American Morning

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May 4th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

On Monday, American Morning viewers were most concerned with the issue of red light cameras, debating the merits of such a system.

  • George: Saw your segment this morning on red light cameras. We have them located in high accident intersections in Toronto to reduce accidents and it works. Too many drivers run red lights and in my view it makes sense and will save lives. If you run a red, you should pay the fine. Me and my son was nearly hit by a car running a red light.
  • Gerry: Our yellow light ticket cams cost $96 per ticket if paid within 30 days, then $135 after. They were presented to Columbus City Council as a REVENUE generator FIRST, safety 2nd! The contract company was allowed to pick the highest paying revenue intersections-Not the 12 most dangerous intersections in the city as listed by the Franklin County Traffic Engineers Office. This PROVES that the goal was revenue, NOT safety of the citizens.

How do you react at an intersection with a “red light camera”? Do red light cameras encourage drivers to obey laws more readily? Are they simply “revenue” generators for the local governments?

Former Republicans weighed in on how the party can reinvent itself. Most wanted the Republican Party to return to its original values and veer clear of the “policies of Rush Limbaugh.”

  • James: As a disgruntled registered Republican, I can honestly say that until the likes of Eric Canter give up the policies of Rush Limbaugh and the arrogance of Fox News, I will continue to find other individuals to vote for.
  • Robert: I am surprised that the percentage is that high for the GOP as many of my friends that have been with the GOP for many, many years are now NP and that is where I am as long as the GOP stays where they are at with their philosophy of Rush Limbaugh and others.
  • Dan: I think the Republican Party needs to get away from the religious right, and go back to their fiscal conservative roots to resurrect the party. In the past they were the party of small government, free market, individual freedoms and responsibilities. Not the party of so-called "morality." Please get out of the church and get back into the country clubs and boardrooms where you belong.
  • Kevin: The only reason the Republican Party is concerned about the people is they need our votes to gain a majority again. Why weren't they interested in listening to anyone for the last 8 years? Republican policy has put us in this hole. Filling their pockets with lobbyists and big business money, at the expense of the tax payer. It reminds me of a line from "An American President;" they aren’t interested in solving our problems. They want us afraid of it and tell us who to blame it on!

Are you a Republican who has moved away from the current party as a result of its acceptance of policies by pundits such as Rush Limbaugh? How can the party change to better reflect your values and your needs today? Do you believe that a third party is needed in the United States? What would that party look like to you?

Filed under: We Listen
May 4th, 2009
12:35 PM ET

Mexico lowers swine flu alert level

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "A worker walks outside a Chinese hotel where officials have quarantined visitors as a precaution."]

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) - Mexico lowered its health alert level Monday, citing improvements in the battle against swine flu.

The level was lowered from red, or "high," to orange, or "elevated."

"The measures we have taken, and above all the public's reaction, have led to an improvement," Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said at a news conference.

"But I insist that the virus is still present, that we need to remain on alert, and the resumption of activities will be little by little, not all at once."

But U.S. health officials cautioned that the H1N1 virus is still on an "upswing" in the United States. And the World Health Organization warned that after the number of cases begins to subside, the swine flu could return this year "with a vengeance."

The number of confirmed cases worldwide was expected to cross the 1,025 mark Monday. Earlier in the day, the WHO reported at least 985 cases across 20 countries. There were 26 reported deaths, including one in the United States, a Mexican toddler who was visiting relatives in Texas.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 226 cases across 30 states.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that 10 more cases not counted in the CDC total have been confirmed, bringing New York City's total to 73. One school - P.S. 177 in Queens - remained closed Monday because of five confirmed cases there.

Keep reading this story

Filed under: Health
May 4th, 2009
11:01 AM ET

Finding a new career amidst the recession

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis says the recession may be a good time to start exploring new career options."]

From CNN Personal Finance Editor Gerri Wills

If you’re working but desperate to find a new career, the recession is a good time to start exploring options.

Use your time now to determine where you'd be happy later. Even though many companies are in hiring freezes right now, the recession is a perfect time to focus on your career goals, so that when the economy does bounce back, you can be ready to apply.

The first thing you need to do is self-assess. Even if you want a new career, you might not be sure where you want to go. The web is full of great sites that can help you assess your personal skill set and find the best job for you. and both offer free online self-assessment tests and up-to-date employment information on a range of industries. is a great government-run website with tons of information about sectors that are actually growing.

Another great way for you to assess your skill set: ask the people who know you best. You might be surprised by what talents your family and friends see in you that you may be overlooking.

Find a way to do a job before you commit. Now the truth is you never know what a job is going to be like, hour-to-hour, until you've actually seen it up close. Go to to find videos of people working in specific vocations - you can watch bakers, geologists, even fashion designers doing their thing. Try to find mentors in the areas you wish to explore and ask if you can shadow them. Look for volunteer opportunities that you might be able to fit into your regular work schedule.

For those who are willing to pay for a career test-drive, check out Vocation-Vacations-dot-com, a pretty neat service that pairs job-seekers with established professionals. But be forewarned, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag: shadowing a TV producer for just 2 days will set you back nearly $1,500.

And once you've found the job you think you want, you might want to consider shortcuts to a four-year education.

To really make the most of this recession, spend your time developing the skills that will most appeal to future employers. That doesn't mean you have to commit to another 4 years of school. Try to use your current position as a launching pad: see if your employer offers training opportunities for any skills that might be transferable to another job down the road. Look at class offerings online and at local community colleges, many of which tailor programs to what local industries are looking for in job candidates.

Filed under: Gerri Willis
May 4th, 2009
10:03 AM ET

Republican Party seeks to be more inclusive

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "Rep. Eric Cantor says the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive."]

Republican leaders have launched a new effort in hopes of taking back some of the support they lost in the last election. GOP numbers are dwindling on Capitol Hill and former Florida governor and brother to the former president, Jeb Bush says he doesn't like what he's seeing.

“From the conservative side, it's time for us to listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit, to not be nostalgic about the past… But what I've seen in the last few years is really troubling.”

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor is on the Council for a New America, the new group that hopes to remake the Republican Party. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.

John Roberts: Let's just take a look at how Republican fortunes have changed since 1995 when the Contract with America swept you to power. In 1995, you had 230 seats in the House, now you've got 178. You had 52 Senate seats, now 40. That's a pretty serious erosion. What happened?

Eric Cantor: Well, John, clearly we've had some setbacks, no question about it. Could we have done better in many areas? Absolutely. And that's why we've launched the National Council for a New America. And as Governor Bush… said, it is very important at this point that we go back out across the country; bring in as many people as possible to begin a conversation about the direction of this country. And the National Council for a New America is meant to be a forum for folks to gather, to come to discuss the issues confronting them in their communities and frankly to rally around the principles that we know have made this country great, which are liberty, opportunity and the devotion to the individual and free markets.


Filed under: Politics
May 4th, 2009
09:12 AM ET

Fired over Myspace postings?

What do you think? Should the internet be a safe place for employees to vent about work?

Filed under: Controversy • Technology
May 4th, 2009
08:56 AM ET

Red Light Cameras Spur Debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN's Carol Costello explores whether traffic light cameras are for safety or profit."]

By Ronni Berke, CNN

New York (CNN) - When a red light camera photographed Terry Williams going through a Santa Monica intersection, she had no idea what had happened. "Pop, flash, and I'm sitting there, and was like - what was that?" she thought.

Williams even thought it might have been gunfire, until she told some friends about her experience. You're about to get a traffic ticket, they told her. Two weeks later, the ticket arrived in the mail.

Although she paid the $380 fine, Williams went to trial to contest the ticket and eventually won her case after an appeal - by demonstrating that there was a traffic light malfunction at that intersection.

Williams says she is especially angry that the initial traffic court judge dismissed photo evidence she presented to support her own case. "She didn't want to hear anything I had to say. I was just guilty," Williams recalled.

Red light and speed traffic cameras seem to be popping up everywhere, saving law enforcement time and manpower and generating millions in revenue for cash-strapped states and municipalities. The cost of a camera citation is decided by state or local authorities.


Filed under: Controversy • Crime
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