January 14th, 2009
11:06 PM ET

On the Radar: Mychal Bell Speaks Out

Here's what we're working on for tomorrow.

President Bush gives his final farewell in a primetime speech in the East Room. It's his last scheduled public appearance until Inauguration Day. The Obamas also move into Blair House tomorrow, their last stop before the White House. It's also a big day for Hillary Clinton. The Senate votes on her cabinet appointment. We'll have details on all of that.

We'll also have a 360° exclusive interview. Hear from a young man who was thrown into the media spotlight in 2006. Mychal Bell was one of a group of black teenagers who was charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white classmate at Jena High School in Louisiana. The charges were reduced after a national outcry and the largest civil rights march in decades.

Bell eventually pleaded to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery and has been living in a foster home in Monroe while attending school. But on Christmas Eve he found himself back in the news after being arrested for shoplifting and simple assault. A few days later, Bell shot himself in the chest. Fortunately, he survived. So why did he try to take his own life?

Sean Callebs sat down with Bell and talked to him about the enormous pressures that drove him to the edge.

It's an emotional interview. Join us at 10 p.m. ET tomorrow and see for yourself.

Filed under: 360° Radar
January 14th, 2009
10:05 PM ET

Senate to hold vote on TARP

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Dana Bash
CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced tonight they will vote Thursday on the resolution of disapproval for releasing the remaining 350 billion dollars of the bailout fund.

A senior Democratic leadership aide says they are hopful, but admits to CNN that they are still not sure they have the votes to give President-elect Barack Obama the money he argues is essential to fixing the economy.

So, why are Democratic leaders holding the vote without knowing how it will go?

"The longer this thing hangs out there, the more water it takes on," said the Democratic leadership aide.

The decision to hold a Thursday vote comes hours after the President-elect's top aides held an urgent closed door meeting with Republican senators urging them to support giving them remaining bailout money.

But most Republican senators emerged from the meeting saying their minds were not changed and they still were unlikely to support this.

As CNN reported earlier in the day, multiple GOP senators who voted for the program in the fall, no longer support it.

So the challenge still for Mr. Obama is convincing enough of his fellow Democrats, many of whom still tell CNN they are very skeptical.

This disapproval resolution is not allowed to be filibustered, so it only needs a simple majority, 51 votes, to be defeated.

If it is defeated in the Senate, the request will automatically go through, since the law says both houses of Congress must pass disapproval measures to stop the bailout funds from being released.
It is likely this vote will not occur until after 5pm, after the markets close. But the timing is still fluid.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Dana Bash • Economy • Raw Politics
January 14th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 1/14/09

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Want to share your thoughts on the stories we're covering tonight? You're in the right location. Just scroll down and post your comments. This is where you can "chat" with Anderson and Erica during the program.

Want to know what we're covering tonight? Read EVENING BUZZ

Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you 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 (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

We're so tech savvy here at AC360°. At least, we like to think we are these days. So, we've got more goodies for you.

Don't miss Erica Hill's webcast during the commercials. Watch our WEBCAST

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM

Filed under: Live Blog • T1
January 14th, 2009
09:27 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Little Adolf Hitler In Custody

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

A three-year-old boy in New Jersey named Adolf Hitler has been taken away from his parents.
So have his younger siblings JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie.

But in an interview with a local newspaper, the father of the children says he's not a racist. "A name doesn't make a person," said Heath Campbell. "My son is going to learn to love. None of my kids are going to have a bone of hate in their body," he added.

Do you agree?

When we contacted the New Jersey Department of Children and Services it would not comment on the case. However, it told us that children are only removed from their homes if they are in imminent danger and only after an allegation of abuse or neglect is made. It stressed a children is never removed because of its name.

The controversy first made headlines last month when a supermarket refused to write "Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler" on a cake for the boy.

We'll have the latest on this controversy tonight on AC360°.

Plus, new details tonight on the pilot who first faked his death and then tried to kill himself.
And, the new drama surrounding President-elect Barack Obama. He finds himself now defending his pick for Treasury Secretary after it was revealed Tim Geithner didn't pay some taxes.

Those stories and more tonight on AC360°.
Join us at 10pm E.T.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
January 14th, 2009
08:31 PM ET

Marcus Schrenker liked to do things in a big way

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/14/pilot.investors/art.missing.pilot.atgeist.jpg caption="Marcus Schrenker was taken to a hospital after being found Tuesday near Quincy, Florida, authorities say."]
Program Note: Watch Kathleen's report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m.

Kathleen Johnston
CNN Special Investigations Unit, Senior Producer

Sometimes the stories you cover come full circle, although i must admit they come no stranger than this one.

I first met Marcus Schrenker right after 9-11. Yes, that's right. I knew Marcus, or rather dealt with him.

I headed up a local television station's investigative team in Indianapolis when my colleague and I got a call from Marcus. He was upset about the lack of security at the Indianapolis International Airport involving private planes.

Schrenker was a commercial and stunt pilot. He offered to show us how easy it was to get on the tarmac right next to planes without security checks. It was the height of 9-11 fear and everyone felt vulnerable about everybody and every open gate.

Our legal team decided we could follow and film him without getting arrested for violating national security or some such stuff.

He pullled it off perfectly and why should we have been surprised: to hear him talk, everything in his life was perfect. Charming, driving an expensive car, flying his own planes, bragging about the money he made in stocks and other financials - as were a lot of folks at the time - a perfect model-like wife. We aired the story, some security changes were made and we moved on to other stories and other careers.

Marcus called my colleague about potential news stories periodically, but offered nothing of substance.

So now I am back in Indianapolis, covering of all people Marcus Schrenker. Only this time there is not a lot to brag about. His model wife has filed for divorce, the state has charged him with fraud, the insurance commissioner is about to sock him with huge fines and revoke his license for defrauding investors, and Marcus has become famous as the guy who allegedly tried to fake his death by crashing a plane in Alabama and then fleeing.

Only this time he did fail–not just at faking his death but also in trying to slit his wrists.

The audacity of the plans officials lay out don't surprise me. Marcus always liked to do things in a big way. The only thing that does surprise me is the real suicide attempt, if true.

You always thought with Marcus that he would always find a way out.

January 14th, 2009
06:10 PM ET

#%$& you and the Labradoodle you rode in on

Anderson Cooper & Erica Hill challenge Jack to explain his issue with Labradoodles.
Anderson Cooper & Erica Hill challenge Jack to explain his issue with Labradoodles.

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer 

It was only a matter of time.  I finally made the mistake of sharing my thoughts on Labradoodles with one Mr. Anderson Cooper.  Yes, Anderson “Did you just make eye contact with me? For your sake I really hope you didn’t just make eye contact with me” Cooper, that’s him.

Next thing I know he’s telling Erica Hill that I have a collection of them stuffed and mounted over my mantle.

So allow me to set the record straight: I don’t have a “pathological disdain” for Labradoodles as Mr. Cooper alleges.  All I’m saying is that – as far as I can tell – “hypoallergenic” actually means “pistol-wielding thug.”


Post by:
Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray
January 14th, 2009
06:06 PM ET

Pelosi close to finalizing economic recovery package

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Deirdre Walsh
CNN Congressional Producer

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are getting close to finalizing the details of an economic recovery package and may release the details as soon as later Wednesday. Pelosi declined to give any details on the bill to reporters, but said she was more confident that Congress would reach the mid – February deadline for getting a bill to Obama’s desk. Pelosi said “it’s about four words – jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

The overall price tag for the package is $800-$850 billion, with about $300–325 billion designated for tax cuts, and $500-$525 billion dedicated to infrastructure spending and aid to the states, according to a senior House Democratic aide. Democratic leaders are still deciding whether to include a so – called “patch” of the AMT, the alternative minimum tax, which would increase the cost of the tax cut section.


Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Barack Obama • Raw Politics
January 14th, 2009
05:59 PM ET

Beat 360° 1/14/09

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:

Paul McCartney walks on 56th Street in Manhattan January 14, 2009 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 14th, 2009
05:34 PM ET

She escaped FLDS, but her daughter wanted to go back

Editor's Note: Watch Gary Tuchman's exclusive interview with the family tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/betty.jessop.flds.jpg caption="Betty Jessop at the FLDS compound."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/carolyn.and.betty.jessop.jpg caption="Carolyn Jessop at 22, feeding daughter Betty."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/14/carolyn.jessop.book.jpg caption="Carolyn Jessop's book on her experience." width=292 height=320]

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

It was the moment Carolyn Jessop had been waiting for. The mother of 8 and 4th wife of a powerful FLDS man wanted out of the only life she knew. It was a rare moment. All of Jessop’s 8 children were home and her husband was not. She only had a few hours to gather her kids and leave the polygamist life where she was born and raised. She says she was desperately seeking a new life on the outside. She wanted to escape.

Carolyn Jessop broke free from a life of arranged marriage, polygamy and a male dominated and controlled society. She says she wanted more for her and her children. Jessop began a new life with her children outside the FLDS. Her kids attended public school and no longer practiced the religion with which they were raised.


Filed under: FLDS update • Gary Tuchman • Polygamy
January 14th, 2009
04:57 PM ET

Why bin Laden is speaking out now

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/12/binladen.hunt/art.bin.laden.afp.gi.jpg caption="Osama bin Laden remains on the run despite a $25 million reward for his capture."]

Peter Bergen
CNN National Security Analyst

The new 22-minute tape posted Wednesday on a radical Islamist Web site is the first one from Osama bin Laden in nine months. On it, the al Qaeda leader urges Muslims to wage jihad against Israel because of its offensive in Gaza.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials had been expecting that bin Laden would release a tape before the 2008 presidential election just as he had done four years earlier.

On October 29, 2004, he released a videotaped address to the American people in which he said that it was irrelevant whether Americans elected Sen. John Kerry or George W. Bush as president. The key issue, as far as he was concerned, was that the United States needed to change its policies in the Muslim world.


Filed under: Osama bin Laden • Peter Bergen • War on Terror
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