January 2nd, 2013
11:56 PM ET

Sandy Hook students to return to class

The students who attend Sandy Hook Elementary School go back to class on Thursday for the first time since the shooting that left 26 dead. They are going to a different building in a neighboring town and there will be a heavy police presence when the children and faculty arrive.

CNN's Gary Tuchman spoke with the daughter of the principal who was killed in the shooting, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung. Hochsprung's family has created a memorial fund to honor her passion for teaching.

January 2nd, 2013
11:12 PM ET

Earmarks included in fiscal cliff deal

The VP of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Steve Ellis, discusses tax incentives in the fiscal cliff bill that cater to special interests.

Filed under: Congress • Fiscal Cliff • Taxes
January 2nd, 2013
11:10 PM ET

KTH: Fiscal cliff deal filled with pork

So what is really in the fiscal cliff legislation?

Of course, there are the widely-known sticking points the two sides have been haggling over for weeks: extensions of the income tax cuts for middle and low-income earners, the current estate tax rate, and the alternative minimum tax.

But there's also a provision on two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles, renewable energy, and rum.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which passed the Senate early Tuesday morning, is a vehicle for a number of regular year-end tax extenders.

Among the extensions is the excise tax carry-over on rum produced in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It's a federal tax of which most is paid back to the islands.


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Filed under: Congress • Fiscal Cliff • Keeping Them Honest • Taxes
January 2nd, 2013
11:08 PM ET

Thousands still without power after Sandy

New York State Sen. James Sanders Jr. says Washington doesn't get how difficult it is to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

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Filed under: Congress • Hurricane Sandy
January 2nd, 2013
11:07 PM ET

KTH: Outrage after House delays Sandy aid

More than two months after Superstorm Sandy hit, victims are still suffering and in need of government relief funds.

January 2nd, 2013
09:02 PM ET

Letters to the President #1444: 'Cutting a messy deal'

Reporter's Note: Republicans and Democrats in Congress finally struck a deal to avoid the so called fiscal cliff. The president is relieved. I mean, he’s relieved to receive my daily letter…who knows how he feels about the budget deal?

Dear Mr. President,

If there is one message we can take away from the past few days it is this: Government is messy. Messy as a new puppy, or a teenager, or my garage.

Striking that deal on the fiscal cliff is an accomplishment, yes, but look at all the carnage that surrounds it. It came so late that neither party can really, reasonably expect anyone to admire their efforts on this front. It included, as legislation so often does, items that were rushed in at the last moment that even now are making watchdog groups raise their eyebrows. And most notably, somehow in the rush to deal with all that the Republicans in the House sidestepped approving aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy, and no matter what their intentions were, that landed like a hog falling off a building in New York and New Jersey.

Probably one of the messiest parts of all to this however, is the end of the payroll tax holiday. To be honest, very few people…including most of us in the media…said much about it until right up until nearly the end of the year, but this is a change that is absolutely going to cost a lot of middle class families money. As best we can compute it, the additional taxes for those folks (or the return to standard taxation, as it is probably more accurately describes) means most middle income families will have hundreds or thousands of dollars less in their pockets this year…and the next, and the next, and on and on, because that money is going to the government.

I mention it, because I think an awful lot of people did not see this coming, and while they will get used to it, I would not be surprised if some of them also resented it a bit. Who will pay the price politically? Well, maybe no one. Maybe it’s not enough money to make that kind of a difference. But coming as it did as yet another messy part…a nasty surprise…in a very messy deal, I would not bet on that.

I hope all is well. Call if you can.


Tonight on AC360: War on Kwanzaa?
January 2nd, 2013
05:45 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: War on Kwanzaa?

Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman is not backing down on his characterization of Kwanzaa. In a press release titled “Why Must We Still Hear About Kwanzaa?,” he accused “hard-core left wingers” of using the holiday, celebrated by African-Americans in late December, as a way to divide the country.

Grothman claimed “almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa,” and he directly went after the creator of the holiday, Maulana Karenga, and teachers who talk about it as “real” with their students.


Filed under: Kwanzaa • Roland Martin
January 2nd, 2013
01:23 AM ET

Norquist: Fiscal deal doesn't violate pledge

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist says technically lawmakers didn't violate their anti-tax pledge by voting in favor of the fiscal cliff deal, which increases tax cuts on households earning more than $450,000 annually.

He argues that because the Bush tax cuts expired the day before the vote, legislators were essentially cutting taxes by supporting the new bill that passed in the Senate and House on January 1.


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Filed under: Congress • Economy • Fiscal Cliff • Taxes
January 2nd, 2013
12:56 AM ET

Anderson Cooper: Psy surprise was weirdest NYE moment

The night after their 2013 New Year's Eve show, Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin sit down to recap the best and most unexpected moments. On the list, Korean pop sensation Psy arriving unannounced with MC Hammer to crash the live broadcast in Times Square.

"He was pushed on by some Psy PR team...I don't think he knew where he was. I don't think he knew who we were. I don't think he realized he was on CNN," says Anderson, who is still baffled by the surprise visit.