Blog : November 2010
Only 5 countries to go! »

We're really excited because we've only got five countries to go in the CNN iReport Global Challenge. Those countries are Nauru, Palau, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. We want to hear stories from these places, because we've never received iReports from them. Our goal is to get an iReport from every country in the world. Do you live in one of these last five places? Have you been there, and have you ever tried to cover the globe? Maybe you have a pen pal or other contact in one of these locales. If so, we want to hear from you. Share your photos, videos and stories with CNN iReport.

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nsaidi
// November 30, 2010
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Posted in: global_challenge
Overheard on CNN.com: Craving Slurpees »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "The only thing coming out of the Slurpee Summit is brain freeze." --pmichner

 

President Barack Obama held a political summit with congressional leaders Tuesday, which yielded further talks on how to extend Bush-era tax breaks and an acknowledgement from Obama that he needs to reach out more to Republicans. Some have dubbed the meeting a "Slurpee Summit." The story was one of our most popular for much of the day and received more than 1,500 comments.

 

'Slurpee Summit' makes readers thirsty

 

Got a sudden urge to run to the 7-11? The term was coined after President Obama gave a stump speech describing Democrats working to "dig the car out of the ditch," while Republicans sat back "sipping on a Slurpee." When Obama originally proposed the aforementioned meeting, White House reporters immediately called it a "Slurpee summit." He got a response from Michael Steel, a spokesman for Rep. John Boehner of Ohio: "Let's hope the president will be willing to work with us to cut spending, stop the tax hikes, and get our economy working again. Then we can all go get Slurpees together."

 

We heard a lot of political discussion, and a lot of frozen-drink discussion. truth4u2c said, "Of course, now Obama says he should have worked with the GOP. Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have to in his second term had he done so in the first. But ooops." NewTrends wrote, "Obama is not about to bow down to the Republican menace. He must show that he's willing to compromise. The Republicans will stonewall again and Obama will get re-elected." Of course, talk kept going back to the slushies. justanother1 asked, "The better question is, which moron decided this was a good name? 'Slurpee summit'? Really?" ShaneB said, "I agree, let's all be derisive and name meetings based upon past ignorant statements. That is so not helpful." A lot of our commenters were craving the drink, like Freeman3000. Jigsaw3Dxxx wanted the blue flavor, while thadea wanted a Pina Colada. Commenter DrMengele wrote, "I like Slurpees and the head rush." Duuude theorized, "If the country keeps going like it is, Slurpees and Slim Jims are soon to become the national foods." Militia wrote, "This just in ... Willie Nelson was invited to the Slurpee Summit but was too stoned and arrived a day after it was over."

 

'Don't ask, don't tell' report reaction

 

Another heavily commented story was the latest in the ongoing "don't ask, don't tell" saga. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday the long awaited Pentagon report on the policy indicates that over two-thirds of service members do not object to gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. Putting an end to "don't ask, don't tell" would have "some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention," the year-long study found, but the effects would not be long-lasting or widespread.  Our commenters seemed to follow the ratio of the report.

 

TheVoices said, "I could have told you that. We had gays in my unit when I was in the Marines and nobody really cared as long as they did their job." judeluke2000 responded, "Every job has a job description, so this 'I'm willing to fight' argument is illogical. Lots of people are denied entry into the military. Moreover, gay men and woman are not denied entry into the military. They can't be 'open' about it. It is totally opposed to military cohesion to have a small percentage of men and women identifying themselves based on their sexual desires -- 'I'm gay, look at me!' " cmxsmitty said, "They can be fired for saying 'my partner and I went to the movies last weekend.' Straights can't. Get it?"

 

'Star Wars' vs. 'Star Trek'

 

The eternal debate continues. Not Yankees vs. Red Sox, not PC vs. Mac, but "Star Wars" vs. "Star Trek." Responding to the news that filmmaker Irvin Kershner had died, we heard lots of memories of the iconic science fiction trilogy. Kershner directed the 1980s "Star Wars" sequel, "The Empire Strikes Back." mikevnj wrote, "Rest in peace, Mr. Kershner. Thank you for making the best Star Wars movie out of the six." And then ... we also saw some other things come up.

 

jb5150 got the party started: "'Star Wars' is the kiddie version of 'Star Trek.' " dwight wrote, "The difference between 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' is the Star Wars universe revolves around the acclumation of wealth that derives into planetary empires. 'Star Trek' is mix of different planetary philosphies ranging from purely exploratory scientific notion's of finding ones self in the Universe while other's still use different forms of capital to find their way through the Universe." NoResponse said, "No, the biggest difference between 'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' is the story vs. the tech. Consider this: Star Trek spends half the show telling you what a Jeffries' Tube does, or what a tachyon pulse should do. 'Star Wars' tells you a hyperdrive makes you go really fast, and that's all you need to know- Then they get to shooting!" And xZSx taunted, "I very seriously doubt that the Federation fleet could destroy the Imperial fleet when the Empire's capital ships start at 1.6 km in length up to 8 km long on a Super Star Destroyer."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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nsaidi
// November 30, 2010
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Holiday scavenger hunt: The best finds »

 

Now that we’re all back home from the holiday of good eats and giving thanks, we figured we’d bring you some seasonal cheer by showing off the most interesting items from iReport’s holiday travel scavenger hunt.

 

We started out looking for five holiday travel items – from monstrous suitcases to neat roadside attractions – but we noticed that some of the most interesting sights we got were not on the list.

 

Tom Herod and his wife from Lovettsville, Virginia, travel to North Conway, New Hampshire, every Thanksgiving to be with friends for the week. He says they take a leisurely drive up north and act like tourists making stops along the way. They’ve been traveling with Chuckie the gnome for five or six years. They placed Chuckie in front of the famous Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, for a quick photo stop.

 

One of the best finds wasn’t an inanimate object – it was a boy flying across the country to surprise his grandmother on Thanksgiving! Kyle Keyser of Atlanta, Georgia, stunned his mother when he told her to check her email and she discovered her nephew waiting for her at the computer desk! He flew out his nephew from Colorado for the holiday. The family was spending Thanksgiving at his mom's house in Otto, North Carolina.

 

We saw signs from all sorts of states and cities as folks trekked across the U.S. The one that grabbed our attention was a massive Wisconsin-shaped sign from Jason Asselin. Kudos for finding an item on the list!

 

Thanks for participating in our little road trip experience and bringing a little fun to the drudgery of traveling during the busiest time of the year. Let us know what you thought about this scavenger hunt and share your thoughts for future games in the comments below.

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zdan
// November 30, 2010
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Posted in: stories
CNN iReport looking for a spring intern »

Want to work with the iReport team this spring? We're currently accepting student applications for our spring internship program at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Interns have the opportunity to gain valuable experience writing, editing and getting a first-hand look at user-generated news content. A few, like 2010 intern Jordan Sarver, have even written stories for CNN.com.

 

A few things you should know:

- The internship is paid at minimum-wage and lasts about 12 weeks

- Course credit is available for college students

- And – this is important – candidates must be CNN iReport contributors

 

Interested? Check out the iReport internship posting for all the details and to formally apply.

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katie
// November 29, 2010
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Posted in: community
Overheard on CNN.com: WikiLeaks madness »

Comment of the Day:


"So lets see, the president of France is an emperor with no  clothes, the president of Afghanistan is a paranoid flake, Putin is Batman to  the Russian president’s Robin, Saudi kings wants Iran beheaded, what exactly was  leaked that wasn’t already known and common knowledge to the masses? Unless you  are really blind you already know these "secrets.”  --waggendog


WikiLeaks’ release of some of the more than 250,000 cables sent by American diplomats from  2006 to February 2010 inspired much discussion. But many, including waggendog,  didn’t think the leaks from the whistle-blowing website were so explosive.  Here’s what others thought about WikiLeaks and the rest of the day’s top  stories:

 

Feds open criminal probe into WikiLeaks disclosures

 

There was a split between those who thought WikiLeaks was irresponsible and  founder Julian Assange should be punished, and those who thought that if  American had nothing to hide, it shouldn’t worry so much about what the cables  say.

 

Simon2010 thinks WikiLeaks is a perfect example of what the First  Amendment was written to protect. “Congratulations Julian Assange! You deserve  to be the TIME Person of the Year! It's funny how those who claim to promote  freedom of speech in the world are doing everything they can to silence you.  Keep 'em coming!”

 

heathey2 countered by pointing out the potential  consequences of the releases. “Perhaps you want to explain to those who could  die as a result of tensions in the Middle East because of these releases. If you  see broadcasting the property of somebody else to others as acceptable then you  are just as bad as he is. He has broken laws. It's like copyright but a whole  lot more serious.”

 

An interesting side conversation cropped up over  whether WikiLeaks is actually journalism. Mcdo4 called those behind WikiLeaks  “cowards,” adding that “they certainly live up to journalists’ bad rep,” while  567123 said Assange & Co. are “maybe some of the true journalists left in  the world.”

 

'Cyber Monday' is mostly myth

 

Commenters reacted to a story saying that Cyber Monday is more marketing ploy  than actual big shopping day with an almost unanimous response: Well,  duh.

 

“Wow, it is a marketing gimmick? No way!” said Bobington. “Did we  really need a report to tell us this? Black Friday is also a marketing gimmick,  is someone going to release a report on that too? Basically instead of wasting  your time writing reports like this, you can sum it up in one line: ‘People are  stupid.’”

 

Many used the story as an opportunity to bemoan how commercial  the holiday season has become. makemlaff said, “This season depresses me. I wish  it were more like Thanksgiving, where the whole point is to get together with  the people you care about and be grateful -- instead of this power-shopping,  deal-getting, wild-eyed, rabid, retail FRENZY it's become. Bleh.”

 

There’s  a simple solution to the insanity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, clovers said: Put your foot down. “Regardless of the cost to me, I will NOT have  retailers telling me when I will shop. I'll shop when and where I want. If I  don't like the price of something, I won't buy it, it's that simple.”

 

Leslie Nielsen, star of 'Airplane!' and 'Naked Gun,' dead at 84

 

Finally,  readers were saddened by the death of actor Leslie Nielsen, and enjoyed sharing  their memories and some of their favorite lines from his movies.

 

“Always  loved your work, sir,” said fidgetwidget. “Heaven is a much, much funnier place  today and comedy won't be the same here without you. Good night and sleep  well.”

 

JonfromLI recalled the umpire scene from “Naked Gun,” which he  calls “one of the funniest scenes in any movie.” “I can watch that scene 10  times in a row and still get belly aches from laughing so hard.”

 

And tipa052863 referenced what was arguably Nielsen’s most famous line, from the  movie “Airplane!”: “Goodnight Shirley. We love you.”

 


Your turn: Now that  you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views  align with theirs? Give us your two cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Posted by: yvonnezusel // November 29, 2010
 0 comments
Posted in: comments
A blog post called Shirley: Leslie Nielsen remembered »

Fans are mourning the loss of Leslie Nielsen today. The veteran actor passed away Sunday at the age of 84.

After appearing in dramatic roles for many years in movies like “Forbidden Planet,” and the TV series “The Swamp Fox,” Nielsen had what actor Michael McKean called “one of the greatest second acts in movie history.” After stealing several scenes in the comedy blockbuster “Airplane!,” he went on to appear in many comedy spoofs afterward, most memorably as Lt. Frank Drebin on the short-lived series "Police Squad!" and "The Naked Gun” movie trilogy.

CNN.com commenters and Twitter users are already posting some of their favorite lines from Nielsen’s career, especially “Don’t call me Shirley,” which was ranked by the American Film Institute in the top 100 movie lines of all time in 2005. Others like commenters Badger905 and LYORBEN remember lines from “Forbidden Planet” and “The Naked Gun.”

What was your favorite Nielsen line? Share it in the comments below, and if you had the chance to meet him, share your memories, like Al Mealey did, with the iReport community.

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hhanks
// November 29, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Giving thanks »

One of the best things about Thanksgiving – okay, besides the turkey and pumpkin pie – is the rare opportunity to slow down and think about the past year and all that you're thankful for.

 

Those of us on the iReport team have a lot of reasons to give thanks, most notably because of you, our wonderful community. Without your stories, photos, videos and comments, iReport would't exist. And thanks to you, we were treated to some amazing iReports this year, from a bison crammed into a car to first-person accounts of the BP oil spill. The stories you share are fascinating, creative, touching, funny, honest and unique, and make this site a one-of-a-kind place.

 

Thank you for being part of iReport and making it an even bigger and better community. To date, more than 700,000 people have registered for the site! To each and every one of you: Thanks.

 

(For those of you traveling for the holidays or lining up for Black Friday, we'd love to hear your experiences. Happy Thanksgiving!)

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katie
// November 25, 2010
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Posted in: community
No roundtable on Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving »

Tomorrow's CNN iReport roundtable is canceled for the Thanksgiving holiday, but we will be back next week (December 2) at 3 p.m. ET for our regularly-scheduled chat.

 

The CNN iReport desk will be staffed tomorrow, so if you see anything interesting on your holiday travels be sure to share it with us. And if you're getting up extra early to brave the Black Friday crowds, send us your photos and videos from the lines. We'll talk to you next week.

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davidw
// November 24, 2010
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Posted in: community
Overheard on CNN.com: Black Friday frenzy »

shopping

 

Comment of the day:

"I plan to start drinking tonight all through the weekend. That way I don't have to shop. Eat a little turkey. No, I mean a 'little' 12-pound turkey and some whipped potatoes. Watch football. Do nothing. Wheee." -- Kardiac

 

“Black Friday” is approaching, and CNN.com commenters are debating the merits of shopping online versus braving the early-morning crowds at the mall. Some, such as Kardiac, plan to skip the annual shopping frenzy.

 

You can see what readers have to say about this and the rest of the day's stories below:

 

Forget ‘Black Friday’; deals are online now

 

"What's not to love about online shopping?" asked JeffInDE. Liqmaticus agreed: "I gave up local shopping years ago. Already did all my Christmas shopping 100 percent online. No tax, no shipping, cheaper and a no-brainer. Some say that will hurt my local economy, and I say my local economy hurts my wallet."

 

Some readers questioned why anyone would get up painfully early, wait outside for hours and then jostle with other bargain hunters to save a few bucks, but LaughsAlot12 says it's worth it. "I saved 60 percent on my washer and dryer set; it was well worth standing in line for five hours. (I actually enjoyed standing in line; well, I took a chair, so I was sitting.) I met new people, got great deals and had a nice experience."

 

Others, such as Gawgous say Black Friday is like a sport. "It's about the thrill of the hunt! I get good deals online sure, but BF is different. Go ahead and stay home if you want, more deals for the rest of us true BF shoppers."

 

We also heard from readers such as Ohhhhnoooo, who say the holidays have gotten too commercial. "I have not and will not succumb to the to Black Friday/Christmas shopping frenzy. I buy my young son one or two presents, and we go to church, see an enlightening Christmas play and have Christmas dinner with our family, watch Christmas movies and enjoy our time together."

 

Five Facebook profile pics that make you look like a tool

 

Our commenters took issue with CNN.com contributors Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich's advice on choosing a Facebook profile photo. "So according to this article, the only acceptable pic is a mug shot, right?" asked BootsMegamix.

 

Darthcena, whose avatar image is a wedding photo, said there were good reasons to keep using it as a profile picture. "How about the fact we leave it up because it's a really good photo? It's not necessarily rubbing it in other people's faces; it's a memory of a happy time. Since when is that a crime?"

 

Some readers begrudgingly agreed that drunken party shots are a bad idea, but they also questioned whether the people who need that advice would be reading CNN.com.

 

And the winner of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is ...

 

Readers were also buzzing about the "Dancing With the Stars" finale, even though more people were talking about finalist Bristol Palin's mom than her tango. There was a lot of debate about whether the former Alaska governor's political clout unfairly helped or her daughter's chances.

 

Your turn: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Give us your two cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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davidw
// November 24, 2010
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Posted in: comments
New badges: Honoring iReporters »

new_badges

 

If you've ever filed an iReport or had one approved for use on CNN, then you’ve got a new feature on your profile page. We've rolled out a new set of badges to recognize your contributions to the CNN iReport community.

 

More than 100,000 people have earned these badges so far and we'll keep giving them out as more iReporters share their stories. If you want to participate, but don't know where to start, check out our Assignment Desk to see what stories we're working on.

 

Your iReports are really important to us because you help add depth, personality and your unique personal perspective to CNN's coverage of the news. We're excited to be able to recognize your contributions to the CNN iReport community.

 

Thank you to everyone for making CNN iReport such a special place. We'll be awarding more new badges soon, so keep commenting, sharing your stories and participating in our special projects.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// November 24, 2010
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Posted in: community
The first snow of the holiday season »

 

 

 

What’s wrong with this picture? Winter is still a month away, but that didn’t stop Mother Nature from dropping snow on much of the Pacific Northwest this week.

 

iReporters sent us pictures of snow-topped pumpkins, a lake dotted with ice-covered rocks, and a bus that skidded off the road due to black ice.

 

Winter officially begins December 21, when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky, also known as the Winter Solstice. But despite the early snowfall, most iReporters seemed excited to welcome the colder weather as it ushers in the holiday season.

 

Whether its fall or winter, we look forward to seeing much more beautiful snowy pictures. To share yours, visit our wintry weather assignment.

Posted by: sjunca // November 23, 2010
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Posted in:
Holiday travel photo scavenger hunt! »

As Thanksgiving approaches and folks are getting ready for the dreaded holiday travel rush, CNN iReport would like to lift your spirits with a fun challenge. Voila, it’s the holiday travel photo scavenger hunt!

 

We want to see all the kooky sights from your holiday travels so we can get a glimpse into what it’s like traveling for Turkey Day, whether it’s via planes, trains or automobiles. Think back to the road trip games you used to play during family car rides. What other items should we look for? Let us know in the comments below.

 

To kick things off, we’re looking for these five items first: the most monstrous bag you see at an airport or on a plane; ‘Welcome to’ state signs along the highway; your best/worst airport or roadside grub; quirky roadside attractions; and the best airport entertainment (airport smoking lounge, jolly bartender – you get the idea).

 

A big, honking sign welcoming travelers to the cheese state was the first road sign to catch our attention from Jason Asselin. And Marie Sager remembered to stop and smell the roses on her road trip along Route 66 out of Los Angeles. Good BBQ and cool jams at the Nashville airport proved to be a two-for-one finds on the scavenger hunt for Chris Morrow.

 

As the game continues, follow us on Twitter @CNNTravel, where we'll be throwing out new items for you to find. And while you're at it, tell us how your travel experience is going. Are you running into traffic, an airport security snarl or is it smooth sailing where you are? Send us a photo or a video and let us know. Happy holidays!

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zdan
// November 23, 2010
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Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: »

some_text

Kim Jung Un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jung Il, is believed to be next in line to rule the country.

 

   COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Only a truly idiotic government would leave some 26-year-old kid with the responsibility to make a decision like this. The North Korean people need to rise up and overthrow this frat boy before he makes Kim Jong Il look like Pope John Paul II." -- SCW2024

 

More than 4,000 commenters had strong responses to the report about North Korean attacks on a South Korean island that killed two South Korean marines and wounded 15 soldiers and civilians.

 

While there was some dissent over whether the U.S. should get involved, there was one thing almost everybody agreed on -- they think North Korea’s government is bad news. Check out CNN.com readers' responses to this and other stories:

 

South Korean leader calls for ‘enormous retaliation’ after strike

 

10PorkChops saw North Korea’s actions as the first step on the path to war:  A “U.S. defense official told CNN that the ‘hope is that this is just one isolated incident, not an escalation...’ Wars start with one isolated incident after another. It's only a matter of time now.”

 

Most cautioned the U.S. against getting involved, especially during a time when it has troops deployed in other troubled countries. Reader flane said, “So let the civil war begin, but this time, no American involvement, period!” And texasghost1 agreed, pointing out other conflicts in which the U.S. is involved. “[The] U.S. would have no chance in this if we decided to go in guns a-blazin'. We just went through a 12-round boxing match with Iraq, we are in round 10 right now with Afghanistan. ... [If] we start something with China and North Korea ... we would be crushed under the weight of exhaustion.”

 

Some think North Korea will only respond to aggression, and that the world is looking to the U.S. to lead the way. “ Reader OwMyBrain says, “North Korea needs someone to finally put their foot down before they will back off. It's pretty ridiculous because we can blow them up in a second (if throwing their weight around is the game they want to play. …[Y]ou can easily compare this situation to a bully on the playground. The bully will antagonize others until someone finally retaliates.”  And ModXell  says, “I hope they go to war. Finish an unfinished 55-year old business.”


Vick to speak to high school students about dogfighting

 

Do people -- particularly celebrities -- deserve second chances? That was the question that dominated the comments on the report about football player Michael Vick talking to students about the horrors of dogfighting.

 

Readers were pretty evenly split between those who thought Vick had done his time and deserved the chance to get back into America’s good graces, and those who thought that what Vick did was so reprehensible that he shouldn’t be allowed to play football.

 

JonfromLI says, “Only in America could an athlete with an IQ of 12 be convicted of a crime, be given a slap on the wrist and awarded with a new lucrative contract in the NFL. And Frontroe countered with, “A slap on the wrist? You're kidding, right? The guy received serious prison time and [lost] extraordinary amounts of money, including endorsements worth tens of millions of dollars. Since getting out, he's turned his life around and has done everything right. He supports the animal rights groups and is in the running for MVP, a true turnaround story. He deserves to be applauded.”

 

Reader qwertysaid pointed out that it’s possible to separate Vick’s work from his personal life: ”I think Vick is one of the greatest quarterbacks out there, and I love watching him play. But I keep it separate from who he [is] personally. I think he has every right to play football, but I can't support who he is as a person.” rer262 questioned how useful Vick’s talk would be: “Wow, I think it's great when role models who made a mistake speak to kids about their mistake, but dogfighting? Don't get me wrong, it's a terrible thing, but how many kids are considering starting dogfighting circuits?”

 

Prince William and Kate Middleton set date and venue for wedding

 

On a lighter note, readers responded to the story on Prince William and Kate Middleton setting a date and venue -- April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London -- for their wedding.

 

It was a fairly even split between “shrug/yawn” and “yay!” comments -- though the readers who are excited about the impending nuptials questioned why someone would comment on a story about which they purportedly did not care.

 

MrFixx says, “Get over it people, this story is about two people getting married, not the relevance of the royal family. Everyone questioning how this is news or the 20 people that posted ‘yawn’ spent the time to open the article and post a comment. ... Makes you wonder.”


Kris53 has circled the date on the calendar: “I watched when Charles and Diana tied the knot, when Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson married ... I'm not about to miss this one. This is Diana's son; it'll be something wonderful to look forward to.” But rmsbl4 wasn’t so enthused. “Hopefully only another 6 1/2 months to listen to this and their honeymoon non-news. Why don't they just elope and save people a bunch of money?”

 

Reader expat7611 points out a potential unexpected benefit from all the wedding hoopla: “I'm glad they are getting married. I live in a British Overseas Territories, so I see a public holiday in my April 2011 future. Woo hoo! Three public holidays in one week is sweet.”


Your turn: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Give us your two cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity

Posted by: yvonnezusel // November 23, 2010
 14 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on CNN.com:  »

TSA_screeners


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Can't we all get along for 4 hours?" – Fallowt

 

Airport odyssey reveals how awful and annoying we are

CNN.com reader Fallowt says flying is inconvenient and that security and crowded planes make travel even more annoying, but he adds that "whining about it doesn't help and just adds to the misery." CNN.com reporter Jessica Ravitz's experiences flying in and out of some of the country’s biggest airports -- and the travelers she encountered on her 5,900-mile trek -- inspired people to share their own stores.

 

Pat-down backlash grows during holiday travel rush

The Transportation Security Administration's new security procedures and passenger pat-downs has generated a passionate discussion on CNN.com. There have been more than 4,300 comments on the story, and readers are split fairly evenly, with some saying the pat-downs cross the line and violate civil liberties and others who say they don't love the procedures but think the security is needed to ensure flight safety.

 

CincyCat  asks if the TSA conducts full body screens at Greyhound stations and car rental places. "If they are truly interested in ‘safety,’ then they should also be at least as strict at these places since far more people are killed on roadways than in the airplanes." Landser adds that "flying has become a pain. What people don't realize is that we have the power over government. Don't fly and let them join the ranks of unemployment."

 

Robf11 says that people who are complaining about the screenings should "get a life." "If someone were to get on a plane with an explosive and blow … the whole plane up you wouldn't be crying, but your family would be, because you won't be here. What the heck is more important, a little bit of embarrassment or your life? I mean really, look at the guy who had explosives in his underwear. Stop the whining." Reader dav  says that people who opt out of the full body scans and choose a pat-down should have to go to the back of the security lines. "Really hope you enjoyed spending several hundred dollars for your plane ticket so you can do some silly protest and miss Thanksgiving. The planes aren't going to wait for you! Maybe the rest of us will be able to lounge out on all those empty seats you paid for!"

 

Judge hearing arguments in Oklahoma over ban on Islamic law in courts

Readers also were talking about a federal judge who issued a temporary restraining order against a referendum that would ban the use of Islamic religious law -- also known as Shariah -- in Oklahoma courts. The report inspired debate over the place of religion in society, and if religious law -- Islamic or otherwise -- should be recognized in the U.S.

 

Noboat1 says that "the people of Oklahoma spoke, 70 percent approved the amendment. Since when does the judiciary trump the will of the people? Something is wrong with this picture, if the court rules against the electorate, look out, cases like this will spread across the country like an out of control virus. Say goodbye to freedom and democracy as we know it (not that it's not on life support anyway)."

 

curtiscan responded by saying that "if 70 percent of the people vote for slavery in the U.S. then I imagine we should just go along with it? If 70 percent want to change the Constitution, then do that -- but in the meantime, the law is the law. We don't live under mob rule; we live under the rule of law."

Dmwin says that "people of all faiths and cultures come to America for freedom. Unfortunately they face persecution in their own countries and America.” However, jes77 argues that “if Muslims that want to continue their following of Shariah law, then they need to return to their country of origin and do so. They should never expect laws which have governed the U.S. for generations to be modified to fit their desires. Either abide by U.S. laws or leave the country. It is really that simple."

 

Your turn: You've read what other people are saying, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below, or you can sound off on video.


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// November 22, 2010
 23 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
CNN30: When the Berlin Wall came down »

 

In November 1989, the East German government took the historic step of opening its borders and the Berlin Wall began to come down.

 

Mark Cain was an American college student living in northern Bavaria. He and a friend packed a bag and hitchhiked to Berlin as soon as they heard the news.

 

Cain spoke recently with CNN Radio’s Steve Kastenbaum as part of the CNN30: Were You There? project. In the interview, Cain talks about scaling the wall, celebrating at the Brandenberg Gate, and getting to chisel off a piece of history.

 

Do you have memories or photos to share from the fall of the Berlin Wall or one of the other 29 events on the CNN30 timeline? Upload them to iReport, and your contributions could be incorporated into future CNN coverage.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 22, 2010
 1 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: To circumcise or not to circumcise »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I think we should circumcise San Francisco from the union. Just cut the whole city off and dump it in the ocean. Bet we wouldn't even feel it." --stonecrow

 

A man named Lloyd Schofield wants to add a new law to the books in San Francisco: A ban on all male circumcisions. Those who violate the ban could be jailed (not more than one year) or fined (not more than $1,000), under his proposal. Circumcisions even for religious reasons would not be allowed. Schofield and like-minded advocates who call themselves "intactivists" seek to make it "unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis" of anyone 17 or younger in San Francisco.

 

Discussion was, as you might expect, passionate. Check out CNN.com readers' responses to this and other stories:

 

'Intactivists' to San Francisco: Ban circumcision

 

We received more than 1,000 comments on this controversial story and a bunch more comments on a blog post about the story's comments. Commenters were extremely passionate participants, making multiple posts and engaging other commenters for hours on end. Some were incensed about San Francisco's Happy Meal controversy, and saw this as an intrusion onto personal rights, whether for the family or the baby. Sentiment was split pretty even. Some said it was a harmless operation, while others felt violated and feared altering a very personal part of their bodies. Those in favor questioned whether it was a good idea to wait for a more-complicated operation on a grown male. RKW29 said, "Happy Meals or circumcisions, this is getting ridiculous. Show me some facts that professional circumcisions are dangerous, unhealthy, or has caused impairment or death and I might reconsider. Show me evidence that eating Happy Meals responsibly and only occasionally caused detrimental health effects. Let people live their life the way they want for themselves or their children. My common sense says this is not child abuse and I certainly have no memory of [my circumcision]." jake1969 thanked his parents for circumcising him, and said there were many health benefits including reduced risk of getting HPV, herpes and HIV. "Anyone who is circumcised have any quality of life issues? Yeah, I didn't think so," No24 wrote. SteveOBoston said he had no issues and felt "no longing for what might have been."

 

talon4 was among the commenters advocating against circumcision, saying it is painful, unnecessary and harmful to sexual pleasure. blueparadise called circumcision a "barbaric procedure" that is traumatic for young infants and that removes sensitive nerve endings on the foreskin. Jnsvd241 wrote, "99 percent of you guys are looking at this the wrong way. You are saying that they are taking away 'your' rights [to circumcise], when it is not your right in the first place." frentress wrote, "I have three sons. The oldest was circumcised and the twins were not. Their father, my second husband, forbid it. For the two of them it was hard for them to learn to clean the area as very young boys. They said it hurt when they had to pull the skin back to clean, but they learned and got through it. As teens now in high school football they say they have larger personal parts then other boys because the skin is there, so of course it gives them the ego. I have had partners with or without and find that the ones without a circumcision are more sensitive. It is a personal descision. If they get this law on people, what is next?!"

 

Scientists capture antimatter atoms in particle breakthrough

 

Scientists have captured antimatter atoms for the first time, a breakthrough that could eventually help us to understand the nature and origins of the universe. Researchers at CERN, the Geneva-based particle physics laboratory, have managed to confine single antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap. This sparked a tangential discussion about science and society. inc0gnit0 wrote, "Philosophy, science, and religion all ask the same basic questions: Where do we come from? What is the meaning of existence, etc.? Philosophy tries to apply the human intellect through reasoning and logic. Science tries to do through observation and experimentation." TheOverlord responded, "You could write a thesis about this topic so I won't jump in deep except to point out that science is a tool, a very powerful one but still a tool. In itself science has no purpose since it is simply a methodology for determining fact from non-fact."

 

Barrinmw and several others bemoaned science education in the United States. "The truly scary thing in current times. The most advanced math you take as an undergraduate in college was created in the mid 1800's. The most advanced physics you take is 50+ years. To get into anything current you have to go into grad school and then, you only study what is new in your particular field. Scary when you really think about what that means." One unsigned commenter noted, "I cannot believe people were talking about traveling faster then the speed of light earlier in these comments. It's impossible by the way. And sorry for getting off topic." jphilly08 responded, "People used to think flying through the air was impossible, space flight was impossible, traveling long distances without a horse was impossible, curing diseases was impossible, talking to people far away over an electrical wire -- impossible! Sailing around the world, impossible! A black president -- impossible! Balancing the national budget -- impossible! You get the point."

 

Senate expected to pass black farmers settlement

 

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve $1.15 billion Friday to fund a settlement initally reached between the Agriculture Department and minority farmers more than a decade ago, according to Senate sources. Debate was lively, focusing on racial conflict as well as slavery and discrimination in U.S. history. Mickety wrote, "I am as white as they come. Seriously, if we were in the midle of black Africa, do you think we would get a fair shot at anything? Give them a break, pay them their money. As you know, they didn't get a fair shot here. Same for women and other ethnic groups." chuck916 wrote, "This country was built on the backs of African slaves and we get no thanks or apologies for it. This country became an economic powerhouse because of slave labor."

 

Some commenters thought the idea was insulting. believeyoume wrote, "Blacks will never reach equality and total assimilation, like they want, until they are treated like everyone else, and demand to be so. Just like Clarence Thomas when he didn't want to be considered at his university by any racial preferences, because he wanted to do things on his own merit, and not because he was black. There should be no such thing as subsidies, or tax breaks, or incentives, or whatever, for a race or ethnic group. That only further divides people." CrazyTown wrote, "When will we ever stop acknowledging differences in races and let the future children of all races and colors realize that all races are treated the same? Until this ever happens the United States will acknowledge and create racism. The days of favoritism or adjusted scores on testing, etc., should be banned as they are wrong. This just feeds the Klan or the Black Panthers or any or group to acknowledge and promote racism."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 19, 2010
 56 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on CNN.com: 'Teen Mom' charged »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I give America 75 to 100 years before it falls apart. It started in the mid-80s and has now progressed full force by the division between those who are educated enough to see this downfall and those who are not educated enough to even think critically. ... Goodbye America, it was nice while it lasted." --unsigned commenter

 

MTV's "Teen Mom" Amber Portwood faces felony domestic violence charges in her Indiana hometown because of incidents on her reality TV show -- where she is seen shoving, punching, slapping and choking her boyfriend, a police spokesman said. Several comment threads emerged, with a lot of frustration expressed in regards to this story.

 

Check out the following snapshots of CNN.com readers' response to this and other stories:

 

'Teen Mom' star charged with domestic violence felonies

 

Readers shared many gripes about the role of TV in society and a perceived different standard for domestic violence by women, against men. Ray2447 said, "Shelter and services are virtually nonexistent for male victims of domestic violence and their children, so those options out of a bad relationship, which are routinely available to women, are very often not available to men." AdmiralP wrote, "Granted, I do not think that anyone should be abused. However, the amount of men that report abuse are dwarfed by the amount of women and children abused by men. Not to mention the fact that most shelters, if they cannot accept men, will direct anyone in fear of their safety to a shelter that can house them."

 

wagirl wrote, "Love that people are thinking the punishment is too harsh or that she should get off completely. If she were a man doing the same thing to a woman, you people would be calling for capital punishment! Double standard anyone?" txntv responded, "Yes, yes, it is a double standard and I am OK with it." The same commenter noted that "my wife watches, I promise," adding that he had seen the clip. "She slapped him around a bit, but a freakin' felony?" rrod182 wrote, "The problem is it happened on TV, and if nothing is done about it then we are basically saying in our culture and to our children that it is acceptable." In fact, a lot of concern was expressed about showing such incidents on air. thinkingreal said, "I don't condone what Amber did. Oftentimes, it was hard to watch her being physical with her boyfriend and I felt that he had the patience of Job to take that abuse. That being said, leave it to MTV to exploit the situation and then cut her loose. In their other shows, they either remove the violent person or get them help. I have yet to see any help for this girl. Ratings rule in TV land."

 

Family waits to see if mother, accused of blasphemy, will be hanged

 

Our most-commented story today was about 45-year-old Asia Bibi, sentenced to death for breaking Pakistan's strict blasphemy law by insulting Islam and the prophet Mohammad. The crime is punishable by death or life imprisonment according to Pakistan's penal code. "Whenever I see her picture I cry," her daughter Isham Masih told CNN. "I want my mother back. That's what I'm praying for." We received well over 4,000 comments in response. The vast majority expressed outrage, one way or another. Sblount63 wrote in response to another commenter, "The United Nations has weighed in. The whole world is weighing in for this lady. I have been reading this story over a period of many months. Let's hope and pray her life is saved. Her daughters and husband need her."

 

CrazyDays asked, "So, where is the outcry from Christians around the world? If you threaten to burn a Quran, Muslims around the world threaten all manner of consequences for the act. But threaten to actually execute a Christian and there's no response from Christians?" Some, like NikolaiJumba, said the country should be left to make its own decisions. "It's their country, their values, their laws. Let them deal with it. We have convicted rapists and some murders walking our streets. Let's get our priorities right." Anchorman89 concurred.  We also heard from lots of people debating how Christianity and Islam get along, or don't get along. m1sterlurk said, "There's two kinds of people: People who believe that God created man in His own image, and people who believe man created God in his own image." sandman12 said, "I'll bet you if Jesus and Mohammed got together, they'd get along. All this religious fighting only corrupts the minds of our young children."

 

Imagine a moon base in 2069

 

A design competition, created by the nonprofit urban planning group SHIFTboston, asked participants to imagine a moon colony in 2069. Some dreamers and science lovers pitched their own ideas in the comments area. (A different piece on the capture of antimatter atoms was steadily gaining comments as this piece was written.) Mcrobolo wrote, "it sucks that I could be dead before any of this happens." We also had quite a few commenters stress practicality. sr439 said, "Lets solve all the problem on Earth first, before we start to expand ourselves to the moon, and start to mess that up too." drainedout2 said we should "ask these same people to create ideas to create jobs in this country. It's going to take a lot of imagination." pmichner pointed out that the grass isn't always greener on someone else's planet: "And all the moon residents would complain 'Aww! I want to live on Earth!' Humans always want what they don't have."

 

JonsZX2SR was a bit more optimistic. "We should have encouraged this kind of thought in 1980, instead of engaging in political fighting on this planet. My question is, why 2069, why not 2044 or even earlier? The sooner mankind diversifies off planet, the sooner we unlock our potential. Imagine self-sustaining habitats on the moon and Mars, as well as low-G cities embedded in the larger asteroids by 2020." formosa said we're not quite ready for that yet, except for a small outpost on the moon or possibly Mars: "Michelangelo designed flying machines in his time. But the technology was 500 years behind. We can talk about warp engines and space travel, but we may be thousands of years behind in technology." But all sparky45 could think about was the TSA pat-down for that flight. "Now hold still while we insert the lunar probe."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 18, 2010
 12 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Happy Meal toys are more than just a prize »

 

 

Kid's meal toys have caused quite a stir lately. The San Francisco, California, Board of Supervisors recently passed an ordinance banning the inclusion of toys with the meals that don't meet new nutritional standards. Eventually, Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, vetoed the ordinance. Newsom's veto could be overturned because the board approved the measure by a veto-proof margin.


The controversial move drew a lot of attention to Happy Meal toys, and we decided to ask iReporters to share their photos and memories of the little plastic souvenirs. We received numerous submissions from iReporters and many of them believe the toys don't encourage people to purchase an often-unhealthy meal. In fact, many say they don't even want the meal. Instead, they collect these toys because they take on a more personal meaning.


Shari Atukorala, of Kandy, Sri Lanka, keeps several Colonel Sanders toys she collected from KFC. The Colonel brings back memories of her childhood; she remembers flipping through her mother's magazines and looking at the glossy, full-page advertisements. "To know that Colonel Sanders is from the U.S. and now in Sri Lanka is really something big for me, and I love it." Atukorala isn't the only iReporter whose toy collection reminds them of the past.


Sandra Kent's collection has become a series of mementos from when her children were younger. "I have a Pokémon toy which reminds me of when [my kids] collected Pokémon cards and traded them with their friends," she said. Her favorite, a toy from the movie "E.T.," reminds her of seeing her children react as they watched the film together.


To some iReporters, these toys don't just represent memories of the past. For Cynthia Carr Falardeau, the toys have become a symbol of her daily struggle with her son's eating disorder. "My son, like [many] kids on the spectrum of autism, [has] eating issues. Due to sensory integration and being orally defensive, they are picky eaters,” she said. Falardeau sometimes finds that a kid's meal toy encourages her son to eat, even when his condition tells him not to.


iReporters say the Happy Meal toys have become important mementos in their lives. Do you have any special memories of kid's meal prizes? What do you think about the controversy over Happy Meal toys? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Posted by: nhieatt // November 19, 2010
 31 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
CNN iReport roundtable: 12 Days of Christmas »

Yes, it's a little early to get started planning for the holidays, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek of a creative and fun assignment we’ll be launching soon.

 

With the power of the CNN iReport community, we want to recreate "The 12 Days of Christmas" using a mash-up of your submissions. Starting on November 29, we'll issue a daily challenge looking for a different item in the song – lords-a-leaping or French hens, for example.

 

Here's a list of the items we'll be looking for: Partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, golden rings, geese-a-laying, swans-a-swimming, maids-a-milking, ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping, pipers piping, and drummers drumming.

 

Meanwhile, you can go ahead and start figuring out how to find, animate, act out or create these daily items. That's what we'll talk about today. We're looking forward to answering your questions and hearing your creative ideas.

 

Comments will open at 3 p.m. ET. Talk to you then!

Posted by:
 
katie
// November 18, 2010
 73 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Acts of kindness for brides who lost their gowns »

A lot of things could go wrong as you plan your wedding. But one thing many brides probably don't plan for is their beloved wedding gown going up in flames.

 

Sadly, that's exactly what happened to dozens of brides yesterday when a Chicago bridal shop burned nearly to the ground. Eva's Bridals was gutted by a fire that started in the roof and quickly spread throughout the shop and to the building next door, according to the Chicago Tribune. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

 

But one ray of hope for these devastated women comes from an unlikely source: Twitter.

 

Social media and PR guru Sarah Evans of suburban Chicago found out about the fire while reading the news online.

 

"I started reading online about brides who lost their dresses,” she said. “I think about, when I was getting married, all the different stresses that are involved with that. And then to have your dress go away right before your wedding? I can't even imagine."

 

Evans wanted to help, so she posted a message on Twitter – where she has more than 50,000 followers – offering to loan her own gown to one of the brides who lost theirs. Within minutes, other women were following suit.

 

"As soon as I did it, a bunch of other people said, 'Oh, I have a dress, I’ll loan a dress,'" she said.

 

So Evans got the idea to create a publicly viewable Google spreadsheet for women who wanted to loan their dresses to enter their information: Size, description, whether they could ship or deliver the dress, contact info, and the like. Fifteen minutes after it went live, 12 women had already responded, offering their gowns to the brides who lost theirs. Brides in need of a dress can browse the spreadsheet to find a dress that would work for them and then contact its owner by email.

 

"I've had the dress just sitting in the closet for a couple of years now, and I can't use it, so why not donate it to someone who lost theirs?" said Kelly Williams of Raleigh, North Carolina, who offered her dress (pictured above) on the spreadsheet.

 

Evans hopes to eventually expand what she calls a random act of kindness: "I hope to be able to turn this into a larger project to loan nice dresses to people who maybe can’t afford them," she said.

 

If you have a wedding dress or bridesmaid's dress you'd like to loan to a bride who lost hers in the fire, enter your info on the spreadsheet here.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// November 18, 2010
 17 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: Comic relief »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "The Greenless Lantern?" --bbare89

 

The authors of a satirical graphic novel, "The Adventures of Unemployed Man," wrote an opinion piece for CNN explaining why they made it, saying they think the "country needed a dose of emergency comic relief." We received an extremely interesting response to this story, with some readers coming up with their own superhero ideas, and a great many others feeling that the story was unfairly attacking capitalism.

 

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we would like to know: Who's your economic superhero? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to check out the responses to this and a few other stories from today:

 

Commentary: Unemployed Man vs. Superlotto!

 

"Captain Hindsight" was SanityinKS's simple suggestion, which got kudos from An0nym0us2U: "That should be part of it, too, that people are telling them all along that this won't work, but nobody listens." allmosttoast suggested "Indebt Dude and his sidekick Bankruptcy Boy," plus Scam-man's cadre of Madoff Men and FedGhost, "a pseudo-government type who weaves intricate but transparent plots to destroy the currency of nations." Authors Erich Origen and Gan Golan actually participated in the comments conversation as well, which was pretty cool, regardless of your political stance. ErichOrigen replied to allmosttoast that there were "over 100 villains to choose from" during the creative process including Loophole, The Deregulator, Alien Greenspan and The Invisible Hand. Another commenter named GawdAwful continued the storyline: "In the next installment, Unemployed Man will battle the insidious Dr. Part-Time, who surrounds our hero with his endless gangs of Temporaries who are ready to work exactly 39 hours a week so that they do not qualify for any benefits and will accept minimum wage!" ErichOrigen responded that Unemployed Man encounters a 32-hour salaried position with no benefits during his first interview.

 

Of course, plenty of people were doubtful about the graphic novel's message, and said there are lots of factors to consider when examining the issue of unemployment. Galt2012 wrote, "Please don't buy into this. It's low-rate propaganda. Face it, when you attack capitalism itself as an enemy you're advocating socialism. And I don't say that word as a catch-phrase but because it's quite accurate here." jabawakki found many like-minded commenters after posting this note: "How many people on this forum would starve if they got stuck on a desert island because there's no one there to 'give' them a job? Go outside, grab a rake, and find out who will pay you to clear their lawn. If that doesn't work, find out how else you can trade value for value. There's no phantom out there hoarding all the jobs, just those fortunate people who realize that feeling they deserve something doesn't make it real. Has it really improved your life at all to have an arsenal of good excuses to why you're broke?"

 

FDA calls 7 caffeine-alcohol drinks unsafe

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the manufacturers of seven caffeinated alcoholic beverages Wednesday that their drinks are a "public health concern" and can't stay on the market in their current form. Commenters were largely outraged by the decision, with many citing Vodka and Red Bull as a popular drink. nicarobwa asked, "Is Irish Coffee going to be banned as well?" writeaway wrote, "I agree with the manufacturer. Typically a college-age drink, Red Bull and Vodka have been a popular mixer for years. Anyone who drinks to excess faces the same risks as anyone else who indulges anything at all to excess. The fact that you now have a brand new singular and physical representation of something that has always made people act like idiots has offered up an easy scapegoat."

 

Not everyone is in favor of the drink. phantasma said, "There's a liquor store across the street from my house. Since this stuff became available the chronic inebriates line up like the opening to a new 'Star Wars' movie at 7 a.m." An unsigned commenter wrote, "With that kind of packaging and branding, they were looking for attention. Its target is obviously young adults who want to get wasted and party. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it looks reckless. And sorry, this isn't your grandmother's Bailey's and coffee."

 

'South Park' sued over viral video

 

The producers of "South Park," along with Comedy Central and parent company Viacom, have been sued for allegedly infringing on the copyright of the YouTube viral video "What What (in the Butt)," according to The Hollywood Reporter. While a few people came to the defense of the lawsuit, by and large, our commenters were not impressed. Garrett said, "So....what's next? Is George Lucas going to sue Mel Brooks for 'Spaceballs'? Is 'Saturday Night Live' going to be taken off the air? The examples could go on and on. The lawsuit clearly has no merit." Brandon wrote, "The lesson learned here is don't put things on youtube if you don't want them ripped off by others who take advantage of the fact that it is just 'another dumb video on YouTube.' YouTube is a crutch for hacks who can't stand on their own." Ray said, "It's freakin' South Park! They should be honored that a parody was made about them!" And Kevin noted, "There's a disclaimer at the beginning of the show. Did they miss that? I hate people."

 

Brandy booted from 'Dancing With the Stars': Anyone else outraged?

 

We also saw a ton of comments about Brandy Norwood's exit from "Dancing with the Stars" while Bristol Palin remains. According to TMZ, a man shot up his TV because he was so angry with Palin's performance on Monday. In response to that incident, Sandy wrote, "Anyone who shoots up a TV should be locked up for life. He's dangerous to himself and others. And over a TV program and a dance contest? If I were his wife, I'd pack my bags fast and get out and leave no forwarding address." Garry said politics played a role: "Upset? You betcha! I guess now we all realize there is something askew in the voting. ... This is DANCE contest, not a venue for politics." justme responded, "I don't think it is fixed or miscounted or anything like that, I think she keeps winning because the whole dang state of Alaska is voting for her."

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 17, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Join the iReport food drive »

Today's the last full day to vote for the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year. Voting ends Thursday, November 18, at 6 a.m.

 

U.S. hunger remains at its highest level in 15 years, according to a report out this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

The report found 17.4 million families -- nearly 15 percent of U.S. households -- lacked money to feed one or more of their family members at some point last year.

 

Of course, hunger is a global crisis. As the holidays approach, we’re challenging iReporters to fight the problem in your own community.

 

For the past few weeks on the This Just In blog, we’ve been offering tiny ways that you can “Be A Hero” in your own life. Last night, we kicked off an iReport food drive.

 

Will you join us?

 

1. Scour your cabinets for canned goods or other non-perishables you aren’t planning to eat.

 

2. When you go grocery shopping, drop a few extra pantry staples in your cart. It doesn’t have to cost anything if you pick buy one, get one free items.

 

Many supermarkets have drop-off points for food bank donations during this season. In the U.S., Feeding America has a list of some food banks across the country.

 

Before you drop off your donation, make a note of how many cans or products you’re giving, snap a photo and upload it to iReport with your story of how you helped fight hunger this season.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 17, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: Lore of the ring  »

"It's just a ring that belonged to his late mother, who meant a great deal to him just as this young woman does; it's not some magic ring that needs to be thrown into the flames of Mordor. The paparazzi will follow her even if she had a produce twisty-tie ring on because of who she's getting married to." --lanhub, in response to MattCR

 

Britain's Prince William is engaged to Kate Middleton, and has given her the engagement ring his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, got from his father, Prince Charles, he said Tuesday.

 

The announcement has generated lots of buzz (and attracted lots of comments). Check out what CNN.com readers had to say about this and other stories:

 

Prince William gives Diana's ring to fiancee Kate Middleton

 

More than 2,000 comments had flooded in by the time this post was written, making the prince's engagement to Middleton the most-commented story on CNN.com today. Much of the buzz centered on the role of monarchy in modern society as well as congratulations to the prince and his new fiancee. (Share your well-wishes and thoughts at CNN iReport) Chamorrita wrote, "It's about damn time he proposed. Jesus, what was he waiting on? It's only been eight long years! LOL! Congrats to the couple. I know Princess Diana is smiling down on her son. She should be very proud of both her boys." One very interesting thread to emerge was the discussion about ring-giving traditions. Commenters shared their own stories and gave their thoughts on Prince William's decision to present his mother's ring.

 

Kats50 said, "I think it was wonderful he gave her his mother's ring. It shows strength and love toward his mother, and shows Kate he puts her up there right next to his mom. It's cute and I wish them nothing but the best! The only downfall is that Diana is not here to see the man her little boy became."  Some commenters wondered if the ring would bring bad luck. MattCR wrote, "I wish them the best of luck, but this seems like a bad omen. Why give Di's ring to a women who has already been concerned about the media following her?" moiraesfate said, "I wear my mothers engagement ring in spite of the fact that her marriage to my father went so horrible. We couldn't afford a ring, and its the most precious thing I own. How is that wrong?"

 

House panel finds Rangel guilty of ethics violations

 

A House ethics subcommittee found longtime Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel guilty Tuesday on multiple violations of House rules. The subcommittee, according to California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the ethics committee chairwoman, found "clear and convincing" evidence of guilt on 11 of 12 counts, including failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic, misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes and improper use of government mail service and letterhead. Commenters were outraged. skurno wrote, "Charlie Rangel is probably guilty of a whole lot more that this. The sad part is that this is just the latest example of how our representatives feel that they are above the law because of their tenure. How could the citizens of New York re-elect him?"

 

ADB212 said that now "he'll get a strong rebuking and slap on the wrist. What a joke. You and I would be looking at jail time, and certainly lose our jobs. But not in Congress." PalinNope said, " You people act like this is something so unheard of in U.S. (or world) politics that it's unique. It isn't. He's in a position of power and he abused it. Very few people just serve and then go home without enriching themselves in some way. What he did makes him about average for a politician." bobfairar responded, "It may be normal in D.C. but it is wrong, period. No excuses, he needs to be permanently banned from Congress, his pension removed, and stop receiving paychecks. You know darn well that in your job there would be no trail, you would be fired immediately."

 

'Space-time cloak' could conceal events

 

New materials with the ability to manipulate the speed of light could enable the creation of a "space-time cloak" capable of masking events or even creating an illusion of "Star Trek"-style transportation, according to scientists in London. In other words, an object could seem to change location instantaneously. Commenters talked about the science of the article as well as the feasibility of this project. For example, jermag23 said, "This isn't news, we've known about this for a long time. Still, as a physicist myself I'm skeptical of it materializing, as well as the fact that the hype behind this article is extremely out of hand. Among so many problems, not even considering hypothetical problems, the first that comes to mind is that if you're physically invisible in the terms of this method, you're also completely blind and there is no way around that outside of making your eyes not invisible."

 

A lot of readers, like Anolderguy, said their minds were bent by the story. "Seems like mixed metaphors to me, light cloaking and time travel. But I suppose they could be related. If there is time travel in the future does that mean time travel already exists? I think I'm getting a headache." In response, relaxed noted that "time travel into the future is pretty well accepted," but not time travel into the past. "The past is not a place, it is merely history, a memory. The future is real and the present keeps going there. We are currently traveling into the future at the rate of one second per second. However, if you travel at relativistic speeds your personal clock will slow down relative to everyone else. This has been demonstrated many times with particle accelerators. Time travel is what we do. We just do it in one direction." As the clever puns rolled in, the commenter went on to say, "I guess it is just too irresistible not to make light of this article."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 16, 2010
 5 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
A mother remembers her caring son »

 

 

Editor’s Note: Home and Away is an ongoing initiative to honor the men and women worldwide who died while serving in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can learn more about the project here.

 

 

Pfc. Paul Orazio Cuzzupe wasn’t the kind of man you’d picture wearing combat boots and aiming a machine gun. The 23-year-old soldier, nicknamed “carebear” by his comrades, was more the type to comfort a wounded soldier with a song or a smile.

 

Annette Kirk, his mother, remembers him as a musician and a loving son who cared for everyone, especially the children in his family. “Becoming a combat medic seemed fitting to his personality,“ she wrote in his Home and Away tribute.

 

Cuzzupe was killed by a roadside bomb in Akhtar-Mohammad-Khan, Afghanistan, on August 8, 2010. He sustained severe wounds due to the attack and could not be saved.

 

“It's so sad to have such a beautiful young man, who shared so much of his life, leave us at the young age of 23,” his mother said. “Paul left us to be with other brave soldiers who gave their lives so we can all enjoy the freedoms we are accustomed to. He is truly my hero.”

 

Kirk shared photos of her son and a song on iReport called “Rebirth” that he wrote before he was deployed to Afghanistan. The youthful, catchy song and snapshots show a young man who had a life ahead of him and so much to share.

 

As a mother of four, Kirk admired her son’s ability to be supportive of his family and still sacrifice himself for them as well as his country. “These men and women believe in something that not everyone understands, they are willing to put their lives on the line to protect our freedom that we all enjoy and sometimes take for granted,” she said.

 

If you lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan, or know someone who has, please submit your tributes through the Home and Away page. Click on the Afghanistan or Iraq tabs and search for his or her name. From there, you can submit your photos, videos and memories. We look forward to adding your tribute to this very special project.

Posted by: sjunca // November 16, 2010
 29 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: X-ray vision »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: " 'The big bad gubment touch me down there.' These people ... will be the first ones to scream for more security if terrorists strike again with airplanes. If they want to look at outlines of my junk, have a blast." --happyhiker

 

The video showing software engineer John Tyner refusing an X-ray scan at the San Diego, California, airport, including a request that officials not "touch [his] junk" during a pat-down, has sparked a debate over screening procedures that is getting tons of comments.

 

Check out CNN.com readers' response to this and other stories.

 

TSA: Despite objections, all passengers must be screened

 

Overall, readers were split between those who don't mind airport security procedures at all -- some even preferred the X-ray scanner -- and those who were outraged about the potential for invasion of privacy and other issues. Several commenters compared X-ray scans to pat-downs. Many of the posts were quite colorful. One unsigned submitter said, "How much longer until we are required to bend over and endure the cold finger of 'security'?" Another poster, PSAGuy, said, "Man are we a nation of prudes! Big whoop. Someone sees you naked in a scanner. Who cares?"

 

Despite the discussion being silly at times, lots of important issues were discussed. Many of our commenters said that getting X-rayed is "not a big deal," as did Macker1283, although "the guy seeing your skeleton on the other side of the curtain might know whether you wear boxers or briefs!" In one exchange, ED4 wrote: "Apparently it will take a successful airline bombing before these people believe the threat is real. Near misses don't seem to count." PilarJ responded, "We believe the threat, we just aren't buying the idea that this does anything about it." While AwesomeBob brashly said he wanted ladies to be aware that he had "nothing to be ashamed of," effedup noted he was concerned. "I wonder how long it's gonna be before we have to submit to this type of screening to board any train, bus, or boat here in the U.S.? And how long after that are we gonna start getting pulled over while we are driving down the street so they can scan us and our car and make sure we're not al Qaeda?"

 

Arizona voters approve medical marijuana law

 

By a margin of about 4,300 votes, Arizona voters approved a ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana, state election officials said Sunday. Our commenters were almost universally in favor of this outcome. A significant portion of the discussion centered around surprise that California didn't pass Proposition 19 and references to the illegal immigration controversy in Arizona. Larry789 wrote, "Wow, good for you citizens of Arizona, didn't think you had it in you." Or, as scranton said, "Just legalize it already and be done with it." Some commenters insinuated that Proposition 19's failure was because of underground markets' fear of competition or regulation.

 

bremen3011 wrote, "I'm sure medicinal marijuana has it's benefits, but I think it's gonna be abused mostly to just get weed and get high legally. As for Proposition 19, even if it did pass in California, it wouldn't have been legal under federal laws meaning as hard as California tries to keep it, it will get shut down by the government. All it was was a sense of false hope for all the potheads and supporters. I live in Arizona, and I'm cool with medicinal marijuana. Just keep that crap out of my face is all I ask. It smells terrible and makes people stupid." This poster got a response from heisnot: "I agree. But I think it is important to make a clear note that this was passed in Arizona. Whereas California didn't pass their recent Prop 19. It's very telling of the mentality of Democratic voters lately. You guys don't support your own kind."

 

Pastor says student's suicide was tipping point for his coming out

 

The founder and pastor of a Georgia megachurch said Saturday that the September suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi was the tipping point for his decision to come out of the closet to his congregation. We received many, many comments on this Belief blog post regarding the church and Clementi's story. PGF said, "It's a pity to have a situation like this at this time but good for the 'man of God' for at least he confessed; however he MUST step aside as the pastor of that church because souls will be lost as the church will be divided over this development and his intention to remain as the 'pastor in charge.'" Miranda thought about the family: 'I feel sorry for the women that this pastor had children with. Imagine being married to a man who then decides he's gay."

 

Frogist wrote, "I am glad you have started on your path of authenticity for what you feel is important in your life. But I am most glad that Tyler's story made an impact on you. And that his death has created an opportunity for honesty and acceptance." We also have a Belief commenter who uses the moniker Jesus, and he wrote: 'If I hear one more person use my name as an excuse to judge others and hate another because you think that's what I'm thinking, you have no idea what it means to be a compassionate, authentic human being.' The post got a reply from Peace2All: "@Jesus ... This seems to me, in my opinion, like something the real Jesus would say."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 15, 2010
 69 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Colleges fight for Quidditch World Cup »

 

The fourth annual World Cup of Quidditch came to New York City this weekend -- with a few Muggle limits, of course. There was no flying involved, but pretty much all other aspects of Harry Potter's favorite game were accounted for. iReporter Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere was at Dewitt Clinton Park in Manhattan to capture the magic.

 

 

Colleges from across the country came together to play the Hogwarts game of choice. Present on the quidditch pitch were Harvard, Yale, Tufts, NYU, Middlebury, Penn State and Michigan State, to name a few.

 

 

Harvard students left their broomsticks -- essential for quidditch play, of course -- on the field as they huddled before the game.

 

 

Keepers defended the improvised hoops (made from hula hoops) during gameplay.

 

 

The area around the field was hung with banners, just like in the Harry Potter books and films, and many spectators dressed in the traditional witch and wizard cloaks.

 

 

And, just like in the "real" quidditch of the books and movies, the game at times became a bit violent.

 

 

The winning team, Middlebury, took home this handsome homemade trophy. They defeated Tufts 100-50 in the final game.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// November 15, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: Kittehs in the news »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "My cat does not agree with some of the findings of these researchers. The following is a statement from Teddy the Cat:  'Meow meow meeeow meow. Meow meow. Meow? Meow meow meow. Barf.' I think the hairball speaks for itself." --Sildemark

 

It's Friday, so we wanted to end on a fun note. Our four-legged furry friends have made a few headlines as this week comes to a close. Research on how cats drink, and a story about a mix-up with a "Garfield" cartoon on Veterans Day, created a stir in our comments area. We'll start off the roundup with these two stories.

 

Check out what CNN.com readers had to say about these and other top stories in the news:

 

Science figures out how cats drink

 

Readers lapped up a lot of science from this article, and quickly moved from a drinking kitty to the merits of research. 2nova joked, "If this information is to be used in the development of robots that can drink neatly, I hope they thought to also look at why cats licking in moist cat food flick little bits of it all around their food dishes in an 8-inch spray pattern." Responding to a slight bit of mockery of scientific types, MiddleMomDoc thought she saw some "jealous nerd-bashing" and went on to say, "These are the people who will help us compete globally." And, as any smart kitteh knows, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." Outraged2 regrets not cashing in on a childhood discovery: "I think I was 6 years old, laying on my belly on the floor watching my cat drink from a bowl, when I figured this out all by myself."

 

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it surely fuels the human race, some said. Zaoldyeck wrote, "This study in fact has some very clear possible applications, however, that's not the motivation for doing science." Rather, because it's fascinating. oldcorps76 said in reply, "I believe the point many here are making is, aren't there more pressing subjects of concern for the expense of limited research funds than the dynamics of cat thirst-slaking that could have competed for the august researchers time and effort?" But JLS639 responded, "@oldcorps76 This sort of study costs very little money. All you need is a camera, a computer, some simple robotics parts and a physics-savvy graduate student. These were resources the lab probably already had. It may well be because of the current fiscal situation that they are conducting this sort of research."

 

'Garfield' creator apologizes for ill-timed Veterans Day comic strip

 

A cartoon joking about a fake "National Stupid Day" happened to be released on Veterans Day unbeknownst to creator Jim Davis, who issued an apology about the controversy. Readers on the whole were outraged that anyone would find the incident offensive. Lots of references were made to what some say is society's obsession with what some call political correctness. RAblackmail said, "So has Garfield stopped eating lasagna because of the childhood obesity problem? I know after decades of service Cookie Monster got the axe." Samilcar responded (referring to a measure restricting meals served with toys), "Only in San Francisco, where special strips are created to satisfy the legal requirements imposed by the city council."

 

BMWBiker was one of several veterans who defended the comic strip. "I'm a veteran. I did a career in the military and retired honorably. Jim Davis has never done a strip that's anti-military and this one is typical of Garfield's relationship with the spider. It's funny and should be left alone. Keep on drawing Mr. Davis!!" Mother73 opined, "This seems sad that Jim Davis even needs to apologize. We have become far too PC for our own good." alanjay wrote, "Suppose he didn't apologize; then people would probably just assume that he hates the troops." DanHalen666 wrote, "This is not Jim Davis's fault. Copy editors at the newspapers should have caught this and pulled it. Blame them." But Monkeypox wasn't surprised. "Garfield is an anti-American Commie cat. I knew it!"

 

Twin Tale: Rising China, Japan's setting sun

 

A story about two twins, one of whom lives in China and the other in Japan, raised some heavy-duty discussion in the shadow of President Obama's trip through Asia. Our commenters for the most part were not convinced that any one country has economic success all figured out. tfrys said, "Around 25 years ago, everyone was studying Japanese business models because they ruled the world. Now, those rules are seen for what they were. Today, everyone is saying Chinese business is the way to go. In 20 years, this will also be the same." kraznodar responded, "You forgot the whole 'American business is the way to go' which lead us to a global recession." kakash said the economy in China is built on largely unstable foundation, even a "powder keg waiting to blow."

 

We also heard from OxynMoon, who is a twin. "We are very independent. After we graduate high school she is going to move to Japan while I move to Australia. She is going to be a vet while I study marine biology." shinjukuboy wrote about life in Tokyo, and says Japan has a higher standard of living than China: "There are plenty of ambitious people here in Tokyo and life is good. That is why the farm areas are depopulating as young kids come to the big city. Interesting it seems that most of the comments are about China rather than Japan." As cordoba46 noted, that might be "because Japan is an old lady now, but China is a young teenager. Which one you are interested in?" And dongfanghong noted, "Well, China is the big story now."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 12, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
CNN30: ‘Have you seen O.J. Simpson?’ »

iReporter Wendy H. Wilkins was a student at UCLA when former American football star O.J. Simpson went on trial in Los Angeles, California, for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

 

The year was 1995. She remembers being stopped by tourists in Westwood, near the Brentwood neighborhood where Simpson lived.

 

"The first thing out of their mouths was, 'Where does O.J. Simpson live?'" said Wilkins, a financial marketing manager in Durham, North Carolina, who shared her memories as part of the CNN30 project, which asked people to offer perspectives on 30 events from the past three decades. "I was so struck that tourists were visiting Los Angeles and that's what they wanted to see."

 

She got used to it. In an interview with CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum, she talks about what it was like to be sucked into the trial – and what she was doing the moment the verdict came down.

 

Do you have memories or photos to share from the O.J. Simpson trial or one of the other 29 events on the CNN30 timeline? Upload them to iReport, and your contributions could be incorporated into future CNN coverage.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 12, 2010
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: Cruise blues »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I really need to start printing T-shirts that say, 'My grandparents went on a Carnival Cruise and all I got was this T-shirt and a box of Pop Tarts.'" --MaryLandMom (Photo: Courtesy Jim Grant)

 

Imagine being stuck at sea on a luxurious boat and eating Pop Tarts. Toilet problems and power outages notwithstanding, a few readers said the stranded cruise ship passengers aboard the Carnival Splendor couldn't really complain given all the suffering that goes on in the world. Others sympathized with the passengers' harrowing holiday, while still more imagined many of the passengers would have a great horror story to tell at cocktail parties.

 

Check out what readers had to say about this and other talked-about stories today:

 

Passengers: Mayo sandwiches, showering in the dark on cruise ship

 

JerseyMare said, "I feel that Carnival is doing what they can for these passengers to make the best out of a bad situation. For these people to think they had it so bad, let them go back and watch videos of what the Chilean miners had to endure for MONTHS." EvlScientist said, "If you choose to set sail in the middle of the ocean, maybe you should expect the worst."

 

But compensation can't make up for a ruined vacation, biketrip said. "Look, these folks had to take off a couple of weeks of work, right? That cost alone is way above what they are doing for them." dtboco3 wrote, "You would be upset too if you had paid thousands of dollars for a vacation and instead ended up adrift in the Pacific." In a separate comment, dtboco3 also noted, "Aside from the losing power part, it would actually make for an amazing vacation story."

 

Pilots urged to avoid body scanning

 

Ah, airline security. The wait, the sock feet, and sometimes even machines that can see you naked. Pilots' unions for US Airways and American Airlines are urging their members to avoid full-body scanning at airport security checkpoints, citing health risks and concerns about intrusiveness and security officer behavior. Our commenters sat on both sides of the aisle, and few were content with the window seat.

 

"This is why your dentist doesn't just hang out next to you while youre getting X-rayed," said effedup. "Because he does it 100 times a day and would glow in the dark if he did. Or turn into a superhero. Or get cancer and die." But JadeFalcon60 said, "I'm a little bit confused here, but I fail to see why a pilot or any of the flight crew should be any more exempt from a body scan over the passengers. The pilots and flight crew after all are the very ones who have control over everything on the plane."

 

Scientists discover unknown lizard species at lunch buffet

 

Researchers' determination that "undocumented lizards" could be found in Vietnam's diners was a recipe for conversation. CNN.com story commenters had lots to say not only about the practice of eating lizards, but also the culinary presentation of the meal in the photo. Stir in Geico gecko references, add some scientific analyses and let sit until clever puns start popping up.

 

Badger905 said the dish looked, "far healthier than the processed foods you find on the grocery store shelves in America. However, those tomatoes look kinda nasty." AlteredEgo proposed "lizard on a stick, corn dog style," and bbare89 suggested it be served "with bald eagle cakes and Brachiosaurus burgers," possibly "dipped in owl gravy" as NewTrends proposed. Meanwhile, plenty of commenters applied the scientific method. Linear was hoping to hear "more about the species" of female lizards that reproduce on their own. SammG, a botanist, said, "Any biologist working in developing countries knows to check out plant and animal markets from time to time."

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 11, 2010
 11 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
This week's CNN iReport roundtable »

Please join us for this week’s CNN iReport roundtable today at 3:30 p.m. ET. Come prepared as usual, with questions for the members of team iReport. We hope to see you there!

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// November 11, 2010
 100 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Happy Veterans Day »

To all the veterans out there, thank you for serving our country. We will never forget your courage. Happy Veterans Day.

Posted by:
 
zdan
// November 11, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
London protests turn violent »

Thousands of demonstrators swarmed London streets yesterday to protest a sharp tuition hike at British universities. The protests were mostly peaceful, but there was a pocket of violence as some students stormed the headquarters of the ruling Conservative party.

 

iReporter Mattia Reiniger was on the scene when things turned violent. She's a filmmaker who was interviewing protesters for a documentary she's shooting about graduates in the arts.

 

 

Reiniger says "police were scarcely present" as protesters took over the Conservative party's building. In this video, they can be seen swarming out of a side entrance after smashing windows, spray painting walls and throwing items off the roof.

 

Reiniger also captured amazing video of the protesters breaking windows and lighting fires outside the Conservative headquarters. At least 51 people have been arrested in connection with the violence.

 

The British government plans to allow universities to charge up to 9,000 pounds (about $14,500) per year in tuition fees, a substantial rise from the current cap of 3,000 pounds (about $4,800). Though she was not participating in the protests - just filming them - Reiniger says she understands the students' plight.

 

"The tuition fee increase will make it even harder for graduates to deal with the financial burden of higher education and discriminates against minority groups from less wealthy backgrounds," she said.

 

Are you from the UK? Let us know what you think about the tuition hike. And if you're viewing or participating in the protests, send us your photos and video, but only if you can capture them safely.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// November 11, 2010
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: STD diagnosis on phones?  »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I would only make love to iPhones. If it's a Mac you are less likely to get a virus."
--dosadai (Most-liked comment on the page)

 

Some talk show hosts are having a field day over a research project in England that aims to let people self-diagnose sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and syphilis by using their mobile phones. Here's a rundown of interesting tidbits pulled from today's discussions on CNN.com:

 

Mobile phones may diagnose STDs

 

Researchers hope users won't need to urinate or spit on their phones per se, but could theoretically put a sample of said bodily fluids on a chip that could plug into their device of choice. Readers mused about its uses and consequences, and amused with plenty of technology humor. Some of the jokes touched on privacy concerns.

 

gmcgee expressed a degree of uneasiness: "Next Up: "Smart phones that tell you how many people have STDs within two miles of you." Flooby asked, "So AT&T will know I have the Clap?" He got a response from TheeTommyGun: "No, no, no. They will know you have iClap." Oklahoma29 was just in awe of the technology: "I think the best part of this test is it will be affordable. This is definitely the future and if it can save just one life then it is worth it."

 

Pentagon can't explain apparent mystery plume off California coast

 

The Pentagon is unable to explain images of what witnesses took to be a high-altitude rocket launched off the coast of Southern California at sunset Monday, officials said. People seemed split down the middle about the plume.

 

"I'm playing the odds," said maybeben. "It would definitely be a weird contrail for a jet, but it would be even weirder to think that the military conducted a top secret launch within spitting distance of LAX or that it was accidentally launched from a sub." But as SilasDaRock eloquently put it, "There's enough military apparatus looking out over the Pacific for hostile engagement that they could spot pelicans getting nasty with each other at a hundred miles. Any significant aircraft will have a flight plan so that be easily verified by time. That they say they don't know is just insulting."

 

Obama arrives in South Korea

 

Readers are following President Obama's journeys through Asia and now South Korea. Fiery comments weighed domestic vs. global economic policy. spl1fr said, "This is the kind of stuff I expect the president to do. The countries he is visiting are up-and-comers on the world stage we really should have on our side. We already depend on South Korea for everything from cars to electronics to 'Simpsons' cartoons." borzzz said, "So, what EXACTLY is Obama getting out of this tour? He is supposed to boost the American economy and create more jobs. I have a feeling this is just another outsourcing in disguise to please the rich."

 

Many debated capitalism and the effects of foreign trade on the U.S. economy. federalist1 said, "Maybe if we stopped this greed and didn't think that we were entitled to more, more, more, we could live without all of the abundance and purchase some quality American products." MKF71 responded, "You're omitting the fact that those consumer [products] have become more affordable since your parents' days," and listed some items that have dropped in price. lostinsauce said, "The countries we want strong economic ties with don't have a population that can afford our products."

 

Further reading: Your comments on the Twinkie experiment

 

Discussions about food and nutrition are still piping hot. (See Monday and Tuesday's "overheard.") The Kansas State University professor who lost weight on a diet of mostly snack cakes created enough of a discussion that CNN featured several of readers' comments in a blog post.

 

YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your two cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 10, 2010
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
iReport Global Challenge: 12 to go »

We're down to 12 countries in our mission to approve an iReport from every country!

 

The iReport Global Challenge has given us a glimpse of tons of lesser-known places. In the past few weeks, we’ve learned about local life in The Gambia, a mountain pass railway in Eritrea (above, middle) and sea-level rise in Tuvalu (above, bottom) -- among many other pockets of the world where iReporters have visited or lived.

 

We've approved iReports from all but two regions in the world. Without peeking at the assignment, can you guess which two are left? Check out this interview iReport producer Katie Hawkins-Gaar did with CNN's Ali Velshi to find out:

 

We need your help to cover the rest of the globe. Do you know someone who has visited or lived in one of these countries? Tell them to send an iReport!

 

Countries still needed: Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Micronesia, Seychelles, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Tonga.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 10, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: global_challenge
Overheard on CNN.com »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Conan's cool, but that beard is heinous." --CeNsoriNg

 

Besides commentary on crimson-bearded comedy and the masturbating bear's lottery administration technique, Conan O'Brien's triumphant (depending on who you ask) return to basic cable drew a variety of opinions about who's the funniest funnyman. Our commenters yakked about the TBS show's resemblance to O'Brien's "Late Night" slot and the host's attitude toward his former employer.

 

'Conan' gives audience the moon in cable debut and The reviews are in on 'Conan'

 

Lilinzee said, "I am so glad Conan is back on TV! I have never been able to enjoy any other late night host the way I enjoy Conan. He is just so quick-witted and hysterical." arjun312 concurred: "It was so reminiscent of 'Late Night,' it was great. The smaller audience, the sophomoric humor, the 'just go with it' atmosphere. I hated Conan in the 'Tonight Show' format so it's so great to see him back in his element."

 

JohnRJohnson said, "I think he will never recover from the loss of his network jobs. 'Coco' is a funny and extremely clever guy, but his greatest strength is in writing and conceptualizing comedy skits. In front of the camera, he masks his discomfort and anger with volume and broadness that is, at times, embarrassingly transparent." pscates said the show was too much like what O'Brien had done on NBC, and even offered suggestions: "I would've taken these eight to nine months to create something really novel and fresh, and come out of the gate roaring. Don't go up against Letterman and Leno at their game, doing the same exact thing. Create something new for others to chase and emulate!"

 

Elizabeth Smart's other journey

 

Following discussion of the disturbing conditions of Elizabeth Smart's captivity, new threads began popping up as chatter shifted to Smart's new life as a Mormon missionary. CNN's story described mission life as a world of voluntary self-restraint and reflection, in which the missionaries are encouraged not to call home and to live a rigorous life of prayer. Most of the comments were in support of Smart and her work as a missionary. Many were personal stories.

 

JDog2 said, "The life of an LDS Missionary is a splendid one. I loved every minute of my two years. I made timeless friends. My mission means the world to me, I think about it every day and miss it with all my heart." MediaVirus said, "As an atheist, I have to say I actually think this is an amazing 'rite of passage' for Mormon teens. It may sound excessive to some but to have to fend for one's self in a completely new environment (whether that be Paris or Kentucky matters little) without the crutch of mommy and daddy to fall back on, is truly the best way for these teens to become true adults."

 

San Francisco may order Happy Meals to go -- permanently

 

News that the board of supervisors in San Francisco, California, was looking at formally approving a ban on most of McDonald's Happy Meals in their current form created much buzz. The vast majority of commenters thought the plan was an unfair intrusion into private lives by the government. Many looked back to childhoods decades ago, suggesting that Happy Meals are not incongruent with a healthy lifestyle.

 

LizardSF said, "A lot of the time, I really miss living in the Bay Area. This is ... not one of those times." expat7611 said, "I think the govenment has bigger issues to worry about. Lazy parents are the problem not the place of business." jag2210 asked, "How come in the 70's we ate this food and didn't get fat?" To which Viper1j responded, "I remember getting McDonalds $10 Gift certificates for Christmas presents as a kid, and neither I or my brothers has ever had a weight problem, kidney or liver problem. And we're in better shape than people half our ages."

 

Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your 2 cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video. Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 9, 2010
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Visiting Mumbai terrorist attack site brings comfort »

 

Almost two years after her husband and daughter died in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Kia Scherr is visiting the site for the first time. In one of the bombed hotels, she met face-to-face with President Obama and the First Lady and talked about her loved ones.

 

“It’s a very intense experience … This is where Alan and Naomi spent the last two weeks of their lives. In a strange way it’s comforting to be where they were,” she said, referring to the restaurant in the Oberoi Hotel.

 

Scherr and 12 survivors of the attacks met with Obama on Saturday in a lounge at the Taj Mahal Hotel, another one of the attack sites. Some were employees working in the hotels on the Nov. 26, 2008, the night of the attack. Scherr was invited to join by the U.S. consulate and was the only American in the group.

 

Shortly after Obama was elected, he and Michelle Obama sent the Scherrs a heartfelt letter of condolence. “The light that Naomi and Alan brought to the world will live on,” it read. The message resounded as Scherr shook Obama’s hand on Saturday.

 

“I thanked him for the condolence letter,” she said. “I really wanted to share with him that we could create a positive outcome from this tragedy by taking a stand to honor the sacredness of life in ourselves and in each other.”

 

Scherr felt like the Obamas empathized with the room of survivors and family members.

 

“They were both so open and compassionate with us. It was more of a connection of the hearts than the words that were said.”

 

In November 2008, Naomi and Alan Scherr had come to Mumbai with a travel group for a high-tech meditation retreat with the Synchronicity Foundation based out of Virginia. The pair was eating dinner in the restaurant of the Oberoi Hotel when it was bombed.

 

After the father-daughter duo went missing, Kia Scherr and her son, Aaron Butler, came to CNN iReport to share their story. We’ve continued to keep up with them in the two years since the attack.

 

Scherr came to Mumbai to visit the attack site, meet with survivors and more importantly, to spread a message of peace.

 

Now that two years have gone by and families have grieved their loved ones, Scherr says people are ready to find closure. She’s registering the One Life Alliance – a nonprofit made in the Scherrs’ names to honor the sacredness and oneness of life – as a charitable trust in Mumbai.

 

“This isn’t a sort of loss that you can ever really recover from. At the same time, I don’t want to live in a dark hole for the rest of my life,” she said. “I’m open to the possibility that there’s a positive outcome from this.”

Posted by:
 
zdan
// November 9, 2010
 16 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "This professor had a mission to prove that dieting is about calories; the diet should be taken with a grain of salt (no pun intended) for those without the same strict self-control to overcome rises and falls in energy." -- phalange

 

One of the most-talked-about stories today was about a professor's experiment in which he lost weight while eating junk food. Mark Haub's goal was to show that you could lose weight while eating dietary horrors such as Twinkies.

 

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

 

Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, said he does not encourage people to replicate his experiment. His efforts inspired an in-depth debate about crash diets, fad diets and other popular theories on how to lose weight. Commenters shared sentiments like phalange's, which said that while calorie intake may be lower and weight loss may occur, in the long run, such a diet may be impractical. Squimpleton joked, "Just wait until every bride goes into the junk food diet in order to get into their dresses," going on to say, "I'd rather have 1300 calories of nutrient-filled foods than 1300 calories of junk food simply because I hate feeling hungry."

 

No bail for suspects in teen beating death

 

Social and political issues dominated discussion once again. Commenters were on fire about a story about four Georgia teens who appeared in court on murder charges Monday morning. They were accused in the beating death of a fifth teen at a house party. It was our most-commented story of the day, full of discussion of race, society and politics. Tributes to victims were among some of the most intriguing responses.

 

sailorette23 said, "I cannot imagine what was going through [Tillman's] mind when the attack started and I cannot fathom the pain and confusion he felt wondering, 'Why me? What's going on? Why are they doing this to me?" Purrrlease said, "There are good people in this world. There are also bad people in this world. ... Instead of trying to lay blame on a race of people right now, how about you all just take a look around you and see what you can do to make a difference right where you are. Maybe you can prevent this tragedy again."

 

World's tallest Jesus statue completed

 

People are talking about how workers in Poland finished erecting the world's tallest statue of Jesus over the weekend, a 170-foot (52-meter) giant that towers over the countryside near Swiebodzin. "Seems to me that Jesus would be a lot happier if the money that it took to build this was used to help the poor," said user Brian. Another commenter, PaddyReagan, responded that the statue resembles the "Christ of the Ozarks" in Eureka, Arkansas, which is said to be among the top five tallest Jesus statues in the world. At least one other commenter referenced this other statue.

 

"No doubt the statue will have its intended effect and the community will benefit for decades to come," PaddyReagan said, adding that the Christ of the Ozarks is "only 67 feet tall and has been called the 'Gumby Jesus.'" Brian responded to PaddyReagan, saying, "No doubt that the community will benefit, but how many actual poor people will?"

 

Will Conan O'Brien live up to the 'Conan' hype?

 

It's now or never for embattled talk show host Conan O'Brien as he debuts with his new show, "Conan," on TBS tonight. Our commenters did not appear to be members of Team Coco, with many of our readers expressing preference for Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" or other programs of the hour. nlkeeper07 said, "People can't recognize comedic talent if it slaps them in the face. Conan is an amazingly talented comedian and you all need to learn what comedy is, because Conan is great comedy," to which elidude quipped, "And Yoko Ono can REALLY sing!"

 

SMSHCT wasn't sure, saying, "He only gained popularity for the crappy way NBC treated him. He wisely took the millions and ran. He will have a honeymoon period, but I strongly doubt great success." But RockyEmyWorld was optimistic: "I think Conan is the funniest of all the late night talk show host. I will watch tonight and see how it goes. I'm sure he'll be funnier than most. I really hope since he's on cable, he will let himself be edgier like I always suspected he wanted to be. That is all."

 

Will O'Brien's dancing taco resonate with viewers on basic cable? What about junk food and Jesus statues? These and other lofty questions are all yours in today's "Overheard on CNN.com." Share your thoughts in the comments area below or sound off on video.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com comment moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 8, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Monopoly lovers get creative for game's 75th anniversary »

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Seeing all the great photos and videos we've got for the 75th anniversary of Monopoly was a lovely stroll down Memory Lane, dead-ending somewhere around Park Place and the Boardwalk. We've passed Go with Sandra Kent's football Monopoly board, moving clockwise to Steven Ricard's Free Parking plate and then Kevin Tostado's photo of the actual Marven Gardens, which we learned is actually misspelled on the game board. In real life, Marven Gardens is an adorable housing development in New Jersey marked with a familiar yellow-and-white sign at the front. Tostado says some residents have adopted the Monopoly theme in small ways on the exteriors of their houses.

 

Another important stop on any Monopoly pilgrimage should be the giant Monopoly board in San Jose, California, as photographed by Heethe Ellsworth, Matt Reiss and Tostado as well. Tostado incorporated the location into his documentary, "Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story," and brought a couple champions to play a life-sized Monopoly game and roll giant dice, in addition to visiting champion player Jason Bunn in Leeds, United Kingdom.

 

Monopoly is truly a global obsession. Gero Breloer documented a birthday party thrown for Monopoly in Berlin, Germany. Darragh Bracken of Dublin, Ireland, showed us a public art project this past September in which floating Monopoly houses and hotels were set loose in the Liffey River. Rosanne MacCormick-Keen of Toronto, Ontario, couldn't resist taking pictures of a house that was boarded up and painted over to look like a giant green Monopoly house. She said the scene was at once fascinating and heartbreaking because the homes on that street were set to be bulldozed, and it reminded her of her childhood. Shari Atukorala of Kandy, Sri Lanka, has played the game ever since she was a kid and has a UK version now.

 

Our iReporters showed us some remarkable Monopoly stashes. Adi Wilk of Austin, Texas, even has a Monopoly-themed slot machine. Fellow Austin resident Jay Dean showed us a fantastic Christmas lights display in town that incorporates giant Monopoly cards along the sidewalk. Penny Raile of Los Angeles, California, converted two boards into a distinctive house that gets attention when people walk into her loft. Kimli Welsh of Vancouver, British Columbia, has a "Transformers" Monopoly game, while Kathi Cordsen of Fullerton, California, doesn't want to unwrap the Disney Monopoly board she got in 2001. We also saw a couple of Uncle Pennybags look-alikes in Jason Hino of Houston, Texas, and Ryan C. O'Connor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

Finally, Eric Bass of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, has even penned a song about the game. Monopoly inspires so much creativity. Why do you think it's so appealing? How has your impression of the game changed from childhod to adulthood? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments area below.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 8, 2010
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com »

some_text

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I wonder  how many elderly women, on flights right now, wish their old husband  would go to the toilet and return 45 years younger? " -- MatiValhalla

 

A young man disguised himself as an old Caucasian man, boarded Air Canada flight AC018 from Hong Kong to Vancouver and then changed out of his costume mid-flight. His almost unbelievable story created quite a stir.

 

Exclusive: Man in disguise boards international flight

 

MatiValhalla wasn't the only commenter who saw some humor in this story. ArtInChicago said the man "got the idea from the University of Notre Dame. They have had a bunch of guys disguised as a football team for several years."

 

STP84 said, "Holy c r a p! Can we skip all the lame movies and give this guy the Oscar for best makeup?"

 

Some commenters took the story more seriously and were concerned about the future safety of air travel. Alastes commented, "Great. Now you have to wonder how many people with incredible disguises like this actually make it through. Something new to worry about"

 

Debunking the myth: The cost of Obama's trip to Asia

 

Another hot topic among the commenters was the cost of President Obama's trip to Asia. They reacted to the claim that President Obama's trip to Asia was costing the U.S. government $200 million per day. The story sparked controversy as some questioned the motives of the anonymous source that reported the cost of the trip. Apaige said, "I suppose those who would blindly accept these figures would never even question the price of the war in Iraq."

 

Many commenters shared sentiments that were similar to Apagie's. ShadowGnome said, "We'll file this in the 'Republicans will believe and repeat anything they hear that is anti-Democrat, no matter how stupid' folder."


Brides buck tradition and ditch the white dress

 

Finally, on a lighter note, commenters voiced their opinions about how some brides are eschewing traditional white wedding gowns in favor of non-traditional dresses. lostinsauce said, "My personal opinion? My bride-to-be can wear whatever she desires. It's her day ... My day was the day she said, 'Yes.' The rest is not relevant."

 

lizziek shared, "I agree that each woman should be allowed to wear what she likes, but at the same time we should not deny that white has come to represent purity in our society. Does a bride need to be pure to wear white? No -- but, personally, I will wear white on my wedding day to symbolize the virginity I have kept and have been very proud to keep. I think it's equally important to support women like myself who still enjoy the tradition."

What do you think? Share your reaction in the comments area below or sound off on video at CNN iReport.

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: nhieatt // November 5, 2010
 15 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
CNN30: Remembering 9/11 »

 

Five days after 9/11, New York City iReporter Beth Alice took her camera downtown to document New York's grief. She developed the photos, put them in a box, and never looked at them again.

 

Until two months ago.

 

Alice shared her photos as part of the CNN30 project to commemorate CNN's 30th anniversary. She recently spoke to CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum about the days following 9/11, the photos she took and how that event changed her forever. The CNN Radio podcast is also available on iTunes.

 

Got memories or photos to share from 9/11 or one of the other 29 events on the CNN30 timeline? Your contributions could be incorporated into future CNN coverage.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 5, 2010
 6 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com »

 

COMET, ER, COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Wouldn't it be kinda funny if the comet started to fire back at the spacecraft . I mean it does kinda seem like it's taunting the comet." --Player63 (b2x2 responded and called the comet a "galactic Trojan horse.") 696 comments and 2,115 Facebook recommendations.

 

At least one commenter on today's story about a spacecraft that survived the closest encounter ever with a comet referred to Bruce Willis' appearance in the asteroid flick "Armageddon." Willis was also a part of the conversation about the blurry mugshot from 60-year-old David Cassidy's DUI arrest, sparking a spirited debate about the actors' resemblance to one another. 4thegood noted, "Imagine that, David Cassidy is 60 and Bruce Willis is 55, and David could star as him at a younger age!" The story overall got 2,826 Facebook recommendations and 354 comments, including several parodies of Cassidy's sugary hit song, "I Think I Love You." One such tune was "I Think I'm Busted" from DougHodges.

 

In other news, a story from last night, "Boehner says Obama health plan on the block after GOP wins," received nearly 10,000 comments and over 4,400 Facebook shares in the wake of the midterm election. It continues to receive comments, the majority of which appeared to be in support of President Obama's health care plan. "This plan does so much good, to completely dismantle it would be heartbreaking," said lmmmr. "My brother was diagnosed with cancer at 24. He was only able to receive treatment because this plan allowed him to remain under my parents' coverage."

 

Plenty of people were against it, though. Ianhatcher responded, " I'm happy for your brother and all that, but why should I have to pay for him having cancer? My premiums go up just so others can have insurance?"

 

We also heard about the now-smaller font used for Facebook statuses. Some people are having a hard time reading it. Many commenters said it wasn't a big deal and even shared tips for making the font bigger. Simply hold down the CTRL key and move your scroll wheel on your mouse. But jhl531 wasn't fully satisfied: "Yes you can do CTRL +, but you shouldn't have to. As a programmer myself, I find it mind-boggling that Facebook enforces a change like this and alienates a large part of their audience. Where is the user-friendliness in that?" Others commenters pooh-poohed location-based social media sites such as Foursquare after reading a story saying few people use them. In the words of RezPause, "Why do I want to share my location every few hours? And why are people so arrogant as to think everyone cares where they are?"

 

So ... does David Cassidy really look like Bruce Willis? What should happen with health care? Can you read that Facebook font? What do you think about the comments we're seeing in the news? Respond to these stories in the comments area below or sound off on video at CNN iReport.

 

-----------

 

Conversation snapshot:
Today's most-commented stories have focused on politics and drug enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, California. The outcome of the midterm election continues to be a hot topic, specifically the GOP's gains in Congress.

 

-- Obama: Move American people's hopes forward (4214 comments / 432 Facebook recommendations)
-- Authorities discover 30 tons of marijuana, border tunnel (2315 comments / 10,081 Facebook recommendations)
-- Poll: GOP candidates top Obama in hypothetical 2012 race (1,239 comments / 803 Facebook shares)


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 4, 2010
 7 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
CNN iReport weekly roundtable »

Join us today at 3 p.m. for the CNN iReport roundtable. It’s your “monthly Merv!” CNN media producer Merv Teo is back to answer your video and editing questions.


Need help with lighting? Not sure how long to hold a shot? Wondering what kind of equipment is best? Merv is your man! (For example, you might ask for how best to compose a shot while asking a question of Amy Sedaris or the cast of “Harry Potter.”)


We would also like to thank everyone who took part in the “I voted” sticker project. Check out more on that here.


Also, we invite you to ask questions of the world's mayors gathering in Mexico City later this month for a summit on climate change. This is your chance to ask local leaders about the role cities are playing in the struggle against climate change, how they plan to act, or what they’re doing to make their cities more livable. The best questions will be asked at the conference, and the answers will be turned into highlights for CNN International TV and CNN.com/environment.


In the meantime, come prepared with your questions for Merv and the rest of the iReport team, and we’ll see you at 3 (noon PT)!

Posted by:
 
hhanks
// November 4, 2010
 83 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Giants take the streets of San Francisco »

 

 

 

With all the talk about elections, you might think that our national pastime is politics. But don’t tell that to baseball fans in San Francisco, California. Midterm election mood swings couldn’t keep the crazed fans off the streets, as they cheered on their beloved Giants and celebrated their recent World Series victory over the Texas Rangers.

 

Nealan Afsari took a 15-minute walk from her home to watch the parade. Initially, she only intended to soak up the atmosphere as a casual observer but was soon caught up in the excitement and ended up with a "play-by-play" of the action given by by her friend. Afsari added, “The parade was so unique for San Francisco, the atmosphere was electric and I wanted to memorialize it.”

 

Another iReporter, Dina Boyer, sent in a great collection of photographs and a video capturing the parade and the electrified crowd. "I will say, San Francisco Giants fans are dedicated and love their baseball team," said Boyer. "[This] World Series win was more than just a win for a baseball team; they won the World Series for [their] fans."

 

Are you a Giants fan? Do you live in the Bay Area and have pictures or videos of the celebrations? Well, upload them already! We'd love to hear your story.

Posted by: nhieatt // November 4, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Volcanic ash chokes Indonesian city »

This photo looks like something out of an adventure movie, but it was the scene in Sleman, Indonesia, on November 2. And that dust isn't from the bikes -- it's ash blanketing the city from the nearby Merapi volcano.

 

Prasakti Ramadhana captured this incredible image about 25 kilometers from the volcano on Tuesday. Despite the dramatic scene, she says life is continuing as normal -- almost. Ramadhana, a university student, is still going to class. She says others in the city are going about their days as they generally would, but they're wearing masks.

 

"You have to be careful because the ash is dangerous for the eyes and respiration," she explained. "It's hard to breathe. We have to use masks right now."

 

The Merapi volcano has been erupting over and over since October 26. Experts say Sleman, where Ramadhana lives, is still safe for now, but may have to be evacuated if conditions get worse.

 

"They still don't know yet how big or how far it will spread," said Ramadhana.

 

Are you experiencing the volcano in Indonesia? Share your story and photos.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// November 4, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
iReporters show off their 'I Voted' stickers »

Voters made their voices heard at polls throughout the country yesterday, and we got the proof on iReport! No matter how old or how often you’ve been voting, getting the "I Voted" sticker to show you cast your vote seems to be a national delight.

 

This Election Day, we asked iReporters to submit photos of their voting stickers in a campaign to get one from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. We were amazed at how many came in within the first 24 hours. At last count, we had stickers from 41 states -- some states with several different stickers -- including tri-lingual stickers, locally distinctive stickers, stickers for early voters and teeny-tiny stickers. Along the way, we learned about the issues that matter to you and your hopes for this election.

 

Be sure to check out our gallery with some of the best "I voted" sticker photos we received.

 

We still have 10 to go: D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon and West Virginia. So if you voted in one of these states and have a sticker to prove it, be sure to upload it to iReport.

 

Check out the stickers we've gotten from all these different states. The boxes below show one sticker from each state, in alphabetical order from left to right and top to bottom. In the cases where we didn't have a sticker for the state, we used a placeholder image.

 

States A-I:

 

 

In the image above (left to right, top to bottom), we have Alabama,Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, an especially cool one from California; Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Iowa.

 

Our growing sticker collection inspired a bit of competition among iReporters once they saw what other locations were giving out.

 

"Alabama gets a white square paper sticker with two colors of ink," said Kevin Halbrook, 32, of Northport, Alabama. "They could have at least made the flag appear to be blowing in the wind. Maybe if Alabamians would wise up and stop opposing a lottery we could get better stickers."

 

STATES K-N:

 

 

In the image above (left to right, top to bottom), we have Kentucky, Maine, a regal-looking flag sticker from Baltimore, Maryland, and ones from Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and New York.

 

Then there were voters like Bryan Johnson from West Orange, New Jersey, who did his civic duty yesterday only to find the polling station sticker-free.

 

"For the fourth consecutive election my local polling place did NOT have 'I Voted' stickers," Johnson wrote. "Every election I bring it up, and they always look at me like I'm crazy."

 

STATES N-V:

 

 

The oval sticker with the American flag dominated the end of the alphabet. In the image above (left to right, top to bottom), we have North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina's tiny shadow of a sticker, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia and Washington state.

 

Amelia Hall in South Carolina said her sticker was so little -- smaller than a dime, in fact -- that she had to wear it on her nose for anyone to see. Brad Willis of Greenville, South Carolina said the tiny sticker "somehow symbolized my role in the election process." A polling worker told him the state had  downsized the stickers this year. When we pointed out the tiny stickers on Twitter, user Phil Mok suggested that South Carolina is "trying to be more environmentally friendly."

 

W:

 

And finally, from left to right, we have those ubiquitous oval 'I Voted' stickers in Wisconsin and Wyoming. We were surprised to see greater numbers of these stickers at the end of the alphabet.

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed! Now, let's see if we can get stickers from all 50 states. Share your sticker photos, and post your thoughts in the comments area below.

Posted by:
 
dsashin
// November 3, 2010
 19 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com »

some_text

News of the year's first U.S. giant panda birth was shared more than 1,714 times on Facebook

 

Comment of the day

 

"And in a few years when nothing changes we'll vote back in the Dems. And then a few years after that when nothing changes we'll vote back in the Repubs. And then a few years after that... hmmm.... even my cats are smart enough to stop chasing their own tails."

 

DBOY123 doesn't sound too optimistic about the results of Tuesday's midterm elections, but many CNN.com readers called Republicans' historic gains a step in the right direction. Others were concerned about gridlock and were challenging the GOP to work with President Obama.

 

"Now, Republicans have no excuse and can't say no to everything," iListen wrote. Amegioa replied that "They were elected to say No to the Obama agenda. Dems like to call them the party of No like that is some kind of insult. We want them to go in there and say NO to Obama's agenda, NO to big gov't, NO to higher taxes, etc."

 

Commenters also were talking about Shannon Tavarez, an 11-year-old Broadway singer, who died after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. They offered their prayers and well-wishes the little girl's family and encouraged others to become bone marrow donors.

 

One reader said "I just signed up, thanks to one of the commenters below who provided a recommended site (marrow dot org). The process only took about 10 minutes; now I will just wait to receive my kit in the mail."

 

Conversation snapshot:

CNN.com readers are also talking about marijuana and sandwiches.

 

Why did California vote down legal pot? 1,103 comments and 1,010 Facebook recommendations

 

Lunchtime poll – National Sandwich  Day 372 comments and 172 Facebook recommendations


Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// November 3, 2010
 0 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Live blog: Election Day + CNN iReport »

Editor's note: As voters hit the polls across America, we'll be updating the iReport blog with your photos, videos and reactions throughout Election Day. You can join in by downloading CNN’s Mobile Election Center app or checking out our political assignments.

 

[Updated, 11:58 p.m.] The iReport live blogging team is signing off for the evening, but we'll be back bright and early tomorrow. In the meantime, continue sending in your "I voted" stickers and video reaction to the election results. Seeing everyone's stories and images from the polls has been wonderful; thank you for being part of CNN's election coverage!

 

[Updated, 11:48 p.m.]

We just published a gallery with some of the best "I voted" sticker photos we've received today. There are folks who stuck stickers on their faces and hands, those who went the more traditional route by displaying stickers on their shirts, and iReporters who sent in some unique local stickers. Check it out on CNN.com.

 

And! We're still looking for voting stickers from a few states including Montana, Nebraska and Vermont. Did you vote in one of these states? Prove it by sharing your sticker with CNN iReport.

 

[Updated, 10:52 p.m.] Many students across the country had Election Day off from school, but that doesn't mean the learning stopped. Nathan Laabs, a public school teacher in Cantwell, Alaska, took his students along with him to the polls today and they brought back sample ballots to fill out in the classroom. "It was pretty cool to see these kids in all different grades take an interest and tell me what they knew about the candidates," he said.

 

In Watertown, New York, Daniel Olney also got a first-hand look at the election process today. The 13-year-old joined his father at their polling center and documented the voting process for CNN iReport. Thanks, Daniel!

 

[Updated, 10:33 p.m.] We've heard a lot of inspiring stories from voters today, but this quote from Christopher Bullard of Kannapolis, North Carolina, takes the cake. "I've been voting since '98 and every time I do it's like I'm taking the entire human race with me to the polls," he said. "Rich, old, black, white, physically able or disabled, I have a thought of everyone who can't or wants to vote when I vote. It's like scoring the game-winning shot -- a moment in time!"

 

[Updated, 10:06 p.m.]

Dozens of first-time voters are sharing their experiences at the polls with CNN iReport. Alexa Tommasi, 19, was four months too young to vote in the 2008 presidential election, but said she was thrilled to visit the polls in Wallingford, Connecticut, today. "I'm so happy I can finally vote!" she exclaimed.

 

"To be honest, I think each vote does make a difference," said Penn State student Justin Sova. "I went out and I voted because I have some opinions I want to be acted upon." Sova, 18, cast a straight Democratic ticket and says he'll probably keep that sticker as a memento.  And 18-year-old Jonathan Yacoub of Chino Hills, California, who took the great self portrait above, said his first voting experience “was exactly how I pictured it. Quiet.”

 

[Updated, 9:38 p.m.] Republicans will win at least 50 states to take control of the House, CNN projects. In the Senate, the GOP has picked up two of the 10 states needed for control. Are you watching the races closely? What do you think about a Republican-controlled House? We want to hear your reaction to the election results. Upload a short video sharing your view, and you could be on CNN.

 

[Updated, 9:31 p.m.]

iReporters' "I voted" stickers continue to fly in across the United States! While our colleagues are keeping track of key political races, Team iReport is keeping a tally of states that we’ve received stickers from. (We're currently down to 21.) In the past few hours, we've gotten stickers from Alaska, North Dakota, Virginia and an especially rad sticker from San Francisco, California. Hip hop artist Common even joined the cause. He's enlisted his Twitter army to help us search for stickers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.

 

If your state isn't represented yet, upload your photo. And if your polling location didn’t hand out stickers, let us know by leaving a comment below.

 

[Updated, 8:19 p.m.] Voters in several states cast ballots on controversial measures today. Among the most-talked about proposals is Prop 19, California's measure to legalize marijuana. Jimmy Turner uploaded a photo of his “I voted” sticker on a bong to symbolize his stance on making weed legal. Turner, who said he used to smoke pot in his younger days, said he “would like to see California take a stance and test the waters.”

 

“That's one good thing about laws, they can always be changed,” he added. “If the entire U.S. workforce becomes a mass of stoned zombies, we can count on the religious teetotalers to re-criminalize it, and wake us all from our haze.”

 

What’s your take on legalizing marijuana or any of the other controversial measures on ballots where you live? Share your story with CNN iReport or jump in the comments below and share your views.

 

[Updated, 7:51 p.m.]

Yes, the voting stickers in South Carolina are actually smaller than a dime. "The sticker is so small, I have to wear it on my nose for it to be seen," said iReporter Amelia Hall.

 

Brad Willis of Greenville, South Carolina, said the tiny sticker "somehow symbolized my role in the election process." A polling worker told him the state had downsized the stickers this year. When we pointed out the tiny stickers on Twitter, user Phil Mok suggested that South Carolina is "trying to be more environmentally friendly."

 

Whether they're tiny or not, we’re still looking for "I voted" stickers from a handful of states! If you voted in Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Wyoming or Washington, D.C. (to name a few), show off your stickers!

 

[Updated, 7:10 p.m.] The first Senate race results are in. CNN projects that Republicans Rand Paul in Kentucky, Dan Coats in Indiana, and Jim DeMint in South Carolina will win their respective races. Democrat Patrick Leahy is projected to win in Vermont.

 

You can watch all the election results on CNN TV and on CNN.com's Election Center. We'll be looking for your reactions all evening. What races do you care about most? You can upload your video responses here.

 

[Updated, 7:03 p.m.]

Olivia Stanforth, 17, is too young to vote, but not to work at her local polling place. iReporter Deanne Goodman spoke to the high school student while voting at the Leucadia Wastewater District in Carlsbad, California, earlier today.

 

Stanforth said she learned about the opportunity to be a poll worker from her social justice teacher. “I realized it would give me a chance to miss school to do something for the community, so I took the opportunity,” she explained, adding that she earned some extra money too. Stanforth says she’ll vote in the next election and said working at the polls taught her a lot about the election process.

 

[Updated, 6:30 p.m.] CNN's Jack Cafferty has posed the question whether our country is more divided now than under Bush and, based on the comments, users are pretty split in their answers.

 

"Jack, I think you take the media way too seriously," said CNN reader Ben. "If you talk with real people, we are far more united than ever before. Turn off the TV and walk the streets. We are doing perfectly fine." But commenter Marc-Monterey disagrees. "Jack, we are clearly more divided now, because the left AND the right are more divided. Back in the Bush years, it was simple, much like the Cold War: You had the right and the left. For the most part, we all stayed in those two lanes. Now we have far left, far right, centrist left, centrist right."  And Miguel said it's not a matter of being divided, "but more confused."

 

What do you think? Join the conversation in the comments below.

 

[Updated, 6:04 p.m.]

I'll admit, we might be biased since Team iReport is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, but it seems like the Peach State has one of the best voting stickers in the U.S.

 

We've received photos of voting stickers from all over, but the orange "I'm a Georgia voter" ones especially seem to stand out. Georgia voters Leandra Slayton, Richard Highnote, Becky Gaar, and first-time Georgia voter and iReport producer Christina Zdanowicz proudly showed off their stickers. And it looks like Claudia Anthony of Marietta, Georgia, even wore an outfit to match her peach sticker.

 

Does your city or state have a cool "I voted" sticker? Share it with us!

 

[Updated, 5:20 p.m.] Voters in Wausau, Wisconsin, were alerted "at the last minute" that their polling place was moved from its usual location, according to iReporter Mike Stouffer.

 

Stouffer, who has voted at the Rose Garden for 8 years, received a flyer on his front porch this morning announcing the move to Wausau's River Drive Complex. He first heard about the move last night on TV. "[You] would have thought people would have been notified at least a week beforehand," he wrote on CNN iReport.

 

The polling place was moved after Republican congressional hopeful Sean Duffy rented out the Rose Garden for his election night party. According to the Wausau Daily Herald, Duffy rented the location back in July. You can read more on CNN affiliate WSAW.

 

[Updated, 4:41 p.m.] Whether it's the economy, health care, or immigration, voters have a variety of reasons to hit the polls today. Patrick Brough of Easthampton, Massachusetts, suggested another one. He stuck his "I voted" sticker on a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee and said, "Too bad every vote didn't include a cup of Joe. I bet we would have twice the turn out."

 

What issues matter most to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. You can also check out which issues ranked highest with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who participated in the iReport Election Project.

 

[Updated, 4:26 p.m.]

We're getting loads more "I voted" stickers from across the country. In the image above (left to right, top to bottom), we have Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Florida. Keep 'em coming! You can submit your photos here.

 

[Updated, 2:18 p.m.]

¡Oiga, mira esto! In California, you can get "I voted" stickers in Spanish! As Manny Dorado demonstrates, they read "Yo voté," which means "I voted" in Spanish. Dorado got these at his Oxnard, California, polling place today. He noticed his grandfather, who voted with him, had a Spanish sticker and asked if he could have one, too. "I'm proud to be a Latino and to vote in the United States," he said.

 

[Updated, 1:57 p.m.] Eighteen-year-old Tyler Tucky was so excited to vote today that he was first in line at his Las Vegas, Nevada polling place. He and his mom were the only people there at 7 a.m. Tucky voted Democrat and also volunteered for Harry Reid's campaign. "I think it's pretty nuts that it's this close," Tucky said about the election. "I think that people are upset with the country and the direction that it's in right now. They were expecting a lot of results two years ago and aren't willing to wait for the results to fully develop."

 

[Updated, 1:40 p.m.]

If you vote, you get to throw a pie in your teacher's face - at least at one Georgia high school. High school senior Casey Stringer of Cumming, Georgia, says his science teacher told students they could hit him in the face with pies if they pledged to vote. And the teacher kept his word! For about 10 minutes, about 15 students threw pies at him after they promised to vote at a pep rally about three weeks ago. "I saw two kids at the polls this morning that had actually pied him in the face. Typically I wouldn't think of these kids as politically active, so I think the whole pie concept helped," said Stringer.

 

[Updated, 1:25 p.m.] We have a pretty passionate debate going on in the CNN.com comments today, as you might expect. Republicans, Democrats, and people of other affiliations are having a heated discussion about what the election results will mean for the country. "The GOP's priority is power over people," argues tomanjeri. "They have no interest in working to make things better." zagool6 agrees: "Obama's one-term presidency is not going to bring food on the table for millions of Americans. If that is what the GOP will be vigorously working on, then they are not listening the cries of the American public. Why [do] they think they deserve my vote?" But Jellymon feels like the Democrats haven't done anything meaningful. "The Democrats have had a MAJORITY in BOTH houses of Congress for the last two years. Don't blame Republicans for the fact that Democrats can't get anything constructive done. Case closed, end of story."

 

TheCruiser said would be happy to see the Republicans take Congress in order to have more political balance: "Thank the good Lord for gridlock. It couldn't come soon enough." What do you think? Which party is getting your vote, and why?

 

[Updated, 1:06 p.m.] Are all politicians corrupt? Some people think so. Take Nino Larocca, for example. He wants to impose stricter term limits to prevent the same people from becoming more and more powerful. "No politicians should be [in office] for more than 10 years: They get greedy and corrupt," he says. "Look at all we don't know about our candidates. How many kickbacks do these politicians get that we don't know about?" And CNN.com commenter Jigsaw3Dxxx has a different, but equally cynical, perspective: "Voters have nothing to do with deciding who runs what. It's all fixed, just like any other sport," he says. What do you think? Does your vote matter? Why are you voting - or not voting - today?

 

[Updated, 12:34 p.m.] Nadya Alvarez had another person in the voting booth with her today. But it's okay, it was her 2-year-old son. Alvarez showed him the ballot "to teach him from now that it is important to go to vote." He even tried to help her fill in the circles! "There may be other people saying to you not to vote, that it is a waste of time, but for me it is not," said Alvarez passionately in her video. "Our ancestors fought for this right and for our freedom, so now we have to keep it that way. If we don't vote, then we don't care for our future.

 

[Updated, 11:54 a.m.]

What a stunning Election Day outfit Chuck Farnham has! In case you can't tell, that's a whoopie cushion. And what made him think it would be the perfect voting attire? "I think that it clearly shows the state of the nation, full of hot air," said Farnham. And yes, he actually did wear it to the polls in Billings, Montana. Farnham says he saw "a lot of heads shaking" when people noticed his outfit.

 

[Updated, 11:36 a.m.]

Be proud, voters! We just received "I voted" stickers from - clockwise from top left - Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Texas. Keep sending 'em in! We're hoping to get a sticker from every state.

 

[Updated, 11:11 a.m.] How long are you waiting in line to vote? William Bernstein of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was surprised that he had to wait 20 minutes. For him, it was an unexpectedly long time. Here in Atlanta, CNN iReport producer Nicole Saidi said she waited about half an hour. What are the wait times like in your city? Tell us how long you're standing in line and what your voting experience is like.

 

[Updated, 10:37 a.m.] If he's going to vote, Peter Gregory wants to make sure his vote counts. Gregory, who lives in Graham, Washington, always votes absentee because he travels frequently. He says it has crossed his mind that his ballot could be lost in the mail or somehow intercepted, and that's why he always drops it in a locking mailbox or post office box. But Gregory says there's definitely an advantage to voting via absentee ballot: "Before I used to vote absentee, I often put off figuring out the issues and went into the voting booth without having any idea what I was voting for. My votes were sometimes not well thought out," he explained. "Voting by mail forces me to decide my votes ahead of time, at home. This gives me the leisure to research the issues, read the voters' guides, and make better voting decisions."

 

[Updated, 10:18 a.m.]

Chris Morrow shared her coveted "I voted" sticker with us! She got it after she voted early a couple weeks ago in San Diego, California. Don't forget - we're looking for "I voted" stickers from all over the country! So once you get home from the polls, upload a photo of yourself proudly wearing your sticker.

 

[Updated, 10:03 a.m.] Despite the harsh politicking that's gone on during this campaign, some CNN.com commenters don't care who you vote for as long as you get out there and exercise your right to do it. "Democrat or Republican, please go out and vote; its your right," wrote Firearms. TomInRochNY quipped about the mudslinging ads that have taken over television in many states: "I'm sure all the political ads will remind you [to vote]. Thank GOD for Nov. 3!" And Gnnetwork's feeling a little cynical, but he still voted. "I voted and can already feel the economy turn around. NOT!!" Well, if he's right, at least he can say he tried.

 

[Updated, 9:44 a.m.] What do students care about in this election? Noah Gray, the founder of Virgin Voting, went on a quest to find out. He interviewed young people at American University to see what issues were most important to them. Check out his short, fun video to see their diverse answers, from clean energy to health care, education to foreign policy. And, of course, the one young man who "just [wants] to get the incumbents out!"

 

Check out Gray speaking with CNN's Kyra Phillips.

 

[Original post, 8:30 a.m.] As voters hit the polls across America, we'll be updating the iReport blog with your photos, videos and reactions throughout Election Day.

 

We'll monitor voter irregularities, report on polling center lines, collect photos of your "I voted" stickers, and share it all with our colleagues across CNN. Of course, we can't do it without the iReport community! You can join in by downloading CNN's Mobile Election Center app or checking out our political assignments.

 

We look forward to seeing your view of the election! In the meantime, you can check out the iReport Election Project to see the political pulse of users of CNN's Election app.

Posted by:
 
rachel8
// November 2, 2010
 24 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on CNN.com: Election edition »

voters

Comment of the day:

"Thank GOD for Nov. 3!"

 

TomInRochNY is looking forward to an end of all the negative campaign ads in this election cycle. He was one of the thousands of CNN.com readers talking about Tuesday's midterm elections. President Obama's not on the ballot, but he's at the center of the debate.

 

Many readers, like TWP predicted the Democrats would pay for supporting health care reform. "We promised you if you shoved that ObamaCare debacle down our throats it would cost a lot of you your jobs. Today it is time to pay the piper," he wrote. Democrats blamed Republican lawmakers for blocking the president's agenda and said he wasn't getting credit for everything he did accomplish. "Anyone driving a GM car should be thanking Obama. But don't give credit where credit is due," ethos76 said.

 

We also heard from a lot of people who didn't have much hope for the election.

 

"If anyone thinks that anything is going to be any different, you are very gullible," Domini said. MarkyGA agreed saying "I'm voting for discontent (translation: NOT voting). What's the point? Nothing but wingnuts running negative campaigns. Moderates have virtually NO ONE to vote for."

 

Conversation snapshot:

 

Election coverage dominated Tuesday's conversation and our main election story drew more than 7,551 comments and 899 Facebook recommendations.

 

Here's a look at some of the other talkers on the site:

Iranian authorities give go-ahead to execute woman

1,291 comments and 1,809 Facebook recommendations

Breaking up? Facebook knows when

272 comments and 5,554 Facebook recommendations

Demi Lovato drops tour for treatment

270 comments and 482 Facebook recommendations

 

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length and clarity.

Posted by:
 
davidw
// November 2, 2010
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on CNN.com »

 

COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Phew. That was a narrow escape... a few feet here and there and we'd all have to sit through another three-hour movie and endure Celine Dion again. *shivers* " -- ribbitribbit

 

Pull out your favorite Titanic jokes, because you just might need them for the story that was most popular on CNN.com for much of the day. It received 280 comments and 1077 Facebook shares. The cruise ship in question didn't sink, but rather passed peacefully under a bridge with about a foot to spare. Commenters pulled out captions and clever puns for the heart-stopping photo. "Guess I'll cross that bridge when I reach it," said NoJustice4AK, who also penned this comment: "DiCaprio: 'I'm on top of the wor … uh ... BRIDGE!'" Or, maybe you're like Firefly 5555: "When I watched the video, the movie 'Galaxy Quest' popped into my head. The part when they are leaving the space dock."

 

Also notable was the heavy-duty debate over whether Ron Howard, director of the film "Dilemma," should keep Vince Vaughn's line "electric cars are gay" in the movie even though it was cut from the trailer. The Marquee blog post about this hotly contested issue received 802 comments and 406 Facebook shares. We received many, many comments from both sides. In one powerful thread, JNC33 said: "Gays refer to themselves and each other as 'gays' and when they come out of the closet, presumably they tell people that they are 'gay.'  … Yet when someone refers to an inanimate object as being 'gay,' then you insist that the very term you use to describe yourselves is derogatory."

 

User Razi said in response: "As a gay man I defend Ron Howard's right to use the word in the film, but I don't like it. In this current climate where we're trying to understand why teens and young adults are committing suicide after being outed one way or another; we should not have a protagonist of any movie, no matter how openly flawed that protagonist is, using 'gay' as a pejorative."

 

Last, but definitely not least, we saw lots and lots of chatter about a study showing alcohol ranks as "most harmful" among a list of 20 drugs. GatorALLin thanked CNN for the story and talked about giving up drinking three years ago. The commenter jokingly described Gainesville, Florida, home of the Florida Gators, as "a drinking town with a football problem." The story as a whole got 2,811 comments from readers and a whopping 27,612 Facebook shares. A great many opined that marijuana use is less harmful than alcohol and suggested that it be legalized. The majority of commenters said alcohol use is more serious than people expect it to be. Some wrote that there is no ideal drug, or said people need to be responsible for their behavior. LegalMexi said, "Do not let the liberals try to take the right to drink alcohol away." User decrescendo and others theorized that that the popularity and availability of alcohol is partially responsible for study results.

------

 

Conversation snapshot:

 

Overall, the most talked-about stories today focused on passionate debate about social issues:

 

- CNN Poll: Those who say things going poorly higher than 1994 or 2006 (3072 comments / 2068 Facebook shares)
- Study: Alcohol 'most harmful drug,' followed by crack and heroin (2,811 comments / 27,612 Facebook shares)
- Death toll rises to 58 in Iraq church bombing (1,924 comments / 1,705 Facebook shares)

 

What's your take on these issues? Where do you stand, and what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below or sound off with video commentary.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 1, 2010
 13 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
'The crown of my week' »

A text message arrived on Johannes Swanepoel's phone this morning. A sun halo was visible in the sky over Johannesburg, South Africa, and the note told him to hurry up and look at the sky. He oohed and ahhed about it and took several photos. An hour later, it was gone.

"I had a bit of a blue Monday and this was a welcoming gift to brighten up my day," he said. "This will be the crown of my week."

Swanepoel frantically searched to see if anyone else had gotten the scoop. He soon found that others were starting to post photos online. Friends in Pretoria had also seen the ring. So he merged five of his photos together and sent his view of the sun dog to CNN iReport.

"Secretly I have a dream to be a journalist, so this exercise was quite exciting," he said.

Also known as a parhelion in scientific nomenclature, a sun halo or sun dog is an atmospheric phenomenon in which cirrus clouds are high in the atmosphere and ice crystals reflect and refract light into the rainbow colors that are seen.

CNN's weather folks shared some information about the halos after similar rainbow rings were spotted over the Philippines in May; you can get more background information about the halos there.

Chantal Collings is another iReporter in Johannesburg who spotted the rainbow ring and submitted lovely imagery taken from her back garden. She said this halo was especially well-formed compared to other sun dogs she's seen.

"While I have seen smaller and lighter halos, this one was large, perfectly formed and coloured and remarkably impressive! It definitely had what I like to call the 'goose bump factor.'"

Mohsin Ismail also sent us several photos, saying that South African citizens don't commonly see a sight like this. What about you? Ever seen a sun dog before? Got thoughts on these pictures? Share your thoughts in the comments area below, and upload images if you've got 'em.

Posted by:
 
nsaidi
// November 1, 2010
 14 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
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