March 18th, 2008
06:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Money, booze, and an important red carpet update

Good afternoon… how’s that interest rate cut treating you? A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out today finds nearly two-thirds of Americans are “very concerned” about inflation. In its statement announcing the rate cut today, the Fed acknowledged inflation pressures have grown more than anticipated. This is the sixth cut in as many months.

Yes, it’s great for credit card, home equity, and car loan rates, but if inflation fears are growing and even the Fed admits they’re rising faster than expected, is another rate cut really the right answer? If Americans are worried about affording their weekly groceries, is this cut going to entice them to borrow money or spend more? I’m making Ali Velshi work overtime tonight to answer these questions for all of us – he’ll join us live at 10p ET.

It’s impossible NOT to click on this headline: “Beer, wine voters divided in prez race”

Say what?

Here’s the lowdown – beer drinkers tend to back John McCain’s White House bid, while fans of “grapes” (as my Aunt Sarah would say) lean Democratic. Overall, wine won out over beer – 31 to 28 percent. The remaining 40 percent or so say they never drink. Why the hops v. grapes division?

This last story is almost too outrageous to believe. A hotel security guard in Panama City, FL, is accused of raping an 18-year old student, and then throwing her off a sixth-floor balcony when he was done assaulting her.

Police say Shawn Wuertly had seen the young woman “several times” and took “a liking to her at some point”. Florida police issued an arrest warrant for Wuertly – he’s wanted for attempted felony murder, sexual battery and false imprisonment. Oh, and by the way, this guy also has an outstanding warrant in Indiana.

Let’s end this disturbing story on a good note, shall we? Incredibly, this young woman survived; she’s now recovering in the hospital. And a late update, police say they've caught the suspect.

OK, wait – one more thing to tell you today. Remember Gary Busey’s, umm… exuberant escapade on the red carpet? I’m sure Jennifer Garner does! He’s now apologizing, saying, "I simply greeted both actresses with joy and open arms, which is the way I would greet anyone I'm happy to meet.” Now we know what he was thinking!

– Erica Hill, 360° Correspondent

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. James in Kamiah

    I would like to apologize for my last email... as offensive as I find it all, a more appropriate email might have been for me to ask YOU what YOU were thinking.

    That doesn't make my coometns any better though. I was angry, and always do get angry when things like that get swept under the rug as if it's no big deal.

    March 19, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  2. willieloman

    Is the economy really THAT bad? If you're not selling your house and not in danger of losing your job, you really just have to grit your teeth at the gas station and maybe but out a few nights out to eat...

    March 18, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  3. James in Kamiah

    Wait wait wait... gary Bussey Hugs soemone and it's news?! Dumb.

    Why should anyone feel bad about a kind gesture, much less feel they have to explain it or be so scutinized because of it that they are forced to explain it? She shoudl just accept it graciously and say thank you Gary, it's nice to see you too.

    As far as the car chase where the man gives his girl the rent money...
    What right do any of you have to make fun of a scene where the woman, a non suspect, and noncombative person is TACKLED, as her boyfriend, parol violator or not, is viciously beaten? By those who are obligated to protect and serve?
    I see an excessive and unnecessary use of force case coming up where the parol violator still gets paid.

    Gee, that type of law enforcement sure is effective.

    James Foley
    Kamiah, Idaho

    P.S. That video of the police officer[s] involved beating makes me wanna run over some random cop. ya, ye might wanna refrain from broadcasting such obviously prejudiced and violent actions... after all, violence begets violence...
    Sounds fair, right?

    March 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  4. lnab

    Our economy is getting ready to tank big time. Where do we go with our 401k? Good question because most us are tied into things like mutuals with little to no flexibility. Does the government try to stem the tide of home foreclosures (thereby protecting home owners in trouble and those in neighborhoods watching their homes devalue)...no, they choose to bail out the industry idiots that brought us this mess.

    Just watch, BearSterns will end up paying a host of golden parachutes to the guys who ran it into the ground. Then the fed will print some more money until til it takes a wheel barrel full to go grocery shopping!

    4 more years of neo-con economic theory and we are going to be learning how to speak Mandarin!

    March 18, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  5. Frances Scott

    Erica, you're adorable--but you talk too fast! Slow down a little, please. Love you and Andersen.........

    March 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  6. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    The economy is very inflated where I live. Houses are still too close to half a million, to over a million. Gas is about 3.50 a gallon and groceries sky high. Every time the feds lower the rates it kills the interest that CD's pay. So it's a dicey economy all around.
    The beer and wine story? I live in wine country, so I'll take the 5th. Take Care

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    March 18, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  7. Bob Cecil

    This is to all of the reporters at CNN. Do any of you know that the Fed. is not owned or under control of the government. This part of history is a misconception handed down from generation to generation. I am outraged with this latest buyout of Bear by another Big bank. The topper is that the money to buy the company came from the Fed. as if they were helping us out. The fed is nothing more than a central bank. It was created by the most powerful men in the country. If you asked Americans if they thought the government was in control of the money they would say yes. Would you as a media of the people please point out and investigate this fact.

    March 18, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  8. Lilibeth

    Thanks, Erica, for your interview with Ali tonight. I was waiting for it...I thought the whole show might be about Mr. Obama's speech. I should have been more patient...

    March 18, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  9. keith leadhead

    By making money on less money invested, this enables banks to make money more cheaply. By making more money and still backing it on the same G.N.P this will at first lower the value of our dollar. Although it will help people invest in America a little easier, the foreign governments we trade with will want more of our dollars to compensate for the actual worth of the dollar that trading day. This will directly effect inflation.

    Raising the value of the American dollar is not going to be a quick fix. It will take some time and will depend on if the new money introduced to our economy will be put to good use. That means we need to strengthen our G.N.P(Gross National Product). The GNP Is determined by the goods and services a country produces. For Years we have been shipping our goods over seas, now some of the telecommunications services as well. We have become a country of services that makes nothing. What are we worth to the world economically?

    The only way to become a strong Nation again is to stop importing from countries that we don’t export to. Make stiff tariffs to trade with countries that we have a trade deficient with us. We need to invest in America and keep this money at home! STOP SHOPPING AT WALLMART TO START!!

    March 18, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  10. Maryann Sivilich

    This has nothing to do with your blog; it's an observation by myself and also my sister in upstate NY-we think you and Anderson are great together, and you have some type of "chemistry" going on between you–whether you admit it or not! Every time you say something cute or personal to Anderson-he blushes profusely and he's always kidding around with you on the set. So cute! Maybe we're hopeless romantics–but there's something there!

    March 18, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  11. Jack

    I thought your commentary on that video of the guy throwing money to his girlfriend, was repulsive – good or bad, he was clearly being punched while being held down by several cops. The car door caught on his abdomen as they closed it – whoever was guilty or not, was that something to chuckle over and call "romantic"?

    March 18, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  12. Janna

    Thanks for the lowdown, Erica. That hotel story just makes me FURIUOS! How can a security company hire someone with an outstanding warrant? The hotel and security company should be put out of business. Inexcusable.
    As for the beer/wine voters....You must be kidding me. This is just mocking the divisive musings that have torn apart the election, right?
    By the way, I do enjoy them both equally. It's just a matter of what I'm eating with it. -and I'm not saying who I support today 😉

    March 18, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  13. Jolene

    Well, that explains it then. I like beer and wine equally so it is no wonder I still haven't chosen a candidate yet!

    As far as Gary Busey goes, I still think he was just aiming for Jennifer's cheek but missed and caught her neck instead! LOL! 🙂

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    March 18, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  14. Kathleen, NC

    I really can't see how this rate cute is going to affect me personally or most individuals. My credit card companies aren't going to lower their rates, my mortgage rate isn't going to change and prices are going to continue to climb. The biggest impact that I see, will be the lower interest rate I will receive on my savings account.

    I am also compasionate to what Heather said. I pay $450 a month for medical insurance; have a $5000 deductable – this months medical bills aren't going to be lowered by this rate cut.

    March 18, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  15. Ginny Peyton, CO

    On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, I am finding it hard to focus on the "beer vs wine" debate. I am focusing on the future of this country, and, so, the future of my children. My husband and I made the decision 29 years ago to have children. We based this decision on the assumption that they would grow up to enjoy the same privileges we had come to expect: a good job, suited to our abilities if we chose to pursue that career, health care, and a safe and infinitely exciting world to discover.
    Here we are now. My oldest child will be 28 in July. My children are hard workers but that by no means means they will enjoy the same benefits of their hard work that we did. For the first time, both of my children have health care from their places of employment. That does not mean they will have that health care next week. They may be laid off from those jobs next week because of an economy that is spiralling downward so rapidly that economists have yet to identify just what kind of economy it is.
    Lastly, our world is not that same safe and exciting world I grew up eager to explore. Our world is terrifying at best. I firmly believe that our current administration is responsible for the fear many Americans feel when faced with human beings of other cultures. I am fortunate to be able to explore this world at this time in my life and see for myself that a multicultural world is to be treasured. I am also weary of trying to explain what has happened to the country of my youth. My stock answer has become-"I did not vote for him", and that says more than anything. I do love my country. I refuse to be called unpatriotic because I do not believe in a leader who is destroying our world.
    Sorry, Erica, if the beer and wine issue just doesn't engage me tonight. Maybe after tomorrow night, after I've been to a vigil for peace in my city and spoken with friends and strangers about our world, I will be able to enter into that debate.
    For tonight, Peace.
    Peyton, CO

    March 18, 2008 at 9:43 pm |
  16. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Erica,
    I'm looking foward to hearing from Ali Velshi tonight on the show. He is so knowledgeable and has good insight. I also enjoy watching Your Money on the weekends. Thanks – see you later.

    March 18, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  17. Jill

    Well... exuberant escapade.... I don’t really think so Erica,... Not towards Garner anyway... I cannot see where Gary Busey had anything to apologize for he seemed to me like he was not wanting to make her feel left out... I think it was sweet he did... understanding, this man knows Jesus... And... I seen it... Ryan Seacrest, made a point of directing him to her as he was going on and on about him... now there was the exuberant escapade... Trying to get Ryan attention to talk to him.

    I really think some of this stuff is staged...

    Maybe Jen’s feeling a little weird these days with Ben by Jimmy Kimmel’s side instead of on the Red carpet with her? Huh...

    Ben and Jimmy...Umm... Now I really liked Matt Damon, but I hated the use of the F word in “Good Will Hunting” and I really don’t care to hear who’s F’in who on the airwaves on my television... Private jokes should remain private. And if it’s not a joke... Maybe it should be on SNL its still not entertainment at its best to be on my cable station in the middle of the afternoon.

    Glad the women was ok, I hope our American can be back to its self soon, I miss the days when we were a much happier Nation. I know I want better for our little ones...

    March 18, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  18. Annie Kate

    I don't drink beer or wine – iced tea is what I go for every time. And I could cheerfully vote for either party this November depending on who the Democratic nominee turns out to be. Does that make me wishy-washy?

    On the interest rate – if the cut brings down the interest on credit card debt already out there it might help.. My mortgage is fixed rate. What would really help is for some of the good paying computer jobs to come back to this country. At least that is what would help my household.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 18, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  19. Barb in Ia.

    As alwas big buisness is takeing care of big buisness. Come to Iowa where places are closing the doors and people losing thier jobs. I also know people that don't get included on the unemployment rate because it has run out and still don't have jobs. Chances are things are going to get worse before it gets better

    March 18, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  20. Dominique, VA

    The interest rate cuts are just going make matters worse. Americans are going to use those cuts to go buy the latest shoes, botox injections, or some other pointless product thinking that they are saving money. In the end they are just spending more money that they could otherwise be spending on gas and groceries.

    March 18, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  21. Lisa

    I haven't seen the lower interest rates reflected on my credit cards. They are still in the high teens to high 20 percentage. So nope, the interest cut certainly isn't going to have me out shopping and spurring the economy. I already did that - and now I'm in debt to show for it.

    As for the Hops v. Grapes debate, well I do prefer the grapes (healthier, especially when dark chocolate is added) over Hops. And yes, I'm a Democrat. Still undecided, however, on how I will vote in the November election.

    March 18, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  22. Tammy

    I was a straight up Crown Royal whiskey drinker in a past life, am a woman with a masters and PhD, and am for McCain so does that make me an outlier? Just curious.

    And all the lower interest rates will do is help people buy more things they really can't afford even though cheaper rates will deceive them into thinking they can, increase their debt, and put us in greater danger in the long run. I'm not an economist, but how no brainer does this need to get before those in charge figure it out?

    March 18, 2008 at 8:22 pm |
  23. Chris

    What Obama did today in his speech took conviction and guts. As a pastors wife I can tell you don't always agree with the head of your church, but you don't change "families" because you don't always agree with every thing they say or believe.

    March 18, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  24. Heather

    I don't think the Fed cutting the interest rate will make my life any better. My husband works for one of the biggest(cheapest and greed filled)health ins companies in the country. I went from paying $25 to $35 for brand drugs now I pay $60 so I'm paying $250 a month. So what little money we had to pay off medical credit card debt is barely enough. I still had people calling to collect their money. I just hope the dollar somehow goes up in value so gas is more affordable.

    March 18, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  25. Kayle, CT

    First off, thank you for asking about the rate cuts, I woke up this morning expecting it to be a cold unpleasant day, then I remembered "Oh wait the feds are cutting the rates today" and the day went on to be just great. Just think, all the feds have to do is cut rates everyday for the next year and a half and maybe we'll see some improvements.

    You should get Mr. Busey for the Voice of 360. I'm sure if you asked him he couldn't afford turning down air time. Plus you would get one very Busey performance.

    March 18, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  26. Cheryl, RI

    The gov't is afraid to say 'inflation'. Does the gov't think if they don't say the word 'inflation' it won't be happening?If anyone has looked at grocery prices, energy prices, municipal taxes, ...yes of course it's inflation!

    March 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  27. Lilibeth

    Hi Erica, another rate cut would hopefully stimulate the economy, but you raise a good point on how it could help inflation. I look forward to Ali's perspective tonight.

    The "beer vs. wine" headline caught my eye. It's right on the money for me! LOL! What about those who equally like beer and wine? Who would they rather vote for?

    Yikes on the hotel security guard story. I'm glad the woman is fine. It's crazy though that the police didn't know about his outstanding arrest warrant in Indiana until after he was released.

    Gary Busey...my guess is he wasn't thinking at all...

    See you tonight!

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 18, 2008 at 7:26 pm |
  28. Michael, NC

    Wow erica, that link was surprisingly accurate...if you ask me (and I'm not a wine drinker). Gotta love these chill posts, alternative views to how the numbers stack up...always good, enjoyable posts from you.

    March 18, 2008 at 7:11 pm |
  29. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    I heard Ali earlier today saying that the Fed cutting the interest rate would affect those with adjustable mortgages, but not fixed rate mortgages. Wouldn't it make sense for the Fed to work out a lower fixed rate interest rate so those who are stuck with the adjustable mortgages might be able to transition into a fixed rate mortgage? Maybe then we might see less foreclosures.

    March 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm |