November 18th, 2008
10:50 PM ET

On the Radar: Wednesday

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

In the battle to ban same-sex marriages in California, Mormons were a driving force even though they make up just 2 percent of the state’s population. How much money did Mormons spend to pass Proposition 8? Tomorrow Gary Tuchman reports.

Also tomorrow, Congressional hearings on the proposed auto industry bailout continue with more testimony and more tough questions. We’ll have the latest developments.

The Big Three automakers aren’t the only companies struggling to stay afloat, and critics worry that giving the auto industry a lifeline will open the floodgates to other troubled industries. Tom Foreman reports on which might be next to belly up for a bailout.

Where do you stand on the auto industry bailout? Where would you draw the line when it comes to helping other struggling U.S. companies? We’d like to hear from you.

See you tomorrow...

Filed under: 360° Radar
November 18th, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 11/18/08

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/30/art.liveblog.jpg]We're covering breaking news tonight on the political fate of Sen. Ted Stevens.

The Republican from Alaska has been in a tight re-election fight. Tonight find out if Stevens will be going back to Washington.  You may recall last month Stevens was convicted of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.

And, here's how you can be a part of tonight's program. Just scroll down and share your thoughts on tonight's stories.

But, keep in mind you have a better chance of getting your comment posted on the blog if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Don't write in ALL CAPS (we don't like screaming)
2) Stay on topic.
3) Keep it short

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. LINK TO WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

Filed under: Live Blog
November 18th, 2008
09:26 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Obama's History-Making Choice

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

President-elect Barack Obama is making history again.

Two Democratic sources tell CNN that Eric Holder is Obama's choice for attorney general. If confirmed, Holder would be the first African-American to hold the post.

Holder, 57, who is still being vetted, has indicated he will accept the job if it is offered, the sources said.

Holder is a partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling.

He co-chaired Obama's vice presidential selection process with Caroline Kennedy.

Back in the 1990's, he was Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno in the Clinton administration.
That's why some say he could face a grilling by the U.S. Senate during the confirmation process due to his ties to the Elian Gonzalez case and the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.

What do you think of Obama's choice?

We'll cover the raw politics tonight on AC360°

Plus, the $25 billion question. Will the big three automakers get a federal bailout?
The executives of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were all on Capitol Hill pleading their case.

And, some lawmakers fired back.

"Their board rooms and executive suites in my view have been famously devoid of vision," said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut.

 "The Big Three turned a blind eye to opportunities. They have promoted and often driven the demand of inefficient, gas guzzling vehicles, and dismissed the threat of global warming," he added.

So, what if there is no bailout for the auto industry?  GM says one out of 10 jobs in the U.S. relies on the U.S. automakers.

Is that true?  We're keeping them honest.

Join us for all that and more tonight at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
November 18th, 2008
09:07 PM ET

Arsonist speaks from jail

Ted Rowlands speaks with Wade Kirkwood, a convicted serial arsonist, who is serving a 9 year sentence for setting 11 fires. Watch the extended interview here, and watch the full report on AC360° tonight at 11p ET.

Filed under: Ted Rowlands • Wildfires
November 18th, 2008
07:13 PM ET

Who starts fires for thrills?

Program note: California investigators are trying to track down a suspected arsonist who may have set one of the current wildfires burning. Watch Ted Rowlands' full report on how a community tracked down a serial arsonist; along with Ted's jailhouse interview with the man whose compulsion destroyed hundreds of homes and terrified thousands of people.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/10/23/california.fires.ap/art.california.fire.one.ap.jpg caption="Firefighters battle a wildfire that broke out early Thursday morning in the western part of Los Angeles, California. "]
Ted Rowlands
CNN Los Angeles Correspondent

Who starts fires for thrills? Wade Kirkwood does. We met Kirkwood in prison, where he's serving a nine year sentence in Washington State for setting 11 fires in 2004.

Kirkwood told us he's had the urge to set fires since he was a teenager, he says the rush he gets from setting a blaze is better than anything he's ever felt.

I understand on some level the motivations for a lot of different crimes, but arson has always been difficult for me to appreciate, until I met Wade Kirkwood.

There's no doubt in my mind that this guy, and I assume other arsonists, are wired differently. Wade Kirkwood loves everything about setting fires, he says he likes planning them, lighting them and watching them.


Filed under: Ted Rowlands • Wildfires
November 18th, 2008
07:06 PM ET

Beat 360° 11/18/08

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:

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday Nov. 18, 2008.

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: Check out our Beat 360° Winners!


Beat 360° Challenge

But wait!… There’s more!

When you win ‘Beat 360°’ not only do you get on-air prime-time name recognition (complete with bragging rights over all your friends, family, and jealous competitors), but you get a “I Won the Beat 360° Challenge” T-shirt!

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
November 18th, 2008
07:04 PM ET

How to catch a serial arsonist

Program note: California investigators are trying to track down a suspected arsonist who may have set one of the current wildfires burning. Watch Ted Rowlands' report on how a community tracked down a serial arsonist; along with Ted's jailhouse interview with the man whose compulsion destroyed hundreds of homes and terrified thousands of people.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/18/art.margheim.jpg caption="Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources Officer Gary Margheim shows CNN photographer Tom Larson where he found a critical clue - the arsonist's 'sparking' device." width=292 height=320]
Michael Cary
CNN Western Region Senior Producer

Imagine waking up on a warm summer day wondering whether or not an arsonist may spark a fire that would wipe out your home? That's the nightmare residents of Kittitas County in central Washington dealt with daily during the summer of 2004 when fires were erupting sporadically, sometimes as many as three in one day.

"The public was stressed out. We had people not wanting to leave their homes," said Kittitas County Sheriff Gene Dana. "We had rumors of people on hilltops with rifles in the afternoon watching for people that might be trying to light fires."

Sheriff Dana set up a multi-agency task force filled with federal, state and local law enforcement and fire officials to catch the arsonist and bring a sense of security back to the rural community.

The fires started small, mostly on the side of highways. Then the arsonist started setting them near structures. The largest, dubbed the Elk Heights fire, forced hundreds to evacuate and ultimately destroyed two homes. That was bad, but 11 days later, the arsonist sparked three fires in one afternoon sending a shudder through law enforcement.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Cary • Wildfires
November 18th, 2008
03:23 PM ET

Obama's Attorney General

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/18/art.vert.ericholder.jpg width=292 height=320]
Michael Isikoff
Newsweek Reporter

President-elect Obama has decided to tap Eric Holder as his attorney general, putting the veteran Washington lawyer in place to become the first African-American to head the Justice Department, according to two legal sources close to the presidential transition.

Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal “vetting” review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days....


November 18th, 2008
02:53 PM ET

More layoffs at Focus on the Family

Cara Degette
Editor of Colorado Confidential

Focus on the Family is poised to announce major layoffs to its Colorado Springs-based ministry and media empire today. The cutbacks come just weeks after the group pumped more than half a million dollars into the successful effort to pass a gay-marriage ban in California.

Critics are holding up the layoffs, which come just two months after the organization’s last round of dismissals, as a sad commentary on the true priorities of the ministry.


Filed under: Economy • Raw Politics • Religion
November 18th, 2008
02:35 PM ET

Fatal Crash: why the american auto industry must be saved

Editor’s note: Eric Easter writes about politics, culture and technology for ebonyjet.com

Eric Easter
Chief of Digital Strategy for Johnson Publishing

A few years ago when I was teaching a college course in entrepreneurship, I struggled for a way to explain to students the complexities of the economy and the almost limitless opportunities open to them if they could look beyond the obvious.

I finally came up with a solution I call the "Chair Theory." In short, I placed a simple wooden chair in the middle of the classroom and had the students "deconstruct" the creation of that chair by trying to the identify the number of people and businesses that went into making the final product.

Though the actual chair was only several pieces of wood, some glue and a few screws, the exercise resulted in the discovery of several hundred...


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Economy • Finance • Raw Politics
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