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CNN Financial News Producer
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is at an all-time record high as layoffs spread throughout the economy. The Labor Department says the number of Americans continuing to claim unemployment insurance for the week ending Jan. 17 was a seasonally adjusted 4.78 million, the highest on records dating back to 1967.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits rose for the third consecutive week - by 3,000 to 588,000 - for the week ended Jan. 24.
Editor's Note: President Obama says he wants normal citizens to give him ideas about how to run the government. As a result, I am writing a letter every day with my suggestions. Some of us take our civic responsibility seriously.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/28/art.obama02.gi.jpg caption="Obama lifts a cold one during the campaign season."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I think you’ll agree that my letters thus far have been largely positive. I have tried to be encouraging, supportive, and optimistic about your ideas. But today I have a bone to pick with you.
Where are all those normal Americans you claimed such close kinship with during the election? It occurred to me as I saw you in yet another photo op surrounded by hot shot power players, that since inauguration day I have not seen you hoist a beer, sit down in a diner, or go bowling even once. (O.K, the bowling part, I understand, although the argument could be made for practice. Remember, there will be re-election to consider.) Still, it seems like back during the campaign you couldn’t make it four hours without basking in the wisdom of normal folks. Now, as the actual business is being conducted, they are nowhere to be seen.
The Columbia Journalism Review revealed this week that the “high command” of the John McCain campaign hired a blogger “to attack” and engage in “bullying” the press during the last six months of the presidential campaign.
Gee, how did that work out? Help much?
And why did the campaign need to hire outside help for that? I thought it had been doing a pretty good job of not liking the press on its own.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/weather/01/14/winter.storms/art.snow.michigan.irpt.jpg caption="Snow piled up in Eau Claire, Michigan, earlier this week. Record lows were posted across the state."]
CNN Senior National Editor
Marvin E. Schur, a 93-year-old World War II veteran, was home alone in Michigan when he froze to death.
As he was laid to rest yesterday, a group of flag-carrying motorcycle riders made certain that Schur's service to his country was remembered.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, motorcyclists whose mission is to attend the funeral of every U.S. military veteran, flanked the entrance of the Bay City funeral home. They, like people across the country, were shocked by the circumstances of Schur's passing.
Schur died "a slow, painful death," the medical examiner said, as the temperature in his home fell below the freezing mark of 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
"It is not something we're going to be able to do overnight," Barack Obama said as he sent his Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, off to the region. Or was it when he was talking about closing Guantánamo? Or, perhaps, when he was discussing the impact of his stimulus package on the cratering American economy? Actually, the President used a version of the line multiple times during his first week in office — a week that, rather than offering the catharsis of a bright new American morning, summoned the groaning image of a supertanker attempting a U-turn in a tiny Arctic bay. The weather in Washington was cold and cloudy. The President seemed overcast as well, stowing his megawatt smile as he acknowledged one of the more depressing days in U.S. economic history — the day that major companies laid off more than 75,000 employees. I barely saw him smile all week.
AC360° Senior Producer
President Barack Obama’s $819 billion dollar stimulus plan is on its way to the Senate after passing the House last night. No Republicans vote for it, and critics are skeptical it’ll kick-start the economy.
It’s not easy working out what is pork versus what translates into jobs, but it depends who you ask on Capitol Hill.
Critics say the plan will take too long to be considered a “stimulus” and that it’s filled with pet projects. One of the biggest flash points is $335 million dollars for STD Education, and other such examples exist in this bill. Ali Velshi will join us tonight to continue breaking it all down for us.
President Obama is pretty relentless: even after he got no Republican support for his bill, he hosted a cocktail party at the White House for lawmakers from both parties. Is he a charmer?!
The Senate version of the stimulus is approaching $900 billion dollars, and it’s hard to say how the House Republican party-line no vote will impact GOP Senators. A vote is likely next week in the Senate.
Today President Obama signs the Lily Ledbetter Bill designed to give women equal pay for equal work. Later in the afternoon he meets with Treasury Secretary Geithner, and then with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ed Henry will be following his moves and give you the highlights tonight!
It seems the economic downturn is REALLY hitting everyone. The postmaster General told Congress it faces a $6 bn loss this year and warned that the postal service may reduce mail deliveries to 5 days a week if Congress does not allow it to restructure health benefits for postal workers.
Postmaster General John Potter said the postal service could stop deliveries on either Tuesdays or Saturdays during the summer if the change is not approved. The postal service has been required by federal law to deliver mail six days a week since 1983. Email, anyone?
More news (or entertainment, depending on how you look at it) from Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Illinois Senate today decides whether to allow him to speak at his impeachment trial, which he has avoided all week.
There are 3,140 counties in the U.S. Of all those counties, the most anti-Prez Obama county on Election Day was King County, Texas where he received just 8 votes. (The ten most anti-Prez Obama counties are all in Texas and Oklahoma.) Gary Tuchman traveled to the area to see how folks there feel about President Obama today, his results may surprise you!
See u tonight.
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"Please help us, there is no country greater than this country," is Mohammad Mohammad's plea to the American people. That's his message spoken by cell phone to me as the handyman drove from Alabama to Louisiana to pick up his wife and 18-year-old son, Imad, from an immigration detention center. Federal officials have declared all three illegal immigrants. All three, who have no passports, no traveling documents, are now worried they will be deported.
But the case gets more complicated because Mohammad and his wife, Sana Alsayed have five other children, ages 5, 6, 13, 14 and 17. They were born in the U.S. They are 5 U.S. citizens. And they could remain in the country while their oldest sibling and parents do not.
An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from 2008 finds Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii to be the most Democratic states in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states.
CNN Senior Executive Producer
A CNN reporter submitted a script that started with the line: "Airplane maker, Boeing, posted a fourth quarter loss of 56 million dollars." My first question to the reporter was: "Is 56 million dollars a lot of money for Boeing to lose?" I was serious. I don't know what a lot of money is any more.
Too many companies have lost too many billions too quickly for me to get my arms around the value of a dollar. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. stocks - that is, stockholders - lost about 7 trillion dollars in value this past year. And 25 banks failed with total assests of $373.6 billion. So when I saw that script announcing that America's biggest manufacturer of airplanes lost $56 million I wasn't sure if I should be feeling, "Oh, my Gosh!" or "Oh, what a relief! ONLY 56 million."