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August 28th, 2009
03:58 PM ET

After the Storm: Impact Your World

Program Note: Four years after Katrina, what is New Orleans like now? Some residents continue to face challenges as the Big Easy keeps trying to rebuild. Take a look at In Depth: After the Storm. And to learn about ways you can make a difference, visit Impact Your World.

Impact Your World

Four years after Katrina, what is New Orleans like now? Some residents continue to face challenges as the Big Easy keeps trying to rebuild.

For those of you looking to contribute to the ongoing rebuilding effort in New Orleans, go here to find out how. CNN's Impact Your World has put together a list of resources that will help you get involved.

Find more here....


Filed under: 360° Radar
August 28th, 2009
03:02 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: ‘Clunkers’ boosts spending

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Consumer spending edged up in July with help from the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program. But household incomes - the fuel for future spending increases - were flat.

The Commerce Dept. says spending rose 0.2% last month, matching economists' expectations. Personal incomes were unchanged, a weaker showing than the expected.

Spending remains a big question mark as the economy tries to emerge from recession. Many economists worry that the American consumer - hurt by rising unemployment, weak income growth and depleted investments - will not provide the support the economy needs to rebound to sustained growth.

We also got a reading on consumer sentiment today, which fell to its lowest level in four months in August on worries over high unemployment and dismal personal finances.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers said its final index of confidence for August fell to 65.7 from 66.0 in July - although the number did improve from a preliminary reading earlier this month.

FULL POST


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Raw Politics
August 28th, 2009
03:01 PM ET

Girl grew up locked away in backyard sheds

Jaycee Dugard was locked in a shed tucked under a blue tarp in her alleged captor's backyard.

Jaycee Dugard was locked in a shed tucked under a blue tarp in her alleged captor's backyard.
Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at 11 and kept hidden for 18 years in a backyard compound, authorities say.

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at 11 and kept hidden for 18 years in a backyard compound, authorities say.

Mallory Simon
CNN

From the time she was an 11-year-old, blue-eyed, freckle-faced blonde until she was a 29-year-old woman with two children, Jaycee Dugard was kept locked away in a backyard compound of sheds and tarps by a couple who police say abducted her.

She was more than 160 miles from home, and her family had no idea where she was.

Nobody else knew she was there except the couple who snatched her off the street in front of her house in South Lake Tahoe, California, in 1991, and took her straight to the soundproof shed, police said.

Dugard's pocket of Phillip and Nancy Garrido's backyard in Antioch, California, was so overgrown no one even knew it existed.

The details about Dugard's time in captivity emerged Thursday after one of Northern California's most enduring mysteries was solved and the Garridos were arrested and accused of her kidnapping.

Anyone who came across the couple's backyard, littered with garbage cans and a dishwasher, would assume that it ended at a 6-foot fence.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Jaycee Dugard
August 28th, 2009
01:30 PM ET

Kennedy a worker, not a playboy

Former Kennedy aide Burton Wides says the senator had a zest for politics and an appetite for hard work.

Former Kennedy aide Burton Wides says the senator had a zest for politics and an appetite for hard work.

Burton Wides
Special to CNN

For half a century, Ted Kennedy was the most prolific senator on the political scene, making major strides in civil rights, civil liberties, education, human rights abroad, arms control, good government and of course health care.

You name it, he was there - and in the lead. To some tabloid readers, he was largely a spoiled Kennedy playboy. To his colleagues and staff who watched him up close year after year, and to millions of Americans who saw him fighting on so many fronts, he was a committed champion of equality, justice, peace and protection of those in need.

How did he do it? With incredibly long hours, amazing energy and hard work, coupled with a zest for politics - in the best sense - and legendary legislative mastery acquired over the years. His staff knew that when he was starting an initiative, his first priority instinctively was to win over as staunch a conservative as he could find to be his partner and original co-sponsor. It worked so many times.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Sen. Ted Kennedy
August 28th, 2009
01:26 PM ET

Outside the JFK Library

Mourners sign condolence books at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Massachusetts.

Mourners sign condolence books at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Massachusetts.

Kay Jones
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer

The lines outside the John F. Kennedy library are beginning to break up, after more than 30,000 people made their way to pay their respects to Sen. Edward Kennedy over the past 20 hours.

I arrived from Hyannis around noon today, and there has been a steady stream of Kennedy family members outside the library, greeting the public and thanking them for coming.

Sen. John Kerry is inside with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and while they were entering the building, Vicki Kennedy, Sen. Kennedy's widow, made her way through a throng a well wishers, thanking them for coming to pay their respects.

They have come from all over the globe, and every age appears to be represented here. Parents can be heard telling their children stories about the Kennedy family and locals have relished in memories of when they saw or met the Senator. It seems as if everyone has a story, and today is the best day to share it.

We have a few hours before the private memorial begins. I will try to bring you some behind the scenes stories from outside the library a little later on.


Filed under: Kay Jones • Sen. Ted Kennedy
August 28th, 2009
12:21 PM ET
August 28th, 2009
12:03 PM ET

Accused child kidnapper had a blog?

CNN

The man accused of abducting an 11-year-old girl in 1991 apparently maintained a blog in which he claimed to control sound with his mind.

The blog now has profanity-laced responses from people outraged over Phillip Garrido's alleged actions.

Police say Garrido confessed to abducting Jaycee Lee Dugard at age 11 and fathering two children with her. Police say Dugard and the children, now 11 and 15, were kept in several enclosures hidden behind his home in Antioch, California.

Garrido and his wife are in police custody.

Garrido's blog entries are posted by "THEMANWHOSPOKEWITHHISMIND." He refers to "God's Desire," which is a church based out of his home in Antioch, according to CNN affiliate KCRA of Sacramento.

Keep reading...

Find more from Phillip Garrido’s blog here.


Filed under: Jaycee Dugard
August 28th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

President Obama's message in a bottle

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Listen to one of the most impassioned speeches for health care reform: “We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospital can charge, and let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth.”

The speaker goes on to say, as we’ve all heard by now, that the president, vice president, and members of Congress already have a generous public health care plan, and regular Americans deserve the same. It was a great speech for President Obama. Only he did not deliver it. It wasn’t even made this year. Those words were part of Ted Kennedy’s address to the Democratic Convention, in his failed presidential bid, almost 30 years ago.

And health care is not the only plank in his 1980 platform that is eerily familiar. If Barack Obama had been seated beside him in poli-sci class, the new president might have been accused of plagiarism.

In that speech Kennedy talked about taxing the rich to help the middle class and poor. He ripped the Republicans as heartless cronies of business. He defended government bailouts; cozied up to labor unions; promoted environmentally-friendly energy. He even hinted that the “wealthy” line began with folks who make more than $200,000 a year. Talk about déjà vu.

FULL POST

August 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Does Obama care about New Orleans?

Harry Shearer says the White House isn't getting actively involved in protecting New Orleans from flooding.

Harry Shearer says the White House isn't getting actively involved in protecting New Orleans from flooding.

Harry Shearer
Special to CNN

I spent much of this month in my adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Uncharacteristically for August, the streets and restaurants and galleries and music clubs were largely full and throbbing with energy.

There are hubs of entrepreneurs all over town trying to invent the future. And thankfully, Mayor Ray Nagin's term is only months away from its end.

Between my weeks in the Crescent City, I joined some local folks in traipsing up to the Aspen Institute to share the news of New Orleans with interested outsiders. One talked about the progress in rebuilding homes. Another discussed the reform of the public-school system, the decoupling of the schools from a centralized board, resulting in the city becoming the leader in charter-school enrollment.

A third talked about the move to neighborhood medical clinics, an effort to replace the hospital beds missing in the flooding's wake.

A fourth reported the good economic statistics, marred only by the continuing shortage in affordable rental housing (80,000 units were whacked by the flood). And a fifth discussed the citizen activism that is helping, along with a determined U.S. attorney (who's just sent Rep. William Jefferson and his brother Mose to jail), to clean up local politics.

After all, it was New Jersey pols, not New Orleans ones, who got snagged in a scheme involving black-market kidneys. Wish we'd thought of that.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Barack Obama • Hurricane Katrina
August 28th, 2009
10:42 AM ET

Prosecuting CIA a foolish move

Ruben Navarrette Jr. says the administration's probe of CIA interrogations will demoralize agents who fight terror.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. says the administration's probe of CIA interrogations will demoralize agents who fight terror.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

The Obama administration actually has me feeling sorry for the Central Intelligence Agency. This week, the administration hit the CIA with both barrels.

First, it announced that the intelligence agency would no longer be responsible for interrogating suspects in terrorism cases. This task will now be conducted by a new group of interrogators overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There's hope and change for you. Those who applaud the change probably hope it means no more headlines like the one this week about how CIA interrogators threatened al Qaeda prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri with a gun and an electric drill to get information.

Keep reading...


Filed under: Torture
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