March 18th, 2009
08:24 AM ET

Katrina money fiasco

Louisiana is moving slowly on Katrina cottage building. Will it lose FEMA money because of it? CNN's Sean Callebs reports.

Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • New Orleans • Road to Rescue • Sean Callebs
March 18th, 2009
08:20 AM ET

Volunteers return to NOLA

A volunteer project in NOLA is a needed stress reliever during tough economic times. Anderson Cooper reports.

March 18th, 2009
08:11 AM ET

Tortilla business takes off

A Southern California business gets a needed jolt, after owner starts making healthy tortillas. CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.

Filed under: Economy • Road to Rescue • Ted Rowlands
March 17th, 2009
10:33 PM ET

Summers: Pushing AIG may have sparked Lehman-style crisis

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.ed.summers.jpg caption="Ed Henry interviews Larry Summers, the President's chief economic adviser."]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

With outrage mounting over AIG's $165 million in bonuses, the President's chief economic adviser offered a new line of defense for the White House in an exclusive interview with CNN.

Larry Summers suggested that if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had pushed the insurance giant too hard on the bonuses, AIG could have collapsed just like Lehman Brothers and sparked an even bigger crisis.

"Secretary Geithner has used all the legal authorities that are open to him to contain and limit the payment of bonuses," said Summer, chairman of the National Economic Council. "What he did not do, and what would have been irresponsible to do, as outrageous as these payments are, would have been to put at risk the stability of the financial system. To have courted the kind of disaster that followed the decision to let Lehman Brothers simply collapse might have felt good briefly but it would have touched the lives of a huge number of Americans who would have unnecessarily become unemployed or seen destruction of their lifetime savings."


Filed under: Economy • Ed Henry • Road to Rescue
March 17th, 2009
10:26 PM ET

Summers not as bullish as Bernanke

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/13/art.lsummersspeech0313.gi.jpg]

Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

The President's chief economic adviser is not quite as bullish about a turnaround as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who's predicting the recession may be over by the end of 2009.

Asked about Bernanke's prediction, Summers said he was upbeat about some aspects of the economy - such as a 22 percent spike in housing starts and recent upticks in the stock market - but said he was cautious about making any grand pronouncements.

Summers told CNN that while he's confident of a turnaround, "just what day the turn will come isn't something that i would dare to forecast" at this point.


Filed under: Economy • Ed Henry • Road to Rescue
March 17th, 2009
05:05 PM ET

Can green tortillas create new jobs?

Program Note: For more on Alonso Arellano's green tortillas, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.tortilla2.jpg caption="Alonso Arellano in his Nopaltilla factory. He says the demand for these green tortillas is greater than the supply."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.tortilla1.jpg]

Paul Vercammen
CNN Senior Producer

Alonso Arellano believes the green tortillas flopping onto a conveyor belt in his small factory are their own economic stimulus in a clear plastic package. The tortillas, called Nopaltillas, are made with powder from the nopal or prickly pear cactus, renowned in Mexico for its healthy properties.

Arellano says right now the demand for these tortillas is greater than supply.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.tortilla4.jpg]

“You know instead of giving all this money to AIG executives, they should just give it to me to invest,” Arellano says. “I could take that money, rebuild tortilla factories that are struggling in this economy. And that would create jobs.”

Arellano is one of those restless entrepreneurs who runs around acting like he’s just glad to be breathing.

And he is. Arellano almost took his last breath at the age of 11 while visiting the United States on vacation from Mexico.

“I always had this pain in my legs, and they started hurting real bad so my mom took me to the doctor,” Arellano explains, “They did some tests and found I had 90 percent blockage in the artery near my heart.”

Arellano underwent heart surgery and never returned to Mexico.

But Arellano still clings to much of his Mexican heritage – including the belief that the prickly pear cactus is a cure-all.

“Growing up all I ever heard was how good the prickly pear is for you,” Arellano explains “They say it helps reduce cholesterol, that it’s high in dietary fiber and it’s only 50 calories for one tortilla,”

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.tortilla3.jpg]

Now only four people work for Arellano making tortillas, but he says that number could grow. Arellano is in talks about partnerships with a major health food store chain, a northern California distributor that ships to 150 stores, and a Latino supermarket chain.

“If any one of these hits I will go from shipping boxes of tortillas to palettes,” he says. Most of his sales are from stores.

But he also sells the Nopaltillas on the internet for $1.49 a dozen, and $2.99 for three dozen.

Arellano says he tested and fiddled with the recipe for months.

Seems like he got the formula right. Take a bite out of one of these Nopaltillas without anything extra on it and it tastes great plain.

It's nice to see something as simple as a green tortilla can inspire a little consumer spending.

Filed under: Paul Vercammen • Road to Rescue
March 17th, 2009
10:53 AM ET

Stimulus $ for gang prevention

Anderson visits an L.A. neighborhood to speak with a local gang prevention group called Kush.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Anderson Cooper • Road to Rescue
March 17th, 2009
10:38 AM ET

Losing sleep over the economy?

CNN's Randi Kaye talks to one man who is coping with his economic stress by taking more prescription medications.

Filed under: Economy • Randi Kaye • Road to Rescue • Unemployment
March 17th, 2009
10:37 AM ET

Is the economy hurting volunteerism?

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the project and the situation in the region as Anderson reports live from New Orleans on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.r2r.nola.bernards.jpg caption="The St. Bernard Project is a nonprofit organization in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, that helps people return to their homes that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.r2r.nola.house.jpg caption="One house that is being rebuilt by the St. Bernard Project."]

Kay Jones
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer

Is the economy hurting volunteerism? Not in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. I spent yesterday afternoon touring the business offices of the St. Bernard Project and was amazed at how much co-founders Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg have going on. Right now, they have 35 houses in some phase of rebuilding. By Wednesday, they will have completed their 200th home in this parish that was so devastated by Katrina.

When I talked to them about donations to the organization, they said while they can always use more, they haven’t seen any significant drop off in donations so far, and that is helping more and more families move back to the homes they love.


Filed under: Economy • Hurricane Katrina • Kay Jones • New Orleans • Road to Rescue
March 17th, 2009
10:32 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson in NOLA

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/17/art.vert.r2r.nola.jpg caption="A house in New Orleans being rebuilt with help from the St. Bernard Project." width=292 height=320]

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Anderson travels to 5 cities in 5 days to report on the money meltdown that’s changing your life. He’ll tell you what the numbers really mean, where the jobs are, and explain how the President’s proposals affect YOU.

Last night many of you caught him in LA, and tonight he reports from New Orleans. Anderson has a story cooking that we are titling ‘Return to Volunteerism.’ He profiles a woman who is working with the St. Bernard Project, which is tasked with rebuilding homes for Katrina victims. This woman, despite financial issues of her own, helps with this project multiple times a year. She believes that in times of hardship, it is more important than ever to give back.


Filed under: Penny Manis • Road to Rescue • The Buzz
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