July 31st, 2008
07:46 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Big questions

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

“He seemed totally normal." That’s how one traveler described the man who beheaded a fellow passenger on board a Greyhound Canada bus. The man who was killed was sleeping at the time.

Why is it that horrific stories seem to involve phrases like, “He seemed totally normal.” Or “He seemed like such a nice, quiet guy.”? There is no universal answer to why people commit unspeakable acts, but I have to believe it is not because they are normal, quiet or nice.

This episode is almost too eerie to be true, yet sadly it is.

Your tax dollars at work… but not working as well as they should. Sound familiar? In this installment of “Where has all the money gone?” we learn more than half a billion dollars was “wasted” in Iraq because of poor security. That’s the finding from the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Apparently, the US government didn’t realize how unstable Iraq would be when reconstruction began.

While this new report has plenty of criticism for the way things were done in Iraq, there is a bright spot: oil.


Plenty of criticism for ExxonMobil today after the oil giant released its latest quarterly report and a record profit of $11.68 billion, just barely topping its previous record of $11.66 billion, set in Q407. And when I talk about records, this isn’t just about company records – ExxonMobil has the highest quarterly profit in US history.

According to our friends at CNNMoney, that’s $1,485.55 a second. Wow.

But those numbers are actually less than what Wall Street was expecting.

I know, you’re probably thinking, “Now I know where my $4.50 a gallon is going”… and several other things we can’t post on this family-friendly blog. So where did all this money come from if it wasnt from you? Excellent question - here are some answers:


And iReporters are fired up about Rep Barney Frank’s (D-MA) bill to end federal penalties on marijuana possession for those caught carrying less than 100 grams, about a quarter-pound. The Massachusetts Congressman says current laws place undue burdens on authorities, unfairly punish African-Americans and punish Americans who have been prescribed marijuana for medical reasons.

Filed under: Erica's News Note
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Lou (Canada)

    Hi Erica, Welcome back. I agree with the other blogger about when will you have your own show? Or at least be able to host AC 360 when Anderson is away.. you could do so much better.
    As for the guy who beheaded his seatmate that happened in my province. It is really creepy what they are reporting on the news in my home town- the guy had the victim's head in his hand and was showing it to people who had escaped from the bus. He also gutted the fellow. The police reported this morning that they had not even interviewed this guy yet, so I would guess there are some big big psych issues here.

    August 1, 2008 at 7:56 am |
  2. Peace Out

    Gees ! Are we funding enough on mental health ? Insane ! Hope you find a relaxing evening that's peaceful after your day in media. Just read it and write it but don't own it or take it home with you. Happy Thoughts ! You're a pro at professional objectivity !

    August 1, 2008 at 2:01 am |
  3. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    I would say that the killer knew the victim and stalked him onto the bus. That is really crazy. Again, if anyone watches the commodity markets at all you will notice ALL of the commodities are driven by futures traders buying and selling paper over and over again and driving the market. Oh.............but oil companies own some of these trading companies..........so in that way yes they are to blame.

    Our Govt should drill our own oil.........leave Exxon out of it.

    August 1, 2008 at 12:33 am |
  4. TEXAS

    having TARA WALL on cnn with Rolling Martin was a drag ,not on Rolling part, but that want to be Erica Hill ,she will never be..Rolling
    could have done the show by him self, he is so good and funny
    but TARA WALL HAVE TO MUCH pretend trying to pretend she is a black republican MCCAIN can care less about her and proberly do not even know who she is.advice to cnn TARA is not a good stand in,
    bring ROLLING back buy him self

    July 31, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  5. Janna

    As a former regular Greyhound passenger, I am too disturbed to even read that story, let alone comment on it.
    In the beginning, the people of Iraq seemed so grateful to have the US helping them. Reading about our arrogance (lack of communication, thus lack of respect) makes me now embarrassed instead of proud.
    and, Good for Barney Frank!
    Welcome back 🙂

    July 31, 2008 at 10:06 pm |
  6. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'm completely horrified by the story of the man decapitated while sleeping on the bus. What a horrible way to die.

    With such record profit in ONE quarter by these two oil giants, this is more proof that offshore drilling is not the answer. They're making so much money a second no wonder they have done all they could to stifle alternative energy. Solar energy is the way to go and we must demand it. Cars running solely on solar panels already exist by novices who created it – car makers can definitely improve and sell it if they weren't being bought off by the oil companies.

    July 31, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  7. ching

    erika, when will you have your OWN show? just lke the prime news, you know. you deserve MORE. you are SUPER intelligent, cute, beautiful, lovely...

    July 31, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  8. Jim S

    Hi Erica,
    $1455.55 a second – If I had 4 seconds I could have ALL my debts paid in full, Fill Both my gas tanks for 1 year & pay one bill ahead for a year.
    As for the DOPE seeking to legalize DOPE Instead of worrying about the IMPORTANT things LIKE JOBS ( & His being in jepordy)
    (Maybe we should force BOTH HOUSES of Congress to spend a week on the street in WINTER)
    Gas Prices- ( Maybe we should Dock Congresses Pay & Only give them $5.00 to spend their 5 week vacation on)
    CONGRESS-You had better wake up & smell the COFFEEEEE!!!!!!!
    Or there may be a LOT of CHANGE on election day Like we the people saying to EVERY INCUMBANT of EVERY PARTY-
    YYYYOOOOUUUUURRRRR FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  9. Jim- Kearny, NJ

    Hi Erica!

    I always miss you when you're not around, so welcome back. It'll be good to see your gorgeous smiling face again : )

    One of the things that makes a psycho a psycho is the ability to blend in and not appear psycho. You can never know what demons are crawling around in someone's head. Except Warren Zevon. He sang about his.

    Oil profits? No surprise. We still don't know what was discussed when Cheney met with the energy company honchos and then fought tooth and nail to keep the records secret, but I think I have a pretty good idea.

    Barney Frank is right about cannabis. Beyond the points he makes, the cost of processing and incarcerating pot smokers is staggering. Incarceration due to the failed "War on Drugs" has pushed prison populations well beyond capacity necessitating the early release of people who shouldn't be out on the street. Further, like the prohibition of alcohol, while pot is illegal, the money being made off it is in the hands of the underworld. Weed is the backbone of funding for the street gangs of today just as booze was the thing that made the mob rich. It makes no sense to keep the profit from America's largest cash crop in the hands people who kill anyone who gets in their way, much the same as it made no sense to allow Al Capone's outfit to make ridiculous profit from bootlegging.
    Anyone who wanted a drink during Prohibition could easily get one. Anyone who want pot now can easily get it. There is no difference.
    Leaglize it and regulate it just like alcohol. The tax revenue the government would raise would put a sizable dent in America's debt, and the pot smokers would be glad to pick up the tab in exchange for not being considered criminals for doing something that's scientifically proven to be less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

    Se ya later!


    July 31, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  10. Megan Dresslar

    Helloooo Erica!!!!
    Welcome back!!!! Missed ya!
    Yes, I saw this morning on CNN on the bus Greyhound, I was so shocked that was so awful sight to death. I agree with bloggers. I wonder why are not safe to ride Greyhound on the trip??? I felt that we are not safe on the bus if someone bring a knife to kill someone..... I know that was so scary!!! We need a security on the Greyhound bus to safe people.
    I hope you will cover for us! Nice see ya! 🙂
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, Wa

    July 31, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    No one should have as much profit as ExxonMobil when there are so many people suffering from the gas prices – sounds like they are the problem rather than the Middle East or the declining supply of oil. That net profit is obscene.

    Has the man who cut off the other man's head on a bus offered a reason yet as to why he did it? That's terrible.

    Glad you are back – we missed you!!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 31, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  12. EJ (USA)

    Hi Erica, welcome back. I read that story earlier today and I had to send it to a couple family members. Almost an unbelievable "horror-movie-like" story. I hope I never get to sit next to anybody like that anywhere! It kind of reminds me of that movie "The Hitcher" – old movie that had a creepy guy in it like that.

    July 31, 2008 at 9:04 pm |
  13. Ann. Canada

    Unbelievable Erica! Absolutely unbelievable!! No words can explain his actions!!

    P.S. Glad to have you have, we missed you!!!!

    July 31, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  14. Jennifer - Michigan

    Man! What a crazy story – The killer "dropped the victim's head on the ground"!! That's just unreal. Could you imagine being a witness to that. I'm not sure what to think about that. It's so over the top.

    July 31, 2008 at 8:49 pm |
  15. Lilibeth

    OK, that is really scary. I like to ride public transit, but I don’t want to have to worry about my seatmate. Does this mean that we might see a day when people will be required to go through a security process (much like the airports) before boarding a bus? I don’t know the answer. Very scary, though.

    So even with record profits, oil companies still complain that their margins are below those of S&P 500 and other companies? To them I say please…cry me a river.

    I missed you Erica. I’m so glad you’re back!

    Edmonds, Washington

    July 31, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  16. Hannah Storm

    WELCOME BACK ERICA!!!!!!!!!!

    The story about the murder on the Greyhound is just so creepy. It is just unimaginable. The people on the bus must have been so terrified.

    July 31, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  17. Cindy

    I just can't believe the story of the guy stabbing his seat mate then decapitating him. That is just so horrific! It's like something out of a horror movie not something you'd ever think you'd see while riding a Grey Hound bus. Thank God they trapped him in the bus so he didn't get away. There is no telling what he may have done!

    I hope y'all cover this on 360 tonight.


    July 31, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  18. Lorie Ann, Buellton, California

    Hi Erica,
    There are days, and this is one of them, that I feel the day's headlines leave me speechless. I think it was the 11.68 billion that put my brain over the top. Take Care

    Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif.

    July 31, 2008 at 7:59 pm |