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Tonight, Anderson and Team 360 are in Hempstead, New York, on Long Island. We’ll be broadcasting from the campus of Hofstra University as we continue our special Road to Rescue reporting. The economic crisis has created new worries for college students. How will they pay for tuition? Will they get a job after graduation to pay off all their loans? We’ll be taking questions from Hofstra students tonight. Innovation consultant and author Frans Johansson, who wrote “The Medici Effect,” will be in the thick of the crowd with advice.
It’s not just college students feeling under pressure. At a town hall meeting today in California, President Obama listened to concerns about the enormous deficits California schools are facing. Mister Obama said his administration is pushing to spend more on education, but he also told Americans not to expect something for nothing; he said those demanding more money for schools should be willing to embrace reform, too.
What do you think? Is that a fair deal?
Meantime, First Lady Michelle Obama spent part of her day at a high school in one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods, where she talked to students about the value of a college education and hard work. It was part of an outreach program to celebrate Women’s History Month. Mrs. Obama recruited 21 other prominent women - including celebrity athletes, actresses, Grammy Award-winning singers, and a former astronaut - to fan out to 10 other schools in the area. We’ll have more on Michelle Obama’s outreach efforts tonight.
Editor’s Note:You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”
In Session Anchor
Just as our new live trial, New Mexico v. Brandon Craig got underway yesterday, there was even bigger news breaking in the state. Governor Bill Richardson signed into law a repeal of the state’s death penalty.
That makes New Mexico the second state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. The repeal, which passed a vote in the state senate Friday and was approved by the house a month earlier, will take effect July 1st and will apply to crimes committed after that date. Once in effect, the most severe punishment will be a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Governor Richardson has long been a proponent of capital punishment. But he had the courage to face the fact that our system of justice can never be perfect. He signed the bill because his conscience compelled him to do so. This was the “most difficult decision” of his political life, Richardson said, but “the potential for … Execution of an innocent person stands as anathema to our very sensibilities as human beings.” And he’s right.
If the innocence movement has taught us anything it is that our justice system is not perfect. We make mistakes. Without the death penalty, New Mexico can avoid the kind of fatal error that is bound to happen elsewhere — if it hasn’t already.
Special to CNN
The man who was a symbol of Barack Obama's moderation might become a symbol of the new president's struggle with competence.
Tim Geithner, who was once hailed as the kind of guy who understood Wall Street, is now the Obama administration's version of "Brownie" (as in "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.").
At the mere word of Mr. Geithner's nomination as treasury secretary back in November, the market jumped close to 500 points. He was hailed by market insiders as a "fantastic choice," "highly-skilled and pragmatic." He was even praised by his Bush administration predecessor, Hank Paulson, who said, "I have great confidence in his understanding of markets, his judgment and leadership, and his ability to meet the challenges that lie ahead."
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Senate Banking and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) leaves to vote during a hearing on bank supervision and regulation on Capitol Hill March 19, 2009 in Washington, DC
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/19/art.sugar.jack.jpg width=292 height=320]
It finally happened, I decided to give it up. Sugar. And no, "Sugar" is not some lover I've had stashed on Key Largo. That was over months ago and you know it. I'm talking about actual sugar. The stuff with which we season broccoli and exfoliate our skin in the shower. What? Don't look at me like that.
Frankly, this was a long time coming. When you find yourself ecstatic that Anderson is going on a road trip because it means you can barricade yourself in his breakfast nook and do shots of rare maple syrups, you know you have a problem. Which is exactly what I said to Larry King when I found him in there, his suspenders covered in pancake batter.
But, as the old saying goes, people in glass houses bought with mortgages they couldn't afford in the first place shouldn't throw stones, so I told Larry that I, too, was a sugar addict. And, I added apropos of nothing, the next time he has Joan Rivers on his program he should really give a viewer discretion warning about her plastic surgery.
Program Note: For more on Ali's interview with Treasury Secretary Geithner, tune in to AC360° tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
CNN Chief Business Correspondent
I'm sitting in the Office of the Undersecretary of Domestic Affairs at the Treasury Department in DC.
The office in unoccupied – as are many in the building. It may be part of the problem.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner (whom I'm interviewing within the hour) has no deputy, and very little in the way of senior staff. And, according to the President, he's dealing with more crisis early on than ANY Treasury Secretary since – get this – Alexander Hamilton.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/19/art.vert.crime.anderson.jpg caption="Kurt Anderson has been missing since March 3rd." width=292 height=320]
March 3rd began as an ordinary day for Kurt Anderson and his family. On that Tuesday morning, the married father of three drove one of his kids to school in Sacramento, California. The child left the car and headed for class. The father put his foot on the gas pedal and drove away. But Anderson has not been seen since.
Did Anderson deliberately abandon his family? Is he running away from someone or something? Police have no answers.
They are, however, looking for Anderson and have classified him as a missing person.
Before he vanished, Anderson called work and said he would be in late. About that same time, he was allegedly caught on surveillance tape withdrawing cash from a grocery store bank.
Police say the video does not indicate foul play, according to local media reports.
Now – three weeks later – investigators have very few leads other than his car – a 2004 white Honda with the license plate #5EBD206.
Anderson is 51-years-old, 6’0, weighs 215 lbs, and has green eyes.
Take a look at the photographs in the Sacramento Police Department media release. If you recognize Anderson or the vehicle, contact the department at 916-443-HELP or send a text to 274637 and enter SACTIP.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/18/aig.bonuses.congress/art.dodd.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Dodd told CNN Wednesday that officials in the Treasury Department asked him to add the bonus loophole to the stimulus bill before it was passed."]
CNN Financial News Producer
The controversy surrounding bonuses at AIG hit a boiling point Wednesday when company CEO Edward Liddy testified before a House Financial Services subcommittee.
Liddy, who was grilled by lawmakers, addressed one of the key questions surrounding the controversy: When did officials first learn that AIG was planning to give those bonuses that CNN first reported on last December?
Liddy said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke knew about the payments for three months and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner found out about them two weeks ago - a week before Geithner has said he first heard of the bonuses from his staff. The Treasury Department, however, said Liddy was mistaken.
Meanwhile, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told CNN Wednesday that he was responsible for language added to the federal stimulus bill to make sure that already-existing contracts for bonuses at companies receiving federal bailout money were honored.