August 3rd, 2010
08:37 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Panel clears way for Ground Zero mosque

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/03/ground.zero.mosque.jpg]Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

In the Gulf tonight, 106 days into the oil spill disaster, the static kill is finally underway. BP crews are trying to choke the blown-out Macondo well with tons of heavy drilling mud. They’ve been at it for hours. Can the well take it? Will it hold? We’ll have a live report from the Gulf on the effort to seal the well for good.

We’ll also look at the huge political uproar over the plan to build an Islamic community center, including a mosque, two blocks from Ground Zero. In New York today, a city panel cleared the way for the plan to proceed when it denied historic landmark status to the building developers want to tear down to make room for the center. Opponents have vowed to press their case in court. In their view, building a mosque so close to the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center disrespects the memory of those killed. Supporters of the plan argue that building the center and mosque would be the ultimate test of the nation’s commitment to tolerance and religious freedom. The emotions this debate has ignited are intense. We’ll look at the facts, including what the plan actually involves. We’ll also examine the emotions.

We’ll also have more tonight on the intensifying battle over immigration. The White House is accusing Republicans of playing politics with their campaign to change the 14th amendment to the Constitution, which among other things grants automatic citizenship to American-born children of illegal immigrants. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said today he supports holding hearings on repealing birthright citizenship. We’re focusing on the facts, keeping both sides honest. FULL POST

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
August 2nd, 2010
09:12 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Immigration and changing the constitution

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

There’s new word tonight on just how much oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico before BP capped its ruptured well last month. Scientists charged with determining the flow say that roughly 4.9 million barrels of oil have seeped into the Gulf. That’s slightly more than the previous estimate of 4.5 million gallons.

The amount is important because it will determine the fines that BP will ultimately face. We’ll have more on the new number and what it means tonight on 360.

We’ll also have the latest on BP’s effort to kill the broken Macondo well. There’s been another delay. A leak was discovered today as BP was preparing to conduct a final test before the so-called static kill begins. The test has been postponed until the leak is fixed. We’ll take a close look at what exactly BP plans to do to kill the well. It’s a two-pronged approach. If all goes well, mud and then cement will be blasted into the well casing from above and below. If this sounds familiar it should. We all remember the “top kill” that failed. But there are some differences this time around. Namely, oil is no longer gushing out of the well head. Tom Foreman will explain it all, including the risks.

Also tonight, the battle over illegal immigration has erupted into a fiery debate over changing the constitution.

Some Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Jon Kyl, and Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce want to change the 14th amendment, which defines who is an American. Keeping them honest, are they wrong about the facts? And why are they pushing for a dramatic change in the constitution now, when before they supported far less severe reforms? We’ll look at these questions and more.

We’ll also have the latest on a manhunt underway tonight in Arizona following a prison break. Two fugitives are still at large. One felon who escaped the private prison Friday night was caught on Sunday. All three are convicted killers. Police believe a female accomplice is helping the fugitives. How did the convicts pull off their escape and how is the manhunt unfolding? That’s what we’ll be looking at tonight.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
July 15th, 2010
09:02 PM ET

Evening Buzz: BP stops oil gusher in Gulf... for now

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

We’re following breaking news tonight in the Gulf, where the oil spill disaster has reached a critical moment. On Day 87, a stark and welcome image is the center of attention. For the first time, a huge underwater gusher isn’t visible. A critical test of BP’s ruptured well is underway, and all along the gulf people are holding their breath—hoping that the well holds.

Valves on the new containment cap are now closed. Pressure in the well will be reviewed every six hours, likely through Saturday afternoon.

BP officials are cautioning against any early celebrating. They stress that the new containment cap isn’t a permanent solution. But if the well holds, it will be a major step. We’ll show you exactly what is being done a mile beneath the water’s surface and what could happen if the well doesn’t hold up under pressure.

Even if not another drop of oil spills into the gulf, there’s still work to be done in containment and clean up. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says the sand berms he’s fought so hard to build are working and the federal government should stand behind local efforts to build them. But a lot of marine experts are pointing to photographs that show the berms washing away. They say the berms aren’t going to hold and even if they don’t wash away–they might do more harm than good. We’ll have the latest developments in the debate.

Randi Kaye also has an update on a heartbreaking story she reported last night: a surge in homeless pets in the Gulf. With the local economy reeling from the spill, many people can no longer afford to care for their beloved animals. Cats, dogs and other pets are being left at shelters, and the shelters are running out of room. Some of you who watched last night’s report responded. We’ll tell you the latest tonight.

There’s also important news from Haiti about those logjams and delays at the port. For days we’ve been telling you how emergency equipment and vital supplies of food and medicine are being held in limbo for weeks, even months at a time as the humanitarian crisis in Haiti continues. Gary Tuchman has been working the story hard. He interviewed the director of customs yesterday. Tonight, we report a breakthrough at customs.

All that and more starting at 10 p.m. eastern. See you then!

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
July 5th, 2010
08:46 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Tar balls from Gulf oil spill reach Lake Pontchartrain

Cate Vojdik
AC360 Writer

It’s a long holiday weekend for many Americans but the oil in the Gulf isn’t taking a vacation. It’s Day 77 of the disaster and the oil is still gushing. Tar balls have now hit the shores of Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain and the shores of Galveston, Texas. We’ll have the latest on how far the spill has spread.

Speaking of vacations, the Army Corps of Engineers told us it’s been working this Fourth of July. But Gulf officials who needed answers from the Corps told us they couldn’t reach a single person all weekend. Same story all day today - until we took up the case. Keeping them honest, we’ll tell you tonight what we found when Randi Kaye paid the Army Corps of Engineers a visit.

We’ll also have more of Anderson’s exclusive interview with Jimmy Buffett. The singer has deep roots and many fans in the Gulf. He talked to Anderson about what the region means to him, how he feels about BP and deepwater drilling, and much more.

Also tonight, out of work and out of luck. The Senate left Washington for its long holiday weekend without extending unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans. The benefits expire for millions at the end of July. We’ll go up close and try to unravel the politics.

Plus, new questions about Afghanistan. Gen. David Petraeus officially took control of U.S. forces in Afghanistan this weekend, just days after CIA Director Leon Panetta said 100 or fewer al Qaeda fighters remain in the country. If so few al Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan, why are so many American troops still risking their lives and dying? It’s a question many are asking. We’ll dig deeper with CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen and Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who recently returned from Afghanistan.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
May 27th, 2010
08:13 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Is ‘top kill’ working to plug leaking oil well?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/26/art.topkill.cnn.jpg]

Cate Vojdik
AC360 Writer

There’s plenty to report from the Gulf Coast tonight. BP says it spent the day evaluating the results of the first round of its so-called “top kill” effort to plug the massive mile-deep oil well leak off the Louisiana coast. The company’s chief operating officer said BP temporarily stopped pumping drilling fluid into the well just before midnight and resumed the effort a short time ago. Tonight we’ll take a close look at how well the top kill is working.

Meantime, we learned today the spill is worse than first thought–much worse. A new estimate shows it’s the largest in U.S. history, surpassing the Exxon Valdez spill. Also today, the National Weather Service issued its hurricane forecast. It predicts eight to 14 storms this season, with as many as seven reaching category three or higher. That forecast is adding to the sense of urgency along the Gulf Coast

President Obama today defended the government’s handling of the spill. He says he’s on top of the crisis. He also ordered work to be suspended on exploratory drilling in the Gulf and cancelled or deferred some future wells around the country. This, as the head of the Mineral Management Service, Elizabeth Birnbaum, resigned.

We also heard from some the families of the 11 men killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. They testified before Congress, urging lawmakers to hit BP and everyone responsible for the disaster where they’ll feel it most—in their wallets.

Anderson and his team on the ground in Louisiana also heard an earful from locals who say they’ve received very little compensation from BP so far. They’re skeptical BP will make good on its promises to reimburse everyone’s losses from the spill.

Then there are the victims with no voices. How many animals—from fish to birds to dolphins—have already died? How many species are being threatened by the spill? Incredibly, it seems there’s an effort to keep that information hidden. But why?

We’ll cover all of these angles tonight in our live coverage from the Gulf.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
May 19th, 2010
09:06 PM ET

Evening Buzz: BP top executive goes on the record about the Gulf oil disaster

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/06/c1main.oil.slick.jpg width=300 height=169]Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight we’re Keeping Them Honest on the oil leak in the Gulf. After weeks of telling us no thanks, BP today agreed to make its managing director, Bob Dudley, available to answer Anderson’s questions. You’ll hear what he has to say about why BP is sticking to what many experts call an unreasonably low estimate of the size of the oil leak; why it took BP 23 days to release a 30-second video clip of the oil plume spewing from the blown-out well; and whether he thinks it’s important to allow Americans access to a live video feed of the leak. You can decide for yourself what to believe.

Also tonight, actor and activist Sean Penn joins us with the latest in his fight to save Haiti. He testified before the Senate Finance Committee today, urging lawmakers to act quickly to get more aid to Haiti before the hurricane season begins. The relief organization that he heads up is working around the clock to help Haiti’s earthquake victims. He’ll report on the latest from the frontlines.

We’ll also dig deeper on a bizarre legal case that’s raising thorny questions about free speech on the Internet. A Minnesota man is charged with two counts of aiding suicide. Here’s the surprising part: The people he allegedly assisted lived in Britain and Canada and the accused man never met them face-to-face. Authorities say the former nurse advised them online, giving advice on how to kill themselves and even entering into suicide pacts with them. His alleged crimes were uncovered by an amateur internet sleuth – a 65-year-old woman who lives in Britain. Can a person be convicted of assisted suicide if they weren’t with the person when they died? And when, if ever, does deadly advice cross the line of protected free speech? We’ll look at all of these issues.

We’ll also bring you more of the pilot study on kids and race that was conducted on our behalf by a team of renowned child psychologists. The children they tested were painfully honest about how they see skin color in 2010. What they said may change everything you thought you knew about racial bias, where it begins, and the role parents play in shaping it.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
May 18th, 2010
08:50 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Will anti-incumbent anger sway Senate primary races?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/05/18/tuesday.primaries/story.specter.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican-turned Democrat, is in a tight race with Rep. Joe Sestak." width=300 height=169]Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight we’re following three key primary Senate races that are being seen by many as a test of how deep and real the anti-incumbent mood may be. We’ll have reporters on the ground in Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania to bring you the very latest on the races. We’ll also draw, as always, on the breadth and depth of our political panel’s expertise. They’ll provide rolling analysis, including what tonight’s results could mean for the midterm elections in November.

We’ll also have the latest in the Gulf oil spill disaster, four weeks after the explosion that ruptured the well. Today BP released new underwater video showing oil and gas erupting from the blown-out well. It was recorded after the company inserted a pipe into the gushing well to divert some of the oil to the surface. Let’s just say the images aren’t comforting.

Meantime, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s office released a photo showing heavy oil coming ashore in his state while a NOAA official said aerial surveys showed some tendrils of light oil close or already in the loop current, which takes water south to the Florida Keys. In Senate hearings today. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was grilled by skeptical lawmakers. It was Salazar’s first appearance since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank. Tonight, we’ll hear from Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who is now calling for a permanent ban on oil drilling leases for BP.

It’s going to be fast-moving night at 360. See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • Raw Politics • The Buzz
May 17th, 2010
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Oil Spill Accusations

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/05/17/gulf.oil.spill/c1main.oil.dispersant.jpg]Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

There are major new developments tonight in the Gulf oil disaster. According to an administration official, President Obama will sign an executive order establishing a presidential commission to investigate the oil spill.

Meantime, the federal official overseeing offshore drilling announced his departure amid criticism that regulators have been too cozy with the oil industry. He told colleagues unexpectedly that he’ll retire at the end of the month.

In recent days, Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey, whose committee is holding hearings on the spill, has lambasted BP, the owner of the ruptured well. Markey has accused BP officials of stonewalling him about the size of the spill and refusing to bring on independent experts to judge for themselves. Keeping Them Honest, we’ll take a hard look at those charges tonight and also at what’s happening below the water’s surface more than three weeks after the drilling rig blew up.

Also tonight, an update on a landmark pilot study on race and how children see skin color. Are young children today really colorblind when it comes to race, as many parents would like to believe? We commissioned a new pilot study by a team of child psychologists to measure kids’ beliefs about race. We’ll show you video from the interviews conducted for the study. The children are candid, sometimes painfully so. What they say may stun you.  

Another story we’re following tonight: primary anxiety. On the eve of some key Senate primary races, we’ll be looking at anti-incumbent fever and the Palin Factor. Sarah Palin has endorsed Rand Paul in Kentucky’s Republican Senate primary. Are her endorsements making a difference or is she just placing safe bets? Our political panel will zero in on the Kentucky race plus battles in Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

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

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • Gulf Oil Spill • Oil • The Buzz
May 10th, 2010
08:58 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Refusing to serve his country, birther triggers unprintable emails

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight we revisit a story we brought to you Friday. It produced a flood of emails, most of them unprintable. Clearly, the story of Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin struck a nerve. Lakin is a decorated Army doctor, an eighteen-year veteran, now facing court martial for disobeying orders to ship out for another tour of duty in Afghanistan. He says the orders are illegal because, he claims, President Obama, the commander-in-chief, has not proven he was born in this country. Lakin, in popular shorthand, is a birther, and Anderson’s interview with him and his lawyer stirred up a passionate debate on our blog. Keeping them honest, we’ll take a close look tonight at the birthers’ claims and how they’re playing in the court of public opinion and in legal circles.

It’s Day 21 of the Gulf oil spill disaster, and the oil is still gushing at an estimated rate of 210,000 gallons a day. That’s about 4 million gallons so far. At this rate, the spill is on track to exceed the Exxon Valdez spill by Father’s Day. That gigantic four-story dome that BP tried to use to cap the leak well this weekend failed to work. We’ll show you exactly what thwarted the plan. It involved ice-like hydrate crystals that clogged up everything. We’ll also look at other plans in the works to stop the leak, including a tophat and a junk shot. Yes, the actual ideas sound as strange as the names, at least to the uninitiated.

We’re excited to bring you an amazing and important report by Nic Robertson tonight. It’s the story of how a young American from Long Island, New York, became an al-Qaeda terrorist. FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar • Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
April 30th, 2010
08:08 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Did BP cut safety corners before oil rig blew up?

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2010/04/30/news/economy/bp_gulf_oil_spill_cost/gulf_oil_spill_100428a.top.jpg caption="Did oil company BP fail to take the steps it should have to prevent this catastrophe?" width=300 height=169]

We’re following breaking news out of Louisiana, where crude oil from that massive spill is now coming ashore. We’ll have the latest on its spread and what’s being done to contain the damage.

We’ll also look at some burning questions for the owner of the ruptured well and the government. Did oil company BP fail to take the steps it should have to prevent this catastrophe? Did regulators fail to enforce safety provisions leading up to the rupture? Did they fail to act fast enough after the rig blew? We’re keeping them honest.

Also tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the potential health impact of the oil spill. What will happen to all that seafood and everyone who eats it?

Arizona’s new immigration law is sparking a big backlash. Protests are planned in at least 21 states tomorrow. In the face of accusations of racial profiling, Arizona’s legislature made late changes last night to the law’s language. Will that be enough to change critics’ minds? In tonight’s Big 360 Interview, we’ll hear from a veteran police officer who is suing to block the law, which he calls unconstitutional.

Plus, four impressive women who are using their professional skills and connections to wage war against breast cancer. Newswomen Cokie Roberts, Deborah Charles, Jennifer Griffin and Jill Dougherty talk with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta about their personal battles with the disease and their latest call to action.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern!

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • The Buzz
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