American Morning

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April 8th, 2011
07:53 PM ET

CNN Heroes: Grandmother helping Chicago kids 'off the block'

Chicago (CNN) - In Roseland, one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods, many residents stay off the streets to protect themselves from rampant gang violence.

But one grandmother opened her door and invited gang members to come inside.

"They say I'm a nut because I let kids into my home who I didn't even know," said Diane Latiker, 54. "But I know (the kids) now. And I'll know the new generation."

Since 2003, Latiker has gotten to know more than 1,500 young people through her nonprofit community program, Kids Off the Block. And she hopes that by providing them with support and a place to go, she is also bringing hope to a community in crisis.

"We are losing a generation to violence," said Latiker, who started the program in her living room.

According to Chicago Public Schools, 140 of its students have been shot since the school year started in September.

"How can a kid get a gun like he can get a pack of gum? It's that crazy," Latiker said.

Latiker, a mother of eight and grandmother to 13, has lived in Roseland for 22 years. She said she was once "young and dumb," dropping out of high school and having seven children by age 25. But she said that by 36, she had turned her life around: She got remarried and earned her GED. She had also given birth to her eighth child, Aisha.

This time, she said, she was determined to do things right.

Read more on Latiker here.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
April 8th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Government contractors face uncertain future

If there is a government shutdown, 800,000 federal workers and their families will be impacted, millions of people who are reliant on government services, will not be getting those services. Businesses, farmers, veterans, and finally overall impact on the economy could end up several hampering the recovery and our ability to put people back to work.Government contractors are included in those affected. Tony Jiminez, president of a micro tech company with government employees speaks to CNN's American Morning on how the shutdown will affect his staff.

Filed under: Politics
April 8th, 2011
09:25 AM ET

Rep. Holmes: "We have a crowd who is holding up the whole country"

Washington (CNN) – District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton lashed out at Congress over the budget battle on Capitol Hill, saying it's time the District of Columbia "told the Congress to go straight to hell."

The Democratic non-voting member of Congress represents many of those who would be affected by a possible government shutdown. President Obama and congressional leaders are currently negotiating a deal to try to avoid a shutdown when the current continuing resolution that funds the government expires today. Norton criticized members of Congress for their treatment of her constituents. She speaks to CNN's American Morning about how she believes Congress has to get their act together because the effect on local funds is "an abomination."

Filed under: Politics
April 8th, 2011
09:15 AM ET

Rep. West:"It really is about reducing the size and scope of the federal government"

Rep. Allen West believes a conglomeration of failures that brought the country to the point of a shutdown. He denies that the problem is social issues, such as the EPA and federal funding for abortion. Instead, it's about spending and keeping the government inside constitutional mandates. He wants $61 billion in spending cuts. Republican Alan West is a freshman in the Congress and a member of the Tea Party Caucus and he speaks to CNN's American Morning about the possible shutdown.

Filed under: Politics
April 8th, 2011
09:13 AM ET

Fuller: Short-term shutdown won't hurt economy

While timing is important and tourism dollars will not be spent in Washington, professor Stephen Fuller of George Mason University says the economy really wouldn't notice the shutdown. He says although it will have no affect on GDP it is the companies and individuals that will be affected. He speaks to CNN's American Morning about the uncertainty being the big issue not the actual change in spending patterns.

Filed under: Politics