October 15th, 2009
10:15 AM ET

Morning Buzz: President Obama in NOLA

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/08/28/rebuildling.lower.ninth.ward/art.green.gi.jpg caption="Robert Green stands on the porch of his family's FEMA trailer in front of his new home earlier this year."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

President Obama is in New Orleans today for the first time since taking office. He will tour a charter school and then hold a town hall meeting to address the concerns of many NOLA residents. More than 65,000 homes remain abandoned, the levees are still vulnerable and there is no public hospital.

President Obama is expected to focus on efforts to rebuild the area, including cutting through red tape and easing funding so residents can become self-sufficient. Have public officials lived up to their promises of recovery? And can the Obama administration effect change? Will the rhetoric translate into reality on the ground? We’re keeping them honest tonight.

Yesterday, the Dow Industrials closed above the 10,000 mark for the first time in more than a year. Wall Street rallied on earnings optimism following upbeat profit reports. Many say the 10,000 mark represents a psychological barrier and may boost consumer confidence. Is it proof the economy is rebounding? Yesterday we also learned that salaries in the financial sector are on track to break record highs this year, even surpassing salaries from the peak year of 2007. Does the financial recovery mean a return to the status quo? Will there be a fundamental change to Wall Street’s pay culture?

Meanwhile, we learned today that the number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter. That means that one in every 136 U.S. homes were in foreclosure – a 23 percent jump from a year ago. While Wall Street continues to make gains, why are people on Main St. still suffering? We’re digging deeper tonight.

Tonight Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on a woman’s near-death experience. Laura Geraghty, a school bus driver in North Attleboro, Mass., collapsed after she finished her bus run. Despite frantic CPR and defibrillator efforts from a school nurse and responding paramedics, she went without a heartbeat for nearly an hour before being shocked back to life. She emerged, incredibly, without even a bit of brain damage.

But while onlookers gaped at her body lying in the middle of the school parking lot, Geraghty says she remembers being somewhere else with members of her family who had died years earlier. Tens of thousands of Americans have had such near-death experiences – is there some sort of scientific explanation? More from Dr. Sanjay Gupta tonight.

Militants launched a string of attacks in Pakistan today, leaving at least 37 people dead – including both police officers and civilians. At least 11 militants also died in the fighting, according to authorities, while others were missing. Do these coordinated strikes reflect a weakness of the Pakistani security forces to prevent such attacks? The Pakistani government has promised a new offensive against he Taliban near the Afghan border, despite warnings from the Taliban to stop pursuing them in military operations. How critical is Pakistan’s involvement to the U.S. fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan?

What else are you following? Let us know and see you tonight at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Charlotte, Hartford, CT

    Really liked your third paragraph. Keep on keeping on as far as "Keeping Them Honest" goes. The poor people with children and without homes are going into winter and are going to be REALLY cold. Can they pay for food? Do they have jobs?? Can they pay for heat if they are lucky enough to get a rental unit? The young and middle aged families of America are depending on you, Eliza and my very favorite – Anderson Cooper!!

    October 15, 2009 at 11:33 am |