July 21st, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/21/09

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President Obama refuses to give up on health care reform. He claims Republicans are playing politics. Meantime, Democrats aren't all on the same page. Stuck in the middle: You and your family. We have the raw politics for you tonight. Plus, the bombshell revelation in the killing of the Florida couple who adopted 13 children with special needs.

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

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. 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 $#&*)

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

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
July 21st, 2009
09:08 PM ET

Photo Gallery: Tuchman reports on the case of Troy Davis

Editor's Note: In 1991, Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. But since then, seven of nine witnesses recanted their original testimony. Today, the Supreme Court granted Davis' request that his execution be delayed as he attempts to prove his innocence. Gary Tuchman reports on the story tonight on AC360° at 10p ET. Below are behind the scenes photos of Gary reporting for this story.

Gary Tuchman on the phone with Troy Davis, who has been in prison for 18 years.

Talking with Rev. Derrick Johnson, who convinced Troy Davis to surrender. This interview is the first time Johnson is publicly discussing his involvement in the case.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Gary Tuchman • Joneil Adriano
July 21st, 2009
08:34 PM ET

What health reform means for you

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Jeanne Sahadi
CNNMoney.com Senior Writer

Lawmakers are still far from consensus on how to fix the health care system. So it's too soon to know exactly what reform would mean for individual Americans.

But a picture has started to emerge from two key bills put out by Democrats in the House and Senate. A third bill is expected soon from the Senate Finance Committee.

The first two bills propose:

– a national insurance exchange on which insurers would compete for consumers' business;
– a public health plan that would compete with private insurers on that exchange;
– and subsidies for financially strapped Americans eligible to buy health insurance on the exchange.

Both bills would also set minimum standards for health insurance policies and require insurers to guarantee coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

Considered in broad terms, here's how those bills are likely to affect three groups of Americans: those who are currently insured through their employer; those who buy insurance on their own; and the 49 million Americans who are expected to go uninsured next year.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
July 21st, 2009
07:59 PM ET

View the solar eclipse from your computer

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One of the century's longest total solar eclipses will cross half the planet and skywatchers will gather around the world to watch it in parts of Asia on Wednesday.

You can view it online by visiting LIVE! UNIVERSE, which will display a live webcast from Japan.

Read more about the total solar eclipse at CNN.

July 21st, 2009
07:02 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Tax Pot?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight, voters in Oakland, California could take the battle over medical marijuana to a new level. Should it be taxed at city dispensaries? That's the question on a mail-in ballot.

If "Measure F" is approved, Oakland would become the first city in the country to tax pot directly. The idea actually came from the dispensaries. They see the proposed 1.8% tax as a way to help Oakland with its more than $80 million cash shortage. But there's another reason they're backing the measure. We'll have the details on their agenda. And, would the city even get a big cash boost from the plan? We'll break down the numbers for you.

Not everyone likes the idea. "With the state in dire straights in finances and the country looking for ways to pay down debt, looking at illegal drugs is the absolute wrong thing to do," said Paul Chabot of Coalition for a Drug Free California

What do you think of "Measure F"? Should it pass or fail? Sound off below.

Also tonight, Pres. Obama's fight for health care reform. He's not backing down under GOP opposition. Today at the White House, Mr. Obama said Republicans "who openly announce their intentions to block this reform" would "rather score political points" than confront the ailing health care system. But, keep in mind, Democrats also can't seem to agree on your coverage. We'll have the raw politics.

And, we'll take you to Cambridge, Massachusetts where charges have been dropped against Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. Police have issued a statement calling his arrest - while breaking into his own home - regrettable. Was it racial profiling? We'll let you be the judge.

Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
July 21st, 2009
05:15 PM ET

Suspects rehearsed attack on Florida couple, sheriff says

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Suspects in the slaying of a Florida couple known for adopting special-needs children did a dry run of the attack at the victims' home about a month before storming the residence, Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said.

The information was one of many new revelations about the July 9 murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings of Beulah, Florida.

The suspected mastermind of the slaying has told authorities he knew the victims and received financial support from them for a martial arts studio he ran, according to court documents.

Leonard Patrick Gonzalez Jr., 35, is one of seven people charged with murder in connection with the couple's death. An affidavit linked to a search warrant for Gonzalez's van noted the connection between him and the couple.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
July 21st, 2009
05:07 PM ET

Charge against Harvard professor dropped

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A prosecutor is dropping a charge against prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. after Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city's police department recommended that the matter not be pursued.

In a joint statement, Cambridge and the police department said they made the recommendation to the Middlesex County district attorney and the district attorney's office "has agreed to enter a nolle prosequi in this matter," meaning that it will not be pursued.

Gates was arrested last week on a charge of disorderly conduct after a confrontation with an officer at his home, according to a Cambridge police report.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
July 21st, 2009
04:44 PM ET

Is this what it means to be black in America?

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The Chicago Tribune

Is this what it means to be a black man in America? This is the question that Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. asked police who arrested him last week-charges were dropped on Tuesday-while he was trying to enter his home. Gates is the director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Apparently, Gates had returned home from a trip to China to find the door to his home jammed. A neighbor saw Gates trying to enter his home and called the police, suspecting an intruder was prying open his front door. Gates forced open the door with the help of his cab driver, according to the New York Times.

Cambridge police told the Associated Press that they ordered the man to identify himself, and Gates refused. According to a police report, Gates then called the officer a racist and said, "This is what happens to black men in America." He accused the officer of racial profiling.

President Obama once wrote that he calls himself “African-American” because when he tries to hail a cab the driver sees a black man first-not a graduate of Harvard Law, nor a mixed-race person. (Of course, Obama may never have to hail a cab again.)


July 21st, 2009
04:32 PM ET

Beat 360º 7/21/09

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:

President Barack Obama is framed by a ladder while delivering remarks about healthcare reform legislation that is before Congress in the Rose Garden at the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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.


Staff Winner:

Joey Gardner

“For instance, if that guy fell off that ladder it might be 6 months before he could see a doctor in Canada.”

Viewer Winner:

Karen Richmond

Obama: Sorry guy, but the prompter is going to be way too high up there.

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
July 21st, 2009
03:22 PM ET

Documents: Report on cell phones and driving safety

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Program Note: Tonight on AC360°, we will take a closer look at just how unsafe it is to use a cell phone will driving. Posted below is a U.S. Department of Transportation report obtained by the New York Times that outlines the safety complications.

Click here to read the full Department of Transportation report.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Documents • Keeping Them Honest
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