October 30th, 2009
04:33 PM ET

The Obama Marriage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/marriage.obama.jpg caption="President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dancing their way at one of the 10 official inaugural balls"]

Jodi Kantor
New York Times

Another Washington dusk, another motorcade, another intimate evening played out in public view. On Oct. 3, just a day after their failed Olympics bid in Copenhagen, Barack and Michelle Obama slipped into a Georgetown restaurant for one of their now-familiar date nights: this time, to toast their 17th wedding anniversary. As with their previous outings, even the dark photographs taken by passers-by and posted on the Web looked glamorous: the president tieless, in a suit; the first lady in a backless sheath.

The Obama date-night tradition stretches back to the days when the president spent half his time in Springfield, Ill., reuniting at week’s close with his wife, who kept a regular Friday manicure and hair appointment for the occasion. But five days before he ventured out for his anniversary dinner, the president lamented what has happened to his nights out with his wife.

“I would say the one time during our stay here in the White House so far that has. . . .” He paused so long in choosing his words that Michelle Obama, sitting alongside him, prompted him. “Has what?”


Filed under: 360° Radar • Barack Obama • Michelle Obama
October 30th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Beat 360° 10/30/09

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:

Squirrel monkeys at Bristol Zoo Gardens investigate a carved pumpkin that has been left as a special Halloween treat in their enclosure.

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.


Staff winner: Tom Foreman
Caption: NASA, gutted by budget cuts, is reduced to monkeys, pumpkins, and a catapult.

Viewer winner: Lisa, Louisville, KY
Caption: Hollow head, blank stare, and fake smile – must be a politician.
_________________________________________________________________________________ Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
October 30th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
October 30th, 2009
04:16 PM ET

Iraqi man accused of running down daughter found in Atlanta

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/10/30/arizona.iraqi.daughter/story.faleh.almaleki.ppd.jpg caption="Authorities could not immediately say why Faleh Almaleki was in Atlanta, Georgia."]


Authorities said Friday that an Iraqi man, accused of running down his daughter in Arizona because she had become "too Westernized," has been taken into custody in Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. Marshals arrested Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, in Atlanta, according to spokesman James Ergas.

Police in Peoria, Arizona, say Almaleki struck his 20-year-old daughter, Noor Faleh Almaleki, and her friend Amal Edan Khalaf with the Jeep Laredo he was driving in a parking lot in Peoria on October 20.

After the incident, Almaleki drove to Mexico, abandoning his vehicle in Nogales, Peoria police said in a statement Friday.

He then made his way to Mexico City and boarded a plane to London, England. British authorities denied him entry into the country, and he was put on a plane back to the United States, police said.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Congressional watchdog group responds to ethics investigations


The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have responded to the documents leaked from the House of Representatives Ethics committee, one of the most secretive and closely guarded in Congress, that have forced the panel to publicly acknowledge at least eight active investigations into ethics breaches from current members of the House of Representatives.

"Time and time again CREW has called for investigations of unethical members of Congress, but our pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears. So, we were pleasantly surprised to learn the ethics committee is investigating so many members of Congress, but starting an investigation isn’t enough. The real question is whether any of the members under investigation will ever be held accountable for their conduct. The committee’s record on such matters is dismal. You have only to look back at the Mark Foley investigation - where all of America knew there was wrongdoing yet the committee found none - to be skeptical of the House ethics process. There’s not much reason to think anything has changed, but one can always hope."

The group advocates for the promotion of ethics and accountability and produce annual lists such as "The Most Corrupt Members of Congress Report"

Filed under: 360° Radar
October 30th, 2009
03:30 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/art.text360.jpg]


Is it a classic case of “he said, she said,” or is it a brutal case of racism? Whatever it is, it may land a Missouri woman, a preacher’s daughter who has never been in trouble with the law before, in jail. It all apparently started at a Wal-Mart store in Kennett, Missouri where, according to police, customer Heather Ellis had cut in line to pay for her items. What followed is at the heart of a court case that may send Heather Ellis to jail for as many as 15 years.

Do you have questions about this controversial case for our panel? Let us know!

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Text 360
October 30th, 2009
03:00 PM ET
October 30th, 2009
02:02 PM ET

Is the GI Bill just an IOU?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/10/17/u.s.iraq.troops/art.u.s.troops.iraq.jpg caption="U.S. troops speak to an Iraqi child in Baghdad"]
Linsay Rousseau Burnett
LA Times

In the military, I learned to expect screw-ups, especially when it came to money. So maybe the Department of Veterans Affairs is just trying to ease my transition to civilian life by doing things the military way in its handling of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits.

Student veterans began applying for education benefits in May, and we were supposed to have our tuition paid and receive our housing and book stipends in August. That didn't happen. Instead, more than two months into the school year, most of us have received nothing, although the VA is graciously offering to advance us emergency checks of up to $3,000 to ease the economic burden of not yet receiving the money we were promised.

Along with healthcare, job experience and a steady paycheck, the GI Bill was one of my primary reasons for joining the Army in 2004. I went into the military - and spent a year in Kirkuk province in northern Iraq - with the express intention of pursuing graduate studies when my contract was up. Truth be told, I wouldn't be writing this column right now, as a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, were it not for the GI Bill. Or at least for the promise of the GI Bill.


Filed under: Military
October 30th, 2009
01:03 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: White House says stimulus created 650,000 jobs

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/obama.podium.copy.jpg width=292 height=320]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The first quarter of economic growth in more than a year was a cause for celebration yesterday, albeit one tempered by the realization that until job creation picks up, any recovery will not be felt on Main Street for some time.

Today, the Obama Administration weighed in on that subject, saying the largest stimulus program in the nation's history has created or saved about 650,000 state and local jobs.

Based on approximately $150 billion in spending from the $787 billion recovery package, the tally is the first broad, concrete look at the stimulus program's impact on the economy. The numbers are drawn from tens of thousands of reports from state and local recipients as well as private companies.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Economy
October 30th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Is that you, coffin?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/22/art.capitol.dome.cnn.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Long before Washington became the killing ground for health care’s public option, it was a popular place for young doctors to get their start tending to the ailments of the influential; and a busy town for grave robbers who supplied…well, let’s call them lab assistants…to the aspiring medicos. Prowling cemeteries in the DC darkness, they looked for freshly turned earth to turn a profit. And each year around Halloween the story-telling crowd here digs up tales of the undead who still supposedly haunt the seat of government. And no, Ralph Nader does not count.

Abraham Lincoln has generated the most stories of paranormal activity. He, quite famously, dreamed of his own assassination. In the almost century-and-a-half since it came to pass, a great many White House visitors have reported his spectral form roaming the halls. Winston Churchill allegedly shared a bowl of soup with Honest Abe, who kept saying, “Is this cold, or is it just me?” Something like that.

President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, was widely reported to have dragged sleepover friends and a Ouija Board into the Lincoln bedroom to try a little inter-realm instant-messaging with him. And people have for decades claimed that they’ve seen Lincoln’s funeral train, blue, silent and glowing along the tracks outside of DC.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
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