Overheard on CNN.com: Obstruction is not healthy democracy
Said one commenter: "Democracy is the worst form of government until you compare it to all the others."
September 30th, 2011
07:02 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Obstruction is not healthy democracy

Comments of the Day:

"Mr. Toobin, I'm sure there were some folks who thought it was just healthy discussion back in 1861, too."–Delta75

"Very well-written article. It was never the role of government to come up with solutions. It's not designed to do so. It's only role was to protect rights. It's trying to do way too much!"–harrytubman

Conflict is a feature of democracy, not a flaw

Stubbornness and lack of wit are not the cause of conflict between Democrats and Republicans, writes CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. They disagree because they have "profound ideological differences" over whether government can be a "useful social engine to protect the environment, help the poor and build the economy." And this conflict, he writes, is part of democracy.

Some CNN.com readers disagreed that the present conflicts are a sign of healthy democracy. The rest argued over political ideology.

mooseman316 said, "What an insipid piece of claptrap. Conflict is a flaw; overcoming conflict is what our government is all about. We are not overcoming anything and that is the flaw in the system."

hippediva said, "Conflict? I think he means compromise, a word all the idealogues forgot long ago when they learned to bully their way to 'victory,' even if it means breaking the whole to satisfy the very few."

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com
Francona out as Red Sox manager
September 30th, 2011
06:21 PM ET

Francona out as Red Sox manager

Terry Francona will not return as manager of the Boston Red Sox following the team's end-of-season collapse that kept the storied franchise out of the playoffs.

The Red Sox will not exercise its option years on the contract of the manager, who led the team to two World Series championships during his eight seasons in Boston, according to a team statement.

Boston went 7-20 this September, allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to pass them for the American League wild card playoff spot on the last day of the regular season.

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Filed under: Baseball • Boston • Massachusetts • Sports
Paramedic testifies he saw no signs of life in Michael Jackson
Dr. Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of pop icon Michael Jackson.
September 30th, 2011
06:13 PM ET

Paramedic testifies he saw no signs of life in Michael Jackson

A Los Angeles County paramedic who responded to the delayed 911 call from Michael Jackson's home the day he died testified Friday in Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial that Jackson was "flatlined" and appeared dead when rescuers arrived.

Paramedic Richard Senneff said that at no time during the 42 minutes he was with Jackson on June 25, 2009, did he see any signs of life in him.

Paramedic Martin Blount, who drove the ambulance, began his testimony later Friday, the fourth day of Murray's trial.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil asked Blount about his initial assessment of Jackson's condition when he arrived.

"I felt he was dead, ma'am," Blount said.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Courts • Crime • Justice • Michael Jackson • Showbiz
Start of NBA season believed at stake in weekend talks
Miami Heat star LeBron James arrives at NBA labor talks in New York on Friday.
September 30th, 2011
05:38 PM ET

Start of NBA season believed at stake in weekend talks

NBA fans might know by the end of the weekend if the regular season will start on time November 1, with team owners and locked-out players gathering in New York for crucial talks aimed at a new labor deal.

Deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters this week that the league is “getting very close” to having to delay the regular season if significant progress isn’t made in this weekend’s talks, which began Friday.

Commissioner David Stern may have gone further, warning Wednesday of “enormous consequences” if progress isn’t made.

“Then it won’t be a question of just starting the season on time, it will be a lot at risk from the absence of progress,” he said.

The owners’ labor relations committee and a players’ committee – joined by some stars who aren’t on the players’ panel, such as LeBron James - were meeting Friday, and could meet Saturday and Sunday, according to NBA.com.

Team owners have locked out their players since July, when the last collective bargaining agreement – a contract between the teams and the players union which outlines the rules of the players’ pay – expired. One key issue has been the owners’ demand for a hard salary cap, driven in part by claims that 22 of 30 teams lost money last season.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • Sports
CDC: Death toll from contaminated cantaloupe rises to 15
Jensen Farms in Colorado has recalled Rocky Ford whole cantaloupes that were shipped between July 29 and September 10.
September 30th, 2011
02:49 PM ET

CDC: Death toll from contaminated cantaloupe rises to 15

Two more people have been killed by consuming cantaloupe contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, raising the outbreak's death toll to 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The two additions to the death toll include one person in New Mexico and one in Colorado, according to the CDC. The totals are now five in New Mexico, three in Colorado,  one in Kansas, one in Maryland, one in Missouri, one in Nebraska, one in Oklahoma, and two in Texas.

Eighty-four illnesses in 19 states have been reported, the CDC said.

The outbreak was first reported September 12. It was traced to consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms' fields in Granada, Colorado. The farm has recalled Rocky Ford whole cantaloupes that were shipped between July 29 and September 10.

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Florida moves up primary, against national GOP's wishes
September 30th, 2011
02:44 PM ET

Florida moves up primary, against national GOP's wishes

A panel of Florida legislators bucked national Republican Party rules Friday and approved a motion to hold the state's presidential primary on January 31.

The move, crafted to ensure that Florida goes fifth in the nominating process, is certain to scramble the presidential primary calendar and push the first contest of the GOP nomination fight into the early days of January.

Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina the only four states allowed to vote before March 6 under Republican National Committee rules have collectively vowed to move the dates of their caucuses and primaries ahead of Florida to protect their early voting status.

If those first four states move to the front of line as expected, the campaign for the GOP nomination will officially begin a full month earlier than expected, leaving candidates and potential candidates like Sarah Palin and Chris Christie even less time to make their cases to voters.

Already, in response to Florida's move, New Hampshire has moved up the date by which presidential candidates must file an intent to compete. That deadline is now October 28, meaning potential candidates such as Christie and Palin have less than a month to decide whether to compete in the Granite State primary.

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Source: Al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. drone
American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed Friday in Yemen, the nation's Defense Ministry said.
September 30th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Source: Al-Awlaki was killed by U.S. drone

[Updated at 12:21 p.m. ET] The airstrike that killed militant American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in a car in Yemen came from a U.S. drone, a government source who was briefed by the CIA told CNN.

Three others, including Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin, were killed with al-Awlaki, reported Yemen's state-run Saba news agency, citing an official security source.

Al-Awlaki was killed about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Yemeni town of Khashef, east of the capital, Sanaa, said Mohammed Basha, a spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington. He said the operation was launched at 9:55 a.m.

[Updated at 11:59 a.m. ET] The airstrike that killed radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was part of an American counterterrorism program that "violates both U.S. and international law," said American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer.

"This is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process," he said.

A Yemeni official has described the strike as "a successful joint intelligence-sharing operation" between Yemen and the United States

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET]  U.S President Barack Obama said Friday's death of  American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is a major blow for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and marks another milestone in the effort to defeat the terrorist network.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a "dangerous but weakened" threat that calls for continued vigilance on the part of the United States despite al-Awlaki's death, Obama said.

Al-Awlaki whose fluency in English and technology made him one of the top terrorist recruiters in the world was killed Friday in an airstrike in Yemen, officials said.

The United States regarded al-Awlaki, the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a terrorist who posed a major threat to American homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki was a senior leader of AQAP, one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates in the world. It has been linked to the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 and a cargo plane plot last year.

[Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET] Samir Khan, an American of  Pakistani origin specializing in computer programming for al Qaeda, was killed Friday with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni  security official told the state-run news agency, Saba.  Khan was also the principal author of Inspire, an online magazine for the terror network.

[Initial post] Friday's death of American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, announced earlier in the day,  happened when an airstrike hit his motorcade, a Yemeni government official told CNN. The source would not say who carried out the strike.

The United States regarded al-Awlaki, the public face of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a terrorist who posed a major threat to American homeland security. Western intelligence officials believe al-Awlaki was a senior leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the most active al Qaeda affiliates in the world. It has been linked to the attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 and a cargo plane plot last year.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Legitimate kill or illegal assassination?
Anwar al-Awlaki was believed to be hiding in Yemen.
September 30th, 2011
12:33 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Legitimate kill or illegal assassination?

Comment of the Day:
"Give thanks and never forget the men in the shadows."–JimmyNelson

Officials: U.S.-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki killed

Key al Qaeda leader silenced

An American recruiter for al Qaeda was killed in an airstrike in Yemen Friday, a result of a "successful joint intelligence-sharing operation" between Yemen and the United States, a Yemeni government official said Friday. "It can't be understated, the inspirational figure he was," said CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend, AQAP's "ability to recruit new people and to raise money will be severely diminished."

Most CNN.com readers praised the airstrike, but a few said al-Awlaki should have been captured and brought to trial. NobelFail said, "Gotta love drones! The new silent killers. Keep up the good work!"

UnitdWeStnd said, "It wasn't long ago that al Qaeda seemed almost invincible with their 'cell' networks. Sure, they're not finished but they're definitely on the ropes. If we Americans work together there is nothing we can't accomplish. We may fight amongst ourselves but let another nation touch any American citizen–regardless of race, creed or color–we'll defend them with our lives. Most importantly, we have something no other country can ever have: American ingenuity."

gman993 asked, "What law makes this legal? What about the U.S. Constitution and the 5th amendment 'nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'? His crime sounds a lot like conspiracy to murder, which is life in prison not execution. He has not been convicted or charged with any crime."

Voice of Reason said, "Unfortunately, this world that we live in can be very violent. In this case I see no other viable option. Anwar al-Awlaki supported and fueled violence against civilians, making himself a legitimate target. We reap what we sow."

oldpatriot said, "Yet you have zero evidence beyond this new article. Just like Osama, we didn't see the body, we don't hear the rebuttal in court, we never see the evidence. From what I know of this situation it appears the CIA and DoD committed an assassination of an American citizen on foreign soil."

reACTIONary replied, "That is exactly what happened, and no one, especially the government, is trying to present it any differently. The guy has been on the CIA 'Kill or Capture' list for a long time and that is very public knowledge. There is a lot of publicly verifiable information about this guy that would lead anyone to conclude he was exactly what the CIA says he was."

GMCRET said, "The administration stated that since he went in the 'operational realm' he was a legitimate target. I doubt the SCOTUS is going to take this up. Good riddance to bad rubbish."

On the Radar: GOP primary shakeup, jittery investors, baseball playoffs
It looks like the GOP presidential candidates are going to chase primary votes in Florida earlier than the RNC would like.
September 30th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

On the Radar: GOP primary shakeup, jittery investors, baseball playoffs

Three things to know today:

GOP primary shakeup

Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning is expected to announce Friday that the state will move its GOP primary date to the end of January, which will probably cause a chain reaction of scheduling changes by the four states that typically open the nomination process. According to state officials, the Florida commission set up to examine potential election dates is expected to move Florida's primary to January 31, moving the state’s primary to the No. 1 slot, at least temporarily, on the Republican Party’s primary schedule.

The move would be the second consecutive presidential election that Florida has moved its primary date in front of its traditional March spot. In the 2008 race, the state chose to hold its primary on January 29, and the Republican National Committee responded by docking Florida of half of its delegates. The RNC wants only four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina – to hold their primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday, and says that any state that chooses to move in front of those four will lose some of its delegates.

Florida’s primary shuffle has once again caused a stir among GOP leaders in the first four “carve-out” states, with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner telling the Portsmouth Herald that he will do “whatever it takes” to ensure that the state remains at the front of the process to protect “the little guy." Nevada officials have responded similarly, saying that they might move the state’s caucuses up as early as January 21.

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Gotta Watch: Fight fight fight!
Officials attempt to separate players from both the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans after a bench emptying brawl in the fourth quarter.
September 30th, 2011
10:33 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Fight fight fight!

Sometimes after a long work week, there's just nothing better than kicking back, relaxing and watching some downright dirty fight videos.  The problem is, there are so many of these videos, it's hard to pick which ones are the best.  Here are just a few brawl videos you've gotta watch...starting with one that was newly released of some Florida high school football players throwing some serious punches at the end of a game.

Post-game punches – You'd think they would have got their aggression out during the game, but two high school football teams in Florida felt otherwise.  Check out the video that got a number of students suspended from the teams.

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Filed under: Basketball • Football • Gotta Watch • Sports
September 30th, 2011
07:45 AM ET

Friday's live events

CNN.com Live is your home for gavel-to-gavel coverage of Dr. Conrad Murray's involuntary manslaughter trial.

Today's programming highlights...

11:00 am ET - Florida announces primary date - Florida's secretary of state will announce when the state would like to hold its presidential primary next year, amid reports Florida is looking to hold it as early as January.

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Filed under: Conrad Murray • Crime • Politics