October 6th, 2008
02:26 PM ET

The campaign, and the crisis

Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

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This has NEVER happened before.. A major stock market slide within weeks of a US presidential election.  Even 1929's "Black Tuesday" happened between presidential elections.

We have watched an extraordinarily dramatic presidential race this year, with a woman – a former First Lady and now US senator – drawing 18 million votes in a primary, and a woman – a former beauty queen and mayor, now Alaska's governor – #2 on the GOP ticket.

Well, so what..

That's how some people feel today, along with raw fear as they see the stock market lose more than 5% today, on top of a roughly 25% loss since last October.

The candidates have already been talking economy, economy, economy. But the markets' continued fall around the world, despite the unprecedented US $700 billion bailout and supportive actions by other governments, is creating a sense of crisis that is overtaking basic campaign issues – and talk.

What will be the effect?

Filed under: Barclay Palmer
October 6th, 2008
01:42 PM ET

The mystery of freaky phobias

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Michelle Goodman

Carol Ann Carnese never considered herself an anxious person. Except when it came to wet wood.

"If I saw someone lick a wooden spoon, I had to turn away," says the 41-year-old massage therapist from Portland, Oregon.

"I'd break out into a sweat ... and I'd just get sick to my stomach. I could not even look at someone with a toothpick in their mouth."

It wasn't just looking at wet wood that freaked her out. It was touching it, too.

"I could not eat Popsicles to the end," Carnese explains. "As soon as I got close to the end, I would give it to my kids. I would not even own wooden utensils because I could not wash them. Not even in the dishwasher because they would still be damp when they came out."


Filed under: 360° Radar • Medical News
October 6th, 2008
01:06 PM ET

One in four mammals face extinction

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Al Goodman
Madrid Bureau Chief

Nearly a fourth of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction, a leading international conservation group said Monday as it unveiled its latest global study of the problem.

Harp seals are among the mammals under threat, according to the latest IUCN Red List.

At least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth, or 21 percent, are endangered species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said at the start of its World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

The problem appears to be getting worse since the IUCN's last comprehensive survey of mammals 12 years ago, the IUCN's Jan Schipper told CNN. But he added that more study will be needed in the coming months.


Filed under: Planet in Peril
October 6th, 2008
12:45 PM ET

In storm-ravaged Galveston, echoes of New Orleans

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Hilary Hylton
TIME Magazine

It is has been three weeks since Hurricane Ike blew ashore on Galveston Island bringing up to 20 feet of Gulf waters over the low-lying land, killing a still yet to be determined number of residents — several hundred remain missing — and inflicting billions of dollars in damage. The television satellite trucks and cable news stars are gone and the nation's collective eye has turned elsewhere. But thousands of area residents now live in a stench-filled world where the incongruous is normal and the dangerous real.

The slow descent into the Looking Glass land that hurricanes create begins just south of Houston along Interstate Highway 45, the road to Galveston Island. The first odd note is the number of blown out billboards and signs. The gold has gone from the Golden Arches, the toll-free phone number on the billboard for the class action law firm has been torn and tossed to the wind. Then the blue tarps begin to appear, stretched taut over the rooftops of strip malls and apartment buildings.


Filed under: Hurricane Ike
October 6th, 2008
12:03 PM ET

Finding God on YouTube

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David Van Biema
TIME Magazine

When people think of religion on YouTube, most probably flash to "gotcha" videos of Sarah Palin's old church or Barack Obama's old pastor. But the video-sharing site is also being used by a wildly diverse collection of pastors, rabbis, imams, gurus, and pious laypeople — like Roman Catholic Steve Silvia, who made the video above — to celebrate and explain their creeds.

These aren't glitzy televangelists. In keeping with the YouTube ethos, many simply fire up camcorder and go. But low cost and infinite range, plus the mini-video's ascent as one of the culture's preferred ways of imbibing information, means vastly increased exposure for clerics who would otherwise have tiny flocks.

"For years, people in my business talked about how the Internet was going to revolutionize religion the way the printing press helped create Protestantism, but it didn't happen," says Steve Waldman, founder of the multi-faith website Beliefnet. But with the rise of YouTube, he thinks the unassuming, grass-roots religion clips like the ones that follow "could be the beginning of that kind of transformation."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Religion
October 6th, 2008
11:31 AM ET

Time for John McCain to turn up the heat

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Editor's note: Ed Rollins, who served as political director for President Reagan, is a Republican strategist who was national chairman of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

Ed Rollins
GOP Strategist and Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman

With four weeks to go till Election Day, the road ahead for John McCain is straight up the side of an ice-covered mountain.

But John McCain, the courageous, self-described maverick of the Senate, has been overcoming obstacles and surviving near-death experiences all his life.

Since announcing his exploratory committee five days after his party's shellacking in the 2006 midterm elections, John McCain's campaign has been a roller coaster of ups and downs.

Some of the obstacles he has had to overcome were self-inflicted. Others were placed in his path by a commander in chief who is now tied for the lowest approval rating in history and will certainly break that record before leaving office next January 20.


Filed under: Ed Rollins • John McCain • Raw Politics
October 6th, 2008
11:13 AM ET

Rip Off List

Editor's Note: Tune in tonight to hear about the medical student who is charged with the death of a woman who may have been contacted through a Craigslist ad, police say. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Gary Tuchman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Everyone talks about Craigslist. It is an internet want-ad system of everything you would ever want to buy. Go on craigslist.com, and you can find concert tickets, cars, romance and everything else.
But one other thing you should know about Craigslist. It is a petri dish of fraud. There are so many criminals pedaling their wares on Craigslist, that if they were caught they could fill up whole jails.

A friend of mine wanted to buy two tickets to take his small daughter to see the Jonas Brothers. He had never used Craigslist before and presumed that sellers were honest. He sent a $500 money order to a woman who promised four tickets. The woman took the money, and disconnected her phone. She never sent the tickets.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gary Tuchman
October 6th, 2008
10:21 AM ET

McCain's Retreat from Michigan

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John P. Avlon
Author, Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics

The biggest political news last week was not the Biden-Palin VP debate, but a comparatively little noticed announcement with much farther reaching implications:

McCain's campaign is pulling out of Michigan – essentially conceding the nation's 8th largest state and its 17-delegates.

This is big news because two weeks ago there were signs that the McCain campaign might be pulling ahead in Gerald Ford's home state. The Economist had just published a typically thoughtful analysis of its status as a battleground state.

McCain won Michigan in the 2000 primary and was always expected to do well with its independent voters. Michigan is notorious to political scientists as the home of Reagan Democrats in Macomb County, perhaps the most famous swing district in the nation.

Sarah Palin's selection was supposed to help swing northern border-states like Michigan, and her announcement may have helped move the state in McCain's direction briefly, but the economy has eclipsed all other considerations.


Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics
October 6th, 2008
10:10 AM ET

For man shot in back, Justice too late in New Orleans

CNN's Drew Griffin talks to man who says he witnessed New Orleans Police shoot an unarmed person.
CNN's Drew Griffin talks to man who says he witnessed New Orleans Police shoot an unarmed person.

Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent

The press release form the New Orleans Police Department described him as an unidentified gunmen who was “confronted by a New Orleans Police officers” then “reached into his waist and turned toward the officer.” The New Orleans Police Department told us the officer on that day, Sept. 4, 2005, fired one shot killing the suspect.

I’m guessing the New Orleans Police thought we would just take their word for it. We didn’t.

It took us more than a year, but what we found out about Ronald Madison proved justice in New Orleans is only for those who wear a badge.

Ronald Madison was a 40-year old mentally disabled man who had survived Katrina flooding with his brother Lance. On a Sunday morning they swam out of their mother’s home and headed for the Danziger Bridge. You can read more about their ordeal, and Ronald’s tragic death, in the stories below.

What you need to know now, is three years after he was killed by police, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the

U.S. Attorney's office in New Orleans finally announced they will investigate.

Well it’s about time.


Filed under: Drew Griffin • Keeping Them Honest • New Orleans
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