June 5th, 2008
04:01 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: All over the place

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

An update on the food crisis today from the UN food agency. The good news? More than a billion dollars in food aid has been pledged to meet emergency needs. There’s also been a pledge by delegates to invest more in agriculture – the goal is to boost food production by 50 percent by 2030. But while these are important steps, they don’t solve the problem. Find out what else is in the works here.


This story is INSANE. One of our senior producers sent it to me last night, thinking it may be good for today’s blog. Wow. I hope you’re sitting down.

In Texas, a family is suing to keep a Justice of the Peace from ordering spankings in his courtroom. Yep, ordering spankings. But not a quick swat on the bum with Mom or Dad’s hand – with a paddle. A paddle “of such heft and weight that an individual striking an animal with one might be reasonably reported for cruelty to an animal.” That’s how the attorney for this family described it.

And if Gustavo Garza refused to paddle his stepdaughter, he alleges the JP said the 14 year old would be found guilty of a criminal offense and fined $500 for truancy. Are you kidding me?

The JP isn’t commenting… though everyone else is. Personally, I don’t think there is EVER a time you should strike your child with a paddle, a belt or any object.


OK, stepping off the soapbox… and leaving you with a treat. It’s also some ammunition for all you packrats!

A gold cup passed down from a junk dealer to his son isn’t really junk. It’s a Persian artifact from 300 or 400 BC, that just went for $100k at auction. Not bad… if only the stuff under your bed were worth that much! My dust bunnies and summer clothes definitely are not.

Filed under: Erica Hill
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. michelle: Ont,Canada

    Dear Erica

    Wow some birthdfay gift for Anderson tonight he looked so uncomfrotable and shy about it.I hope he can master it and have some fun with it a t home. Well about the about the sapnking with the paddle it's just teerible to hit a child like that with any object maybe this judge should get waked a couple of times ,a tatse of his own medecine!

    Thanks for the story Erica and for being so compassionate.

    Michelle D.

    June 6, 2008 at 9:17 am |
  2. Bren from Atlanta

    Some people cannot raise their own crops. Their government and rebels are killing them. The climate prohibits it. The NGO's provide proper security at their distribution sites to be sure there is no corruption. My grandson's father is from Ivory Coast and in a recent uprising they cornered all the men in his village, surrounded by machetes and burned them alive! This is our business and this is who my heart cries for. I fear you speak too quickly and not out of personal knowledge. In Appalachia, there are many families who would do anything to do more, to have work, to have what you and I have. Are you their judge? I for one, will continue to work to help those in need. Occassionally if I get taken advantage of...so be it...but in my personal experience...the majority really need it, appreciate it and I have seen lives turned around. Skepticism only turns hearts black with despair.

    June 5, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  3. Raymond Duke Texas

    The food crisis will always be there if people aren't responsible enough to raise crops and controll their population. Why try to feed and better your status when you get free hand outs. Besides it is a waste of time . The war lords steal all the food and sale it on the black market to the ones that can afford it. The only ones that I feel sorry for is the kids that are born in that mess with irresponsible parents. As far as I am concerned them grown people need to do what an old country saying goes "swim or drown."

    June 5, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  4. Bren from Atlanta

    Oh Erica, Please ask people to read the full article...did you catch the phrase, "But long-term plans to address hunger, low food production, and high food prices were left open to further discussions." Typical rhetoric from the UN, the same people who sent troops to Rwanda and watched them slaughter people while they stood impotent even with guns and artillery in their hands. The UN consistently speaks big and holds big summits but delivers very little. I do not put my hopes in them. Again, won by one. It will take individuals and individual organizations to make the difference and to guarantee the safe, timely delivery of the foodstuffs. "Countries" are only multi-organizations in action.

    As the the JP, in criminal trials, in murder we can prosecute those, like Manson who order them. In a rape, we can prosecute those who may instigate it even by cheering and clapping...but we sanction child abuse by the order of a civil servant's orders?? Are we going to hell in a handbasket?? That JP needs to be disbarred and beaten with his own paddle to boot. Shame on him. A child who is hit learns to hate and hit back. Period.

    Have a great nite m'lady

    June 5, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  5. Saera El Paso, TX

    geez... kids should never be hit- that only makes them afraid of the person who hit them, not doing the wrong thing :p
    besides, hitting kids is just a way of teaching them that violence is in fact the answer
    which is obviously wrong
    justice of peace must have missed the memo....

    June 5, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  6. Buckeyes 4 Obama

    Hi Erica!

    I've got a question for you: Since we need to produce more food – for ourselves, hungery, disaster-stricken parts of the world – why does the Government continue to keep us "hooked" on Arab oil AND waste our food sources (corn in particular) for use as "ethanol"? Why are we not utilizing Switchgrass, hemp (which I know the govt. keeps hemp "illegal" because someone might tie together 5 bales of it a get a tiny "buzz"), or just the corn REFUSE? I researched these alternative cellulotic ethanol sources & cannot figure out why no one (other than the Univ. of Oklahoma) is jumping on this money train! Can you or ANYONE explain this to me LOGICALLY? I'd appreciate it!

    Thanks, Erica, & you all have a great night!!!

    P.S. Wouldn't you LOVE to be a fly on HRC's living room wall right about now? Wonder what they're discussing?!?!?

    June 5, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  7. Kiran

    Hey Erica,

    I always love your stories. Your blogs are always so interesting to read. I think its because you have such a sweet and fun personality!

    Ohh and also, Erica I loved the segments yesterday with you and Anderson! He looked soo excited to open his gift, lol, it was too cute!
    Did he finally figure out how to use it when he went home? I hope he mentions it on the show. LoL, we all knew he was going to get the WIi for his birthday. I head its really addictive, once you start playing!
    I agree with what your mom said yesterday too. You and Anderson have a great sense of humor. You always make Anderson laugh, and I agree, you guys do compliment each other. I always enjoy watching the chemistry between the two of you. I'm sure many other viewers do as well! =)

    June 5, 2008 at 8:50 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    Court ordered child abuse – now that's a new one. That judge needs to be removed from the court room and given some filing tasks to occupy his time.

    The story on the Persian antique cup was marvelous. You hear of this sort of stuff happening from time to time and always wonder if its a fable or not. Glad to know this one is real and that such a treasure is now known about and will be preserved.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 5, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  9. Spencer

    That food aid needs to be pledged here in the U.S., there are a lot of people going hungry here in the U.S. as well...We need to feed our on people before we start any where else..In other words take care of home first...

    June 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  10. jessie from Canada

    Hi Erica, Insane story from Canada!! Female employee at Nathaniels Restaurant in Owen Sound Ontario raised $2,700.00 for cancer research by having her head shaved but looses her job. Owner Dan Hilliard tells Stacy Fearnall her appearance is "appalling" so she cannot return to work until her hair grows back.

    June 5, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  11. Cheryl , South Africa

    H Erica,
    The food crisis- I live in a small town called Musina on the South African/ Zimbabwe border, and I unfortunately get to see the effects of the food crisis daily with illegal immigrants sneaking into the country- most of them crossing a river full of crocodiles with their children in tow for a meal.

    There is this woman in her 60’s and she is taking care of her 6 grandchildren, all under the age of ten alone in Zimbabwe. They go to the shops with 3 wheelbarrows filled with money to buy one loaf of bread for her family for the week, but lately there is no bread or flour and she can’t afford anything else because mostly the prices of food will double in the matter of hours. So you know what she does, she walks over 150km to the border crosses the Crocodile river, hides in the veld for the border police sometimes for days so that she can get to town, where she washes cars and windows for a days till she has enough money to buy 20kg flour and then she crosses the river again and walks 150km home. She does this twice a month and has to leave the children all alone while she’s gone, and they live solely on that flour.

    The real tragedy is that she is not the only one doing this, every day buses full of illegals are deported back to Zimbabwe only to sneak back the next day. Even with the recent horrific xenophobic attacks in South Africa they still risk their lives for a loaf of bread, because they know no one is going to help them.And sadly enough they're right.

    June 5, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  12. Alexander

    Hmm, Erica. Some interesting notes today, lol.: ) Um, I am totally with you regarding the 'paddling' theme. Entirely with you on that one.: ) Hmm. Oh, c'mon, Erica. Don't sell yourself short. You never know what a good pair of 'Erica dust bunnies' might go for on the market.: P : ))))

    June 5, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  13. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    My Goodness Erica~
    Texas always embarrasses me. A lot of good things happen here too it's just, well, there are a lot and I mean A LOT of CRAZY people out there~Everywhere!
    Anywho, I think that it is absolutely outlandish that a Justice of the Peace would want to paddle with a board~Pretty sicko and redneck.
    I would however like to invite all of you to my town Nacogdoches,TX.
    where it is not perfect but I work with a lot of good people who help terminally ill children and others who rescue animals.
    We also have a lot of theatre here!
    So, not all people are bad here in this large State. ( I noticed a couple of Texas bashers on the response)
    Thanks Erica! Ya'll come 😀

    June 5, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  14. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    I guess many of us survived a paddle and the old washing our mouths out with soap, if we were disrespectful. But times have changed and perhaps this judge didn't get that memo yet. Maybe with this lawsuit, he will change his mind for good.
    As far as junk or antiques go..As they say, sometimes the difference between garage sale junk and an antique, is who's having the sale!
    I better check out the junk under my bed. Dust bunnies have a way of hiding a gem. You never know!

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  15. Heather


    I liked how you took one for the 360 team and showed Anderson how to use his birthday gift. It was clear he had absolutely NO idea what was going on. It was really funny. He looked incredibly uncomfortable. Anyway, you know that show on another network "The Antiques Roadshow" where people bring in their stuff sometimes on flatbeds and maybe are lucky enough to be on TV and get the good news. Well one time I watched it and a guy who appeared very prepared claiming his antique item had been appraised before and that his mother was a appraiser. Well he was totally humiliated on national television! Not only was his antique porcelain china dish bowl not from this restaurant that our George Washington went to. It wasn't even dated back to that time period. The guy was not happy and his face red. Some people who are not prepared are very lucky. That guy with that beautiful gold cup and that is pretty was very very lucky. It makes me want to check my boxes etc.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  16. KAB

    Texas - It's always Texas. We should just let them secede and become part of Mexico. It would solve a lot of problems.... Illegal immigration, polygamy, Waco,.... The fun never ends in Texas.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Jenn/Monrovia, CA

    You never know what dust bunnies could sell for on Ebay....

    I about fell out of my seat reading that story on the golden cup. As someone who specialized in that area of history in school, I would have died if I had found a cup like that in my old possessions. of course, not bein an expert on Achmaemenid gold, I probably would have just assumed it was an ugly, Art Decco drinking cup.

    Yeah, I was an ANCIENT HISTORY major not an ART HISTORY major...

    June 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    In all the food crisis talk it seems we often forget the true victims, kids who didn't ask to be born into the third world and have limited chances as things currently stand to ever make it out. It saddens me. Our policies should be based on taking care of them and not our own benefit (as is often the case). What we do for the least of us says much about who we are (whether is helping feed them, improve their nation, or attain and maintain freedom from oppressive regimes).

    As for the spanking story, that justice needs his head examined. Punishment is an ineffective way to modify behavior. Of course, we all know after the FLDS case how well TX justice protects kids anyway. Makes me all fuzzy just thinking about it.

    I am happy to hear that keeping old stuff pays off sometimes. Further proof that my being a pack rat of sorts can be beneficial. One woman's trash is another's treasure.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  19. Vilmarie

    Dear Erica,

    Thank you for all your news updates. No one should ever use corporate punishment in order to discipline a child. There are other ways to discipline. Children are a gift and we should treat them as such.

    I'm lookign forward to tonight's show.

    All the best.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:27 pm |


    Up until about 5 years ago i lived just outside of Nashville and my kids went to a religous private school. It was school policy to paddle for certain infractions UNLESS the parents specifically had a note on file that they did not want this to happen.

    You cannot believe my kids attitudes each year when we had to refile this letter. (It lasted about 1 month) until the following year.

    June 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  21. Lilibeth

    As a child, I was spanked, but not brutally as you described here. I was spanked not lightly but enough to know what I did wrong. I see arguments for and against it. Some parents think this is the only way a child will learn their lesson...I don’t know...but I agree that under no circumstances should the child suffer any form of physical abuse or any abuse for that matter.

    I have hockey memorabilia that I can probably sell. I keep them in a box and I don’t care about them anymore, except for anything related to Wayne Gretzky. He’s the Great One and will always be my favorite player.

    See you tonight,
    Edmonds, Washington

    June 5, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  22. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    On the food aid –

    We sent food to Myanmar and it sat there for 30 days before we were turned away and left without leaving it! How can we help these countries in need when we are not allowed in?

    And with the prices of food going up, those of us barely making it are starting to sink....it really is feed the gas tank or feed the family....SAD.

    We (the world community) need to stop trying to put a dollar value on what we can do and just help each other to better society as a whole.

    Wages – minimum wage – should cover the basics of good food, proper clothing and shelter and transportation....It doesn't even come close! And being at about twice or three times minimum wage, doesn't even cover everything. Something needs to happen to fix this broken system.

    The economy is bad because the majority at the base don't have money to put into the system...can't buy from the businesses if you don't have money to spend.

    Corn is not a good fuel alternative, we need sugar (alchool) ethanol, that would be better and we could live without eating that stuff.

    Peace Officer –

    I agree with you and so does the Bible...you don't use corpal punishment on children. They listen better if you just tell them what is wrong and occasionally raise your voice to let them know you are really upset. Keep control of them from the start and you don't need these tactics. IT is like the guy who went to that country and his punishment was caning!....so barbaric.

    I thought corpal punishment was illegal? My elementary school principal used to swat people with his hand or ruler as punishment (not me I was a good kid).

    Treasures –

    Sad that our world runs on money. I personally like things because I like them, not because of their value. If he was planning to pitch it and it turned out to have value, all the better for his family. Hopefully it will go to a museum or other archaeological expert for history sake. and not sit on some collector's shelf as a bragging tool.

    June 5, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  23. Sharon from Indy

    I believe what concerns me is how the food crisis is an avenue for those who will financially benefit from the crisis. For example, Wall Street is encouraging investors to put their wealth into agriculture throughout the world. Sounds good, right? Humanitarian, right?

    Well, I am alarmed with the idea that many will benefit from the misery of others. If food or grain is in demand but low in actual product, the prices may go up....sort of like oil. Couldn't the growth of agricultural products be manipulated like how the oil companies manipulate gasoline refineries to increase prices for consumers?

    I would hate to see the living and the dying become part of the food process based on money rather than need.

    What's next, the rights to water?

    June 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  24. Kim

    It would be interesting to know what the girl did...
    On the other hand, if we don't allow political prisoners to be beaten, why would we allow that to be done to our children? Is he even allowed to have rules like this from a legal point of view?

    June 5, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  25. Lora

    I am a criminal justice student and I feel this J.P. feels he has the right to do whatever in their own courtroom they can. But again spanking has always been an issue. I feel this is stepping over the line but again what did she do to get this? He may in a weird way just want the parents to actually take control of punishing the child for her actions. That what I feel don't know but that is a crazy story. Thanks for sharing.

    June 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  26. maria r de guzman

    i am an ordinary citizen and i will support the democratic candidate just in hope of ending this 8 year of crisis, but no matter how hard i try to be optimistic, i am saddened that america, much less the republicans, will ever let a black president yet at this time. i truly believed that Clinton will be harder for the reps to beat than Obama, only because when i lookaround me, i do not see enough numbers of head of firms, governors, senators, i hope for the best, but i fear my vote will not really matter again. i hope/pray i am wrong.

    June 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  27. Cindy

    That is crazy that a justice of the peace is ordering someone to be paddled! I can't believe that! What did the girl do is what I am wondering? And can the JP really do that?

    And I do have to say that we were paddled in school with a wooden paddle if you were sent to the principals office. I'm not kidding!! And I will say that I did get it used on me once! LOL Ok...I really wasn't that bad! LOL I was just very fast at finishing my work and then was a bit of a talker...OK and singer! LOL


    June 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm |