Comment of the Day:
"Divorce rates in the South have been directly tied to a study showing that 98.5 percent of marriages based on the premise "she thinks his tractor's sexy" - end in divorce."–txbburns
The divorce rate is higher in the Bible Belt, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report - and so is the marriage rate. It does seem that a higher rate of marriage creates a larger pool for divorces, but the numbers don't explain why more in the Bible Belt initially choose wedded bliss or divorce. CNN.com readers gave their own reasons.
InEarnest said, "I think Frank Burns in M*A*S*H sums it up perfectly: 'The number one cause of divorce is marriage.' "
lewatha said, "Sounds like the real threat to marriage is religion."
erinwm said, "Isn't it amazing that the states with the lowest divorce rates are also the states that do not outlaw same-sex marriage? I thought all that gay marriage was supposed to destroy the institution. Huh."
ladiesbane said, "Coontz nailed it with the parental pressure to marry early and the stigma of premarital sex. They can't use birth control because that would be premeditated sin; they can't have abortions because that minute blob of tissue is a baaaaybeeee, and the only solution is a forced, sad marriage between immature young people who don't love each other."
harviele agreed, "I think the divorce rate is higher because of the belief that it is better to remain a virgin until married, thus encouraging young people to marry earlier in order to engage in a sexual relationship. The prudish anti-sex society is at fault." rowan48 said, "Education, money troubles, children too soon in a marriage, and–hate to be the bearer of bad news–but sexual incompatibility plays a huge role."
RixR said, "What's fueling Bible Belt divorces? Bible Belt affairs, more than likely." OvernOut said, "Amen to that!"
Editor's Note: CNN has reporters up and down the East Coast to cover Hurricane Irene. We'll be providing updates throughout the day on the scenes they are coming across and the people they talk to.
[Updated 7:30 a.m. Saturday]
(WASHINGTON) The sun is peeking through on the National Mall in Washington. The city will resume passing out sandbags at noon. Yesterday they ran out of sandbags at 5 p.m. City residents can get five sandbags per household. For this storm, city officials are using Twitter to keep in touch with residents in addition to traditional media. Officials are using the hashtag #DCIrene on the microblogging site to get information out.
– CNN'S Eric Marrapodi
[Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET ]
(IN THE OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA) I've been feeling the storm escalate with every passing hour. The rain is nonstop and the gale force winds are now gusting up to tropical storm strength. This is a fraction of what's to come after dawn. Authorities warn residents on the Outer Banks to heed the mandatory evacuation orders or risk the dangers of the storm alone. Emergency personnel will not venture out into the storm because it's too risky. Roads may be flooded or blocked for days after. Everyone has been advised to be prepared to be on their own for at least 72 hours.
- CNN’s David Mattingly
[Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET ]
(SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY) This is the place where they filmed the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore”. I was at the casino pier, which is actually like a boardwalk similar to New York's Coney Island. People were out enjoying the beach, getting tans and surfing.
With temperatures about 85 degrees, it was a really nice day to be at the beach here. I heard Governor Chris Christie telling people to get off the beaches, but it didn’t seem to stop the people. I was told by regular beach-goers that the crowds weren’t nearly as big today. It was noticeably not crowded but it wasn’t a ghost town either.
Talking to tourists, some said they came down to enjoy the weekend and that they felt like thir trip was being cut short. One guy said he had just got to his hotel and was told they were going to close so he couldn’t even check in.
- journalist Aaron Brodie
[Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET ]
(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA) After boarding up their house, a family in Kill Devil Hills left a spray-painted message for the storm on one of the boarded-up windows of their home. "Good Night, Irene," the message said.
The Nags Head Fire and Rescue Department also had a message for the hurricane: "Go Away, Irene," the message written on a bulletin board outside their building said.
We found a couple going for one last walk on the beach before the arrival of Irene. We also found a family with two young boys flying kites there.
Drew Goulde, a Kill Devil Hills resident and a maintenance worker at the
local Ramada Inn hotel, was surfing, taking advantage of a higher-than-usual tide.
"It is fun," Goulde said. "I'm just messing around right now. It's kind of
heavy out there though."
He said he would have to return to work at the hotel as soon as the
hurricane makes landfall sometime on Saturday afternoon.
- CNN’s Rafael Romo
[Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET ]
(KILL DEVIL HILLS, NORTH CAROLINA) We are on the beach. The first outer rain is just beginning to reach us. The wind has slowly intensified, but nowhere near gale-force yet. No one is in the water, and the few people on the beach are being told not to swim.
I'm manning a beach camera with CNN's David Mattingly. The camera is visible at the top right, covered with a black trash bag (a preferred protection over conventional rain covers; it's more versatile). As conditions worsen, we will go to a hotel balcony overlook with drier conditions and will continue broadcasting into the night and for the duration. We've stocked our work space with water and food (the least salty or sweet the better).
– CNN Cameraman Jay Schexnyder
[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]
(STUMPY POINT, NORTH CAROLINA) Evacuating your home is never easy. And it gets a lot harder when you’re by yourself and have three toddlers in tow.
Kimberly Roehrig left her home in Stumpy Point, North Carolina. Her mom dropped her and her kids off at a specially designed county meeting point.
Here, she, Madison, 7, Faith 4, and 10-month-old Waylon would catch a county bus that will take her to a shelter off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She told us that she lives too close to the water.
“We boarded up, but we’re afraid it’s gonna flood,” she told CNN.
“I don’t want to be there for a flood,” she said with a nervous smile.
Kimberly says she left her boyfriend behind to ride Hurricane Irene out in their home, along with their pets.
“I’m a little nervous, but as long as we have shelter, we’ll be ok,” she said.
– CNN's Rich Phillips
[Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET ]
(NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK) In a hurricane the higher you go, the stronger the wind gusts are. Construction workers have that in mind as they secure One World Trade Center in New York ahead of Irene’s arrival.
While the windows being installed on the soon-to-be tallest building in the U.S. are designed to withstand 125 mph winds they’re only in place up to the 52nd floor. Steel beams taking the place of the Twin Towers have risen to the 80th floor. The remaining upper floors are open to the elements.
That’s a serious concern because anything blown off a building from that height, even something as small as a bolt, can become a deadly projectile in a hurricane.
From now until 2 p.m. on Saturday - when all work is scheduled to be halted at the World Trade Center site - construction workers will be busy securing anything and everything.
“They are very big on safety here,” said Kelly Potts, an electrician working on One World Trade Center. “If anything is not tied down they will address it and fix it.”
She said anything loose is either being moved to lower floors or chained to steel beams.
“Loose boards, metal, anything that’s near the edge of the platform… they are going to make sure that it’s away from there and tied down.”
The construction cranes high atop the World Trade Center site will also be secured sometime Saturday. They are designed to withstand strong winds. Construction workers on the site are well aware how serious high winds are at a skyscraper under construction. While the Time Warner Center was being built a few years ago at Columbus Circle in New York a plywood board was blown off the building. It struck a man below killing him.
Listen to the full story here:
– CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum
In the final week of August 1954, Hurricane Carol wheeled along the East Coast on a course closely matching the path projected for Hurricane Irene this weekend.
The storm touched the Outer Banks of North Carolina, then followed the contour of the coast, skipping across the eastern tip of Long Island and plowing into Connecticut.
Pushed by sustained winds of 80 to 100 mph and exacerbated by high tides, storm surges reached more than 14 feet in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, according to a National Weather Service archive.
The strongest wind ever recorded on Block Island, Rhode Island - 135 mph - occurred during that 1954 storm.
Entire communities were devastated in New London, Groton, and Mystic, Connecticut, as well as from Westerly to Narragansett, Rhode Island, according to HurricaneScience.org.
Yet the storm was compact in comparison to Irene. According to the historical reports, western areas in Connecticut and Massachusetts saw much lower winds and comparatively minor damage.
The hurricane lost strength as it streaked north through New Hampshire and into Canada.
Carol killed at least 65 people and destroyed nearly 4,000 homes, about 3,500 vehicles and more than 3,000 boats, according to the weather service.
Hurricanes Edna and Hazel also struck the East Coast, but Florida and the Gulf Coast were generally spared in that unusual year, according to HurricaneScience.org.
Hurricane Irene will parallel the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts Friday as it approaches a Saturday landfall in North Carolina.
Officials in counties and cities along much of the East Coast ordered evacuations.
Follow the latest developments here, or read the full CNN Wire story:
[Updated 11:00 p.m.] New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said cats and dogs would be welcome at the emergency shelters set up for people fleeing the storm.
“If you have your pet bring them with you. … No one should be staying in their homes in an endangered area because they feel like they can't bring their pets with them," Christie said.
Mark Lavorgna, a mayoral spokesman, confirmed that pets are allowed in the 91 emergency evacuation shelters set up in preparation for Hurricane Irene. But “we strongly, strongly argue against it,” he said. “We urge people to bring their pets to friends or familiy’s houses or shelters outside Zone A, but if people need to bring them they can,” said Lavorgna. “They should come leashed and muzzled.”
[Updated 10:36 p.m.] North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue told CNN's Anderson Cooper that the state was prepared but cautious. "We urge people to just be really aware. It doesn't sound like a huge storm right now - 50 mile-an-hour winds - but we think it's going to stay over our state 10 or 12 hours and that's where the problem becomes," she said.
Perdue then referenced reports of a bowl-shaped part of the low-lying coastline that is especially vulnerable to high waters.
"That bowl that you were talking about earlier full of water, it's going to dump somewhere, and when it dumps there's going to be a surge of water and who knows what'll happen," Perdue said.
[Updated 10:23 p.m.] The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be closed Saturday through Monday because of Hurricane Irene, according to Jane Ahern, public affairs chief of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
All units of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Governor’s Island and all National Park sites in Manhattan will be closed to visitors Saturday and Sunday, with a chance of opening Monday depending on storm damage and a safety assessment.
“The safety of our visitors and employees is our top priority at this time,” said National Parks of New York Harbor Commissioner Maria Burkes. “Our park employees are currently working diligently to protect park resources per our Emergency Response Plans.”
[Updated 10:05 p.m.] Russell Honoré, the general famous for his management of the federal government's military response to Hurricane Katrina, told CNN's Piers Morgan Friday night that local authorities were right in calling for mass evacuations in low-lying areas along the Eastern Seaboard.
“I think we have had a cultural shift in government because, working with hurricanes for about the last 10 to 12 years while I was in uniform, local governments and governors were reluctant to make that decision to evacuate because of the impact [of what would happen] if they evacuated people and the storm didn’t come," he said. "But the options of not evacuating people, with the warnings that we have now and the accuracy of prediction, (it) needs to be done,” Honoré said.
[Updated 9:53 p.m.] Maryland's Martin O'Malley was one of several East Coast governors to declare a state of emergency in advance of the storm. Residents of low-lying areas in the state were told to evacuate ahead of what the governor called "a very dangerous and potentially deadly hurricane."
The governor said Friday that "anybody that thinks that this is a normal hurricane and that they can just stick it out is being both selfish, stupid and also diverting essential public safety assets away from the task at hand, which is safeguarding lives and getting people out of the way."
[Updated 9:40 p.m.] The Port Authority has announced the closing of five airports - JFK International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Teterboro and Stewart International - to all arriving passenger flights, international and domestic, starting at noon Saturday.
[Updated 9:15 p.m.] Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Friday night, stressing the strength and size of the storm heading toward the Northeast.
“For some folks this will be the most significant event perhaps in 20 years from a tropical system,” Rappaport said.
He said unlike typical storms that follow a similar trajectory and curve move toward the sea, Irene"s forecast track comes very close to the shore.
"That means all the weather that's usually, in this case, worst to the east will be much closer to the metropolitan areas this time around," Rappaport said, "and in fact will definitely hit the southern New England area and since there are strong winds, high surge right near the center of the storm, we'll see some of that along the East Coast as well."
[Updated 8:53 p.m.] “The core of the hurricane” was barreling toward the North Carolina coast Friday night, the National Weather Service said in a bulletin. “The hurricane is forecast to move near or over the Mid-Atlantic Coast Saturday night and move over southern New England on Sunday.”
The weather service said maximum sustained winds would remain near 100 mph - a category two hurricane - and wouldn’t weaken until some time Sunday.
“Interests in southeastern Canada should monitor the progress of Irene,” the weather service said.
[Updated 8:38 p.m.] The Giants-Jets game, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until Monday, the NFL said in a press release.
"Along with the NFL office and the Jets, we have closely monitored the hurricane and the forecast and its potential impact on our area for the past several days," said Giants President and CEO John Mara. "After conferring with (New Jersey) Governor (Chris) Christie, (Jets owner) Woody Johnson and (NFL) Commissioner (Roger) Goodell, we have determined the best course of action for the safety and well being of all is to move the game to Monday night."
[Updated 6:33 p.m.] With public transportation halted due to the incoming storm, all Broadway performances on Saturday and Sunday have been canceled, according to Paul Libin, chairman of the Broadway League.
“The safety and security of theatregoers and employees is everyone's primary concern,” Libin said. “As a result of the suspension of public transportation by government authorities in preparation of Hurricane Irene, all performances will be cancelled on Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th.”
CNN on the ground: 'Good Night, Irene' and 'Go Away, Irene'
[Updated 6:08 p.m.] The mayor of Annapolis, Maryland, declared an emergency and announced that more police officers will be on patrol in the city.
Police Chief Michael Pristoop warned residents to take police orders seriously. “Everyone needs to be prepared for the worst," he said. "I encourage everyone to evacuate the low-lying areas of Annapolis before Saturday afternoon. Make sure you secure your homes and belongings. Once we begin to feel the affects of the hurricane, everyone should stay off the streets as wires and trees may come down. Don't put yourself in harm's way and don't put our emergency personnel in a position that could have been avoided."
[Updated 5:47 p.m.] President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in New York as the state and surrounding region brace for Hurricane Irene’s impact.
Obama’s order mobilizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and means federal aid will be used to buoy state and local relief efforts in preparation for the storm.
[Updated at 5:00 p.m.] A hurricane warning has been issued from north of Sandy Hook to Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts, including New York, Long Island, Long Island Sound, coastal Connecticut and Rhode Island, Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
[Updated at 4:34 p.m.] Greyhound said it has delayed or canceled several East Coast routes in preparation for the storm.
Some routes originating in New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina, have been either pushed back or canceled, the company said on its website.
[Updated at 4:15 p.m.] The Red Cross plans to open shelters and dispatch more than 200 mobile feeding vehicles to the East Coast to aid people in the storm's path, the organization said on its website.
"The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast," Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, said in a statement on the site. "We want everyone in the storm's path to get ready as well by getting a disaster kit, making a family emergency plan, and listening to local officials regarding evacuations."
[Updated at 2:31 p.m.] Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said his city, which is under hurricane warning, will not order evacuations but urged residents, especially those in flood-prone areas, to use common sense and evacuate if necessary.
Significant localized flooding is expected, he said, as are power outages that could last for several hours or even days. He said the city will open three shelters Saturday evening with a maximum capacity to accommodate 6,000 people.
[Updated at 2:26 p.m.] The first family will accompany President Barack Obama when he departs Martha's Vineyard to return to Washington on Friday evening, a White House spokesman said.
[Updated at 2:21 p.m.] American Airlines has tentatively canceled all flights in the Washington area from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, said spokesman Ed Martelle. The airline has also canceled all flights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport scheduled for Saturday.
JetBlue has canceled almost 900 flights in the Northeast ahead of the storm. Most of those are Sunday and Monday flights out of the New York metro area and Boston, said spokesman Mateo Lleras.
[Updated at 2:10 p.m.] Hurricane Irene's winds have dropped to 100 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
As of 2 p.m., the service reported, the hurricane was about 300 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving north at 14 mph.
[Updated at 2:01 p.m.] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said low-lying sections of the city, mostly along the city's waterfront, are under mandatory evacuation orders. The mandatory evacuations, which affect all five boroughs, are the first in New York's history, he said.
[Updated at 1:50 p.m.] Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said 30 agencies are coordinating ahead of Hurricane Irene’s weekend arrival. The state is taking several precautions, he said, including drawing down state reservoirs to provide additional capacity in the event of torrential rains.
Residents should make certain they have supplies and enough food, water, batteries and necessary medications to last for a couple of days.
The worst of the storm is expected Saturday night into Sunday, Patrick said, and downed trees and power lines are expected. He urged residents to stay off the roads. If travel is a must, try to complete it Friday before the storm arrives, he said.
As for air travel, the governor said, as of now, Logan International Airport will remain open, but there will “undoubtedly” be service interruptions.
Patrick said he was aware that this is one of the last summer weekends and said boaters and swimmers should be cautious about riptides and strong currents.
An Amtrak train with 178 people on board derailed Friday in southwestern Nebraska, the rail service said.
A few passengers were hospitalized, but there were no reports of life-threatening injuries, Amtrak said in a statement.
An agricultural vehicle on the tracks caused the derailment just before 9 a.m. near the town of Benkelman, in the southwestern part of Nebraska, near the Kansas and Colorado state lines.FULL STORY
Hurricane coverage generally means plenty of reporters in the rain. They tell you to steer clear of the storm and seek shelter when they're planning to do the exact opposite. It seems odd, right? All this hurricane talk reminded us of other memorable weather moments. You've gotta watch these correspondents tackle fierce winds, heavy rain and flying debris. And don't worry, it's OK to laugh. We won't judge you.
Hurricane Irene has put all sorts of end-of-summer festivities on hold. Here's a rundown of some plans that have had to be reworked ahead of this weekend's hurricane:
– The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington has been postponed until September or October.
– Amtrak canceled service in parts of the Northeast for the weekend.
– Several colleges have had to make scheduling changes. New York University pushed back the beginning of move-in week for incoming freshmen to Monday, and Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, moved its day to Tuesday. Rutgers University has changed its move-in date for residence halls on the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus to Saturday.
– The New York Jets will start a pre-season game against the Giants earlier Saturday due to the approaching storm. Kickoff has been changed from 7 p.m. ET to 2 p.m. Saturday.
– The Hampton Classic announced on its website that the event, which was supposed to start Sunday, will be postponed since horses cannot be transported and stabled this weekend. The show will begin on Wednesday instead.
– B.B. King was supposed to play at Jones Beach on Saturday. The event has been canceled.
– The U.S. Open, which is scheduled to begin Monday, is thus far going ahead with those plans. The hurricane is forecast to have passed Flushing Meadows, New York at that point.
– Airlines are waiving cancellation and change fees because of the hurricane.
New York City hasn't experienced a big hurricane since 1938 and if some of the current models are accurate the impact could be catastrophic.
A simulation done by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows what a Category 2 hurricane could do to a tunnel linking Brooklyn and Manhattan. Donald Cresitello with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mapped out some worse-case scenarios.
"If a storm were to occur, it could be catastrophic, given the population density in the Northeast," Cresitello said.
National Hurricane Center computer models and comprehensive studies are chilling. If the worst-case scenarios come true, the impact could be devastating.
Water would be pushed into lower Manhattan, steadily rising. Seawater would pour through the Holland and Brooklyn Battery tunnels.
JFK airport would go under an astounding 20 feet of water. The famous Fulton Ferry boat landing in Brooklyn, a popular spot for young couples to take wedding pictures, could also end up under water. Wall Street could find itself in deep water - about 7 feet. The subway system could also be knocked out.
At least 53 people were killed in a fiery attack at a casino in an upscale area of Monterrey, Mexico, government and emergency officials said.
Eight others were injured in the Thursday afternoon attack, the Red Cross said.
Witnesses have told investigators that up to six people entered the Casino Royale and asked for the manager, according Adrian de la Garza, the state attorney general for Nuevo Leon.
When the manager refused, they set the building on fire, he said.
It's believed a solvent was used to start the blaze, possibly gasoline, de la Garza said.FULL STORY
Eyewitnesses say Gadhafi loyalists killed "numerous detainees" this week at two military camps in Tripoli, Amnesty International reported on Friday.
Escaped detainees from the Khilit al-Ferjan and Qasr Ben Ghashir camps provided testimony to the human rights group.
The loyalist forces used grenades and gunfire on scores of prisoners at Khalit al-Ferjan after around 160 detainees fled a metal hangar.
Amnesty said Gadhafi's "troops continue their flagrant disregard for human life and international humanitarian law. It is a war crime for any party to a conflict to kill or torture prisoners."FULL STORY
Hurricane Irene: – All eyes on the East Coast are on Hurricane Irene as warnings and watches have been issued all along the Atlantic seaboard. The storm is expected to make landfall Saturday in North Carolina and later could bring severe flooding to New York City.
Libya: – Fighting continues Friday around Tripoli's airport and in pockets of the Libyan capital as rebels try to hunt down deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi. More of Libya's frozen assets need to be released to guarantee a successful transition, Mahmoud Jibril, chairman of the rebels' National Transitional Council, said Friday in Istanbul.
British health authorities on Friday urged vigilance after packages of an over-the-counter painkiller were found to contain antipsychotic drugs.
The antipsychotic Seroquel XL was inside packets of the painkiller Nurofen Plus, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency warned.
Three defective packets have been found so far, all in pharmacies in south London, but more than 16,000 more could potentially be affected, the agency said.
Nurofen Plus, made by Reckitt Benckiser, can be bought without a prescription and has silver and black packaging. It is used for short-term relief of acute pain and contains codeine.FULL STORY
The U.N. building was bombed Friday in the central area of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a U.N. official told CNN. A journalist at the scene reported that at least seven people had been killed in the blast.
Bomb squad officers and other security teams are headed to the scene, deputy police spokesman Yemi Ajayi said.
Alessandra Vellucci at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland confirmed that the "U.N. premises in Abuja have been bombed" but was unable to give more details.FULL STORY