American Morning

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March 27th, 2009
02:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Here’s your daily recap of the best feedback we got from YOU on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Email. Continue the conversation below. And remember, keep it brief, and keep it clean. Thanks!


American Morning viewers latched onto the Brazilian president’s statement about the “white man” being to blame for the financial crisis. Many were in agreement that this was the case and were displeased by CNN’s response to his comment:

  • Why are you so quick to be critical of Brazil's President's comments on who is to blame for the economic crisis? While maybe uncomfortable, what a missed opportunity for real journalists to speak about the glass ceiling in the financial and banking industries.

Was President da Silva correct in his assertion that the “white man” is to blame for the financial crisis? Do you believe there is a “glass ceiling” regarding race on Wall Street and in the financial industries? Tell us your thoughts.

Regarding President Obama’s virtual town hall and his discussion on marijuana, viewers perceived Mr. Obama’s response as a dismissal of an extremely important issue:

  • The columnist from Wired was way off base if he thought Obama handled the marijuana questions "well." He answered a question that thousands of Americans asked with a chuckle and a one liner. I'm insulted as I'm sure many others are.
  • President Obama said that there is no economic advantage to legalizing marijuana. (1) It would reduce prison over crowding, and keep violent offenders in longer. (2) It could help us be less dependent on fossil fuels, using hemp for bio-fuel. (3) Would spend less time and money trying to eradicate a plant that grows naturally here in the United States. Could spend more time and effort stopping seriously hard substances i.e. cocaine, heroin, that destroys people and families not to include all the money that leaves our country and stop it from getting into our country (4) most of all people suffer everyday from nausea, and pain, that can, and do get relief (the FDA considers it a drug so that means it must have some medicinal purpose) I don't belong to any special groups. I am just someone that doesn’t get this unfair law without merit.

What are your thoughts on President Obama’s response to the issue of legalizing marijuana? Were you pleased with his response or were you offended? What would be your solution to the issue? We want to know.


Filed under: We Listen
March 27th, 2009
12:35 PM ET

Kiran: Fargo – City with a lot of heart

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Volunteers fill sandbags at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota."]

Happy Friday everyone!

My thoughts are with the people of North Dakota and Minnesota as they band together to try to save their own homes, while helping their neighbors do the same against the rising waters of the Red River.

Not only are they fighting the power of Nature, they are also entering into uncharted waters so to speak.

This morning, the Red River rose to 40.2 feet, breaking a 112-year-old record. This means emergency officials can no longer rely on historical data to figure out how to best handle the situation.

But facing the unknown is exactly what the brave people living in this flood zone are doing.

We brought you the pictures today and yesterday of the tireless efforts of the volunteers filling sandbag after sandbag. At the Fargodome, the music was blaring, but the volunteers were quiet, yet determined while going about their back-breaking work. Our Susan Rosegen gave us a first hand look at the local efforts to surround the banks of the river. Watch

Meantime, hundreds have already evacuated Fargo neighborhoods, hospitals and even a nursing home. And people living just across the state line in Moorhead, Minnesota, are also being urged to leave.

So will the heroic efforts of the rescue crews, local law enforcement and everyday citizens be enough? We hope so. But we won't know until this weekend when the river is expected to crest. Meantime we are thinking about and praying for the folks living there.

God bless!


PS – If you want to help, here's the link.

Filed under: Roundup
March 27th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Movie Buff Seeks Bailout

American Morning's resident movie buff pleads with Congress for a bailout.
American Morning's resident movie buff pleads with Congress for a bailout.

CNN’s Kareen Wynter recently filed a report on how the movie business is one of the few industries whose bottom line has actually improved despite the struggling economy. You can check it out here.

The movie studios may be thriving, but their success is taking a heavy toll on the wallets of movie buffs everywhere, and I’m one of them. According to the National Association of Theater Owners, the current average movie ticket price is $7.20. When you hear that number, it’s easy to understand why a night at the movies might seem like an economically sensible form of entertainment in these tough economic times.


Filed under: Economy • Pop Culture
March 27th, 2009
11:08 AM ET

War on drugs is "absolute failure"

We've been along the border all week long bringing you a story that affects all of us: the battle to keep drugs out of this country and the undying addictions that keep ruthless drug cartels in business. Mexican authorities say they found a U.S. Marshal murdered, execution style, in the virtually lawless border town of Juarez. John Gibler, author of "Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt," joined us live.

What do you think? Can the U.S. win the war on drugs?

Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Mexico
March 27th, 2009
10:23 AM ET

No aid for Africa?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Dambisa Moyo, a Harvard/Oxford-educated economist, says aid to Africa is not a solution."]

For decades, aid and Africa have been inextricably linked, but Dambisa Moyo, a Harvard/Oxford-educated economist wants to change that…immediately.

In her controversial new book “Dead Aid,” she argues that aid to Africa has caused more harm than good. War, poverty, corruption – blame it on aid, she says. At worst it ends up lining the pockets of corrupt political leaders, she says. At best case scenario, it does not do anything productive; it goes to fuel large bureaucracies that do not support entrepreneurship and that primarily choke off any private sector of development.

Cutting off aid won’t hurt most Africans because it never gets to them anyway, she argues. She joins a small number of intellectuals who have, in recent years, posited that too much help has hindered the continent’s growth. And yet, Moyo remains an anomaly: a young African woman, in a world where conversations of this nature are dominated by older, white males.


Filed under: Africa
March 27th, 2009
09:46 AM ET

Meet AM: Doug Maines – Vista Spyder Operator

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Doug Maines sits at the controls before a busy show."]

Each Friday in “Meet AM,” we’ll introduce you to the people who get American Morning to air.

Today, we’d like you to meet Doug Maines. Doug’s official title is studio operator, but most days you will find him in control of the Vista Spyder. This means Doug is the guy who makes all that video, graphics, and live events show up in that impressive projection wall on set. He’s been with CNN since 2001, and has been a permanent fixture at AM for about two years.

How did you end up working on the Vista wall?
When CNN first got the Vista Spyder, I was originally the back-up person to operate it for the show. After the first rehearsal show, the primary guy quit. Here I am two years later, still going strong.


Filed under: Meet AM
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