Wednesday’s American Morning audience was highly skeptical about the positive economic news about the recession, asking “what planet” CNN was living on and noting that six million people are still out of work.
How do you feel about the economic news that the recession will subside by year-end? What positive changes have you noticed in the area where you live?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/27/costello.camel.snus.art.jpg caption="CNN's Carol Costello reports on new smokeless tobacco products that critics say are geared toward children."]
From CNN's Bob Ruff
Cigarettes and Washington have never been a good mix.
For decades the federal government has battled with the tobacco industry. The government says cigarettes kill people and “Big Tobacco” says smoking is a matter of choice.
Today cigarette advertising remains banned from radio and television.
Those warning labels on the sides of cigarette packages have gotten stronger over the years. And the Surgeon General says that smoking “causes diseases in nearly every organ of the body.”
Even the tobacco industry has finally agreed that there can be health risks to smoking. R.J. Reynolds Vice President Tommy Payne told CNN’s Carol Costello Tuesday that “when you’re inhaling the smoke, that is the primary cause for the chronic diseases associated with the 400,000 premature deaths, whether it be lung cancer (or) emphysema...”
So has Big Tobacco thrown in the towel? Hardly.
A new product from R.J. Reynolds is being test marketed in Portland, Oregon; Indianapolis and Columbus. It’s called "Camel Strips," a small pellet of finely milled tobacco that dissolves in the mouth. It puts nicotine directly into the body, but there’s no smoke as in traditional cigarettes. Later in the year the company will test market in those same three cities two other dissolvable products: the "Camel Stick," which is about the size of a toothpick, and "Camel Strips," which resemble those breath strips that are so popular with consumers.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/27/intv.sessions.art.jpg caption="Sen. Jeff Sessions tells CNN's Kiran Chetry that Sonia Sotomayor will get a fair confirmation hearing."]
The White House says it is essential to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the replacement for Justice David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. The president wants it done before the next court session starts in October. Opponents say the confirmation process takes time and it is important to thoroughly examine her record.
Senator Jeff Sessions is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be leading the Republicans through the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.
Kiran Chetry: You're one of 11 sitting Republican senators who voted against Judge Sotomayor for her current position on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. What was your reasoning then and what do you need to hear from her now to give you the confidence to confirm her?
Jeff Sessions: Well, I think 29 senators voted against her last time. I think there was an unease, maybe about her background and her tendency to activism. We'll have to go back and look at the record and see what most people felt. But...I believe she's entitled to a fair slate now. A clean slate, a fresh start to examine the entire record in context and give her a chance to explain that. But there are some troubling things that are going to have to be inquired into for us to do our job so the American people can know that whoever is on the U.S. Supreme Court will be faithful to the law passed by the people of the United States.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/27/intv.smiths.art.jpg caption="The mother of a girl targeted in an online video by other girls says she wants more to be done in the case."]
What would you do if your sixth grade daughter was the target of a vicious internet video? Beth Smith is living that nightmare. Her daughter’s classmates, aged 11 and 12-years-old, made the clip called the “Top Six Ways to Kill Piper,” taking cyber- bullying to a disturbing new level.
What are school officials and police doing about it? Kiran Chetry spoke with Piper Smith and her mom Beth and asked how they first found out this video was online.
Beth Smith: My daughter perceived this girl as a friend of hers at school. They were friendly. And so we had no idea… Totally side-swiped by the idea that she would be this hateful. Piper came home from school on Wednesday the 6th and told me, “You know Mom, the kids are being mean at school. And I heard there's a video like this out there about me.”
I said, “You're kidding. That can't be.” The more we looked online and... Dad came home from work. He made the phone calls. And it was the first parent, the dad who said… he was busy making dinner and he'd get back to us.
Kiran Chetry: Let me ask Piper – what was your reaction when you knew this video was made?
Piper Smith: I guess I was really shocked that someone would do that to me. ‘Cause I thought we were really good friends and then she was two-faced to me. And they did this behind my back and I just didn't know of it until I actually saw the video and then I just couldn't believe that that was happening. I felt really, really numb.
Chetry: And Piper, you've since been back to school. Have you talked to any of these girls? Did they apologize? What's the relationship now?
Piper: Well, one of them called me and she told me “sorry” and I actually listened to it. But the other two, I was either in the shower or I was going to bed by then and I didn't really want to talk to them anyways.