David Gewirtz | BIO
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute
I was calling a new doctor for an appointment, and rather than saying something pleasant, like "Hello," the very first word out of the receptionist's mouth was "Insurance?"
Oh, well. "Yes," I answered. "Yes, I have insurance."
The woman's reply rocked me back a little, simply because of the complete rudeness of her tone.
"IN! SUR! ANCE!"
She bit off each part of the word, just to make it clear she deeply disapproved of my response. I eventually ascertained that she wanted to know the name of my insurance provider before she'd be willing to let me even speak to the person who scheduled appointments.
I wasn't just being doc-blocked from the doctor, I had to justify myself simply to be allowed to speak to the office scheduler.
Fortunately, my company provides me with relatively good insurance, and after providing the doctor's various gatekeepers with a complete identity-theft kit worth of information, I was granted the privilege of an introductory appointment with the great man himself.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Our money says “In God we trust,” but some scientists say not so fast. So I say, time for another letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
So I was reading this article about how the esteemed physicist Stephen Hawking says there is no God; about how everything that exists can be explained by science, and spontaneous creation; which, I guess, is like spontaneous combustion, only not so messy. And once again I found myself thinking: How the heck would he know?
Scientists get really cranky when religious types start rattling on about how evolution is a lie, and creationism explains everything. To be honest I can’t really blame them. I toured that museum of creationism out in the Midwest some years ago and it was a pretty strange experience. Scientists have spent a lot of time working on their theories about how we all reached this point, so it can’t be any fun to see all their work dismissed with a Barney Rubble depiction of ancient man that is not supported by the fossil record. Plus, they’ve sifted through all those bones, churned out all those papers, and published all those peer-reviewed articles. Frankly if I even had to deal with my peers that often I’d be a little short tempered.
But back to my point. The chief reason scientists have a right to be upset is that the arguments leveled against their work by the church crowd have nothing to do with science, and are not informed by an understanding of it. The professors are talking apples, the prayers are talking oranges. It’s like an auto mechanic arguing that a pro bowler can’t pick up the spare because his turn signals aren’t working.
CNN Wire Staff
Cape Cod, Massachusetts (CNN) - Residents of New York and New England braced for a potential onslaught Friday from Hurricane Earl, which earlier lashed the North Carolina coastline with high winds and 35-foot waves.
North Carolina's governor, however, said her state had apparently "dodged the bullet." There had been no loss of life and there seemed to be minimal damage from the Category 2 hurricane, Gov. Bev Perdue told CNN.
The hurricane was roughly 130 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to an 8 a.m. ET report from the National Hurricane Center. Earl was registering maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, resulting in storm warnings from North Carolina to Nova Scotia.
CNN meteorologist Reynolds Wolf said the eye of the storm had collapsed. Earl "is starting to lose some of its structure," he said. "It is a dying storm, but is still a force to be reckoned with."
CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A veteran House representative from Texas said she made a mistake when she awarded charitable scholarships to her family members instead of students in her district.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, has been under fire recently, accused of breaking rules in giving the scholarships to relatives.
"I've acknowledged that I was negligent. I've acknowledged that I made a mistake," Johnson said during an interview on CNN's "AC 360" on Thursday.
Johnson is accused of awarding scholarship money to her grandsons, David and Kirk Johnson, as well as the children of her Dallas district director, Rod Givens, last year. Each of the relatives were awarded two scholarships in the past year.
Johnson is a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and is a former board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which gives each member $10,000 every year to award as scholarships to students in his or her district.
The scholarship money comes from tax-deductible charitable donations.
CNN Senior National Editor
If you’re not familiar with the term “hydraulic fracturing,” you might want to study up. “Fracking,” as it’s called in shorthand, is big news in parts of the country and it’s about to get bigger. CNN.Com has posted a piece on the subject and you can expect to see more coverage online and on television in the weeks ahead.
In short, hydraulic fracturing involves injecting fluids thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface to break up rock formations and extract supplies of natural gas. How much gas? Perhaps several decades’ worth at current production levels; impressive when you’re talking about the United States achieving a greater degree of energy independence.
What’s also breaking is the patience of a lot of people who live in areas where fracking is underway or planned. Natural gas may be clean-burning but critics say the process and politics of fracking are anything but clean.