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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/13/pilot.assets/art.plane.wreckage.wkrg.jpg caption="The six-seat plane crashed Sunday night in East Milton, Florida, with no one aboard, authorities say."]
UPDATE: Just moments ago, the Gadsen County Sheriff's Department in Florida told CNN they've found a man they believe to be Marcus Schrenker. He was found with marks on his body consistent with a suicidal act. They say he has been taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and will be brought to Gadsden county jail or a federal detention center.
There are new details tonight on the case of missing pilot, Marcus Schrenker. Authorities say he had quite a plan to disappear.
They believe he took off from Indiana but parachuted out of his plane near Birmingham, Alabama and landed near a hotel that was a short walk to a rented storage facility where he stored a motorcycle to use for his get-away.
Investigators say when they got to the location the motorcycle was gone and damp clothes were left on the ground.
If you recall, Schrenker ran into cops Sunday in Alabama and claimed he was in a canoe incident. They helped him get that hotel room, where they say he checked in under a fake name and paid the tab with cash. When they heard about the plane crash they went back to the hotel and Schrenker had vanished.
Schrenker's plane traveled farther south without him into the Florida panhandle where it crashed into a swamp.
Meanwhile, back in Indiana, authorities have filed felony charges and issued a warrant for his arrest. They say Schrenker defrauded investors through his three financial firms.
One of Schrenker's friends, Tom Britt, said he got an e-mail from him. The e-mail said Schrenker would never abandon a plane and let it crash.
Britt said the end of the e-mail was the most disturbing part.
It read "by the time you read this I'll be gone".
"I interpreted that as a suicide note," said Britt.
We'll have the latest on the search for the missing pilot.
We'll also have breaking developments on the war in Gaza. Israeli troops appear to be tightening their grip on Gaza City. And, we'll have the raw politics of Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State post.
All that and more tonight on AC360°.
Join us at 10pm E.T.
Editor's note: Watch Nic Robertson's report from the Israeli/Gaza border tonight at 10p.
The Daily Beast
Would the war in Gaza still be happening if we'd listened to George Bush? The Daily Beast's Reza Aslan on why Bush has every right to say "I told you so" when it comes to the Middle East.
The devastating war in Gaza between Hamas militants and the mighty Israeli army has once again raised a chorus of criticism about the foolishness of George W. Bush’s democracy agenda in the Middle East. “Another pillar in his crusade to spread democracy” is how Margaret Carlson, writing for Bloomberg, describes the rise of Hamas. But the truth is that whatever violence or instability may have resulted from the push to promote democracy in the Middle East, the solution to lasting peace, prosperity, and sociopolitical reform throughout the region, and especially in Palestine, is more democracy, not less.
It was four years ago that a bumptious George W. Bush, fresh from his stunning re-election, took the podium on a cold January morning in Washington, D.C., and laid out an audacious—some would say foolhardy—vision for his second term as president.
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U.S. Secretary of State Nominee and incumbent U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) (L) arrives at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (R) on Capitol Hill January 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/gitmo-flag-getty.jpg caption="Guantanamo Bay Naval Base"]
Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”
In Session Anchor
There is good news and bad news on Guantanamo Bay. The good news is this: On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama will issue an executive order to close the detention center at Gitmo. The bad news: It won’t happen overnight.
In fact, it could take months. It may even take a year to empty the camp of prisoners. After all, there are 248 men still housed at the prison, which opened seven years ago and has been a source of controversy ever since. And, with the now-realistic assessment of how long closure could take, there is already criticism from some quarters, which is understandable.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/04/dnc.tim.kaine/art.tim.kaine.gi.jpg caption="Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine claps during an August campaign event for Barack Obama in Virginia."]
CNN Political Contributor
Republican Strategist | BIO
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and President-elect Barack Obama are friends and allies.
Kaine was probably the first prominent national political figure to endorse Obama’s presidential bid. And at a time when most people were still at the "Oh, won't he make a nice running mate for Hillary," stage.
Obama owed Kaine something, something tangible, something important. He gave it to him when he named him his choice to replace Howard Dean as Democratic National Committee chairman.
George Stephanopolous revealed his roots as a preacher's son when he asked President-elect Barack Obama if he missed being a part of a faith community.
Obama's answer revealed his roots in the south side of Chicago.
After a brief reference to his own spirituality, Obama went straight into the community dimension of religion, pointing out that DC (like Chicago) is really two cities – one for the well-heeled people who work in government and government-related industries, and the other for everyone else, including some of the poorest people in America. He wanted those two cities more involved with one another.
When it comes to faith, Obama's first instinct is to respond by trying to bridge communities.
Ever on the lookout for the bright side of hard times, I am tempted to delete "class inequality" from my worry list. Less than a year ago, it was the one of the biggest economic threats on the horizon, with even hard-line conservative pundits grousing that wealth was flowing uphill at an alarming rate, leaving the middle class stuck with stagnating incomes while the new super-rich ascended to the heavens in their personal jets. Then the whole top-heavy structure of American capitalism began to totter, and–poof!–inequality all but vanished from the public discourse. A financial columnist in the Chicago Sun Times has just announced that the recession is a "great leveler," serving to "democratize[d] the agony," as we all tumble into "the Nouveau Poor..."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/13/transition.wrap/art.obama.gi.jpg caption="Barack Obama met with Senate Democrats for the last time before next week's inauguration."]
Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Sr. Congressional Correspondent
This is all from various Democratic senators I talked to leaving the meeting:
– Obama told Democrats he would veto the disapproval resolution if he had to.
– He took about 15 questions, many of which were from skeptical Democrats about TARP. He repeatedly promised to make this process more transparent.
– He also made clear he does NOT want to be doing this out of the gate, but insisted he has no choice.
– Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd made a point of reminding fellow Democrats what a bad political situation it would be to pass the disapproval resolution and force Obama to use his veto pen on THAT as one of his very first acts.
– Some Democrats said they felt more comfortable, but many also said they still have a lot of questions and are still unsure how they will vote on TARP.