The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Last weekend, we asked iReporters to say "thank you" to someone or something in honor of Thanksgiving. We expected lots of thoughtful and touching submissions, but didn't predict how many of you would thank other iReporters and CNN! davidjw thanked CNN and gave a heartfelt shout out to several fellow iReporters. "It's been a wonderful ride, and I certainly have made a lot of good friends," he said. He acknowledged many iReporters, including sunethra, who also thanked CNN "for giving us this great Web site of friendly iReport people where I have found and made a lot of sincere friends." Those friends include iReporter and photographer JamesAmerson, who recently sent her a book of his photographs. "I feel like I'm getting my voice heard," said KyleHD. "Thank you for letting me express myself." OCGirl echoed his thoughts. "You've enabled so many people to have a voice," she said. We are so touched by all of these iReports, though you are certainly the ones that deserve thanks. Without you, iReport.com wouldn't be the amazing site that it is. Thank you for your fantastic contributions and suggestions from across the United States and the world. This site has grown so much, and it's thanks to you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. You all deserve it.
Thanksgiving is so close, you can almost taste the bountiful turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. But the food isn't really what this holiday is all about. Nor is it about giant inflatable cartoon characters floating past a certain department store in New York. Seriously, it's about giving thanks. In the spirit of the season, we have a fun assignment to complete over this weekend: we're asking you to simply say "thank you." Feel free to be creative. If I were able to do this assignment, I would thank the guy who once jumped onto the train tracks in a subway station to save my wallet from imminent doom. Or, I might simply give thanks for those socks that have the little toes built into them. Whoever thought of that, I salute you. Point is, we want to know who (or perhaps what) deserves a "thank you" in your book. Pull out your video camera and fill in the blanks: "Thank you ______" Or, scribble your message onto a piece of paper. Or, take a beautiful picture that sums up your thankful feelings. (Extra points for hand turkeys!) We want to see your messages of thanks as Thanksgiving approaches .
Do you have any TV obsessions? Now's your chance to iReport about them! Onetime ratings powerhouse "Heroes" has been in the news for the past few weeks after viewership has declined and two of its co-executive producers were fired. Watch the new episode Monday night and then let us know on video what you would do differently with this show. Have you been a fan from the beginning, and has the new season let you down? Or do you think the show is just as good as ever?
If the adventures of Jack Bauer are more your thing, the two-hour movie "24: Redemption" airs Sunday night, and it’s the first new "24" in nearly two years. Are you glad to see Jack back? Or has the show "jumped the shark"? Share your thoughts with us after watching the show, on this or other TV topics (Who should win "Dancing with the Stars"?) here, and they could appear on CNN or CNN.com!
After watching the interview on Wednesday's "Situation Room," jjj979 said Huckabee did a good job of addressing his concerns. "He was right that the GOP ignored black voters throughout the election and just assumed that they would support Obama," he said. "However, I would've liked to hear more about immigration because I feel that the Republican Party's policies on immigration have lost them the Hispanic vote for a long time."
Huckabee's interview performance impressed other iReport submitters like davidseaman . While he was disappointed that his question wasn't chosen, davidseaman kept an eye on the interview and said Huckabee did well. "He seems nice and totally reasonable, despite the fact that I disagree with him on a lot of things," he said of Huckabee.
We updated the iReport system this morning to make some changes you can see and some changes you can’t see. First, you will notice some changes in terminology we use on a couple of pages:
The “Flag for Review” link on comments and stories is now labeled “Report Violation.” We wanted to make sure users understand we are counting on them to help alert us to problem posts.
When new stories are still being processed by our servers we have changed the label you see while you wait to read “Uploading.” Just a little more accurate description of the processing that is happening between the time you click submit and the time the story shows up on iReport.
When you are viewing an iReport story you will now see a line above the comments that tells you which assignment the story was posted to. This was added based on feedback from the community (yes, we are paying attention to all those comments!).
Under the covers we are continuing to make changes aimed at making the site more responsive. This time you should see faster loading on the “My Stuff” page and on the list views for specific tags. We also made changes to retry uploads several times automatically if minor errors occur on the first attempt.
What do think? Let us know in the comments!
iReporter interpilot (real name: Stig Andersen) was working on a movie set in Santa Barbara, California, when a fire broke out nearby. He took out his camera to capture the Tea fire, the first of several wildfires to hit the state over the past few days. Andersen got some stunning footage of the “massive inferno.” He says this is the worst wildfire situation he has seen in California in 30 years. Andersen told his story to CNN’s Creshon Saunders via webcam this past Sunday. Check it out here . And do you have footage or photos of one of these wildfires? Share them with us here .
Andy Betz gave up his dream job as a loan lender earlier this year when the mortgage crisis dried up his client pool and depleted his income. Just before he did, money had gotten so tight that his family sold their Ellicott City, Maryland, home.
Even though he had eight years of experience in the industry, he said he was rejected from job after job. He suspects he was lumped in with predatory lenders who had sold scores of subprime mortgages to homeowners. “The people in the mortgage industry were like pariahs,” he said. “I felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter.”
Betz loved working as a lender, but when he meets new people he shies away from telling them what he used to do. He doesn’t like the negative reaction he usually gets. He says he never sold a subprime mortgage and rarely sold a few adjustable rate mortgages.
“There’s not a lot of appreciation for the people that did do it right,” he said. “I was a solution for a lot of people and I take pride in that.”
After being unemployed for four months, Betz found employment a month and a half ago. He works in the restaurant and hotel supply industry, making less than half of his previous salary. Selling garbage bags and paper plates isn’t Betz’s favorite job, but at least it helps to pay the bills. “You do what you got to do to survive,” he said.
Betz isn't the only one hit hard by the economy these days. Are you worried about losing your job? Let us know.
We're always blown away when iReporters get to submit video questions for public figures and then have them answered. iReporters Svenchuck , DanMacMan and Plumstead got that opportunity Wednesday when Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared with Wolf Blitzer in CNN's "Situation Room." Check out this interactive video gallery showing their questions and video that includes Palin's responses. And here's a text transcript .
Just for fun, this time around, we checked back in after the fact to see how iReporters felt about the answers Palin gave. Plumstead, who asked about the future of Sen. Ted Stevens , said Palin might have been the slightest bit flustered over the question he asked. "It was pretty interesting to see her response to my question and the follow up about whether or not she would appoint herself. She started out by saying that she would not be egotistical enough to consider it but in the end would not "rule out any possibility" using the 'will of the Alaskan people' as her fuel. She looked a little nervous about it all."
Svenchuck said he was thrilled that his 8-year-old son got the chance to talk to CNN and that he got his question answered. He wasn't so sure about the answer he got to his inquiry, "Did God do the right thing?" "I assumed that when she agreed to take iReport questions she had staff monitoring your site to give her a heads up on possible questions. I'm sure she did, but she couldn't resist 'going rogue.' It was a yes-or-no question and she actually exceeded my expectations of religious blabber. Then again, maybe she was being nuanced."
DanMacMan asked about moderates' place in the evolving GOP, and said he felt dissatisfied with the answer he got. "I can't say that I was too impressed with Gov. Palin's answer to my question, or the fact that she didn't accept its premise. I think the results of past two election cycles have proven, at least in part, the shift of the Republican Party over the past eight years has had a negative impact. But I have come to expect such non-answers from the governor, and from politicians in general."
Frequent iReport video contributor chzman said Palin looked comfortable through most of the interview, only occasionally showing discomfort. He said he felt she handled the situation "admirably" and as well as she could have under the circumstances, adding, "I believe that she missed an opportunity to reach out to conservative thinkers on both sides of the political spectrum." He was particularly impressed with how she handled the question about Stevens. "I believe this question was handled professionally with an modest sense of not wanting to play dictator over the issue. But I sense that she would love to fire the arrogant crook."
WCNreporter said she wasn't prepared enough to perform well. "I think overall it helped me to understand Sarah Palin more, and just what she is all about. She probably should have agreed to do more interviews with the media before the election..that would have probably helped her credibility with the American people." Meanwhile, yorksnbeans is just sick of it all. "Yes, I watched, but it was just more of the same old Sarah that many of us want to just go away. My only advice on her is for CNN to let her go and get on with more important news of the day."
What do you think about Palin's performance? Comment below and tell us. Share your thoughts on Palin's future , or sound off with your thoughts on any topic you wish . But put your ideas together into a concise, thoughtful video and we're all ears.
We had a glitch yesterday that prevented a lot of iReport submissions from uploading. The iReport.com engineering team has fixed the problem and was able to save a lot of stories that were stuck in the pending state, but if your submission never finished uploading, it never made it to our servers.
We hope you'll try again now, and we are sorry for the inconvenience.
Science fiction author Michael Crichton passed away as the drama of Election 2008 was unfolding, but several iReporters took the time to pay tribute to their favorite writer in the middle of the presidential bonanza. Best known for dreaming up the dinosaur dystopia of "Jurassic Park," Crichton is also known for creating "Sphere," "Congo," "Coma," "The Andromeda Strain" and many more fragments of popular culture. His books (and often, resulting films) explored the meaning, consequences and horrors of scientific advancement in an unprecedented way.
kcrichton08 is distantly related to the writer and says he was and is a "legend in the family." Frequent contributor BarbRad says she feels his interest in science inspired her to pursue science and mathematics. And jraptor looks forward to getting a Crichton book each year at Christmas. He doesn't know what he'll do this year. The self-described "dinosaur enthusiast" has a full collection of memorabilia gathered from the film version of Jurassic Park.
Krispherein has read several books by Crichton as well and considered a career in science, too, and has explored the consequences of global warming. "Mr. Crichton always had a beautiful way of taking complex and elaborate scientific material and interweaving them into the framework of a thoroughly enjoyable fictional story," Krispherein wrote.
So, in honor of this acclaimed author, comment below and tell us your thoughts on Crichton, science, dinosaurs and writing. If you have a story or tribute of your own that you want to upload, share your thoughts right here on iReport.com.
Now that the presidential election is behind us, and along with it the campaigning that often drives us to see the world and its most pressing issues in polarizing black and white, both the Republican and Democratic parties are making calls for reconciliation.
In the spirit of those calls, iReport invited two of its most active voices on opposite sides of the political aisle to join in a discussion Sunday about common ground. Chuck Burkhard , who voted for Sen. John McCain and lives in a tiny town in western Pennsylvania, and David Kronmiller, who supported Sen. Barack Obama and lives in Burbank, California, talked face-to-face by webcam to see where they might meet in the middle.
While we talked, we discovered quite a few opinions that, despite their political differences, Kronmiller and Burkhard share in common: they said they think most issues are too complex to limit to just two choices, it’s naive to think one person is going to change the world all by himself, and as voters and as citizens it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves about our choices. And, no surprise, both Chuck and David said they’re equally bewildered by some of the off-topic comments they see on their iReport stories.
It was a great conversation, one that ended with the possibility that Kronmiller and Burkhard may even keep the discussion up on Kronmiller’s blog, The Avocado Jungle . We’d like to keep the discussion going on iReport.com, too. As Kronmiller put it, “People think it’s always this or that. But it never is. It’s always somewhere in the middle.”
Let’s see just where that is with a new iReport experiment: find someone who didn’t vote the same way you did, and invite them to have a conversation. See what you have in common. Let us know how it goes.
iReporter Shout Out!!!!!!!!!!! We’ve had a few shout-outs lately on iReport.com. KyleHD shouted out to marcusharun on election night : “I think I’m stealing these words from Marcus Harun, so I apologize, but… if you haven’t seen Marcus’s iReport , find it, because he did a really good job with it.” On Thursday, davidjw had a long list of shout-outs for his fellow iReporters, including janmarbol , tensoft , thegladiator and LadysHoodJnl.
Do you have a favorite iReporter (or three)? Take some time out to give them a shout-out on video!
It's time for another weekend assignment. We want to see the view from your window -- literally. Whether you're at work, relaxing in your living room or staying in a fabulous hotel, show us what the world outside looks like. This is a creative assignment, so have fun with it. Does your pet gaze longingly outside the window all day? Show us! Is your view obstructed by a neighbor's house? Share the pain. Tell us what makes your view so special and why you decided to capture it. You've got until Sunday to send in your shots. We can't wait to see the view near you!
When 91-year-old Armand Droz was admitted to the emergency room Tuesday morning in Tallahassee, Florida, he was devastated that he wouldn’t get to vote. But, thanks to his granddaughter, iReporter Christie Orros, he still got to cast his vote from his hospital bed. Christie called the local election office and arranged for her grandfather to vote by absentee ballot. She snapped us a picture of him voting.
Soon after voting, Armand’s symptoms grew worse. “He crashed right after this,” Christie said. “He told my grandmother and I goodbye.” Doctors were able to save him, removing the liquid that had accumulated in his lungs.
Armand has congestive heart failure. Armand, the patriarch of the family, pushed the entire family to vote, regardless of which candidate they were voting for. He switched his vote from Sen. John McCain to president-elect Barack Obama a night before Election Day. A recent article in Time was what ended Armand’s waffling between the two candidates.
“We’re a very tight-knit, Southern family,” Christie said. “Most of the people voted for McCain, except for me and him.” Armand didn’t believe his vote counted until his granddaughter returned later and showed him the stamp on the ballot from the elections office. Christie even presented him with an “I voted” sticker. Last we heard this afternoon, Armand was doing better and resting in the ICU. We hope for his speedy recovery.
Right now, the two are heading to Cedar Sinai hospital to have their first child. Earlier today, Tracie was standing in line to cast her vote when she started feeling contractions -- then her water broke. She didn't want to get out of line, but had no other option.
Doug raced Tracie to her doctor, who confirmed the great news. Tracie asked if she could still vote. Her doctor said she had several hours before she needed to get to the hospital.
"She wrote us a doctor's note," said Doug. "This is an important election for us, and we just didn't want to lose our chance to vote." Back at the polling station, Tracie and Doug handed election officials their note. "They brought us right in and to the front of the line and we both voted right away," Doug said. He snapped a picture as Tracie cast her vote . "We're going to get a new baby and a new president all on the same day."
All day long iReport stories from the polls have streamed in from around the country, helping to shed light on all the places and ways people are voting and document democracy in action. So many of the experiences you’ve shared are playing a big role in the way CNN is covering this historic election, both online and on TV. There's still a long way to go. We can’t wait to see how you're watching election results come in tonight and hear your take on the winner once we know who it is. Keep those iReports coming!
So with just a few days to go before the election, it should (almost) come as no surprise that Bailey was able to have a short chat with Gov. Sarah Palin (and grab a photo with Hank Williams, Jr. ) on the campaign trail. He asked her how more African Americans could be drawn to the Republican party. Check out the video here! Have you had any close encounters with the candidates? Send your photos and video here!
Even though he supports Sen. Obama, Oyeah 's (real name: Gregory Reese) motto is "Uniting the political parties with hip-hop and rap." In fact, he has rapped about Obama, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin . He went one step further in the bi-partisan spirit by attending a McCain/Palin rally last week in his hometown of Cincinnati. He iReported the event as the running mates arrived on a plane adjacent to the rally location. "It was actually very exciting!" he said, remarking that the crowd was "going wild."
Not to be outdone, McCain backer WCNreporter (real name: William Bernstein, Jr.) just iReported his third Obama rally in Virginia today. (He also iReported from a McCain rally two weeks ago.) Bernstein captured the mood and the excitement at these rallies, asking people in the crowd why they were supporting Obama. Are you attending a campaign rally soon? Don't forget to take along your camera, and send in those iReports !
UPDATE: Reese has now posted his rap about Sen. Biden .