American Morning

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July 16th, 2009
08:52 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 7/16/09

Editor's Note: Most of American Morning's Thursday audience opposed the idea that President Obama should be meeting the Black community's expectations, noting that “a president is the president of all people,” and that Mr. Obama has only been in office for seven months, so “give him time” to meet expectations.

  • Buddy: A question was asked of whether President Obama was meeting the expectations of Blacks. I do not recall Whites being asked if Bush met their expectations as a White President. A president is the president of all people. At least that is what it should be. When will people stop separating everything by race. This is the United States of America. I will be happy when people began to behave that way. It comes from the people and what they believe we are as a country. Why not ask if the people in the United States of America are having their expectations met? I do want to add that some people in this country in this century, still do not see Blacks as equals. Very sad. This is what we need to talk about. This is what we need to mend. We cannot be a truly united country until this is dealt with. No group of people should feel superior to another because of their race and/or color.
  • Dathan: Obama is not supposed to "meet the expectations of the black community." He is the President of the United States! America, not the black community! He is supposed to meet the expectations of all of us. It is important that we forget "meeting expectations" for groups and favoring race in our government. We can not have a judge, a President or even a local community leader, favoring one group over another. The government answers to all of us equally. So ask the question, "Is Obama meeting OUR EXPECTATIONS!"

How do you feel about the idea that President Obama must meet the expectations of the Black community? What do you think those “expectations” are or should be?


Filed under: We Listen
July 16th, 2009
03:03 PM ET

Obama pushes Congress on health care overhaul

One interesting side note about my piece for American Morning on how the battle over health care reform is getting personal. We talked to Hilda Sarkisyan whose daughter Nataline died almost two years ago due to complications with her leukemia.

After getting a bone marrow transplant, her doctors told her she needed a liver transplant to stay alive. Her insurance company denied coverage. But after the family raised a ruckus, the company reversed its decision.

Now, Sarkisyan's mother is visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill in the hopes that her story will convince members of Congress to pass health care reform. As for the insurance company, its corporate spokesman at the time was Wendell Potter.

Two weeks ago, I sat down with Potter who is now blowing the whistle on the industry's practices. He says Sarkisyan's story was the final straw for him, prompting him to leave the insurance industry after a two decade career.

Filed under: Health • Politics
July 16th, 2009
11:28 AM ET
July 16th, 2009
10:57 AM ET

DC's Marion Barry defends himself

Four-time Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry has had a bumpy ride in his political career. In his third term, an FBI sting operation at the Vista Hotel produced video of him smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room. He served six months in prison then regained the office in 1994.

Barry, who now serves as a D.C. councilman (D-Ward 8), is currently being investigated by the city council for allegedly hiring his former girlfriend. That same girlfriend accused Barry of stalking her, which led to his arrest on July 4. Misdemeanor stalking charges have since been dropped by federal prosecutors.

In an interview with CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday, Barry defended himself against the various allegations of wrongdoing.

“In my 73 years, I've never been accused of stalking in my domestic relationships, never been accused of anything like that. And all of those things you called ‘trouble’ have turned out to be nonstarters. For instance, with the Vista – there were no convictions in the Vista. One charge – a misdemeanor, not crack cocaine. There’s been no proof of crack cocaine. And in terms of the park police arresting me illegally – the next day, the young lady who allegedly accused me of stalking said she never flagged the police down, never did anything to indicate stalking. It was dismissed. So I want the world to know that I have never ever been accused of this. And I've been vindicated by it. In terms of the investigation, city officials have said publicly that there's no law banning that.”

Barry claimed his detractors were behind the accusations and shifted focus to claims of his accomplishments.

“I’ve transformed Washington from a sleepy southern town to a metropolis. I've given summer jobs to everyone who wanted them. I moved contracting from 3% to 46% for African-Americans and Latinos. And a whole range of things I've done.”

When asked if he had any regrets, he replied “The FBI ought to regret spending $25 million on me at the Vista and didn't get a conviction. The park police ought to be regretful that they arrested me illegally. … I did nothing on July 4th that deserved arrest. … I am a victim of all of this, the park police.”

Related: Prosecutors won't pursue charges against Marion Barry

Filed under: Politics
July 16th, 2009
09:56 AM ET

Shark attack victims push for shark protection

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Mike Coots, who was attacked by a shark while surfing off the Hawaiian island of Kauai in 1997, now surfs with a prosthesis after losing his leg in the attack."]

A group of shark attack victims is lobbying Congress this week to protect the very animals that attacked them.

Two of those survivors, Mike Coots and Debbie Salamone, spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday.

John Roberts: What are your personal experiences in terms of shark attacks? Mike, tell us what happened to you.

Mike Coots: I was bitten by a shark in Hawaii a few years back. And just realizing that they play such an important role in our marine ecosystem. People ask me all the time, “You must be so mad at sharks, you must just hate sharks, do you want to kill sharks?” And stuff like that. I've just come to realize they're out there, they predate the dinosaurs, and we’re in their environment. I have no hatred whatsoever for the animal and feel they really play an important part in our environment.

Roberts: A little more detail on your attack. You were surfing off of Kauai. What happened?

Coots: It was early in the morning in October. I was paddling out with some friends and it was pretty quick. I paddled for a wave. The shark came up from under me and grabbed my leg and did the rag doll thing. It was over quicker than I thought. And it was done. I looked at my leg and my leg was completely gone. Went to the beach and my friend tied a tourniquet, stemmed the bleeding and saved my life. They took me to the hospital. I woke up from surgery, went through rehabilitation and back in the water.

Roberts: What about you Debbie? You were in the Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. What happened?

Debbie Salamone: Right. I was just wading and all of a sudden, a shark came up from behind me and grabbed my foot. There was a bit of a struggle and I was able to get away, but it severed my Achilles tendon and tore my heel loose. So same thing as Mike: rehabilitation. But I’m just as good as new now.


Filed under: Environment
July 16th, 2009
07:53 AM ET

Join Dr. Gupta’s ‘Four Months to Fitness’ initiative!

Editor's Note: CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta originally posted this blog on June 23, 2009 to kick off his "Four Months to Fitness" initiative.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta says his upcoming birthday motivated him to launch the fitness forum with viewers. He wants himself, and America, to get in the best shape of their lives."]

Today, I am starting something I have wanted to do for a very long time.

Using this blog and my @SanjayGuptaCNN Twitter account, I am going to try to harness some of the best practices people employ every day to stay in the best shape of their lives.

Truth is, there are hundreds of sites like this, so I want to make this one different. First of all, I am hoping it becomes a living, breathing forum that users, like you, use to share your best health and fitness tips. I learn new things every day from CNN bloggers and tweeters. You all are a great resource of information.

I am also going to call on my friends and others I find inspiring to help as well.

For example, @JoePerez helped create something called the Daily Plate, which partners with the non-profit cancer foundation LIVESTRONG, where I sit on the board of directors. After surveying lots of different ways of tracking diets, I think this is one of the best. I will introduce you to Joe and the Web site.

There are also sites out there that will start to help you heart rate train. After doing lots of research, I believe this is one of the most effective and efficient ways of training. Ironically, my friends who listened to this recommendation from me say they work out less intensely and still increase their fitness more than before.

Keep reading this story »

Filed under: Four Months to Fitness • Health
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