July 20th, 2011
11:59 PM ET

Crime & Punishment: The Barefoot Bandit’s outrageous adventure

Editor's note: Watch Ted Rowlands' report about Colton Harris-Moore tonight on AC360° beginning at 10pm ET.

(CNN) - When 20-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit,” is talking about his two-year joyride running from the cops his attorney John Henry Browne says he’s mesmerized.

“There’re a lot of things that nobody knows about yet,” says Browne from his downtown Seattle office. “His saga is breathtaking in many ways.”

That saga ended in the Bahamas with Harris-Moore’s arrest last July. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with prosecutors and will likely be out of prison before he turns 30. “He wants to go to college” says Browne, “he wants to be a productive member of society.”

For more than two years Harris-Moore led law enforcement on a wild ride across nine states and three countries. He stole, flew, and crashed five airplanes.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment
July 20th, 2011
09:47 PM ET

Debt Deadlock: Join the Live Chat

We have breaking news on debt negotiations. Top Republicans and Democratic leaders each paid a visit to the White House today. Sources tell CNN's Jessica Yellin that there's real concern in Washington that even a compromise deal might not make it through the House. She'll have a live report from the White House. Plus, we continue our series 'Con Men' with a look at the so-called 'Barefoot Bandit.' And, tonight's other headlines.

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
Beat 360° 7/20/11
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds up Sarah Winick, 7 months, during a campaign stop at Valley Plaza shopping center on July 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Romney criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the economy during the brief campaign event. (Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
July 20th, 2011
08:20 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/20/11

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!

Nick Freundlich
“Very kind of you, but I really can’t accept this baby. Try the Bachmanns."


"Baby poses with politician to boost its notoriety. Politician is visibly uncomfortable."

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
July 20th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

Obama continues debt talks with Democrats, then Republicans

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama held separate meetings Wednesday with top congressional Democrats and Republicans as part of ongoing talks on a measure that would raise the nation's debt ceiling by August 2 to avoid a government default.

With time running out to reach an agreement, the possibility of a comprehensive deficit-reduction deal sought by Obama appeared less likely, with the president and Congress instead being forced to focus on a more narrow goal of increasing the government borrowing limit in the next 13 days so it can pay its bills after August 2.

At his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney signaled to reporters that Obama would be willing to accept a short-term increase in the debt ceiling - which caps the amount of money the government can borrow - if it is tied to agreement by both parties on a broader deficit reduction deal sought by the president.

Obama previously rejected such a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, and Carney's remarks sought to bolster support for a compromise in the talks as the deadline for default nears.

"We believe a short-term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal is unacceptable," Carney said.

He later issued a statement on the matter that said Obama opposes a short-term extension of the debt limit, but "the only exception to that is in the event that both sides reach a deal on a long-term extension of the debt limit plus significant deficit reduction, and we needed a very short-term extension (like a few days) to allow a bit of extra time for a bill to work its way through the legislative process."

So far, the main sticking point in negotiations has been Republican refusal to accept increased tax revenue sought by Obama and Democrats as part of a deal. Spurred by conservatives elected with tea party backing, Republicans seek to shrink the size of government through spending cuts while either keeping tax revenues where they are now or reducing them through a reformed system.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 20th, 2011
07:30 PM ET

Former NFL players: League concealed concussion risks

Los Angeles (CNN) - Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players' brains but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010.

The players "did not know the long-term effects of concussions" and relied on the NFL to protect them, the suit says.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant the football equipment maker Riddell Inc., which has been the official NFL helmet brand since 1989.

"For decades, defendants have known that multiple blows to the head can lead to long-term brain injury, including memory loss, dementia, depression and (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and its related symptoms," says the 86-page lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Tuesday.

"This action arises from the defendants' failure to warn and protect NFL players such as plaintiffs against the long-term brain injury risks associated with football-related concussions. This action arises because the NFL defendants committed negligence by failing to exercise its duty to enact league-wide guidelines and mandatory rules regulating post-concussion medical treatment and return-to-play standards for players who suffer a concussion and/or multiple concussions."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday night that the league had not seen a copy of the suit but would "vigorously contest any claims of this kind."

Riddell declined to comment, issuing a statement saying only, "We have not yet review(ed) the complaint, but it is our policy to not comment on pending litigation."


Filed under: 360° Radar
July 20th, 2011
09:30 AM ET

Feds investigate Minn. school district after civil rights complaint

Editor's note: For more on this story, watch AC360 tonight at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. For a full investigation into the Anoka-Hennepin student suicides, watch "CNN Presents" on Sunday, July 24, at 8 p.m. ET.

(CNN) - Federal authorities are investigating "incidents involving harassment and bullying" in Minnesota's largest school district, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in an email to CNN.

The civil rights investigation is currently underway in the suburban Minneapolis school district, Anoka-Hennepin, a community already embattled in a culture war over homosexuality in the classroom.

The Justice Department together with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights are looking into "allegations of harassment and discrimination in the Anoka-Hennepin School District based on sex, including peer-on-peer harassment based on not conforming to gender stereotypes," according to a district memo provided exclusively to CNN.

The party filing the complaint was not named due to privacy concerns.

The district said the joint investigation included interviews with staff members by federal authorities.

"The Department is committed to investigating allegations to determine whether there are violations of federal civil rights laws and will use the enforcement tools at our disposal to protect the safety of students," wrote a Justice Department spokeswoman in an email to CNN.

The federal investigation comes after a string of seven student suicides in less than two years, which stirred public debate over the district's sexual orientation curriculum policy.

Parents and friends say four of those students were either gay, perceived to be gay or questioning their sexuality, and they say, at least two of them were bullied over their sexuality.

It's unclear whether the suicides or the policy are a significant part of the federal investigation. The controversial policy, adopted in 2009, states that staff must "remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation" and that "such matters are best addressed within individual family homes, churches, or community organizations."


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Gay & Lesbian Issues
July 20th, 2011
12:38 AM ET

Letters to the President: #912 'The rising movement for a balanced budget'

Reporter's Note: The press for a balanced budget amendment continues, as does my effort to write to the president every day.

Dear Mr. President,

Regardless of your political bent, it seems to me that it is relatively difficult to make the case against a balanced budget these days. I don’t mean in hard core economic terms. Heaven knows that economists can make the case for almost anything. I’m talking about in general, regular folks, public terms.

Related: House passes GOP debt measure; Obama praises compromise plan

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not choosing sides, or saying we should or should not have an amendment to that effect. I’m just saying that millions of American families have been forced by the economy to balance their own budgets, often at great hardship, and you can understand why they might bristle if DC appears to be telling them, “Nice job! But we don’t want to be troubled by such matters.”

This is the minefield you must negotiate: You must effectively argue against the Republican tactic without appearing to say, “No, I just want to go on spending.” Uh…unless of course, that is what you want to do…in which case, never mind.

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
July 20th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

RidicuList Classic: Fountain Lady

Editor's note: This RidicuList originally aired in January 2011.

Related: Fountain Lady honored with second spot on The RidicuList