March 2nd, 2010
09:47 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 03/02/10

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The one man filibuster in the U.S. Senate is over. A vote took place moments ago to extend jobless benefits to millions of Americans over the next month and to fund road projects. We've got the raw politics. Plus, Pres. Obama's compromises with the GOP over health care reform. See what's he's willing to add to the legislation.

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.

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
March 2nd, 2010
07:14 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Bunning's Blockade Over?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/02/jobless.benefits.bill/story.jim.bunning.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Jim Bunning says that if the benefits are so important, senators could find a way to fund them." width=300 height=169]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

It looks like Sen. Jim Bunning's filibuster of the $10 billion to extend benefits for unemployed workers is over. For several days, the one senator had been single-handedly blocking any assistance for those in need.

A vote is expected tonight on the measure. We'll bring you the breaking news.

The Kentucky Republican has come under attack by many in his own party and Democrats over his actions. But Bunning's blockade may be history. Tonight's agreement calls for at least two votes. One on extending the benefits. The other vote will be on an amendment proposed by Bunning to pay for it.

Bunning, who is retiring at the end of his year, said he doesn't oppose extending jobless benefits. He just doesn't want to add to the deficit.

"We cannot keep adding to the debt and passing the buck to generations of future workers and taxpayers, my children and your children and our grandchildren," Bunning said this evening on the Senate floor after the agreement was reached.

Stuck in middle of the stalemate, more than a million people who could stop getting unemployment benefits this month if the bill doesn't pass. The bill also provides money for highway projects. The Department of Transportation furloughed 2,000 workers yesterday because the Senate failed to pass the legislation to extend funding for the projects.

We also have the latest developments from Chile where the death toll from Saturday's earthquake is nearing 800. Aftershocks are complicating relief and rescue efforts. Tonight Karl Penhaul shows up the devastation in the small port town of Dichato where after the quake a massive tsunami hit.

There's also a debate going on across America after the SeaWorld tragedy. Should animals, like the killer whale that fatally wounded a trainer, even be held in captivity? Tonight Gary Tuchman looks at the careful balance needed when using animals for education or for performances. He visited the largest wild animal sanctuary in the U.S. The director of the facility in Texas says many of the animals come from cruel and abusive backgrounds. Some performed in circuses and roadside shows. The director of the facility says the animals were taken from their natural habitat and had to perform for people in a very unnatural setting. But is the comparison to those animals and to the SeaWorld's killer whale fair? A trainer at the aquatic amusement park their animals are not mistreated and that they are happy.
Do you agree? Sound off below.

Join us for these stories and more at 10 p.m. ET. See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
March 2nd, 2010
06:53 PM ET

The case for captive animals

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/02/seaworld.ireport.2.jpg caption="Animals in zoos, aquariums and museums, such as SeaWorld, play an important and powerful part in our cultural and formal educational processes, according to John Nightingale."]

John Nightingale
Special to CNN

The tragic death of a trainer at Sea World last week revived a number of long simmering questions. While we still grapple with "how did this happen?" the central question for many revolves around the role of large mammals - like Tilikum the killer whale - in zoos and aquariums: Should they be there or not?

Animals in zoos, aquariums and museums play an important and powerful part in our cultural and formal educational processes. Humans are inherently interested in nature. We are not very far removed from a time when being knowledgeable about nature was vital to life; you either knew how to find your dinner or you were dinner.

Today, with well over 50 percent of our populations living in cities, we are rapidly becoming divorced from the realities of the animal world. The dialogue we see in the media, read on blogs and hear in conversation makes it clear that many people have lots of ideas about what's happening in our natural world, much of it not correct.

Keep reading...

March 2nd, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Tragedy for two at SeaWorld

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/02/seaworld.ireport.1.jpg caption="The late Dawn Brancheau trains Tillikum, a male orca at SeaWorld Orlando."]

Naomi Rose, Ph.D.
The Humane Society of the United States

Tillikum, a captive male orca at SeaWorld Orlando, drowned Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau on February 24. This is a tragedy, for Ms. Brancheau and her devastated family, to whom I and my organization offer our condolences. But it is also a tragedy for Tillikum.

He has now been involved in the deaths of three people. Before Ms. Brancheau, there was Keltie Byrne in 1991 and then Daniel Dukes in 1999. But Tillikum isn’t the only orca who has killed someone.

Keto, an orca born at SeaWorld, killed his trainer last year at Loro Parque, a marine attraction in the Canary Islands. And there have been dozens of injuries—some quite serious—resulting from captive orcas attacking their trainers or members of the public.


March 2nd, 2010
05:25 PM ET

CNN Fact Check: Is Sen. Jim Bunning's stand against unemployment extensions in line with his past votes?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/02/art.boehner0302.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Jim Bunning set off a firestorm in Washington by single-handedly blocking a short-term extension of jobless benefits, demanding that it be paid for instead of adding to the deficit."]

Chris Mould

Sen. Jim Bunning set off a firestorm in Washington - and across the country - by single-handedly blocking a short-term extension of jobless benefits, demanding that it be paid for instead of adding to the deficit.

The $10 billion package, which also includes road projects and COBRA health insurance subsidies, needed unanimous consent to pass because it was an emergency spending measure not authorized by the federal budget.

Without it, millions of out-of-work Americans can't continue to apply for federal unemployment benefits, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said up to 2,000 employees at his agency would be sent home without pay.

Bunning, R-Kentucky, says he's not opposed to extending the benefits - he just wants to make sure they're paid for without adding to the deficit.

March 2nd, 2010
05:20 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Postal problems, Ford on a roll

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caption="The U.S. Postal Service plans to revamp its outdated business model." width=300 height=169]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Snow? Rain? Gloom of night? No problem.

Saturday? Big problem…

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing an adjusted mail service schedule which will likely cut Saturday delivery. The agency is also suggesting the elimination of its prepaid retiree health benefits, closing some branches and expanding its use of self-service kiosks in grocery stores and other popular retail spots as part of its effort to work its way out of a mountain of debt.

And the USPS warns it will incur about $238 billion in losses in the next 10 years if Congress doesn't approve its plan it to revamp its outdated business model.

The agency posted a $3.8 billion loss in its 2009 fiscal year, the latest in a multiyear string of whopping losses. Mail volume was down 12.7% for the year, a trend the Post Office expects to continue over the next decade as more consumers opt for online bill payments and message delivery.


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy
March 2nd, 2010
05:09 PM ET

Obama likely to announce new health care strategy Wednesday

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/01/obama.health.care/story.obama.health.care.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will lay out a political plan for health care reform on Wednesday, say Democratic sources." width=300 height=169]

Suzanne Malveaux | BIO
CNN White House Correspondent

President Obama is likely to lay out a political road map Wednesday for passage of sweeping health care legislation, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Gibbs said the president will talk about "the way forward" to pass a bill. Among other things, Obama is expected to advocate for an "up or down vote" in Congress if necessary, Gibbs said.

Multiple Democratic sources told CNN that the emerging consensus plan is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill and send it to Obama. A package of changes that mirror the president's plan would then be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which require only 51 votes in the Senate.

Democrats lost their 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate supermajority in January, when GOP Sen. Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat previously held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

Keep reading...

March 2nd, 2010
05:01 PM ET

Have you lost your unemployment benefits?

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The unemployed will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

Top Democrats tore into one of their Republican counterparts yesterday for blocking an extension of unemployment benefits that would provide assistance to millions of jobless Americans.

The Senate adjourned last week without approving extensions of cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed after Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, blocked the measure by insisting that Congress first pay for the $10 billion package. The emergency measure needed unanimous consent to pass.

Bunning, who is retiring at the end of this year, said he doesn't oppose extending the programs, he just doesn't want to add to the deficit. Democrats claim the bill is an emergency measure that should not be subject to new rules requiring that legislation not expand the deficit.

Have you lost your unemployment benefits as a result? We want to hear from you! Let us know.

Go here to weigh in and let us know.

Filed under: Unemployment
March 2nd, 2010
04:59 PM ET

In search of an earthquake-proof building

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John D. Sutter

It's a sobering fact: Earthquakes alone don't kill people; collapsed buildings do.

But can people engineer buildings that wouldn't crumble when subjected to the rumblings of the Earth?

In the wake of the Haiti and Chile earthquakes, such a question has more importance now than any time in recent memory.

The simple answer is yes. The technology exists to make buildings nearly earthquake-proof today. However, installing those safer buildings all over the world isn't so simple. Neither is figuring out who will pay.

Keep reading...

March 2nd, 2010
04:39 PM ET

Thousands of sex offenders unlisted?


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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Human remains found today in a shallow grave are likely those of Chelsea King, a missing 17-year-old girl from San Diego County, California, police say.

John Albert Gardner III, arrested in connection with the disappearance of King, is one of 63,000 people required to register as sex offenders in California, according to the state’s department of justice web site.

Of that number, the site lists the exact home addresses of about 33,500 of the names. Information on an additional 22,000 sex offenders living in California is not provided on the site.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
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