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Congress Approves Iraq War Funding Bill; Planet in Peril: Global Warming

Aired May 24, 2007 - 22:00   ET


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm John King. Anderson Cooper is on assignment in Greenland. He will join us in just a moment.
But we start tonight with breaking news: the House and Senate tonight passing legislation that funds the war in Iraq, but doesn't impose a timetable for bringing the troops home. The political impact is potentially immense, especially on the presidential ambitions of two of the senators voting, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

CNN's Dana Bash is at the Capitol, tracking the late developments, and joins us now live with the details -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, what we saw tonight was the Democratic majority, that says they were voted into power in November to change the president's strategy in Iraq, bend to the president, and allow a war funding bill to go to him that does not have a timeline for a troop withdrawal.

Now, the House and Senate both voted for this overwhelmingly. And it really came after a day of high anxiety and angst that was really palpable here among Democrats, because as anti-war Democrat John Murtha said on the House floor, they understand that the money for troops in Iraq is about to run out. So, they had to send a president a war funding bill he will sign.

That means a war funding bill with no timeline for withdrawal -- John.

KING: And, Dana, as this drama played out, first in the House and then in the Senate, 535 potential votes, but everybody in town wondering how two people would vote, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. How did that play out on the Senate floor tonight?

BASH: It was high drama, to say the least. Both of those senators had made two promises that were conflicting, one promise that they would continue to fund troops in harm's way, but another promise that they would do whatever possible to end the war in Iraq. So, they essentially tonight had to pick one of the promises to keep and one to break.

And they didn't vote until the very end of this Senate vote tonight. They both, in the end, voted no. And that is exactly, of course, how staunchly anti-war Democrats, who are going to be voting in the primaries in 2008, wanted them to vote. It was especially interesting to see Hillary Clinton vote that way, because she's had a little bit of trouble convincing those voters that she's -- quote -- "anti-war enough."

She told our congressional producer, Ted Barrett, afterwards that she had to think long and hard about how she would cast that vote. But she said, at the end, enough is enough. At some point, you have to draw the line -- John.

KING: That vote over tonight, but not the political debate.

Keeping track of it for us, congressional correspondent Dana Bash -- Dana, thank you very much.

And more now on how this all plays out. All day, Democratic bloggers and pundits were throwing around words like sellout, betrayal. But, in the end, they were betrayed by simple arithmetic. Party leaders simply don't have the numbers to do much more. That's one fact.

Here's another. Limited though it might turn out to be, President Bush today was treating the Democrats' cave-in as a clear victory.


KING (voice-over): Political wins are hard to come by these days. So, the president couldn't resist noting the Democrats had to back down in the Iraq war funding fight.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We removed the arbitrary timetables for withdraw and the restrictions on our military commanders that some in Congress had supported.

KING: But his victory is likely to be short-lived. One deadline still on the books is a September report from the president's top general in Iraq. And the expectation is, insurgents and terror groups there will do their best to sour that assessment.

BUSH: And so, yeah, it could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August.

KING: On top of that, the administration's troop surge isn't even completed yet, but, already, there's talk of adjusting the strategy.

BUSH: You know, I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq.

KING: By that, Mr. Bush means less direct U.S. involvement in the sectarian violence in and around Baghdad, something the Iraq Study Group and other outside experts have long recommended.

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: A lower- level U.S. presence, essentially out of Baghdad, out of the day-to-day of the civil war, focusing mostly on training up Iraqis to give them the chance, if they're prepared to take it, to begin to move their country in a more normal direction.

KING: At his Rose Garden news conference, Mr. Bush bristled when asked to respond to critics who say his choice to wage war in Iraq has increased Iran's standing in the region, and proven a recruiting bonanza for al Qaeda and other extremist groups.

BUSH: Oh, so in other words, the option would have been just to let Saddam Hussein stay there?

KING: The president again repeatedly framed Iraq as critical to the broader war on terror. Between his Wednesday commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy and this news conference, Mr. Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden 14 times, and al Qaeda at least 60 times.

BUSH: Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al Qaeda will be emboldened.

KING: Yet, despite of his view of the stakes, Mr. Bush said the United States would pack up and leave if the Iraqi government wanted the troops out.

BUSH: I would hope that they would recognize that the results would be catastrophic. But this is a sovereign nation, Martha (ph). We are there at their request.


KING: And joining me now for more on the political fallout from the Iraq funding bill and the president's news conference today is CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala and Republican strategist Ed Rollins.

Ed, I want to begin with you.

You know what it's like for a president on the ropes to have to go into the Rose Garden for a news conference. The president couldn't help but celebrate a little bit today that he will get an Iraq funding bill that does not have what the Democrats want, a timeline for withdrawal.

But one had to have the impression that the president's celebrating won't last very long.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It won't last very long. And I think he was very realistic today in stating that there's going to be very serious casualties over the summer.

And, obviously, if they don't make some progress, I think that this is just the beginning of the fight. And I think, at the end of the day, you know, it's a short-term -- I'm pleased that the Democrats -- or at least the Republicans who supported the bill did, so that it's a clean bill.

But I think, at the end of the day, he laid out today, the -- it's my decision. The consequences, I pay the price for. KING: And, Paul Begala, you have been in the White House at times of -- tough times and times of troubles, too. Rate the president's performance in terms of the communications challenge he faces right now.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, John, he's a physically fit guy, and, yet, he looked tired. He looked low-energy.

Usually -- just optically, he usually looks a lot better. I mean, it's a beautiful spring day here in Washington. He's standing in the Rose Garden. He has won a tactical victory. His status quo, endless war, is going to rock on now, unfortunately, for a few more months.

And, yet, I just didn't think he looked all that good. Part of it is, also, you know, he doesn't seem -- I'm trying to think of this charitably -- he doesn't seem like he's, like, really well-grounded in reality.

When things are going well, he says that's proof we have to stay the course in Iraq. When things are going badly, that's proof we have to stay the course in Iraq. Right? When casualties go down, we need to stay in Iraq. Casualties go down, stay in Iraq.

And, so, kind of everything -- he's becoming, you know, a bit -- I don't know -- a bit redundant, maybe even irrelevant. I hate to use the word they used about President Carter. But it just seemed like he was a little out of touch today.

KING: This debate is unfolding at a time when the American people are clearly not happy with the war.

A new CBS/"New York Times" poll, how is the war going, 76 percent say badly; 23 percent say well. That 76 percent number is an all-time high, in terms of public opposition or public displeasure with the war.

Ed Rollins, given that -- I know you are a Republican -- but, given that, do the Democrats have a different option? Did they have to essentially blink in the end and send the president a bill with no timeline for withdrawal?

ROLLINS: I think the Democrats did what they came here to do. And that is that they made a statement.

I think the first resolution that -- or the bill that the president vetoed was what they promised their voters that they would do. I think to continue at this point in time, and to put obstacles in there to conducting the war -- and I think it's a short time frame we have here to have some success -- was the correct thing to do.

And I'm pleased that the president did get a clean bill. But there's big circumstances ahead here. And I think the -- with the numbers that you just quoted, and the idea that we're going to take heavier casualties because we're going to be more engaged in very difficult places, is not a positive formula for getting out of there and getting out of there with any kind of dignity or grace.

KING: And, Paul Begala, in closing, is it presidential for two of the senators running for president, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to refuse to say, until the very end, how they were going to vote on this measure?

The other senators running for president made clear how they would vote. These two would not tell reporters, and, in fact, bristled when asked about it. Up until the last minute, they wouldn't say. Is that a presidential -- sign of presidential leadership?

BEGALA: No. I think that's a good point, John.

You know, I think both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, neither of them covered themselves with glory here. This -- this bill was not unexpected. It was not a deal that would suddenly shock anybody.

And the fact that they could not decide until just -- just right before the vote, where they were going to be, I think, is going to upset a lot of their supporters. And maybe this gives new oxygen to some of the stronger, clearer anti-war candidates.

KING: Democrat Paul Begala, Republican Ed Rollins, thank you both for joining us...

ROLLINS: Thank you.

KING: ... gentlemen.

ROLLINS: Thank you.


KING: The spending bill passed by the House and Senate tonight pays for the war and a whole lot more. Here's the "Raw Data."

The act sets aside $50 million for tunnel repairs and asbestos abatement at the U.S. Capitol. Another $110 million will go to the shrimp and fishing industries affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, $13 to fund research for mine safety. And $7.3 million will be -- for the expenses related to the detection of influenza in wild birds.

Two American soldiers died in Iraq today. For May, the fatalities now stand at 84, a reminder that, when it comes to the war, the bill for decisions made in Washington arrives in Iraq C.O.D., payable in young lives.

All those young men and women ask in return is that their lives not be wasted.

Tonight, a CNN exclusive: soldiers who say the lives of their buddies were wasted because troops in Iraq were spread too thinly for safety, and, a year later, they still are.

CNN's Jason Carroll is "Keeping Them Honest."


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Soldiers on patrol south of Baghdad in an area so dangerous, it's called the Triangle of Death, search for two missing soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division believed kidnapped after insurgents attacked their eight-man squad at their observation post.

The story of what happened to them is a familiar one. Last year, in this same area, another search for kidnapped soldiers from the 101st Airborne whose three-man observation post had been attacked. One was killed instantly. The mutilated bodies of the others were found bound together.

DAVID SHELDON, ATTORNEY: Lessons are not getting learned in this war. That's the bottom line.

CARROLL: David Sheldon and James Culp, a former infantryman himself, are lawyers for a soldier in the 101st. During an investigation last year, they heard repeated complaints from soldiers about too few men on the ground in the Triangle of Death, an al Qaeda stronghold.

JAMES CULP, ATTORNEY: The guys who were down there, the squad leaders, the platoon sergeant, were screaming out, hey, we're underhanded. We're shorthanded. There's not enough people here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We because that TCP2 may be more dangerous.


CARROLL: Audiotape depositions, never publicly released before, show frustration within the unit that three men, the number assigned to the ill-fated mission a year ago, fell far short of what was needed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The personnel situation was just abysmal. There wasn't enough people. Combat losses...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear the platoon members talking about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody talked about that. There was never enough people to complete a mission with the amount of people that we had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times, if at all, did you ask for a larger force?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, constantly. We never had enough people the whole time we were there. And that was evident from day one. (END AUDIO CLIP)

CARROLL: The staff sergeant says the platoon routinely operated with too few men and felt attack was imminent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's extremely dangerous. I would say that, if I was an insurgent, I would attack. It doesn't take a genius to realize on a tactical side that five, seven, 10 guys with superior force can be isolated, they can be attacked, and they can be defeated.


CARROLL: A squad leader, whose identity we concealed because he fears repercussions, says he routinely operated with seven men for observation missions, still, he says, not nearly enough.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, our platoon leader and -- and company commander would say, hey, we're undermanned. We can't do all these missions. We do not have enough personnel. And you're frustrated because no one is listening.


CARROLL: An internal military investigation did conclude there were too few soldiers at the observation post where last year's kidnapping occurred.

(on camera): And now, a year later, some soldiers are saying that the military should have known that assigning eight men to patrol in the most dangerous areas is not enough. They say that number has to be at least double.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These jackasses, you know, they did it again, you know, they -- after all that B.S. that happened a year ago. And it happens again. They're not -- they didn't learn. They didn't learn.


SHELDON: This is an enemy that they -- they look to weaknesses. And we're not responding to that. We're not learning from the lessons that we should be learning from.

CARROLL: Why not?

SHELDON: I think that there's a reticence from the -- at the command level, up the chain of command, to ask for and demand more troops.

CARROLL (voice-over): When asked about criticisms surrounding this year's kidnapping, a spokesman from U.S. Central Command in Baghdad issued a statement, saying, "The multinational force is assessing the incident. And drawing conclusions at this point is speculation."

But, for these two men, it's not too early to draw conclusions.

SHELDON: The bottom line is, we don't have enough boots on the ground in Iraq. They're trying to win this war without enough troops, without enough support. Who dies, but the soldiers?

CARROLL: Again and again.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


KING: A troubling, troubling report.

Straight ahead tonight: Hillary Clinton tries to plug a leak. And a governor says he should be dead -- details in "Raw Politics."

Also tonight: What if this were someone you loved? Take a look.


KING (voice-over): You expect hospitals to help patients, not this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're dumping a 62-year-old woman with dementia in the heart of Skid Row? That's what's going on. And it's shocking, and it's criminal.

KING: Some of the best-known hospitals in California caught on tape dumping patients, we're "Keeping Them Honest," Anderson's "60 Minutes" investigation only on 360.

Also tonight, at the top of the world, global warming makes an island appear out of nowhere. Anderson investigates what it means for a "Planet in Peril" -- when 360 continues.



KING: Iraq, immigration, votes and promises -- it's been a busy day in Washington, and a rough one for some of the -- some of the presidential candidates.

We heard more attacks. We also heard more talk about who is next to join the race.

CNN's Tom Foreman has the jabs and the jokes in tonight's edition of "Raw Politics."

Little problem there with Tom's piece. We will try to get it back to you later in the show. Right now, Erica Hill, though, joins us with a 360 bulletin.

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John, President Bush reaffirmed his support for Alberto Gonzales today, as Senate Democrats scheduled a no-confidence vote on the embattled U.S. attorney general. The nonbinding vote will be next month. At least six Republican senators have called on Gonzales to step down in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. prosecutors.

The U.S. military is sending as many as six cargo flights of ammunition to Lebanese troops battling Islamic militants. Both sides have rejected calls to surrender. (AUDIO GAP) fighters are operating from a Palestinian refugee camp outside Tripoli. Thousands of people have fled that camp. Today, the Islamic fighters warned of impending attacks on Western schools.

And, finally, researchers at Texas A&M say new testing of the type of bullet used in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy raises new questions about whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. They did not test the actual fragments from the bullets that killed Kennedy, but that is not likely to sway all the conspiracy supporters, who are embracing the data -- John. How about that?

We want to get you now to our new segment, "What Were They Thinking?"

And this one really going to have you asking that question -- the owner of a liquor store in Atlanta says he didn't know he was breaking the law by selling cups of ice to go. That's right. Until recently, customers at the Ben Hill Package Store could buy alcohol and a cup of ice for the ride home.

They even could do it at the drive-through window of the liquor store. But a local television station sent a reporter through the store's drive-through, where he bought some liquor and a cup of ice without any problem. Then they showed that tape to authorities. And they did an investigation.

The store actually got off with just a warning. One employee said he knew what customers were doing all along, and he believes they still drink while driving, whether or not they get a cup of ice. In fact, he says it's the American way.

Take a listen.


CHRIS MELTON, LIQUOR STORE EMPLOYEE: When they come to the liquor store, buy a cup of ice, get a cup, most people -- I'm not saying all of them -- and, before they -- before they get home, they're going to drink and drive. They're going to do it the American way. They're going to have a drink while they're driving.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: There you go.

Now, the real issue, by the way, John, is that there's a law in Georgia that says you can only sell ice by the bag. So, that's how they were breaking the law, by selling it in a cup for 15 cents.

KING: Ah, that capital S-T-U-P-I-D.

HILL: Yes.

KING: Not a good message. Not a good message.

HILL: Probably not.

KING: Some will laugh at this, but I'm -- as the parent of a 13- year-old, I will tell you, it's not a good message.

HILL: No, it is not. It definitely is not. So, a lot of people up in arms about that. And you can bet that there won't be a lot of cups of ice being sold, I think.

KING: I suspect the police might be watching that store a little bit.

HILL: Yes.

KING: Erica.

And now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."



Coming up on "AMERICAN MORNING": As we head into the holiday weekend, we have consumer avenger Greg Hunter hitting the road. Greg is taking the Family Truckster from the Midwest to Myrtle Beach to see how record-high prices of gas are going to affect your summer vacation.

Is it possible that gas prices mean it might be cheaper to fly the family than drive them? That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern -- John.


KING: Stay with us, because Anderson joins us from Greenland next. Tonight, an island that no one knew was there until the ice melted, it's a dramatic example of our "Planet in Peril."

Plus, a shocking sight -- hospital patients desperately in need of care dumped on the street. And what's worse is who's doing it. Anderson's "60 Minutes" investigation -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We tried once. Let's try again.

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman with tonight's "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton's campaign was supposed to sail into the Democratic nomination, like a great ocean liner. But it has sprung a leak, and she's not happy about it.

Iowa is the issue. A memo was leaked from a campaign manager suggesting Clinton should bail out of the Hawkeye State, where she is struggling a bit in the polls, and refocus on New Hampshire. The candidate says, no way. She will stay in Iowa until the cows come home, or something like that.

But the leak itself has political analysts sniffing for discontent in the Clinton camp.

When Republican candidate Ron Paul said in the last debate that decades of poor American policy in the Muslim world might be a cause of terrorism, Rudy Giuliani called it absurd to blame us, the victims. Now Ron is calling Rudy out with a list of books he says support his call for a new Middle East policy.

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Giving Mr. Giuliani a -- a reading assignment.

FOREMAN: Rudy's response? That's absurd, too.

Serious business about seat belts.


GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: I'm New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and I should be dead.


FOREMAN: The unbuckled leader nearly died in a wreck last month. Now he's in a commercial for public safety.


CORZINE: I have to live with my mistake. You don't.


FOREMAN: Listen to him, kids. Buckle up.

And the "Law & Order" watch goes on. Fred Thompson makes another big speech to some Republicans tonight. Insiders say he's lining up all the right folks for a presidential bid. He will even appear on HBO playing President Ulysses Grant, who, by the way, really liked swimming. No kidding.

But, for all of that, Thompson is still at the edge of the pool, not jumping in. So, we will ask the "Raw Politics" eight ball, will he run?



KING: To be continued.


KING: Now let's head north, way north, about as far north as you can get.

Anderson is in Greenland tonight, close to the top of the world. We have covered a lot of miles since we began our "Planet in Peril" series. We began in the rain forest of Brazil. Our next stop was Southeast Asia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia. Then it was off to Alaska and its polar bears, and now Greenland, the world's largest island, aside from Australia.

Despite its name, Greenland is covered in ice, which makes it a natural barometer for global warming.

Anderson is on the far eastern side of the planet. We hope to get to him momentarily. We're having trouble with our technical -- technical connection -- excuse me.

Now we want to go, though, to the other side. Two-thirds of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle. And here's why Greenland matters to us all. If its giant ice sheet were to melt, scientists say sea levels would rise by 23 feet. If that happened, literally hundreds of millions of people would be displaced -- no exaggeration.

We're going to go now to the other side of Greenland, to Swiss Camp, a research station on the western side of the island.

That's where Jeff Corwin is standing by.

Jeff, thanks for joining us.

Tell us, first and foremost, what type of research are climatologists doing there at Swiss Camp?

JEFF CORWIN, HOST, "THE JEFF CORWIN EXPERIENCE": It's absolutely incredible, John.

The research that they're conducting here at Swiss Camp is state- of-the-art. It's a combination of looking at -- at everything from earthquakes which take place in ice, to examining the weather, the climate, also actually looking at the structure, the physiology of the ice. They're exploring the way the ice is changing, the way it's melting, and, of course, how this impacts our planet. Something interesting to note, I'm standing on top of the ice sheet itself. We're about 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We're so far north, so close to the tip of the Earth, that it's almost overwhelming to the senses, because you actually can't find a specific horizon. You see, basically, a sense of roundness around you.

But what's amazing is, the ice that I'm standing on is well over 3,000 feet thick. But the challenge to conservationists and to scientists is to try to figure out why it's melting, to try to stop it. And, of course, this is ground zero for that sort of research.

KING: Well, that is fascinating, Jeff.

Now, the camp you're at was established back in 1990. Through the years -- you mentioned what they're trying to study -- what have they been able to learn so far from all the data?

CORWIN: Well, they -- they have actually revealed an incredible amount of data. And much of this is -- is not really good news. In fact, a lot of it is alarming.

They have discovered that, in the last 10 years, this ice has been melting at a dramatic rate. What you have to remember is that Greenland is the largest island on the planet. It's about 840,000 square miles in size. It contains well over 700,000 square miles of ice. So, 80 percent of this land is ice. It contains upwards to 10 percent of our world's freshwater.

But that water is locked up in the ice. The ice is melting at a rate of 100 billion tons every year. And the thing is, this is a very recent phenomenon. Ten years ago, this place was at a -- was at a state of what we call equilibrium, where the ice that melted was matched by the gain of ice during winter.

But, today, that's no longer the case. This place is also shrinking. Presently, Swiss Camp is about five feet shorter, with regards to the way it sits upon the ice, than it was just a decade ago. So, there are definite changes happening here. And the great question is, is, how will those changes impact our planet?

KING: Jeff Corwin, fascinating stuff. We look forward to more in the days ahead from there at Swiss Camp.

And since this seems to be our night for second chances, let's try now to go back to Anderson on the phone, from Constable Point.

Anderson, can you hear me?

COOPER: Yes, I can, John. Yes, we're on Constable Point, which is on the east coast of Greenland. Jeff is much farther west than we are.

A lot of what he said, it's the same situation here. I mean, Greenland is a prime example, probably the best place to come, to really see the real impact of global warming so far. The average temperatures in Greenland have risen 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 30 years. That's more than double the global average. The ice sheet here is melting much faster, faster than anyone thought. It's really hot.

It's really caught a lot of scientists by surprise. The models they had to predict about what's going to happen to sea levels in the coming years, in the coming decades. It may not be that accurate. They're still trying to figure out exactly what may happen down the road.

But any melting of this icecap, any melting of the ice sheet here, which covers some 82 percent of Greenland, affects sea levels around the world, affects us all.

As we just said already, ice in some place has decreased by as much as 40 percent in the last 40 years -- in the last 30 years, an area the size of Texas and a half has already melted.

And here, what's most fascinating about Greenland is that the mass of Greenland is constantly changing. Literally, the maps are having to be redrawn as we speak.

We're in Constable Point on the east coast, with an explorer named Dennis Schmidt, who about two years ago, discovered an island right off the coast of Greenland which hadn't existed the year before when he had been here.

Previously, it had been thought to be a peninsula. It was attached to the mainland by a glacier, by a sheet of ice. It was thought that it was actually a part of Greenland. But because of the melting, the glacier had melted away. And now you can see, it's a distinct island off the coast of Greenland. It's now called Warming Island.

But those maps are constantly being redrawn because of the ice melt. More land is being exposed. And the geography of this huge island is constantly changing, John.

KING: And Anderson, we're showing our viewers the fascinating, although somewhat troubling -- given the conditions and the changing -- pictures of where you are. Talk to us a little bit about what you hope to see and accomplish over the next day or so.

COOPER: We're going to head to Warming Island, which is this island I was talking about, that's just been discovered by Dennis Schmidt, to really kind of get a sense of how quickly this ice is melting and how this topography is changing.

Also, we're trying to sort of assess the impact on sea levels around the world. The worst-case scenario, of course, is if the entire ice sheet melted, which no one thinks is going to happen in that country.

But if that did happen, sea levels would rise around the world of 20 feet. Frankly, it's more likely sea levels will rise in the next 100 years about 1 1/2 feet. But even that, even the rise of one foot, it would have major implications for millions of people around the world, John.

KING: Look forward to hearing and hopefully seeing you tomorrow night. Anderson Cooper, on the tip of Greenland, Constable Point, tonight. And we'll hear again from Anderson tomorrow. Fascinating, fascinating stuff. Good luck tomorrow.

And up next, you'd think it couldn't happen here. That is, until you see it happening here.


KING (voice-over): You expect hospitals to help patients. Not this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're dumping a 63-year-old woman with dementia in the heart of Skid Row? That's what's going on. And it's shocking. And it's criminal.

Some of the best-known hospitals in southern California, caught on tape dumping patients. We're "Keeping Them Honest". Anderson's "60 Minutes" investigation, only on 360.

And take a look at this. They built it one grain of sand at a time. Wait until you see how it was unbuilt. And who did the unbuilding. Ahead on 360.


KING: Imagine if you went to a hospital seeking treatment. In return, you were thrown out, literally dumped on the street. Well, for some patients in Los Angeles, that's exactly what's happening.

And the victims are some of the most vulnerable people in America, as Anderson found out in this 60 Minutes report.


COOPER (voice-over): You're looking at a 63-year-old homeless woman, named Caroline Reyes. That's her laundry in the street on the right side of your screen. The picture may seem unremarkable. But the story that goes with it is disturbing.

Reyes had just been discharged from Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Hospital, where after taking a fall, she'd been treated for three days. The hospital confirms she was put in a taxi and the driver was told to take her to Skid Row.

Why is she wearing little more than a hospital gown? Because the hospital admits they'd lost her clothes and sent her away without pants or even shoes. They did, however, give her a diaper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cab came this way. Did a U-turn, pulled around. And stopped. The driver didn't even get out of the car. The back door opened. And this little lady got out in her hospital gown. COOPER: Reverend Andy Bailes (ph) runs the Union Rescue Mission, the biggest shelter in Skid Row. A 50-square-block area, home to some 50,000 people, with the highest concentration of homeless in the country.

(on camera) When you saw Caroline Reyes get out of the taxi, were you surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was -- I was stunned and shocked and frozen for a moment. I couldn't believe my eyes. She was really confused.

COOPER (voice-over): She was confused, investigators later found, because she was suffering from dementia.

That shouldn't have come as a surprise to Kaiser Hospital officials, however. Their own medical records show Reyes was disoriented as to time and place. Her speech was slurred. She had extremely high blood pressure and a persistent cough and fever.

Even with these medical problems, they decided to discharge her and sent her to the streets of Skid Row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're dumping a 62-year-old woman with dementia in the heart of Skid Row? That's what's going on. And it's shocking. And it's criminal.

COOPER: Rocky DelGadio (ph) is the Los Angeles city attorney. His office is investigating more than 50 cases of alleged homeless dumping on Skid Row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These may be the perfect victims. Because a homeless individual dumped on Skid Row disappears into the chaos of Skid Row within minutes. It's hard for us to find them and then get the evidence that we need.

COOPER: What should hospitals do with homeless patients? The California health code requires all hospitals to make appropriate arrangements for post-hospital care, and for continuing health care requirements, before discharging any patient.

Kaiser didn't do that in Caroline Reyes' case. DelGadio (ph) says she was sent to Skid Row last March without any medication or instructions for follow up care.

(on camera) What's it like down there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cardboard shanties. Urine everywhere. It's a dangerous place both physically. As well as the drug dealers that congregate on Skid Row. Gangs that come there to find their easy prey.

COOPER: Not the kind of place an elderly woman with dementia should be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. In fact, if she'd made it around the corner, she might not be with us today. COOPER (voice-over): Caroline Reyes is with us today, because a worker from Bailes' (ph) mission rescued her from the street. She's now under the protection of a court-appointed conservator.

She suffers from mild dementia and other medical problems. The conservator allowed us to videotape her meeting her lawyer but not to ask her questions. Her lawyers have filed suit against Kaiser Hospital.


COOPER: Before she was hospitalized, Reyes had been sleeping in this park, 16 miles away from the crime-ridden streets of Skid Row.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes individuals end up here that are just released from county jail.

COOPER: Deputy city attorney, Jose Edgarvide (ph), who investigates hospital dumping cases, showed us around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the end of the line for many.

COOPER: Edgarvide (ph) is part of a city effort to clean up Skid Row.

(on camera) What are the problems the people here are dealing with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people living on the street here, Anderson, about -- over 40 percent of them have mental illness issues. And, you know, over 50 percent of them have some type of addiction. So...

COOPER: Heroin, crack?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. Heroin, crack, meth.

COOPER (voice-over): Spend a few hours here, like we did, and you quickly see how chaotic these streets are. Despite a heavy law enforcement presence, police must wage a constant battle to maintain some semblance of order.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Tell him to leave me alone, man.

COOPER (on camera): A pretty typical day on Skid Row. This man has passed out. Perhaps hit his head. Maybe OD'd. They're not sure. They've called an ambulance for him.

Meanwhile, the police officer has to leave because there was a stabbing a short time ago on this block. And he believes that the suspect in the stabbing is standing about 100 or 200 feet away from where I am right now.

(voice-over) Violence is nothing new to those living on Skid Row. And neither are stories about hospital dumping.

(on camera) Have you heard about this dumping thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hell, yes. It's nothing new.

COOPER: Yes? It's been going on a long time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A long time. It's just that noticeable because they've been bringing them down in their hospital gowns.

COOPER (voice-over): Homeless people, however, don't make the strongest witnesses in court. So to get hard evidence of dumping, workers at several shelters, including the Union Rescue Mission, installed special cameras on the street to try to capture it. They call them dumping cams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not to stop crime. This was intentionally set up to stop hospital drop-offs, or to track hospital drop-offs.

COOPER (on camera): What's the importance of the cameras?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, people have talked about this. It's been happening for over 20 years. But it wasn't until America saw a hospital drop-off on camera that it brought the kind of attention that it has brought.

COOPER (voice-over): After the video of Reyes' dumping was made public, Diana Bonta (ph), a Kaiser vice president, showed up at a Skid Row press conference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to apologize to this patient. I want to sincerely apologize. I want to apologize, as well, to the community. I want to apologize to my colleagues and to those of you gathered here today. It is not in keeping with the policies of Kaiser Permanente.

COOPER: Kaiser officials acknowledge arrangements should have been made to care for Reyes at a mission. They declined our request for an interview. But said in a statement that from now on, they'll use vans with hospital staff, instead of taxis, to deliver discharged patients to missions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wouldn't have mattered if they put Caroline Reyes in a limousine. They STILL dumped her on Skid Row.

COOPER: This past November, city attorney Greg Adio (ph) filed civil and criminal charges against Kaiser Hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The complaint charged Kaiser with false imprisonment, and dependent adult endangerment relating to Kaiser, shameful and abusive conduct in dumping Caroline Reyes on Skid Row.

COOPER: You might think with all the attention the Reyes case got, that hospitals would be particularly careful in how they discharge homeless patients. But just a few months later, another hospital's treatment of another patient made headlines. Cobino Alvera (ph) is a 41-year-old paraplegic. He lives in his car, which is equipped with hand controls. He keeps his wheelchair on the backseat. Alvera (ph) got into a minor traffic accident on February 7. He was brought to Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, where he was treated for bruises.

Hospital officials say he was discharged in the middle of the night and taken by ambulance to an address Alvera (ph) told them was his home. It turned out to be the Midnight Mission, one of the oldest on Skid Row.

The mission's dumping camera shows paramedics bringing Alvera (ph), strapped to a gurney, inside. Staff there said they couldn't care for a paraplegic so paramedics wheeled him back to the ambulance and took him back to Hollywood Presbyterian.

And that's when Alvera's (ph) troubles really began. The hospital acknowledges he sat in their waiting room for eight hours. When the morning shift took over, he was put in a van and sent right back to the Skid Row address.

He never made it that far, however. Four blocks away from the Midnight Mission, he was dumped in the street.

(on camera) This is where Cobino Alvera (ph) was dumped?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. This is the scene.

COOPER (voice-over): Deputy city attorney Edgarvide (ph) arrived with police minutes later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The witnesses were saying, a van pulled up. Individual, you know, basically fell out of it. And while the driver was just standing by and, you know, not doing anything to help him, you know, was literally crawling on his hands. A paraplegic man. No use of his legs. And the van just sped off.

COOPER (on camera): No wheelchair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No wheelchair. No walker. And no empathy whatsoever for this individual by the driver apparently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was -- that was the wrong thing to do, obviously.

COOPER (voice-over): Taylor Shemberger (ph), the head of Hollywood Presbyterian, says the woman who drove the van made a big mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She violated hospital policy. She should not have dropped the patient off at that location.

COOPER (on camera): Your hospital left this man, Cobino Alvera (ph) on the street. He's paraplegic. Didn't give him a walker. Didn't give him a wheelchair. How is that possible?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Anderson, let me tell you straight up that we're shocked and outraged about this incident, as anybody.

COOPER: So, the hospital didn't think that a paraplegic man would need a wheelchair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the driver asked at that time, you know, what about your wheelchair? And he said, "Don't worry about it. I have one at my home. Just take me there."

COOPER: His home was a car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we didn't know that at the time. When he came in, he gave us an address and told us that was his home. And that was the address that he instructed the driver to take him to.

COOPER (voice-over): that address was the Midnight Mission. The hospital's night shift workers knew that, because they'd already tried to take him there. Shemberger says they never told the morning shift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, the communication between the two shifts is one area that fell down. And we've implemented a number of new policies to address those issues.

All I can tell you, Anderson, that this hospital has very strict policies with regard to how we transport patients. And this particular situation was an anomaly.

COOPER (on camera): How strict, though, can the policies really be if they seemed to have, at least in this case, been pretty much ignored?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we're dealing with human nature. And a bad decision was made on the part of that van driver.

COOPER: And she's the only one who's made a bad decision here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she's the one that made the decision to drop the patient off.

COOPER: And to those who say that you're basically making a scapegoat of this low-paid van driver?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think anybody's trying to make any scapegoats out of anybody.

COOPER: Has anyone else been disciplined? Anyone else who -- you know, the various shifts, the people in the emergency room or who saw this patient? Anyone else been disciplined?


COOPER (voice-over): Shemberger points out that hospital care for the homeless is only part of a much larger problem. In Los Angeles County, about 88,000 people don't have a roof over their heads on any given day. Shemberger says there aren't enough shelters and clinics to care for them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When these people are discharged from a medical facility, they need a place to go. And we need a place to take them to that can accommodate their needs.

COOPER: Do you think the hospitals are just an easy target?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think we're being unfairly pursued in this particular issue. After all, you know, we're here to take care of their medical needs, not their housing needs.


KING: Amazing.

Up next on 360, the video made us cringe. A 91-year-old man getting pummeled by a carjacker. Now he faces his alleged attacker in court.

Also ahead, a different kind of caught-on-tape story. A toddler doing what toddlers do best. But wait until you hear what he was playing in. It's our "Shot of the Day" next.


KING: Coming up, the "Shot of the Day", a little boy caught on tape, doing a little dance. But let's just say his mom and many others aren't so impressed with his moves.

First, though, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin".

Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: John, a 91-year-old man, carjacked in Detroit, has come face-to-face now with his alleged attacker in court. It is impossible to forget this video. Leonard Sims, beaten savagely, earlier this month, punched several times in the head, as you see. That whole attack caught on surveillance video.

Prosecutors charged a 22-year-old in that case. A judge has ruled the suspect will face trial. And if convicted of the charges, in fact, may actually face life in prison.

In New York City, a high-rise fire on top of a roof. Plenty of smoke. Big flames. Firefighters, though, got it under control within a half hour. No word yet on just what sparked the blaze.

On Wall Street, a slide, the Dow losing 84 points on the session. The NASDAQ falling 39, while the S&P dropped 14.

And keep this in mind when you get behind the wheel. A new survey by GMAC (ph) Insurance finds one out of six drivers would not pass a written driver's test. Participants in the survey were asked actual DMV test questions.

New York drivers had the lowest test scores. The best, John, were in Idaho. And I don't know about you, but I'm actually not that surprised at hearing that.

KING: Being in New York, you know, we Boston drivers tend to get a lot of grief. It's good to -- doesn't surprise me.

HILL: Makes you feel a little better there. I wasn't saying that New Yorkers -- I'm saying that one out of six couldn't pass the written test.

KING: How many feet do you have to turn on your blinker before you...

HILL: Well, it's supposed to be -- what is it, 10 feet for -- or one car length for each ten miles. So if you're going 60, six car lengths.

KING: We'll get the DMV to grade us. Erica, stay right there.

Time now for "The Shot of the Day". Check out this little boy. This is amazing. He got away from his mom at Kansas City's Union Station and did a little dance on top of sand art, destroying it.

HILL: Oh, my gosh.

KING: Why is this so important? Tibetan monks spent two days working on this one of a kind work of art. And it took the kid, as you can see, just seconds to mess it up.

HILL: Wow.

KING: Gorgeous. Look at that. That is gorgeous.

Now, the monks say this has never happened before. But you might expect them to be bitter about it. But they're not. Instead, they're working hard at fixing it.

HILL: That's just amazing. It's beautiful, too.

KING: And the best part, I think, was the mom just grabbing him arm and getting him out of there.

HILL: That's good stuff. "Come on, we're going."

KING: Scoot him out. Scoot him out.

And we want you, of course, to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some great video, tell us about it at We'll put some of your best clips on our air.

Up next on 360, more from Anderson, on assignment in Greenland.

Plus, breaking news tonight. The House and Senate passed a bill that funds the war in Iraq but doesn't impose a timetable for bringing the troops home.

And what would a bill be without a few pet projects attached to it? Congress promised to cut the pork, but you may be surprised to hear what you're still paying for. We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.


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