February 21st, 2009
07:59 AM ET

The Academy Awards Live Blog

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/20/art.liveblog.oscars.jpg]

Jack Gray
AC360 Producer/Writer

Good evening and welcome to the AC360 Academy Awards Live Blog. The winners, the losers, Jack Nicholson’s sunglasses…we’ve got your running commentary.  And sure, considering all that’s going on in the world, the Oscars aren’t hugely important.  But if you’re looking to get away from the bleak news-of-the-day for a few hours, then this blog is the place for you.

We should also point out that we’re not encouraging you to change the channel from CNN, but if you’re going to watch the Oscars anyway, you might as well watch them with us.

And even if you’re not watching them, because of your feud with Kate Winslet or whatever, we think you’ll still enjoy the live blog. I’ll be with you from 8:00pm Eastern Time until the Oscars finish airing here in New York.

If you would like to participate in our Live Blog (and we hope you do) please follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Please keep your comments short
2) Don’t write in ALL CAPS (we don’t like screaming)
3) Use your real name

Please note that due to volume we may not be able to post all comments.

Follow Jack Gray on Twitter

Filed under: Academy Awards • Jack Gray • Live Blog • T1
February 21st, 2009
07:57 AM ET

Dear President Obama #33: The Mileage Tax Trap

Reporter's Note: The President has asked for ideas on how to run America. The best one I’ve come up with so far is this: writing a letter a day to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/20/driving.tax/art.gps.gi.jpg caption="The mileage tax idea involves tracking drivers through GPS units in their cars, but the Obama Administration stated it will not support the policy."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Give yourself a pat on the back! Heck, have Biden do it for you; he’s not busy.

Hands down, you have made the single smartest move of your month-old presidency by saying you will not pursue a mileage tax on drivers. And probably the worst move? Letting it come up in the first place. Did no one have a talk with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about teamwork? Cabinet members who run off freelancing ideas can be bad for a president’s political health.

I’m sure you’ve got plenty of folks bending your ear with arguments as to why a mileage tax would be good. If you charge people for every mile they drive, they’ll tell you, you’ll encourage fuel conservation. You’ll cut down on pollution. You’ll reduce traffic congestion, too. But the primary reason this idea is even up for consideration in some states, is that people are doing a better job conserving, so gas tax revenues are not as high as they once were. In other words, taxpayers have done what they were asked to do, but now they’re being told they can’t hold on to one of the benefits.