Pundit of the Week: CNN iReport Awards edition »

Editor's note: This week's Pundit of the Week focuses on the nominees in the Commentary category of the CNN iReport Awards. We chose the six thought-provoking nominees in this category from the thousands of iReports that were approved for use on CNN in 2011. You can see all of the nominees and vote for the Community Choice Award at the CNN iReport Awards website.


One of the most exciting things about CNN iReport is that it gives everyone an opportunity to speak their minds about the issues that matter to them. The nominees in the Commentary category of the Second Annual CNN iReport Awards tackled a variety of topics – some controversial, others more personal – but they all brought passion to the conversation:


Osama death overboard


Betsy Mitchell was troubled by the celebrations that followed the news that U.S. Navy Seals had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid last May. Mitchell, a college student in North Carolina, said bin Laden needed to be stopped and that she wasn't sorry that he was killed, but she felt that it was wrong to celebrate anyone's death.


Her stance wasn't particularly popular and her iReport started a fiery debate. Mitchell took a lot of criticism in the comments, but she explained herself calmly. She may not have changed her critics’ minds, but her reaction led some commenters to respect hers.


99 problems and the debt ain't one of them


In July, when President Barack Obama and House Speaker Sen. John Boehner were debating the nation's financial crisis, the producers of "Little Luis" -- an animated series about a six-year-old boy and his adopted family -- set out to poke fun at the leaders on Capitol Hill. They found plenty of comic material. In this piece, a discussion between Obama and Boehner devolves into a televised slap fight while Little Luis and his family watches at home. "I don't like this show," the Little Luis said. "You can't tell which is the good guy, or the bad guy."


C.R.Celona, one of the creators, said that he wanted to make the serious point that most people in Washington don't seem to get that Americans need help, not politics as usual.


Ode to Borders



Melissa Fazli was sad to lose her neighborhood Borders when the bookstore chain went out of business last summer. She said it had nice activities for her kids and was a good place to meet friends for coffee. Borders wasn't just a faceless corporation to her, it was part of her community.


Her video tribute added a personal perspective to the corporate bankruptcy story.


I won't take down my Confederate Flag


Byron Thomas, a black college student in South Carolina, sparked an interesting debate on race and symbolism when he challenged an order to take down the Confederate Battle Flag in his dorm room. Thomas said the school told him it violated their policy against racist symbols, but he said he was just showing his Southern pride.


He said he felt that the flag was not racist, and that only an ignorant person could make it racist.


In memoriam: Steve Jobs


Apple tribute


Cartoonist Brixton Doyle posted this touching tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs after his death in October.


Doyle offered his condolences to Jobs' family and friends and thanked him for the many advances that Apple's products helped create.  He also pointed out that his iReport was created entirely with Mac products.


Rewriting Huckleberry Finn is ridiculous!


Writer and motivational speaker Omekongo Dibinga said he thought it was wrong to remove the n-word from new editions of Mark Twain's classic novels "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer". He reacted with anger when publishers announced they were printing a new edition of the classics, and replacing the word with “slave.”


He said that kids need to know that word's painful history, so they don't use it as a term of affection. “We have to be real about who be are; not be politically correct about our history,” he said.


If you've got something to say about what's going on in the news, we would love for you to share your thoughts with CNN. You could be the next Pundit of the Week.

Posted by:
// May 15, 2012
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iReport roundtable: Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET »

Please join us in the blog for our weekly roundtable discussion.


We want to tell you about our new video comment feature that will let you record and upload webcam videos to iReport directly from CNN.com stories.


We're still testing things out, but our goal is to turn every CNN.com story into an invitation to participate in the conversation. You can try it out yourself by scrolling down to the bottom of this story about Tuesday's primary results.


If you've got any other questions, comments or suggestions, we'll be happy to talk about those too.


Comments will open at 2:30 p.m. ET. We'll talk with you then.

Posted by:
// March 15, 2012
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Seven most commented iReports in 2011 »

Politics, race and religion are touchy subjects, but they can also inspire fascinating conversations. CNN iReporters had a lot to say in 2011 -- from debates on atheism, gay marriage and interracial relationships to an unlikely Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina. They also took time to comfort a young boy whose father was killed in Afghanistan.


Here's a look at the iReports that attracted the most comments of 2011:


7. Occupiers take K Street -- 627 comments


protesters on K street

Armando Gallardo's dramatic photos of arrests during an Occupy protest in Washington this month inspired a spirited discussion about the future of the Occupy movement and whether the demonstrations were doing more harm than good.


6. Same-sex marriage brings out love and hate in NYC -- 673 comments


couple in NYC


Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere was outside the city clerk’s office in Manhattan on the first day that New York state allowed same-sex couples to get married. He captured a festive series of photographs as couples smiled and posed while waiting in line as well as pictures of protesters who objected to the ceremonies.The debate on the story was also mixed: Some commenters wished the couples well, while others were upset that the weddings were allowed. But some didn't see what the fuss was about.


5. Struggles of an interracial couple -- 821 comments


Janna Lynn Imel


Janna Lynn Imel says some of her relatives won't talk to her because she's white and her boyfriend is black. She says it hurts that the people she cares about look down on her and even call her names because of her relationship. Her post drew more than 800 comments from others in interracial relationships, people who wanted to offer support and some who tried to explain her family's attitudes.


4. Judgment Day -- May 21, 2011? -- 964 comments


Judgment Day billboard

Frequent iReporter Greg Reese spotted a billboard that warned the world was coming to an end on May 21, 2011. Reese went to downtown Cincinnati and asked people what they thought. His video sparked a passionate conversation on the Bible and the possibility that Judgment Day was coming. The discussion also got a little silly at times.


3. 'I will NOT take my Confederate flag down!!!' -- 1,025 comments


Confederate flag student

Byron Thomas is a proud Southerner and was upset when the housing office at his college told him not to fly a Confederate flag in his dorm room. He's also black. His iReport raised questions about race and heritage and whether symbols such as the Confederate flag and the swastika could escape their infamous pasts.


2. Atheist billboard goes up for the holidays -- 1,319 comments


Atheist billboard


Lulis Leal took these photos of an atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel and said she was surprised how angry it made people. The story got a lot of reaction from Christians as well as from atheists who enjoy the Christmas season. It also inspired us to ask how nonbelievers celebrate the holidays.


1. Son's tribute to a fallen soldier -- 1,714 comments


Nichols tribute


Braydon Nichols, 10, posted a tribute to his father because he didn't want people to forget his dad. Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Nichols was one of 38 U.S. and Afghan troops killed when their Chinook chopper was shot down in August. The outpouring of support was heartwarming, with hundreds of comments thanking Braydon for his sacrifice, offering advice and promising never to forget his father. True to their word, many people didn't forget and posted comments months later because they were thinking about Braydon as school started and during the holiday season.


You can read more about Braydon's story and pay tribute to the troops in your life in our Salute to Troops assignment.


We invite our readers to be part of each and every story we tell on CNN. If you want to be a part of the conversation, you can leave your comments below, or share your thoughts in a short video.

Posted by:
// December 20, 2011
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CNN iReport roundtable: Destination Adventure edition »

Next week, we’ll be kicking off a summer travel special called Destination Adventure. The series will provide an in-depth look an interesting locations around the world, thanks to iReporters' photos, tips, videos and more.


Our first stop will be Pamplona, Spain, home of the famous San Fermin festival, which features the running of the bulls. (Check out yesterday's iReport blog post to read some tips for visiting Pamplona and to share your own.)


Today, we’ll give you a sneak peek of some of the future destinations we’ll visit and answer any questions you may have about travel reporting and photography. Comments will open at 3 p.m. ET. See you then!


PLEASE NOTE: Destination Adventure has been delayed until July 25. Please continue to tune in to the iReport blog for more announcements on the release of Destination Adventure.

Posted by: katie // June 30, 2011
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CNN iReport roundtable update »

Hey iReport community,


The iReport team has been staying pretty busy this summer with all the projects we have going. There’s the cultural census, Freedom project, Home and Away and the shuttle launches, not to mention iReport’s fifth birthday coming up on August 2 (so make sure to mark your calendars)! With that said, we have decided to hold our roundtable on the last Thursday of June and July instead of every Thursday.  Please continue to check the iReport blog for any updates concerning iReport and roundtable. Until then, please leave any questions or concerns in the comment area of this post or contact us at contact@iReport.com.


See everyone on June 30!

Posted by: ccostello3 // June 16, 2011
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Defining America: Seeking out Southwesterners »

There's something special about the Southwest. Maybe it's the spectacular vistas that rise over a sometimes-Martian desert landscape, or the inescapable oppression of summer's "dry heat" (something residents take great pride in). Or maybe it's the vibrancy of the U.S.-Mexico border and the undeniable Native American influence, folding its inhabitants into a cultural melting pot that boils and bubbles.


Either way, it's a place unlike any other in the country, and we're hoping the Defining America cultural census project will help expose some of the quirky qualities that make this region so unique. That's the goal of the five assignments we've put together, which each seek to find out a little something about the people who live in the United States. iReporters' submissions will become part of an interactive map of the country that will incorporate this data.


Some of the portrait responses we've already received will give you a small hint about what kind of place the Southwest really is, but it's up to you to tell us more. If you're from these states -- New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California -- or you know someone who is, we'd like to hear from you! We've got three iReports from New Mexico, four from Nevada and eight from Utah; these states in particular need more participants.



The responses we've already received from the Southwest are telling. Despite the region's reputation for being a bastion of transplants and seasonal residents, Anjanette Sanchez of Mesa, Arizona, describes herself as a "fifth-generation Arizonan." She grew up in Globe, a small copper-mining town, and says "time seems to stand still" there.


"I identify with being Chicana but I am also a proud American," Sanchez says. " I love my great state of Arizona, but I have been fortunate to have traveled the world."


The mountainous urban paradise of Denver, Colorado, is another kind of cultural mix. Russell A. Dale lives in nearby Aurora and says he appreciates the local events and amenities, as well as the variety of people that live there.


"The people are friendly and very diverse.  There is a unique history all its own here, the story of the West, the story of people coming in search for gold, in search for a better life. People work hard here. They work hard and live."


And finally, yes, there's an alien on the third iReporter's head. Kevin Phillips of Ivins, Utah, shared a portrait of himself and explained that his tiny town on the outskirts of St. George doesn't feel quite as diverse, population-wise, as where he grew up. Still, the mountainous setting is far different than his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. "We have access to several national and state parks and are located roughly 120 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. Ivins has that home town feel where everyone knows each other and are more than willing to help each other out."


Indeed, the thread among many stories from the Southwest could be all the people who've settled in this place, perhaps the last frontier in America, to search for a better life. Entering the 21st century, the myth of the Old West still endures in our minds, but does it matter in reality? Maybe that's a question we can answer with the cultural census.


Share your own portrait, and include some of the local scenery so we can learn something about you and the place where you live. How does it influence you? Keep this thought in mind and check out all five of the assignments, below. Be sure to complete the brief survey to help us thread your story into the big picture of this project.


Share a photo
Take a self-portrait. Get creative!


Read aloud
Tape yourself reading a standard passage.


Eat dinner
Show us a photo of you or your family's typical weeknight dinner.


Write this down
Scan or snap a photo of your handwriting.


Get around
Show us how you generally get around town.

Posted by:
// May 25, 2011
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Debate rages in aftermath of bin Laden’s death  »

As you can see in Greg Reese's video above, there's been no shortage of varying opinions out there over the past week. iReporters have had a lot to say on many aspects of the death of Osama bin Laden, and what it means for the future.

The newest debate that has been stirred up on CNN iReport, is this past weekend's decision by the Pentagon to release five mostly unflattering videos of bin Laden, confiscated from his compound in Pakistan after the raid which killed him.

"At the face of what Osama Bin Laden has been able to pull off in his holy war, I say this whole attempt to minimize Osama's mystique is laughable," said Jimmy Deol from Toronto. "If anything, it might encourage an average Joe with similar aspirations somewhere in the world to take solace in the fact that an average person can accomplish all that evil."

Veteran political iReporter Egberto Willies from Kingwood, Texas responded to one of Deol's points, saying that bin Laden himself did not change the world, but that he only provided a rationale for war.

Omekongo Dibinga from Washington questioned the decision to release the videos at all: "Had I lost a family member during 911, I would not want to see this over a week after Bin Laden was killed. I've seen Bin Laden on TV more now than I ever have, including directly after 911. We should not be giving him more life after his death."

Another aspect of the bin Laden story that drew controversy was his burial at sea. Jason Dinant of Las Vegas asked if bin Laden deserved to be captured and tried instead of killed (warning: video contains strong language).

Adding to the debate, Hao Li from Los Angeles said, "While I am glad that Osama Bin Laden is dead, I also don't think this is the end of terrorism or the Al Qaeda terrorist network. If anything, I don't think terrorism could ever be defeated."

We invite you to join the debate on CNN iReport. What does bin Laden's death mean for efforts to prevent terrorism, and the future of U.S. military operations overseas? Share your view here.

Posted by:
// May 9, 2011
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Soaps cancellations spark outcry »


Fans of serialized daytime television the world over were shocked last week when ABC abruptly announced the cancellation of the long-running soap operas "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." The former will be ending its 41-year run in September, and the latter will bow out in January 2012, after more than 10,000 episodes aired. Several iReporters responded immediately to the news, expressing their shock and disbelief:



Joshua Estrin notes in the iReport above that soaps ratings have been declining for more than a decade and a half: “Industry analysts point to the long, televised trial of O.J. Simpson in 1994-95 as the event that burst the soap bubble.” But despite the decline, he understands why these shows were special to so many: “There’s a whole generation of  people who have invested their lives in these programs. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re on the radar, they’re on the topography of pop-culture.”


iReporter Kathi Cordsen, a longtime fan of “All My Children,” said that the sudden cancellations felt “like someone slapped me in the face." “I’ve been watching ‘All My Children’ since I was 17 years old… Nothing lasts forever, but after 41 years it’s a little shocking to hear that we won’t be seeing Erica [Kane] any more.”


Brian Kirkendall, vice president of marketing at vacuum manufacturer Hoover, threw the full weight of the company behind the outcry as well. In a blog post on the company’s Facebook page, Kirkendall said that Hoover will be protesting the cancellations by pulling all of their advertising from ABC: “I want you to know from me  personally that we hear you loud and clear. My wife and mother are both passionate viewers of ‘All My Children’ and ‘One Life to Live,’ as are many of my colleagues here at Hoover. We were and are as disappointed with this news as you are.”


Kirkendall's company has even started a "Save the Soaps" email-petition campaign. The plot thickened when an anonymous ABC representative weighed in with TV Guide to offer the network’s perspective on Hoover’s campaign: "Usually advertisers stop advertising when they want to cancel a show, not the other way around. We've said that the cancellation of 'AMC' and 'OLTL' was about money and ratings, so [the boycott] is just counterintuitive. You don't save something by taking money away."


If you're feeling more fired-up about this than a handsome doctor who just met his evil twin, Cordsen has started a campaign to petition ABC by phone, right here on iReport. If you have a TV show you're eager to share your opinion about, submit your pictures and video to iReport!

Posted by: jmsaba // April 21, 2011
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Overheard on CNN.com: Ohio bill and union busting »


Comment of the day: "I haven't seen a single Republican governor act to limit the pay raises/benefit increases/rights of the staff working in the governor's office. If they were serious about cutting deficits, they would ask for sacrifices across the board. But they haven't." --TruthSpitta


Bill restricting public-sector unions passes in Ohio


Ohio legislators passed a controversial bill barring public employees from their right to strike. Some 360,000 employees will be affected. Some of our readers wrote in support of the bill, attributing failing industries and education to union demands. bast18 said, “All I can say is that it's about time. The unions are wiping us out as a nation. Time to disassemble the money machine and send it, instead of our jobs, to China.”


Jnkesrouan said, “GM survived the Great Depression for 10 years. Then came along United Against Work, the UAW, and GM had to declare bankruptcy one year into the Great Recession. This is what Unions do: strip companies of their financial cushions, so that when a major recession hits, they either have to declare bankruptcy and reorganize or go out of business.”


Thegenrallee said, “While I generally lean towards the democratic side of things, unions are one thing I can't agree with. In some lines of work (coal mining for example) unions might be beneficial but for government and state jobs, unions need to be dropped completely to get the lazy people out so that work will actually get done."


Others spoke up for the unions and the protections they offer. Dave3000 said, “The Republican budget proposals will eliminate, or reduce dramatically, funding for government agencies that support labor, public safety, and other important issues that impact us all. Look at the big picture and stop fighting against your own people.”


8isenough said, “Are you willing to work for the same wage as someone in China in order to keep your job from being sent overseas?”


BirkGed said, “I am an "open shop" electrical contractor, and generally don't have a lot of love for unions. However: Unions were created to specifically address the issues Kasich is about to forbid them to. Don't seem right, even though there is no love lost here.”


Boscoebill said, “The unions protect public sector employees from politicians who want to give tax breaks to their wealthy friends, then cut pay to the hard working civil servants to pay for tax breaks for the rich.


NicDriver agreed. “Our government 'of the people' needs to protect us from predators, not obligate us into indentured servitude. It's wrong to funnel so much capital towards the already wealthy and then expect the remnants of the middle class to pick up the budget shortfall.”




The kids truly are all right


Relax, present-day teenagers are truly doing better, says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laura Sessions Stepp, citing a CDC study on various health statistics. Many of our readers, however, questioned what “better” really means.


rosalvaje said, “That makes no sense, fatter but taking better care of themselves. Mmm.” Moltar said, "Sure, the kids are less literate than previous generations, are much fatter and will live a lifetime of weight-related problems, but at least they didn't drink when they were 18."


Jangocat said, “No, they're not all right, and telling them they're all right is part of the problem. Mentally and physically they are far inferior to previous generations. The US has been falling behind other developed nations in education for decades now.” rescue said, “I notice that literacy and graduation rates were omitted.”


jkress said, “The only problem is that they're dumb as rocks. Whip out some extra change at the cash register after they've already rung up the sale and watch them try to count money.”


Suprisingly, many readers agreed with Stepp. JMarkLane said, “Compared to my generation (I was born in 1957), the kids I know are a dream. Most of them are thoughtful, careful, relatively respectful, take decent care of themselves, are not substance abusers, and are making an effort to educate and advance themselves. In some cases, they are *too* serious. But compared to the wild and dangerous lives we led as teenagers, it's a vast improvement.”


Some suggested that the more things change, the more they stay the same. dtboco3 said, “I will always remember something my dad said to me when I was 18: "I think all of you are pretty screwed up, but grandma and grandpa thought the same thing when I was your age and we turned out just fine."


sirluccilot said, “I came across a quote once that basically said the same thing, you know, ‘Kids today aren't respectful, lazy, etc., etc.’ The quote was from Greece, circa 400 B.C.” dtboco3  agreed, “The numbers don't lie. Every generation thinks that there is something wrong with the teenagers.”


Will you commute via 'personal rapid transit?'


Tired of overcrowded buses and trains but still prefer public transportation? Someday there may be a more personal way to travel publicly. Several U.S. cities are considering installing Personal Rapid Transit systems (PRTs) that would seat four to six people and move along a guideway.


ChokingHazrd said, “The cars are just adorable.” Goofius said, “I look forward to the day when most people travel without cars because it will be better for our environment, safer, and less congested. More people would ride bicycles if they didn't feel so intimidated (and rightly so) by the cars on the roads. “


Remi0228 said, “It would be great to have public transportation without having to deal with the general public! It would be nice not to have to deal with other riders: cellphone yappers, smelly unwashed hair, cigarette and bad perfume stench.”


But others thought sharing a “personal” car was still problematic. catology said, “These sound great, until you consider all the filthy slobs out there who will be leaving their garbage, sickness and stink in these nifty little cars.”


Many wrote to share their experiences of a similar system at West Virginia University. Gabeee said, “It's an outdated system that needs many improvements but it still gets the job done with the random break downs and delays.”


emeraldcls said, “It may be old, but it still runs. My mother used to take us for rides in the summer and now she takes my daughters. I would take the PRT over the DC metro any day!”


Stmyer14, a senior at WVU, said, “Our PRT is anything but 'progress.' It breaks down constantly, doesn't run as often as this article would like to think, and usually breaks down when it’s snowing or raining. They have spent millions of dollars on new software for the system, and it is still horrible.”


But brian8907 said, “The PRT isn't the bad part; the breakdowns and delays are due to the computer technology our university refuses to update. There was an article in the DA that said 60% of breakdowns happen because of the computers, not the actual PRTs.”



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

Posted by: leahpine // March 31, 2011
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Overheard on CNN.com: Parents of murder victim suing Facebook »


Comment of the day: “I extend my sympathies to the family on their loss. However, suing everyone will not bring her back.” --woogiesmom


Picture of murder victim posted on Facebook


The parents of a murdered woman whose picture was taken by an EMT and then posted on Facebook are suing the social media site in an effort to compel the company to turn over the image. The parents are also suing their daughter's convicted murderer, the paramedic, the city of New York and Greenleaf Arms Inc., the company that owns the apartment building where the victim’s body was found.


What did CNN.com readers think of their pending litigation?


comet1442 said, “What happened to their daughter is sad but the only person at fault here is the EMT. The city of New York has no control over him posting the photos and Facebook doesn't either. Facebook should cooperate with getting the picture of off the website but besides that all those lawsuits are overkill.” cryofpaine said, “I realize that this is a horrible tragedy, and that they are looking for some ounce of justice after what happened. However, they're getting a bit sue-crazy with this.” TamoK said, “The pictures were taken down by Facebook as soon as they were made aware of them. Suing FB for this is like suing the owner of a building that someone has put graffiti on it.”


But Really2009 said, “It's grief. They will lose almost every lawsuit, but this is their version of ‘freaking out.’ They'll learn by losing all of their money in filing these lawsuits that they cannot win, but it's just a different version of Grief.” drwelby said, “They're in mourning, they lost their daughter. There's a wide spectrum of behavior by people in their situation - many of which may or may not look rational to those on the outside looking in. They're probably feeling very powerless in the loss of their daughter, and this lawsuit is helping them feel as though they're doing something about it. Think about that.”


And in regards to the issue of privacy and posting photos on Facebook, CNN.com readers were torn. Really2009 said, “I agree; the lawsuits are pointless. However, they are bringing up a subject that really needs to be discussed: Regulating the posting of photos on the internet. If I fall in public and there are 50 people around to see it, those 50 people should have a funny story, but they shouldn't be able to show it to 50,000,000 people.” And sallysueb said, “That's the problem with photos on Facebook. There are no copyright protections like on other sites like Flickr. When you post a photo on Facebook, Facebook itself owns that photo and can do anything they want with it. And anyone that you have given access to that photo, i.e. friends, can also do anything they want to with it (sell it to a newspaper, re-post it, etc.) and there is absolutely nothing illegal about it.”


But wrkn4thwkend responsed, “@really - I see your point but welcome to the age of social media. There is no stopping it now.” And Patriot16 said, “Inasmuch as you don't want your picture disseminated all over the web, the photographer has every right to do so if taken in a public place. And in this situation, the EMT had absolutely no right to take her picture in the first place.”  Maverick2591 said, “I am a retired paramedic and am ashamed that one of my brethren would do such a (lets face it) STUPID thing! Never in all my years of public service would I ever think to take a picture of a victim, let alone post it on any sort of forum.”


When Alzheimer’s turns violent


Taking care of a loved ones or patients who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be especially difficult if they are among the 5% to 10% who are prone to violence. In this story, iReporters share tips about staying calm and patient, and finding support groups. CNN.com readers shared their views, too.


2a96 said, “I was in the same situation with my mom and my solution was to provide the same unselfish love she gave me and my family, my siblings and strangers throughout her life and to think about the patience shown to me as I went through stages of maturing. I only held her as gently as necessary when she was attempting to be violent or accusing me of things I knew were due to her mental state.”


Guest said, “My father was one of the patients who became violent. I was petrified to be with him. I had no other family to lean on. I was VERY fortunate to find an amazing facility that took wonderful care of him and treated him with the utmost dignity ... right up until his death.”


5thApe said, “After my dad could not longer look after my mom and we got her into long- term care she had several episodes where she got into fights with other patients. Alzheimer's is the most wicked of all diseases. Give me anything but this …” And di56 said, “This is such a cruel disease. My heart goes out to the people and their families. Caregivers give yourselves a break once in a while, you deserve it and it will relieve some of the tension.”


Charlie’s truth tour not a sell out


There are still tickets available for Charlie Sheen's Violent Torpedo of Truth tour, with more than 1,250 seats available on Stubhub.com for Saturday's show at Detroit's Fox Theatre. But by the traditional definition, Sheen has sold out a few venues.


CNN.com readers who posted comments about the availability seemed much less amused by the actor than they did a few weeks ago.  Danoman said, “Do you think he will actually go through with it? Or stand up there for 5 minutes and then say ‘see ya.’ ” starryskye said, “Anyone who buys tickets to Charlie's delusional rants is an active participant in enabling his disease.” Jrodca said, “The rantings of a drug addict for how much? You know you can all walk into any AA or NA meeting and hear the rantings of addicts for free.” RMRCal said, “Good, I hope the tour tanks.” And Claudius1066 said, “Shame. I had rather hoped the place would be empty. Only morons would attend.”


jessejune said, “This was a train wreck waiting to happen from day one and anyone that signed one for this was trying to make a fast buck off a man with a serious problem ... and I don't mean bad ticket sales!” Twosocks42 said, “Been sensationalizing a man with a mental illness. Perhaps people are finally coming to their senses. That, or they realize it is just as easy to listen to a man high on multiple substances talk about his tiger blood on You Tube as it is to watch him do it on a stage; difference being, one costs far less.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? 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: kgriggs // March 30, 2011
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Overheard on CNN.com: Did President Obama convince you? »


Comment of the day: "Obama could cure cancer and people would hate him." –akphidelt


Obama addresses nation on Libya


After President Barack Obama addressed the nation about U.S. involvement in Libya, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen asked, “Were you convinced?” According to Gergen, Obama made a good case for action but was vague on potential outcomes while laying out a more cautious, collaborative approach than past presidents.


Of the speech, CNN.com readers were torn, often according to their political affiliations.


midogs2 said, “Why do I get the impression that the President would have been criticized and ridiculed by the conservatives if he had done nothing at all in Libya? Cry baby McCain has been doing nothing but taking pot shots at his decisions since his landslide loss two years ago.” WayOutThere responded, “It’s what a political party system does. You are saying that liberals did not criticize and ridicule Bush no matter what he did? Don't be morally shocked and outraged; it’s posturing for their constituents, nothing more. Both political parties do it and will continue to do it.”


Some readers said that the speech convinced them that President Obama made the right choice. TruthSpitta said, “Obama articulated his position perfectly. America won't step in EVERY time to solve EVERY problem internationally, but we will help out when it's the right thing to do, when the situation calls for it, and we are able to make a difference.” madison said, “I am pleased with the so-called "Obama Doctrine". It requires the U.S. to pick its battles. The decision to intervene is based on a) egregious actions by a foreign entity (specifically against its own citizens or against U.S. interests) ; b) wide collaboration from the international community, set up in advance; c) shared costs with the international community; d) perceived benefit to the U.S. or to the U.S. role as world leader; and e) perceived risk. Why would we not follow such guidelines in all of our actions?”


And there were also those who said they weren’t on board. YodarCritch said, “President Obama may have made the argument that military forces were necessary to enforce the UN no-fly zone and ‘protect’ Libyan citizens. However, President Obama failed to make the argument that United States' military were needed.” SarahB12345 said, “I'm not swayed by Obama's reasoning. If our goal is to save the lives of innocent civilians, why aren't we involved in the Congo?”


Simmons blasts fat jokes


In an opinion piece special to CNN.com, physical fitness guru Richard Simmons called out comedian George Lopez for his jokes about actress Kirstie Alley’s weight. Having been teased as a “fat” kid, Simmons says he understands the pain overweight people endure because of jokes and that they may breed insensitivity.


Many CNN.com readers agreed with him and praised his efforts to reach out, but some readers said he’s too thin-skinned.


beemr77 said, “It's no wonder kids bully each other. Just look at all of the so-called adults they have for examples. Thank you for your message Mr. Simmons. If we can't all be civil to one another because of the way someone looks, then we're not much of a society." SpayNeuter said, “Verbal abuse should never be allowed to be hidden behind being called a joke. Words can hurt and do hurt. They can be some of the worst scars we give each other as humans.” abrown85 said, “Richard Simmons is such a kind man. He seems so tolerant of everyone (i.e. size, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). We need more tolerance in this world.”


samTheman99 said, “As the President of CCA (Chubby Chasers of America - over 10 million members), I must say that if you laugh at yourself, people will stop laughing at you.” rjk256 said, “Comedians go after issues and make fun of them; that is their role as the jester. People are too sensitive. Seriously. Don't be such a wimp.” humtake said, “The problem is people let what other people say offend them. I was fat most of my life, and I made fun of it and embraced others who made fun of it. If you live happy and not let others dictate your emotions, you will live a much happier and longer life.”


But skady said, “I don't think the jokes by themselves are the problem. I think the real problem is that bullies and intolerant people use them to harass and alienate people that already have troubles accepting and dealing with a condition that society frowns upon.”


Willie may sing to pay for pot charge


Last November, much beloved country singer and well known pot smoker Willie Nelson was charged with pot possession in west Texas. The action prompted a public outcry and now the prosecutor in the case is offering the singer an unusual plea deal: sing his 1975 "Blue Eyes" hit and pay a $100 fine.


While many readers expressed their support for Nelson, others didn’t appreciate the preferential treatment.


Deej59 said, “Two problems with this. First, it's like saying 'Dance' while shooting at his feet. Second, if you or I get busted for the same thing we're going to pay the top fine and possibly do some jail time. It’s wrong to have different scales of justice for different people based on who they are and what they do.” MattSWilson said, “So, I get caught with weed [I get] jail time and heavy fines for being a ‘drug addicted menace to society.’ Celebrity gets caught with weed, hey lets put on a show.” SmokeyWtrz said, “I got popped in east Texas on a misdemeanor possession charge. It cost me a lot more than a hundred bucks. And when I sang, the jail staff threatened to beat the crud out of me.”


Cappyjean said, “So the judge is not star struck! I like the prosecutor, we need more just like hit. Smoking weed is nothing, sounds like the judge needs some.” Miguk said, “Willie for president!” Jimmo shared his version of “On the road again.” “Stoned again. Just can't wait to get stoned again. The life I love is tokin' up with my friends and I can't wait to get stoned again.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? 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: kgriggs // March 29, 2011
 8 comments // Add a comment
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Overheard on CNN.com: Wal-Mart and gender equality »


Comment of the day: "However this turns out, I think it's safe to say that lawyers will come out the biggest winners." --TruthSpitta


Justices to hear appeal over Wal-Mart gender pay lawsuit


An upcoming Supreme Court case will decide whether to allow a class-action suit against Wal-Mart for sexual discrimination. The case began when six women unknown to each other found that they shared a common claim.  Readers were split over whether they believed the women in the case suffered discrimination.


KtinME said,  “Our local Wal-Mart is notorious for overlooking the women and promoting younger men with less experience and  education. Reasons given range from: 'he came off better in the interview" to "he had the image we were looking for.' One of those men was a nineteen-year-old kid with one day of Wal-Mart working experience; he was handed a walkie-talkie and told he was the floor manager on his second day of work. The overlooked women, all with years of experience, coached him through his shift.“


Shakaboy said, “If you read the article ... the women were training the men for the new position. They were qualified enough to train them for the job but not be promoted into it.”


Many were dismayed over Wal-Mart practices.  BBoy705 said, “Wal-Mart is like some sort of blight on the nation. It's pretty sad when that is the best a whole section of society can aspire to!”


Beowulfpk believed employees were treated equally but said, “Part of the Wal-Mart experience is to give false hope that you may become a manager to keep you working in the lower-paid positions indefinitely. Bitter employees don't get promoted. There's little room for family obligations as retail managers are expected to work 365 days a year and at any hour of the day. It’s a horrible schedule. Some people can handle that kind of schedule. Other people have family to take care of and unfortunately those people will probably never be a Wal-Mart manager.”


YoshkarAla, who claimed former employment at both Wal-Mart and Kmart, said, “Wal-Mart management treats their employees better: at least in Wal-Mart, no one gets cussed openly by management. I'll take a job at Wal-Mart anytime, regardless what anyone negatively comments.“


Prince William chooses wedding cake made of cookies


In a break with tradition, there will be two kinds of cake at the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton: a classic fruitcake and a “chocolate biscuit” cake.


BenHur76008 said, “Let them eat cookies!” Spankie11 asked, “Will they serve milk with that?” volumexUK said, “The UK make world-class biscuits. I know 'cos I live here. So there.”


Kris53 said, “Oh, how nice! All this wonderful news, can't wait to see 'the big day.' Lots of speculation about Catherine's dress too. With all the doom-and-gloom news, it's nice to read something positive and uplifting for a change! Diana did well (smile).”


ThatGirl123 said, “600 people will be saved from that foul fruitcake that is at most English weddings. Those lucky, lucky people.” gobo said, “What they call "fruitcake" isn't what you're imagining.” UKsideofpond said, “I'd rather that than the grits they slop up down south! Besides, it's a matter of taste, all Christmas cakes and birthday cakes in the UK are made of fruit plus liberal doses of brandy to keep it moist.” ACB11180 said, “I'm not a fan of fruitcake, but I wish I could be there to try the chocolate biscuit cake!”


Although a groom’s cake is said to be a southern U.S. tradition, a “biscuit” in this case is what Americans would call a ‘cookie,’ not the southern fluffy roll. Odin63 said, “The practice of groom's cakes actually goes back to old Europe, but it fell out of practice there. Now it is more common in the US, not just the southern U.S. I have seen weddings with groom’s cakes in several states outside of the southern U.S.


Guest said, “Remember the groom's cake in the movie "Steel Magnolias"? It was a devil's chocolate (or red velvet chocolate) shaped like an armadillo! CrowTRobot answered, “It was red velvet because the joke was that it looked like you were butchering it when you cut it open.”


Deadly Egyptian cobra missing from Bronx Zoo


Last summer, a rattlesnake was on the loose from Zoo Atlanta for two days before it was clubbed to death in a nearby neighborhood. (Venomous rattlesnake found dead 100 yards from Zoo Atlanta) Now a cobra is missing from the Bronx Zoo. Staff was alerted Saturday that the snake was missing from an out-of-exhibit enclosure, and the reptile house was closed and secured.


Striker5 said, “This is nothing to joke about. A number of years ago in Stoneham, Mass., some idiot had an Egyptian Cobra that got loose due to his stupidity. They found the snake six months later across the street in an elementary school, in a classroom. A student saw it and thought it was fake until it moved. Fortunately, they captured it.” aubrie said, “My worst nightmares are about snakes. I am totally repelled by them. This story really creeps me out.”


In response to outrage over some of the comic comments, astonlad said, “I'm only seeing the funny side of it because I'm confident this thing will probably get found or killed before it gets to cause any harm. If a rapist or serial killer had escaped from prison, my attitude would be very different.”


Alina77 said, “Still missing? Come on, she probably wonders why nobody looked under the toilet seat.” rally56 said, “They should check the Mongoose exhibit.”


Johan234567 said,  “I'm going to the zoo today and stick my hand or foot in every dark accessible area. This is a guaranteed win for a lawsuit if accidentally bit.” JBSac replied, “According to the article you would have about 15 minutes to file that lawsuit.” Cleveland123 said, “Good thinking. You should do that right away.”


Many suggested the snake would have the worst of it in the Bronx. ChrisFromVA said, “After a couple hours in the Bronx, I'm sure the snake will turn itself in.” Geest said, “This snake stands no chance against subway rats on the 2 train.”


HumbleOp said, “The snake is the one who should be afraid. If he gets around Broadway he'll think that people are trying to stomp him, but it'd just be the women attempting to try him on. Hope he doesn't have a tattoo that says ‘Manolo Blahnik.’ “


JNYC said, “Loose in the Bronx? That snake better stay in the reptile house.” Mcwhiteys said, “They taste like chicken.” deepwater805 answered, “McCobranuggets.”


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

Posted by: leahpine // March 28, 2011
 30 comments // Add a comment
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Overheard on CNN.com: Pasta with love sauce »


Photo: Chef Bruno Serato serves pasta to children in Orange County, California.


Comment of the day: "I myself have lived for a short while in an L.A.-area motel, not because of poverty but because it was impossible to get a four-month lease because I had two children.  Feeding my children healthy food over a hot plate and in a microwave was a huge challenge. Try to serve your family a full healthy menu for one month using nothing more than your microwave, the smallest burner on your stovetop and the bottom shelf of your fridge for storage. After you do that, you may pass judgment" --HeatherJeane


Making sure 'motel kids' don't go hungry


Upon the urging of his mother, a California chef has been feeding the masses. Bruno Serato (above), an Italian immigrant who started as a dishwasher in the U.S., has been making sure hot dinners reach some of the hungriest children in wealthy Orange County, California. bill6672 said, “This man is a saint. Children, no matter what nationality, should not have to go to bed hungry. How appropriate that he is himself an immigrant. Bravo, and well done Mr. Serato.”


coffegirl said, “What a wonderful person. I aim to give back like he does.” farmgurl58 said, “This guy is a great example to all of us. I hope his restaurant is so successful that his pockets can't hold all the money that he makes.” allenk893 said, “Wow. Bless them for helping those families out. What a great news story in the midst of negative news worldwide.”


Some worried about whether daily pasta was nutritious. Baruchzed said, “This is a nice story. I do want to mention that pasta doesn’t offer much in terms of nutrition. These kids need vegetables, fruit and clean meat.”


But Morgansmedia said, “Pasta beats hunger.” WayOutThere added,“Well, feel free to send your vegetables to supplement the pasta.”


Godsgrace05 asked, “Is there a way to donate to the cause? I would love to give to this group of people to help with food, and this is a great thought to share with other communities around the country. This warms my heart today.“


Others wrote to condemn the parents of the hungry children. biggovv said the story was “propaganda” that was really “about freeloading, takers of society & dum lazy parents.” But others said the children were not at fault and that bad things sometimes happen to good people.


FalconDagger said, “ ‘Good afternoon Mr. Employee, we are downsizing and you are out of a job as of right now. Now try to pay the mortgage, other debts and feed your family.’ If you haven’t noticed, a lot of educated, gainfully employed people are now jobless. That’s not to say this is the case for all or any of the people this saint of a man feeds. Just be thankful that you can put food on the table and be appreciative of those that help put food on a table. Amen.”


Japan and energy: What's the alternative?


In the wake of Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis, many countries are re-evaluating their nuclear power programs. Some readers were optimistic about alternative sources.


moneyman1 said, “Japan has a clear and hopeful choice to replace nuclear power: deep-well geothermal power. According to the U.S. Department of Energy/MIT study of 2006-2007, the United States could produce all its grid electrical power with geothermal. Deep-well geothermal is free fuel; no research and development. Indonesia and the Philippines are deploying it now. A new dawn of cheap electrical power is coming.”


567123 asked, “What about tidal energy? This is far more reliable a source of energy, just a bit more expensive than wind.”


selles said, “If solar and wind works best on a small scale, then we should try to get as many houses as possible in the U.S., solar- or wind-powered individually. Each house could be solar- and or wind-powered on a large enough scale to sell at least some of the power back to the grid. This is an energy solution that is possible using current technology.”


Maxemoose said, “According to the documentary "Too Hot Not to Handle" a 50-by-50-mile solar panel array in the Mojave Desert in California would solve all our problems. I saw a similar statistic on Bill Maher this week stating 3% of Arizona could do the same. Lack of technology and space are not the issue. It is a lack of will to change."


But others were strongly for updating nuclear energy. cory83 said, “The French get 80% of their electricity from nuclear power and have not had a single major incident. Use nuclear power the French way.”


Jamessavik said, “Uranium-based nuclear plants are not the only game in town. Plants based on the thorium fuel cycle are much safer. They are cleaner, not nearly as radioactive and the fuel is completely consumed by the reaction. Thorium is ready to use in its natural state and does not have to be processed.“


But Errylemco said, “Living in Canada and having inside knowledge of the nuclear research industry here, you still need enriched uranium or plutonium in these reactors. You still have to enrich the uranium or produce the plutonium. While they may be ‘cleaner,’ there are still a number of issues to be addressed.”


How puppy love can help your sex life


More exercise and touching, an improved attitude and new adventures: These are the gifts that an adopted puppy brought to writer Ian Kerner and to the bedroom. Deecee said, “I love this guy's insight and the way this story applies scientific research to this subjective case. Awesome story that makes me glad I'm a dog lover.”


Armywifeam said, “My husband and I were in the debate on whether to get a dog or wait. Guess this solves it.”


A few were disturbed over the writer’s choice of a pit bull, saying that it was bound to be aggressive, but others disagreed. MrsFizzy said, “Of course, it's ‘bound’ to happen. … Look at that ‘killer’ and read about the way they are bringing her up! (rolls eyes)” Sara said, “Nice to see a charming story of a pit bull out there and glad you included a photo. They need all the good press they can get.”


Others said that having a dog had not enhanced their love lives. Alex said she and her boyfriend had experienced the opposite: “Be careful what you wish for. We're constantly watching so that she doesn't pee in the house or eat a shoe. We're worn out from the long walks, training and fetch. Our heads hurt from the barking when she's in her crate. We've hardly touched each other since getting this dog three weeks ago. Puppies equal extra birth control in my book.”


Aaron said, “I'm sorry but I had to stop after I read, ‘petting a dog is good foreplay.’ The worst part, I can never unread it!”



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

Posted by: leahpine // March 25, 2011
 9 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on CNN.com: Color me intrusive? »


Comment of the day: " ‘Pham said vulgarity won't be a problem,’ adding that everyone will walk on shiny rainbow clouds while tiny birds sing to them, and all war and violence will immediately end. Each citizen will be given a million dollars and a pony, and no one will ever, ever take a picture of their Wang©.” --Bubba01


New Color app promotes mobile voyeurism


A  smartphone app released today will allow users who are within 150 feet of each other to share current and past photographs. According to the developers, this will allow users to share a sort of bug’s-eye perspective of a given view.


Get a life, suggested some of our readers. BigPicture12 said, “Huh? You are sitting outside at a beautiful cafe on a warm spring day, and you are staring at your phone looking at pictures of the scene around you? What possible sense does that make?“  CTLeClair agreed. “So I can see the world around me through a mobile application, or I could use my eyeballs. I'm confused at the excitement over this.”


Most said that only those sharing the app can share the streamed photos. Others wondered how this photo sharing would affect an out-of-the-loop bystander. Is this legal, they wondered.


Jahoobie said, “So, if I am not the one using this app but happen to be sitting at a bar, and a random person decides to take my picture, this company can reuse the picture without my consent? Yeah this sounds like a wonderful app; I'm sure lawsuits will follow for invasion of privacy.“


Wateverlah said, “I can't seem to delete any photos after I have taken them through the Color app. That is a privacy concern. “ ACSpam2010 said, “Seems like a stalker app to me if you can see people's photo streams throughout their day. Do you think a 14-year-old has the state of mind to be cautious about what they share?"


RIPMrLinkous said, “This one's going to end in a lawsuit pretty quickly. Midloo agreed, saying, “Yeah, as soon as someone starts taking creepy pictures of some other Color owner's children. Endgame. RobertInComo said, “This will turn into a porn-fest in no time.”


But others thought there was little cause for concern. Tryingnotto said, “Please everyone, don't panic, I'm sure there will just be pictures of babies, people smiling and great scenery.”


IMAPC said, “Meh, this will last 5 minutes.”


Harmed in the hospital? Should you sue?


A story about a 2-year old who suffered amputations because she wasn’t seen quickly enough at an emergency room had readers arguing about lawsuits.


musashi1 said, “As a doctor I am shocked that this wasn't pursued much more quickly. To say that her condition wasn't as serious as others in the hospital is insane; the kid was septic, that is by definition a medical emergency. The high fever and spontaneous ecchymosis/petechiae formation are big red flags for that.”


Hospitals are overwhelmed by less urgent cases, said some readers. Maverick2591 said, “This is a tragic story, but hospital EDs are inundated with patients who could see their private physician or go to an urgent care center. Why the ED? Because in the other places you have to pay a co-pay before you leave, and in most EDs this rule is not enforced.“


xFailedState said, “ERs see thousands of patients. It's a small miracle that we don't see more of these stories come out. Patients can be lost in a sea of more serious cases. How do you prioritize? It's a dangerous dance that most ERs struggle with especially at the smaller hospitals. But the result is this; they probably will not win this case."


JanetMermaid said, “I sat in an emergency room for three hours one morning, all the while bleeding internally. I was the only patient there. Why did I have to wait? The doctor had gone home to eat breakfast (one of the nurses told me this). At least then I had insurance. Our entire medical system is broken.”


Some thought a lawsuit was appropriate in this case. hollybush123 said, “This poor family have no choice but to sue. They could end up on the streets trying to pay for medical care for their baby who will need help for the rest of her life.” 25mom4 said, “This poor baby will never tie her own shoes or wear a wedding ring. I hope they win big. If the hospital is ‘too busy’, then they need to stop worrying so much about profit margins and hire more staff. Yes, attorneys make money. But don’t forget that hospitals do too.”


HoosierDoc said, “As a physician, I think truly injured patients whose injury is a direct result of negligent care certainly deserve appropriate recourse. The problem is that our system is set up as a lottery for lawyers. It invites frivolous cases.“


2 planes land at Washington airport without controller help


FAA suspends air traffic controller after flights land with no help


An air traffic controller was suspended at Washington’s Reagan National Airport after two planes had to land without guidance from the control tower.  The planes landed safely. Many readers thought the underlying problem was staffing.


Fromwithin said, “Well, congratulations to the pilots for dealing with a difficult situation gracefully and successfully! Only one controller at the tower? Jeeze really? What’s the person supposed to do? Pee in a cup for bathroom breaks?”


theotherrvw said, “Ironic that such a thing happened at the airport renamed for the President who fired the PATCO union members.”  Renait said, “Understaffing was one of the issues the air traffic controllers were striking about when Ronald Reagan squashed them.”


Carrotroot asked, “Is it too much to ask to have more than one ATC on shift at a major airport? Is this normal or is this the result of Congress not passing the 2011 budget?” Silentway answered, “It’s not budgets; it’s the lack of applicants. Most ATC guys I know make 85k and most people I know, including myself, wouldn't do that job for that money.”


soe999 said the real problem lies “with the previous administration. In 2006, they started treating controllers like crap, cut their pay, and then claimed nobody would leave the Agency. What a shock, they left in droves when they were eligible to retire and the Agency did little to prepare for the impending retirement wave.“


Still, many said the story was blown out of proportion. bronconavy said, “This is a non-story! Discipline the controller and move on. The pilots did what they are trained to do. ... Yawn. …” bobcamp agreed, saying, “It's not that big a deal and has happened to me once as well. Sometimes the equipment breaks, or the ATC is in the bathroom, or the ATC forgot to bring his badge with him to the bathroom and gets locked out of the tower. There is a plan B. The only story here was that it happened at National.”


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

Posted by: leahpine // March 24, 2011
 1 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on CNN.com: Fans praise Elizabeth Taylor »


Comment of the day: Richard …your Queen has arrived. --Cobrawing


Elizabeth Taylor dies at age 79


Elizabeth Taylor, the Academy Award-winning actress famed for her beauty, jet-set lifestyle, charitable endeavors and many marriages, died at the age of 79 Wednesday morning.


Hundreds of CNN.com readers posted tributes for the screen siren.


Basil999 said, “Elizabeth Taylor was an icon of the bright Hollywood years -- Brando, Newman, Burton and the like. RIP Ms. Taylor. Those of us who grew up watching you will remember you in our hearts, always. (Who can forget ‘Cat on Hot Tin Roof’ and ‘Virginia Woolf’?”) DRBERNABO said, “Katharine Hepburn was once asked about who else had an acting career comparable to her own and she surprised the interviewer by naming Elizabeth Taylor.” ReallyJersey said, “Elizabeth Taylor was glamorous with a capital G. Talent and brains combined with a stunning natural beauty. She had a zest for life and a caring heart. Her courage in adversity and charity work alone would win her a place in heaven. God bless you Liz, you were one of a kind.” gabrielle242 said, “I am crying as I write this. I grew up with her and it is sad to see a legend like her go. She was a beautiful woman and a fantastic actress. I can watch ‘Cleopatra’ over and over or ‘Giant’ or ‘National Velvet.’ Rest in peace Elizabeth.”


Many commenters mentioned her charity work. motownmom25 said, “All your hard work for the AIDS Foundation was only one of the great things you did in life. Heaven got another angel today!” Greatnow said, “You were without a doubt the most beautiful woman who graced the screen. Rest well and thank you for all your work for AIDS research and for making this place better than what you found.” swapmeat said, “Ms. Taylor was a hero for all those suffering from AIDS; it was she who spearheaded AIDS research and awareness when it was a very unpopular issue. Thanks, darling. You'll always be beautiful!”


And the fact that she was a beautiful woman was not missed. wapi said, “She was smokin' hot when she was young. Today's legions of bleached blonds could take a lesson from her.” Opencurtin said, “Her violet eyes were amazing.” Powerbar said, “There was no one more beautiful than her on the outside (Cat of a Hot Tin Roof), but most importantly, there was more inner beauty than all combined.” fritz65 said, “A truly gorgeous woman, proving a few curves here and there are stunning, much like Marilyn Monroe.” Yup236 said, “She was absolutely stunning ... and this is coming from a woman. I've always had the biggest crush on her.”


U.S. bans some Japanese food


Amid Japan's nuclear disaster, all milk, milk products, fresh vegetables and fruit from the four prefectures closest to the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be prevented from entering the United States, a representative for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.


CNN.com commenters were either confused by the ban or frustrated about other’s misinformation.


Those scratching their heads included phil5280 who said, “I'm surprised. Not one word about sushi or seafood from the general area.” SheepDetectr said, “First they say not to worry, then all of a sudden certain foods are banned.” baboons said, “Why would basic food staples such as milk and spinach come from as far away as Japan? Burning several tons of diesel fuel on a slow boat across the ocean to provide us with fruit?”


Commenters who seemed to have answers posted as well. shayward said, “I really wish people would get that this is about protecting farmers in the US from a naive backlash from the public that buy there goods and don't look at where there spinach comes from. JerryF said, “When you have radioactive products leaking into the air, the water, and food supply you have a big problem.” Guest said, “Radiation and nuclear power aren't the problem here, it's the NASTY by-products (forget iodine) that are being released from the nuclear reactor ‘accident’.” zoeusa said, "Keep in mind that United States only imports 4% of foods from Japan in general."


And some readers had requests. lilkim629 said, “For the love of God, just don't ban sushi!” Joot responded, “Mercury is more harmful than radiation at these levels. By the way, that mercury comes from coal production.”


Mother arrested for encouraging son to fight


A California mother was arrested this week after she was captured on video encouraging her son to pummel another boy. The woman can be heard yelling "Beat him down. Body slam him," as the two boys swing wildly at each other in the scuffle that leaves one bloody. The fight was broken up by a passerby.


Many CNN.com readers had choice words for the mother’s parenting skills, but nearly as many praised the man who stopped the fight.


WorkinMan001 said, “It's great to hear a story where when someone does something wrong, a good person puts a stop to it. I don't read this as a 'people suck' story as much as a story about someone doing the right thing. Cheers for the guy who stopped the fight. Growler said, “I'm in with the working man. The passerby put a stop to it. Nice to know some people will stand out by stepping up.” Bearmitchell said, “Good work by the passerby. This lady is why some young adults end up in the prison system.”


About the mother’s parenting, machew said, “Now we can plainly see where bullying comes from. It's a learned behavior and guess who teaches it?” sumguy2006 said, “I must say I'm feeling a little hypocritical. Seeing that video makes me want to punch the mother in the face.” While spankie1 said, “I'm torn on the issue. If my son was being physically bullied by another kid, I would encourage my son to stand up for himself and kick the bullies a$$. If it is over a dispute, I would insist that my son to resolve it w/out using violence.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? 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: kgriggs // March 23, 2011
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments

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