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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Iraqi Governing Council President Killed by Suicide Bomber; Sarin Nerve Gas Found in IED; Massachusetts Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Aired May 17, 2004 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper. Another terror strike, another Iraqi leader targeted. Another attack blamed on the most dangerous terrorist in the world. 360 starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Assassination in Baghdad, the president of Iraq's Governing Council killed by a suicide bomber. Will terrorism affect the turnover of power?

Sarin nerve gas found in an Iraqi roadside bomb. Did terrorists turn up what the CIA couldn't? History in Boston. Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage. But what happens after today's vows?

A new study revives the great diet debate. Is low-carb really the way to go?

And, unlocking the secrets of the brain. Tonight, how you can improve your memory.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Good evening. We begin tonight with Iraqi insecurity. U.S forces find a roadside bomb believed to be loaded with sarin nerve gas, and a deadly blast outside coalition headquarters in Baghdad kills the head of Iraq's governing council with just 43 days until the June 30 handover to a transitional government. And there's this.

More intense fighting in the holy city of Najaf. U.S forces taking on members of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.

Tracking all these developments tonight in Baghdad, CNN's Ben Wedeman. In Washington, CNN national security correspondent David Ensor and CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

We begin in Baghdad. Ben, what's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, well, this bombing really has shaken the people of Iraq. As you said there's only 43 days to the scheduled handover of power to some sort of Iraqi government. And, of course, the problem is that it's not clear what that Iraqi government is going to be. There has been much efforts and discussions by the special U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi trying to cobble together something, but to date he's come up with nothing. And certainly the assassination of Izzedine Salim, the president, the rotating president of the Iraqi governing council is not going to make that task any easier. And there's a lot of worry about who may have been behind the bombing. Coalition officials saying that they believe that this attack bears all the hall marks of Abu Musab Zarqawi, who's been linked to a variety of attacks here in Iraq. And of course most recent that fairly disturbing beheading of U.S. citizen Nicholas Berg. Anderson?

COOPER: Ben Wedeman, thanks very much, live from Baghdad. At this hour U.S. troops are conducting tests on another device that exploded over the weekend. Preliminary tests show it was loaded with sarin, making it perhaps the first evidence of nerve gas existing in Iraq since the start of the war last year. CNN national security correspondent David Ensor reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The suspect artillery shell was discovered Saturday near Baghdad Airport.

BG MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: It was a weapon that we believe was stocked from the ex-regime time, and it had been thought to be an ordinary artillery shell set up to explode like an ordinary IED.

ENSOR: An IED, an improvised explosive device, made from what insurgents may have thought was a conventional, 155 millimeter artillery shell, like the many that are all over Iraq. A few soldiers who helped transport the exploded shell got mild symptoms consistent with exposure to sarin gas. They got quick treatment. They were lucky.

JONATHAN TUCKER, CHEM-BIO WEAPONS EXPERT: At higher doses, there would be muscle spasms, followed by convulsions, and finally death by respiratory paralysis.

ENSOR: The exploded shell is in the hands of the Iraq Survey Group. The team led by the CIA's Charles Duelfer, searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Officials say additional tests must be done to make sure it really is sarin gas.

DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We have to be careful.

ENSOR: If it is sarin gas, it would follow the discovery of a mustard gas shell about ten days ago. If there are many more of them out there, that could help the president deflect criticism over his argument that weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were reason enough to go to war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be the first evidence in this conflict that the chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein once had, and we had no evidence of destruction, might now be surfacing, and might be used against our troops.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ENSOR: In 1990, Iraq admitted to the U.N. that it had built some sarin gas artillery shells, prototypes that it insisted had all been destroyed during testing. It now appears, Anderson, that may not have been true.

ANDERSON. Interesting development. David Ensor, thanks very much.

The Pentagon is fighting back and denying stunning new allegations in the prisoner abuse scandal. An article in today's "New Yorker" magazine says that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a so-called "special access program" to crack down on terror suspects. Let's goat more from CNN's senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Pentagon strangely denies Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ever authorized a secret commando unit to extract intelligence from Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison, using the same rough tactics and sexual humiliation seen in recent photographs of prisoner abuse.

"This is the most hysterical piece of journalist malpractice I have ever observed," said Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita.

And Rumsfeld him self insists ongoing investigations will uncover who is responsible.

RUMSFELD: We'll know soon how all this came about, and needless to say, those involved will be held accountable.

MCINTYRE: in the "New Yorker" magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh insists Rumsfeld set up a super secret program called "Copper Green," in which military commandos and CIA operatives were told, quote, "grab whom you must, do what you want." A senior intelligence official tells CNN there was no operation called "Copper Green," and called Hersh's report fantasy.

SEYMOUR HERSH, "NEW YORKER": I understand this is going to be the kind of response. And I did lean over backwards to make sure in my own reporting, and I met multiple sources, that there was a lot of basis for this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: In an unusual on-the-record denial, CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said, quote, "The New Yorker' story is fundamentally wrong." Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita was a little less direct when he was asked directly, did Defense Secretary Rumsfeld ever authorize, order, or otherwise encourage tough interrogation techniques in Iraq? Di Rita said simply it was unlikely Rumsfeld did. Anderson?

COOPER: All right. Jamie McIntyre, thanks from the Pentagon. The legal team for one of the soldiers accused in the abuse scandal is angry over reports of a sworn statement to investigators. We're going to talk with one of Private First Class Lynndie England's lawyers coming up later tonight on 360.

The 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision making school segregation unconstitutional tops our look at news "Cross Country." President Bush was in Topeka, Kansas, home of the Brown v. Board of Education case where he said integration changed America for the better and forever. The President dedicated the former Monroe Elementary School as a national historic site.

Earlier, John Kerry marked the anniversary at a separate ceremony in Topeka. He said many of the nation's schools are still underfunded and divided by income, and also call for higher salaries for teachers.

Sioux Falls, now, Bill Janklow out of jail. The former South Dakota congressman and governor was released today after serving 100 days for an accident last year that killed a motorcyclist. Janklow is appealing his convictions for manslaughter and reckless driving.

Los Angeles. Young murder suspect. A 14-year-old boy has been arrested in the murder of an 11-year-old whose body was found in a trash bin over the weekend. Police haven't said what has led them to this particular 14-year-old suspect.

Florida beaches, dangerous riptides. At least four people have died in riptides along the South Florida coast over the past week. And the National Weather Service says they may continue through next weekend. So watch out down there.

There's a look at stories right now "Cross Country."

In Massachusetts, same-sex couples make it legal. Hundreds line up to tie the knot. We'll have a live report and talk with writer Andrew Sullivan about the meaning of marriage for gay Americans.

Plus unlocking the secrets of the brain. How to maximize your memory. Part of our week-long series. And the battle of the bulge. Do low-carb diets actually work? Two new studies might surprise you.

First, let's take a look at your picks, "the Most Popular Stories" right now on CNN.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In Boston, one man arrived at City Hall at 4:00 a.m., early, yes. But after waiting for 35 years to marry his partner, a few hours more didn't seem to matter much. The marriage license office is now closed for the evening. But on this first day in American history of legalized same-sex marriage, some of the first to say "I do" were the couples whose lawsuits started it all. CNN's Maria Hinojosa is in Boston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine a wedding day with almost the whole world watching. That's what it was like for Julie and Hillary Goodrich, whose lawsuit opened the door for the first legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples in U.S. history. Massachusetts is the only state where the courts have made a final ruling on the matter.

HILLARY GOODRICH, GAY MARRIAGE ACTIVIST: I feel as though our relationship is now not only very public but very secure and very legitimate and legal and I never felt so safe in my life.

HINOJOSA: At Boston's City Hall, there were tears, and excitement for their 8-year-old daughter Annie, as they were the first to fill out legal papers. While outside City Hall, the public remained divided. This woman opposed the marriages so strongly she came out in her 3-year-old wedding dress to say so.

EVELYN GENDRON, ANTI-MARRIAGE ACTIVIST: It goes back to the word of God. Do they love evil? Do they love their sinful ways more than they love God. And they will stand for what is wrong. What's going to be next, bestiality?

HINOJOSA: Even as lines formed around Massachusetts in front of marriage license bureaus, president bush renewed his call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, thereby denying the couples additional benefits like social security. Still, there were cheers, and the familiar pronouncement joining them in an institution that until Monday didn't include them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the power vested in me, by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: Now, Anderson, there's a tremendous amount of emotional involvement around these marriages. But for a lot of people it comes down to simple rights. For example if your partner ends up in the hospital, if you're gay and you have a marriage certificate, you can now go to visit that person. Anderson?

COOPER: Maria Hinojosa, live in Boston. Thanks, Maria.

Only a handful of people gathered outside city hall to protest. But the national debate, of course, on same-sex marriage is far from over. Earlier I spoke with Andrew Sullivan, senior editor of the "New Republic" and editor of the new book "Same-Sex Marriage, Pro and Con."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: How important is what's happening in Massachusetts today?

ANDREW SULLIVAN, "NEW REPUBLIC": Enormously important. Because this is it. Start with what homosexuality is and what heterosexuality is. It's the emotional attraction of one person to another. And the institution that's most directly relevant to that experience is marriage. Civil marriage. It's guaranteed under the constitution to every heterosexual. It cannot be taken away. Cannot be compromised. Cannot be qualified. For it to be given to gay people as a whole, and to be given to it with no qualifications, it's the biggest moment in the history of the world, as far as gay civil rights. The term gay marriage is, I think we should get rid of it. Gay marriage in a weird kind of way was abolished today.

COOPER: How so?

SULLIVAN: Because when they walk out of that registry office and they have that piece of paper, it just says "marriage."

COOPER: So the issue for you isn't gay marriage, it's marriage.

SULLIVAN: Marriage. And the certificates they have are indistinguishable legally and politically from a heterosexual.

COOPER: After today, can it go backwards?

SULLIVAN: If the federal constitutional amendment gathers steam, they would make it impossible for gay people to get married.

COOPER: Yet it doesn't seem to be gathering the steam that some people thought it would even several months ago.

SULLIVAN: No. Which is remarkable. And I think mainly because when you actually see what's happening, when you get away from the abstraction and the theory and you see these couples, regular people just lining up, what are they going to do after this? They're going to go home, watch TV, have dinner, go to bed. This is not a revolution that's going to destroy...

COOPER: Pretty boring, actually.

SULLIVAN: It's--you know, gay people are really fighting for the right to be as boring and miserable as everybody else.

COOPER: That's what they have to look forward to? Boredom and misery?

SULLIVAN: This is it. It's the price for boredom. But it's also a fight for dignity.

COOPER: Someone who's seen these pictures out of Massachusetts today and who sort of has a feeling in their gut that they're not quite sure about how they feel about what they're seeing, you say what?

SULLIVAN: Calm down. I don't think the sky is going to fall. I don't think heterosexuals are suddenly going to say, "let's not get married now." I don't think the birth rate's going to plummet. I think it's going to be the biggest non-event in a very long time. I mean, it's a strange thing. It's going to be a huge event in some respects but a very quiet event in other aspects.

COOPER: Andrew Sullivan, thanks very much.

SULLIVAN: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Andrew Sullivan. California was the first to spark the same-sex marriage controversy. Here's a quick news note for you. In an open challenge to California law, officials in San Francisco issued 4,037 marriage licenses to same-sex couples from 46 states and eight other countries between February 12 and March 11. The city stopped issuing them after the California Supreme Court ordered a halt pending the outcome of a legal challenge.

More American troops heading to Iraq. That story tops our look at global news in the "Uplink". The Pentagon says 4,000 infantry troops who are stationed in South Korea will be moved to Iraq. The troops come from the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division.

To Turkey now, bank bombs. Three bombs exploded at branches of British-based HSBC Bank. The bombs caused minor damage, no casualties. It isn't clear at this point who is responsible.

The bombs went off hours before British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Ankara for talks on Turkey's bid to join the European Union. Protesters in Ankara and Istanbul denounced British involvement in Iraq. Blair today said British troops will stay in Iraq until the job is done.

In France, filmmaker Michael Moore, "Fahrenheit 9/11," his new movie is cheered at the Cannes Film Festival. The firm is critical of President Bush's handling of the war on terror. Disney barred its Miramax unit from releasing the film in the United States. They worked out a deal.

That is a look at the "Uplink" right now.

Coming up, unlocking the secrets of the brain.

We're going to look into the mystery of memory and find out how you can improve yours. Part of our week-long series.

Also tonight, new statements from Private First Class Lynndie England as she tried to explain why those infamous pictures were taken. Will it be enough to keep her out of jail? Her lawyer joins us live. And, a little later, phenomenon in the sky. The video that is still causing a stir among UFO buffs. Is there a perhaps more earthly explanation? We'll take a closer look at that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX TREBEC, JEOPARDY: Anderson?

COOPER: What is Baghdad?

TREBEC: No.

Maria or Kweisi? The Tiber River, Rome. Back to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Idiot.

TREBEC: You were thinking of the Tigris. COOPER: Yeah.

TREBEC: Anderson or Maria?

COOPER: I know this. I know this.

TREBEC: Kweisi, I believe you misspoke it's Monticello. Maria or Kweisi? What is "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Anderson, don't beat up on yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Sad but true. I may be a "Jeopardy" champion but I have the memory of a gnat. Scott Hagwood has some tips to improve it, however. He's the four-time winner of the USA National Memory Championship. Thanks very much for being here, Scott.

SCOTT HAGWOOD, NATIONAL MEMORY CHAMPION: Hello. Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: We're going to put you actually to the test to just see how exactly how good your memory is. I just shuffled this deck of cards here. And I'm going to halve the deck and give you about half the deck and during this--we're going to play this piece and during it you're going to look at these cards and try to remember them in order.

HAGWOOD: Right.

COOPER: So it will be a little bit of test. And this is a story about the mysteries of memory. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always had a poor memory. Especially like short-term memory. I've always been a little bit ditsy.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe Katsoff (ph) calls himself a real-life absent minded professor. He's certainly not the only one. Millions of Americans struggle with their remembering.

DR. GARY SMALL, UCLA NEUROPSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE: The biggest complaint people have about memory is names and faces.

COOPER: Experts say memory lapses can be worked out by memory training.

SMALL: The idea is, use it or lose it. Work out your brain cells so they can stay active and healthy.

COOPER: Dr. Small says we need remember just three words. Look, snap, connect.

Look at a situation. Take a mental snapshot, observing details. Then connect those details to something in your life.

But how does memory work? Why do we remember certain things in vivid detail? A first kiss? The death of a loved one? Where we were during important moments in history. But forget other things.

It turns out emotional events are more easily converted into long-term memory. Senses help lock in and later trigger memories. Even those long forgotten. This is now the cornerstone of new treatments in Alzheimer's care. The smell of fresh-baked cookies, a fireplace, the sound of music.

JOHN ZEISEL: People with Alzheimer's, even in the last stage of the disease will tap their foot to music. Music is one of those profound memories that people understand almost forever.

COOPER: Now there's intriguing research on ways to stave off age-related memory loss, by building new nerve connections in the brain. Playing a musical instrument, or learning a foreign language stimulate unused parts of the brain. For those less ambitious, there are other common sense ways to boost memory. Getting a good night's sleep. Reducing stress. Eating a healthy diet, including foods rich in antioxidants. And exercising your body and of course, your brain.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well four-time U.S. Memory Champion Scott Hagwood exercised his brain while we ran that story about memory. I gave him half a deck of cards to see if he could memorize them. By now, let's see how he did. Can I have the cards back?

All right, so let's go.

HAGWOOD: OK, let's go. The five of hearts. The jack of clubs, two of clubs, two of hearts, eight of diamonds queen of clubs, ace of hearts, ten of hearts. Eight of clubs. Nine of hearts. Four of spades. Jack of hearts. I've drawn a blank on that one. Six of spades. Two of diamonds. King of hearts, jack of diamonds, three of hearts, seven of spades ace of diamonds, five of clubs, seven of clubs, two of spades, ace of clubs, king of spades.

COOPER: Wow! Very good. Only one mistake. So you know, for a lot of people when they first meet someone, they tell me their name, it goes right out of my brain. What's the best way to remember people's names?

HAGWOOD: The best way to be able to do that is to associate the new person with somebody that you already know of that same name. For example Anderson, it's a little bit like Andy but much more melodic and there are lots of Andies that I already know. In fact, I tried to associate your hair color, your eye color, even the way that you kind of hold your body language and I try to associate you with Andies that I already know in my mind. But Anderson Cooper is so melodic and so rhythmic and you're a very memorable guy, anyway.

COOPER: Well, thank you. I bet you say that to all the anchors. What other tips do you have for people to help their memory?

HAGWOOD: I think probably the best thing to be able to do is simply to pay attention. Pay attention and become a good storyteller.

COOPER: You say write a journal. Keep a journal.

HAGWOOD Keep a daily journal. The reason why is because you learn how you remember. You learn what you remember. Record who you saw, who you met, what you did. And you begin to better understand what you hear, what you see and why you remember.

COOPER: And you believe you can actually exercise the brain to actually improve your memory through practice you can get better?

HAGWOOD: Absolutely. I think some studies at Wake Forest University have shown that you can change your brain simply by going through some of these exercises. Association, imagination and emotion.

COOPER: Did you always have a great memory?

HAGWOOD: Oh, my goodness, no. My entrance exams in college I barely slipped by. I even made a six on an advanced chemistry class. So I don't have anything close to photograph memory. It was only when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that I began to look at some books about how to remember and how to learn, and I began to learn about how we have this extraordinary thing we call a memory. And anybody can do this.

COOPER: And this extraordinary thing called a brain, which is just something we're going to be looking at all week. There are a lot of mysteries to it. A lot of people are just still figuring it out. That's what we're going to be looking at. I appreciate you being on the program tonight. Thanks, Scott.

HAGWOOD: Well, Anderson, thank you so very, very much.

COOPER: And you remembered my name. That's very good. Thanks very much. Well, tomorrow we continue our series "Unlocking the Secrets of the Brain" and ask, is there such a thing as the killer brain? Find out what one woman uncovered when she studied the mind of a murderer. On Wednesday, "Creativity... Madness And Genius." Is there a close link between the creative brain and the troubled mind? Thursday, "Brain Sex." Find out how the wiring in your brain affects the way you behave with the opposite sex. And on Friday, "the Successful Brain." Learn how to top into your mind so you can think out of the box.

Was Private First Class Lynndie England really just following orders? We'll talk to her lawyer coming up.

And a new study revives the great diet debate. Is low-carb really the way to go? 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Reset." Tonight's top stories, Baghdad. Suicide bombing kills seven people including the head of Iraq's governing council. Today President Bush said the attack would not stop next month's transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition back to the Iraqi people. Saying, quote, "on June 30, the flag of a free Iraq will be raised."

Oaktown, Indiana. Midair tragedy. Military officials say two F- 16 fighter jets collided today. One of the pilots was killed. The other parachuted to safety.

Stock up now and check your supplies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts an above-normal hurricane season. It's predicting 12 to 15 storms with 6 to 8 hurricanes. With two having the potential to become major hurricanes.

Well, we have seen her smiling as she pointed to naked hooded prisoners. We've seen her holding a leash attached to a prisoner's neck. Tonight in justice served, why was Private First Class Lynndie England in those pictures from Abu Ghraib prison? The "New York Times" says it has obtained her sworn statements to investigators and quotes England today as saying, quote, "we thought it looked funny, so pictures were taken."

Joining us now from Denver, Colorado, Rose Mary Zapor, one of England's lawyers. Does your client at this point regret anything about what she did in Abu Ghraib prison?

ROSE MARY ZAPOR, ENGLAND'S ATTORNEY: You know, I really cannot discuss her particular feelings, or what she might say at this point, because, of course, that goes to her defense.

COOPER: The reason I'm asking is because in the "Times" today, they published parts of this sworn statement that England apparently gave May 5 in which she says that the guards never really went out of bounds in what they did. And she described some of the alleged abuse as routine and amusing.

ZAPOR: Yes, I know that. And we're very upset about the statement being released to the press. Because, those statements were taken after she had retained counsel. And they have violated her sixth amendment rights by releasing these statements. In any civilian court these statements would be suppressed, as well as any evidence that were gained as a result of these statements.

COOPER: But in a military court, the same rules don't apply?

ZAPOR: That's true. But you still have your constitutional rights. Whether you're in the military or not. And she had invoked her right to counsel.

COOPER: Are you saying that she -- I mean is her defense going to be that she was just following orders? I've talked to some of the other attorneys from other people involved and that's what they say they're going to do.

ZAPOR: Well, you know, we haven't fully formulated her defense. So just following orders is -- may be part of it. But another part of it is we want to determine whose orders she supposedly was following. Because, under the 2002 memoranda and declarations from President Bush, if these people were being treated as enemies -- as civilian combatants, or enemy combatants, rather than as P.O.W.s, then under the memoranda issued by the White House, the Geneva Conventions do not apply. And there are also the further investigations that have been published, not only in the "New Yorker," but the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post," as well as others, who said that there were civilians in these prisons who were giving orders. If that is the case, we want to know who they are.

COOPER: Did at any point your client say these are illegal? These orders are not appropriate?

ZAPOR: I can't discuss that, I'm sorry.

COOPER: You can't discuss it because you don't know, or you can't discuss it because you just don't want to discuss it?

ZAPOR: I can't discuss it because that would be part of any conversation that I had had with Private England as part of her attorney/client privilege.

COOPER: Have you been able to meet with her, spend a lot of time with her? I mean, how is she doing in all this?

ZAPOR: Well, I've talked to her on the phone. Other members of our team, Giorgio Ra'shadd and Daniel Gieber (ph), have spent a significant amount of time with her. She's not doing well. She has been isolated for long periods of time.

COOPER: She's still got a job with the military. She's at Fort Bragg, right?

ZAPOR: That's right. She is at Fort Bragg. She was taken from Iraq, where her other unit is, and placed in Fort Bragg with people who don't want her there. And in essence she has been isolated for longer than the current situation is warranted in Iraq. In other words, she has been isolated for over 60 days with people who don't want to talk to her, don't want to eat with her, and continually are staring at her. So, of course, she's broken down and she's depressed.

COOPER: It's going to be a tough case no matter how you look at it. Rose Mary Zapor, we appreciate you being on the program tonight.

Linda Brown was 8 years old when her father tried to enroll her in the Sumner Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas. She was rejected because of the color of her skin. 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the separate but equal argument, the results from that ruling are impossible to address in just one story. But here's one slice of it.

One school, where 35 percent of the students are white, 32 percent Hispanic, 20 percent black, and 13 percent Asian. Where diversity is now a way of life. Here's CNN's Adaora Udoji.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If integration were a competition, New York's Louis Armstrong Elementary School would win gold. Everyone is a minority. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What exactly is integration, in which many did not believe?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equal rights for all. Special privileges for none.

UDOJI: They celebrate the Brown v. Board of Education anniversary like few can. Under one roof, black, Latino, white and Asian students almost in equal numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We like to think of it as one big family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're able to kill the stereotypes. It's really inspiring to know what other people think and it really inspires you to be a better person in a way, to be more open-minded to other people.

UDOJI: This is an unusual public school. A Harvard University study says nationally white students go to schools that are 80 percent white. Minorities like blacks and Latinos attend schools where they make up 65 percent of the students. The students attending Louis Armstrong, though, lead dual lives, arriving from segregated neighborhoods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where I'm from, it's mostly all blacks. And when I came here, when I came here, it was a bit of a culture shock at first. But then, as I began to meet people, I mean we are different, but we're similar in so many ways.

UDOJI: Many struggle with a world beyond school that's not always so kind.

DONNA HO, 7TH GRADER: When I walk home there's a lot of people sitting on the porch, and they play with people of their own kind. And when I walk by sometimes they even make fun of me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because?

HO: Because I'm Chinese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we still have to work at it.

UDOJI: They don't doubt it but many were shocked that 50 years ago the law supported segregation. Now they're living proof change happens.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UDOJI: Those 1,500 students at that school, they are living a very unusual experience and truly what some hoped after Brown v. Board. And also, Anderson, the Harvard University study also reports while minority populations are growing in public schools across the country, soon to be about 40 percent, white students remain isolated from any significant minority presence, they say, it's a continuing trend that started more than a decade ago.

COOPER: Interesting. Adaora Udoji, thanks very much.

Here's a fast fact for you. According to the Census Bureau the most segregated metropolitan area in 2000 was Milwaukee, Waukesha, Wisconsin. The least segregated area, Orange County, California. Today's buzz is this, has desegregation achieved equality in education? What do you think? Log on to CNN.com/360, cast your vote. We're going to have results at the end of the program tonight.

The 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision will be the subject of a special edition "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown. Aaron will be live in Topeka for a look at the landmark case. He'll also talk with some of the people who lived it. That is tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Today the group Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit policy and research organization released a report listing President Bush's biggest campaign donors. The list, which calls donors either pioneers or rangers, depending on the amount of campaign cash they've raised, reads like a who's who of American industry and political appointments. But campaign contributions can often come with strings attached. Just call it the raw politics of giving.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): 511 Bush campaign fund-raisers have special status for the 2004 election. They're pioneers if they pull in $100,000. Rangers if they collect $200,000. It probably won't surprise you to find out most of that money comes from money. The financial sector.

According to Texans for Public Justice, 19 percent of the elite donors come from finance. Closely followed by lawyers and lobbyists at 18 percent. And why are they so generous? Let's look at what happened to some of the big Bush fund-raisers in 2000.

More than 20 were given ambassadorships, including pioneers George Argyros, once the owner of the Seattle Mariners, now the U.S. ambassador to Spain. And M. Teel Bivins lobbied legislators for donations to Bush 2000 is ambassador to Sweden. TPJ says 47 were appointed to the Bush transition team or cabinet post. Pioneers Ken and Linda Lay helped with energy and Michael Hightower of Blue Cross Blue Shield lent a hand with health. Tom Ridge is the head of homeland security and Elaine Chao is the labor secretary.

But Republicans don't have a lock on knowing how to find and keep dedicated donors. The Clinton campaign kept a database of his prime targets personal preferences. His most generous donors, lawyers and law firms contributed $3.8 million to Clinton's 1996 campaign. The financial sector accounted for $2.2 million. Federal employees, $312,000. And the government of Guam gave $109,000. The most generous were rewarded with kaffeeklatsches and White House sleepovers.

Are government jobs and friendly laws just rewards or political quid pro quo? One thing's for sure, knowing how to get business bigwigs to show you the money, that is "Raw Politics." The Bush campaign is responding to the Texans for Public Justice Report. Press Secretary Terry Holt called the inference that donors get something in return ridiculous, saying quote, "The president makes policy decisions based on what is good for the country, the economy, and the nation's security." Meanwhile the Kerry camp is demanding the bush campaign release records of the meetings the White House had with any of these donors.

Well, these days everything from Baked Lays to Slim Jims are considered diet friendly, just really depends on which diet you happen to be on or believe in at the time. New research adds another piece to the low carb vs. low-fat puzzle. That is coming up.

Also, what's behind UFO fever in Mexico?

Whether it's little green men or the weather, opinions are certainly flying.

And a little later, breakfast for a king when money is no object. There's an omelet that costs more than a stove, believe it or not.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: You knew it was only a matter of time. Now that the low carb craze has reached critical mass, here comes a study that says in the long run the ubiquitous diet may not be any better than low fat diets.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The food, the books the vitamins, and the big question. To low carb diets really work better than any other type of diet?

A new study says in the long run no. The study found that initially people did lose quite a bit of weight on low carb diets. But, a year after starting the diet they gained much of that weight back, making the low carb diet no more effective than the traditional low-fat diet.

Dr. Walter Willett, who wrote an editorial accompanying the new report, say over time, stay low carbs, but simply at to much.

DR. WALTER WILLETT, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We can eat too much of any food even if it's a good food.

COHEN: So, His advice, pay attention to amounts, even if the diet book says eat as much as you want. Exercise regularly, dieting alone often won't work. And eat good carbs like whole grain breads and good fats like nuts and fish. And finally, Dr. Willett says everyone's different. Even in this study some people did better than others on the prescribed diet. WILLETT: There were some people that lost a large amount of weight, 30 pounds or more and they managed to keep it off. But others lost virtually nothing.

COHEN: By trying a variety of diets, low carb and low fat, you can find the diet that works best for you.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I don't know who to trust now.

Remember the stir last week over a possible close encounter over Mexico?

It was stirred by this video of a reported UFO sighting taken by Mexican Air Force pilots. Some scientists say what we're looking at is perhaps a weather phenomenon known as ball lightning. Story is still one of the most popular on cnn.com. We've gotten a lot of e- mails since first bringing you the hype last week.

So, we've brought back our guest, Michael Shermer, publisher of "Skeptic Magazine."

Michael, thanks for being on the program again. I've got to say, we got a lot of angry e-mail about you being on the program. People saying, well, they really didn't like what you had to say, that you were skeptical about this. You said last week it was probably a camera effect, possibly something duplicated or a pilotless drone. Scientists are now saying it's what they call ball lightning.

First, what's ball lightning and do you think that might be it?

MICHAEL SHERMER, PUBLISHER, "SKEPTIC MAGAZINE": Well, I'm actually a little skeptical of the ball lightning explanation. Ball lightning, it's probably a real phenomenon, although it's never been reproduced in a physics laboratory. It's the most speculative theory is that it's a form of plasma energy, kind of like lightning that may conglomerate into little balls that are perhaps 10 to 20 inches wide. They're usually toward the ground, however after a lightning strike. So this footage was shot 10,000 feet up. So that would be unusual to be ball lightning at that height.

COOPER: But you're not going over to the camp that thinks it's a UFO, though?

SHERMER: Well, no, definitely not.

COOPER: Not going that far?

SHERMER: No. I think ball lightning is a hypothesis. We can speculate on that. Skeptic.com we posted an article on ball lightning and why there's good reasons to be skeptical. I think a better theory is what are called fireballs. Meteorites that streak through the atmosphere just like shooting stars, they're just rocks that burn up. But fireballs are larger rocks that last longer and they look like balls that are kind of burning up through the atmosphere. They break up into pieces, last several minutes to many dozens of minutes, and one even circled the whole earth a couple of years ago. And so it's possible it's something like that.

COOPER: You still think as we're looking 59 these images right now you keep bringing up this sort of parallel imagery.

SHERMER: Look at how symmetrical they are the three and three. Look there may be something really in the atmosphere that's being filmed and being duplicated in the camera lens. The light bounces around through multiple lenses.

COOPER: Some of our angry e-mailers said it was seen on infrared. It was also seen some radar by the pilots. They're saying how can it be a camera problem?

SHERMER: Now wait a minute. The pilots did not see it originally. In the original report the pilots didn't see anything until they saw the footage later and then they said, oh, yes, well, look, there's one, two, three, four, five -- you hear them counting on the voice over. But the voice over was added later. That wasn't part of the original footage as I understand it. So it's possible that it's an atmospheric effect. More likely to be a meteorite or again one of those drone aircraft, something like that. You just don't know.

COOPER: You completely discount UFO because there has been no actual evidence of it thus far?

SHERMER: Let's say I have a high standards of evidence for UFOs, and grainy videos and blurry photographs and anecdotes about things that go bump in the night don't count as scientific evidence. It's a good place to start, but until you show me the body, or show me the spacecraft, I remain skeptical.

COOPER: We're going to get more e-mails. Michael Shermer, appreciate you being on the program again. Thanks very much.

SHERMER: That's OK.

COOPER: Ball lightning or no, thanks for being on.

All right, coming up, an omelet that requires a down payment to eat. The extremely expensive price that one New York hotel is charging for an omelet.

And a little later remembering the Supreme Court Justice who want an end to segregation 50 years before, Brown v. Board of Ed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All right, time to check on some pop news in tonight's "Current." Let's take a look what's going on. Jerry Springer is moving from the talk show circuit back to politics. Springer, former mayor of Cincinnati, was chosen to be a delegate to this summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston. To get Springer's vote, the presidential candidate will have to not only show great leadership skills but also look good in drag.

Plenty of singers will be on hand at the upcoming World Peace Music Awards in Vietnam. Among the standouts, Lionel Ritchie, who in an effort to keep peace in the world will not be allowed to sing "Say You, Say Me."

Congratulations to Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Chris Martin. The actress gave birth Friday to a healthy baby girl. Her name is Apple. Also born this weekend, a child who will grow up to become a bully and torment Apple for years about her name. Possibly.

"Troy" raked in an estimated $45 million in its opening week. Experts believe that is the most money spent on Trojans in one weekend since "Spring Break Cancun." I don't know what that means.

A swanky hotel in New York is serving up a dish for a price that even Donald Trump would find hard to swallow. Maybe. The meal starts and ends with an omelet. One omelet. And for 1,000 bucks, it better be the best omelet in the world. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an egg dish that will cost you a nest egg. A 1,000 bucks for an omelet?

It's enough to make a chicken cluck. Enough to make the front page. Enough to make diners at the Parker Meridian Hotel restaurant say...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought that was the calorie count when we saw 1,000.

MOOS: Take six eggs, a lobster tail and claw meat. Pop in the oven, then cover with caviar. Ten ounces of caviar. That's $500 to $600 worth of caviar alone.

SYLVESTER STALLONE, ACTOR: Does that come with a liver transplant? Because you're going to need it.

MOOS: We stumbled on Sylvester Stallone eating at the Parker Meridian. Here's a guy who had experience with eggs filming "Rocky."

(on camera): You're probably the only guy in here who could afford this omelet.

STALLONE: You feel like you're eating a generation of sturgeons there. I'd feel a little guilty.

MOOS: On the menu, the wife of the owner dares you to expense the $1,000 omelet.

This guy did. He's a reporter for a London tabloid doing a story on what is technically a frittata. Since this was the first one sold, it got applause. And though we couldn't expense one, our colleague gave us a bite.

(on camera): You know, I'm not crazy about caviar.

(voice-over): But our British friend said he loved it. Watch the eyebrows.

(on camera): You know, we could get about 200 omelets at a regular diner for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know.

(voice-over): There's also the bargain hunter's $100 version, with a mere ounce of caviar.

STALLONE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Donald Trump is due for a snack.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos.

STALLONE: Hey, darling.

MOOS: CNN.

STALLONE: Love you.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, that omelet is apparently as hard on the waistline as it is on the wallet. Packs a fat 3,200 calories.

Just ahead, "The Nth Degree," a nod to the Supreme Court justice who wanted to stop segregation decades before Brown versus the Board of Education.

And that brings us to today's "Buzz" -- has desegregation achieved equality in education? What do you think? Log on to cnn.com/360. Cast your vote. We'll have results when we come back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Earlier we asked you, has desegregation achieved equality in education? More than 10,000 of you voted. Here's what you said: 24 percent of you said yes, 76 percent no. Not a scientific poll, just your buzz. Thanks for voting.

Tonight, taking foresight to "The Nth Degree."

While we're remembering the nine Supreme Court justices who did the right thing 50 years ago today in Brown versus Board of Education, we ought also to remember the one justice who did the right thing 58 years earlier in the 1896 case that Brown overturned. Here is what Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in Plessy versus Ferguson said -- "Our constitution is colorblind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The arbitrary separation of citizens on the basis of race is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the constitution. It cannot be justified upon any legal grounds."

On this subject, before and after 1896, so many people were so very wrong, but John Marshall Harlan of Kentucky was right. If only he hadn't been alone.

I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching. "PAULA ZAHN NOW" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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