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February 4th, 2009
09:04 AM ET

Obama's commitment to education?

CNN's Erica Hill reports on the educational policy issues President Obama has promised to address.


Filed under: Education • Erica Hill • President Barack Obama
February 3rd, 2009
12:04 PM ET

Michelle Obama's role

AC360°'s Erica Hill examines the role the first lady may have during the Obama presidency.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Michelle Obama
January 20th, 2009
06:12 AM ET

The message in the dress

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/inauguration.balls/art.obamas.afp.gi.jpg caption="President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, are expected to attend all 10 official inaugural balls."]

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

In many ways, it feels strange to focus so much attention on one dress – and to have it be the focus of such a historic night. But every four years we do it, and tonight will not be different. I’m sure plenty of you will be looking at the pictures Wednesday morning, as well.

I’m talking, of course, about Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown.

The discussion until this evening will come with a healthy dose of speculation – will it be Narciso Rodriguez? Maria Pinto? Will she choose color? Glitz? Scale her gown back a bit to be a bit more recession-friendly? Ahhh, the questions.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Inauguration • Michelle Obama
January 8th, 2009
11:55 AM ET

Porn industry wants bailout

Pornography industry moguls are asking the government for a financial bailout. CNN's Erica Hill reports.

December 1st, 2008
07:55 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Reflections

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent


Thanksgiving wasn’t the same this year. It was a wonderful day – my husband’s family was in town, and it’s rare we have everyone together more than once a year. It was a beautiful day here in NY; we took in our first live Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoyed a wonderful feast and created new memories. We made up for lost time and were reminded how lucky we are to be blessed with a family we all like. Yet, I couldn’t help but think of Mumbai and the families forever torn apart by these senseless terrorists.

I take some comfort in the vigils being held worldwide, uniting people across oceans and continents, bringing together different faiths, united in one belief: the 179 people killed and the 300 injured last week in Mumbai should still be here.

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December 1 is World AIDS Day…another good reason to reflect. Dec 1 was first set aside as a day to highlight the disease 20 years ago. The good news: Progress, and lots of it, on both the medical and social fronts.

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Filed under: AIDS • Erica Hill • Erica's News Note • India Attacked
November 26th, 2008
06:35 PM ET

The children are hungry

Impact Your World: The global food market’s shelves are getting bare and hunger activists say it will get worse. As the nation marks World Hunger Relief Week, more people are asking: Why are so many people starving and what, if anything, can be done to eradicate hunger? Learn how you can help

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Thanksgiving is as tied to food drives as it is to turkeys and football. It is the kick-off of the holiday season, when we’re reminded to remember those less fortunate with a can of green beans or a paper stocking at the supermarket. This year, your neighbors need more. And they need it beyond tomorrow.

The people in this country who don’t have enough to eat are your neighbors and colleagues. They may not look like they’re hungry, but hunger doesn’t have a certain look. It doesn’t target one area of the country, one type of person or one socio-economic group. Hunger does not discriminate, and that is what makes the growing number of hungry Americans all the more disturbing.

Last year, 36.2 million Americans were “food insecure” – an official term that sounds generic and clunky, but its meaning is simple: 36.2 million adults and children struggled to find enough to eat. These are parents who may skip meals to feed their children instead, or stretch one meal over a day or even more than one day, because it’s not clear where the next meal will come from. This is more than 12 percent of the population. And when you break down the numbers for children, your heart will break: the number of hungry children in the US rose 50 percent in 2007.

Keep in mind, these numbers are from 2007 – every one I have spoken to since the USDA released the figures last week tells me this year’s numbers will be far worse, and they don’t expect things to improve in 2009. Why? Because in 2007, the economic crisis hadn’t yet begun; people were struggling, but the downturn didn’t dominate the news every night. Banks still had money. The government wasn’t signing off on hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts. People weren’t looking over their shoulder, worried someone from HR was about to tap them on the shoulder, hand them a box and ask them to please clean out their desk.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
November 14th, 2008
07:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Friday Roundup

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dog-fighting is not a “sport”. It is sick, inhumane, and inexcusable. It is torture. I will never understand what compels someone to train animals to fight one another, not how anyone can gain pleasure and enjoyment from watching two living beings tear one another to pieces – literally. I don’t want to understand it, either.

I am happy to report 55 people have been arrested in what is believed to be one of the country’s largest dog fighting operations. One of the alleged participants is a special ed teacher. Nice. More than 100 dogs, “bred specifically to fight”, were also seized.

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The Big Dig seems to have been under a dark cloud since Day One, but it is the heart wrenching death of Milena Del Valle more than two years ago that stands out in many minds when you mention the Boston transportation project. Now, one of the Big Dig’s largest contractors, Modern Continental Construction Inc., will pay $21 million in damages related to her death, and to the cost of fixing leaks in the massive highway project.

Del Valle, 39, was killed in July 2006 while on her way to the airport with her husband. She was a passenger in the car when 26 tons of tunnel ceiling collapsed on the vehicle.

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World’s tallest Mohawk – 27 inches of rockin’ locks – gets groomed for charity.

__________

An 11-year-old girl Oregon girl crawled out of her family's smashed SUV and made her way through a storm to get help, saving seven others in the process.

__________

When Lt. Gen Ann E. Dunwoody enlisted in the Army more than three decades ago, she figured she’d stay for two years, then move on to college and ultimately become a phys ed teacher.

Things didn’t exactly go as planned. Lt Gen Dunwoody never left the Army, and today she becomes the first woman in U.S. military history to get four stars.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
November 12th, 2008
06:53 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: State of the Union

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Food banks across the country have been struggling for months, and as the holidays approach and the economy continues to sink, the outlook for food banks and soup kitchens is increasingly bleak. In Houston, however, there is hope, thanks to Louise Hauser. As the food pantry supervisor at West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM), Hauser knows the struggle first hand. When she recently won $50,000 on “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”, 20 percent – $10,000 – was earmarked for WHAM.

WHAM is an agency of the Houston Food Bank. All told, the Houston Food Bank feeds 80,000 people each week.
__________

Lobster is traditionally one of the luxury items on a dinner menu, but that may be changing. Diners are shying away from the fancy crustaceans because of its equally fancy price tag. Lobster now goes for between $2.80 and $4 a pound in Boston, versus $4.50 to $5 a pound last year. On the Cape, you can find it as low as $2.50 a pound. While that may be good news for lobster lovers, it could be disastrous for the men and women who make their living hauling them in.
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Free wedding dresses for military brides. I think that says it all!
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A young man, senselessly beaten two years ago and left with a broken jaw, forearm, cracked ribs and bruises is fighting back in court. The civil suit could bring down the KKK, but can it snuff out the hate? We can only hope.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
November 5th, 2008
04:30 PM ET

Michelle Obama: America’s Next First Lady

Erica Hill
AC360 ° Correspondent

Imagine what this morning must have been like for the Obamas. Did Michelle Obama wake up, turn to her husband and say, “Good morning, Mr. President?” Were they even able to sleep? Have Malia and Sasha already logged on to their local shelter’s website to find their new dog (yes, I am unabashedly lobbying for the new First Family to rescue that puppy!)? When does the reality of what just happened sink in? Every First Family must have that “Oh my goodness, WE DID IT!” feeling, coupled with a tinge of disbelief… and relief. Oh, to be a fly on the wall in those moments!

Of course, the “sinking-in” time is short-lived. Before lunchtime today, word came that the President-elect’s first top secret intelligence briefing has already been scheduled for tomorrow. Last night, before Grant Park had cleared out, I was assigned a piece on what kind of First Lady Michelle Obama will be, and I wasn’t alone. In The New York Post’s story this morning, we were told Mrs. Obama will bring “glamour” to the White House; The Times in the UK paints Michelle Obama as a “new type of First Lady”, who is “supportive, independent and a fashion icon.” The Reuters headline reads “Michelle Obama: new style of First Lady”.

It’s interesting that so many stories about Michelle Obama make mention of her fashion sense. Yes, she has brought great style to the campaign trail and will likely continue to be a trendsetter in the White House, not unlike Jackie Kennedy. We know she shops at the mall stores many other American moms frequent: JCrew and White House/ Black Market. But there’s more to Michelle Obama than her shopping habits. For a glimpse of the kind of First Lady she will be, we should be turning to her style as a daughter, a wife, and a mother.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Michelle Obama • Raw Politics
October 31st, 2008
07:30 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Spooktastic!

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

The candidates can talk taxes, national security, even a little healthcare but can they talk football? Get ready for a side of last-minute politicking with your Monday Night Football. Did I mention this week’s Redskins-Steelers match up is on Election Eve? Hmmm… Think the Senators will choose a team? With Pennsylvania votes increasingly important, would they dare shun DC to shill for votes? Do a little half-time analysis?

I think it would be nice to mix this one up. Sure, it’s a hugs audience and a major opportunity to reach voters, but if they don’t know what you stand for les than 12 hours before the polls open, they’ve got bigger issues. I say these two lighten up and talk a little football. Grab some wings, a beer and settle in with America for the night, and leave the stump speeches behind. Yeah, like that would happen!
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There’s a squirrel problem in northern California, one that could give the rabbits a run for their money. At the University of California-Davis, the squirrel population has surged from zero to 400 in seven years, and now it’s time for action.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
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