December 3rd, 2008
10:50 AM ET

U.S. Troops sickened by vaccinations – does it help explain autism?

David Kirby

It looks like the CDC may have missed a memo to itself on vaccine safety.

One very contentious issue in the vaccine-autism debate has been whether a certain subset of genetically susceptible children is unequipped to handle the early and intensive US immunization schedule – including kids like Hannah Poling, who developed autism after receiving nine vaccines at once.

The theory is that some people with abnormal immune or metabolic systems might become overtaxed by the fever, inflammation and/or other stresses sometimes caused by multiple vaccines.

Many doctors and scientists scoff at the notion that someone could be injured by getting too many shots at once. They say that people of all ages, including babies, can handle multiple exposures at any given moment.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Autism • Keeping Them Honest • Military
December 3rd, 2008
10:13 AM ET

Please throw in another $9 billion

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Did we say $25 billion? Actually, make that $34 billion. Detroit's automakers submitted their turnaround plans to Congress Tuesday with the hopes of winning approval for a loan package they claim is necessary for their survival. The plans included job cuts – as many as 31,000 in the case of GM - salary cuts for top executives and the likely elimination of some well-known brands. But the companies are now asking the government for as much as $34 billion in federal loans instead of the $25 billion they originally wanted. GM is asking for up to $18 billion. Ford is looking for up to $9 billion. Chrysler wants a $7 billion. We'll see how Congress reacts to the new requests on Thursday, when the CEO's of the Big Three complete their drives from Michigan to Washington in their hybids.

Meanwhile, local United Auto Workers leaders from across the country will hold an emergency meeting in Detroit this morning to discuss concessions the union could make to help auto companies get government loans.

The CEO's of the Big Three drive their hybrids from Michigan to Washington – hoping to arrive in time for Thursday's encore appearance before Congress.

Unloading some brands is on the car companies' agenda, but we're learning this morning that maybe you can't go home again. The Swedish Government reportedly says that while it's ready to support Volvo and Saab, it doesn't want to take over the troubled brands from Ford and GM.

And just as Detroit's Big Three presented their turnaround plans to Congress, we learned that car sales continued to plunge in November, falling 37% from a year-ago and hitting a 26-year low. The nation's five largest automakers – GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda - each reported that sales dropped more than 30% from a year-earlier (47% in the case of Chrysler).

It's not just the automakers that are hurting. More than 700 car dealerships across the country have shut their doors so far this year. And more than twice number that could close in 2009. Others are resorting to crazy promotions – such as one Dodge dealership in Miami that's literally giving cars away.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Raw Politics
December 3rd, 2008
08:46 AM ET

Morning Buzz: A Miracle Tree

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

Today is the Christmas Tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. The owner says the 72-foot tall tree was planted after his parent's used it as their first Christmas tree in 1931. He says it's "the miracle tree" because his late mother always said it would one day be on display at Rockefeller Center.

The family recently saw a blue bird in the tree and they believe the bird was their mother guarding it. Now there's a nice thought to warm our greasy little hearts this morning.

Btw: Am I the only one who feels like summer ended only a short while ago and we are already fully launched into the holiday season? Time flies when you're having fun.

The holidays conjure up images of snow. (some of u reading this probably feel the full effects of winter snow already). Well if u live in Chicago, the city’s mayor said from now on, crews will scale back on plowing at night and on the weekends to avoid paying overtime costs. I guess that’s why all the Governors were hitting P-E Obama up for money yesterday at a meeting in Philly. Get your shovels ready if you live in the Midwest.

Another day, another press conference. Obama announces his nomination of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary. Some folks have commented that Obama’s picks show he is a ‘closet centrist’.

Conservatives initially feared he would be more radically liberal but his National Security picks seem to indicate a concern for continuity in a time of war and economic crisis. What do you make of his nominations thus far?

We (CNN) caught up w/ Bill Clinton in Asia overnight, in an exclusive interview he said he would have ‘very little’ to do with decisions his wife Hillary will face as Sec of State, and that he would be a helpful sounding board to her, but nothing more.

Clinton said his wife learned she was being considered for the Cabinet post by reading it in the newspaper. Wonder if she spilled her coffee all over the place after reading that particular clip about her future that morning?

We continue to follow the Big 3 automakers again today, and there is also a bond hearing in Chicago for the man charged with killing 3 family members of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. William Balfour, who is Hudson's estranged brother-in-law, faces 3 murder counts and a home invasion count. Poor Jennifer, she really captured our admiration when she belted those tunes out in Dream Girls. So much drama to deal with now.

See you at 10pet!

Filed under: The Buzz
December 3rd, 2008
08:05 AM ET

Love the victims, loathe their killers

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/india.attacks.israel.funerals/art.mourners.afp.gi.jpg caption="Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and boys pray next to the bodies of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka."]
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

All terrorism is monstrous, but the murder of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg by ‘religious Islamic extremists’ stands out for its unspeakable infamy. The deliberate targeting of a small Jewish center and its married young directors, whose only purpose it was to provide for the religious needs of a community and feed travelers, proves that those who perpetrated this crime are bereft not only of even a hint of humanity, but every shred of faith as well. The world’s most aggressive atheists are more religious than these spiritual charlatans and pious frauds. When Osama bin Laden, whose beard masks the face of the ultimate religious hypocrite, attacked the World Trade Center in New York, the target was purportedly chosen as the very symbol of American materialism and excess. But what could these ‘religious’ people have been thinking in exterminating a twenty-something couple with two babies who moved from the world’s richest country to India to provide religious services and faith to the poor and the needy? What blow against Western decadence were they striking by targeting a Chabad House whose entire purpose it is to spread spirituality to people whose lives lack it? Now is not only a time to remember the victims but to hate their killers. One cannot love the innocent without simultaneously loathing those who orphan their children.

I know how uncomfortable people feel about hatred. It smacks of revenge. It poisons the heart of those who hate. But this is true only if we hate the good, the innocent, or the neutral. Hating monsters, however, motivates us to fight them. Only if an act like this repulses us to our core will we summon the will to fight these devils so that they can never murder again.


Filed under: India • India Attacked • Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
December 3rd, 2008
03:59 AM ET

Crime Blotter: Killer face?; Holdup video

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Compiled by Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

Welcome to the 360 Crime Blotter.

Some of the best crime writing comes from cops on the beat. But it’s not fiction. It’s fact, put down on paper in incident reports. We’re going to bring you their first-hand accounts. Taken from police department web sites, the official submissions run the gamut from mundane misdemeanors to the most serious of felonies. They all show what police officers across the country face 365 days a year. So let’s get started:

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Seattle Police Department

The Seattle Police Homicide Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the suspect wanted in a homicide that occurred on November 30th. The suspect is Jose Angel Blanco, AKA Jose A. Blanco-Naranjo. He is 39 years old, described as 6′ 0″ and 190 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair. He may be driving a silver 2001 BMW with Washington license plate 732PPB. The suspect is the ex-husband of the victim. There is a murder warrant for him. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Seattle Police Department or call 911 immediately.

Hartford, Conn Police Department

Detectives of the Hartford Police Department's Major Crimes Division have released a video of the New Alliance Bank Robbery that occurred on October 29, 2008 at 1700 Park Street, Hartford.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
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