Alec Baldwin is just one of many stars booted from an airplane. They're all cleared for landing on the RidicuList.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A series of e-mail exchanges between officials at the Department of Health and Human Services shows growing alarm at the amount of projected profit from a government contract for a drug company whose controlling shareholder is a longtime Democratic Party activist.
Ronald Perelman is controlling shareholder of Siga Technologies and a longtime Democratic Party activist and fundraiser. He's also a large contributor to Republicans, but has been a particular friend of the Obama White House.
Also on Siga's board of directors is Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, who has had close relations with the Obama administration and who has supported President Barack Obama's health care initiatives.
In May 2011, Health and Human Services awarded Siga a no-bid contract worth nearly $433 million to develop and produce 1.7 million doses of an anti-viral smallpox drug called STS-246. The drug would augment the existing supply of smallpox vaccine now in U.S. control.
Reporter's Note: Every single day I write a letter to the White House. It is possible that this disturbs them, but until they complain…I press on.
Dear Mr. President,
No doubt you viewed with some dismay this latest report about household wealth taking another nosedive; down more than 4 percent in the third quarter, or about $7800 for every citizen. As I’ve told you and the IRS many times, I’m no expert on finances, but this certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing.
As best I can make out, the issue continues to be 1) low home values, 2) the continuing fluctuations in the stock market and 3) possibly something to do with hog futures. (I never have entirely understood that third concept, so it is always on my list of suspects.)
Whatever the reason, people are finding their net worth not worth what is once was, and I’m sure no one is thrilled about that. Now, I should note that for many people these are probably just paper losses. By that, I mean, unless they try to sell their homes or their stock portfolio right now, the losses will not necessarily be made concrete. The value of everything could conceivably recover in time and they could be wholly restored.
But I find that such arguments usually don’t go very far with people who feel they have been screwed over. They either doubt that such a recovery will ever happen, or they say something like, “yes, I may recover what I lost in terms of dollars, but if it takes ten years to do that, how do I recover the lost decade which I was counting on for those investments to make even more money?” It’s a fair point.
My personal solution to this problem? Well, I try not to spend too much time looking at my net worth. Sometimes I am sure it is up, and other times I am sure it is down. I just keep plowing ahead, paying the bills, saving all I can, and not worrying about things I can’t change anyway.
Speaking of which, did you see all that miserable rain yesterday? Remarkable for December. But then, it is a season of unusual events, isn’t it?
Call if you have a moment. Assuming my ever-uncooperative cell phone is working we can chat a bit.
CNN reached out to Siga for a statement in response to Drew Griffin’s investigation. They sent this statement:
Republican and Democratic administrations, biodefense policy experts, and the broad scientific community have all agreed that smallpox is and remains a material threat to U.S. national security. Smallpox is lethal, easy to grow in a laboratory and easy to transmit, which places the smallpox virus at the highest threat level (Category A) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of bioterror agents.
Editor's note: More than four years after a deadly rampage at VA Tech, news broke today of two dead after a shooting incident on campus. One of the fatally wounded was a VA Tech police officer. Tune in to AC360 at 8 p.m. ET for details from our reporter on the ground.
A Virginia Tech police officer was among two people killed Thursday on the school's campus, prompting a sweeping search and school-wide lockdown that lasted over four hours.
Around 4:30 p.m., the school in Blacksburg, Virginia, announced on its Twitter feed that "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."
Police said the incident started shortly after noon, when the police officer made a traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall. During that stop, a person who wasn't involved in the traffic stop approached and shot the officer, authorities said.
Editor's note: Tune in to AC360° at 8 p.m. ET for a full report on Ryan Brunn, the 20-year-old suspect in the brutal slaying of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera. Plus, a former FBI profiler will weigh in on the evidence in the investigation.
Canton, Georgia (CNN) - Ryan Brunn, the suspect in the slaying of a 7-year-old Georgia girl who lived in the apartment complex where he worked, wore a bullet-proof vest during his first court appearance Thursday.
Brunn entered the Cherokee County Superior Court wearing an orange jumpsuit and a tan bullet-proof vest. His hands were shackled during the court appearance, which lasted only a few minutes.
Authorities arrested the 20-year-old maintenance worker Wednesday afternoon and have charged him with killing Jorelys Rivera, who was last seen alive Friday near a playground at the apartment complex in Canton. Investigators found her body in a trash compactor there three days later.
It’s that time of year again! AC360° and Tom Foreman showcase the best and worst moments from the past 12 months: politics, pop culture, sports, big news, web videos and more!
This year we’re asking you, our 360 viewers, to tell us what you rank as the best and worst of 2011. Was the Royal Wedding the top news story? Did Anthony Weiner take home the prize for worst political move? Was the honey badger clip the greatest viral video?
Vote on our blog now and watch AC360° at 7 p.m. ET on Christmas Eve and 8 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve when we reveal the results! Speaking of New Year’s Eve, we hope you'll also join us for Anderson's show that night with Kathy Griffin live from Times Square at 11 p.m. ET!
In April, Haitian police found a naked child in a hole, near the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He was badly beaten, hadn’t eaten in days and was unable to even speak. So they simply called him “Miguel.” He is the face of human trafficking in a country whose porous borders provide many opportunities to those who buy, sell or abduct children. Authorities say these kids are often trafficked for sex, for their organs or to be used as child laborers. I travelled to Haiti in October to report for CNN’s Freedom Project and met little Miguel at an orphanage where he is, for now, safe.
This is his story.