Tom Foreman | BIO
With snow and ice once again swirling across the nation, I am reminded of a quirk in human behavior. Despite driver’s ed classes and years of warnings, many motorists have an almost uncontrollable urge when caught in a skid, to stomp on the brakes and turn the wrong way. They know it will lead to disaster, and yet they can’t help themselves. It’s like John Edwards on the campaign trail.
I mention this because both major political parties are sliding like geese on grease over the growing revolt by independent voters, but neither party seems able to stop making the same mistakes that put them into this predicament. To whit: They keep blaming the other side, deepening the DC gridlock, and further alienating the very voters they need this coming fall.
As the players, coaches and halftime performers - not to mention the Lombardi Trophy - make their way to Miami's Sun Life Stadium for the Super Bowl on Sunday, Jerry Hunter and company will be keeping a close eye on them.
The Super Bowl has contracted with Hunter's US Fleet Tracking to use its real-time GPS tracking system, which uses satellite technology that can "ping" a vehicle's location every few seconds.
The Web-based mapping system will be just one of the high-tech gadgets used Sunday to make sure the party for 74,000 people runs smoothly.
"You think you and your wife have a struggle throwing a dinner party with 30 guests - making sure everything is where it's supposed to be at the right time?" he said. "Imagine the Super Bowl."
Sunday's Super Bowl in Miami, Florida, will unfold against a backdrop of new high-tech stadium features, smartphone applications and video technology.
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CNN Senior Political Analyst
Sen. Susan Collins is not prone to hyperbole. She's a moderate Republican who survived the Obama sweep in the last election by winning handily in Maine as an independent thinker. She's not doctrinaire. In fact, she abandoned most of her GOP caucus to support the administration on the controversial stimulus package. And she's an important player, as the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee.
Lately, she's been (uncharacteristically) sounding alarms. She complained last week that the administration treated the Christmas Day bomber as an "ordinary criminal" rather than a terrorist when officials decided to eventually hand him a lawyer some time after his arrest. And now, she's even more concerned. "I am frustrated about it," she told me. "It was such a dangerous decision. It really worries me."
Why the additional angst? Because intelligence officials told a Senate panel this week that al Qaeda and its subsidiaries were actively plotting a new attack against the United States within the next six months. If that's the case, she tells me, we need to get our act together. And fast.
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Fareed Zakaria | BIO
CNN Anchor, “Fareed Zakaria – GPS”
The solutions to America's long-term budget deficits are surprisingly simple, but they're politically unthinkable in today's Washington, says analyst Fareed Zakaria.
America's failure to deal with its growing budget deficit is hurting its image internationally, according to Zakaria. President Obama proposed a $3.8 trillion budget Monday, projecting a deficit of more than $1.5 trillion this year and nearly $1.3 trillion for the 2011 budget year.
Zakaria, author and host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria: GPS," spoke to CNN Wednesday.
CNN: So the president released his budget this week, projecting deficits almost as far as the eye can see. What do you make of it?
Fareed Zakaria: The real problem is not the current deficits that the president has projected. These deficits are to a large extent inescapable because of the financial emergency we find ourselves in, the rescue of the financial system, the stimulus package to jump-start the American economy. But it's worth understanding why this gets us to 10 percent of GDP, the worst deficit since World War II.
And it is because, as the president points out, the budget was broken in the first place. It was broken by three decisions made during the Bush administration.
The first was to have massive tax cuts, which was a decision made in the wake of the Clinton surpluses.
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Special to CNN
Watching Barack Obama hold separate Q&A's with members of Congress - House Republicans last week, Senate Democrats this week - has its ups and downs
On the one hand, I was impressed with how Obama took on his ideological adversaries in the House, challenging them to keep an open mind and making them seem like crybabies for wanting to set the national agenda even though they keep losing elections.
Yet, on the other, I was depressed at how he squandered a meeting Wednesday with his former Democratic Senate colleagues, who are as blinded by partisanship and intent on putting their interest ahead of their constituents' as anyone in Washington.
Outside the Beltway, Obama likes to play the role of the centrist who wrings his hands over how both parties behave in Washington. He casts himself as the outsider mystified by the way in which the hard-liners oversimplify tough problems and approach every issue in terms of all or nothing. Bashing both parties sells.
Program Note: Don't miss Steve Perry's conversation with Sean Combs tonight on AC360° at 11 p.m. ET.
CNN Education Contributor
I don't know P. Diddy. The barking, brash hip hop mogul and I have never met. In fact, when we started I told him that I don't know what to call him because the person I've gotten to know is Sean Combs.
Sean wanted to make sure that he answered my questions right. He was humble, warm and engaging. He sat down and had more questions than answers. His tones were hushed and polite. The only sign of the pyrotechnic backdrop of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs was when an actual lion was wheeled into a nearby room in the LA location of the shoot. Only the majesty of the king of the forest could break the concentration of the king of hip hop as he made sure that he answered all of my questions correctly.
Sean Combs is a man who is acutely aware of the way people see him. He decided to do this interview knowing that I was going to push him. He and I recently met at an engagement party. He told me he respected my work and I told him I felt the same way. Unsure if my response was simply an obligatory retort, he said, "I'm serious." To make his point, he pulled me aside and told me something that he said nobody would believe.
When Sean Combs agreed to this interview he knew I was going to expose what he'd shared with me and still he gave me no parameters. So I pushed and he responded. I peppered him with questions about his responsibility for the current image of Black people and he answered. I pressed him about how he can go from Diddy to daddy and he didn't flinch. I even asked him why he was relevant in a discussion that involves our children and he answered every single question.
I felt like I was talking to a man at a crossroads, a man no different than many I meet. These are men who know that people are suffering and that they must do something. The issue these men face is discovering what it is that they are supposed to do.
What you will see is what I saw, a regular dude. My goal was to introduce a man who many feel they already know. I wanted to let the viewers in on the phone conversations that he and I have had in which he is curious and compassionate. I'm not a journalist and this is not an interview. I am a social worker. This is an intimate discussion.
What you will see tonight is a portrait of a man who happens to be rich, famous and talented. I will reveal what you would have heard if you were at that party, on the phone calls that followed or if I let you read my texts. What you will see is a conversation between two men. You will meet is Sean Combs. What you will learn is what he sees as his purpose.
Reporter's Note: If there is one thing I really envy President Obama about it’s Air Force One. What a sweet gig. No lines, no security, and no schedules that can get messed up by winter storms leaving you stuck in some distant airport having read all the newspapers, eaten all the frozen yogurt with M&M’s you can stand , and…oh, I’m getting off track. Here is my letter for today.
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Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
Arrggghhhh! I have been traveling for decades now; leaping aboard planes, trains, and automobiles of all sorts, cutting untouched through the ranks of less seasoned travelers to scrape the very edges of space with my brilliant transitions from home-to-distant land-to-right-back-home-in-time-for-tea. Yet here I sit in a hotel in Indiana, having stumbled into a bush league, stone cold amateur, Brownie Scout trap: I ventured into the Midwest in February with a storm front approaching.
How could I be so stupid? Did those painfully weak little synapses in my pea brain finally rip apart like the last shreds of Mark Sanford’s dignity? I, who once wielded an OAG like a magical talisman, have been reduced to staring at the Weather Channel and hoping for a break. It’s pathetic, is what it is.
Here is how it happened. My elder daughter is in the college hunt, and I promised to haul her out here to visit Purdue and Notre Dame. (Yes, yes, I am a good father, and she is a wonderful daughter and an exceptional student. Thank you for noticing.) So I took a few days off, we hopped on a plane, and even as my wife called with regular updates on the converging weather patterns back home, we blithely tooled across the Indiana countryside.
Editor's Note: After last night's AC360°, many of you wrote in to comment on the Americans charged with kidnapping in Haiti. What do you have to say about the program? We want to hear from you.
With abundant orphans in Haiti, these Christians were doing a very un-Christian breaking up of existing families with false promises of a “better life”. This should be held up to legal consequences.
Why hasn't anyone mentioned the 34 Haitian children taken by the Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, days after the earthquake? Where are these children now?
I think you are being distracted by the missionaries from the real story of what is happening to the children of Haiti – the ones that are actually being sold into slavery. And I wouldn't be surprised if Haiti's government was behind it too with using the missionaries as a distraction as to what is really going on. Set your eyes elsewhere and I bet you find much worse.