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You have to admit, Rod Blagojevich has chutzpah.
Today the Illinois governor upped the ante in a game of political chicken by appointing a former state attorney general to Barack Obama’s empty Senate seat – the same one the governor is accused of trying to sell. The news conference he held was one of the strangest - and most fascinating - we’ve seen. Blagojevich nomination left many stunned – and outraged – and for many different reasons, including race. Lots of reaction and ridicule to cover tonight. Fire up the popcorn maker and pull up a seat.
We’ll also have the latest on the crisis unfolding in Gaza. Tonight the Israeli government is weighing a temporary truce and the U.S. is urging Hamas to hold its fire. But the airstrikes and rocket attacks continue. We’ve got newly released video from the Israeli Air Force and Nic Robertson is in the field with all the latest.
Kathy Griffin joins us as well. She and Anderson are warming up for tomorrow night’s big New Year’s Eve production in Times Square. You never know what will happen with Griffin is on set. You might see a surprise or two. You’ll also see some of the 360 staff’s favorite videos from 2008. Do you have a favorite video – viral or not – that made you laugh, cringe or cry in 2008? There’s always time for late entries. Let us know.
All that and much more coming up at 10 pm eastern.
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Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich gestures as he is led out of the room after announcing former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris as his choice to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama during a news conference in Chicago, Illinois December 30, 2008.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/29/gaza.humanitarian/art.gaza.fire.afp.gi.jpg caption="Firefighters work to control a blaze in Gaza City on Monday after an Israeli airstrike."]
The New York Times
Many Israelis feel that the walls — and history — are closing in on their 60-year-old state, much as they felt in early June 1967, just before Israel launched the Six-Day War and destroyed the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies in Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
More than 40 years ago, the Egyptians had driven a United Nations peacekeeping force from the Sinai-Israel border, had closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and air traffic and had deployed the equivalent of seven armored and infantry divisions on Israel’s doorstep. Egypt had signed a series of military pacts with Syria and Jordan and placed troops in the West Bank. Arab radio stations blared messages about the coming destruction of Israel.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/30/illinois.senate/art.gov.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has ignored calls to resign after his arrest on federal corruption charges."]
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected Tuesday to name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to the U.S. Senate, CNN affiliates the Chicago Tribune and WLS-TV reported, citing sources familiar with the decision.
Burris' appointment would fill President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat. Blagojevich is to announce his choice at a news conference at 3 p.m. ET.
Burris, 71, is African-American. According to the newspaper, he expressed interest in the Senate seat shortly after the November 4 election.
The news comes as Democratic leaders in the Senate warned that they would reject any Senate pick made by Blagojevich, who faces criminal charges.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/22/poll.auto.bailout/art.gmflag.gi.jpg caption="Flags fly outside of the General Motors Corporation in Detroit, Michigan."]
The Wall Street Journal
It's easy to blame the problems of the Detroit Three on their CEOs. Yet the three leaders come from different business backgrounds, with only Rick Wagoner at GM an industry man. Alan Mulally was a star at Boeing and has only two years at Ford. Robert Nardelli comes from General Electric by way of retailing (Home Depot), and has only about a year at Chrysler.
How is it that successful executives become so unsuccessful as soon as they move to Detroit? Also, how can we explain that whenever GM, Ford and Chrysler leave our shores, they compete well in foreign markets as varied as Europe, South America and China? What makes them viable competitors as soon as they cross the border?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/24/naughty.politician/art.eliot.spitzer.gi.jpg caption="A recent poll found 23 percent of respondents think former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer should get the nod as the naughtiest politician of 2008."]
As poll after poll quantifies the public's immense admiration for Barack Obama as the incoming 44th president of the United States, other politicians, especially those elected to serve in the U.S. Congress, continue to yield approval numbers low enough to flash-freeze an elephant (or a donkey) in under a minute.
They have only themselves to blame.
Their troubles come against the backdrop of the seemingly endless scandals involving elected officials from across the nation and both sides of the political aisle, from New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida, who only two short years ago was voted into office as a moral crusader to replace disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/art.israel.tanks.afp.gi.jpg caption="A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer's field Tuesday near the Gaza border."]
After its severe strike on Gaza, Israel would do well to stop, turn to Hamas' leaders and say: Until Saturday Israel held its fire in the face of thousands of Qassams from the Gaza Strip. Now you know how harsh its response can be. So as not to add to the death and destruction we will now hold our fire unilaterally and completely for the next 48 hours. Even if you fire at Israel, we will not respond with renewed fighting. We will grit our teeth, as we did all through the recent period, and we will not be dragged into replying with force.
Moreover, we invite interested countries, neighbors near and far, to mediate between us and you to bring back the cease-fire. If you hold your fire, we will not renew ours. If you continue firing while we are practicing restraint, we will respond at the end of this 48 hours, but even then we will keep the door open to negotiations to renew the cease-fire, and even on a general and expanded agreement.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/HEALTH/12/30/virginity.pledges/art.teen.sexuality.gi.jpg caption="A new study looked at the sexual behavior of hundreds of young people, some of whom took virginity pledges."]
As many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they're married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?
A new study suggests that the answer is no. While teens who take virginity pledges do delay sexual activity until an average age of 21 (compared to about age 17 for the average American teen), the reason for the delay is more likely due to pledge takers' religious background and conservative views - not the pledge itself.