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September 24th, 2008
06:46 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: The Numbers

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

It IS the economy – you would truly have to be stupid not to know this. Yet, are we talking about the entire economy? Last night on 360º David Gergen mentioned jobs as one of the most important – and overlooked – areas of the economy. During the webcast, I asked him if the candidates were talking enough about jobs, and saying what you, the voters, want and need to here. He didn’t hesitate for a second. “No,” he said.

There are nearly 9.5 million Americans out of work – 600,000 jobs have been lost so far this year, and we still have three months to go.

Those of you working are likely finding your check doesn’t go as far as it used to. I swear the price of milk goes up weekly.

Why aren’t we hearing more about ways to not only keep the jobs Americans have, but to create new ones? When I was in Michigan recently, speaking with a group of female voters, the majority told me the economy was the most important issue. In a city like Detroit, where the auto industry seems to be hanging on for dear life, and in a state like Michigan which holds the dubious distinction of the state with the highest unemployment – nearly 9% – it’s also an issue that requires specifics. Could this new focus bring specifics from the candidates? Ahhh… if only I had a crystal ball. My Magic 8 ball isn’t much help.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 23rd, 2008
07:50 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Movin’ right along

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

I drink a lot of water. I like it au natural, as they say – a little hydrogen, a dash of oxygen, hold the fillers…and that includes rocket fuel. The EPA, however, doesn’t see it the same way. The technical name for this additive is perchlorate, a little gem that’s been found to interfere with thyroid function and also harbors developmental risks, especially for babies and fetuses. So why not rid your drinking water of the rocket fuel? The EPA concluded a perchorlate clean-up wouldn’t be a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems."

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During last night’s webcast, there was a lot of talk about David Blaine’s latest stunt  in Central Park. Some of you weren’t too happy with the… let’s say “lack of support” for the planned 60 hour upside-down hang-fest. Today, some interesting developments about Mr Blaine’s time in the Park, including whether the claims about his stunt were truly on the up and up. Ah, the intrigue! Tune in for the latest tonight on the show.
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Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 22nd, 2008
06:05 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Now you know…

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Much to my Dad’s chagrin, I have been to Fenway more than a few times, but I never made it to Yankee Stadium. When we moved to NY this year, it seemed like we would have a tough time not making it to the House that Ruth Built before the final game was played. I couldn’t have been more wrong! But so many of you *did* make it to the original Yankee Stadium this season and last night; I’m living that experience through your iReports. They are fantastic! Thank you all for sharing them with us.

I loved some of the color in the paper this morning – the extra 1,600 security guards brought in for yesterday’s game, the memo sent to players reminding them they, too, were forbidden from taking a souvenir. Just like the 54,000-plus fans in attendance on Sunday – and the countless others cheering on the Yankees elsewhere – they’ll have to pay for any memento they’d like.

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Healing, huh? Apparently, that’s what Stonehenge was for, according to two British scientists. They liken it to Lourdes, the French town which draws the Catholic faithful from around the globe. How do they all of a sudden know pilgrims came here thousands of years ago for healing, when the rock formation has puzzled people for centuries? Credit the blue rocks.

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And a quick programming note: a few of our regular bloggers have noticed me moonlighting on the Saturday edition of The Early Show on CBS. I’m very happy to report I am now the co-anchor of that broadcast.

I’m not going anywhere, though, so for those of you who are sick of me – too bad! My CBS duties are in addition to those at CNN, so I will still be with you weeknights right here on AC360.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 17th, 2008
07:12 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Heading South

Erica Hill
AC360 Correspondent

It feels like the economic roller coaster we’ve been riding for so long has made it to the top of that scary drop and is perched there, teetering, ready for the dive. The big question, when will the final blow come? I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, but it’s tough to watch the Dow drop nearly 450 points and not be a bit concerned. Bailouts can be scary, too. Yesterday’s AIG loan was the big talk in the makeup room last night. The consensus was a feeling of frustration at the continued bailouts with taxpayer money.

One studio crew member also wanted to know why we didn’t talk more about the vicious cycle he felt the government was creating. He mentioned the soaring deficit, tax dollars being used to continually bailout companies, and the decision to add pump more physical cash into the market when the US currency was already down. He said it seemed like everything the government was doing went against everything he learned in school.

And we cant forget about the good ol’ R word: recession. Despite the fact that 76% of Americans recently said they think the country is experiencing a recession, the money folks say we’re not. FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 16th, 2008
06:59 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Be well

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

In the aftermath of Ike, that goodwill we hear so much about in times of trouble is – I am happy to report – alive and well.
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BPA is the new evil doer. There’s been so much talk about this plastic ingredient and what it could do to you and your kids, that nothing seems safe anymore. You buy a reusable plastic bottle thinking it’s not only cheaper than buying bottled water, but also better for the planet, only to find out the earth-friendly vessel could be linked to risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Parents I know were understandably freaked out. Some switched to glad bottles for their babies, others got rid of all the plastic cups in their house and replaced them with BPA-free models or metal sports bottles, and most decided the convenience of the dishwasher wasn’t worth the risk of leaching chemicals. But it turns out, most of us already have some BPA floating through our bodies.

The FDA has said BPA is safe, but recommends avoiding plastic containers marked with the recycling number “7” and not warming up food in plastic containers. But a new study today from the American Medical Association now says those health concerns “deserve scientific follow-up”. What’s the real story here? Check out this link.

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If you enjoyed Tina Fey on SNL, you may like this snappy wrap of fellow Sarah Palin impersonators from one of my favorite CNN correspondents, Jeanne Moos.


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 15th, 2008
06:54 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Checking In

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

A little over a year after the Crandall Canyon mine collapsed, the faces of the nine miners killed in the tragedy now grace a public memorial. Six miners were trapped when the Crandall Canyon mine collapsed on Aug 6, 2007. Ten days later, three of their colleagues who were trying to save the trapped men were killed when the mine rumbled again.

Miner’s Memorial Park was dedicated on Sunday. The monument – featuring the faces of the nine men lost in the mine – Is cast in bronze.

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Oprah – an open supporter of Barack Obama for President – said recently she would not have Sarah Palin on her show until after the election. In a statement released earlier this month, Winfrey said she thinks Sarah Palin would be a “fantastic interview”, but reiterated her decision not to use her show “as a platform for any of the candidates”. Obama has been on the show twice to promote his books. The statement on Oprah’s website points out both appearances occurred before she endorsed his candidacy.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 11th, 2008
07:03 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: To Remember

Editor's Note:
We are devoting many posts today to the anniversary of 9/11, with first-hand accounts, insight, and commentary dedicated to that day seven years ago that changed our world.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/11/art.911fdny2.jpg]
Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

This is my first 9/11 in New York. Everywhere I go today – the bank, the park, the subway – I can’t help but wonder what the people around me are feeling and thinking on this somber anniversary. Were they downtown that morning? Did they lose someone they loved on that terrible day? Are they also new to NY, scanning the faces of their neighbors, wondering what the protocol is?

On our family walk this morning, we witnessed something incredibly moving by chance…and feel lucky to have been a part of it. Making our way uptown, we noticed Riverside Drive was closed, and there were a number of firefighters on our path wearing their dress uniforms. Initially I figured they were coming from a memorial ceremony somewhere downtown. I’d forgotten about the beautiful monument in Riverside Park dedicated to New York’s Bravest: the Firefighters.

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September 9th, 2008
06:10 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: The numbers

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Unless you’re the state of Alaska, chances are your budget isn’t pretty these days. Uncle Sam is really looking ugly. In one year, the nation’s budget deficit is up 153%. That's a lot more than double. The Congressional Budget Office today predicted the deficit will balloon to $407 BILLION. Why such a bleak forecast? "The nation is experiencing a significant period of economic weakness," said Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

I’m no economist, but I think he’s on to something.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 8th, 2008
07:01 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Searching

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Puppy mills make me ill. Many of these dog breeding facilities have been found to house animals as cheaply as possible - in cruel and horrible conditions - to make the most money. I can literally feel the disgust in the pit of my stomach. I will never understand how people can be so cruel to another living being.

Dozens of beagle puppies are recovering in Arizona, today, saved from a Missouri puppy mill where officials say they would have been shot or drowned if they hadn’t been rescued. The animals were reportedly kept in wire cages at the Missouri breeder, and arrived with a host of problems including damaged ears, bloody nails and paws in pain. Several dogs also required surgeries.

When I read stories like this, I rejoice that the animals are safe but the thought of what they went through makes me angry and sick.

My parents have a beagle. Bailey is one of the most loyal dogs I’ve ever known. He was a rescue dog, adopted by my family when he was eight months old because his original family couldn’t take care of him. I can only hope he didn’t begin life in a puppy mill.

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What a frightening ordeal. Fifteen hours in shark-infested waters – some of that time in the far too dark night – treading water, hoping for someone to save this father and son. Rescuers call their survival in the Atlantic a miracle.

In one short decade, Google FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
September 5th, 2008
09:30 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Women and Sarah Palin

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

Having a woman on a presidential ticket – no matter the party – is an important, exciting, historic event.

With the nomination of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate, the country exploded with praise, criticism, and more than a few questions.

We want to get to the heart of the debate swirling around the self-described “hockey mom”. When I blogged about Palin earlier this week asking for your thoughts, the questions about whether this mom could do it all - and whether we should even ask that question! - came fast and furious.

On the heels of her acceptance speech Wednesday night, we were off to the all-important swing state of Michigan to talk to an eclectic group of eight women. They are single, married, moms, non-moms, they work outside the home, they stay home with their kids, they are Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and they have big concerns about the future of their country. Is Sarah Palin the woman for them? Are they happy with the reasons John McCain picked her? And is it sexist to ask whether she can juggle the responsibilities of family and country?

The discussion was everything I hoped it would be. It was smart, passionate, civilized and educational. I learned so much form these women – I only wish I could share the full 90 minutes with you! A big thanks to the women who gave up their Thursday night for us. I think you’ll enjoy our panel tonight, and I’m positive these very intelligent women will make you think a little harder.


Filed under: Erica's News Note • John McCain • Sarah Palin
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