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August 7th, 2009
03:29 PM ET

Beat 360° 8/7/09

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:

Actor Jeremy Piven, who was the guest host of WWE's 'Monday Night Raw' at Mohegan Sun has words with The Miz in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Photo credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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.

UPDATE – BEAT 360º WINNERS

Staff:

Gabe Falcon

Wresting… it’s about as real as my hair.

Viewer:

Dave, Paterson, NJ

Town Hall Meetings Turn Ugly

_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge


Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
August 7th, 2009
02:10 PM ET

Jenny Sanford moving out of governor's mansion

Jenny Sanford will live in Charleston while her husband lives in the governor's mansion in Columbia.

Jenny Sanford will live in Charleston while her husband lives in the governor's mansion in Columbia.

Pete Hamby
CNN Political Producer

South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford and her four boys are moving out of the governor's mansion in Columbia and back to their home in Charleston for the upcoming school year.

The wife of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford announced the news in a statement e-mailed to reporters on Friday, days after the family returned from a two-week vacation to an undisclosed location in Europe.

"While we will be leaving Columbia, we will return often, and I will remain engaged in activities in my role as First Lady, acknowledging that my responsibilities to my family come first," she said.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360º Follow • Peter Hamby
August 7th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

Dear President Obama #200: Catching ... or ducking … the next wave

Reporter's Note: Ever since the inauguration I have been writing a letter a day to President Obama. He asked for advice on how to run the country, and I am delivering. Of course, he didn’t say it had to be good advice, so that’s a relief.

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I seem to be saying congratulations to you a lot lately, but when you are a president that’s a good thing. So congratulations on your first Supreme Court nominee being confirmed. I know it looked a little dicey there for a while, but now Sonia Sotomayor is being fitted for the robe, and you’ve got every reason to celebrate. And just in time for Day 200! Score one for the man from Chicago and the Wise Latina, eh?

That said I was up in New York watching our big electronic maps as people all across the country graded your overall performance, and you’re taking a bit of a pounding. Your handling of health care reform and the economy are not exactly drawing rave reviews. That’s not, oddly enough, something that you have to be too worried about. You don’t face re-election for quite some time. On the other hand, it clearly has some of your Democratic pals in Congress hopping around like chickens on a hot plate.

Many of them do have to face the voters a year from this fall, and they are understandably worried. You don’t need a Magic 8 Ball to know what they’ll be hit with.

FULL POST

August 7th, 2009
01:06 PM ET

A photo with some spark

Check out this photograph we couldn't help but post.

Space Shuttle Discovery rolls out to launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 4, 2009. It is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station no earlier than August 25th. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images.)


Filed under: Beyond 360 • NASA • Space • T1
August 7th, 2009
12:11 PM ET
August 7th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

A snake in the grassroots

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

One of the great joys of being an American (aside from ridiculing the French, of course) is sharing in certain enduring myths: Bigfoot, the cultural value of ice shows, and the grassroots political movement.

That last one has never been more popular. The more our politicians research, poll, and pre-package their positions, selling them to voters like so many burgers in a fast food joint, the more fervently they deny any such marketing. The audiences they face are increasingly handpicked, the posters the crowd waves come from the print shop, and the letters from citizens to their opposing colleagues are cranked out of the laser printer by the thousands; yet our fearless leaders insist every scrap of support for their position is nothing but a great, natural uprising of common voters. They call it grassroots, but when the opposition does the same thing, that’s sod.

Over the past few days, Democrats have been howling that Republicans and special interest groups are playing dirty; sending mobs of what the Vikings would have called “berserkers” into meetings all over the country to disrupt discussions about health care reform, all while masquerading as a grassroots uprising. You’ve probably seen the videos. Some hapless Congressmember stands up at a senior center to explain the government provider option, only to be met by a broadside of attacks. People start popping up all over the room, hurling deadly sharp questions, while the crowd shouts down any attempt to actually answer. It’s like that “attack in the woods” scene from Last of the Mohicans, only without Madeleine Stowe. The Congressmember stumbles for a bit, tries to restore calm, and finally slinks away sputtering about being bushwhacked.

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
August 7th, 2009
11:55 AM ET

Camp counselor killing solved?






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Jeffrey J. Plishka, age 46, of Onley, VA, was charged in the July 27, 1991 death of Laura Ronning, 24, at Tanner's Falls in Wayne County.

Jeffrey J. Plishka, age 46, of Onley, VA, was charged in the July 27, 1991 death of Laura Ronning, 24, at Tanner's Falls in Wayne County.

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

It has taken 18 years, but authorities in northeast Pennsylvania believe they have solved the 1991 murder of a camp counselor who was shot to death and sexually assaulted.

Investigators said a breakthrough in scientific evidence helped them crack the case which had dragged on for nearly two decades.

“You had this girl who was a truly innocent victim,” Wayne County District Attorney Michael P. Lehutsky told CNN. “She went out for a walk that day, doing absolutely nothing wrong, and ended up with her life being taken.”

Jeffrey J. Plishka is facing charges of first, second, and third degree murder. He is also charged with Attempted Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse. A resident of Virginia, Plishka, 46, was transferred to Pennsylvania, and is now being held in a Wayne County detention facility.

FULL POST


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
August 7th, 2009
11:51 AM ET

The town hall mob

The DNC released a Web ad charging the Republicans have 'called out the mob.'

The DNC released a Web ad charging the Republicans have 'called out the mob.'

Paul Krugman
The New York Times

There’s a famous Norman Rockwell painting titled “Freedom of Speech,” depicting an idealized American town meeting. The painting, part of a series illustrating F.D.R.’s “Four Freedoms,” shows an ordinary citizen expressing an unpopular opinion. His neighbors obviously don’t like what he’s saying, but they’re letting him speak his mind.

That’s a far cry from what has been happening at recent town halls, where angry protesters — some of them, with no apparent sense of irony, shouting “This is America!” — have been drowning out, and in some cases threatening, members of Congress trying to talk about health reform.

Some commentators have tried to play down the mob aspect of these scenes, likening the campaign against health reform to the campaign against Social Security privatization back in 2005. But there’s no comparison. I’ve gone through many news reports from 2005, and while anti-privatization activists were sometimes raucous and rude, I can’t find any examples of congressmen shouted down, congressmen hanged in effigy, congressmen surrounded and followed by taunting crowds.

And I can’t find any counterpart to the death threats at least one congressman has received.

So this is something new and ugly. What’s behind it?

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
August 7th, 2009
11:50 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: Unemployment rate drops

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The battered U.S. job market is showing signs of improvement.

Employers scaled back sharply on layoffs in July, cutting 247,000 jobs. That’s the fewest in nearly a year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, dipped to 9.4% - its first decline in 15 months.

The numbers suggest a turning point is at hand after job cuts earlier in the year that totaled as much as 700,000. The economy has lost 6.7 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007.

But there was still plenty of bad news to be found.

The number of people unemployed for more than six months continued to rise, reaching nearly 5 million people - a record high. And the average amount of time that an unemployed person has been out of work reached 25.1 weeks, the highest reading in the 61 years that the Labor Department has been keeping records.

FULL POST


Filed under: AIG • Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Unemployment
August 7th, 2009
11:31 AM ET

"El Chapo" and me

A 1993 photo of Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo, at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez.

A 1993 photo of Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka El Chapo, at La Palma prison in Almoloya of Juarez.

CNN Producer

“He’s like a god in Mexico. Nobody sees him but he’s everywhere. He’s a myth,” says Mexican criminal attorney Antonio Ortega. He's speaking about the notorious drug lord Joaquin Guzman, better known on the street as “El Chapo.” Ortega holds the distinction of being one of the only people in the entire country who has met El Chapo and is brave enough to talk about it.

Mexicans rarely go on record about this ruthless leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel for good reason. He runs a narcotics empire, can order an assassination with ease, has Mexican government and law enforcement on his payroll and has even managed to make this year’s Forbes list of “The World’s Billionaires” (he’s #701).

But his mythical status goes beyond towering wealth and ultimate authority. El Chapo has survived three assassination attempts, evaded Mexican and American authorities – despite a U.S. bounty of $5 million on his head – and escaped prison in a laundry cart just before extradition to the United States.

Ortega met with El Chapo while he was in prison shortly before the notorious escape in 2001. He still remembers vivid details of his talk with the legendary criminal.

FULL POST

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