March 23rd, 2010
11:37 AM ET

Reward increases for "grandpa bandit"





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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The bounty has been raised in the pursuit of a serial bank robber known as the "grandpa bandit."

A reward of $15,000 is being offered to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect, the Portland Division of the FBI announced today.

He is thought to be responsible for at least six hold-ups in Oregon that began in October. The most recent heist was last Thursday with the robbery of a Bank of America branch in Medford, the FBI said.
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"He's a typical bank robber," FBI spokesperson Beth Anne Steele told CNN. "He walks in quietly. demands cash, gets his cash and leaves."

The suspect did not have a weapon in 5 of the robberies, Steele said. But the FBI believes in a sixth incident he "threatened to kill a teller as he showed her a weapon in his waistband."

"Any bank robbery has the potential to be dangerous and that is something we will certainly look at, Steele said. "Is he the most dangerous bank robber out there? No. But could he be a threat? Yes."

While many bank robbers don disguises, masks or hoods, the "grandpa bandit" does not appear to be attempting to conceal his identity. Surveillance images offer strikingly clear photographs of the individual who often wears eyeglasses, a hat and a light jacket. FULL POST

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
March 23rd, 2010
10:27 AM ET

I actually respect the Democrats. How weird is that?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/23/art.pelosi.hcbillsigning.jpg caption="House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed by fellow Democrats, speaks at a press conference after the successful passage of health care reform in the House."]David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

Sunday was a strange day. It took me most of the day to figure out what it was I was feeling. Turns out it was respect. Respect for the Democrats. How weird is that?

I had pretty much written the 110th Congress off as being completely ineffectual. Weak. Useless. I was ashamed of them. After all, how can you have an unbeatable majority and still lose on all your key issues?

But this weekend I saw a Democratic party that Lyndon Johnson, that wonderfully nasty old wheeler-dealer, would have been proud of.

The Dems wanted to pass health care and by golly, they actually did.

Can you imagine? The Dems actually doing something? And doing something hard. Doing something that Presidents and political parties have tried to do for a hundred years. And our Congress did it? Those woosies? Shocking.

Now, before I sing their praises too much, I need to say a few things about this health care bill. First and foremost, based on my analysis in How To Save Jobs, I'm convinced this isn't the full solution we need. As long as health care is linked to employment, and as long as every company in America has health insurance as a component of Cost of Goods Sold (unlike most industrialized nations, and even our third-world competitors), the health care problem won't be solved.

And I'm also concerned about how long some of these provisions will take to kick in. In six months, some big benefits kick in. There will be no more lifetime limits on medical coverage. People who have expensive conditions can no longer be dropped from coverage. FULL POST

Filed under: David Gewirtz • Economy • Job Market • Opinion
March 23rd, 2010
09:55 AM ET

Dear President Obama #428: "The Presidential Cliff Dive”

Reporter's Note: President Obama reads my letters every day. At least I think so. Or I like to think so. Either way, I write them…day after day to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

President Obama may be celebrating his health care victory, but the crowd is restless.  Hence my letter to the White House has a certain tone of foreboding; and yes, I used “hence” and “foreboding” in the same sentence.  Welcome to the 1800’s!  Huzzah!

Dear Mr. President,

Yikes!  Did you see our latest CNN/Opinion Research poll on what taxpayers (or as we like to refer to ourselves, “the bosses,”) think of the job you are doing?  Like Larry King getting a pedicure, it’s not pretty.

Your numbers are in the basement right now, buried under the pup tent and the figure skates.  People don’t much like the job you are doing on the economy, health care, the deficit, and I don’t want to even bring up how they feel about your Final Four bracket collapse.  (Ok, I’ll bring it up anyway: You picked Kansas to win it all?  Ha!  Went down like the Hindenburg.  What were you thinking?)

I have long thought that politicians spend way too much time worrying about their poll numbers and not enough time thinking about their policies, and I still feel that way.  But putting too much emphasis on the numbers, and no emphasis on them are different things.  Chasing all the dips and swoops in the polls can lead to ridiculous pandering and cheap flip flops.  (Which reminds me, I need some cheap flip flops for spring vacation at the beach!)  However, ignoring deep movements in the polls can lead to a disconnect with the very voters you are there to serve, and a one way ticket to Ex Presidentville.  FULL POST

March 23rd, 2010
07:45 AM ET

Sound Off: Your Comments 3/23/10

Editor's Note: You gave us your opinion of the health care reform and said you wanted more information on what it means for them personally: pre-existing conditions, hospitals, and illegal aliens.

You never explain that a good part (25% at least) of the people against the health bill are those who want it to be more liberal....more like Medicare....and would be supporters in a pinch. You leave the impression that all opposed are actually opposed (on the right)

One of your correspondents mentioned that states mandate auto insurance, so the states should be able to mandate health insurance. Point of clarity, states mandate liability insurance because drivers can injure or kill others; it is for other peoples' protection. Not the same as medical insurance, if you don't want to go to the doctor, then don't go, you’re the one that ends up sick, no one else harmed.... come on guys, this is terrible for our country....

Republicans main goal in this whole debate seems to not have any changes to the present health care system, like there is nothing wrong with it. Blowing their trumpet about the threat of socialism. My question is to these great American representatives "Exactly what is Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and veteran hospitals if they are not socialism??

I agree with the Health Care bill that was passed, other than the fact that it doesn't go far enough to rein in costs. But I feel it won't matter because the Republicans control the one branch of government against which there is no recourse. The Supreme Court will rule this bill unconstitutional. All the Republicans have to do is get any weak argument in front of the SCOTUS and Roberts and his gang will squash it. They proved their allegiance with special interests when they ruled free speech means the right to buy elected officials.

I have not heard any mention of how the Health Care Bill will affect hospitals' requirements to service illegal aliens who do not have insurance, but come across the border to get free baby delivery and care, etc. If everyone must have health insurance, does it also mean that hospitals can now refuse delivery and care in such cases. Americans are currently paying for this.

With the Billions that have been raise for Haiti–why hasn't there been faster progress to provide –more durable tents, clean water, food, It seems unreasonable with that amount of money-things are not happening faster. Is the money caught up in "RED Tape." KEEP Them Honest Anderson

Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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