Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.
We saw a lot of interesting conversations spring up in the news today, and on topics beyond the main headlines of past days.
1. Randy Travis' arrest
2. Record heat
3. Long waits at the doctor
4. Factory jobs go unfulfilled
5. School sports vs. classes
Here's a look at the variety of topics covered.
Country music star Randy Travis was arrested late Tuesday after being found naked, smelling apparently of alcohol and lying on a remote stretch of roadway in northern Texas just before midnight, authorities said. His mug shot is circulating, and readers are talking about the lives of country singers.
Some talked about the ills of the bottle.
Penny Pinkerton Gearing: "My heart goes out to him as it seems he is having issues with alcohol. I hope that he receives the help that he needs soon before things get any worse and he injures someone (or himself worse than he already has)."
KENNNY: "Now I like Randy Travis' music but my problem is that they all say: 'I'm committed to being responsible and accountable, and apologize for my actions' and then they go out and do it again and again and again while John Doe, who is a 'Regular Citizen' gets the book thrown at him for the same offense. Sooner or later Mr. Travis is going to do what many drunk drivers do and that is he will be involved in an accident that will result in loss of life, either his life, someone else's life or both and it can be avoided. I hope he will get it together before it is too late."
For some, the situation sounded like the fodder for another sad country song.
Prefection: "Coincidentally, his new country single is titled 'Naked, Smelling Apparently of Alcohol and Lying on a Remote Stretch of Roadway in Northern Texas just before Midnight.' "
Snowcat764: "I get the part that he was driving while intoxicated but I think we're all wondering why he was naked."
The photo showing Travis' condition had many feeling a bit sad. FULL POST
Editor's note: CNN's Ben Wedeman and crew are some of the few international reporters in Syria, whose government has been restricting access of foreign journalists and refusing many of them entry. Wedeman spent two days this week in Aleppo, a city of more than 2 million people where rebels and government forces are fighting.
Below is an edited account of what Wedeman saw in Aleppo, including his harrowing trip into the city past snipers, street vendors selling their wares as bombs fall, and a lack of enthusiasm for the rebels' battle among many civilians.
The crack of sniper fire welcomed us into a rebel-held part of Aleppo.
Traveling through a back road on Monday, with six people crammed into a small car, we drove through government-controlled territory, bypassing a checkpoint and rolling right past the military intelligence headquarters. Vendors sold tea and coffee by the side of the road, with traffic fairly normal.
Traffic was noticeably less as we approached a rebel-held area, one neighborhood over from the Salaheddine neighborhood where fierce fighting has raged. As the car passed an intersection near a Free Syrian flag, three or four shots rang out, apparently at the vehicle.
No one was hurt, and once the vehicle passed the intersection, rebel fighters nearby shouted for the driver to stop.
“There's a sniper right there. What are you doing?” they said. The sniper apparently was part of the government's forces.
The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.
The tenor of the presidential campaign has taken a sharp turn for the truculent in the last week or so, with unsubstantiated allegations and unflattering epithets flying across the camps. David Rothkopf, CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy Magazine, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, would like to see the candidates address things like the economy, Syria and gun control.
These are great issues calling for serious debate. And we actually have two candidates for president who are credible, serious men. But they are running a campaign that has the sensibilities and IQ of a typical middle school student council election. With the values of an episode of "Real Housewives" or "Big Brother."
CNN iReporter Navid Baraty, a huge fan of astrophysics, says he wanted to be around others who were as excited as he was about watching the Mars Curiosity rover landing. As hundreds of onlookers flocked to New York's Times Square to see the historic landing unfold from a gigantic video screen, the whole experience took his breath away, he says. He says he had goosebumps when the rover finally touched down at 1:31 a.m. and people started chanting, "Science! Science! Science!" and "NASA! NASA! NASA!"
During the nail-biting "Seven Minutes of Terror," which NASA dubbed the landing sequence, cheers erupted with each successful transition the Mars rover made.
"Just seeing everyone collectively captivated by the live stream and huddled close together to hear the audio broadcast over their phones was so incredible," Baraty says. "Everyone was filled with excitement and wonder. The mood was intense. There really was a buzz of energy and excitement in the air. I think everyone was so proud to be taking part in such an incredible moment." FULL POST
When U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman completed her routine on the balance beam during the individual finals Tuesday, she hugged her coach and stared at the scoreboard, waiting to see whether she had done enough to medal.
When the score finally flashed, a nervous Raisman became disappointed.
"Oh, no!" her coach, Mihai Brestyan, proclaimed as he spotted the eerily familiar results.
She had landed in fourth place – again – and just shy of the medal stand for the second time in the Olympics.
What happened next would again thrust the judges, athletes and coaches into a heated debate over Olympic scoring.
The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States.
The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said.
U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. The seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said.FULL STORY
Wade Michael Page, who police say fatally shot six people in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Sunday, died that day from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he was shot in the stomach by a responding officer, Teresa Carlson, the special agent in charge for the FBI in Milwaukee, said Wednesday.
Police previously said that he was shot to death by an officer responding to the attack in Oak Creek.
Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran who neighbors say played in a so-called hate-rock band, was the lone gunman in the rampage at the temple, police said.FULL STORY
Monsoonal rainfall and a tropical storm cause major flooding in the Philippines. A third typhoon in five days hits China. Weeks of rains and floods have wreaked havoc on parts of Korea.
The recent uptick in tropical activity brings the Western Pacific tropical cyclone season back up to average after a slow start. But several recent flash-flooding events from higher-than-normal seasonal rainfall in southern Japan, as well as North Korea, have left soils full of moisture and vulnerable to additional flooding if typhoons and tropical storms track their way.
This is a very real threat as the Western Pacific tropical season runs year-round, but has a seasonal peak around September, mirroring the tropical Atlantic. We will likely see more flooding disasters around East Asia over the next couple of months as the tropics heat up and cyclones traverse these hard-hit areas from the Philippines all the way to North Korea.
The increased activity always has people wondering: Is this all a coincidence or is something else going on here?
We always say that global warming or climate change does not explain, or cause, specific weather events or disasters. But one of the consequences of climate change, according to climate scientists, is a higher frequency of extreme rainfall events. A warmer climate results in more moisture in the atmosphere from evaporation, and thus, higher rainfall amounts are possible in storms.
Could this be what we are seeing? Perhaps, especially considering we have not seen an increase in the number of tropical storms or typhoons over the past several years, but the number of intense flooding scenarios seem to be in the rise.
Typhoon Haikui slammed into the east coast of China on Wednesday morning, pummeling the area around the business metropolis of Shanghai with heavy wind and rain.
The storm's winds were at "severe typhoon" strength when it made landfall in the province of Zhejiang, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) south of Shanghai, the China Meteorological Administration said. The winds diminished to typhoon strength as Haikui moved inland.
The storm is the third tropical cyclone to make landfall on China's east coast in the past five days, with Typhoon Damrey and Tropical Storm Saola hitting last Friday. The storm threatens to dump heavy rainfall in excess of 150 milimeters (6 inches) on Shanghai, China's most populated city.
Although the storm's winds are expected to weaken as it moves overland, it will continue to dump large amounts of rain on the surrounding area, raising the risk of landslides and flooding.
"The rain is the bigger impact going forward," said CNNI meteorologist Taylor Ward. "We have already had up to 8 inches in some locations."
Ward said another 6 to 10 inches of rain were expected to fall, with "maybe isolated amounts greater."
Fueled by the seasonal monsoon rains and that nearby typhoon, widespread flooding in the Philippines worsened Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, the national disaster agency reported.
A landslide in the Manila suburb of Quezon City buried two houses, leaving nine people dead and four others injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center.Three of the dead were children, the state-run Philippines News Agency reported.
[Updated at 8:27 a.m. ET] Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says there is no fire at the site. The FDNY received a call of a fire in the tower, but found no active fire upon arrival.
[Posted at 8:27 a.m. ET] Firefighters are responding to a fire on the 88th floor of 1 World Trade CEnter, according to FDNY spokesman Joe Perez.
The building is currently under construction on the site of the former World Trade Center towers.
About 84 firefighters are on the scene, Perez told CNN. No smoke or fire is visible from a CNN tower cam focused on the building.
The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.
Today's programming highlights...
Continuing coverage: Tropical Storm Ernesto
9:25 am ET - Romney in Iowa - GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney begins his day in Iowa, where he will participate in a campaign event in Des Moines.
As community members sought emotional healing in the wake of the shooting spree at a religious service in Wisconsin, authorities announced they arrested Misty Cook, the ex-girlfriend of shooting suspect Wade Michael Page, on a weapons charge.
Cook faces a charge of felon in possession of a firearm, said South Milwaukee Police Lt. Jason Walker.
The arrest was part of a joint investigation between the FBI and the South Milwaukee Police Department, Walker said. But Walker released little more details about the arrest and if Cook had any connection to Sunday's shootings at a Sikh temple that left six victims dead.
Page, an Army veteran who neighbors say played in a far-right punk band, was the lone gunman in the rampage at the temple, police said. Page was shot to death by police responding to the attack in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek.
For a third consecutive night, mourners and supporters held a vigil Tuesday to remember the six victims, pray for the wounded and grapple with grief and shock.
People lit candles in an Oak Creek park and stood together in solidarity.
Police said Tuesday they had not identified a motive or found any telltale writings or a note left by the gunman.FULL STORY
Clashes intensified in Egypt's North Sinai early Wednesday as Egyptian forces launched aerial strikes on militants in response to a series of attacks by masked gunmen on military checkpoints.
Egyptian Army Apache helicopters fired rockets at armed militants and there were numerous militant casualties, said Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of North Sinai security.
It was unclear early Wednesday how many militants were killed but state-run Nile TV reported that at least 20 militants were killed in an aerial strikes in areas in the port town of El Arish.
These strikes came after masked gunmen launched six simultaneous attacks in North Sinai early Wednesday, wounding five security officers and a civilian.
The targets included five security checkpoints and a military cement factory, he said.FULL STORY
Hurricane Ernestoswirled over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula early Wednesday after making landfall a few hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center said.
The Category 1 storm is forecast to weaken as it crosses the landmass before emerging Wednesday afternoon or evening in the Bay of Campeche.
The Mexican government extended a hurricane warning to the island of Cozumel on Tuesday as the storm advanced in the Caribbean.
Belize issued a hurricane warning from Belize City to the border with Mexico. There is a tropical storm warning south of Belize City.FULL STORY
The former stepmother of the Wisconsin temple shooter talks to CNN’s Anderson Cooper about Wade Michael Page's life as a child, before he joined the military.
Kyung Lah shares what she saw in the courtroom when Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty to the mass shooting outside a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket.
Piers Morgan talks to a man who survived an encounter with a great white shark off Cape Cod.
Entertainer Jennifer Lopez says her former driver resorted to blackmail after the singer didn't use a security team he recommended for a music video shoot.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last week, Lopez, her manager and her production company allege that an attorney representing driver Hakob Manoukian demanded that "unless Manoukian was paid $2.8 million, he would disclose sensitive and personal information that he allegedly heard while driving Lopez."
The lawsuit also accuses the former driver of making "other ominous threats to report Ms. Lopez to the 'authorities' if his demands were not met."
Lopez is seeking a minimum of $20 million in damages.FULL STORY