American Morning

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June 8th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

American Morning email feedback was mostly focused on ever-increasing gas prices. Many blamed greed and price gouging by the oil companies, and others asked about big oils’ profits. Viewers recalled the gas crisis in 1972 and suggested that prices be frozen, while others wanted President Obama to consider regulating the oil industry to prevent price increases.

  • Bob/ Iowa: Does anyone remember the gas crisis of 1975? Then president Richard Nixon froze gas prices to protect the economy. What is different today?
  • Bob/ Virginia: AM Crew – With all of Christine’s good words about our gas prices, it's still the greed inherent in our free enterprise system that keeps pushing those prices higher and higher.
  • Bob/Ohio: You have not told us any reason why gas prices should be going up. You have never told us what the price of a barrel of crude is at the well head. You have not told us if you and your friends have stock in the oil companies, and therefore are delighted that the price is climbing.
  • Dan: It's just mind-blowing that Romans, and CNN, can report on rising gas prices without mentioning the record profits that the big oil companies continue to bring in. How many quarters does Exxon-Mobil have to report record-breaking profits before you put two and two together, and recognize price-gouging when you see it? I guess that's too much to ask from a "news" outlet whose main purpose seems to be to prop up big corporate power.
  • Gordon: John, really like your show. You know the government took over control of the big banks and the auto industry. I think they should take Exxon over also. Maybe we would have a little more stability in gas prices.

How are gas prices in your area? What do you think is the reason prices are increasing so rapidly right now?


Filed under: We Listen
June 8th, 2009
11:33 AM ET
June 8th, 2009
10:36 AM ET

Stimulating the stimulus

Start spending! That's expected to be the message today when President Obama brings his cabinet together. After all that talk of "shovel ready" projects, the Congressional Budget Office says only about 3% of the $787 billion recovery plan has been spent so far. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.

Filed under: Economy
June 8th, 2009
10:15 AM ET

S.C. governor's anti-stimulus stance

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Gov. Mark Sanford talks to CNN's Kiran Chetry about his resistance to federal stimulus money."]

South Carolina stands to collect $2.8 billion in federal stimulus money, but the state's governor doesn't want all of it. In fact, Mark Sanford rejected $700 million. A lot of it was earmarked to go towards education and public works projects. Later today he will reluctantly sign the request for that money.

His state’s supreme court ruled Thursday he has to take the federal money. Governor Sanford spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.

Kiran Chetry: Your state has an unemployment rate right now of 11.5%, the third-highest in the country. Also, according to some of the statistics, you have 15% of the people in South Carolina living in poverty, which is the 12th highest rate in the country. Doesn't your state desperately need all the money it can get?

Mark Sanford: Yes, but the question is in what form. I think when you look at the money that was going to come, in this case from the federal government, it came with very serious strings attached. In this case, it would have put us about a billion dollars in the hole 24 months from now. It would have prevented us making changes to the way our state government operates so we would have been on a firmer financial ground going forward. And it wouldn't have allowed us to shore up our finances in what could be a prolonged financial storm. So it came with very serious strings attached.

Chetry: You wanted to use some of that money to pay down the debt and they were not allowing you to do that?

Sanford: Yeah. We said, look, we're fourth in the nation on a per capita basis in our indebtedness. It seemed to us with this kind of windfall, and this money represents the lottery of all lottery wins for the state governments across the country, that it would be prudent to set some money aside. If a family won the lottery they wouldn't just go out and spend it all, they’d put some money aside for a rainy day, for paying down the credit card balance or paying off the mortgage and I don't know why state governments should be exempt from that same principle.


Filed under: Politics
June 8th, 2009
09:45 AM ET

Was Air France jet flying the wrong speed?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN talks with an Airbus expert about what might have caused last week's Air France crash."]

Sixteen bodies have now been recovered from the wreckage of Air France Flight 447, but the cause of last week's crash is still a mystery. New reports say at least a dozen other flights traveling in the same area at around the same time had no problems with weather conditions.

John Cox is president and CEO of Safety Operating Systems. He’s flown Airbus jetliners and is familiar with their controls and systems. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Monday.

John Roberts: What do you make of this idea that some 12 other planes flew through that area? Air France had four flights, a couple from Sao Paulo, and others went through that area of thunderstorms without any problems.

John Cox: Well I think it says the weather itself is probably not the single cause for the accident. This accident, just like all I've been associated with, will end up being a series of events. We'll end up learning that series one piece at a time to understand what happened.

Roberts: Air France sent out some literature over the weekend regarding one of the air speed indicator sensors, the Pitot tube, and there might be some problem with that. With your knowledge of Airbus…What do you know about problems with anomalous speed readings?

Cox: The fleet has shown a little bit of this issue to come up before. I'm aware of three or four previous cases in fleet history but it's typically been short duration. What we learned by the information that the airplane up-linked to the Air France maintenance facility, is they had a lot of very confusing signals that the pilots would have been confronted with. And exactly what caused that, it could possibly be Pitot tubes or air speed indications that would be causal in some way but why the crew was not able to satisfactorily determine which of the air speed indicators was bad, there's a procedure for it. Where that procedure either wasn't acted on properly or failed, that's going to be something the investigators are really going to have to look into carefully.


Filed under: Transportation
June 8th, 2009
07:30 AM ET

Advertising to 'Vampires'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""]

From CNN's Carol Costello and Bob Ruff

There’s nothing new about Dracula.

The notion of vampires was around even well before Bram Stoker’s now century-old novel about Count Dracula. But Stoker’s 1897 book gets credit for popularizing and stoking our fascination with things “vampire.”

So did Bela Lugosi, whose frightening 1931 portrayal of the Count marked Hollywood’s first take on the the now famous vampire from the Transylvania-Moldavia part of eastern Europe.

There have been countless vampire movies since Lugosi’s, including the star studded “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” headed by Tom Cruise.

But neither Dracula, Bela Lugosi, or even Tom Cruise could have imagined how HBO is promoting its hit new series on vampires, “True Blood.” (CNN and HBO share the parent company Time Warner)

So, what’s HBO up to?

They’re advertising for sale bottles of a synthetic blood called “Tru Blood”. Well, not exactly. The ads actually are fake. But if you go to their Web site it sure looks like you can order up a bottle or two. Most people get the joke—it’s all a way to get people to watch the series—but some bloggers wondered.

“Energyfiend” blogged that “...I looked all OVER the place. I thought it was like a juice or energy drink...”

And “Anemic Stitch" writes: “(It’s) very disappointing to learn that this was all just a sick joke....”


Filed under: Entertainment
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