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December 9th, 2008
02:40 PM ET

Excuse me sir, Vice President Loni Anderson is on the phone

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/09/art.drescher.gi.jpg caption="Senator Fran Drescher?"]

Jack Gray
AC360 Associate Producer

Well, the United States government just took one step closer to becoming a full-fledged sitcom with the news that Fran Drescher – yes, that Fran Drescher – wants to succeed Hillary Clinton in the senate.  Fine, go ahead, Governor David Paterson, appoint her to Hillary’s seat.  I’m sure The Nanny is a lovely person and I certainly admire her work on behalf of cancer patients.  And sure, I understand that the threat of having to listen to her laugh would be a valuable weapon when trying to break up a filibuster.  Nevertheless, mark my words, we’re treading dangerously close to the day when we hear “I, John Stamos, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.”

Meanwhile, in Chicago today, Al “No hard feelings, Supreme Court” Gore is meeting with President-elect Obama.  No one really knows what the meeting is about or whether Gore may be up for Energy Secretary or EPA Administrator.  Because, you know, either of those jobs would totally make up for never being president.

Speaking of all things climate, it sure was cold here in New York over the past few days.  In fact it was so cold that Eliot Spitzer had to stop during everything to change into wool socks.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Raw Politics
December 9th, 2008
01:51 PM ET

Crime Blotter: night club shooting; drug bust

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Compiled by Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

Welcome to the 360 Crime Blotter.

Some of the best crime writing comes from cops on the beat. But it’s not fiction. It’s fact, put down on paper in incident reports. We’re going to bring you their first-hand accounts. Taken from police department web sites, the official submissions run the gamut from mundane misdemeanors to the most serious of felonies. They all show what police officers across the country face 365 days a year. So let’s get started:

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Lancaster Police Department

Robbery

On 1 December 2008, Officer Justin Miller of the Lancaster Bureau of Police, was responding to the area of N. Pine Street and E. Lemon Street for a Robbery that had just occurred. As Officer Miller responded he observed three Subjects approach another male Male (34 years of age) within the 400 Block of N. Market Street, Lancaster, Pa. Officer Miller observed the three subjects begin to strike the male from behind about the head and face with their fists. Upon the officers approach the three subjects fled on foot.

At this time the 34 year old male identified himself as being a victim of a robbery, and identified the three fleeing males as taking his backpack with its contents. Officer Miller was able to stop and detain Manuel Taylor in a parking lot just off N Market Street, in this area Officer Miller did locate the back pack that had been reported stolen. Officer Miller did take Taylor into custody, and conveyed him to the Lancaster Bureau of Police.

Detective Michael Winters of the Lancaster Bureau of Police did charge Manuel Casimir Taylor with Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Robbery. Taylor will be held at the Lancaster Bureau of Police for arraignment.

The Lancaster Bureau of Police request anyone with information related to this incident, or any other crime contact the Lancaster Bureau of Police at 717 735-3300. Callers can remain anonymous.

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Wilmington Police Department

Man shot in altercation at Pharos Night Club

On Sunday December 7, 2008, at approximately 12:45 a.m., Wilmington Police responded to the Pharos night club at 340 S. Market Street in regards to an assault. There, they located a 37 year old Wilmington man suffering from what appeared to be facial and rib injuries. Additionally, he was suffering from a gunshot wound to his right knee.

The victim says he was involved in a verbal altercation inside the club and within about an hour he was assaulted. All the combatants were thrown outside. One of the assailants drew a weapon and shot him in the leg. The victim was transported to the Christiana Hospital and treated for broken ribs, a broken jaw and the gunshot wound. He is in stable condition.

The suspect was described as a black male with a full beard wearing a black and yellow sweater.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Martin Lenhardt at (302) 576-3668.

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Akron Police Department

Officers arrest man wanted in West Virginia bank robbery

Around 11:30 PM Saturday night officers arrested Darin S. McClain, 25, of the 1600 block of Eastwood Ave. McClain was wanted by West Virginia State Police for bank robbery.

McClain was arrested and taken into custody without incident. Officers found a safe and other items obtained with money from the bank robbery at his residence. McClain gave officers consent to search the safe. Inside of the safe was 400 grams of marijuana and almost $7,000.00 in cash. McClain was charged with Possession of Drugs and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The West Virginia authorities have been notified.

Five males arrested in connection with robbery

Around 8:30 PM Friday evening officers responded to a robbery on Copley Rd. Two juveniles reported they were walking down Copley Rd when a red Buick pulled up to them and five males got out. The suspects surrounded the victims, patted the victims down, and took $20.00 and a pocketknife from them before fleeing.

Officers located the suspect vehicle at Delia Ave and Storer Ave. The victims were able to identify the occupants as the robbers.

All five males were arrested. Immanuel J. Jones, 19, of Orrin St was charged with Robbery and Possession of Drugs. Cameron C. Miller, 18, of Greenwood Ave was charged with Robbery and Possession of Drugs. Cornell J. Iverson, 19, of Orrin St was charged with Robbery, Possession of Drugs, and Underage Drinking. Kartel E. McGowan, 18, of Seward Ave was charged with Robbery and Possession of Drugs. Tyshawn L. Vaughn, 14, of Seward Ave was charged with Robbery.

Father and son arrested for breaking and entering

A father and son were arrested late Sunday afternoon for breaking into a vacant building located at 126 W. Bartges St. When officers responded they observed several doors had been forced open. Officers discovered Robert C. Smeal, 38, of Union St and his 15-year-old son inside the building. The two took all of the copper piping that could be scrapped from the location.

Smeal was charged with Breaking and Entering, Possession of Criminal Tools, and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Child. Smeal’s son was charged with Breaking and Entering and Possession of Criminal Tools.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
December 9th, 2008
01:36 PM ET

Compromise on Capitol Hill: The Auto Bailout

Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Congressional Correspondent

If we had a dime for every optimistic word we hear about compromise for Detroit, we may be able to make enough money to bailout the auto industry ourselves.

"In concept, it's together" House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters as he rushed into an all day summit on the economy.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank declared there will be "agreement today, absolutely.”

"I think we're very, very close to having something we can bring before the body sometime today," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said as he opened the Senate floor this morning.

At 10:30am he even said he thought there could be agreement "within an hour or so."

Now, part of the art of compromise on Capitol Hill is, and always has been, mastering the art of posturing. Public expressions of good will and optimism are designed to move things along in private.

But, Republican leaders are still trying to recover politically from rushing through the Wall Street rescue. They're wary of another drive-by bailout for the auto industry.

In fact, Sen. Mitch McConnell was on the Senate floor this morning trying to tap the brakes on an auto bailout.

"There are times when help is needed but one thing most people expect when they are asked for help is that the one asking makes a commitment to change," said McConnell.

"This proposal does not go nearly far enough. It holds neither management nor labor truly accountable."

The White House has the same concerns, and they had staff working with congressional Democratic aides late last night and early this morning trying to work them out.

The big question when they finally come out of the room and declare the deal done, whether there will be enough votes to pass a Senate that is still split along party lines, and suffering from a big case of bailout fatigue.

But it’s hard to imagine Senate leaders bringing this to the floor unless they know they have the votes. They are still smarting from the precipitous stock plunge they caused after initially failing to pass a financial bailout this fall.

Reid was almost giddy about the positive effect their negotiations had yesterday.

"The mere fact that we were trying to work something out yesterday caused the stock market to go up nearly 300 points," he said.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Dana Bash • Economy • Raw Politics
December 9th, 2008
12:16 PM ET

Inauguration Day fashion

Designers sketch out options for the Obama's inaugural attire.
Designers sketch out options for the Obama's inaugural attire.

Sarah Parker
CNN

The presidential inauguration party tops the list of formal affairs next January, and President-elect Barack Obama is rumored to be preparing for his big event.

He’s believed to have ordered a simple and classic black tuxedo by the union-friendly suburban Illinois-designer Hart Schaffner Marx, a stylist in which the president-elect is said to be faithful, according to the LA times.

But most-likely all eyes will be on the future first lady’s outfit. So, what will Michelle Obama wear on her husband’s big day?

Women’s Wear Daily is featuring sketches by high profile designers on its Web site of possible inauguration day outfits for the Mrs. Obama and among the contenders are simple and classic designer Nicole Miller, the elegant and timeless Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and the funky and youthful California-based fashionista Betsey Johnson.

And the Obama girls were not forgotten. The Web site features drawings of potential outfits for Sasha, 10 and Malia, 7, from dressy skirted coats to children’s gowns.

Mrs. Obama, who is often compared to former first-lady and style icon Jackie Kennedy, took some heat for her election night attire as she donned an attention-grabbing red and black Narciso Rodriguez shift dress.

The future first lady has said she often sports modestly-priced labels like J.Crew, and Donna Rico, and favors local Chicago-designer Maria Pinto. But inauguration day could call for a pricier piece, and fashion’s elite are prepared. Whatever the future first-lady decides for inauguration day, the fashion world will surely be watching.


Filed under: Barack Obama • Inauguration Day • Michelle Obama
December 9th, 2008
11:49 AM ET

Illinois governor taken into custody

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/09/illinois.govenor/art.gov.gi.jpg caption="Rod Blagojevich is currently serving his second term as governor of Illinois."]
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in federal custody on corruption charges, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Both men are expected in U.S. District Court in Chicago later Tuesday.

A news conference is expected at noon ET.

Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement, according to the statement.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism."

Read more...


Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
December 9th, 2008
09:33 AM ET

Will Afghanistan be Obama's Iraq?

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Robert Shrum
The Week

Afghanistan has been a footnote in a presidential transition process celebrated for its daring, speed and sure-footed sense of direction. Obama has rightly focused on the troubled economy, consciously echoing the resolve of earlier presidents who faced recession or depression.

The nation calls for “action—and action now,” he recently proclaimed, reviving a phrase from FDR’s first inaugural address that, initially, had commanded far more attention than the injunction that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Obama wants his presidency to be judged not by the mess he’s inheriting but by the measures he intends to take. His warning that things are “likely to get worse before they get better” echoes JFK’s 1961 State of the Union message: “There will be further setbacks before the tide is turned.” On election night, he told the country that the task would not be finished in “one year or one term”—another echo, this time of Kennedy’s inaugural statement that “all this will not be finished in the first 100 days nor . . . in the first 1000 days.”

I believe Obama, who appears to be as perceptive a student of past presidencies as he was of past campaigns, will achieve a Rooseveltian transformation in domestic policy. This will involve massive infrastructure investment, an energy revolution and health care reform—sweeping changes that, I predict, Republicans would pay a devastating price for opposing. Obama’s program is likely to prevail and Obama’s America is likely to be a different and renewed country. At his Sunday press conference, he offered a confident assertion that once his changes are in place, America will emerge from this crisis “leaner, meaner, and more prosperous.”

Read More...


Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • Iraq • War on Terror
December 9th, 2008
08:55 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Is it Karma?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/09/Obama.poll/art.barack.obama.poll.gi.jpg caption="A new CNN poll gives Barack Obama a 79 percent approval rating in the way he's handling the transition."]

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

OJ has now moved out of a Vegas jail and transferred to new digs: Nevada’s High Desert State prison. OJ was choked up in the courtroom last Friday when the judge sentenced him for his role in a Las Vegas armed robbery, he must spend at least 9 years behind bars and will be eligible for parole after 70 yrs old.

Fred Goldman had called this conviction “Some sort of Karma. And good Karma.” Do you think this is Karma- or disagree completely? Today, officials hold a press conference to provide details of OJ’s sentence structure and intake process at the new prison. Also, his co-defendants are sentenced today, each pleaded guilty and testified against OJ in return for a chance at probation instead of prison. We’ll have the latest tonight!

Congress and the WH are closer to a plan to rescue the US auto industry by providing $15 billion in emergency loans as long as companies agree to give Uncle Sam the right to closely scrutinize what they do with the $$. A Car Czar would be appointed to set up guidelines for them to reorganize and prove they can be profitable. What do you make of the latest version of this bailout?

We decided to ask Tom Foreman to look at the birth and death of the electric car in the late 90’s- auto companies took a stab at non-oil dependant vehicles but quickly scrapped those plans, some critics believe this was because it was not profitable for the auto industry and other entities. Tom will tell us more about this tonight.

You may have noticed our CNN logo is Green on our screen-we are promoting our second installment of Planet in Peril Thursday night 9p-11pet. Anderson, Sanjay and Lisa Ling flew to many exotic locales for this documentary which highlight our most pressing environmental concerns. We’re running snippets of the documentary in the show every night leading to Thursday's documentary airing.

Obama is feeling pretty green today too, he is meeting with Al Gore to talk about issues relating to energy and climate change. He believes his policies can create green jobs while making the USA more environmentally-friendly, for example, by employing folks to modernize schools to adopt more energy efficient systems and the like. Of course, there is speculation that Al Gore could join Obama’s cabinet, something both sides deny, but we’ll have an eye out for that too as they meet.

P-E Obama’s honeymoon with the US public is still going strong, our polls today show that 79% of you think Obama is doing a great job with the Transition. We'll have more of these numbers tonight. See u at 10pet!


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
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