Oakland (CNN) - I have lived in the San Francisco Bay area for nearly 5 years. As a reporter, I’d like to think I’m pretty well informed about what is happening in my community. But I had no idea what was happening on International Boulevard in Oakland, California.
It’s a major thoroughfare, but locals know it as the “track.” As we discovered while working with police and prosecutors, it is ground zero for child prostitution.
Go to the “track” at any time of the day or night and you will find numerous girls working the streets. And these girls are noticeably underage. According to police, many of them are recruited as young as 12 years old.
Undercover officers conduct weekly prostitution stings to get as many of them off the streets as possible. A couple weeks ago, we were invited to come along to watch how it happens.
A billion-dollar federal program for settling African-American discrimination claims. We'll talk to a Congressman who says it's full of fraud and amounts to what he says are slavery reparations.
We'll also check the government's numbers and speak with the head of the Black Farmers Association.
We're keeping them honest. Plus, tonight's other headlines.
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CNN Congressional Producer
Washington (CNN) – The college football bowl season is weeks away from crowning a new national champion, but there will be no congratulatory votes for the winner on the House floor. That's because Republicans are planning to ban most official Congressional commemorations when they take over the chamber in January.
Under new House rules being circulated by the GOP transition team, House Republicans would prohibit resolutions on the floor that congratulate sports teams, recognize anniversaries or birthdays, according to Brendan Buck, spokesman for the transition team. The rule would be part of a series of reforms to House rules in the new session of Congress.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:
England 2018 Bid Ambassador David Beckham, Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron during a reception at the Steigenberger hotel a day before the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cup Bid Announcement on December 1, 2010. (Photo credit: Anthony Devlin – Pool/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.
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“More popular than a prince, more recognized than a world leader... it is a little embarrassing.”
“David Beckham was embarrassed when he mistook the Prime Minister for Piers Morgan.”
Deirdre Walsh and Brianna Keilar
Washington (CNN) – The full House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on the House ethics committee's recommendation to censure New York Democratic Rep Charles Rangel.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who handles the House floor schedule, told reporters Wednesday that he informed Rangel and Rep Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the ethics committee, that the committee's report would be considered Thursday afternoon.
After a lengthy investigation, the House ethics committee found Rangel guilty on 11 counts of violating House rules, including failing to pay taxes on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic and improperly using his office to raise money for an educational center bearing his name. On November 18th the committee voted 9-1 to recommend that the House censure Rangel and that he pay restitution for any unpaid taxes. The committee's rules require that its report be presented to the House for a vote.
In addition to a formal House vote, censure also requires that Rangel stand in the well of the House as the resolution rebuking his actions is read aloud by the Speaker of the House. The House has one hour to debate the report from the committee before it votes.
Rangel reached out to his supporters in an email on Wednesday apologizing for his actions, but calling the penalty excessive and asking supporters to call House Members and urge them to oppose the censure resolution.
Deirdre Walsh and Evan Glass
CNN Congressional Producers
Washington (CNN) – On the same day Congressional and White House negotiators met to broker a compromise on how to deal with the Bush-era tax cuts that are expiring at the end of the year, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that House Democrats would push ahead on a vote Thursday to permanently extend tax breaks just for those making $250,000 a year or less. Republicans argue tax cuts should be extended for everyone, including the wealthy.
Hoyer said the House bill would include permanent extensions of income tax rates for the middle class, plus tax breaks for married couples, the child tax credit, and the earned income tax credit.
The Maryland Democrat insisted that there was common ground between Republicans and Democrats on ensuring there are no tax increases for people making $250,000 or less and cited several polls showing the American public supports this approach. "We have agreement on that. There is not agreement on other aspects of issue, as you all know. But it is a shame that what we have agreement on is being held hostage by that on which we do not have agreement."
Hoyer maintained that moving forward with just a vote on the so-called middle class tax cuts would not interfere with the negotiations on the broader tax cuts, telling reporters Wednesday he spoke with the House Democratic negotiator in the talks, Maryland Democratic Rep Chris Van Hollen. "He and I both agree that this matter moving forward should not undermine negotiations on a compromise," Hoyer said.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: The president finally had his summit with Republicans, sans Slurpees. Oh well.
Dear Mr. President,
Great generals throughout history have known the value of good ground. They know when a battlefield favors their side. They know when it does not. They know when to charge, when to flee, when to dig in, and when to give way. The secret to success is not winning every fight you pick, but picking fights only when you have reason to believe you will win. With that in mind, I read with interest the reports about your latest meeting with the Republicans, the first since they stormed the House during the midterm. And I have to say I am intrigued by your talk about working with them more.
Now, I know you are going to take some serious trash talk from some of your fellow Dems over this - especially those who think you’ve compromised too much already.
But that is, as they say in Paris, “l’eau sous le pont.” (Well, maybe they don’t say that, but it sounds nice.) Right now you have a new battlefield stretching before you, all clean and ready, flags snapping in the breeze, awaiting your first step; and a quiet, subtle maneuver of peace may be the smartest play.
After all, what is the alternative? You could have been a hard case and told the GOP to take a hike; that you don’t care that they won; you’ll fight them tooth and nail over every issue. But what would that get you? Stronger opposition, no hope of cooperation, and oh btw, it would give the Republicans a perfect way to say you are not interested in solutions, only in being a big shot.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/12/01/gop.senate.demands/story.mcconnell.gi.jpg caption="Senate Republicans want action on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts before tackling any other issues." width=300 height=169]
Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans promised Wednesday to block legislative action on every issue being considered by the lame-duck Congress until the dispute over extending the Bush-era tax cuts is resolved and an extension of current government funding is approved.
All 42 Senate Republicans signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, vowing to prevent a vote on "any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers."
"With little time left in this congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike," the letter said.
The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted by former President George W. Bush will expire after December 31 if Congress fails to reach an agreement on their extension. Top Democrats and Republicans disagree sharply over whether the current tax rates should be extended just for families earning $250,000 or under per year, or should be extended for everyone regardless of income.
CNN Deputy Political Director
Washington (CNN) – As top Democrats and Republicans begin negotiations over extending the Bush-era tax cuts, a national poll indicates that the public remains divided on whether the wealthiest Americans should continue to receive those cuts.
Four in ten questioned in a USA Today/Gallup survey released Wednesday say that the cuts should be extended for all Americans, with 44 percent saying they support extending the tax breaks but setting limits on how much of wealthy Americans' income is eligible for the lower rates, and 13 percent saying the cuts should be allowed to expire at the end of the year.
An Associated Press-CNBC poll released Tuesday indicates that half questioned wanted tax cuts to be extended only for families making under $250,000 a year, with 34 percent saying they should be extended for all Americans, and 14 percent calling for the cuts to sunset for everyone at the end of the year.
Forty-nine percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted in the middle of November said the tax cuts should be extended for families making less than $250,000 a year, with another 15 percent that said the cuts should not be extended for anyone. That left 35 percent who favor an extension of the tax cuts for all Americans regardless of how much money they make.
CNN Congressional Producer
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, called on the House ethics committee Monday to either schedule her trial before Congress completes this year's lame duck session or explain why it won't go forward.
Waters' hearing before the committee was scheduled to begin Monday, but the ethics committee announced before Thanksgiving that the proceeding had been canceled due to the discovery of e-mail communications potentially affecting the case.
It did not indicate whether or when the matter would be revisited.
Waters, a 20-year congresswoman and senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, is alleged to have sought federal assistance for OneUnited Bank, a minority-owned bank in which her husband held a financial interest.
On Monday, Waters repeated her assertion that she did nothing improper. She called the reason for the delay "nothing more than an excuse."
Standing outside the committee room where the trial was to take place, Waters argued that she has been denied "basic due process" and said the decision not to move forward with her trial as planned "demonstrated in no uncertain terms the weakness of their case against me."