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October 27th, 2009
07:00 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Tax Dollars Wasted & Lives Lost

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/01/samoa.earthquake/art.samoa1.cnn.jpg caption= "Red Cross workers walk past a boat last month that was uplifted by the tsunami at Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

When a tsunami hit American Samoa last month 34 people were killed and one victim is still missing. They were all struck by a killer wave with no warning. We decided to find out why there wasn't a warning system in place and what we uncovered is startling.

Records show U.S. taxpayers shelled out nearly $13 million in disaster preparedness grants to the tiny island in the south Pacific since 2003. Yet, there were no sirens, no warning system and 34 deaths when the tsunami hit.

U.S. Homeland Security investigators tracked the money. They say the cash was instead spent on leather furniture, plasma televisions and other luxuries.

Don't miss what else Drew Griffin uncovered in our exclusive 360° investigation tonight.

We're also following a shocking story outside San Francisco, where police say a girl was gang raped for two-and-a-half hours outside a high school homecoming dance. Investigators say as many as 15 people, all males, watched the assault and did nothing. They never called police. They never helped the victim.

The girl was discovered badly beaten after police got a call from someone who overheard people talking about the attack.

Educator Steve Perry will join us to talk about this disturbing case. He says if you haven's been to a school lately you should be afraid, very afraid. Perry warns there is a "twisted perception of what is acceptable behavior." He has some suggestions to change the environment. It is something everyone needs to hear.

Also on our radar tonight are the sweat lodge deaths in Arizona. We continue to stay on this story demanding answers.

How did three people die and nearly two dozen get sick from taking part in the ceremony? Tonight you'll hear from the family of Liz Neuman. She died of organ failure a week after participating in the new age ritual run by self-help guru James Arthur Ray.

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


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. kishen c.rao

    Anderson, I think we need to get out of wars....and spend on our soil...instead of wasting on wars...well, it has been going on for the last eight long years, looted the nation, and caused to this level of neckdeep troubles fiscally....total fiasco in the nation...we need to fix health care with public option...Joe Leiberman does not know a thing about how people are suffering without insurance....I bet he got bribed from INSURANCE GUYS....WATCH OUT AND STAY FOCUSSED...ON IT...

    October 28, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  2. Etta

    I think that a percentage of the parents in this world have dropped the ball when raising their kids. They need to take the old fashion way
    and not spare the rod and spoil the child. The children of todays wolrd have no sence of whats wright or wrong most of them raise
    them selves and have absolutely now respect for human life, they just take and give as they come and go no matter wgo gets hurt. We new toughter punishisment. If they do they crime then they should have to do the hard time no matter what their age. but then someone
    always come up with some stupid way to get them off and everyone
    knows this. The world is just too soft on criminals no matter the age.
    PUNISH HARD AND FAST. You do the crimes you do the time !!!!

    October 28, 2009 at 1:56 am |
  3. J A Cunningham

    With regard to your news item about the 15-year old girl who was sexually assaulted; I say that you can blame whatever outside influence you want (TV, movies, music, video games, etc.), but in the final analysis it all boils down to one thing: Narcissism.

    Young people today are displaying a frightening level of comfort with the idea that their own desires are secondary to their obligations to society at large (if indeed those are given any consderation at all). This trend is being forced on them without their ever realising it, and as such the phenomenon is likely to get worse, not better.

    While I don't doubt that there are a great many other factors at play in this incident, the one thought I can't seem to put down is just how much the pandering to the idea of individual excepitonalism at he expense of social obligation we are going to be able to take before the trend corrects itself (or is corrected).

    October 28, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  4. Sterling MD from Springfield, MO

    Given the poor saleries that are given to the peace corp.by people through the state department model.Perhaps surely some of these participates in the peace corp.could be graduate students in economic or foreign affairs and could be attached to the project money to report on the progress of the usage of the loan monies.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  5. Cindy

    I just seen the corruption in American Samoa on 360, it is so sad that the federal money was misused by the government of American Samoa. Its about time that the FBI investigate. For a long period of time the government of Samoa has only helped their own family and relatives to leave the poor people struggling. That was the way it has always been. Im not surprised with the luxury of the Samoan government.

    With the 30 something lives gone and the small portion of the island to alert this could of been prevented. Whats done is done this just shouldn't happen again.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  6. Rhonda Ford

    And is there any wonder why we worry about the Government taking over any Health Care Issues when we can not see too it that money does not go to victims for a disaster that has been sent to help them?

    October 27, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    Too often in the face of bad behavior, juvenile criminal acts, mis-use of federal funds, or any other sort of tragedy, we as a nation and as a people are quick to point fingers at who we decide to blame for the occurrence. Usual responsibility bearers are the schools and the parents. Instead of pointing fingers at whose fault it is, we ought to be working to find solutions instead of "assessing blame and then moving on". Assessing blame does not a solution make. And without a workable solution nothing ever changes.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  8. Tim Gibson

    The disaster in Somoa is as much the fault of government leaders and a lack of accountability as is the actions of students who kill or rape and the parents who allow it while putting the blame off on the school system.

    Perhaps we are witness to a total breakdown of our society, from elected leaders who fail to lead but show strong in support to the type behavior we now see in our children of this once great nation.

    When will anyone, from our leadership, to our citizens, the parents, anyone, accept responsibility for their actions and corruption.

    Is it any wonder our children have become what they are when those who are suppose to lead by example fall short of success in anything other than corruption.

    No accountable person from our President on down can say in all honesty that life is good in these, the United States of America.

    October 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm |