Overheard on CNN.com: 'If you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand'
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has died, his family confirmed Sunday. He was 85, and is seen here in 1988.
January 24th, 2012
06:12 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'If you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Many of our readers are having a hard time reconciling the legacy of Joe Paterno, who died Sunday at the age of 85. The late Penn State coach took criticism for his response to allegations against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant. We heard from many supporters as well as many who were outraged.

Mourners line up to pay respects to Joe Paterno

This commenter, along with many others, was critical of Paterno.

joeyshmoey: "He was the head coach. He made all decisions as to who was his coaching staff. He looked the other way and kept this monster on his coaching staff. Winning was more important then the lives of those kids. How can you justify continuing to work with the guy for so long. ..."

Some readers said Paterno was taking too much blame for the Sandusky case.

atomicwaste: "Those that JoePa worked for killed him. If any of those clowns would have done the right thing JoePa would be alive today. JoePa told his boss and his boss told his boss and nobody did squat. JoePa was innocent of any crime. JoePa's mistake was trusting his bosses to do the right thing. May JoePa rest in peace and may his bosses never have peace."

The following comment references a popular sentiment among Penn State fans. There is a Facebook group named similarly.

inmyopinion8: "As the article said, if you didn't go to Penn State, you wouldn't understand. Also, you disgusting hypocrites need to shut your mouths. It's laughable how all of these so called Christians are saying it is wrong to mourn the death of Joe. All I have to say is, it doesn't matter one bit what you think, it's all about what the Big Man Upstairs thinks, and he is way more forgiving than you ... If this wasn't censored I would have a whole lot more to say to you. Absolutely disgusting."

knowthat: "That is the problem. People in the Penn State bubble don't get it, and the rest of the world does. Take away football and Penn State, and all you have is an old man who allowed children to be continued to be abused. I only cry for the victims that could have been spared had your beloved Joe done the right thing."

Some said we need to change our criteria for selecting role models. FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Romney's debating, Romney's taxes
Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at Monday night's GOP presidential debate in Florida.
January 24th, 2012
04:30 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Romney's debating, Romney's taxes

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

On Monday, people were talking about Newt Gingrich. On Tuesday, two of the most talked-about topics on CNN.com have been Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney. His debating and his taxes, that is. Here's a look at these different angles on the GOP presidential candidate.

Romney does some damage

Debate coach and commentator Todd Graham took a look at Monday night's Florida GOP presidential debate and said Romney had some successes. He also gave props to candidate Ron Paul for doing well that evening. One commenter said Romney and Paul did a good job of stopping Gingrich, but some disagreed.

Maiaw: "Romney and Paul caught Newt in a bind last night. Romney said that Newt was a failed leader and had to resign in disgrace as speaker. Newt countered and said that he 'voluntarily stepped down'. Paul rebutted Newt's claim and said that is not what happened because Paul was there during the investigation and it was a 'mess being under Newt's leadership! In a previous debate, (Rick) Santorum stated the same thing since he was there; Newt did not 'voluntarily step down.' Newt just stood there all quiet after that exchange with Paul. Not a Paul fan, but that was a good exchange from him."

ljburgher: "Anyone who is not prepared will look bad during any debate. Dont just pin that on Newt. Romney has been flopping all over the place, especially on his taxes when questioned. He looks and sounds horrible."

Some readers said Romney came off badly. FULL POST

Why would Colombia's FARC sell cows?
Cows in southwest Colombia in August 2010.
January 24th, 2012
01:07 PM ET

Why would Colombia's FARC sell cows?

Colombia's president said in a recent speech that the anti-government guerrilla group known as FARC is so strapped for money that its members have started selling cows.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia "is designing a strategy to counter the problem of a lack of financing ... due to the blows that have been dealt to their financing sources, especially drug trafficking," President Juan Manuel Santos said. "One of the orders that they have received is 'sell the cattle to get more resources.'"

But experts who study the rebel group that's tried for decades to overthrow the Colombian government point out that more may be happening than a desperate sale of livestock. Although Santos suggested that anti-narcotic measures have damaged FARC's ability to profit from drug trafficking, it's possible that FARC may be selling cattle to launder drug money, one expert said.

"It's a classic underworld tactic. If you own 40,000 heads of cattle, you take the proceeds from selling some of your cows and do whatever you like with the profits," said Steven Dudley, the co-director of InSight, a joint initiative of American University in Washington and the Fundación Ideas para la Paz in Colombia. "This wouldn't be the first time this has happened, so to pretend that this is somehow new or reflective only of a government crackdown on FARC is ridiculous."

FULL POST

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Filed under: Colombia
Gotta Watch: Surviving an avalanche
An aerial view of an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.
January 24th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Surviving an avalanche

People in the Northwest are digging out from major storms this week. Some are taking advantage of the fresh powder, but winter sports come with risks. When things go wrong, they can go very wrong. Watch these incredible survival stories from athletes who were caught in avalanches.

Snowmobile scare – A group of buddies in Washington State headed out for a fun day on snowmobiles but got a major scare, instead. One man was caught in an avalanche and was unable to move or breathe under the snow. His friend captured the whole thing on his helmet cam. 

FULL POST

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Natural Disasters • Nature • Skiing • Sports
January 24th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Romney tax release lights up debate on wealth inequality

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made $42.7 million over the past two years and paid $6.2 million in taxes, newly released documents show.

Romney and his wife, Ann, filed a joint 1040 reporting $21.7 million in 2010 income and $3 million in federal taxes. They also said their 2011 income was $21 million and tax bill was $3.2 million. Over the two years, Romney's effective tax rate - the percentage of his income that he owed in federal income taxes - was just under 14%.

Nevertheless, and contrary to popular perception, Romney's effective federal income tax rate is still above that of many Americans – 80% of whom have an effective rate below 15%. That tax rate is higher when other federal taxes - such as the payroll tax - are included.

And there's nothing that gets people revved up like peering into someone else's taxes to learn more about their wealth, especially when they're running for office. So you know that people were abuzz this morning trying to dissect it all, that is, if they could wrap their heads around it.

It appears Romney and his campaign knew that too, and expected the onslaught. If you did a search on Twitter for "Romney Taxes" "Romney Tax Returns" or "Romney" you saw an interesting promoted tweet, meaning someone paid for that tweet to show up at the top of the heap.

And judging by the tweet, Romney's camp must have thought, if people are going to be searching around, we ought to offer a message.

For the most part, the conversation online seemed more focused on what Romney's overall taxes show about America, rather than the candidate himself.

Rick Newman, the chief business correspondent for US News & World Report, tweeted a statistic that seemed to characterize what others were thinking.

A majority of the comments we saw online showed that many folks, while they may have been a bit revolted by the mass amount of money Romney makes, found that more of the problem was our tax code or a major gap divide between the wealthy and middle class.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Economy • Mitt Romney • Politics • Twitter
JFK tapes show he worried about re-election, Vietnam
President John F. Kennedy plays with his children in the Oval Office in 1962.
January 24th, 2012
10:42 AM ET

JFK tapes show he worried about re-election, Vietnam

Shortly before his death in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was worried about how he would come across to young voters at the 1964 Democratic Convention.

"What is it that we can [do to] make them decide that they want to vote for us, Democrats and Kennedy – the Democrats not strong in appeal obviously as it was 20 years ago. The younger people, party label – what is it that’s going to make them go for us. What is it we have to sell them? We hope we have to sell them prosperity but for the average guy, the prosperity is nil. He’s not unprosperous but he’s not very prosperous; he’s not going make out well off. And the people who really are well off, hate our guts," Kennedy says in a recording released Tuesday by his presidential library and museum in Boston.

The library on Tuesday released the final 45 hours of more than 248 hours of meeting conversations the president had recorded during his time in the White House. The latest tapes cover some the final discussions Kennedy had before his November 1963 trip to Dallas, where he was killed by an assassin's bullet on November 22.

Recordings of some of the last political discussions of President John F. Kennedy were released Tuesday by the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Besides the message Kennedy planned to relate at the '64 convention, he was worried about how it would be presented, wondering if films that would be shown could be in color, according to the tape made on November 12, 1963.

“Should they be made in color?” he asks on the tape. “They’d come over the television in black and white. I don’t know if maybe they’d come over the NBC one in color. Probably a million watching it in color and it would have an effect. I don’t know how much more expensive it is. Be quite an effect on the convention. The color is so damn good. If you do it right.”

FULL POST

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Filed under: History • Politics
January 24th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Costa Concordia rescuers find 16th body

Rescuers searching the stricken Costa Concordia found a body on bridge 3 Tuesday, bringing the number of confirmed dead from the wreck to 16, civil protection officials said.

The discovery leaves about 16 people still missing from among the roughly 4,200 aboard the cruise liner - about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members - at the time of the collision with rocks off the island of Giglio.

The vast majority fled the ship safely, if under chaotic and frightening conditions, according to survivors.

Undersea salvage experts will not start siphoning fuel off the partially sunken liner before Saturday, the man in charge of the operation said Tuesday.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Italy • World
January 24th, 2012
09:01 AM ET

GCC countries leave Arab League mission in Syria

A key bloc of Gulf Arab nations has withdrawn from the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria, the group said Tuesday.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said it took the step because of the persistence of bloodshed in Syria and a "lack of commitment" by the government to fully adhere to the plan it agreed to with the Arab League.

The bloc is composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. Saudi Arabia decided to pull out its monitors Sunday and the other countries in the bloc followed Tuesday.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Syria
January 24th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

President Obama delivers his third State of the Union Address tonight, and CNN.com Live will be there for the entire speech, as well as the Republican and Tea Party responses.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Academy Awards nominations - What were the best in film in 2011?  We'll find out when the nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards are announced.

FULL POST


Filed under: Academy Awards • Barack Obama • Elections • Movies • Politics • Showbiz
January 24th, 2012
07:03 AM ET

Sources: 158 Islamist militants arrested in Nigeria bombings

Nigerian security forces arrested 158 suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, security sources told CNN Tuesday, three days after a spate of bombings and shootings left more than 200 people dead in Nigeria's second-largest city.

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Filed under: Nigeria • World
Obama to lay out proposals, address economy in State of the Union
President Obama's State of the Union speech will describe a "blueprint for an economy that's built to last," sources say.
January 24th, 2012
04:16 AM ET

Obama to lay out proposals, address economy in State of the Union

In his last State of the Union speech before the 2012 election, President Barack Obama will pitch a series of proposals and will address the topics of economic inequality and how a government should ensure "a fair shake for all."

The president has proposed such steps previously as part of his administration's efforts to spur the nation's still sluggish recovery from the recession.

Democratic sources briefed on the draft speech say it will describe a "blueprint for an economy that's built to last."

That blueprint will focus on manufacturing, energy, education and middle-class values, according to a video released on the Obama's campaign website and Democratic sources who have been briefed on the address.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • U.S.
January 24th, 2012
04:13 AM ET

China attacks rights groups' accounts of Tibetan violence

China on Tuesday criticized human rights groups' accounts of a violent clash between Tibetan protesters and the Chinese police, accusing them of trying to "distort the truth."

The dispute over what took place in a remote area of Sichuan Province comes at a sensitive time in China's relationship with its Tibetan population after a string of self-immolations by Tibetan protesters in recent months.

The International Campaign for Tibet, which promotes human rights for Tibetan people, reported Monday that thousands of Tibetans had marched on government offices before the police opened fire into the crowd, killing at least three protesters and wounding nine.

Free Tibet, a London-based group that campaigns for Tibetan independence, said that one person was killed and as many as 30 others wounded by gunfire from the Chinese security forces.

The rights groups said the protesters had been motivated by a recent security crackdown on Tibetans in the region following the circulation of pamphlets raising the prospect of more self-immolations.

The reports, which could not be independently verified, contrasted with the account given by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. It reported that "dozens of people, including some monks, stormed and smashed some stores along a main street and a police station" in the autonomous Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi in Sichuan.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 24th, 2012
03:47 AM ET

Truth Squad: Fact checking Monday's debate

CNN examines statements by Republican presidential candidates during Monday night's CNN Republican debate in Tampa, Florida.

Mitt Romney said Newt Gingrich lobbied during Medicare Part D battle

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of having lobbied in favor of Medicare Part D, the federal program that provides drugs for senior citizens. Romney said other congressmen said they were lobbied by Gingrich at the time.

The exchange between the two candidates included the following  statements: "You have congressmen who say that you came and lobbied them with regards to Medicare Part D." - Romney

"I didn't lobby them." - Gingrich

"It is not correct to describe public citizenship, having public advocacy as lobbying. Every citizen has the right to do that." - Gingrich

"If you're getting paid by health companies, if your entities are getting paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation and you then meet with Republican congressmen and encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you'd like. I call it influence peddling. It's not right." - Romney FULL POST

January 24th, 2012
01:13 AM ET

EU to lift travel restrictions on Myanmar leaders

European foreign ministers said Monday that they would loosen travel restrictions on senior members of the Myanmar government in recognition of the Southeast Asian country's recent efforts at political reform after decades of military rule.

Describing the Myanmar government's program of changes as "remarkable," the foreign ministers said they had decided to suspend a visa ban on the country's president, vice presidents, Cabinet members and speakers of Parliament. The European Union ministers met in Brussels to discuss Myanmar and other issues.

In recent weeks, the Myanmar regime has pardoned hundreds of political prisoners, approved the participation of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party in April elections and pledged to pursue a peace deal with an ethnic rebel group.

Western governments have applauded the effort, with the United States announcing this month that it would exchange ambassadors with Myanmar for the first time since 1988.

FULL STORY

Filed under: World
January 24th, 2012
01:09 AM ET

9 dead, 72 wounded after bombings in Iraq, police say

At least nine people were killed and at least 72 others wounded Tuesday when four car bombs and a roadside bomb exploded in mostly Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, police officials said.

In the latest attack, a car bomb exploded near an elementary school in the Shulaa neighborhood of northwestern Baghdad, police said. Two people were killed, and 18 others - including some students from the elementary school - were wounded.

The attacks raised concerns among ordinary people about the ability of Iraqi security forces to ensure security in this country, particularly after the United States withdrew troops by the end of 2011.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Iraq • World