

"I support our counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, but the president must do more to emphasize his commitment to ensuring its success rather than focusing on meeting arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal," Boehner says in the text of his prepared remarks.

President Barack Obama has ordered a withdrawal to begin in less than a year, although he has not said how many U.S. troops should withdraw or how fast when that July 2011 deadline arrives.

"Using campaign promises as a yardstick to measure success in Iraq and Afghanistan runs the risk of triggering artificial victory laps and premature withdrawal dates unconnected to conditions on the ground," Boehner says.

Also in his prepared remarks, Boehner will encourage the Obama administration to continue America's support for Israel and warns that Iran "is the true source of instability in the region."

On the economy, the Republican Congressman will call for a change in the president's economic plan, saying "Stimulus' spending sprees, permanent bailouts, federal mandates and government takeovers have failed this nation."

Today's Address


August 31, 2010

Oval Office setting is message behind the message

Posted: 08:55 AM ET

Add a comment [to AC360º blog]

Xuan Thai
CNN White House Producer

Watch President Obama's speech live on CNN tonight at 8 ET, online, on TV and on the CNN App for the iPhone.

Washington (CNN) - Before President Obama says a word during his Tuesday Oval Office address, the backdrop will make a statement for him: that he is the decider.

Obama is set to give his second Oval Office address, a speech meant to mark the end of combat missions in Iraq. But besides the remarks he will make, the setting of his speech will convey something, too.

"The Oval Office invokes the center of the presidential authority. That's the president's office, that's where he supposedly makes decisions, where he governs," says presidential historian Robert Dallek.

"[When] a talk to the nation is given from that office, [it] is underscoring his executive powers, his leadership."

The Oval Office symbolizes power, command, and authority, Dallek said. It shows the president, "as George W. Bush put it, is the 'decider' " and that symbolism is important.

For example, former President George H.W. Bush announced the start of the first Gulf war from the Oval Office, telling Americans and the world that he was the commander in chief just by setting the scene in the Oval Office.

And on the night of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, former President George W. Bush spoke to the American people from the Oval Office, to show he was in command and to reassure the nation.

Dallek points out the differences between giving a speech in the Oval Office versus a speech in a different venue.

For example, Obama's speech in front of the joint session of Congress a year ago conveyed his desire to get Congress to act on health care reform.

"A joint session of Congress has a different function," Dallek said. A speech in front of both the Senate and House shows the president is "trying to convince Congress to join with him."

When Obama addressed both chambers in September 2009, the health care debate was still waging. He called for bipartisan proposals to address health care reform and focused attention on the issue, on Congress and on the presidency.

An Oval Office address is different. The prime-time address focuses the attention singularly on the subject matter.

"Presidents don't give speeches from the Oval Office casually," Dallek said. "It's given with forethought and consideration. So the fact that he's giving the current speech about the end of America's combat role in Iraq is something that he wishes to emphasize and underscore and in a sense I think it's a demonstration of his completion of his mission or fulfillment of a commitment that he made."

Because of the singular focus on the subject matter during Obama's Tuesday evening address, Obama will have to navigate the tricky road of marking the end of a war he did not support and honoring the lives of all the Americans killed in the war, Dallek said.

Obama must use a "certain amount of domestic diplomacy to bring the war to a close; you don't just end the war and say it's a mistake. It's unpalatable because of all the deaths," Dallek said.

So Obama must do it in a way that is "politically palatable to the American public -- that is at the heart" of his address Tuesday, Dallek said.

The Oval Office will also help convey a sense of intimacy of the message. Since former President Jimmy Carter, each president has delivered his farewell address from that room, using the office of the presidency to say goodbye to the American public.

President Reagan used the intimate space to comfort the public after space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986.

President Johnson used the room in 1968 to tell Americans he would not seek re-election and President Nixon gave several speeches regarding the Watergate scandal, including his decision to resign from the presidency in the wake of Watergate in 1974.

Obama's other Oval Office address was two months ago to address the nation about the Gulf oil disaster.

And who does the presidential historian think was most successful at intimate talks to the American people?

Franklin Roosevelt's fireside addresses -- although there were no televisions at the time, these radio talks were effective in boosting the country's confidence.

Monday, August 30, 2010



Monday, August 30, 2010

Should Anderson Cooper Go Inside?

Anderson Cooper's too good for a studio.

He's a nature boy who reads teleprompters in his spare time. (Okay, I'm just kidding)

But Mr. Cooper brings a National Geographic approach to network news, by always being outside. He's been doing it frequently since the devastating earthquakes in Haiti last January. And it hasn't stopped since then.

He's taken off the stuffy suit and put on a T-shirt and jeans so he can get deep into the story.

So, could this be the remedy for TV news? Should TV anchors dress down more and go outside or keep the suits on and stay inside?

In my opinion, it depends on the program and its respective audience.

This is a public relations/community affairs issue because it is directly tied to how a station brands itself. You must have the right brand identity to draw the right audience.

What are your thoughts?

Posted by Zack Isaacs at 5:37 AM

Young Artists/Young Aspirations

Nell Nolan's Social Scene: Ya/Ya 2010 event and more

Published: Monday, August 30, 2010, 1:00 AM

Aspirations! And related ado.

"Just Say Ya/YA! 2010" marqueed the merriment staged by Young Artists/Young Aspirations on a recent Thursday night. A new venue, the handsome 12 Bar on South Peters Street, and Allen Toussaint entertaining during the patron party made YA/YA, Yes, Yes. After that donor to-do, the gala kicked off with original artwork for sale and commission by the organization's "world-famous" artists, music by Craig Klein's New Orleans Allstars, food donated from a slew of fine restaurants, and an open bar by Republic Beverage. All this was artfully designed by event co-chairwomen Beverly "Bev" Church and Cathy Bienvenue, and Kay Kerrigan, who helmed the patron partying. Husbands Johnny Church, Charles Bienvenue and Bobby Kerrigan joined them. Helped, too.

Daniel Erath / The Times-Picayune YA-YA - Young Artists.
Anderson Cooper, Susan and Shelby Russ.
Thursday July 22, 2010.

Fleeing For Higher Ground

August 30, 2010

Video: Fleeing the water in Pakistan

Posted: 11:52 AM ET

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

2 by AC 180


After Two Disasters

August 30, 2010

Marking anniversary, Obama praises NOLA's resilience

Posted: 09:00 AM ET

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CNN Wire Staff

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN) - Calling the federal response to Hurricane Katrina "a shameful breakdown in government," President Barack Obama said Sunday as rebuilding continues, officials are looking ahead to avoid a repeat when future disasters strike.

Speaking at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, Obama said construction of a fortified levee system to protect the city is underway and will be finished by next year, "We should not be playing Russian roulette every hurricane season," he said.

"There is no need to dwell on what you experienced and what the world witnessed," the president said, speaking to a crowd that included current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and members of Louisiana's Congressional delegation.

"We all remember it keenly - water pouring through broken levees; mothers holding their children above the waterline; people stranded on rooftops begging for help; and bodies lying in the streets of a great American city," Obama said. "It was a natural disaster but also a man-made catastrophe; a shameful breakdown in government that left countless men and women and children abandoned and alone."

But the president spoke of the resilience of city residents. "Because of all of you -- all the advocates, all the organizers who are here today, folks standing behind me who have worked so hard and never gave up hope, you are all leading the way toward a better future for this city with innovative approaches to fight poverty, improve health care, reduce crime and create opportunities for young people -- because of you, New Orleans is coming back."

The president noted that New Orleans is now one of the nation's fastest-growing cities, and small businesses have surged. "Five years ago, the Saints had to play every game on the road because of the damage to the Superdome," he said. "Two weeks ago, we welcomed the Saints to the White House as Super Bowl champions."

"I don't have to tell you that there are still too many vacant and overgrown lots," Obama said. "There are still too many students attending classes in trailers. There are still too many people unable to find work. And there's still too many New Orleans folks who haven't been able to come home."

"So while an incredible amount of progress has been made, on this fifth anniversary, I wanted to come here and tell the people of this city directly: My administration is going to stand with you -- and fight alongside you -- until the job is done, until New Orleans is all the way back."

He said his administration has made efforts to reduce red tape and turf wars between agencies, and has put in place a new way to handle disputes, with help from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana. More than 170 projects are now underway as a result, he said.

In addition, federal officials are tackling "corruption and inefficiency that has long plagued the New Orleans Housing Authority," he said.

And a group led by Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is examining disaster recovery nationwide. "We're improving coordination on the ground, modernizing emergency communications and helping families plan for a crisis," Obama said. "And we're putting in place reforms so that never again in America is someone left behind in a disaster because they're living with a disability or because they're elderly or because they're infirm. That will not happen again."

On Friday, he said, his administration announced a final agreement on $1.8 billion for Orleans Parish schools, money the president said had been "locked up for years, but now it's freed up, so folks here can determine how best to restore the school system."

In addition, the largest civil works project in American history -- the construction of a fortified levee system to protect New Orleans -- is underway and will be finished by next year, he said.

"Together we are helping to make New Orleans a place that stands for what we can do in America -- not just for what we can't do," he said. "And ultimately, that must be the legacy of Katrina: not one of neglect, but of action; not one of indifference, but of empathy; not of abandonment, but of a community working together to meet shared challenges."

Some wounds, the president acknowledged, have not yet healed, and "there are some losses that can't be repaid. For many who lived through those harrowing days five years ago, there are searing memories that time may not erase. But even amid so much tragedy, we saw the stirrings of a brighter day."

He said he recalled being struck, upon visiting New Orleans four years ago, by the amount of greenery that had returned.

"The work ahead will not be easy," he said, "and there will be setbacks. There will be challenges along the way. But thanks to you, thanks to the great people of this great city, New Orleans is blossoming again."

Following his speech, the president, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, were given a short tour of a new neighborhood built on a part of the city that experienced severe flooding when Katrina hit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lucky People - Part 2


Sunday, August 29, 2010

#437 - Anderson Cooper (Part 2)

Okay, I'm still riding on a high after meeting Anderson Cooper on Thursday. On Friday, knowing that none of my team wanted to working at the parking lot, I decided to run it all day. Even in the rain, I sat under the tent until my team came to pick me up. It wasn't that bad though. Friday evening, he was coming back to the actual work site where we were working in order to film so several members of my team stayed back while the rest went home. Originally, I was going to stay at home but I ended up going back.

While filming is taking place, I saw Katie standing over by where AC was filming so I decided to join her. Call me a creeper, even though I'm not. We were just talking and he looks over and says hi. He then tells me that he read my blog. In total disbelief! I was like, "my blog" and he was like, "Yes, your blog. Someone sent me the link and I read it". I was absolutely floored. And probably blushing. I mean, I know it's not a big deal or anything but when someone as huge as Anderson Cooper says that he read your personal blog, you get excited. I thought that was very nice of him to read it.

Okay, so now I'm going to post some photos from the build. Enjoy.

Composed By: K Jo. at 9:46 AM

Anderson Said


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Anderson Cooper 360 at CNN. A man full of emotions. He sure knows what discourse and the media is all about.

When I was younger, I talked to the adults around me that I respected most about how they got where they were, and none of them plotted a course they could have predicted, so it seemed a waste of time to plan too long-term. Since then I`ve always gone on my instincts.(Anderson Cooper)

I think you have to be yourself, and you have to be real and you have to admit what you don`t know, and talk about what you do know, and talk about what you don`t know as long as you say you don`t know it. (Anderson Cooper)

I think it`s a good thing that there are bloggers out there watching very closely and holding people accountable. Everyone in the news should be able to hold up to that kind of scrutiny. I`m for as much transparency in the newsgathering process as possible.(Anderson Cooper)

Postado por Cool students às 3:03 PM

USA Today, Today

Don't forget to buy your "USA Today" today, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010. There is a cover article on the USA Weekend by Anderson Cooper about "Katrina 5 Years Later."

Anderson Cooper returns to New Orleans'
devastated Lower Ninth Ward.

Stop reading this post, leave the computer as is and RUN to your nearest newsstand to get your copy, or two.

Like Anderson But Fiction


Mardi Gras beads, New Orleans, Me, Hurricane Katrina

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anderson Cooper

Hurricane Katrina made Anderson Cooper a superstar. As an "Emojounalist," passionate feelings hanging on his sleeve for all to see, Anderson waded in and confronted everyone, including, at times, his own feelings about what was happening.

In Hurricane Boy I have a silver-haired journalist who is supposed to be a salute to Anderson Cooper. Harry Harrison. Like Anderson often does, Harry gets injured in the line of duty.

Posted by Laura Roach Dragon at 11:36 PM

A Definitive Great Feeling


VIDEO: Spike Lee comments on the rebuilding of New Orleans

Print this ArticleIn Arts, Culture & Leisure posted by TD Staff

Filmmaker Spike Lee sits down with Anderson Cooper for a Big 360 Interview.

Spike Lee and Anderson Cooper:

Added On August 29, 2010

Filmmaker Spike Lee talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

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AC's Book

A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival," a "New York Times" best seller, is his account of the people he's met, the things he's seen and the lessons he's learned in the midst of devastation.

Dispatches from the Edge
Woven into the narrative is Anderson's struggle to understand his own family's personal tragedies. The paperback version came out May 8, 2007.

Excerpt: Dispatches from the Edge
Review: Anderson cooper's journey
'360' Blog: Anderson on the new book

Peter's Books

(3 short stories and 1 short play.)

The first installment of "The Gay Ghost Trilogy" is the story of Charles Lanier, a young gay guy who rents an apartment on Lake Shore Drive on the near north side of Chicago, and the unexpected adventures he encounters from the day he moves in. And that's only the beginning; follow up with "The Next Gay Ghost" and "The Two Gay Ghosts." Each story can be read independently from the other two installments. Or get all three books in one with "The Gay Ghost Trilogy."

"The Gay Ghost"

Paperback: $9.97 + shipping

"The Next Gay Ghost"

Paperback: $9.97 + shipping

"The Two Gay Ghosts"

Paperback: $9.97 + shipping

"The Gay Ghost Trilogy"

Paperback: $22.91 + shipping

And a One Act Play about a gay Garamatean and a gay Earthling:


Paperback: $10.70 + shipping

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    Star name: Anderson Cooper
    Star number: 111604
    Star magnitud: 8.20
    Star color: white (brilliant)
    Constellation: Gemini
    Coordinates: RA: 4H 6m 13.01s
    Declination: 8° 30m 10.22s