Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Newlyweds Stranded in Vermont Due to Hurricane Irene; Congressman Paul Will Abolish FEMA as President; Deadly Syrian Uprising
Aired August 30, 2011 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening everyone. We have breaking news tonight. Hurricane Irene is not through with us yet if you can believe it, new mandatory evacuations underway tonight in northern New Jersey from flooding. Look at these pictures.
Local rivers still rising, swamping neighborhoods, turning other neighborhoods into islands where the only way out is by chopper or boat. And some folks in some areas in Vermont are frankly stranded and have been since the storm on Sunday. Here in Paterson, New Jersey and some streets, the Passaic River is 18 feet deep.
They've been evacuating people from here all day. And just down the river in Wallington Borough, evacuations went out two hours ago at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Rescuers have been busy pulling 34 people to safety in Paterson, New Jersey, fourteen kids among them, three dogs. People stayed thinking the worst was over, not knowing the rivers were still rising. They even in a place where you expect water, they have never seen anything like this before. Look at the images.
This is in Little Falls, New Jersey. More like Niagara Falls for so much storm water flowing through there right now. In Vermont we're getting around, it is always tough it is not only the impossible. Hundred of stretches of roads have been washed away. The National Guard is bringing in supplies in some of the hardest hit areas.
In addition, nearly three million homes are still without power. Coming up, we are going to hear from a man who just got married on Sunday. His entire wedding party is stranded right now in a small town in Vermont. They can't get out because none of those roads are open. Upwards, a 43 fatalities and officials are saying it is not over yet.
Mary Snow is in the middle of it. She joins us now from Little Falls, New Jersey. Mary, these pictures of the amount of volume of water is just incredible. Does it seem like it is getting worse in some parts of New Jersey?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know it really is incredible. We wanted to show you too. This is the Passaic River, Little Falls, what it looks like right now. This raging water, if you can believe it, this is an improvement from what it was and we were told last night that as furious as this water is right now, that it was raging even more last night. And that there was much more water. The Passaic River crested earlier today in this town and others around it. So some water is receding. You wouldn't know to look at the Passaic River tonight here in Little Falls.
You know we've been talking to some county officials and they're saying, while this water is receding, that it could take until the weekend. In some of this place before really clears up.
COOPER: We've seen evacuations. Have folks been in real danger?
SNOW: You know they have. And we've witnessed a couple of evacuations today when we're in Paterson, New Jersey, a few miles away from here. And really, the danger was what looked like a few inches of water quickly turned to a few feet of water and then add the river currents to it. We saw one man and his son having to be evacuated. Basically what happened, they went back to their home to inspect the damage and rescue workers say they were just swept away by the current and they wound up clinging to a log until rescue workers can come in a boat to get them out of there.
COOPER: Mandatory evacuations in some areas just announced tonight and the last couple hours. Mary thanks very much for the reporting.
Let's take to you Vermont where one of our producers is talking about taking her family to be out of Irene's way. It didn't work out that way. She stayed in New York and it's a good thing she did. Parts of Vermont were literally cut off from the rest of the world when roads collapse and bridges washed away and some parts are still cut-off.
Marc and Jenina Leibowitz (ph) were in Pittsfield, Vermont. They were getting married. They got married over the weekend. They are still in Pittsfield, however. They and most of their wedding guest, I spoke with Marc a short time ago.
COOPER: Marc, you went up to Vermont for your wedding on Saturday. Everything was fine until Irene hit. What happened?
MARC LEIBOWITZ, CNN PRODUCER (via telephone): Well, we had a beautiful wedding day. It was really our dream wedding. We wanted a rustic wedding. We love Vermont. We came up here at Pittsfield and had such a great wedding. But Sunday we were having brunch with our friends and family and all of a sudden, the storm hit. Everyone that came to my wedding thought they were getting out of New York and avoiding the storms, and they were thanking me for it. They were like, this is awesome. And then the storm barely touched New York and came to us.
COOPER: There are only a couple hundred people who live in Pittsfield. Obviously, they, a lot of their homes are gone, their businesses are gone. I mean, do you guys have enough food, water, medical supplies? Are the people in the town and your party OK?
LEIBOWITZ: We're in need of medical supplies. We have food and we have drinkable water. There is no running water because there is no power and all the water is run on electric pumps. But the only thing is that it depends on how long we're here, you know. They have limited resources. And we have 60 people here that are putting a little drain on their limited sources.
COOPER: I'm looking at pictures. It looks like one road is completely cut off. Basically the roads are just ill passable out of town?
LEIBOWITZ: Yes. There are several bridges down on route 100. There's a road that just caved in. There are several houses and towns that we watched floating. It has been scary. It's been equally amazing how supportive and cooperative people have been up here though. Everybody is getting together. Everybody is working together, eating together. Making sure people are safe. We've been sending people up into the housing areas where elderly folks live and make sure they get water.
COOPER: What kind of medical supplies do people need? What kind of medical supplies do people need?
LEIBOWITZ: The stuff that I've heard that is most urgent is specific high blood pressure medicines. There are a couple people with heart conditions that are urgently looking for medicine and getting real nervous.
COOPER: Let's hope the National Guard or some folks are able to chopper in with supplies. Marc, I appreciate you being with us. Give my best to your wife and all the wedding party and everybody in town. We wish you the best. We'll continue to check in.
LEIBOWITZ: Thanks so much, Anderson.
COOPER: After being stuck with your whole party. Between National Guard, the national hurricane center, department of homeland security and FEMA, the federal response to Irene has been massive just as it is in every big national disaster. But what if it weren't that way? My next guest has some ideas on that and they've been talking controversy. Congressman Ron Paul said if elected president, he would do away with FEMA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: FEMA is not a good friend of most people in Texas. Because they just come in and tell you what to do and can't do. You can't get in your houses and hinder the local people and they hinder the volunteers from going in. So, there is no magic about FEMA. And more people are starting to recognize that because they are a great contributor to deficit financing and quite frankly, they don't have a penny in the bank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Ron Paul, presidential candidate Ron Paul, thanks so much for meeting with us, Sir. Specific you say we don't need FEMA. Why?
PAUL: We've only had it since 1979. And they don't have a very good record. I mean, these natural disasters are very, very dangerous. So, I don't understand why we turn it order to a through bureaucracy. Thorough bureaucracy as a whole, don't do a very good job but FEMA has the worst reputation of almost any of them. And I live on the gulf coast. I've had the same position all the time. We've had hurricanes and disasters. And I get so many calls. I have had more calls on FEMA, being upset with FEMA than all the other agencies put together.
You know, when we had Katrina going into New Orleans, they need ice. So FEMA ordered ice from the northeast. They ordered 211 million pounds of ice. It traveled for two weeks and they finally ended up in Nebraska. And they never got it. That's a typical way of how FEMA works.
If you want efficiency, why don't we look at how thing were handled before we had FEMA. Now the department of homeland security, and they just don't - but really, my big - go ahead. I do have another bigger gripe.
COOPER: Let me just say. I mean, we reported, I reported extensively on the failings of FEMA during Katrina that the trailers, the ice. But, I mean they also had body recovery teams on the ground very quickly before other people. And that was a FEMA response. I mean they do have expertise in some areas that some states don't. I mean, if you had left everything up to Louisiana officials during Katrina, probably more people would have died.
PAUL: Well, that remains to be seen.
COOPER: The Louisiana officials were certainly not up to the task.
PAUL: Well, the thing of it is, you create more hazards by the government by saying, well in government, you pay this and the government will be there. They'll always be there to take care of you and pay your bills while they're broke. They can't pay the bills.
But the worst part is the economic consequence of saying, well, I can't afford my insurance. And a lot of them are middle class people have their beach houses and they don't, they can't get their insurance because it is costly so the government guarantees it. So they give a reason for people to do dumb thing. They build in places the market says don't build here. It is too dangerous. And then there's flood and all these problems.
And then when Katrina hit, some of the guard units you know around the country that could have been helpful, they were over fighting wars in the Middle East. So it is such gross distortion, you know. Thing weren't as bad as it pretended to be. Before 1979 without FEMA, it wasn't disasters. Go and show me where there was a much worse care before FEMA and I don't think you can give me any of those indications. COOPER: You talked about going back to 1900. Way before something like FEMA was around. But in Galveston which I think is part of your district, you know wasn't it, it was FEMA who rebuilt it. They needed FEMA to - I'm sorry. There wasn't a seawall in Galveston before the storm. And it wasn't, they need to rebuild because locals there decided it was too expensive for them to cover all that on their own using local funds. And because they didn't, 6,000 people died in that storm. I mean, if FEMA were abolished, wouldn't you be setting the stage for life or death conditions in poor areas of the country?
PAUL: No. My point wasn't - I pointed out in 1900, Galveston, which is in my district, they survived without FEMA and they did rebuild the city and it was mostly local funds. Probably some state funds.
COOPER: But there was not a seawall there because they decided to gamble because it was too expensive. If you had a federal government who was involved, wouldn't that be -
PAUL: Anderson, Anderson, wait a minute. The seawall was built shortly there after. FEMA didn't build the seawall in 1979. That has been around a long, long time. You didn't need FEMA to build it. And just think of the management of all the levies in the country. Now they're starting to study even the levies on the river are probably making our floods much worse. The levies in -
COOPER: You're saying there is no role the federal government should play.
PAUL: Let me over, let me, let me finish. They were all built by the federal government and they failed. So the federal government had a lot of responsibility for the creation of the mess in New Orleans.
COOPER: So, you don't think there is any role for the federal government in disaster response? Or do you?
PAUL: Rescue operations, I think so. As a matter of fact, my approach, I think was a very modest and reasonable approach when they came for funds. Even today or back you know when we got hit at Galveston. I said I'll vote for the funds but you have to cut it. We're broke. The economic condition of this country is dire. So you cut $2 billion from overseas. Put $1 billion against the deficit. Put $1 billion into helping the people that we taught to be dependent on the federal government. So I think that's very reasonable.
But to say, it's endless. The government will take care of us and we're broke and we're in the midst of this economic crisis which will get a lot worse and not be concerned about it. Say, well, the people need it. Well, I mean from the start of FEMA being involved and taking laying control, and taking over this management, they aren't very efficient. They're very inefficient. They give no big contracts big corporations make a lot of money on this. They would have been better of in Katrina if they had just written a check to everybody and not gotten involved in all the mess that they. Did they hand-in that checks to people who didn't even live there. I don't know how anybody could defend the inefficiency of what went on in Katrina. It really hasn't changed. It is part of the department of homeland security. All you have to do is look at the TSA, that's another favorite bureaucracy that American people don't like.
COOPER: Yes. Congressman Ron Paul, appreciate your time as always. Thank you, sir.
Let us know what you think. We're on facebook. Follow me on twitter, @andersoncooper. I'll be trying to tweet some tonight.
Just ahead, the Syrian government, they're denying that they are murdering their own people. We all know that, they've been doing that for months. Now, they've denied that they're killing children despite the videos that we've seen. They deny and deny and deny. They deny they're keeping the rest of the world from seeing the truthful we're keeping them honest yet again with new reporting on what a U.N. mission to Syria saw, what they uncovered and what they have to say about their government post.
Remember, the Syrian government promised us right here, the Syrian ambassador to U.N. said the U.N. can travel anywhere they want in Syria. Did they let that happen? WE will found out in a moment. "Keep them honest."
And later, crime and punishments. New developments out of Aruba in the disappearance of the American woman, Robyn Gardner. How her traveling companion looked and acted the day she disappeared.
First, let's also check in with Isha Sesay. Isha?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have new information about the health of self-proclaimed polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs seen looking shockingly thin in the photo. Is he in a coma? What is the doctor saying about his recovery?
That and more when "360" continues.
COOPER: Twenty two hundred men, women and children. That is how many people human rights watchers estimate have now been killed in the last several months by Syrian's dictatorship. Officials in Syria, they blame Muslim extremists, they blame roving criminals and outsiders. They deny killing children. But every day new video emerges contradicting those denials. What you're about to see we need to warn you is revolting, even after we blurt out portions of it.
It shows a young boy shot in the head claims in the city of Dara just today.
Human rights advocates say at least seven people were killed today in the streets of Syria, most of them in Dara, where the uprising began. At least two dozen killed since the week began. Today is Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. Now, instead of celebrating, those Syrians are standing up in mass demonstrations. Look at the size of this one, today at Homs. You can see of wave of humanity. People making themselves heard, protesting peacefully. Sadly in Homs and other cities across Syria, their cries for freedom were being met with gun fire.
This is how Syrian security forces handle the said protest. We've seen it again and again. We've seen children gunned down. Some like the child, barely a toddler, just 2-years old. You see rescuers shot, ambulances were fired upon over and over again. We've seen Syrian officials deny responsibility. Watch what the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations said on this program when I asked him a week and a half ago.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
COOPER: How can children be targeted and then returned to their parents? Do you deny that's happening?
BASHAR JA'AFARI, SYRIA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Absolutely. Children are not targeted by the police, neither by the army. But let me comment on what you have just said. The report of the high commissioner is unfounded and biased. She didn't reflect any of my government's points of view in the report. She didn't even go to Syria. She just relied on reports coming from Syrian refugees in -
COOPER: Sir, back in April, you yourself said that no international commission need to come to Syria or was allowed to come to Syria because your government was perfectly capable of being transparent and doing your own investigations. But that certainly does not seem to be true.
JA'AFARI: No, no, no, absolutely. I was mistaken from my words. And we are not talking about the commission coming from Geneva. We have allowed after the presidential statement adopted by the Security Council. We have allowed a mission, a humanitarian mission from Ocha (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations on this program. After not allowing the human rights delegation into Syria and despite whatever he says, whatever his fancy suit and all his talk, he did not allow , they did not allow, the government there did not allow delegation back in Syria.
Then the Assad's regime reluctantly permitted a U.N. humanitarian mission to visit. That's what he was talking about. We've just gotten a preliminary media statement from that U.N. mission. Is said that while there is no countrywide humanitarian crisis, meaning basically there is enough food and water for Syrians, quote, "the constant presence of government official limited the ability to fully and independently assess the situation, however", the report continues, "the people, it was able to talk to in areas of previous or ongoing unrest that they felt extremely intimidated and under constant threat".
And this is what happened in Homs on the day that U.N. observers visited just moments after they left.
So what happened predictably, government forces opened fire and people died. Right after the U.N. left. Now and as always, these videos come via the internet or posted by human rights groups in Syrian dissidents. We can't independently verify them though. But we should point out we're not permitted into Syria to see for ourselves. The ambassador lied again saying "of course journalists welcome and you can go and travel freely." That's not the case. We've had people there and they're not able to travel freely. They are not able to go around without government minders. Syrian official deny responsibility for what you're seeing even as they deny their stifling access to outside reporters and observers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JA'AFARI: You don't know all the faces of the story, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, first of all, you are not allowing us in. You're not allowing reporters to actually go to the front lines and see this. You're restricting reporters. So it is disingenuous to say you don't know the truth when you don't allow the international community to see the truth.
JA'AFARI: Anderson. This is wrongful will we have allowed three delegations, big delegations of journalists and reporters to enter the country.
COOPER: You're right. And you keep them in Damascus or you control them very carefully.
JA'AFARI: We don't control anybody. We are there to protect them from armed groups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I want to say, I reported in Syria years ago in Damascus. Five years ago and I had a government minder who followed my every move and observed who I talked to. And that was in a time when there wasn't allegedly this armed gangs as they keep saying. Yet again that claim was contradicted by the U.N. mission. Take a look at the Q & A they published with their statements.
Was the mission given free and independent access? Answer, although the mission was permitted to visit any location they requested, it is doubtful that Syria has fully complied with its assurance in providing free and unfitted access.
And remember, Ambassador Ja'afari's claim that government minders are only there for protection, take a look at what happened when the American ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, went out on the streets of Damascus.
He was surrounded, harassed by a pro-Assad mob. This video aired on a TV station on by Assad's son in-law which heavily ended the footage and tried to paint the incident as Ambassador Ford leading an anti-government protest. It takes a lot of editing to make even cheap propaganda. The rest of the video you've seen tonight and almost every night from months now, we barely even edited for its length. Its truth, we think that its truth speaks plainly, so that you ordinary Syrian that we speak to almost every night in this program, including the man from Dara who is brave enough to speak out tonight. Joining us now is Professor Fouad Ajami, Stanford University Hoover Institution, here we are five months into this uprising and the Assad regime is still killing people. Do you sense any real change?
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR, STANFORD UNIVERSITY HOOVER INSTITUTION: No. Not at all. I think what is really interesting in a way now it is now for the opposition to have to think whether peaceful protests work and the debate now rages in Syria among the oppositions. We stick to peaceful protests and are we always being slaughtered by this regime. Should we take up arms? And I think many of the wiser heads have prevailed. If they take up arms that are exactly what the killer Bashar al-Assad regime wants. It will lure them into a test they cannot win. Syria has become a test of this notion of peaceful protests against a violent regime.
COOPER: And that's what we've seen. It still stuns me that the fact that these people like (Inaudible) are going every day on the street holding their heads with dignity and just talking and calling out and getting shot because of it. You say the regime is running out of money.
AJAMI: Right. Well, if you look I mean even the head of the central bank in Syria has come one this very lame play on Marie Antoinette. He said "well, you know the Syrian people shouldn't eat cake. They should eat brown bread. By the way, that a lower quality bread and cheaper bread." They're running out of money. There is talk the vigilantes should go around in clubs and beat people and kill them.
COOPER: They're dressed like civilians but they free reign from the regime to beat people.
AJAMI: Exactly. I think they're mostly allies, they mostly come from Bashar al-Assad community but not exclusively so. They are hoodlums, they are hoodlums and they've now begun to threaten that they will go on strike. They will not due do have the dirty deeds because they are running out of money. And the regime is running out of money and I think the Syrian economy is on the ropes. If the Europeans go through with the band on the importation of Syrian oil, I think the regime would have a real moment.
COOPER: And even Iran, I mean of all the horrific regimes, Iran which has been a stalwart ally of Syria, they are starting to say "you have to listen to your people."
AJAMI: Don't you love it? I mean in fact if you really want an example moral bankruptcy of the killer regime of the power in Damascus, two groups. Not only Iran and you're right, the Iran of all people, called Bashar al-Assad to respect the will of the people.
COOPER: Which is, I mean ridiculous. AJAMI: Amazing. And even the head of Hezbollah in Beirut has begun to wonder. Bashar al-Assad has violated the norms of his world when you kill people who come in out of prayer, when you ban people from prayer, when you attack mosques. There is already now beginning among many, many religious people in the region talk the b the irreligious nature of Bashar al-Assad. He is a heretic to many of them because of the contempt he has done for all the norms of his country.
COOPER: Often, the mosque is the only time that people are allowed to gather in groups. And it is after the mosques that the demonstrations break out. We've we're seeing people killed inside the mosque as soon as they come outside.
AJAMI: Right. And I think now there is another question which has offered itself, should the Syrian opposition, should the Syrian opposition invite foreign intervention? It is not like (Inaudible) and people would come. Its sounds like, NATO is ready for another engagement. But the success of the Libyan opposition now has raised the question for the Syrians. Why not enlist foreign intervention? Thus far they've been too proud. They thought they could do it on their own. But the question will arise before very long.
COOPER: The other question is would anybody respond?
AJAMI: That's exactly it.
COOPER: Fouad Ajami, appreciate the as always.
A couple of new developments out of Libya tonight's to tell you about the opposition forces said that upwards of 50,000 combatants and civilian have been killed in the uprising so far. The casualties could grow of Gadhafi loyalists do not give up by Saturday, that's the new deadline for areas still under loyalist control to surrender or face attack. Again, these numbers we can't verify.
In Algeria, sources say Gadhafi's daughter has given birth. The baby's gender so far undisclosed.
Coming up in crime and punishment, the latest in the search for the American Robyn Gardner missing in Aruba for four weeks now, the man in custody, the suspect in her disappearance, could be released soon as more starting details come to light about his behavior on the day she disappeared. We'll have the latest from Marty Savidge live in Aruba tonight.
And later, the fighter whether accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner could be forced to take anti-psychotic medication. Do you think he should be forced too?
A new hearing amid new reports about Loughner's behavior in prison. We will talk to Jeff Toobin and Mark Geragos about that coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight is the search for the American woman missing in Aruba now enters a fourth week. There are new details about the man held in connection to her disappearance.
The 35-year-old Robyn Gardner was last seen four weeks ago today at a bar in Aruba with this 50-year-old man named Gary Giordano. Tonight, we're getting new reports about Giordano's appearance and demeanor on the day when he said she got carried out to sea while they were snorkeling. That's his claim.
ABC says according to the police report Giordano asked three people on the beach for help that day. Those witnesses reportedly said he was covered in sweat, but was very calm and that he had a cut on his throat.
Martin Savidge has been covering all the twists and turns of the story since the beginning. He joins us now live from Aruba. So ABC News is reporting this information about Giordano's throat having some sort of a cut on it. What exactly have they found out?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the first I've heard of that and I've talked to a lot of witnesses. I've talked to a lot of people and I've read the police reports. I have to point out during the interrogation of Gary Giordano authorities did ask him do you have any wounds on you.
And he said, well, he had a couple scratches on his legs and he showed it to them. Regarding a cut on the neck, I mean, you can take a look for yourself. There is his mug shot that was released. That was taken a couple days after the alleged drowning.
And if you look it a quite clearly, he has a t-shirt. His neck is exposed and I don't see any real mark that would indicate blood. As far as the clothing, wet, dry, I heard varying accounts.
Some people said, you know, it was his bathing suit that was wet, but he had dry socks and shoes on. If he rushed out of the water, who stop to put socks and shoes on.
This only shows you, Anderson, that, you know, you get a lot of different accounts from eye witnesses and they don't always jive and that's a real problem for authorities to work through.
COOPER: Now he has been in custody since this disappearance. But he could actually be released soon, is that right?
SAVIDGE: Right. And you talk to legal experts on the island and they've give you two train of thought. One is the judge will have to release him tomorrow because based upon the evidence that has been brought out so far, they can't possibly warrant him holding him for any longer than they already have.
There is the other side that sides the prosecution and says there's a lot more that needs to be learned. This is a serious crime. A lot of the investigation has to be done with the U.S., which the Arubans can't do. They need the FBI and that takes times. Thereby, they need more time, but the reality is it is up to a judge and the judge could say, 60 days or I'll give you 30 days or say, no, Gary Giordano gets to walk. We really don't know tonight which way it's going to go, Anderson.
COOPER: And there is a rumor going around, I heard in Aruba that Gardner is still alive. This is peered as part of an insurance scan that she and Giordano planned. I mean, are authorities putting any credence to those rumors?
SAVIDGE: They won't say so publicly, but here's the way that thinking goes. You know, she disappears, allegedly drowns in an area where everybody else who has drowned has floated back to the surface. She hasn't.
If she was down in somehow, if her body was disposed of on land, nature would have given that away by now, birds circling, animals would found it. They've done a number of searches in the areas. Her body isn't here, people say.
If her body isn't here, she is not on the island and thereby they extrapolate and say she must have been part of an insurance fraud, perhaps as you point out. They say Venezuela is only 18 miles away. You make it there. You can disappear pretty quickly.
They also point out that she lost her job. She was pretty much separated from her family. Maybe she wanted to start a new life with a new name with $1.5 million of insurance money. Is that theory or is it just fantasy? Maybe it is wishful thinking on the part of the island. They don't want to be blamed again for the death of another American.
COOPER: It seems hard to believe she could make to it Venezuela. Obviously, just so a lot of rumors floating around the case like this. Marty, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks
Just ahead, new details on what happened when Gabrielle Giffords accuser, the shooter was taken off his medication for schizophrenia. But first, Isha joins us with the "360 Bulletin." Isha --
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, with one day to go, August is the deadliest month yet for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Sixty six American troops have died including 30 who were killed when the helicopter was shot down by insurgents.
A top federal official who oversaw botched sting that allowed thousands of assault-type weapons to be sold illegally is being reassigned to a lesser post. B. Todd Jones will replace Kenneth Nelson as acting director of the ATF effective tomorrow.
A faulty well that should have been caught by inspectors caused last year's natural gas explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in the San Francisco suburb. That's the conclusion of a scathing report by federal inspectors. The report slams the pipeline owner, Pacific Gas and Electric for quote, "a litany of failures." And actress, Darryl Hanna was arrested outside the White House while protesting plans for an oil pipeline expansion. Hanna and roughly 100 other people taking part in a sit-in were taken into custody when they refused to move. So there you have it. In case you've been wondering what she has been doing all this time.
COOPER: There you go. Time now for the "Shot." If you're not quite sure what dog tired looks like, this video from Youtube should clear things up. Meet Ziggy, the snoring sharpei.
COOPER: Very cute!
SESAY: That makes me think of when people are falling asleep on the plane.
COOPER: I hate that. The nodding thing because the seats don't back go far enough. I like this one airline, I can't remember which it is, that has the seats, the pillow -- like a shield. So your head at least has something to go against. I hate it when they don't. It is very disorienting.
SESAY: But I'm going to see your sharpei and raise you, it's a favorite, you know it's coming. It's that singing husky, Mischka.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you. I love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: That still makes me laugh. We've seen it how many times?
COOPER: I love you.
SESAY: I love you too, Anderson.
COOPER: Thank you. Now here's Piers Morgan with a look at what's coming up on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Thanks, Anderson. Tonight, one of most powerful women of the world on the secrets to her successful you know her from the "Huffington Post." Now media queen Arianna Huffington speaks out on the state of this country's politics, the economy, and keeping America great.
Plus Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Tonight, he talks about that and about the GOP's crowded field and about his love for his hog. That and more at the top of the hour. Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: Piers, thanks very much. A lot more ahead tonight on the program though.
New developments in the battle over forcibly medicating Jared Loughner, Gabrielle Giffords' shooter. What Loughner did inside his cell when prison doctors were ordered to stop his medication. We'll tell you. Plus the latest on what landed polygamist sect leader and convicted child rapist Warren Jeffs in a hospital and set off reports that he was in a coma.
COOPER: Tonight in "Crime and Punishment," new developments in the legal battle over forcibly medicating this man, Jared Loughner so he can stand trial in the mass shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others outside an Arizona shopping center where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents.
That's how he looked before. Now Giffords has made progress, remarkable progress since she was shot in the head at point blank range in January. You remember these. She returned to the house floor for the first time since the attack to vote on that debt ceiling bill.
Now her staff said she has a long way to go in her recovery. Loughner has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is being held in a prison hospital in Missouri. His lawyers have been fighting to stop prison doctors from forcibly medicating him.
Today, in appeals court in San Francisco heard oral arguments in the case. Meantime, federal authorities have asked for more time to try to make Loughner confident to stand trial. The district judge has ruled that for now, the prison doctors can keep medicating Loughner because of what happened when they stopped the treatment.
The prosecutors say that without anti-psychotic medications, Loughner had screaming and crying fits lasting for hours. That he physically harmed himself and claimed a radio had inserted thoughts into his head. He also said he wanted to die. He's been judged a danger to himself and others.
Joining me now to talk about it all, senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and criminal defense attorney --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just criminal --
COOPER: Sorry about that. A little stumble there. So back in July, the reason his lawyers are fighting him being medicated is that they're essentially saying, you're just medicating him so that he'll be competent to stand trial and possibly face the death penalty.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right, I mean, they're basically saying you're fattening him up for the slaughter because he -- look, there is no doubt that did he the shooting. So their only defense is some sort of mental capacity, insanity defense.
Basically the crazier he is, the longer they can delay this trial. The more it can be about his obviously very damaged state. The better it is for the defense.
The prosecution has the right to give him medication so that he is not a danger to himself or others and that's what they say they're doing. And --
COOPER: But Mark, his defense attorneys are saying, well, look, these guys are trying to make an end run. They're claiming he's being a damage to himself or a danger to others as a way of not having to go through having representation. Going through official court proceedings in order --
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's exactly it. That's exactly what they're doing. Both sides are a little disingenuous here. The prosecution and the prison authorities are arguing that he is a danger to himself. Do you know what the danger is?
They're saying because he is constantly pacing. He is getting blisters on his feet. I mean, that tells you about the essence of how he is a danger to himself. And Jeff is spot on. The defense wants to delay this because they can then establish, I think, something that is clearly obvious is that this guy is short of a full deck.
So I think part of the irony of this and what is so frustrating about this is, that we're talking about forcibly medicating somebody who is obviously damaged goods in order that we can then house him or kill him later on.
To some degree, that just kind of puts it all in perspective from my standpoint. I just think of the whole thing is the height of ludicrous.
COOPER: Is it all right to have somebody, if he is in fact schizophrenic, if that's how he's been diagnosed, I mean, is it a kind thing to do to have this guy just acting out in prison?
TOOBIN: No. That's where I think Mark is a little off. You do have to medicate him somewhat. Even in prison, prisoners cannot have untreated mental illness and that is, it is part of how we house people.
COOPER: You can also make the argument, if he has shot somebody which he hasn't been convicted of yet. If he did shoot these people, he does have the potential to be a danger.
TOOBIN: Right. That's the other place I would disagree with Mark. It is important that he be house. It is important that he be kept away from other people. I mean, this guy is obviously a danger to other people.
He is probably also a danger to himself. I mean, how this plays out down the line, I'm not sure. But the one thing that is certain is he is never getting out of custody whether it is a mental hospital or a prison or perhaps an execution. But he is not going anywhere, nor should he will.
COOPER: Mark, you've had some experience with this judge I understand. What do you expect him to do here?
GERAGOS: I think that he's going to order that he is forcibly medicated. Where I would take issue with Jeff is, look, what happens in prisons all over this country every day is that prisoners are put into solitary confinement. They're put into the hole.
That, I can't think of anything that will affect your mental health quicker or more easily than putting somebody in the hole and doing the whole sense over deprivation thing. We're quite medieval when it comes to this. Nobody here, let's disabuse people of this idea, this fantasy that somehow we're concerned about his mental health.
Nobody is concerned about his mental health. The prosecutors are concerned with getting him in there and getting a conviction. And Jeff in retort to that he is never going anywhere, I remember, you know, 20 somehow years ago people staying exact same thing about Hinckley.
The gentleman who was convicted of -- he wasn't actually convicted. He was NGI for shooting President Reagan. So you never know. There are situations here that I think are a lot more nuance and there is really a dance going on between the prosecution and the defense that really is not what is being said.
COOPER: You're saying the prosecution is being disingenuous. Isn't the defense also being disingenuous? Don't they have an interest in making Loughner look as insane as possible for him -- when he stands trial?
GERAGOS: That's exactly what I was saying before. I think both sides here are doing a dance where we're not really getting out what the real motivation is here. I don't think that, you know, it's fine to argue what they're arguing.
That we're trying to save them from harming themselves, that's not what's going on. What's really going on here is the defense wants to show clearly what he is, crazy. The longer it goes on, the better, the prosecution wants to get him in and get a conviction.
TOOBIN: The way these cases usually end, is the judges, the lawyers say, look, we're going to defer to the doctors in prison. Let them do what they want. We're not going to tell the doctors how to do their job. And they want to medicate him so chances are he'll still be medicated.
COOPER: We'll follow it. Mark Geragos, thanks very much. Jeff Toobin as well. Up next, new tropical storm on the move in the Atlantic tonight on the verge of becoming a hurricane. We'll tell you where it is.
Later, the absurdity of hurricane duty when you cross pass with naked folks. Let's find out ahead. We're going to add them to the "Ridiculist."
COOPER: Coming up, the naked guy from Hurricane Irene gets a new honor. He lands on our "Ridiculist." But first Isha Sesay is back with the "360 Bulletin." The new storm in the Atlantic. Isha --
SESAY: Anderson, Tropical Storm Katia is gaining strength and expected to become a hurricane late tomorrow. That's according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is about 750 miles west of the Cape Verde islands and is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.
In northeast Oklahoma City, a raging wildfire is spreading forcing more evacuations. So far only one mobile home has been damaged. Crews are having a tough time getting the fire under control with the wind and hot, dry conditions.
Texas prison officials say polygamist leader and child rapist Warren Jeffs remains in a critical condition at a hospital, but he is not in a coma and is expected to recover. Jeffs was fasting when he fell ill and prison officials say he had, quote, "bigger issues that needed medical attention." Citing in privacy rules they won't elaborate more.
And Michael Vick has come a long way from his dog fighting conviction spending nearly two years in prison and going bankrupt. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has signed a $100 million six-year deal with the team making him one of the NFL's highest paid players. Yes, it's quite the comeback story.
COOPER: Sure is. Isha, thanks very much. Coming up, Hurricane Irene knocked out power, downed trees, swept one guy right on to the "Ridiculist." Let's just say Chad Myers did not tell us there was such a high chance of streaking.
COOPER: Time now the "Ridiculist." And tonight we're adding someone we can only call the naked guy in the news. Now as someone who has covered my fair share of hurricanes, I can tell you, it can be pretty challenging.
Nothing quite like willingly standing outside when you really should be inside, braving the gale force winds. Sometimes hanging on to whatever you can hang on to so you don't get swept away. There's flying debris. There's punishing rain.
I know we all look like idiots. If that's not enough to worry about, you never know when some other idiot is going to run by and pull his pants down live on television. A reporter on the weather channel learned that the hard way this weekend.
While reporting on Hurricane Irene live from Virginia Beach suddenly out nowhere, there was also a full moon. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing that has not decreased is the traffic. No shortage of incredibly, well, I'll bite my you know the, people coming out. We're talking about dozens of people who have walked by me. To be honest, I'm pretty much speechless. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I believe he also went on to show his bait and tackle though from the looks of it, he had been out in the cold for quite a while. I know how that reporter feels. When I was in lower Manhattan on Sunday covering Irene, there were actually some guys walking around in their underwear and cowboy boots and cowboy hats.
We were almost live on CNN but thankfully, they were courteous enough to wait to walk by the camera until I had finished being on the air. I thank them for that. But if a fool wants to get on live TV, a fool will get on live TV. All do you know is hope they're wearing clothes. So for that, I thank you, guy, who ran into my shot on hurricane night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: On round two of her interview on ABC, we just showed you some of that -- her discussion with Charlie Gibson raising some eyebrows tonight --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dude. Thank you, too, guy in a chicken suit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We are live throughout these next two hours and Larry King takes it live. We take it live for another hour. We have much more on Hurricane Ike still coming up. A lot of people if you can believe it or not in Houston, a couple of bars are still open --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, I think we can believe that a couple of bars were still open. I think maybe the strong winds just sweep these people off their bar stools and in front of the cameras. It is like a moron tornado or a mornado if you will. Thank you. I'm going to trademark that.
Sometimes during a heavy snow storm, the conditions are just right. There is the rare phenomenon of a make the fat man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been out a couple hours. Some people are just out of their minds. What are you going to do? It's nuts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I love that he made a loop and went back around. For the record, he was the one who said it was nuts, not me. It looked like that would be the end of it. But as any meteorologist will tell you, when there is a rare winter, there will probably be an aftershock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been out and what are you doing to stay warm?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staying warm, I'm sorry. I can't do this. Thanks a lot, man. Thanks for being out here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Neither snow nor rain will keep up a certain kind of person from making ass of himself on live television, but it will secure him a spot on the "Ridiculist."
And that does it for "360" at 8:00. We'll see you again at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.