March 2nd, 2009
11:09 PM ET

On the Radar: "Obama Robin Hood"

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Under President Obama's budget proposal, he wants to increase taxes on those making more than $250,000. Those who oppose the plan say he has become "Obama Robin Hood" by taking from the rich to give to the poor.

So, how does the Obama Administration's definition of wealthy square with reality? Tuesday on AC360°, Randi Kaye will focus on two families making above $250,000 – one in New York City and one in a small town to show how different the tax plan may prove to be.

Join us for this story and more at 10pm ET.

See you then!

Filed under: 360° Radar • Maureen Miller
March 2nd, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 3/02/09

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Want to share your thoughts on the stories we're covering tonight? You're in the right location. Just scroll down and post your comments. This is where you can "chat" with Anderson and Erica during the program.

Want to know what we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

We're so tech savvy here at AC360°. At least, we like to think we are these days. So, we've got more goodies for you.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 2nd, 2009
09:07 PM ET

Evening Buzz: AIG "Progress"

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Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The Dow took a beating today closing below the 7-thousand mark for the first time in 12 years. Blue chips ended the day down nearly 300 points, or 4.2%, to end at 6,763.29, while the Nasdaq shed 54 and the S&P fell 34 points.

The sell-off came after the federal government agreed to give battered insurer AIG another $30 billion. The revamped rescue plan now totals $162.5 billion dollars. That's our tax dollars at work. The extra $30 billion will come from the second half of the $700 billion rescue package approved by Congress last fall.

That's not all. Today AIG also posted a staggering $62 billion quarterly loss, the biggest ever by a U.S. company. The losses amount to about $460,000 per minute. Or let me put it this way: Every American would have to pay $204 to repay AIG's losses.

Do you think AIG should still be bailed out? Sound off below.

Tonight on AC360°, Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi looks at why AIG is so important to the global economy. Consider these numbers: AIG has 74 million insurance policies in 130 countries worldwide and they cover everything.

AIG's CEO Ed Liddy hit the media circuit today to pled his case. Liddy came on the job last September and is making just $1 a year. "We've made real progress starting in September and the latest round of solutions we think are a big step forward, " Liddy said in an interview with Ali today. Liddy added AIG resolves to do three things: Protect policyholders, payback every penny that is owed to the federal government and he said he has a "vision for the 116,000 people who work at AIG. They've done nothing wrong. They haven't contributed to this. But they are in fact going to solve it."

It's your money, your future. We'll have all the angles on this and tonight's other headlines starting at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 2nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Re-branding of Blackwater claims highest-level casualties yet

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Suzanne Kelly Simons
CNN Executive Producer, Author

The man who built private security contractor Blackwater into a global force is stepping down, as controversy continues to swirl about the company's conduct in Iraq. CEO Erik Prince is ending his day to day involvement in running the company, and his long-trusted President Gary Jackson is going with him. Company sources say a federal investigation into some of its activities is underway; the Justice Department won't comment.

Last month, the State Department announced it would not be renewing Blackwater's lucrative contract in Iraq. Soon afterwards the company changed its name to Xe in an attempt to distance itself from a disastrous bout of publicity that began one September afternoon in Baghdad back in 2007. That was when a Blackwater team shot and killed at least 14 Iraqis in a traffic circle, some of the Blackwater men saying they had come under what they believed was enemy fire.


Filed under: Iraq • Suzanne Simons
March 2nd, 2009
05:27 PM ET

AIG chief cites 'real progress'

AIG CEO Ed Liddy explains why the U.S. taxpayer and the government should pay to help AIG afloat.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Finance • Wall St.
March 2nd, 2009
05:16 PM ET

Beat 360° 3/2/09

Ready for today's Beat 360°?

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too.

Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite!

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference following an international donors meeting for rebuilding the Gaza Strip, in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions!

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

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!


Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
March 2nd, 2009
04:58 PM ET

Homeowner bailout a mistake?

Editor's note: Jeffrey A. Miron is senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University

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Jeffrey A. Miron

Later this week, the Obama administration will announce the details of its Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, an attempt to rescue homeowners from the housing meltdown that precipitated the financial crisis.

The plan uses $275 billion in taxpayer funds to help homeowners refinance at lower interest rates and to subsidize payments from borrowers to lenders. The plan also contains new capital injections for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it gives bankruptcy judges power to reduce mortgage payments from borrowers to lenders.

This plan is exactly the wrong medicine for the economy. Here's why.

The plan's primary aim is to reduce foreclosures so that delinquent or near-delinquent borrowers can stay in their homes. This might sound like a worthy goal, but it ignores a fundamental reality: Government cannot produce the funds out of thin air; it must raise them from taxpayers.


March 2nd, 2009
04:45 PM ET

A snowball's chance in Manhattan

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Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

A snowstorm in March.  I know it’s still technically winter but, nevertheless, it feels so out of place.  Like Christmas in July or a healthy economy.

I can’t say I’m happy with this weather.  If I wanted to walk around with wet socks and fall on my butt then I would have just gone to Sam Donaldson’s retirement party.

At least I live in New York City, which means I don’t have to shovel.  I’ve never been a fan of shoveling.  In fact, as a general rule, I am opposed to anything that builds character and/or makes sidewalks safer for the elderly.

It is, however, tough to argue that snow doesn’t make everything seem prettier. Maybe it’s the Robert Frost in me talking but there’s just something special about a mugger fleeing by toboggan.  Then again, maybe it's the Peppermint Schnapps in me talking.

My dog Sammy is a Labrador Retriever so, of course, she loves the snow.  Her favorite thing to do is to get on her back and wriggle in it.  It’s behavior that raises far fewer eyebrows at the dog park than it did during her brief stint sniffing out cocaine at the airport.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Severe Weather
March 2nd, 2009
04:36 PM ET

Criminal Justice

Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”

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Jami Floyd
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

Let’s talk DNA. Believe it or not, if you are convicted of a crime, you have no right to the DNA evidence. No constitutional right, that is. That’s why Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck and the other folks at the Innocence Project are in Washington, D.C. today to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to find that such a right exists in our Constitution.

To be clear, most states do provide for access to DNA material; But in many states, the fight for the DNA material from a crime scene can go on for years, even decades. In Alaska, where today’s case originates, there is no right at all to test DNA on appeal from a conviction — none. That means that an innocent person, who might be able to prove his wrongful conviction, simply cannot.

It also means that victims and their families, who seek justice, may not get it because if the wrong man is in prison, of course, the real perpetrator is still out there – a result not even the most law-and-order prosecutor would want. Prosecutors, after all, are in pursuit of justice.

That is why a consortium of prosecutors have joined with the Innocence Project to file an amicus brief in the case supporting a Constitutional right to DNA. Those who oppose it cite the costs of collection, preservation and the testing of DNA. These are valid concerns but do not trump the Constitution, lest we lose the true meaning of criminal justice.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • In Session • Jami Floyd
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