American Morning

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July 24th, 2009
11:53 AM ET
July 24th, 2009
09:24 AM ET

Legal loophole allows Rhode Island minors to strip

A shocking legal loophole discovered by authorities in Rhode Island.

While teens can't pump gas or climb ladders on the job because of protections in workplace laws, there is nothing on the books keeping 16- and 17-year-olds from stripping – as long as they're home by 11:30 on school nights.

Authorities discovered this loophole during a police investigation into a 16-year-old runaway found working at a strip club in Providence.

Rhode Island State Representative Joanne Giannini is working to change the law. She spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Friday.

Kiran Chetry: You heard about the case of the 16-year-old – how did this all come to the attention of police and legislators?

Joanne Giannini: Well, there was a newspaper article about a 16-year-old young girl from Boston who was found by local police and a rescue worker and she had told them she was stripping in a club and turns out she was 16-years-old. And, basically, they couldn't charge the perpetrators because there's no law banning minors from working in adult entertainment zones.


Filed under: Controversy
July 24th, 2009
06:23 AM ET

Who is to blame for what happened to Erin Andrews?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="ESPN commentator Erin Andrews reports as the Pittsburgh Panthers upset the University of South Florida Bulls on October 2, 2008 in Tampa, Florida."]

By Carol Costello and Ronni Berke

A horrific invasion of privacy. Sexual assault. Even rape.

That's how some women have described the nude pictures secretly taken of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. And some sports bloggers are issuing mea culpas for having promoted Andrews as a "sports hottie."

Andrews was videotaped by a peeping tom in her hotel room without her knowledge and the blogosphere has been buzzing about it for days. Andrews' attorney is threatening legal action if anyone continues to post the videos online, but some, like the site "," persist.

And while her lawyer wants whoever took the pictures to be criminally prosecuted, others say many more are guilty. "I do think we're all complicit in a culture that objectifies women, that is interested in seeing titillating videos of women who don't know they're filmed," says Jessica Valenti of

Indeed, Google says searches for "Erin Andrews" and "Erin Andrews video" have risen more than five-thousand percent in the past few days. The blog "Sports Media Watch" says for years there's been a "...national stalking of Andrews.." online by those who turned her into "a body that exists...for...leering at."

Even an inadvertent ESPN shot of Andrews' behind got half a million hits on YouTube. ESPN calls Andrews one of the premier sports reporters in the business; but some charge the network stoked the fire too, by playing up Andrews' looks. "Anyone who's watched our coverage would know otherwise," says ESPN's Josh Krulewitz.

And some of those she covered didn't help either. She was hugged during an interview on air; a college football player danced lewdly behind her at a game. Through it all, by many accounts, Andrews dealt good-naturedly with those who objectified her.

Christine Brennan, who covers sports for USA Today, says she supports Andrews 100 percent. But Brennan cautions all women broadcasters: "Play to the 12-year-old girl and her mom and dad on the couch. Don't play to the frat house. Do everything you can to make sure that those wackos do not interfere in my life."

Some sports bloggers are showing remorse over the incident. A blogger on "," which was linked to the months-old video last week, put it this way: "Was I ever over the line? Was (COACH) Bruce Pearl when he hugged her?...Was ESPN....when they realized that attractive women on the sideline helped ratings? Did I contribute to this awful thing that happened? Did all of us? I don't think so...But...if I ran into her on the street today ... I'm not sure I could look her in the eye. I'm not sure anybody could."

What do you think? Who is to blame for what happened to Erin Andrews?

Filed under: Just Sayin'
July 24th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

Avlon: 'Wingnut' guilty of hyper-partisan hatred

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics and writes a weekly column for The Daily Beast. Previously, he served as Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="California Senator Barbara Boxer (L) and conservative blogger Erik Erickson (R)."]

With only the benefit of thirty-odd years on the planet, I’m no expert – but I’m guessing that on the short list for “history’s greatest monster” there would be names like Hitler, Stalin and Mao. But probably not Jimmy Carter.

That’s precisely what one local elected official and prominent conservative blogger called the 39th president of the United States this week.

Erick Erickson serves on the city council in Macon, Georgia – Carter’s home state. He is also the managing editor of the influential blog, a post which garnered him the ranking of the 69th “most influential conservative” in the Telegraph newspaper. Here’s his post:

Does anyone really care that History’s greatest monster, the man who laid hands on, endorsed, and applauded many of the most heinous regimes of the last part of the twentieth century, has left the Southern Baptist Church?

And he did so now because of, among other things, the role of women in the church?

That, like most of what Jimmy Carter says, is simply attention getting pablum by an senile old leftist.

The man is an unrepentant anti-semite and leftist. About the only part of the Bible he likes to take literally is the part about the Jews killing Christ. That gives him his anti-semetic justification.

Other than that, Carter wants to be free to live as he wants, not as God wants him to.

Good riddance.

Even more bizarre is the occasion which provoked this outburst against the 84-year-old former president. Several years ago, Carter announced that he was leaving the Southern Baptist Church due to the conservative denomination’s opposition to having women serve as pastors and its stated adherence to the idea that women must obey their husbands (that’s the biblical literalism that Erickson is griping about). Carter recently reiterated his decision in an op-ed for the British Observer, and it was this bit of old news that provoked Erickson’s blogging bile.


Filed under: Wingnuts of the week
July 24th, 2009
05:30 AM ET

What’s on Tap – Friday, July 24, 2009

Here are the big stories on the agenda today:

  • President Obama softening his criticism of police who arrested a prominent black Harvard professor.  It’s a war of words he chose to jump into with both feet and critics are saying he jumped the gun.  What the president says now about the racially-charged incident and our exclusive interview with the Cambridge police commissioner.
  • President Obama's health care timeline hits a major speed bump.  The democratic leader of the senate now saying getting a reform bill passed by the August recess – can't be done. We're live at the White House with details.
  • Old enough to strip, too young to drive. There's a huge push this morning to close a shocking legal loophole in Rhode Island.  While teens can't pump gas or climb ladders on the job, there's nothing on the books keeping 16 and 17-year olds from stripping... as long as they're home by 11:30 on school nights.  Authorities discovered this during a police investigation of a 16-year-old runaway working at a strip club in Providence.  We’ll talk to the state representative behind the campaign to close that loophole.

Filed under: What's On Tap