April 14th, 2008
06:46 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: How bad does it have to get?

I know that for many Americans, the distance you have to travel to work to make sure your families have food on the table makes gas prices an enormous and very real concern. What amazes me is that we hear so much less about the other rising prices and their affect on people around the world. Grain prices are skyrocketing so fast, the president of the World Bank says they could translate to seven lost years in the fight against poverty. That’s a tough number to even wrapo your head around.

You may remember a few weeks ago I blogged about the lines and violence over government issued bread in Egypt. The price of ingredients had made bread too expensive for many Egyptians, and the government just couldn’t keep up with the increased demand for its subsidized bread. Now we’re told the price of rice is up 75 percent in some markets; wheat has skyrocketed 120 percent more than doubling the cost of a loaf of bread, according to the World Bank. The affects are likely to be felt for years.

In Boston, the MBTA – the agency that runs the T or subway system – launched a new ad campaign today to crack down on gropers.
This is sad and sick on so many levels. First, who in their right mind thinks it’s ok to grope anyone, ever?! Second, there really needs to be an ad campaign to remind people it’s not only inappropriate, but wrong AND a crime? You can watch the ads says, "Rub against me, and I'll expose you." Amen.

And from inappropriate behavior in public to legal brothels… no good way to make that turn!

I don’t remember a field trip like this when I was in school… though maybe my male friends would have enjoyed it more. Capping off this semester’s course on American consumption, a dozen students from Randolph College visited Nevada’s Chicken Ranch brothel. What could they learn at a brothel, you ask? A lot – and, no, not knowledge of the gutter variety. When else would you get to ask a woman who works there why she does it? Sure, the brothel field trip may seem unconventional, but perhaps there’s a lot for all of to learn.

Finally, on a personal note, a big THANK YOU for your kind words before, during and after Friday’s show. We are so lucky to have smart, dedicated viewers with us every night!

– Erica Hill, 360° CorrespondentComments to the 360° blog are moderated. What does that mean?


Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Natalie

    Rising price of gas? Commuting long hours? Give me a break! It is all consumer driven. Americans want a large back yard, manicured lawns, a pool, 4-5 bedrooms at the very least, and guess what? These options are not available in town. Just lower the standard a bit, get by with 3 bedrooms, small yard, and go to your local fitness club for a swim, and (what a miracle!) you won't have to drive that far to work! And gas will cost a lot less!

    April 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  2. Amanda

    Erica, with supplies of food running low everywhere and prices rising it seems surprising that this crises has developed so rapidly. In South Africa we had a situation this year where one day we had electricity and the next day we faced sever shortages and now we have regular power shedding going on.

    It goes against logic, but it seems as if these phenomena do work on a tipping point basis where the crises builds and then suddenly erupts into visible and serious consequences. The food issue is reaching tipping point at the moment. It seems as if we need to pay much more attention to these building trends, because once the crises is there it is difficult to turn around again.

    Thanks for your blogs and for highlighting such a diversity of topics!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  3. Eric

    How about the guy in NY who has been charged with this groping 57 times??? He should have been banned from the NYC subways.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  4. K_Patrick

    Hey Erica…the groping story is just crazy. I can’t believe some people in this crazy world of ours…*sigh*

    Anyway, you did an AMAZING job on Friday!! I just wish you could have subbed the whole week. Nothing against Campbell. She seems very sweet. 360 is just not right for her, that’s all.

    Hope to see you anchor more in the future. I told Anderson if he didn’t watch out, it’ll be Erica Hill 360 soon!

    See ya tonight!

    April 14, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Mary - san francisco

    Truly, the "bitter" comments of Senator Obama, is just a demonstration of of his ARROGANCE, and he 's being DIVISIVE, and ELITIST. We do not deserve such candidate running for presidency.

    April 14, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  6. Michael, NC

    Gas, grain, oil, all these things are going up, which is in turn making groceries go up in general due to expensive shipping costs. It's hitting Americans and citizens across the globe from so many angles, I don't know how anyone can stay on top.
    Ugh. Groping? I have a sexual health class at ECU and we discussed this the other day...this and people who rub against others in crowded places for their own fulfillment! Thats probably the sickest and most disturbing thing I could imagine while standing in a crowd of people. It makes me feel dirty just blogging about it. 🙁

    I am glad you took your turn in the "big boy chair"...bout time. Hell of a job too. I always love your segments on the show, but your presence for the full hour made me watch instead of blog! Thats when you know you did a good job!

    April 14, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  7. Whitney B in Canada

    It is a little sad that they have to have ads letting the public know that groping is wrong. Don't most people learn that around childhood?

    Anyways, it was great to see you anchoring, Erica! I used to watch Prime News all the time, so it was nice to see you in the anchor's chair again!

    April 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  8. K_Patrick

    Hey Erica...the groping story is just crazy. I can't believe some people in this crazy world of ours...*sigh*

    Anyway, you did an AMAZING job on Friday!! I just wish you could have subbed the whole week. Nothing against Campbell. She seems very sweet. 360 is just not right for her, that's all.

    Hope to see you anchor more in the future. I told Anderson if he didn't watch out, it'll be Erica Hill 360 soon! 😉

    See ya tonight!

    April 14, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    A field trip to a brothel – that has to be a first. Had to be an interesting trip!

    The rising cost of bread and in some areas the shortage of clean water put a lot of people in very bad straits – its really bad when you can't even have a diet of bread and water.

    You did great Friday; I really enjoyed the show and am looking forward to you anchoring more in the future.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 14, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  10. Renee


    We were chatting about rising food prices tonight during dinner trying to explain to the children how prices rise and we have to be good stewards with are funds.

    My husband came up with a good question for you. ADM seems to have the market cornered as the Supermarket to the World. At least that is their marketing plan on NPR.

    What does their lobbying budget look like for the use of ethanol in our gasoline? Is there a connection? Is ADM driving up the world wide commodity market by using corn as their excuse? Seems like a job for Drew and the 360 interns. Sounds like a 360 special - Inside the Corn Fields: What Shucking, Butter, Corn & Gas have in Common?

    It is always refreshing to see a bright person on television!

    April 14, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  11. Bill in Nebraska


    The cost of wheat and flour? I have to tell you that it has gotten bad here in the US. It is all foods now. I live in an area that has 3 Casino's and every couple of months they offer a deal that is if you gamble we will comp you a meal. So when this is going is really the only time my family can afford to eat red meat or seafood or even fruits and veggies. We go over and hit the penny slots with $5 each and play for the 30 minutes we need to and then go eat. There is no way I could afford to buy anything that is on there menu and make it at home. It is unbelievable that the richest country in the world is allowing this to happen.

    I was talking with one of my Uncles that is still a farmer. I asked him about the rising prices and he said that he was not just making more per acre but he was still getting his check from Uncle Sam to not farm some of his land. I was going to plant the extra 6 sections he gets paid to not farm but he was told he would be fined if he did. I have no idea what the government is thinking anymore.

    Groping on public transportation? That is bad??? LOL. I think it is totally over the line. I mean these guys just ned to think about what they would do if it was there mothers, grand mothers, daughters, that were being groped. I was on a bus in Seattle one day and the driver had to make a major lane change and quickly. I ended up in a very nice ladies lap. I spent the next 30 minutes of the trip making sure I had not offended her or upset her for something that was beyond my control. These guys just need to be smacked down at least a couple of times by some of these woman.

    Collage kids to a brothel? Well about the only thing I can say to this is, at least it was not junior high kids. With female teachers from Florida. What is in the water down there anyway?

    Friday, You did a great job and I for one was very happy to see you running the show. It looked like you had lots of fun. Keep up the good work there.

    April 14, 2008 at 7:57 pm |
  12. Stacy

    Erica, the issue of food shortages is extremely troubling and likely to get worse. I was watching a few minutes of American Morning before work today and was pleased to see economist Jeffrey Sachs talking about the consequences of ethanol. Essentially, we're taking food and putting it in our gas tanks. There seems to be a conventional wisdom with the public that ethanol is one of the best ways to go in terms of alternative energy, but after reading about the subject, it seems to me ethanol is a scam and is only hurting the world's food supply. I'd love to see an issue like this covered on 360.

    April 14, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Maya

    It seems so long ago now – but I remember as a teenager traveling in buses in India and constantly being tormented by "gropers" or "eve teasers" as they were called. One learned how to automatically avoid these guys and turn a deaf ear to constant comments from the "guys in the back". I don't know if I could survive those years again.
    The sad part is that this was so common – almost in all major cities in India. And I am sure that there are people from other countries who have similar stories –
    It is something to be outraged about but so very very common...at least in some parts of the world. Can't say I miss it!


    April 14, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  14. Lilibeth

    On rising food prices...it seems part of the answer to bring down the price of food is to bring down the price of oil, which makes perfect sense. It shows us once again that everything is interconnected, and with that said, there are no easy solutions. This is a very serious problem, and you pose a very good question. I hope the global community doesn't wait until it "gets that bad" before coming up with solutions.

    It’s sad that an anti-groping campaign has to be launched to protect women against gropers. Personally, if I were groped by a man, I would give him a strong kick in the groin and show no mercy! He’ll be writhing in pain for hours…

    For some reason, I can’t get the brothel link to work. Sounds like an interesting study though!

    Erica, congratulations again on doing such a fantastic job on Friday. I really hope that you will anchor the show from now on everytime Anderson's off.

    See you tonight!

    Edmonds, Washington

    April 14, 2008 at 7:23 pm |
  15. McGee, The OC

    With the cost of grains going up so steeply and rapidly, it would appear that this may be some form of manipulation or rampart specuulation by traders within the commodities markets. Hopefully, these circumstances will be quite short in duration.

    It is quite interesting that the problem is international in scope. Some deeper research on grain harvests, storage utilization, demand, and government subsidies might well shed some revealing light on just what it is that is happening here. It's a shame for this situation to be a further burden those who least can afford their daily sustenance.

    By the way, good job filling in for AC, Erica . . . it would be a wise choice for the powers-that-be to permanently make you the #1 backup to AC.

    April 14, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  16. Kristien,Antwerp, Belgium

    Hey Erica,

    prices here in Belgium have been going up too. It's not quit as dramatic as in Egypt (yet), but everyone is concerned about it.

    Getting groped, yeah, that sure doesn't sound like much fun to me and it is sad that they would have to run ads to discourage it.

    You so deserved all the praise, you did a great jon on Friday!!

    See you tonight, Kristien

    April 14, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  17. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Erica, the price of bread n rice all over is going up, one would think that at least bread n rice would stay about the same for the people in Egypt, but you're right how bad will it get?, OMG, the nerve of some people thinking they can just grope you?, is that for reals?..(I meant to write you on Friday., to tell you what a great job!, but thats everyday.see u tonight.)

    April 14, 2008 at 7:02 pm |