November 20th, 2008
09:50 PM ET

The Road ahead: Slippery when wet

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/11/19/autos.ceo.jets/art.auto.ceos.ap.jpg caption="Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli, left, and Ford CEO Alan Mulally testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday."]
Ali Velshi | Bio
CNN Senior Business Correspondent

– Reid cancels the auto bailout vote because he doesn’t have the 60 votes to pass it; Congress (Pelosi, Reid, Frank) says we want to help but you need to show us a viable plan for what you’ll do with the money, we gave money out before and got burned when companies didn’t use it in the way they were supposed to; show us a plan for how you plan to use the money by Dec. 2nd and if its good we’ll reconvene Dec. 8th to vote on it.

– Will these companies be able to come up with a plan before Dec. 2nd. They didn’t present a plan this week to congress, Ford seems to have the best chance and is least in trouble, GM is in major trouble and could blow throw the entire $25 billion itself in 5 months will want all/most of the money, and Chrysler is a private company so its completely unclear on what they’re finances are like or what kind of plan they’ll come up with but it will mean opening up their books and private dealings to scrutiny, unheard of for a private company but necessary if they want public funds

– The auto industry had this week’s hearings to paint the worst case scenario and hope FULL POST

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Raw Politics
November 20th, 2008
09:23 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 11/20/08

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Stressing over your 401k? We want to hear your thoughts on the rough day on Wall Street. Big losses, big worries. We'll have all the angles.  This is your chance to sound-off. Just scroll down and post a comment on the AC360°  blog.

But, keep in mind you have a better chance of getting your comment posted on the blog if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Don't write in ALL CAPS (we don't like screaming)
2) Stay on topic.
3) Keep it short

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Filed under: Live Blog
November 20th, 2008
09:16 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Market Mayhem

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Ouch! It's been another rough day on Wall Street. The Dow plunged 445 points to close near the 7,550 mark. The S&P fell 54 points and the Nasdaq composite lost 70 points.

Let me put this way: It's as if we wiped away the past 11 years.

Here are some other numbers to consider:
– The markets lost $700 billion today.
– Over the past two-days the paper loss is approximately $1.3 trillion.
– About $2.8 trillion has been lost this month, so far.
– For 2008, there's been approximately $8.8 trillion in losses.

How low will the markets go? Tonight we'll talk it over with CNN's chief business correspondent Ali Velshi.

The lingering questions over the fate of the U.S. auto industry are dragging stocks down. The Senate has canceled a vote on a proposed $25 billion bailout package for GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Today lawmakers said the auto industry has until December 2 to show how the money would be used to boost their profits.

"If we don't get this done and they do go under, I believe that we're going to have a deep recession and quite frankly, from what I can pick up, we may just go over the cliff," said Sen. George Voinovich, D-Ohio.

Do you agree?

It's your money, your future. We'll have the latest developments tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
November 20th, 2008
07:32 PM ET

On the Radar: Friday

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

“Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money.”

That’s how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained Congress’s decision to nix a bailout for automakers, at least for now. It wasn’t the answer the Big 3 automakers wanted, and it leaves GM, Ford and Chrysler without a net as the economy worsens.

If the Big 3 go under, many towns across America may start looking like Moraine, Ohio. GM is the town’s biggest employer and on Dec. 23 its truck plant will close, putting close to 1,000 people out of work and setting off a domino effect of pain. Tomorrow, 360’s Gary Tuchman reports from Moraine on the fallout.

Joe Johns will focus on the pile of regulations that President Bush is trying to push through before he leaves office. Many of the rules will benefit big polluters, including one that would roll back new anti-pollution measures required in new and renovated power plants. What else is Bush targeting? We’re digging deeper.

We’re also working on a Keeping Them Honest report for tomorrow. Chris Lawrence is investigating why hundreds of military families who were promised new homes near Seattle are still looking at an empty field. Why haven’t the houses been built? The government gave the job to a private developer that spent millions on land that actually cannot be built on. A whistleblower is now speaking out. We’ll hear from her and also the Dept. of Defense.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you. What steps are you taking to weather the tanking economy? Do you live in an area that will be especially hard hit if the Big 3 automakers go bust? What concerns you most these days?

See you tomorrow at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Cate Vojdik • Raw Politics
November 20th, 2008
06:49 PM ET

AIG: What are they thinking?

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Editor's Note: If you're aware of any other flagrant spending by companies receiving bailout funds, let us know.

Ted Leonsis
Owner, Washington Capitals and former AOL executive

My family uses AIG as an insurance company on our homes and personal effects.

We received in the mail today a huge Tiffany box with two champagne glasses within as a thank you for our business and for good cheer this holiday season.

Arrgghhh! Are you kidding me? Please! Save the money and keep some people employed. Give the money to charity. Take less money from the taxpayers...


Editor's Note: If you're aware of any other flagrant spending by companies receiving bailout funds, let us know.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Raw Politics
November 20th, 2008
06:28 PM ET

Beat 360° 11/20/08

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

Sen. Carl Levin, center, listens to a question during a news conference on the auto industry bailout, with Senantors Arlen Specter, Christopher Bond, Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, and George Voinovich.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
November 20th, 2008
06:08 PM ET

Scowcroft and Obama's tea leaves

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/20/art.scowcroft.jpg caption="Brent Scowcroft, right, with former President George H.W. Bush, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and an interpreter in 1992."]
Ed Henry
CNN White House Correspondent

President-elect Barack Obama is getting foreign policy advice from an unlikely source - Republican Brent Scowcroft - former national security adviser in the first Bush administration.

Two sources familiar with the conversations confirm to CNN Obama has been reaching out to Scowcroft for phone chats even before he ran for president, and the back-and-forth has continued in recent days as the President-elect assembles his Cabinet.

What makes the conversations intriguing is that Scowcroft is very close to current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is rumored to be in running to stay in the Cabinet for at least an interim period at the start of the new Obama administration.

During a recent appearance on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Scowcroft said it would be a wise move for Obama to keep Gates in the Cabinet.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Ed Henry • Raw Politics
November 20th, 2008
03:29 PM ET

Pirates take on the Navy

Pirates are hitting the headlines, but how are they grabbing ships? CNN's David McKenzie explains.
Pirates are hitting the headlines, but how are they grabbing ships? CNN's David McKenzie explains.

David McKenzie | BIO
CNN Correspondent

The whole world is talking about pirates, since they grabbed an Iranian ship and then a gigantic Saudi supertanker. Pirates operating off the coast of East Africa, have attacked more than 90 ships this year alone.

The U.S. has sent in ships to join a NATO-led international fleet, which has battled, fended off and sunk some pirate ships. But the pirates are still attacking, and still hold 17 ships and more than 300 prisoners.

It sounds like something you’d see in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean or Captain Hook, but the weapons are bigger and it's much more dramatic because it's real life.

And the human toll is painful, as Thumani Said can attest. I interviewed Thumani in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya.

He was captured by pirates on the cargo ship that he helped sail to Mogadishu, Somalia from Kenya. The company he works for has had three ships hijacked by the pirates.

One of the hijacking incidents occurred even when they were trying to transport humanitarian aide to suffering Somalis in that lawless, poverty-stricken country that has been without a central government since 1991, and where clashes among various groups vying for power often occur.

Thumani and his fellow crew members were held by the pirates for over 100 days! He sat under the barrel of an AK47 thinking about his new wife and family. At first, he was afraid to die, and then he just became resigned to his fate. The pirates didn't treat them too badly physically, and they had food stocks stored on the boat. But they were constantly badgered by the pirates who wanted to know why the ransom wasn't being paid.

Eventually his company paid a ransom and the ship returned home. Thumani was paid a measly ‘bonus’ of $80 dollars for his troubles. While he was held hostage, he was not paid his salary.

So, as we hear and read about pirates on the high seas, complete with tales of warships and ransoms, spare a thought for people like Thumani. The 300 hostages out there right now don’t know if they will ever return home.

Filed under: David McKenzie
November 20th, 2008
01:35 PM ET

Five ways to keep Alzheimer's away

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Elizabeth Cohen | BIO
CNN Medical Correspondent

Blanche Danick may be 86 years old, but she's pretty hip. She keeps up with all the latest health news, and a while back, she called her daughter wanting to know whether she should start taking the herb ginkgo biloba. She'd heard it might stave off Alzheimer's disease.

"I told her not to bother, that it wouldn't make much of a difference," says her daughter, Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "On the basis of what I've read, I don't think it staves off dementia."

London's advice makes a lot of sense, according to a study out this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Ginkgo is a top-selling herb and has been hailed by some as a memory-booster, but the new University of Pittsburgh study found it didn't help prevent Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia in more than 3,000 elderly study subjects.

Ginkgo manufacturers say this isn't the first - or the last - word on the herb. "There is a significant body of scientific and clinical evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of ginkgo extract for both cognitive function and improved circulation," said Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council.

London's still skeptical. "But I do tell my mother there are other things she can do," says London, who's studied the brain and aging. "I tell her to go out and do things and see people every day and be active." Studies have shown that physical exercise, the kind that keeps the heart healthy, also keeps the brain healthy, according to the National Institutes of Health's Cognitive and Emotional Health Project.


Filed under: Elizabeth Cohen • Medical News
November 20th, 2008
01:05 PM ET

Hansel and Gretel and the Big Bad Bailout

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Two roads are diverging in a Washington wood, and frankly that’s scaring the hell out of Congress.

I’m talking about the economy of course. The latest numbers from Dr. Obvious (meaning whomever has pumped out the most recent terrible news about jobs, production, failing businesses, you name it) is just confirming what we all know: The economic woods are growing very dark ahead of us. And our nation’s leaders are standing at a crossroads.

In one direction is the sign that points to Bailout Town. With the stumbles over the car industry’s request for help, it is possible that this road is fast closing. But let’s say for a moment it remains open. The best hope for anyone traveling this way is that massive infusions of your tax dollars will help stabilize a series of key industries, which will in turn help stabilize the economy overall. But there are plenty of potential pitfalls on this path. Already rumbles are arising from everyone else lining up for assistance: telecommunications firms, insurance companies, airlines, municipalities, and on and on the list goes. You pay a lot of taxes. I pay a lot of taxes. Trust me, we still don’t pay enough taxes to cover every company that would like a check right now. And we don’t know if the road to Bailout Town will really get us anywhere.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
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