January 1st, 2009
09:49 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 1/1/09

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Tonight on 360° we're following breaking news out of the Middle East.

New airstrikes on Gaza as the death toll continues to rise. We'll have a live report from Israel.

And, golden parachutes for corporate execs heading out the door.

Millions of dollars in severance handed out .. even if the company is failing .. and get this.. the CEOs don't pay the taxes.

We're keeping them honest.

Tell us what you think about the continuing violence in the Middle East as well as the continuing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street.

Just follow our rules. Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book)
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (we don't like screaming)
3) Use your real name

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
January 1st, 2009
08:02 PM ET

Mr. Burris goes to Washington...maybe

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/30/art.burris1.gi.jpg caption="Roland Burris crashes the Senate party?"]Brianna Keilar | Bio
CNN Congressional Correspondent

Have you every hosted a party only for someone to show up even though you didn't invite them and you didn't want them to attend? Awkward, right? That's how Senate Democratic leaders feel about Roland Burris, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's pick to replace Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois. They think it's likely Burris will show up on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the opening day of Congress, what's normally a very uncontroversial day of fuzzy moments akin to the first day of school. And so, says a Democratic aide, they're making contingency plans.

Think of the Senate chamber as the hottest nightclub in town. If Burris tries to enter, the bouncer (or in this case the "doorkeeper") won't let him past the velvet rope, says a Democratic aide. If Burris persists or refuses to leave and causes a scene outside the club, the bouncer calls in reinforcements (Capitol Police officers) and, ultimately, the bouncer-in-chief (also known as the Sergeant at Arms, the only guy who's a big enough deal that he can actually arrest the President of the United States, at the direction of the Senate) steps in.

As if Washington doesn't seem synonymous enough with Illinois these days, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Terrance Gainer, is a familiar face to Roland Burris. They both served in the Illinois government in the '90s – Gainer as the Director of the Illinois State Police and Burris as Illinois' Attorney General.


Filed under: Brianna Keilar • Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
January 1st, 2009
07:08 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Avalanche survivor tells how he made it out alive

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Happy New Year. Hope you’re having a relaxing day, easing into 2009.

If you made a resolution, we’d love to hear it. Especially if it’s not predictable (i.e., must lose weight, must quit smoking, must spend more time at the gym). We’ll compare your resolution to Jack Gray’s …and go from there.

Tonight we’re following the latest in the Middle East, where Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza are in their sixth day. Today a missile struck the home of a top Hamas leader, killing him and possibly some of his family. Hamas fired more rockets into Israel as well. No new talk of a cease-fire just yet. Nic Robertson is in the field.

We’re also learning much more about a deadly snowmobile outing in the Canadian Rockies.

Five days ago, 11 snowmobilers set off for a day of fun in British Columbia. But their adventure took a terrifying turn when a series of avalanches buried them. Just three survived, and to save themselves they had to make a gut-wrenching decision: leave the others behind. Tonight we’ll hear the riveting, heartbreaking details from Jeff Adams, one of the lucky ones.

Also tonight, where the Obamas will live when they move to Washington this weekend, in time for their daughters to start school Monday.

Plus, Charles Barkley’s end of year brush with the law. The former basketball star was arrested yesterday and booked on D.U.I. charges. In the annals of making a bad situation worse, Barkley unleashed some cheeky commentary on the cops who cuffed him. We’ll have the full story and the mug shot.

We’re especially excited about sharing some of the low-lights of last night’s Anderson-Kathy Griffin extravaganza in Times Square. Let’s just say not everything went off smoothly. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what’s the point? That’s our mantra today anyway.

Filed under: Cate Vojdik • T1 • The Buzz
January 1st, 2009
05:18 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/1/09

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:

Secretary of State-elect Hillary Clinton celebrates the beginning of 2009 during the ceremony to lower the Times Square New Year's Eve ball in Times Square on December 31, 2008 in New York City.

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
January 1st, 2009
04:56 PM ET

Happy New Year

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Anderson Cooper

I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a happy new year. Last night with Kathy Griffin was fun, though I could have done without the freezing cold temperatures. Some of the people in Times Square waited more than twelve hours. I honestly don’t know how they did it. I was out there for about four hours and am still trying to thaw out. The show last night was certainly unpredictable, and there were a few moments I could have lived without, but I love being in Times Square at the stroke of midnight, and I hope you enjoyed the broadcast. I haven’t really made any resolutions this year, I just hope it’s a happier year for all those who have been hit hard by the economy and by conflict in 2008.

I also wanted to thank you for making us the number one broadcast at 10pm in the most important viewer demographic. We spent a lot of time this year on politics and more recently, the economy, and have really tried to stay focused on bringing you real news and smart, in-depth analysis. Our competition at Fox won among total viewers, and I congratulate her for that, but winning in the demo is a major accomplishment for us. In addition to thanking all our viewers, I also want to thank the men and women I work with. They put in a lot of long hours and they work very hard to bring you the best broadcast possible. I am very proud of the team we have assembled, and all of us here look forward to working hard for you in the new year.

Filed under: Anderson Cooper
January 1st, 2009
04:01 PM ET

Statue stolen from Madoff found with message

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/01/madoff.statue/art.madoff.statue.pbdn.jpg caption="The statue was found with a message apparently aimed at the owner, who is charged with securities fraud."]

A statue worth more than $10,000 that was stolen from the Palm Beach, Florida, estate of Wall Street investment adviser Bernard Madoff has been recovered, police said Thursday.

Palm Beach police Sgt. Chris Proscia said the 4-foot-high statue was found Wednesday morning with a message attached to it reading: "Bernie the Swindler, Lesson: Return stolen property to rightful owners."

The statue was stolen December 19, eight days after Madoff was arrested in New York on suspicion of operating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. He was charged with securities fraud and is under house arrest in New York while awaiting court proceedings.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Economy • Finance
January 1st, 2009
03:36 PM ET

An empty suit for an empty seat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/31/illinois.senate/art.blag.burris.wgn.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, right, named Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat."]
Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune

Wall Street titan Bernard Madoff proved you can take an outstanding reputation and ruin it overnight. Now Roland Burris has demonstrated that even a mediocre reputation can be instantly destroyed.

Burris is the prototypical time-serving career politician who owes his success to being simultaneously ambitious and bland. He has never been one to challenge the status quo, but no one underestimates his self-esteem. The two Burris children, after all, are named Roland and Rolanda.

The result of his immodesty has been a persistent hunger for offices that most people thought beyond his abilities. He has lost races for mayor of Chicago, U.S. senator, and governor (three times).


Filed under: Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich • Steve Chapman
January 1st, 2009
02:25 PM ET

Top NY Dem now backing Caroline?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/29/kennedy.senate/art.kennedy.gi.jpg caption="Caroline Kennedy says she is the best person to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate."]

Frederic U. Dicker and David Seifman
The New York Post

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who last week sharply questioned whether Caroline Kennedy should be appointed to the US Senate, said yesterday he's rethinking his views because he believes Gov. Paterson may soon pick her.

"I have determined there's a good possibility she will be the appointee of the governor," Silver, the state's second most powerful Democrat, told The Post.

"If she is the appointee of the governor, I will certainly be supportive of her. I will work for her and will work strenuously for her election."


Filed under: Caroline Kennedy • Raw Politics
January 1st, 2009
01:45 PM ET

The evil behind the smiles

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Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times

Western men who visit red-light districts in poor countries often find themselves surrounded by coquettish teenage girls laughingly tugging them toward the brothels. The men assume that the girls are there voluntarily, and in some cases they are right.

But anyone inclined to take the girls’ smiles at face value should talk to Sina Vann, who was once one of those smiling girls.

Sina is Vietnamese but was kidnapped at the age of 13 and taken to Cambodia, where she was drugged. She said she woke up naked and bloody on a bed with a white man — she doesn’t know his nationality — who had purchased her virginity.


Filed under: Global 360°
January 1st, 2009
12:53 PM ET

Gaza reshuffles Israeli political deck

Program Note: Make sure to watch Ben Smith talk about the Gaza conflict on AC360° tonight at 10p.m ET.

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Ben Smith

Israel’s attack on Gaza is scrambling that country’s politics in advance of a Feb. 10 national election that will select the leader with whom the U.S. and Palestinians alike negotiate during President-elect Barack Obama’s first term.

Before the Gaza strikes, which entered their fifth day Wednesday after Israel rejected a plan for a 48-hour ceasefire, Israeli observers had widely expected the hawkish Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, to be chosen as the country’s next prime minister. Netanyahu has hired some of Obama’s consultants and imitated his campaign — but isn’t seen as an Obama favorite.


Filed under: Global 360° • Israel • Palestine
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