September 16th, 2008
02:39 PM ET

Dilbert guy's economic poll on McCain, Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/09/16/dilbert.economy/art.dilbert.flex.jpg caption="Dilbert creator Scott Adams hired a polling firm to survey economists on which candidate is best for the economy."]Editor's Note: Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, the comic strip that appears in 2,000 newspapers in 70 countries. He blogs on politics and other subjects. He says he's an independent voter but donated to John McCain's campaign because he had promised a friend he would do so if the surge of troops to Iraq worked. "I figured my money was safe," Adams says.

Scott Adams
Dilbert creator

This summer I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy.

Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive. So for once I asked not what my country could do for me.

At considerable personal expense, I commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from a subset of the members of the American Economic Association, a nonpolitical group, some of whose members had agreed in advance to be surveyed on economic questions.

The results do not represent the economic association's position. The survey was managed by The OSR Group, a respected national public opinion and marketing research company.

I should pause here and confess my personal biases, since the messenger is part of the story. On social issues, I lean Libertarian, minus the crazy stuff.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
September 16th, 2008
01:11 PM ET

The new man in Iraq: Answering the call

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/16/art.odierno.jpg caption="US Defense Secretary Robert Gates hands over the Multi-National Force Iraq flag Gen. Ray Odierno while outgoing commander Gen. David Petraeus looks on during a Change of Command ceremony at camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq"]
Cal Perry
International Correspondent

As General David Petreaus handed over control to the new man in charge: General Raymond T. Odierno – it was like watching a speech you've seen a thousand times: 'Gains have been made . There's still work to be done . We need to maintain security gains: Thank you to all the troops who have sacrificed so much. ' 

That was the point when I flashed back to a meeting I had with General Odierno in January of 2007.

We were sitting at the time in his command center – he was the number two in command in Iraq at the time- and he started telling me a story I'll never forget.

He was at home, between his first and second tour in Iraq, when in the middle of the night he got the phone call that every parent who has a son or daughter in uniform dreads.


Filed under: Cal Perry • Global 360°
September 16th, 2008
12:29 PM ET

Space medicine comes home

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/16/vert.sg.nasa.cnnjpg.jpg width=265 height=302]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

A few weeks ago, my producer Chris Gajilan and I got on the phone to talk about a series of stories we wanted to do on space medicine. I was really excited because since I was a kid, I have always been interested in space and had dreams one day of going there. Life, though, does sometimes take you in different directions, and I opted for the brain surgery job, instead of the rocket scientist…ba dum. I’ll be here all week…

Seriously, though, when I heard NASA scientists had come up with a model of weightlessness here on Earth, I jumped at the chance to investigate. It wasn’t exactly what I expected. In order to re-create the fluid shifts that are seen with prolonged space travel, scientists decided to put a group of patients at bed rest… for 3 months. Head down about 6 degrees, feet up, and absolutely no getting out of bed. As I learned, while extremely cumbersome, it is a pretty good model.

Over time, lots of things start to happen to your body, things that can be devastating. Turns out, as human beings, we like a little gravity. It keeps just enough pressure on our joints and bones to keep them strong. Without the usual gravitational force, our bones start to wither away. And, the calcium that starts seeping out of the bones finds its way into our bloodstream and can cause painful and sometimes dangerous kidney stones. Astronauts can develop advanced bone loss. As astronauts push farther into space on longer missions, the concern is that they will face debilitating osteoporosis so severe they can spontaneously break bones...


Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Medical News
September 16th, 2008
12:00 PM ET

O.J. Trial: Fromong back in court after yesterday's illness

Editor’s Note:
O.J. Simpson is on trial for robbery and kidnapping charges nearly a year after police arrested him in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stormed into a Las Vegas hotel room last September 13 to recover sports memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. They say at least two men with Simpson had guns as they robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. The following dispatches come from our Paul Vercammen covering the trial.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/16/art.vert.fromong.jpg width=292 height=320]

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

8:08am PT:
Key prosecution witness Bruce Fromong entered the Clark County Regional Justice Center this morning showing no signs of illness.

Fromong suddenly stopped testifying yesterday after complaining of chest pains.

The 54-yeard old memorabilia dealer has a history of heart trouble.

O.J. Simpson's lawyer Gabe Grasso is expected to continue his aggressive cross examination of Fromong when the trial resumes.

Simpson entered the courthouse several minutes after Fromong.

September 16th, 2008
09:19 AM ET

Ike from the perspective of Galveston Vagabonds

Rick Bastien
CNN Media Coordinator

I found Nanc (pronounced 'Nance') on the Galveston seawall, walking her guard dog on the sunny Monday morning after the storm. “Be careful,” she warned, “he ain’t too friendly.” Nanc showed me her truck, where she keeps piles of blankets, biology books, and a mess of other unique items she has collected. Nanc didn’t tell me she was homeless, but she said she lives in her truck. She also stayed in her truck in one of the most dangerous locations to be during a hurricane—across the street from the Galveston seawall.

Why didn’t she leave? Because she had no money and no where to go and no gas to get there. Nanc is currently a Waffle House waitress, but says she wants to go back to school at UTMB, University of Texas Medical Branch. She was eagerly awaiting payday the week that Ike was swirling in the Gulf of Mexico.

During the storm she says “it turned completely black, you couldn’t see five feet in front of you.” But Nanc still braved the elements and even left her truck during the storm because she heard a car honking and went to check to see if anyone needed help. She wasn’t injured and her car avoided the flood waters; Nanc says she is ‘waiting for school to start’ now that the storm has passed.

Down the road from where I met Nanc sat three older men in a grocery store parking lot. Larry McCrea and his friends Tim and Mike couldn’t tell me much about their homes or where exactly they were from, but the also didn’t tell me they were homeless—maybe they are just ‘home-free,’ the same way Splenda is sugarfree.

The three men reminded me of characters out of a Jack Kerouac novel, wily and eccentric and wholeheartedly American. The three men weren’t from Galveston, but decided to come because they’ve never been through a hurricane before. Larry McCrea thought about leaving, but said that “I talked to God, and he told me to go back.”

Larry boasted about surviving the storm, saying, “We spent the night here completely unscathed confronting the storm face to face without any shelter other than our vehicles and we came out completely unscathed.”

Larry told me he was a minister, but worked for no church. But he also acknowledged the suffering going on around him, and he asked for both God and the government to step in and make the lives better for the people of Galveston.

Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 16th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Scattered pieces of people's lives

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/15/art.bay.town.1.jpg]
John Couwels
CNN Producer

I was in Smith Point, Texas, an area populated by more cattle then people. Cattle were roaming the streets like lost kids and some fell victim to Ike. At the southern end of the point near the entrance to Galveston Bay, at little community the residents call "Bay Town," several homes were completely destroyed.

Filed under: Hurricane Ike
September 16th, 2008
07:45 AM ET

Economic panic and the polling booth

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/15/art.wallst.sign.jpg]John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics

After a historically bad day on Wall Street, the underlying economic anxiety of this election has taken on new intensity.

Historians will write that the Bush administration went in with Enron and out with Lehman.

Some economists believe that second quarter results form voters' perceptions of the economy – but bad news has dripping out for so long, that it has almost faded into the background, like a movie theme separate from the action on screen.

That should change after today – when the liquidation and sale of two of America's pre-eminent investment banks added urgency to what Allan Greenspan has already called a "once in a century financial crisis."

After yesterday, there is no false comfort to be found in 'dead cat' bounces. The American economy will be fine in the long-run. But right now we are in a seismic financial crisis – and as in every crisis there may be opportunity to be found.

Elections are won by the candidate who connects with moderates and the middle class – and even after a wasted week focused on the manufactured scandal of "lipstick on a pig"— wallet-issues motivate voters like nothing else.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Economy • John McCain • John P. Avlon • Raw Politics
September 16th, 2008
07:42 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Biden blames Bush and McCain for economy

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

We kicked off the week with bad news on Wall Street and it seems there could be more reports of financial troubles today. AIG, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, is now under pressure. Both campaigns spent much of Monday talking about the meltdown on Wall Street, each side offering its own remedy.

We expect more talk on how to fix economic troubles today. Already, Sen. Biden appeared in an interview with CNN bright and early this morning, squarely blaming John McCain for failing to regulate Wall Street and backing President Bush’s economic doctrine. He also blamed Bush and McCain for the “God-awful economic mess at home and abroad.” Ouch. John McCain got some TV time this morning with CNN too, he backed away from his assertion that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” after taking heat from the Democrats yesterday, and adjusted his language to say the American worker is the strength of the economy. When asked if Obama’s economic plan did more for the middle class than his own, he said no way Jose.


Filed under: The Buzz
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