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December 9th, 2009
04:49 PM ET

Is that Ronny in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

Sometimes it's tough to tell whether something's a sign of the Apocalypse or a sign that everything's really alright with the world.

Today, I got an email from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. In it, I was offered the official iReagan application for my phone. Seriously.

According to the offer, the application includes:

* Full-length speeches including his famous Berlin Wall and "Evil Empire" speeches
* Iconic photos of President Reagan
* Stunning images and descriptions of the Reagan Library's "Christmas Around the World" exhibit
* A message from former first lady Nancy Reagan
* Inspirational quotes from "The Great Communicator"

It's free, so it's kind of a no-brainer for all Republicans. Or is it?

It's been taken as almost sacred canon that if you're a Republican, you love Ronny. But what if you're a Conservative? Or a Tea Bagger? What then?

After all, Mrs. Reagan made an impassioned plea to the Democrats (of all people) in favor of stem-cell research. Is she conservative enough? If you're a Tea Bagger (the political leaning, not the lifestyle choice), can you even like someone whose widow supports stem-cell research?

FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Technology
December 9th, 2009
04:45 PM ET

The 'Boss' backs same-sex marriage in New Jersey

A gay marriage bill that's up for a crucial vote Thursday in New Jersey has the backing of 'The Boss'.

A gay marriage bill that's up for a crucial vote Thursday in New Jersey has the backing of 'The Boss'.

Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

A gay marriage bill that's up for a crucial vote Thursday in New Jersey has the backing of "the Boss."

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen say he supports the legislation, which would legalize same sex marriages in the Garden State. On his Web site, the New Jersey born Springsteen says he's "always spoken out for the rights of same-sex couples," adding that he urges "those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now."

The New Jersey state Senate is expected to vote on the bill Thursday. It passed through the state Senate's Judiciary Committee earlier this week by one vote. Democrats concede the measure may fall short of the 21 votes needed to pass the state Senate. The state Assembly hasn't considered the bill yet.

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Filed under: Same-Sex Marriage
December 9th, 2009
04:17 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Homeowners out $500 billion

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Despite recent, encouraging signs of life in the battered housing market, here’s a sobering reminder of just how much damage has been done: American homeowners will have lost nearly $500 billion in home value by year's end.

Still, that's a huge improvement over 2008, when values fell by a mind-boggling $3.6 trillion, according to a report released today by real estate Website Zillow.com.

The Los Angeles market suffered the largest total loss in home value at $60.8 billion. Metro Chicago values fell $49.6 billion and New York dropped $49 billion.

But some housing markets actually recorded gains for the year. In the Boston metropolitan area, home values increased by an average of 1.5%, lifting total market value by $23.3 billion there. Nearby Providence, RI, gained $12.4 billion; and Denver increased $10.7 billion.

FULL POST


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Housing Market
December 9th, 2009
03:43 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/9/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Sir Elton John in action at the 17th Annual World Team Tennis Smash Hits benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Staff:

Jack Gray

"Wow, Billie Jean King has really let herself go."

Viewer:

Ronnie Coyle

'"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" of this court. Did you see me hit that ball like a "Rocket, Man"?'
_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
December 9th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

50on50: Guarded at CNN


_________________________________________________________________________________

Private Patricia George, a security guard at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta.

Private Patricia George, a security guard at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta.

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I feel safer now at work than I did yesterday. Not that I didn’t feel safe in the first place. Turner Security is first rate. But something one of the female security guards here at CNN did to me this morning left an impression. It started with a big wind.

First of all, let me give you fair warning. If you ever see the woman in this photo, don’t even THINK about trying to sneak past her. Don’t even THINK about trying to divert her attention from the mission at hand. She will NOT be distracted.

How do I know?

It was 9:57 am this morning. I was walking up the outside stairs to the bridge that only Turner employees are allowed to use as a work entrance.

It was raining this morning, so right there, by the guard’s side, at the entrance to the bridge outside, was a metal stand with about a hundred of those long plastic bags to put your wet umbrellas in so the floor inside doesn’t get wet.

FULL POST


Filed under: Michael Schulder
December 9th, 2009
02:17 PM ET

Papua New Guinea fact sheet

U.S. Department of State

OFFICIAL NAME:
Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Geography
Land area: 462,860 sq. km.; about the size of California.
Cities: Capital–Port Moresby (254,158). Other cities–Lae (78,038), Mt. Hagen (27,789).
Terrain: Mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills. The largest portion of the population lives in fertile highlands valleys that were unknown to the outside world until the 1930s, but that supported agriculture some 10,000 years ago, possibly before agriculture was developed elsewhere.
Climate: Tropical. NW monsoon, Dec.-Mar.; SE monsoon, May-Oct.

People
Population (2007 est.): 6.3 million.
Annual growth rate (2006): 2.6%.
Languages: Three official languages are English, Tok Pisin, and Motu. There are approximately 860 other languages.
Education: Years compulsory–0. Literacy–49.3%.
Health: Infant mortality rate–54/1,000. Life expectancy–57.0 yrs.

Government
Type: Constitutional parliamentary democracy.
Constitution: September 16, 1975.
Branches: Executive–Queen Elizabeth II (head of state, represented by a governor general); prime minister (head of government). Legislative–unicameral parliament. Judicial–independent; highest is Supreme Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 19 provinces and the national capital district (Port Moresby).
Major political parties: National Alliance (NA), People's Progress Party (PPP), United Resources Party (URP), PNG Party (PNGP).
Suffrage: Universal over 18 years of age.

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Filed under: Planet in Peril
December 9th, 2009
01:08 PM ET

Dear President Obama #324: World peace? Do you want a medal for that?

Reporter's Note: President Obama is going to pick up his Nobel Prize in Oslo. Considering the length of the trip, you’d think they might send it to him, the way I send my daily letters to the White House. If they need the address, they can contact me…

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

So I understand you are finally off to collect your Nobel Prize in Norway, eh? Good for you! It must be exciting, the idea of getting a shiny medallion surrounded by all those happy Norwegians and Swedes. There was certainly plenty of debate about whether it should have been given to you in the first place, but seems to me that we are past that now and you can pretty much just bask in the glow.

Not that I envy you. Big awards like that bring big expectations. I can just see some of that Middle East crowd punching your number into the speed dial and waiting for the very moment that ribbon settles on your neck. “Quick, call him! He’ll have to meet with us now. After all, we want to talk about peace.” Or when you do try to talk about peace with someone and something goes wrong, I’m sure you’ll get the “Oh, oh, I see! You’ve already got the prize so now you don’t have time for peace anymore. Been there, done that, hey Mr. President?”

FULL POST

December 9th, 2009
12:10 PM ET

Video: Planet in Peril, changing tides

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Located in the South Pacific, the Carteret Islands are fighting a losing battle against the ocean. It's estimated the six islands will disappear into the water by 2015. Papua New Guinea plans to relocate the Carteret's 2,000 residents.

But a debate centers on what is causing these islands to disappear: Is global warming to blame, or are the islands sinking into the sea, or have the residents permanently damaged the reefs that help to protect the islands from the ocean?

December 9th, 2009
11:59 AM ET
December 9th, 2009
11:44 AM ET

New Orleans a test case for global warming

Katrina evacuees cross the Industrial Canal.

Katrina evacuees cross the Industrial Canal.

Tom Darden
Special to CNN

Copenhagen, Denmark, is 5,000 miles away from New Orleans, Louisiana. But representatives of the 192 nations gathering this week at the climate change conference need to keep the memory of a flooded New Orleans in mind.

Two years ago this month, the Make It Right Foundation was launched to help the families of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward rebuild their lives and community. That was already two years after Katrina, and the once-vibrant neighborhood was still in ruins, failed by government and frustrated by a lack of progress.

Working with the Lower 9th Ward community, with families who lost everything in Katrina, with cutting-edge architects and inventive builders, we learned some truths and made some discoveries we would like to share with the climate change negotiators in Copenhagen:

We need urgent action. Climate change is real and happening now. The world already is reeling from the consequences - rising sea levels, more violent storms, more frequent flooding and prolonged droughts. Hurricane Katrina, the killer heat wave in Europe, China's floods and the enduring drought in Australia are not anomalies, they are harbingers.

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