October 19th, 2009
04:50 PM ET

Maria Shriver: A woman’s nation changes everything

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Maria Shriver
The Shriver Report
The Center for American Progress

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress decided to closely examine the consequences of what we thought was a major tipping point in our nation’s social and economic history: the emergence of working women as primary breadwinners for millions of families at the same time that their presence on America’s payrolls grew to comprise fully half the nation’s workforce. In addition, we were watching the Great Recession amplify and accelerate these trends. We are in the midst of a fundamental transformation of the way America works and lives.

But my own interest wasn’t just academic. It sprang from a very personal source: my mother. My family wasn’t much like what we were watching on TV in the 1950s. My parents had a tag-team work life—my father working in a factory during the day; my mother in a pink-collar job from 5 p.m. until midnight. Like millions of families today, they juggled, struggled, nurtured, laughed a lot, and fought a little so that their kids could lead good lives and get ahead. I don’t think my mother ever really thought of herself as a trendsetter, but she was at the leading edge of a wave that shaped America in the last half of the 20th century—a wave we call “a woman’s nation.” Though she recently passed away, she still serves as a role model for my daughters.

So I was delighted when Maria Shriver, who cleverly conceived of the phrase “a woman’s nation,” came to me with the idea of combining a project she envisioned with CAP’s work and together producing a landmark examination of thisfundamental change in American society. We realized that Maria could add invaluable depth to the efforts underway because she recognized not only the enormous impact of these changes on the workplace, but their import for every aspect of the American life and culture, as well. A partnership was born, and it produced a document that goes far beyond the typical findings of your standard economic policy report.

This report brings together the relentless intellect of a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist who pushes beyond statistics to fully reveal the complexity of women’s lives and the academic muscle of a progressive think tank that understands how to comb through data and illuminate the trends re-shaping the American landscape.

Read the full report here

Filed under: Women's Issues • Women's Rights
October 19th, 2009
04:43 PM ET

Map: Weekly H1N1 and influenza estimates by state

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Click here to check out a map of weekly H1N1 influenza activity estimates reported by state and territorial epidemiologists.

Filed under: 360° Radar • H1N1
October 19th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Suze Orman: Money Matters

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Program Note: Tune in tonight to watch Suze Orman discuss women in the workplace. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Suze Orman
The Shriver Report
The Center for American Progress

We need to move money front and center in this conversation. Not later. Right now.

I am excited that “A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything” is bringing such formidable intellectual power to bear on the vitally important topic of how women’s evolving role in every facet of society can be better served by corporate and legislative policy. But all of our best efforts will be for naught if we don’t focus on the real catalyst for change—altering the dysfunctional relationship many women have with money, especially women who are struggling to survive in abusive relationships but also including those many women who are now coming to terms with the “power of the purse” as the new breadwinners in American society.

It starts with basic financial literacy. In the recent Prudential study “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women,” less than 25 percent of the women surveyed said they are “very well prepared” to make financial decisions.1 Women are grappling with everyday spending, savings, and investment decisions, often after earning the lioness’ share of the family income, yet they feel overwhelmed and underqualified to put that hard-earned money to work. How can we expect women who cannot understand or manage their own family finances to climb the ladder at a Fortune 500 company?

Until women accept the need to make themselves a priority, they will continue to struggle to find their way in the new world order. Women need to feel great about using their hard-earned money to fund a Roth IRA rather than using the money to buy more things their already cared-for kids don’t really need. Women need to say no when asked to co-sign a loan because they know it may jeopardize their own credit score and financial security. To allay very real bag-lady fears,2 women must see the value of paying down their mortgage to ensure a secure retirement rather than sending that money to a grown child with a full-time job and ample income to help pay down student loan debt.

The money disconnect is just as pervasive for stay-at-home mothers. Please let’s not lose sight of this vitally important subset of our female population. I am talking about stay-at-home moms who come to me for advice on how to ask their partner for money since he is the one earning the money. I tell them: You don’t ask. You share. A woman needs to understand her equal value to her family. She needs to respect herself. She needs to not put herself on sale.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Finance • Suze Orman • Women's Issues
October 19th, 2009
04:01 PM ET

Election Audit: Karzai forced into runoff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/19/afghanistan.election.fraud/art.commission.afp.gi.jpg caption="Workers of the Afghan Election Commission check ballots in Kabul earlier this month."]

Democracy International

Today, the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) released the long anticipated decision resulting from the audit of polling stations that met the criteria of its September 8, 2009, audit and recount order.

Democracy International has analyzed the results from data previously released and believes the ECC audit decisions should result in a runoff election, according to Afghanistan’s Electoral Law.

Our calculations suggest the percentage rejection of the ballots cast in each of the audit categories will reduce President Hamid Karzai’s level of support to approximately 48.29% of the overall vote. This reduces his vote share below the 50% threshold necessary for a first-round victory, and should necessitate a runoff election between Hamid Karzai, and the second-place candidate, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The IEC has a responsibility to certify the results based on the ECC’s decisions.

In addition, the ECC has decided to invalidate 210 polling stations based on Priority A complaints, 147 of which are included in the IEC’s published preliminary result.


Filed under: Afghanistan
October 19th, 2009
03:31 PM ET

Behind the scenes in Obama's war council debate

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/14/obama.afghanistan/art.obama.advisers.wh.gi.jpg caption="President Obama and his national security team meet in the White House Situation Room."]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

There's an air of mystery hanging over President Obama's war council, which meets in secrecy yet again this week to discuss a new strategy for Afghanistan in the highly secure White House Situation Room.

But senior officials closely involved in the decision-making process reveal that the president and his team are grappling with one particularly urgent question: Will Gen. Stanley McChrystal's push for 40,000 more U.S. troops really secure Afghanistan?

McChrystal, who has been joining the president's war council by secure videophone, framed this debate weeks ago by writing in his now-famous memo that failing to send that many troops could result in the mission failing. But some of Obama's other top advisers are privately expressing heavy skepticism that sending 40,000 troops will result in a successful Iraq-style surge.

"Afghanistan is not Iraq," one senior administration official said. "To say that we can take what we did in Iraq and Xerox it and send it to Afghanistan is obtuse."

A second administration official confirmed this viewpoint has real currency inside Obama's war council.

"With 40,000 more troops, you cannot do an Iraq-style surge," this official said. "It's totally different than Iraq. The strategy is not easily transferable - there are unique challenges in Afghanistan."

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • Iraq
October 19th, 2009
03:26 PM ET

Willingham juror no longer sure of his guilt in Texas case

Gabriel Falcon and Randi Kaye

At least one member of the jury that sentenced Cameron Todd Willingham to death in the arson homicides of his three children says she is struggling with the idea that she might have convicted an innocent man.

It has been 17 years since Willingham was convicted in Texas of setting a house fire that killed his children, a crime Willingham vehemently denied right up until his execution in 2004.

Since that time, three investigations have concluded arson was not the likely cause of the 1991 fire, including one that arrived in Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office 88 minutes before the scheduled execution.

Perry replaced four of nine members of the Texas Forensics Sciences Commission in recent weeks, just before the commission was to receive a report from the latest of the three investigations.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon • Randi Kaye
October 19th, 2009
01:36 PM ET

Obama wrong to release interrogation memos

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Michael V. Hayden
Special to CNN

I know that the story has moved on, that the outline of the journalistic narrative has been set, and that the "first draft" of history has been just about finalized. Before the ink dries though, I would like to offer at least a footnote.

And this footnote has to do with President Obama's decision in April to release opinions drafted by the Department of Justice that detailed the CIA's interrogation program for high-value al Qaeda detainees.

Specifically, it has to do with the argument made publicly and privately by the administration that its hand was being forced by a pending decision in a Freedom of Information Act case by the American Civil Liberties Union before Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York.

Indeed, when Obama visited the CIA the Monday after the release of the documents, he specifically cited this argument in his remarks to the work force.

He said that he released "... the Justice Department Office of Legal Council (OLC) memos as a consequence of a court case that was pending and to which it was very difficult for us to mount an effective legal defense. ..."

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Barack Obama • Guantanomo Bay • Torture
October 19th, 2009
01:24 PM ET

The Tao of Wu (Tang Clan)

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Arsalan Iftikhar
AC360° Contributor

“Cash Rules Everything Around Me/C.R.E.A.M./Get the money/Dollar, Dollar bill, y’all…”

Thus begins the legendary lyrics of C.R.E.A.M. by the Wu-Tang Clan, one of the greatest collective lyrical syndicates in the entire history of hip-hop.

Led by Robert ‘RZA’ Diggs (pronounced ‘Riz-za’), Clifford Smith (known better by his nom de guerre Method Man), Raekwon, GZA (pronounced ‘Jiz-za’…Yes, Jizza), Ghostface Killah, U-God, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa and (the late) Ol’ Dirty Bastard (better known as ODB), the Wu-Tang Clan has successfully launched into the hip-hop stratosphere by taking their respective lyrical games from the projects of Staten Island to the hallowed corridors of Hollywood over the years.

From their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) to Robert ‘RZA’ Diggs most recent Hollywood foray in Adam Sandler’s 2009 movie Funny People, the syndicate MCs of Wu-Tang have successfully expanded their influence from the hip-hop world to Hollywood movies and now even literature.

Keep Reading...

October 19th, 2009
12:42 PM ET

I helped Richard Heene plan a balloon hoax

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/18/colorado.balloon.investigation/art.heene.sheriff.kdvr.jpg caption="Richard Heene has told reporters that a runaway balloon incident involving his son was "absolutely no hoax."]

Robert Thomas
For Gawker

I came to Fort Collins for school — Colorado State University. I was a Web entrepreneur, starting a few small companies that evolved into a larger scale project called Extropedia.org, an open source online encyclopedia for advancing humanity through technology and science.

Doing research for the project on Google and YouTube, I stumbled upon Richard Heene and his video series Psyience Detectives. I was surprised to find this potential collaborator in the small city of Fort Collins. Since a very young age, I've been fascinated with electromagnetics, applied physics and how technologies developed out of those concepts could that change the world. Richard was studying basically the same thing. He asserted, for example, that tornadoes and hurricanes are not a result of changes in pressure but of magnetic polarity changes within the Earth.

I sent him an email in March, talking about Extropedia, a web site I founded and hope to re-launch soon. (Click here to read some of Thomas' email exchanges with the Heene family). Things progressed. Soon I was dropping in unannounced, having dinner. I'd bring various patents from the 50s and 60s that showcased technologies far more advanced than what we use today, and we discussed why they weren't being used. That was when Richard first started telling me about his conspiracy theories — which would eventually reveal themselves to be both extreme and paranoid.

Read More

Filed under: 360° Radar
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