October 8th, 2011
04:28 PM ET

Letters to the President: #992 'Keeping the job problem in sight'

Reporter's Note: The president has been trying to catch up with the runaway unemployment problems, but as I note in today’s letter, sometimes just keeping the challenge in sight can be enough for the moment.

Dear Mr. President,

By the time you read this, I expect to be deep, deep, deep into a very long trail run. I’m hoping to hit the woods around 6 in the morning, knock out between 15 and 20 miles, and then join up with my wife and younger daughter for brunch somewhere. Should be fun, but you never know with these morning runs; sometimes they are wonderful, and sometimes they are torturous. We’ll see.

I did not mention the jobs report yesterday because I was busy thinking about other things when I wrote, but of course the report brought lukewarm news…some jobs added, sure, but not nearly enough to make a real dent in the unemployment numbers.

And yet, I wonder if this might yet be good news for us. Why?

Look at it this way: When you run a long race, sometimes a front runner breaks from the pack. He sprints away early, eating up miles, and convincing other competitors that he’ll never be caught. Truth be told, if someone tries to run him down when he is streaking ahead like that, the challenger runs a real risk of burning out and failing.

But such ferocity requires a lot of energy, and the rabbit can also find himself flaming as he tries to maintain that pace.

And I wonder if that is finally happening with our economy; if that vicious cycle that has taken us so deeply into bad times, is just naturally losing steam.

I realize this may be cold comfort to people who don’t have jobs. But I have such faith in the power of such cycles…in running, in nature, and yes, in the economy…that when I see hints of such a thing, it always grabs my attention. Hey, we may not be catching up yet, but such reports suggest maybe we are ready to stop falling further behind.

Hope your Saturday is nice. I’m likely going to take another long trot tomorrow. If you want to go, just give me a call.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman • Unemployment
October 8th, 2011
03:45 PM ET

Bullying: It Stops Here snapshots

AC360 Bullying: It Stops Here Sneak Peek

Anderson, along with the entire AC360° staff, is concerned about the devastating and lasting effects of bullying . No child should have to walk their school hallways in fear. Our message to parents, teachers and children is simple: Bullying must end.

Last week, we punched New Brunswick into the GPS, hit the New Jersey Turnpike and headed for Rutgers University – Scarlet Knights territory. The CNN crew spent two and a half days building a set for our "Bullying: It Stops Here" town hall. Our technical team made themselves at home in the student center, and found room for our mobile control room and satellite truck (it's not easy finding parking for those things on campus!).


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Filed under: 360° Radar • Bullying • Ella Chick
October 8th, 2011
09:02 AM ET

Who would Peter be today?

Who would Peter be today?

It’s a question I ask myself all the time. Where would Peter be living? What would his life be like? What would he have chosen as a career?

I knew Peter for many years when we were kids. We grew up in the same town, but we weren’t friends. In fact, I can’t remember a meaningful conversation Peter and I ever shared. We had many classes together and we were both in the school band. He was definitely a more talented musician. I struggled in my attempts to play the saxophone. Peter mastered playing the tuba. I was more interested in sports, since I also played baseball and football. Peter focused on his classroom studies and his music.

Peter didn’t have many friends. He wasn’t like us. Everything about him was different. He didn’t dress like the rest of us; he didn’t have the same interests as most of us; Peter just didn’t fit in.

For as long as I can remember, Peter was bullied.

Bullied probably isn’t the right word to describe the way Peter was treated. I’m disgusted thinking of the days of our youth and remembering how he had to go through his life at school. The abuse was relentless. Students would heckle loudly as he walked by; he was laughed at and teased at almost every corner. People would shout out, “Peter the nerd!” or “Geek!” every chance they could.

Almost everyone I knew would join in. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not innocent either. I honestly don’t remember any specific taunt or harsh words I may have said toward Peter or his close circle of friends, but I know I laughed along with the others in my crowd.

I watched as he was kicked and I did nothing. I didn’t say anything to a teacher, nor did anyone else.

I watched as people would trip him or knock his books from his hands. I did and said nothing.


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Filed under: Bullying • Ismael Estrada