December 1st, 2008
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 12/01/08

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Tonight, we're following breaking news. Overseas markets react to another massive selloff on Wall Street. The dow loses nearly 700 points, on dismal economic news and official word the U.S. is in a recession and has been since last December. While the news wasn't a surprise to Americans already feeling the economic slowdown, it contributed to the market's downward spiral.
Also tonight, President-elect Obama unveils his national security team, nominating Senator Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. We'll tell you what she and Bill Clinton gave up to get the post.
Tell us what you think tonight about the stock market selloff, official word that we're in a recession, as well as President-elect Obama's nominees.

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.
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4) No curse words
5) Use your real name
Want to know what we're covering tonight? LINK TO EVENING BUZZ
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 CAMERAWe are big fans of the live blog. Anderson, Erica and the entire staff of AC360° enjoy reading your comments. We respect your opinions and love the feedback. After all, without you the viewer, and you the reader, we are working all these hours for nothing.

Filed under: Live Blog
December 1st, 2008
08:59 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Arrest in Jennifer Hudson family murders... and Wal-Mart’s deadly stampede

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Chicago police say they’ve arrested 27-year-old William Balfour for the October murders of three relatives of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson. Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson’s older sister and stepfather of one of the victims, 7-year-old Julian King. The other victims were Hudson’s mother and brother. Balfour has been in custody on a parole violation since shortly after the killings; he previously served seven years for a 1999 attempted murder and carjacking conviction. We’ll have the latest on his arrest and the investigation.

Some other stories we’re following tonight:


Filed under: Cate Vojdik • Crime & Punishment • Economy • The Buzz
December 1st, 2008
08:53 PM ET

Jim Jones and Barack Obama have more in common than meets the eye

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Jamie McIntyre | BIO
Senior Pentagon Correspondent

Probably the biggest unknown factor in the president-elect Barack Obama's national security team is the retired four-star general tapped to be national security advisor: former Supreme NATO commander and Marine Corps Commandant Jim Jones. CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre has known Jones for years, traveled with him around the world, and offers his inside take on how Jones is likely to carry out his challenging new assignment.

One stark difference between the President-elect and his new National Security Advisor: unlike Barack Obama, Jim Jones is not a dynamic public speaker.

He stops and starts a lot in his sentences, and he’s not given to emotional or rhetorical flourishes.

It makes it easy to underestimate him.

But Barack Obama sees the qualities in Jones that served him well in his stellar 40-year career in the U.S. Marines.

As the former Marine Corps Commandant and Supreme Allied Commander, Jones combines experience as a military commander with demonstrated diplomatic skills.

I first met Jones back in 1997, when he was three-star military assistant to then Defense Secretary William Cohen.

The job had traditionally been held by a one-star general who would serve as a glorified aide to the defense chief.

But Cohen, who had known Jones since he was a young major serving as a legislative liaison on Capitol Hill, wanted someone with more juice to cut through the Pentagon bureaucracy.

“Jones knew where all the bodies were buried, and made sure mine wasn’t one of them,” Cohen told me recently.

As National Security Advisor, Jones’ role is to get the rest of the team to work out differences and minimize the number of problems the president personally has to solve.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Jamie McIntyre • Jim Jones • Raw Politics
December 1st, 2008
08:11 PM ET

Dying for a bargain

Program note: Watch Randi’s full report tonight at 10pm ET.

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Imagine the force it took to bring down Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour. He was the worker trampled to death by hundreds of crazed shoppers at a Wal-Mart store on Long Island last Friday. Black Friday. It doesn’t get any darker than this.

Today I learned that Damour stood six foot five and weighed two hundred and seventy pounds. Imagine what it must’ve taken to knock him down! Police officially said today he died from suffocation, from the pressure of feet pounding over his chest.

Can you imagine? All this worker did was attempt to open the doors so people could shop. Is a deal on a plasma TV really worth it? Or is that new video game really worth it? How can anyone at the store that morning actually give a gift this year and not wonder what role they may’ve played in that stampede and the tragedy that followed?


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
December 1st, 2008
08:00 PM ET

Palin power

Program note:
See the full report from Ismael Estrada and Gary Tuchman on AC360 tonight at 10pm ET.

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Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

There is no denying Sarah Palin had star power during her run with John McCain for the White House. But close to one month after the election, does she have staying power?

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss is banking that she has enough spark and energy to keep him in the Senate and get people to the polls for a special run-off election in Georgia tomorrow.

We covered many of the Alaskan Governor’s events on the campaign trail and people who attended her events loved her.

Four weeks later, nothing has changed. At 4 stops in Georgia today, Sarah Palin was the draw. She drew the biggest applause, most of the crowd was there to catch a glimpse of a possible rising star in the Republican party.

If it wasn’t for the giant Saxby signs everywhere, you’d swear this was a Sarah Palin rally.


Filed under: Ismael Estrada • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
December 1st, 2008
07:55 PM ET

Erica's News Note: Reflections

Erica Hill | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Thanksgiving wasn’t the same this year. It was a wonderful day – my husband’s family was in town, and it’s rare we have everyone together more than once a year. It was a beautiful day here in NY; we took in our first live Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoyed a wonderful feast and created new memories. We made up for lost time and were reminded how lucky we are to be blessed with a family we all like. Yet, I couldn’t help but think of Mumbai and the families forever torn apart by these senseless terrorists.

I take some comfort in the vigils being held worldwide, uniting people across oceans and continents, bringing together different faiths, united in one belief: the 179 people killed and the 300 injured last week in Mumbai should still be here.


December 1 is World AIDS Day…another good reason to reflect. Dec 1 was first set aside as a day to highlight the disease 20 years ago. The good news: Progress, and lots of it, on both the medical and social fronts.


Filed under: AIDS • Erica Hill • Erica's News Note • India Attacked
December 1st, 2008
06:05 PM ET

Beat 360° 12/01/08

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:

President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton are seen at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, Monday. Obama nominated his former rival Hillary Clinton to be the next US Secretary of State, as he unveiled cabinet picks.

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.

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
December 1st, 2008
04:09 PM ET

Calling all aliens

Miles O'Brien talks with SETI scientists and planet hunters about the signs of life beyond Earth.

Filed under: Miles O'Brien • Space
December 1st, 2008
02:34 PM ET

One nation indivisible, one town torn in two

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Brian MacQuarrie
The Boston Globe

The Woodbury Village Store, the only one in town, welcomes hunters and other patrons with a hand-written sign that reads, "Shirt and pants and shoes required," in a snow-dusted North Country hamlet where many weathered homes are stooped with age.

Inside, the sleepy tableau seems frozen in time. But just up the hill, at the Woodbury Elementary School, an aggressive effort to return a daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance to its four small classrooms has pitted neighbor against neighbor, unsettled students and staff, and spawned a vitriolic burst of incendiary name-calling.

No one in this tiny community of 809 people can recall anything like it. And the rancor has settled so deeply into the psyche here that residents and school officials say the wounds might take years to heal.

"I can see the devastation of this. It's real, and it's palpable," said Mark Andrews, co-superintendent of schools.  At issue is whether the Pledge of Allegiance should be recited in the classroom every day by the 53 pupils in the 94-year-old school, just as it is believed to be in most elementary school classrooms across the country.

The move has been spearheaded by a retired Marine Corps major, who quickly gathered 310 signatures on a townwide petition after the Pledge of Allegiance, which used to be recited once a week in a schoolwide assembly, disappeared entirely in the spring.

"People were pulling the clipboard out of my hand and saying, 'That's disgraceful,' " said Ted Tedesco, a veteran of the Gulf War.

Conflicting definitions and questions of patriotism, values, and ideology have polarized the town, residents said, and longtime friendships have become one of the casualties of an issue that had hardly crossed anyone's mind until the petition surfaced.

"I've seen people in this town who have been friends for years that now won't speak to each other," said Jeff Kaiser, a nurse who lives on a 46-acre hilltop spread with his wife and two daughters, one of whom is a first-grader.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
December 1st, 2008
02:09 PM ET

Mumbai inspired by al Qaeda?

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M.J. Gohel and Sajjan Gohel
Asia-Pacific Foundation

The Indian media have described the Mumbai terrorist siege as India's 9/11.

The targets for the attacks, many of them symbols of Mumbai's growing power and wealth, were not randomly selected and were intended to send a direct message to India, Israel and the West.

Indeed, the Mumbai attacks had all the hallmarks of a powerful transnational terrorist group inspired by the ideology of al Qaeda.

Mumbai is no stranger to terrorism.

On March 12, 1993, a series of 15 bombs exploded across several districts of India's financial capital, killing 257. On July 11, 2006, a coordinated bombing spree on the city's transportation system killed 209 people.

Uniquely disturbing about the recent Mumbai attacks, in addition to killing locals, is the deliberate targeting of restaurants and hotels used by Westerners and a Jewish cultural center.

Mumbai is to India as New York is to the United States or London to the United Kingdom. The city is driving India's economic boom.

It is the commercial and entertainment capital of the country, where the "Bollywood" film industry is based. It is the heartbeat of India. What happens there vibrates throughout the nation.

Three factors may help explain the timing of the attacks.

Keep reading...

Filed under: al Qaeda • India Attacked • Terrorism
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