November 8th, 2010
09:51 PM ET

Keeping them Honest: Join the Live Chat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

Tonight, Keeping Them Honest, an assistant attorney general who targeted a gay college student in his spare time has been fired for conduct unbecoming a state employee. Andrew Shirvell's attorney is blaming the liberal media for his client's troubles. We'll let you be the judge. Plus, is Rand Paul flip-flopping on a campaign promise.

Want more details on what covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. 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 $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
November 8th, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Michigan Asst. AG Fired for Attack on Gay Student

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

An assistant attorney general in Michigan has been fired, weeks after he targeted the openly gay student body president at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Shirvell was "fired for conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an Assistant Attorney General," Attorney General Mike Cox said in a press statement.

As you may recall, Shirvell created a blog devoted to tracking and attacking the student body president called "Chris Armstrong Watch," where he claimed Armstrong had a "radical homosexual agenda."

On AC360° weeks ago, Cox defended Shirvell's online rants saying, "Here in America we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech."

Fast-forward to today and Cox still stands behind those comments. However, Cox said Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately used state resources."

We also talked with Shirvell and Armstrong when this story first broke. We'll replay some of those interviews for you tonight and show you how we got to today's decision by Cox. We're keeping them honest.

Also tonight, we'll tell you what it was like at a Connecticut courtroom today when a jury recommended the death sentence for Steven Hayes.

Hayes was convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters in a brutal home invasion in 2007.

Outside court, the only survivor of the attack spoke to the media.

"I think many of you know who have ever lost a parent or a child or a friend... there's never closure. There's a hole," said William Petit. "I've imagined it as a hole with jagged edges, and over time the edges smooth out, but the hole in your heart and the hole in your soul is still there."

We're also tracking the promises by newly elected politicians to cut taxes and spending. Can they live up to that promise?

Plus, meet the "Wheel of Fortune" contestant who solved a seven-word puzzle with just one letter. She shocked host Pat Sajak and many others. That's tonight's Shot.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
November 8th, 2010
07:03 PM ET

Jurors: Man should die for deadly Connecticut home invasion

Michael Christian
In Session

New Haven, Connecticut (CNN) - A man convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a brutal 2007 home invasion should die for the crime, jurors decided Monday after nearly 18 hours of deliberation.

Steven Hayes, 47, was convicted last month of 16 of the 17 charges against him, including nine counts of murder and capital murder and four counts of kidnapping. Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit, died in the attack.

Prosecutors alleged that Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky invaded the Petit home in Cheshire, Connecticut, on July 23, 2007, beat Dr. William Petit, raped and strangled his wife, molested one of the daughters and set the house on fire before attempting to flee. Hayes also forced Jennifer Hawke-Petit to go to a bank to withdraw money from a bank account.

Jurors entering the courtroom Monday were somber and mostly looked at members of the Petit family, not at Hayes. As the clerk read the verdicts, they stayed focused on the clerk. Hayes stared straight ahead. The Petit family at first was stoic, but William Petit, the sole survivor, was seen dabbing at his eyes.

The jury, comprised of five men and seven women, had just begun their fourth day of deliberations when they signaled they had reached a verdict. The panel determined on each count that death is the appropriate punishment for Hayes.

Outside court, Petit called the decision "appropriate and just."

"I thank the jury for doing their job," he said, adding later "I think in a civilized society people need to be held responsible for their actions ... especially when they're viciously violent."

Petit grew emotional when asked his reaction upon hearing the verdict.

Full story

Updated: 7:03 pm

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
November 8th, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Beat 360° 11/8/10

Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:

Edison Pena, center, one of the recently rescued Chilean miners, crosses the finish line to complete the 41st ING New York City Marathon in Central Park on November 7, 2010 in New York City. (Photo credit: Andrew Burton/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 360° Winners:

Vladimir Duthiers
"Edison Pena, you just ran the NYC marathon! What are you going to do next?
I’m going to Graceland! No, really, I am"


Mary, Farmington Hills, MI
“So easy...a caveman can do it."

___________________________________________________________________________Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360° • T1
November 8th, 2010
05:15 PM ET

Republicans signal a hard-line stance after election success

Tom Cohen

Washington (CNN) - A post-mortem Sunday of the mid-term elections provided little evidence that Democrats and Republicans will work together to address major issues such as deficit reduction any better than they have in recent years.

Republicans interviewed on talk shows promised congressional investigations, an all-out effort to repeal health care reform, and steadfast opposition to any form of higher taxes.

Democrats, meanwhile, said the losses they suffered in the congressional elections reflected voter dissatisfaction with lingering high unemployment in the slow recovery from economic recession, rather than an outright repudiation of their policies.

Republicans won more than 60 seats formerly held by Democrats to take majority control of the House, and also narrowed the Democratic majority in the Senate, while winning the lion's share of governors' races around the country.

When asked what they would do with their greater power, GOP legislators offered a hard-line agenda that left little room for middle-ground compromise.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar • Raw Politics
November 8th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Update: Shirvell fired after targeting openly gay student leader

Editor's note: Tonight on AC360°, Deborah Gordon, attorney for college student Chris Armstrong, speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Tune in beginning at 10 pm ET.

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - An assistant attorney general in Michigan has been fired, weeks after coming under fire for targeting an openly gay University of Michigan student online and in person, Attorney General Mike Cox said Monday.

Andrew Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources," Cox said.

Shirvell's lawyer, Philip J. Thomas, acknowledged his client's termination but did not add anything further. Deborah Bond, the attorney for university student body president, Chris Armstrong, said she and her client "had no comment."

In late September, Cox defended Shirvell's authoring of a blog titled "Chris Armstrong Watch" that railed against the "radical homosexual agenda" of Armstrong.

"Here in America, we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech," Cox told Anderson Cooper on CNN's "AC 360." "He's clearly a bully ... but is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes."

Shirvell's dismissal stemmed from actions "unbecoming a state employee" that went beyond the blog, Cox said in Monday's announcement.

Cox said he wasn't firing Shirvell for "exercising ... First Amendment rights, (however) unpopular (the) positions might be," but for persistent and personal harassment.

Full story

Updated: 6:17 pm

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
November 8th, 2010
03:57 PM ET

Letters to the President: #658 'Facing friction between friends'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is traveling in India. It would be so nice to get a postcard. Just saying.

Dear Mr. President,

Few things in life require as much tact, patience, and fortitude as dealing with two people who are your friends but enemies of each other. Every time you plan an outing or barbecue you have to decide which one to include (which means excluding the other) or you have to figure out how to invite them both but keep them in neutral corners like boxers between rounds.

Of course, the reason I bring it up is your travels to India where you are trying to reassure folks that, yes, we are your friends and you can trust us even as we remain friends with your bitter rivals in Pakistan. I'll grant from the get-go that this is a little dicier than arranging a seating chart for a banquet, because usually even if Aunt Sophie can't stand Aunt Theresa, ("It involved a jello salad, your Uncle Malcolm, and a Polaroid. And no I don't want to talk about it!") it’s unlikely that she'll drop a nuclear bomb on the offending relative.

Still, there are basic principles which I find useful in such situations, which may help you in your travels.

November 8th, 2010
11:13 AM ET

Heroes nominator: 'I knew that millions of people around the world would be touched and moved to action by Susan’s story.'

Program Note: CNN Heroes received more than ten thousand nominations from 100 countries.. A Blue Ribbon Panel selected the Top 10 CNN Heroes for the year. Voting for the CNN Hero of the Year continues through November 18th (6am ET) at CNNHeroes.com


Saul Sarabia
Nominated Susan Burton | HER STORY

Courage. This is the word that ran through my mind when I first met Susan ten years ago, when she showed me the bunk beds she had put in two bedrooms of her home to house women released from prison with addiction problems. She did not know how to incorporate a non-profit organization and had no financial grants or donations. She just knew she was going to provide a high-quality environment to support women who had been exactly where she had once been. She gave me the courage to go on the journey with her and to support her efforts over one decade.

When I watched CNN Heroes last year, I felt connected to each of the finalists by the fundamental human desire for justice. It was Thanksgiving night and after hearing the details of these amazing people working against all odds, I felt moved to submit Susan’s story of hope and inspiration online. Also every piece of food, every bed and blanket she offers costs money. I was hopeful the attention would increase her resources to continue her work.

Filed under: CNN Heroes
November 8th, 2010
10:15 AM ET

Bush writes of anger, resolve after Sept. 11 attacks

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, gave his administration a clear goal and him the resolve to find out who was responsible and "kick their ass," former President George W. Bush writes in his new book.

In "Decision Points," Bush describes his reaction when his then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice informed him of the crash of a third airplane into the Pentagon.

"I sat back in my seat and absorbed her words. My thoughts clarified: The first plane could have been an accident. The second was definitely an attack. The third was a declaration of war," the former president writes in his 481-page book, which goes on sale Tuesday.

"My blood was boiling. We were going to find out who did this, and kick their ass," Bush writes.

"In a single morning, the purpose of my presidency had grown clear: to protect our people and defend our freedom that had come under attack."

CNN on Friday obtained a copy of the book, being released by Crown Publishers.

In the book, Bush also recounts the government response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Full story

Filed under: 360° Radar