March 17th, 2008
09:51 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/17/08

Soledad O'Brien is in for Anderson tonight. Some of the topics:

– Florida state Democratic leaders said they've given up holding a do-over primary. So what next?
– The government is helping bail out Bear Sterns, the investment bank that became the latest casualty in the mortgage crisis.
– John McCain makes a trip to Iraq – his first since becoming the probably Republican nominee.

We'll start posting comments at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
March 17th, 2008
06:21 PM ET

Erica's News Note

Between the Atlanta tornado and the New York crane collapse, what a sad, surreal weekend…

Atlanta is picking up the pieces today… and the cleanup may continue for a while.  If you were watching Friday night, you were with us as we all learned about the destruction in Atlanta.  CNN Center took a hit, as did the neighborhood next to mine.  I couldn’t stop looking at pictures online this weekend, and checking in with friends to make sure they were alright. There are some unbelievable shots at CNN.com, many taken by Atlanta residents.

Cabbagetown is just across the street from where I used to live.  We would often walk over to 97 Estoria, a great bar/restaurant, with our neighbors and also to Carroll Street Café, one of our favorite breakfast spots.  It’s about a block down from the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts. Those lofts are the ones you saw with the “pancaked” floors after the tornado passed through.

This is a great neighborhood.  


Filed under: Erica Hill
March 17th, 2008
05:36 PM ET

Bears Watching… and waiting

One branch of the U.S. Department of Interior is considering declaring the Polar Bear an endangered species.

Another branch of the U.S. Department of Interior would very much like to sell oil and natural gas leases in Polar Bear habitat.

Polar Bears

And still a third branch of the U.S. Department of Interior says if the first branch doesn’t protect the polar bear, they’ll vanish from the U.S. by the year 2050.

Confused? Maybe that’s why the leadership of the Interior Department has missed the federally-mandated deadline to decide on putting the big bears on the Endangered Species List.   Several environmental groups are suing to bring an immediate decision.


Filed under: 360° Radar
March 17th, 2008
05:35 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz

This afternoon, a deadly suicide bombing rocks Iraq, the Bear Stearns buyout at a fire-sale price shakes Wall Street, and the candidates make raw politics of it all. Oh, and did we mention the loophole that means your tax dollars may be paying for a sex offender's college degree? What about the $500 bid on eBay - for a cornflake?? Here's your afternoon buzz: 

Top Stories
Female suicide bomber kills at least 33 in Iraq
A female suicide bomber apparently targeting Shiite worshippers killed at least 33 people and wounded at least 50 in Karbala.

Bush: U.S. is on top of financial crisis
On a day of more turmoil and plunging prices in the global financial markets, President Bush seeks to calm nerves.

Poll: Three-quarters of Americans think U.S. in recession
Nearly three-quarters of all Americans think the economy is in a recession - up from 66 percent who felt that way last month.

Toll from NYC collapse hits 7 
The last of seven bodies was pulled from the rubble at the site of a crane collapse that obliterated a town house and severely damaged other buildings.

IRS releases schedule for sending out special tax rebates
When can you expect to receive your tax rebate payment aimed at boosting the economy? Depends on your social security number...

 Raw Politics
Poll: Majority of Democrats prefer Obama
A majority of Democrats would like to see Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton win their party's presidential nomination, according to a new national poll.

Bill Clinton: What happened in S.C. a 'myth'
Former President Bill Clinton disputes claims that he made race a campaign issue in South Carolina.

Paterson sworn in as New York governor
David Paterson was sworn in Monday as New York's 55th governor, following Eliot Spitzer's resignation amid his alleged connection to a prostitution ring.

Crime & Punishment
Cadaver dogs search landfill for missing couple
Investigators with cadaver dogs searched a southeast Georgia landfill for a missing couple last seen two weeks ago at the marina where they lived and worked.

Celebrity pathologist's trial draws to close
Celebrity pathologist Cyril Wecht used public employees, resources and equipment to "cut the overhead" of his multimillion-dollar private practice, a federal prosecutor said in his closing argument.

Judge: Former cop in missing wife case will get his cars back
Former police officer Drew Peterson wins a judge's order that investigators return seized cars and computers to him.

Loophole gives sex offenders money for college
Across the nation, dozens of sexual predators have been taking higher education classes at taxpayer expense while confined by the courts to treatment centers.

What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT
Naked man runs amok in grocery store
One question: Why???

Illinois-shaped cornflake pulls in $500 bid at auction
Flaky, well, yes. Someone has offered more than $500 on eBay for a piece of breakfast cereal that's described as a lookalike to the state of Illinois.

Filed under: The Buzz
March 17th, 2008
04:34 PM ET

What's a bigger threat than Terrorism?


State Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City has received death threats since telling a political group that "the homosexual agenda is just destroying this nation" and poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism or Islam.

As we approach the five year anniversary of the Iraq War, what do YOU think is the single greatest threat to the United States? Al Qaeda? Terrorism? Or homosexuals?

Well, a state representative from Oklahoma told her fellow Republicans, "The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation." Rep. Sally Kern went on to say, "I honestly think it's the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat."

A recording of Kern stating her views on YouTube has received nearly one million hits in ten days.

Curious about her history?


Filed under: Gay & Lesbian Issues • Randi Kaye
March 17th, 2008
03:04 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/17/08

Bloggers!Happy St. Patrick’s Day!Woah! Like what I did here?!… A little green color for the occasion… You like?
As my mother always said, “the next best thing to green beer is a green font for the blog….” OK, so she didn’t say that, but it is time for ‘Beat 360°.’ Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.
Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern presents President Bush with a bowl of shamrocks during a St. Patrick's Day ceremony today in the East Room of the White House in Washington St. Patrick's Day

Here's one to get you started:

Prime Minister Ahern:
Mr. President, we figured you might need the 'luck of the Irish' right about now…

President Bush:
What? You couldn’t bring the 'Pot o’ gold' for us too? 

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out last night’s winner!

Filed under: Beat 360°
March 17th, 2008
01:41 PM ET

It’s 3 am in America, and Wall Street is Calling ... Anybody Home?


All three presidential candidates have moved in the past few days to put their campaigns on better footing. And from their perspective, they are probably pleased with the results. But it remains a mystery why they continue to duck the most urgent problem the rest of the country faces: a possible meltdown in our financial system.

John McCain is off in Iraq, and to be sure that is and will continue to be a major challenge. He is not only strengthening his credentials as a statesman – showing far more gravitas than his rivals squabbling on the other side – but he is also making effective political arguments about how wrong the Democratic leadership was on the surge.  Even as Baghdad was rocked by explosions today, McCain seemed "presidential."

With the fifth anniversary of the war coming this week and McCain about to frame the argument, Hillary Clinton moved smartly this morning to provide her own counter-argument to his.  Her views are subject to debate, but from a purely political perspective, she was shrewd to jump in and go toe-to-toe with McCain on national security.  Once again, she has gotten the jump on Barack Obama when it comes to unfolding arguments about policy.  His political team has often outfoxed hers, but her policy team has been much more on the cutting edge.


Filed under: David Gergen • Economy • Raw Politics
March 17th, 2008
09:28 AM ET

Jason Rae: A Superdelegate's view on Florida and Michigan


What should we as members of the DNC do about Florida and Michigan? This is a question I have been getting asked a lot recently and for good reason. Florida and Michigan are two very important states, especially in terms of the electoral college in November. So people want to know the answer to the elusive question: will their delegates be seated at the convention?
I’ll lay it out there for everyone: as of right now, if they do not do a revote, I intend to support not seating their delegations in Denver. While this is rather harsh, I think that to show some semblance of order, we cannot change rules mid-stream. I have nothing against the people of either state. In fact, I really like both a lot and I love the state leaders there. However, they broke the DNC rules. They had 30 days to change their dates before being sanctioned. They did not change the dates to be in compliance with DNC rules. As such, we shouldn’t be seating them in Denver. If we allow one state to break the rules this time, we are just opening the flood gates to allow other states to do the same thing in 2012 and beyond.

Now, with that being said, I am completely open to them disregarding the results of the non-compliant events and holding a re-vote. While state parties are still working out details, I think it should be a goal to have a plan in place by the middle of this week on how we intend to include Florida and Michigan in the process. I welcome their plans and hope we are able to find away to involve these two important states in the Democratic National Convention.

– Jason Rae, Democratic Superdelegate

Filed under: Jason Rae • Raw Politics
March 17th, 2008
06:47 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning Folks....Happy Monday!!! Iraq seems to be the place to be, today. Vice President Dick Cheney is there! Senator John McCain is too. McCain is trying to look "Presidential," while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to battle it out on the campaign trail. This week we mark the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq invasion, which I gotta believe is the reason for the visits...Hillary Clinton will deliver what her campaign calls a "major" speech on Iraq today, but from DC, not Iraq.  SO I am sure we will hear from Obama on the topic in the next few days, too...

In Crime & Punishment...just a bizarre twist in the Charles Manson story. Grave sites were discovered on the Mansion compound...could there be more victims??? AND watch out for those bees...commuters in Sacramento had to when a honey truck tipped over and thousands of bees escaped... Soo grab your morning coffee and literally take a look at today's morning BUZZ....

Top Stories
Cheney in Iraq...
Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Baghdad on Monday on an unannounced visit, the Iraqi prime minister's office said.

McCain in Iraq, too...
Senator John McCain arrived in Iraq on Sunday morning on a trip that was described as a visit by an official Congressional delegation, but that also served to showcase his foreign policy credentials as he campaigns for the White House.

Federal Reserve makes move to avert crisis...
The Federal Reserve took dramatic action on multiple fronts last night to avert a crisis of the global financial system, backing the acquisition of wounded investment firm Bear Stearns and increasing the flow of money to other banks squeezed for credit.

JP Morgan buys Bear Stearns for $2 dollars a share...
In a shocking deal reached on Sunday to save Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay a mere $2 a share to buy all of Bear — less than one-tenth the firm’s market price on Friday.

Three missing still in crane collapse...
Three people were missing Sunday, a day after a crane collapsed, killing four construction workers on the east side of Midtown Manhattan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters.

Tornadoes hit in the southeast...
Two people in rural northwest Georgia are dead and dozens injured after a series of severe storms moved through the Southeast this weekend, producing the first-ever tornado to hit downtown Atlanta.

16 dead in Tibet riots...
Tibet's governor promised leniency to anti-Chinese protesters who turned themselves in before the end of Monday — and harsh consequences for those who don't — while troops fanned out to quell sympathy protests that have spread to three neighboring provinces.

Raw Politics
Obama ex-minister under attack...
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright's former church criticized the news media Sunday for coverage of his sermons, saying in a statement that Wright's "character is being assassinated in the public sphere."

Styles vary on the campaign trail...
The Democrats running for president are promising sweeping changes to reinvigorate America's economy and boost its workers, including health care for all, overhauling or scrapping of trade deals, broad tax cuts for the working class and a crackdown on companies that ship jobs overseas.

Male vote key to win...
In the fierce campaign between Senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, a battle dominated by questions of race and gender, white men have emerged as perhaps the single critical swing constituency.

As campaign drags on, aides put lives on hold...
There is the abandoned $1,000-a-month temporary apartment in Des Moines, littered with dirty T-shirts and a deflated air mattress. The campaign aide whose 105-degree fever sent her to the hospital. The neglected fiancée in New York who handed down an ultimatum: Take a weekend off — or else.

Crime & Punishment
Graves found Manson campound...
Bone-white stretches of salt, leached up from the lifeless soil, lay like a shroud over the high desert where a paranoid Charles Manson holed up after an orgy of murder nearly four decades ago.

Man defends self in murder case...
It's an axiom known by every lawyer and judge in every courthouse in the land: A man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.

Keeping Them Honest
Tainted drugs put focus on F.D.A.
After a contaminated medicine from China was linked to as many as 17 deaths in the United States, members of Congress clamored for changes while regulators defended their actions.

Families sue Chiquita...
Tania Julin remembers hearing the distinct sound of feet racing through the dark Panamanian forest moments before armed masked men burst through the door of the modest hut she shared with her husband.

What YOU will be talking about TODAY
Bees swarm morning commute...
Imagine driving down the highway amid the typical stream of cars and trucks to suddenly discover millions of bees swarming toward the morning commute.