March 17th, 2008
06:21 PM ET

Erica's News Note

Between the Atlanta tornado and the New York crane collapse, what a sad, surreal weekend…

Atlanta is picking up the pieces today… and the cleanup may continue for a while.  If you were watching Friday night, you were with us as we all learned about the destruction in Atlanta.  CNN Center took a hit, as did the neighborhood next to mine.  I couldn’t stop looking at pictures online this weekend, and checking in with friends to make sure they were alright. There are some unbelievable shots at CNN.com, many taken by Atlanta residents.

Cabbagetown is just across the street from where I used to live.  We would often walk over to 97 Estoria, a great bar/restaurant, with our neighbors and also to Carroll Street Café, one of our favorite breakfast spots.  It’s about a block down from the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts. Those lofts are the ones you saw with the “pancaked” floors after the tornado passed through.

This is a great neighborhood.  

There are some tiny, true “shotgun shacks” where mill workers once lived, and beautiful homes coming back to life with young couples and families. There are a number of artists and musicians here, and the creativity shows with murals and a great energy.  There is a beautiful new park, and an annual chili fest.  There are a few old timers left in Cabbagetown – not all of whom are happy about the development there, but they are part of what makes this such a wonderful, eclectic neighborhood.

There are several accounts of the neighborhood immediately coming together after the twister; a testament to “the old Cabbagetown” where people always looked after one another. I know the damage is bad in Atlanta, but I also know this city will rise again.

On to today… and a very interesting first-hand account out of Tibet.  An American film crew there saw two sides of the region, and now one member of the crew is sharing his account.  From a peaceful shoot inside a centuries-old monastery few have seen, to being locked in their hotel rooms, with no access to email, and where they had to get permission to leave that room just to use the bathroom. It puts a lot of what we’ve been hearing about the protests in Tibet in perspective, and makes it a little more real.

And I can't ignore the economy today.  Most Americans see it as the biggest issue they face right now; nearly three-quarters of the country thinks we’re in a recession.  I’m no economist, but that’s not good.

So, how did we get here? And is the recent bailout of Bear Stearns really the best way for the government to deal with our sinking financial situation?  Or does the economy need to tank, so we can all realize we have to take care of ourselves?  There’s no easy answer, but we’ll take a closer look at how we got into this mess tonight.

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. connie

    I want to use this time to talk about how dirty Mccain and Palin are taking this election. They want to bring up MR AYERS . Well letz talk about a right wing group that were commune sand about Keating five and the saving and loan scandal he was involved in I don'think he want to go with people they have known. Mr Ayers was a neighbor and set on a board together they were not friends like Keating and Mccain were. SO i don't think they want to go there.If you do not have aplan for america I guess that all you can say but people are smarter than that.

    October 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  2. David Sanders

    I normally don't use this form of communication to express myself, but I was concerned and then pissed with your reporting of Senator Obama in Berlin. I am a political activist in my Labor Union and consider myself to be politically astute and savy. Your presentation tonight should be called PIMPING. You were selling spin, flesh, contriband and calling it a public service – Pimping aint easy. First you and your associates say he does'nt have enough expierience. I assume you like the way the politicians have mastered the current political systems. Then you say he is putting the cart before the horse( acting like he is the President). The US president used to be the President of the world – A President should inspire. Does he inspire you. Trust your eyes and your heart. STOP PIMPING.

    July 24, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  3. SUNNY

    This season for us , in Central MS , the bad weather has been coming in through the night. I told my husband that I am not staying up tonight. I hate when tornado warnings come in the middle of the night. Like tonight!

    Love AC360!

    March 18, 2008 at 11:22 am |
  4. Mischelle from Illinois

    I believe that I remember from my Macro Econ class a million years ago, that the FDIC (which is what backed or guaranteed this deal so JP/Chase would even take a look) WAS created after the Great Depression so that there was a security blanket when banks began to tank. It is an 'artificial' intervention, but at least there is the security blanket. Other economies do not have the luxury.

    WE (the US govt) need to very proactively monitor these situations better. The sub-prime activity which occurred over the past 3-4 yrs should NEVER have been allowed to go so far. And institutions like BearSterns should have been better monitored so that they were not leveraged so heavily. It reminds me of the shell game of Enron and nobody was watching them, OR were they aware (Govt) and they allowed it to happen. I question everything!

    March 18, 2008 at 10:27 am |
  5. Yaneth

    Hi Erica,

    Just wanted to say I'm sorry for all the people in Atlanta. My prayers are with them, hoping that everything will get back to normal soon.

    I love you and Anderson, you two guys make a great team. I love the energy, insight, sense of humor, and mainly the eagerness to present the facts and sotries as they happen. Everything about you guys is so down to earth, and refreshing to have in a news program.

    May God bless you and keep you safe!

    March 18, 2008 at 10:07 am |
  6. cynthia

    Obama's paster ordeal may be a blessing in disguise in that the Senator could make the argument that whereas he is totally against such incendiary statements against this nation we all love, we as a people should not however discount are turn a blind eye to the real indignation of a majority of minority groups and the frustrations they face in todays American society.
    If Obama goes down on this issue it will only ironically fuel the flames of this very indignation we all so eagerly seek to dispel and in turn lend validity to some of the aspersions of his spiritual advisor, who by the way is not his politial advisor. I beleive we are moving too swift to attack Obama who may very well be the source to undermine the underline ebb and flow of this very real sentiment of said indignation unjustly aimed (but not entirely unprovoked) at "white America". Many would like to beleive that the fight the minister seek is a fight of the sixties and that our society has moved on, however nothing is furthest from the truth for many people and these inconsistencies must not be ignored and allowed to fester.
    I am making no excuses for the reverend nor am i in agreement with his methodology or idealogy but some of what he has said, if put in proper context and presented with more articulation, one may have found more sanity in his seeming antic disposition, ranting and raves or seeming madness. But unlike the reverend I say with the utmost sincerity may god bless America.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:43 am |
  7. Arthur Schmidt

    Is it possible that Pastor Wright's comments bring some clarity to Michelle Obama's reflection that it was the first time in her adult life that she had felt proud of her country?

    March 18, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  8. Eva

    Hey Erica,

    Thanks for the info. I just want to say I absolutely love you on the show. I think you are an exceptionally bright, beautiful, talented, whitty journalist. I love your segments with Anderson. I started watching 360 last summer. After watching you guys, I was hooked. I have been watching every day. You guys have soo much chemistry. I love it!! I don't think I have ever enjoyed watching any other duo as much as I enjoy watching you two. You guys are the perfect couple!

    Ohh and also, I have noticed that you haven't been subbing in for Anderson when he's gone. You know, I'm always bummed when Anderson is gone, but ever since you came to New York, I've been wanting Anderson to take a short break, so YOU can host the show. Hopefully we will see that soon...like maybe tomorrow... =)

    Take care and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    March 18, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  9. Peter

    I'm angry and disgusted with this administration, we have no money for social programs and socialized health care, but the president and his crew can bail out the banks who's profit mongering have caught up to thim. How fair is this?
    We pay for the gas, we pay for the defaulted loans, we pay for Enron, We pay for iraq, we pay for the airline's and their failures and we pay. With so much money going out of the American tax payers and workers how can we live, how can we continue to live. The president and his "Republican Machine" have cost us so much and we will still be paying. Look at the mess they made of credit card companies. Not since the the days of the great robber barrons has greed & exploitation of the American people been so successful.

    March 17, 2008 at 11:43 pm |
  10. Dr. Berry

    I am an Independent who, for the past 26 years, attend a church that is predominantly African American and Democratic. I consider my pastor to be a venerable man yet I do not embrace his political views.

    Boca Raton

    March 17, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  11. Dr. Berry

    Have you thought that it is very difficult for Obama to espouse racist views because his mother and his family in the United States is white. Most multi-racial individuals do not consider themselves to be one race or the other even though they may be consider as one race by the masses. I speak as a multi racial individual.

    Boca Raton

    March 17, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  12. Laura

    Hi Erica and the Anderson Cooper "team". Greetings. I am impressed with the variety of viewpoints you present to the public through your choice of interview strategies in bringing in experts – particularly at this moment on the economy.

    I would wish to suggest that I think the public could hear a few fundamental questions aired on 'what is a recession,' and 'how does this differ from a depression,' and 'what are the tools of the trade for economists who are forecasting our financial health for tomorrow..?' I think the public tends not to look too closely at the overall view of economics globally unless in crisis mode – as we are now.

    Therefore- we've all got quite a bit of homework to come up to speed quickly. Scanning the news at this point the strategy seems to be to let experts speak about 'what might happen' and there is a certain amount of jockeying to solidify 'who will be listened to' right now, around the economy.

    I'd ask the news media, and shows like your own, to back it up a little for everybody in the general public. Let us not only see the experts debating, give us more of a foundation. Then our viewing and listening will be more secure in our public knowledge base. I think the media could do more of a commentary on terms, definitions, reading the financial news, and visual displays of the 'onion' of the world's financial markets and how these all interact with the US in a key player position ...

    Thank you for a moment of your time.


    March 17, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  13. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    Thanks for the background info on Cabbagetown. It paints a picture of a very nice town and brings us all a sense of the community that endured this disaster.

    March 17, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  14. Megan Dresslar

    Hi Erica,
    I was watching on CNN TV news Anderson Cooper360 show it show up breaking news tornadoes touchdown in Altanta, I am praying for CNN friends and co-workers get back to work. I like to write my blog to Atlanta, CNN, people and Friends, my hearts go to people, You know I saw first time tornado my hometown, but not much at all, just few tornado. I learned lot of tornadoes weather news. I hope you and friends are alright alive. Thanks for tell me what happening last Friday night. Thanks for allowing me to watch your show tonight. And see you tonight!
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, WA

    March 17, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  15. Annie Kate

    Hi Erica

    The tornadoes are scary – we get tornadoes in Birmingham also and the night Atlanta got hit our tornado sirens were going off it seemed every few minutes. (They go off if there is a tornado sighted anyplace in the county). We got high winds and hail and a lot of rain but fortunately nothing like Atlanta got.

    You asked Friday night about a tornado striking a major city – just a few years ago a bad tornado struck Nashville Tennessee, doing a lot of damage particularly in the downtown area. One old neighborhood whose houses had been painstakingly restored was hit and a church nearby who had just finished renovations and were to have their re-dedication ceremony that weekend was leveled – the church dated back to the Civil War and all that was left was the rubble and a bell; the parish hall right next to it was not damaged.

    I hope all stay safe in Atlanta and elsewhere – the tornadoes seem to be starting up earlier this year than normal.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  16. Tammy

    I was watching my alma mater Mississippi State University play in the SEC tourney Friday night on TV when the tornado hit the Georgia Dome. I know people who were in the Dome. It was sort of freaky. It wasn't quite the same as Katrina and Rita coverage knowing those near and dear were in that, but this was surreal nevertheless. I am glad everyone was o.k. afterwards.

    I am going to sound harsh, but we put ourselves in the mess we're in with the economy. We live so far out of our means as a nation it's ridiculous. And we just need to face reality, take our lumps, learn from our mistakes, and learn to live within what we have. If we can further ourselves, earn more, and spend more comfortably, that's great. If not, we need to accept that, too, and not try to be and do something that only harms us and our families in the end. The economy will settle itself out. It won't be comfortable, but it will happen on its own. And we won't collapse as a nation in the process (we survived the Great Depression, and that was much worse that now).

    March 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  17. Kim from NY

    This is a prime example of our government NOT taking care of it's people. If you think about this, we aren't really much different than Russia, or the many other countries who control their people and leave little money for their needs. We now have Patriot's Act, and no money to buy gas to get to work. There aren't any jobs anyway, so I guess we can all sit on the telephone all day and talk about the government. Maybe then, they'll get it, since their listening, they should!

    March 17, 2008 at 7:51 pm |
  18. mona

    great post. I just wanted to say that I love your show with Andesron, you guys are the best!! I go to school at night, so I usually get home around 10:00pm, but I have your show recorded on TV, so I can watch you guys anytime.
    It was 2 weeks ago I beleive, that you guys were talking about that little bear which grew up now, and Anderson started talking in German accent. that was hellerious!
    Anyway, I'll see you guys tonight!
    best of Luck

    March 17, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
  19. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    I visited Atlanta last May and stayed at the Westin Hotel which was about 3 blocks from the CNN Centre if I had to guess (I could see the CNN Centre from my room). Seeing pictures of all the places I visited and the hotel I stayed at with blown out windows is scary and I was only a visitor. It must be heartbreaking for the people who call Atlanta home.

    Erica you did a fantastic job covering the story Friday night!!!

    March 17, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  20. Jimmy S.

    On the economy – hopefully we Americans won't just sit tight and wait for something to happen. Instead, I'm hoping we all try to make something happen. My father once told me soemthing very special that I hold on to everyday as a boy growing up in Philadelphia.

    He said, "There are 3 kinds of people in this world:

    1. Those who "make" things happen
    2. Those who "watch" things happen
    3. Those who wonder "What the hell happened?"

    What kind of person are you going to be son?"

    With that attitude comes what I am presently doing now – I am starting up my own little manufacturing business, rght in the middle of a recession. Why?

    1. I'm don't scare easy.
    2. I'd like to think i'm someone who makes things happen.

    Yes times are bad for many but we can help each other out and make something happen collectively. We can help make something very speicla happen actually – we can show the world that America does not have a glass jaw, instead it has brass......... you know 🙂

    March 17, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  21. Lilibeth

    Hi Erica, yes, I kept tuning in on CNN this weekend to get the latest on Atlanta. I take it your friends are OK? How are the CNN employees there holding up? Our thoughts are with the people of Atlanta and we hope that things will get back to normal soon.

    On Tibet...wow...it reminds me of what happened to the Buddhist monks at Myanmar. It's like deja vu, but in China. This is a scary situation. I wonder if the U.N. will step in...

    On the economy, so many things happening here...the mortgage crisis, unemployment, rising gas prices...when does it end? The next president sure will have his/her hands full...

    See you tonight!

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 17, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  22. Maggie


    I've lived with the threat of tornadoes all my life. I've seen the horror and destruction they can cause. It's so much different when it involves people you feel you know and places you are so familiar with.

    I'm so thankful you and every one else are safe. It was such a shock to see it almost as it happened.


    March 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  23. Chuck in Alabama

    Erica, We got here by using foriegn oil. It's that simple. Amazing the amount of money wasted to ensure our presence in the Middle East. I read somewhere that the world spends approximately 17 billions dollars a day on defense. That amount of money would feed, clothe, and house every person on the planet for a year.

    March 17, 2008 at 6:26 pm |

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