October 15th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Map: Balloon Journey

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6 year old Falcon Heene was not found inside when the balloon he was believed to be in made a soft landing near Keenesburg, Colorado about 60 miles from its starting point in Fort Collins, at 1:35 p.m. (3:35 p.m. ET).

People across the world watched as the homemade helium balloon soared 7,000 feet over eastern Colorado for more than an hour and a half.

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 15th, 2009
04:26 PM ET

Updated: 6-year-old missing after balloon lands in Colorado

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/15/colorado.boy.balloon/art.balloon.kusa.jpg caption="The dome-shaped balloon is 20 feet long and 5 feet high, Larimer County Sheriff's Office says."]


Updated: A runaway balloon has touched down in Colorado after a 6-year-old boy untied it from his family home in Fort Collins.

The boy was not inside the helium aircraft when it landed, CNN affiliate KMGH reported.

A sibling saw the boy get into the craft Thursday morning. Officials were concerned that the boy may have fallen out of it, an undersheriff said.

Margie Martinez of the Weld County Sheriff's Office said a sibling saw Falcon Heene climb into the basket before the balloon took off from his parents' Fort Collins, Colorado home.

Since the door on the balloon was unlocked, it's possible the boy had fallen out, Martinez said.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
October 15th, 2009
03:47 PM ET

Does Obama care about New Orleans?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/15/obama.new.orleans/art.new.orleans.generic.gi.jpg caption="President Obama will visit New Orleans, Louisiana, on Thursday to talk about rebuilding efforts. "]
Harry Shearer
Special to CNN

I spent much of this month in my adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Uncharacteristically for August, the streets and restaurants and galleries and music clubs were largely full and throbbing with energy.

There are hubs of entrepreneurs all over town trying to invent the future. And thankfully, Mayor Ray Nagin's term is only months away from its end.

Between my weeks in the Crescent City, I joined some local folks in traipsing up to the Aspen Institute to share the news of New Orleans with interested outsiders. One talked about the progress in rebuilding homes. Another discussed the reform of the public-school system, the decoupling of the schools from a centralized board, resulting in the city becoming the leader in charter-school enrollment.

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Filed under: New Orleans • President Barack Obama
October 15th, 2009
02:30 PM ET

The Teacher as Leader

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/28/first.lady/art.obama.family.jpg caption="The Obamas enjoy their new family dog, Bo, at the White House."]
Michelle Obama
For U.S. News & World Report

This is a busy time of year in the Obama household. Like so many parents all across this country, I watch with a mixture of pride and anxiety as my daughters stuff their backpacks, kiss me goodbye, and move ahead in another school year without so much as a backwards glance.

My girls are now making new friends, tackling challenging new subjects, and moving closer to becoming the strong, confident women I know they can be. But when I see them come home, bursting with excitement about something they have learned or someone they have met, I can't help but think that some of the most influential people in my daughters' lives won't be the ones they socialize with on the playground or read about in the pages of a book—they will be the people who stand up every day in front of their classrooms.

We all remember the impact a special teacher had on us—a teacher who refused to let us fall through the cracks; who pushed us and believed in us when we doubted ourselves; who sparked in us a lifelong curiosity and passion for learning. Decades later, we remember the way they made us feel and the things they inspired us to do—how they challenged us and changed our lives. So it's not surprising that studies show that the single most important factor affecting students' achievement is the caliber of their teachers. And when we think about the qualities that make an outstanding teacher—boundless energy and endless patience; vision and a sense of purpose; the creativity to help us see the world in a different way; commitment to helping us discover and fulfill our potential—we realize: These are also the qualities of a great leader.


Filed under: Michelle Obama • Women's Issues
October 15th, 2009
02:29 PM ET

Video: Death penalty cover-up?

Last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has removed a fourth member of a state commission charged with investigating claims that an innocent man may have been executed.

The Texas governor has now replaced all of the four members that, under law, he is allowed to appoint to the commission. The remaining five members are appointed by the state's lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Perry's critics say his actions are politically motivated, a charge he denies.

The investigation into claims that faulty evidence led Texas to execute an innocent man in 2004 was at a "crucial point" when the shakeup occurred, one of the replaced members said.

The commission was to hear from the author of a scathing report in the case of the executed man, Cameron Todd Willingham, when Perry announced on September 30 that he would replace three members.

The session was postponed indefinitely because of the new appointments, and Perry's critics accused him of trying to quash the Willingham probe.

Learn more about the story here.

Filed under: Keeping Them Honest • Randi Kaye
October 15th, 2009
02:27 PM ET
October 15th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

Limbaugh too risky for NFL

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/28/limbaugh.speech.cpac/art.rush.limbaugh.cspan.jpg]

Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Rush Limbaugh stood a better chance of suiting up in an NFL game before he would ever step foot in an owners suite as a limited partner in any ownership group.

We can sit here and say that the decision by the partnership trying to pursue the St. Louis Rams decided to put Rush out to pasture because of his hateful words against African Americans and so many others over the years he has been on the radio, but the reality is that the National Football League is the biggest and baddest of all sports leagues, and they were not going to allow anyone – including the guy who just signed a $400 million contract – to mess with their money.

There is nothing that the NFL doesn’t sell to sponsors. Whether stadium naming rights, billboards, suites, and official sponsors of any and everything, corporate America is as much a part of the NFL as the players. And we all know that corporate America likes things squeaky clean, and if anyone gets in the way of the brand, they are removed from the scene. Quickly.

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Filed under: Roland S. Martin • Rush Limbaugh
October 15th, 2009
11:36 AM ET

Mistrust of government handicaps Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/13/obama.candidate.president/art.obamaflash.gi.jpg caption="President Obama's term in office so far is relatively on message, a Democratic strategist said. "]
Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

So now comes the hard part.

Now that a key Senate committee has finally moved a health care bill, President Obama can get to work to try and figure out a final version of reform.

Now that Gen. Stanley McChrystal has recommended a large troop buildup in Afghanistan - setting off an internal debate about recalibrating strategy - the president can decide what he wants to do about the war.

And now that the stock market is on the rebound - while unemployment remains high - Obama can figure out how to come up with a "son of stimulus" package that targets jobs.

Tough decisions are part of the president's job description, after all.

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October 15th, 2009
11:24 AM ET

Don't blame Limbaugh for our faults

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/13/art.limbaugh.gi.jpg caption="Limbaugh is out of the group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams."]
LZ Granderson

Things ain't what they used to be.

That sentiment harkens back to a simpler day in which innocence was not met with sarcasm, a man's word was his bond and yadda yadda yadda. What a bunch of crap.

I would like to know which time period in this country's history that phrase is referring to - during the witch hunts? Trail of Tears? Television's "Happy Days" would lead you to believe life in the '50s and '60s was all about high school dances and hot fudge sundaes, but many of us know that was hardly the case.

No, if we take an honest look at this country's 233 years, what we will find are moments of brilliance and triumphs, moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy and a great deal of denial and revision by everyone. It is because of our tendency to rewrite unpleasant aspects of our history that we struggle to make the kind of significant social progress we need to truly realize the American Dream.

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Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
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