Editor's Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10 PM.
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Randi Kaye | BIO
How would you feel if your child came home from school with a request he or she return the next day with paper towels and toilet paper? Yes, toilet paper!
Can you imagine? That’s how bad it got for one public school in Detroit. The district, like so many others around the country, is out of money so it’s asking parents to send much needed items like that to school. We looked at schools across the country that are broken and crumbling. In Miami, they are so overcrowded that students are learning in temporary trailers on the playground. In Ohio, just outside Cleveland, a school superintendent sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking for $100 million to help save his district which has 1200 students crammed into a building that was made to hold 800 students. In that district, maintenance closets have been turned into classrooms. It’s that bad! And did you hear about the teacher in San Diego who started selling “ad space” on his exams to help pay for the paper it cost to print the tests themselves? Parents were buying the ad space to help. He raised about $600.
Executive Director, Change to Win
Founder and President, Green For All
This Friday, Vice President Joe Biden will hold the first meeting of his new White House Task Force for Middle Class Working Families. The theme? "Green jobs as a pathway to a strong middle class."
This is a huge step forward for the country, for the green jobs movement, and for working families. The U.S. economy once abounded with opportunities for careers that would support a family, provide health care, put kids through college, even allow people to take a hard-earned vacation with their loved ones. Those opportunities, and the American Dream that propelled generations to new progress, remain too far out of reach for too many Americans. The best place to recreate them is in the growing green jobs sector.
In this recession, struggling couples are finding "for better or for worse" it makes sense to stay in an unhappy marriage. With disappearing assets, Mr. & Mrs. can't afford an expensive divorce. There's also the cost of living on your own.
Friday on AC360°, Randi Kaye looks at why the bad economy is pushing people to stay in a bad marriage. And, not only that, some private investigators say the economy is killing the hanky-panky business, as well. Fewer people are willing to pay the cash to have a private investigator trail their cheating spouse. It can cost about $15,000 a week.
Randi hit the streets of Boston with a private eye who says his calls for "domestic surveillance" are down 70%. He reveals where couples are secretly meeting these days. It's not where you'd expect. Many lovers can no longer afford the Ritz or Four Seasons.
See you Friday at 10 pm ET.
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Pres. Obama spoke with Congressional leaders tonight about his new plan for U.S. combat troops in Iraq. He'll unveil the entire strategy tomorrow when he visits Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. But we know some of the details already.
According to Congressional officials the new that plan calls for all U.S. combat troops to be out of Iraq within 19 months. That would be August 2010. That falls short of Mr. Obama's campaign promise of a withdrawal in 16 months.
The officials said at the White House meeting tonight, Obama also revealed to lawmakers that after combat troops are out he plans to keep a range of 35,000 to 50,000 support troops on the ground in Iraq.
CNN's Ed Henry will have the breaking details for you tonight. Then we'll dig deeper with CNN's Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware and CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen.
What do you think of Pres. Obama's plan? We'd love to hear from you.
Join us for this story and more at 10pm.
Over the course of history, governments, political regimes and leaders have done some stupid things despite all arguments to the contrary, at times even against their own self-interest.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman (best known for "The Guns of August") chronicled this in "The March of Folly," examining the Trojan War, the provocation by the Renaissance Popes that led to the Protestant secession, the unnecessary loss of American colonies by Britain and the now well-documented United States loss in Vietnam.
Fast forward to 2009. The Republican Party has just suffered a bad but not unprecedented defeat. The U.S. economy is in shambles. And the patch of ground some leading figures in the GOP have chosen to occupy to rally back is to oppose expanded unemployment benefits in the middle of a recession.
They could have chosen a stronger national defense and terrorism policy, personal responsibility or even market-based health care reform. Arguing that President Obama's publicly-supported economic stimulus bill was full of wasteful spending (Rush Limbaugh termed it "Porkulus") was not enough.
No, their cause in this time of crisis is to deny expanded unemployment benefits to tens of thousands of jobless workers by saying they would not accept added federal funding for them.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/26/pentagon.media.war.dead/art.coffins.transport.gi.jpg] CNN The Pentagon will lift its ban on media coverage of the flag-draped coffins of war victims arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. Military vehicles carry coffins containing U.S. troops in this photo the Pentagon released in 2005. 1 of 2 But the families of the victims will have the final say on whether to allow the coverage, he said. President Obama asked Gates to review the policy, and Gates said he decided after consulting with the armed services and groups representing military families to apply the same policy that is used at Arlington National Cemetery. "I have decided that the decision regarding media coverage of the dignified transfer process at Dover should be made by those most directly affected - the families," he said at a news conference. Watch Gates announce reversal » Not long after Gates' announcement, the political action committee VoteVets.org issued a written statement saying it is "fully supportive" of the decision. Advocates of opening the base to coverage point out that the unmarked coffins make it impossible to identify specific remains. Not everyone had a positive reaction. "Military Families United is disappointed in the president's decision to overturn the ban that has been in place for over 18 years," the group said in a release. Read More...
CNN Supervising Producer
If ever a phrase has given "earmark" a run for most scorned fiscal term in Washington, "war supplemental" could well be that contender.
President Barack Obama has made a big deal of saying that he wants to stop what had been a contentious Bush administration habit of using the war supplemental, requests for funding that occur outside of the regular budget process, to get the billions of dollars needed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"No longer will we hide its price," Obama declared Tuesday in his speech to the joint session of Congress. War supplemental, you've been warned.
His spokesman Robert Gibbs called it "Enron accounting." BAM. POW. Take that war supplemental.
It was a banner headline from the Obama Housing Department:
"HUD ALLOCATES MORE THAN $10 BILLION OF RECOVERY ACT FUNDING ONE WEEK AFTER BILL SIGNING"
The money, according to HUD, is going out immediately to states in desperate need of fast cash to repair deteriorating public housing and other big projects.
But the cash isn't all that fast after all. What HUD actually did was to notify local branches that they could start applying for the money. Hiring contractors to catch up on years of neglected maintenance won't take place for at least a month, after the bids go out and the contracts are approved.
As for many of the other big "shovel ready" projects, there are environmental impact studies to be done, public hearings to be held, and local legislative calendars to consider.
There are a few examples of recovery money actually being spent: jobless people in New Hampshire get $25 more a week in their unemployment checks starting now, and some local school boards have managed to avoid or minimize layoffs in anticipation of federal dollars. Realtors report a "buzz" about new money for first time home buyers, but none yet lining up to snap up all those empty foreclosed homes.