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April 28th, 2010
10:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Fraud in the health care system?

Eliza Browning
AC360°

We continue our series on the high cost of health care and tonight we're reporting on fraud in the health care system. How much money is wasted each year and what is being done to prevent it? Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Harry Markopolos – yes, the same Markopolos who blew the whistle on Bernie Madoff but was ignored by the SEC. The former financial industry executive turned fraud investigator has now set his sights on health care. He’ll tell Sanjay what he's investigating and what concerns him the most.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 27th, 2010
09:55 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The high cost of obesity

Eliza Browning
AC360°

Tonight we continue our series on the high cost of health care in America. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is anchoring this week and tonight he reports on the high cost of obesity. Two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, according to government health figures. Carrying around extra pounds has been linked to problems such as certain kinds of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. So how much is America’s rising obesity rate costing us? A recent government report says America is set to spend $344 billion dollars on obesity-related health care costs by 2018. What does this say about our society?

All eyes are on Capitol Hill today where top representatives from Wall Street’s most powerful firm, Goldman Sachs, are scheduled to appear before a Congressional committee. They are expected to endure a harsh line of questioning from lawmakers about the role they played in the financial crisis.

The Senate panel hearing their testimony alleges that Goldman used a strategy that allowed it to profit from the housing meltdown and reap billions at the expense of clients. What type of argument will Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of the firm, and other executives make? How damaging are newly released emails about Goldman's strategy likely to be for the firm? Do you have questions about Goldman's role? Who else is to blame? Let us know, we’re keeping them honest tonight.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats don’t have the votes to bring up financial regulatory reform for debate, at least not yet. Republicans blocked the measure’s advance yesterday, demanding more time to negotiate a compromise. We’ll have the latest developments on a potential new policy for regulating Wall Street tonight.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 23rd, 2010
10:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Assisted suicide goes to court

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Dr. Jack Kevorkian isn’t the only “Dr. Death” in the United States. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in three states – Montana, Oregon and Washington. Doctors can write lethal prescriptions for people who choose to end their lives. Massachusetts has a bill in the legislature that would legalize it too. Two Connecticut doctors are in court to challenge the law that would have them prosecuted with second-degree manslaughter for prescribing lethal medication. Randi Kaye examines their case and talks to one of their patients tonight.

As the country was entering its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Security and Exchange Commission employees and contractors allegedly were surfing porn sites at work using government computers, according to an agency report obtained by CNN. In a letter to Senator Charles Grassley, the SEC Inspector General wrote that one senior attorney at SEC headquarters in Washington spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn. An SEC accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in a two-week period and had 600 pornographic images on her computer hard drive. Another SEC accountant attempted to access porn sites 16,000 times in a single month.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 22nd, 2010
10:30 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Dennis Quaid fights medical errors

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

In our Big Interview tonight Anderson talks to Dennis Quaid who has made it his mission to raise awareness about the risks of medical errors. In 2007, his newborn twins almost died as a result of a medical error at a hospital when they were given an accidental overdose of a blood thinner.

Quaid has produced a documentary called “Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm,” which airs on the Discovery Channel on April 24. He hopes that by sharing his story he can help prevent medical accidents from happening to others. What would you like to ask him?

Today is the 40th annual Earth Day and we’re taking an in-depth look at flashpoints around the globe where natural resources are caught in the crossfire of conflict. Don’t miss Anderson swim without a cage with Great White Sharks, meet a group of Mountain Gorillas never before seen by tourists and explore the next possible deadly pandemic with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. We put together a special Earth Day edition of our award-winning documentary, Planet in Peril, which will air tonight at 11 p.m. ET.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 20th, 2010
09:46 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Goldman Sachs makes $3.5 billion

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Goldman Sachs reported first-quarter profits of $3.5 billion Tuesday, which beat analyst expectations. Last week, the Securities ad Exchange Commission charged Goldman with defrauding investors in a sale of a so-called collateralized debt obligation (also known as CDO). Investors in the security lost $1 billion.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer and general counsel are addressing the charges with investors on a conference call this morning. The firm even brought in President Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig, to aid in its defense. So does news of its earnings help or hurt its reputation in the light of the SEC complaint? What do you think?

With SEC charges against Goldman Sachs in the background, Democrats are planning to start debate on financial reform in the Senate this week. The proposed Wall Street overhaul would create a new unwinding process for failing financial firms and require banks to beef up capital cushions, while creating a new consumer financial regulator to watch over mortgages and credit cards. Do you support reform in the financial sector? Do you think it’s coincidental that both the SEC charges against Goldman Sachs and the debate surrounding financial reform are sharing the spotlight at the same time? We’ll dig deeper tonight.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 15th, 2010
10:05 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Where your tax dollars go

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Are your taxes in? Many people are filing online, but for those of you still using snail mail, post offices in some metropolitan areas are staying open later so that you can get that April 15th postmark. So once your tax dollars are in, where do they go? Who pays taxes and who doesn’t? Tonight, Tom Foreman drills down on exactly where your tax dollars are going and how they’re being used.

According to a new CNN poll, most Americans say the government wastes tax dollars and about half of the public think the tax system is unfair. Forty percent say they are angry about the amount of taxes they pay – and apparently this is a higher level of anger than existed during the 1980s. Still, only a quarter of all Americans think the IRS should be abolished. Should the tax code be changed? What do you think?

And as many procrastinators out there are filing taxes at the last-minute, organizers of tax-day tea parties are gearing up for their biggest day of the year. (Remember, TEA is an acronym for Taxed Enough Already… this is like their Christmas, or Chanukah, ... well, maybe not, but you get the point. ) Thousands of people around the country are expected to rally to ‘'express concerns against reckless government spending'. Hundreds of rallies are expected to be held across the country.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 9th, 2010
10:01 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Saving Haiti’s schools


Many Haitians are still living in tent cities after the 7.0 earthquake leveled large parts of Port-au-Prince and other towns in January.

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Gary Tuchman is in Haiti where he is reporting on relief and rebuilding efforts. Eighty-seven percent of Port-au-Prince schools were damaged or destroyed by the January 12 earthquake that rocked the nation. People are working to re-open the schools as fast as possible, but most of the classes will be held in tents. How long before kids can get back to real classrooms? How are school buildings being inspected for safety and can the payrolls for teachers be met? Gary Tuchman visits a re-opening school to see what conditions are like.

We learned from Democratic sources this morning that Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak will reveal today that he is retiring from Congress. Stupak is an anti-abortion Democrat and has been facing opposition from both the right and the left for his deal with the White House that he says bans federal funding for abortion. It was this deal that ultimately led to his decisive vote in favor of the health care bill.

Stupak is a nine-term Democrat from a conservative district in Michigan. You can bet Democrats are fearful that they could lose his seat to the Republicans. Will members of the Tea Party, who have been speaking out against Stupak and his vote, claim victory for his resignation?

The Southern Republican Leadership Conference gets underway today and goes through Saturday. It is one of the largest gatherings of Republicans outside of the party’s presidential conventions. It also could be a first showing for possible 2012 presidential hopefuls. A straw poll about presidential contenders will be held on Saturday. Whose names do you expect to see on the list? Liz Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin are a few of the speakers on the agenda. Given the recent turmoil surrounding the RNC, will this invigorate the Republican base?

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 8th, 2010
10:02 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Relocation in Haiti

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

It’s been almost three months since the devastating earthquake in Haiti that left more than 200,000 dead and many more homeless. We’ve been following developments since then, speaking regularly to activists and aid workers on the ground. Tonight, Gary Tuchman reports from Haiti on how international aid organizations and the government are planning on moving displaced people from tent cities to resettlement camps before the rainy season begins.

Rescue teams entered a West Virginia coal mine early today to search for four missing miners. Poor air quality had prevented search and rescue teams from going inside the mine until now. The 32 rescuers are apparently headed to two areas believed to house the missing miners. We’ll have an update for you tonight.

A Qatari diplomat who was questioned by federal investigators after an in-flight disturbance is free to go, a spokeswoman for a law firm for the embassy said today. According to reports, the situation may have resulted from the passenger smoking in the lavatory and then making an unfortunate remark referring to a shoe bomb. Because of diplomatic immunity, it’s unclear what charges, if any the passenger may face. Will this disturbance affect rules for flying? Should there be restrictions surrounding cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia?

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 7th, 2010
09:55 AM ET

Morning Buzz: High cost of higher education

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Tonight we’re looking at the cost of higher education. Online colleges are making millions of dollars targeting the Military, but the degrees they’re giving are below average and – in some cases – totally without value. These online colleges are cashing in the government-subsidized educations available for service men and women. They don’t require federal contracts and aren’t subject to the same scrutiny. Randi Kaye is keeping them honest, reporting on how these online schools are preying on the men and women who serve in the Military.

Everyone is hoping for a “miracle” in the search for the four missing miners in the West Virginia coal mine explosion. The West Virginia Governor said, “there’s a sliver of hope, but we know the odds are not in our favor.” Crews are drilling to ventilate toxic gas from the mine in order to make it safe to resume searching. The drilling could take up to two days. Gary Tuchman and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are on the scene and will have the latest details for us tonight.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
April 6th, 2010
09:58 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The deadliest U.S. mining disaster in 25 years

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

An explosion at the Massey Energy Co. mine in West Virginia took place during a shift change Monday afternoon. The blast left at least 25 miners dead and four are still missing. Earlier today, rescue crews halted their efforts to reach four miners still unaccounted for because of safety risks due to concentrations of methane and carbon monoxide.

Authorities say it could take up to two days to drill bore holes into the coal mine. The holes will be drilled 1,200 feet down to help ventilate the mine and collect samples. The cause of the blast is still unknown but officials pledged a thorough investigation. Gary Tuchman and Dr. Sanjay Gupta are at the scene and will have the latest developments tonight.

Yesterday’s explosion is the latest in a string of problems for Massey Energy, which operates 44 underground and surface mines and controls 2.2 billion tons of coal reserves in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Massey's Web site. The company has been fined for several incidents, some fatal, at its facilities in recent years, including a 2006 fire that killed two miners in Aracoma Coal Company's Alma Mine No. 1. Aracoma is a division of Massey. The company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges in connection with the fire and was fined $2.5 million in 2009. We’ll have more on the company’s troubled history tonight.

We’re reporting on the rebuilding and relief effort in Haiti today. There is not enough space or enough time to get all 200,00 “high risk” homeless people moved before the rains come. The long-anticipated resettlement camps for people left homeless after the quake are only now just starting to take in their first residents. Why is it taking so long and why are efforts falling so short? More than a million people live in tent cities and most still do not know what their options are or where to find help. Anderson reports on their situation and what government and aid organizations are doing to help. We talk to Sean Penn whose aid organization J/P Haitian Relief Organization has been on the ground working to help those in need ever since the January 12 quake struck the nation.

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Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
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