Comments: What does 'free speech' mean to you? Chick-fil-A debate strikes nerve
Eduardo Cisneros, left, and Luke Montgomery kiss in front of a Chick-fil-A in Hollywood on Friday.
August 3rd, 2012
08:47 PM ET

Comments: What does 'free speech' mean to you? Chick-fil-A debate strikes nerve

Editor's note: You may be familiar with the Overheard on CNN.com series, which looks at thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. In that same vein, we're trying something new by providing a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Happy Friday. We're taking a look at five of the most talked-about stories yet again. The topics are pretty diverse:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Gun culture
  • Unemployment numbers
  • Mars rover Curiosity
  • Parisian catacombs

Scroll down to read what people are saying about the news.

1. Chick-fil-A 'kiss day'

There‚Äôs a lot of heated discussion about the ‚Äúkiss day‚ÄĚ demonstration against Chick-fil-A, which follows up on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Will it have political impact come November? Does it matter what a corporation supports?

Most of our readers are once again expressing support for Chick-fil-A, including many gay readers. Check out iReporter Matt Zieminski's take on political gray areas. He is a young gay man with some very nuanced beliefs that have gotten a good response from our readers.

CVNeutron: "Whether you read this as a liberal or a conservative, LGBT or straight, Christian or atheist or any other religious belief, I want you to take from this a very simple message: We are all Americans and we all care about the same things. We all want equality, we just don't yet know the right way to achieve it. I am gay and I can tell you without a doubt I fully support those like me as well as those completely different from me because that's what makes our country better than most. We can disagree online and in person and on air as much as we want and at the end of the day nobody is hung for what they said and we all still can be united as people. This country faces serious issues and it's time that we get serious answers. I don't give a damn what Chick-Fil-A or The Home Depot or Gap or any other corporation thinks about gays. I care what my leaders think about equality. It's time to stop dancing around the issue and ask our leaders to give us real cohesive answers to this question: When? When will we have true equality in this country?"

Meanwhile, Thursday's piece on chicken with a side of politics garnered more than 5,000 comments. If you see Chick-fil-A demonstrations in your area, share your story on CNN iReport. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Overheard on CNN.com
Comments: Chick-fil-A chatter, keeping tabs on 'tamale lady'
Chick-Fil-A restaurants across the country experienced massive crowds Wednesday as customers showed their support.
August 2nd, 2012
08:47 PM ET

Comments: Chick-fil-A chatter, keeping tabs on 'tamale lady'

Editor's note: You may be familiar with the Overheard on CNN.com series, which looks at thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. In that same vein, we're trying something new by providing a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

If you're hungry for debate, you might want to feast on these discussions. Below is a menu of five talked-about topics today. We may be hearing more about Chick-fil-A on Friday, so consider grabbing a doggie bag.

1. Spicy chicken chatter

We’re looking back on Wednesday's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day crowds and forward to planned events Friday in support of same-sex marriage.

On Thursday we've seen a bit of talk bubbling up about corporate image and the way companies and public figures use their words to cultivate their following. We also have seen commenters debating public displays of affection, both same-sex and otherwise.

Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day sets record, restaurant chain says

Mike: "Ever notice how no one wants to be put in a box these days ... as if what they say doesn't define them ... and yet when it comes to Chick-fil-A, the most innocuous kind of "this is what I belive statement" put a box around not only (Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy), but the whole business and all of its employees and suppliers, some of whom I'm sure believe otherwise."

To what degree can one's actions affect anything?

ec: "It's impossible to boycott gas in most cities, thanks to oil companies getting rid of public transit and preventing investment in alternative fuels. What these people do is vote and support investment in alternative fuel, carpool, ride their bikes instead of drive when possible, grow their own food, etc. It's impossible to boycott every company that should be boycotted, but we do what we can. Our country is run by corporations, tell them how you feel by voting with your wallet."

Some felt restricted.

Darth Cheney:  "I like Chick-Fil-A. I support gay marriage. OMG, I don't fit into either pre-ordained pigeonhole in the Hate-olympics! My head is going to explode. I don't conform to my force-fed narrative!!!"

Readers also talked about kissing in public, for protesting or otherwise. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Overheard on CNN.com
Overheard on CNN.com: 'We aren't in the loop for anything' with Olympics tape delay
Readers have lots to say about TV coverage of the Olympics. What do you think?
July 31st, 2012
06:25 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'We aren't in the loop for anything' with Olympics tape delay

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.

Earlier on this very blog, we posed a question about the NBC Olympics coverage that some have deemed an #NBCFail. Would you prefer to watch the Olympics in real time, or do you prefer the tape delay in prime time? We got a passionate response from our readership, and we posted some on the daily Mash-Up  on Monday. We also wanted to share a few more of the posts that caught our eye.

Live or later: What's your ideal Olympics coverage?

The people preferring a live broadcast seemed to have the edge in the comments, and they totally dominated the very unscientific poll at the bottom of the post.

AmerGrill: "I'd rather have it live. The controversies are late, too. Ye Shiwen story just broke in the U.S. and the race was days ago. Even anti-American Drudge who is always on top of news is only now just twisting the story to make America look bad when the committee, coaches and other swimmers have been questioning this race for days. So far for Americans the whole coverage has been a disaster. We aren't in the loop for anything and there are mixed stories coming in from a variety of sources."

Pebbles Flintstone: "The time difference is not that big. In an age when most work break areas have a TV, there is no reason why it can't be streamed live. Folks can watch during their lunch break and/or catch the rest of it in a prime time recap. Based on the fact that most of us work and can't watch TV all day long ‚Äď most companies put out TVs for big events anyway. It can be worked around. Not rocket science for NBC."

JayL: "U.S. television always wants to make things fit into their TV schedule ... it has even modified the rules of major games in order to better "present" sports on TV. That's why soccer will never make it in the U.S., guess what, the world doesn't work that way ... other countries show games as they should be, LIVE. So, NBC, do what you have to do and show us the games live."

Ed Bark, former longtime TV critic of The Dallas Morning News, writes in an opinion piece that he believes NBC is being "unfairly eviscerated" about its coverage. FULL POST

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Filed under: Olympics • Overheard on CNN.com • Sports
Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's time America takes a stand against evil'
Alex Teves, 24, was beloved, even inspiring an "Alex Teves Day" at school. He died in the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting.
July 30th, 2012
07:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's time America takes a stand against evil'

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.

Family and faith got readers talking over the weekend. Here are five of the conversations we noticed on Monday as we wandered in to work.

1. The Alex Teves challenge

Alex Teves died shielding his girlfriend from the rain of bullets during the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting. His father, Tom Teves, wants the media to stop naming and showing images of the gunmen in mass murders. His "Alex Teves challenge" has gotten a powerful response from readers.

Look to the good in humankind - look to heroes, says grieving father

One reader compared the image above to a powerful painting.

lxNay: "That image above, with Alex gazing at the ocean, is exactly like work by the German artist Caspar David Friedrich. In particular, 'Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.' That is quite a profound image, breathtaking actually. When I think of Friedrich's work, I imagine a solitary man contemplating his destiny and future. I wonder if that is what Alex was doing? What a loss. My thoughts are with the family and families."

Many people shared condolences and said they wanted to take the challenge. FULL POST

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Filed under: Colorado • Justice • Media • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: 'Trying to explain what cricket is to my coworkers is fantastic'
The opening ceremony dazzled as the London 2012 Olympic Games kicked off Friday.
July 27th, 2012
07:11 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Trying to explain what cricket is to my coworkers is fantastic'

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.

And, the Olympics are off! Follow along on the live blog, read about the first day and check out some of the comments that caught our eyes.

London 2012: Live blog

As CNN producers update the live blog with photos and anecdotes, readers are joining right in to the conversation. Here are a couple we saw:

Harry: "Even if people keep saying it, never have I been prouder to call myself British, and a Londoner, even if I currently live in New York. NY has nothing on the Greatest City in the World!!!"

markl: "Proud to be British, even at the other side of the world. Trying to explain what cricket is to my co-workers is fantastic. 'You play for 5 days and it can still end in a tie' ... priceless."

Some of the readers asked about the meaning of things they were seeing from the opening ceremony.

Doubt: "What are the children leading each delegation carrying in their hands?"

Jonathan Stevenson (CNN): "Good question. The copper petals being carried by a child leading each delegation have that country's name inscribed and they will all have a role in the ceremony later. So now you really can't go anywhere, otherwise you'll never find out."

One of the most talked-about aspect of the Olympics on Friday was Mitt Romney’s tough reception in London. FULL POST

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Filed under: Olympics • Overheard on CNN.com • Sports • United Kingdom • World
Overheard on CNN.com:  So long, Sherman; thanks for the laughs
Sherman Hemsley, who played combative, high-energy entreprener George Jefferson, died Tuesday.
July 24th, 2012
08:30 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: So long, Sherman; thanks for the laughs

Funnyman Sherman Hemsley died Tuesday at 74. The comedian, best known for his role as George Jefferson on classic TV shows "All in the Family" and its spinoff,  "The Jeffersons," leaves behind a legacy of laughs that has CNN's audience reminiscing about a different age of television and saying thanks for all the smiles.

A true entertainer

Carolae:  What a loss for the entertainment industry. George and "Weezie" were great together on "The Jeffersons." It was one of those shows that made you feel good when you weren't. You couldn't help but love him .. especially his walk and his craziness! Am hoping that TV Land channel or another channel will run "The Jeffersons" for a week. ... My condolences to his family.

SandraC:  He wasn't just an actor, but a professional singer. He even released a single "Ain't That a Kick in the Head"

R.I.P. Mr. Sherman, thank you for everything.

TV's golden age

puppetmaster: Mr. Hemsley will be missed dearly - I used to watch him and Weezy all the time as a kid. I guess I will have to watch some reruns to pay tribute the "Man,"  "The Legend," "George Jefferson." I loved that show ...  Prayers for his family and friends ...

FULL POST

July 24th, 2012
08:20 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: One-eyed Olympics mascots 'creepy,' but giant mouse OK?

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.

The run-up to the London Olympics has had its share of moments by far, but one of the most unusual things about 2012 is the pair of one-eyed um, creatures, known as Wenlock and Mandeville. As the story goes, they were created out of magical droplets of steel left over from the Olympic Stadium. CNN.com presented a quiz of other odd or controversial mascots throughout the years, but readers had plenty of interesting ways of describing the monocular duo.

Olympic mascots: Cute or creepy?

Too sci-fi for the Olympiad?

Wastrel Way: "If these things had been in a '50's horror movie it would now be considered a classic."

Oh, snap.

tradster: "Creepy mascots and that Olympic tower is an eyesore. Leave it to British to make the Olympics a platform for their eccentricity. I say draw in two eyes and call that one eye a nose, and voila, you've got Snoopy."

But talking rodents are another thing altogether.

nonamevot3r: "Not Creepy, unusual, and why is a six-foot talking rat (Mickey Mouse) not creepy? It was a nice idea to anthropomorphize something other than an animal for a change; two blobs of steel left over from the building of the stadium trying to join up with their friends at the stadium seems to be a very sensible idea. We were promised a number of short films of their travels around the country to get to Stratford in time for the Olympics; it is shame that these don't seem to have made it onto the TV apart from in a negative sense. Go Wenlock, go Manderville."

If you're going to be in London, be sure to share the sights and sounds of the Olympics on CNN iReport. But these folks say they can't bear to watch the games unfold. FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers want to think about victims, not shooter
Many readers said they want to pay tribute to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
July 23rd, 2012
08:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers want to think about victims, not shooter

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.

After the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and dozens injured, readers are pondering what this incident means to them. Many of them want most to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. If you knew one of the victims, please consider sharing your story at CNN iReport.

Remembering the Colorado shooting victims

Some of our commenters were people who said they knew the victims.

Christa Leary: "Jesse Childress was a wonderful friend and colleague with a wonderful sense of humor and a love for the Broncos that he never let me forget. You were taken from us too soon. We miss you Jesse."

One reader was touched by the life of the youngest one.

Janet J: "My heart is literally in pieces. Words cannot express, words are not enough to describe the pain and agony I am feeling for these victims and their loved ones they've left behind. As hard as it is to not give this evil attention; how do you not? Trying to make sense of something that should not and does not make sense is what we are trying to do. ... Good luck to us. The most important thing is we not forget these beautiful souls. I will read their stories from time to time. We cannot let evil prevail ... we will walk in this darkness toward the light that will shine brightly one day. Veronica, your life was taken much too soon, before you could really get to know this world. You are in a better world now. May God give these families, their friends and the rest of society the strength, courage and faith to be able to see past this tragedy. Console them, console us and show yourself strong."

This person came to know more about one of the victims after her death. FULL POST

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage
How do you feel about Chick-fil-A and its president's views on same-sex marriage? Share your comments below.
July 19th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers defend Chick-fil-A's stance on marriage

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.

"Guilty as charged" was the response from Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to same-sex marriage. There was a social-media uproar about Cathy's statements, but many of CNN.com's readers expressed support for his right to say and believe what he wants.

Chick-fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage causing a social storm

Omekongo Dibinga, an iReporter from Washington, was one of those voices. He says the Chick-fil-A exec "did nothing wrong."

"We shouldn't be surprised that an organization that sticks to its Christian principles would have issues with gay marriage," Dibinga says, adding, "We can't get into this mentality of thinking that everybody who is against gay marriage is homophobic in some way, shape or form."

A lot of our readers had similar things to say.

Dan: "I'm gay. I don't care. If I ceased buying products from companies that did things I didn't like, then I'd be Amish. I don't make political choices when I eat out (though, for the record, I actually don't like CFA's food or any fast food for that matter). I go out to eat to fill my belly."

But a few readers were not happy with Chick-fil-A. FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Coal mining families aren't only ones facing shifts in industry
Amanda Sedgmer, with her kids in Hopedale, Ohio, worries about the survival of the coal industry and her family's way of life.
July 18th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Coal mining families aren't only ones facing shifts in industry

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.

Two teams of producers are traversing the country as part of CNN Radio and CNN iReport's Embed America project. They're talking to voters about how the 2012 presidential election affects them, and focusing on issues identified during phase 1 of the iReport debate.

CNN visited Hopedale, Ohio, to meet iReporter Amanda Sedgmer. She's the mother of five children and the wife and daughter of a coal miner. Sedgmer told CNN she feared that if President Obama was re-elected, her family's way of life would be threatened. At the same time, competition from natural gas and a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency are contributing to the demise of some coal plants. The resulting story garnered thousands of comments. One topic the readers discussed was how other fields have changed due to circumstances. Some offered messages of hope for Hopedale.

The war over coal is personal

The decline of auto manufacturing jobs in the Midwest left this reader out in the cold, and she offered advice to Sedgmer.

Jakes_momma: "Ms. Sedgmer, please don't blame the POTUS for the decline in coal production. The energy industry is changing. Coal was once king, now it's natural gas. That's not the government, that's industry moving on. If you and your husband are smart, you'll make a change quickly and leave the area, as much as it saddens me to tell you that. I've had to leave my childhood home of central Indiana when the auto industry shut plant after plant after plant in the city we lived in during the '80s. There are no longer good paying production jobs of any quantity in that area. We didn't wait until the last plant closed to leave, we sold our home and moved on. We would have loved to have had a GM job like our dads but it was not in our control. You may be voting for Romney but you would be wise to keep the Obama 2012 slogan in mind - 'Forward.' What is really in the future of the coal industry regardless of who is president is more closures. I think they have fracking in Ohio; that's the future (at least short-term). Good luck to you, your family and your area! It's hard and very sad to watch an industry change, even if it's better for all."

Some said readers should try to be understanding of the family.

Andrea Dawn Bignall: "If you were in their situation, you would probably do the same. They have kids to think about, and jobs are harder to come by nowadays. Yeah, its bad for the environment, but so is driving you car back and forth to work everyday. Put yourself in someone else's shoes."

One commenter asked if the family is lucky, in a strange way. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Energy • Environment • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
Overheard on CNN.com: Stephen Covey inspired 'Highly Effective' lives
Author Stephen Covey, who wrote "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died Monday at age 79.
July 17th, 2012
08:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Stephen Covey inspired 'Highly Effective' lives

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.

Stephen R. Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died Monday at the age of 79 from the effects of a bicycle accident in April. He had sold more than 20 million copies of the book, and wrote several spinoffs. Readers thanked Covey and evaluated his ideas. Some told us Covey's words changed their lives.

'7 Habits' author Stephen Covey dead at 79

This reader gave an overview of the seven habits outlined by Covey.

DevilzTower:
"The seven habits are not all that commonly practiced considering how logical they are:

be proactive
begin with the end in mind
put firsts things first
seek first to understand THEN to be understood
synergize
think win/win
sharpen the saw

Most humans can benefit from these ..."

There is an eighth habit from another book, which involves finding one's own "voice" and then inspiring others.

SirMarc Wang: "It's hard to write a fitting tribute to a man who inspired & will continue to inspire million's through leadership, & the practice of 'the 7 + the 8th habits,' both in word & deed. I echo many of the sentiments already expressed. You were a father to many. Heartfelt condolences to your family & friends. We celebrate, & honor your life, & legacy. You will be missed. Kind regards, Marcus (Seeking what you sought : )"

CaliMafiaToo: "Well, he certainly got the 8th habit down well."

Life just might be better when you're effective. FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: Where do jobs, economic growth come from?
Mitt Romney has called for an apology from President Obama after Democrats scrutinized Romney's departure from Bain.
July 16th, 2012
07:18 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Where do jobs, economic growth come from?

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.

After Democrats talked up reports that Mitt Romney was listed as Bain Capital's CEO after 1999, when he has repeatedly said he left the private equity firm, CNN columnists and our readers are discussing the Republican presidential candidate's views about jobs in America. Romney's date of departure is significant because some of the companies acquired by Bain later shipped jobs overseas. Romney claims he left the company before those decisions were made. Here are some varying views on the presidential race for "job creation."

Mitt Romney's painfully bad week
Facts don't support Obama's charges against Romney

Who are the job creators?

bigdil: "Here's Romney's problem and, for that matter, the GOP's problem: Rich people aren't neccesarily job creators. Some are. Some aren't. Romney can't just say, 'I'm a rich guy. Therefore, I'll be better at creating jobs and fixing the economy than Barack Obama.' Why should anyone believe this argument? Nothing in his Bain experience would suggest any talent in that area. Likewise, there is no reason to think that giving tax breaks to 'job creators' (i.e. rich people) will help the economy. It won't."

eddiev5: "True. But the same problem exists for Obama and modern-day liberals. The government cannot create jobs indefinitely - its not sustainable. You also cant have 'the rich' pay for half a centuries worth of spending - the math just doesnt add up. So therefore, either you tax the middle or lower class more, or you create more debt (which creates more problems), or you get rid of or reform the pricey parts of the budget. These are all options the left wing will not pursue. Big government inevitably grows to the point to where it hinders its own progress by stepping over its own toes. You can actually see this right now with Obamacare and Wall Street Reform. Sure, the GOP has a problem but its really no different than the same hard ideologically stance liberals have taken. They are both not logical."

Many readers said they don't care so much about Romney's business record. But who spends taxpayers' money? FULL POST

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Business • Economy • Mitt Romney • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
Overheard on CNN.com: Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?
Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas celebrates her win Wednesday, July 4, at Nathan's annual hot dog-eating competition in Brooklyn, New York.
July 4th, 2012
04:22 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Why gorge on hot dogs when people are starving?

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.

Sure, you can go and see fireworks on July 4, but Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island is another tradition of nearly 100 years. Defending champions Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas were the wieners, er, winners again. We were dogged by all the comments about the annual event, so we decided to feature a few that cut the mustard.

Hot dog champs defend titles in annual showdown

A few commenters were quick to mention New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's previous moves to ban large sodas, as well as his "frank" advice to "relish" the holiday. (He even asked the Coney crowd,"Who wrote this sh**?")

LBMD: "The irony is not lost on the fact that Mayor Bloomberg thinks it should be against the law to consume a soft drink bigger than 16 oz., yet freely promotes the idea of eating over 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Not sure the guy that wants to ban what you drink is the appropriate person to be promoting a day of freedom and liberty for anything especially this. Hilarious ..."

cigarman: "It shows that the Mayor actually has a sense of humor, although if he is the one who is pushing to limit the size of Big Gulps, he has a mental problem. I really believe that New York probably has a few more problems to see to rather than a Big Gulp drink. Maybe he should outlaw hot dogs. Does he really know what those things are made of? YUCK."

Are competitive eating contests misdirecting perfectly good food?

femanvate: "Honestly, these eating contests need to be banned. Every minute a person dies from starvation, while these 'athletes' gorge themselves until they vomit from over-consumption. America holds its heroes as sacred, and gluttons have no part in that. Lets shoot a few of them and restore our values to become the nation we once were and are. Happy 4th of July to all. I'd die to defend your right to eat 68 hotdogs in 12 minutes while shaking my head in disgust ..."

mjb985: "Even if the contest was banned, these hot dogs weren't going to go to a starving person. This restaurant doesn't ship its excess off to Africa. So your entire argument is irrelevant. There is plenty of surplus food even with these contests that we could be giving to starving people, but don't. Stop complaining on the internet and go do something about it. There are plenty of charities to choose from."

Or, more succinctly ...

OIFVvet: "In yo face, world hunger! How about that??? For every hot dog eaten, the contest will allow the hungry people of the world to imagine what it would be like to sit at a table with unlimited food at their disposal!"

Some people are just nauseated. FULL POST

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Filed under: Food • Overheard on CNN.com
Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's not the heat, it's the stupidity'
Residents crowd onto the beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, in the powerful heat on Saturday.
July 3rd, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'It's not the heat, it's the stupidity'

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.

Surging mercury and power outages because of storms have combined forces to make many readers miserable.

With temperatures around 107 degrees in Nashville, iReporter Holly Coons tried to bake cookies in the car.

"I actually burned my hand when I grabbed the cookie sheet out of the car," she says, adding that she considers the hourlong experiment a success. "I would have made a bigger batch if I knew they were going to turn out so good."

In South Charleston, West Virginia, Eddie Harmon has been without power for days. He's unemployed and trying to stay cool as much as he can;  his wife and the couple's younger daughter slept in the car last night. Another daughter is staying with her grandmother, who has a generator. At 6 feet 5 inches, Harmon has to try to sleep in the house.

"It is very hard to sleep," he says. "I’m doing the best I can with it. I’m probably getting anywhere from five to three hours of sleep and not until 5 in the morning when the house finally cools off."

He recorded a video the day after losing power, in which he shares his tips for coping with the heat.

Several CNN.com readers also joined the conversation about temperatures and energy stability.

More than 1.3 million customers lack power amid unrelenting heat

For some, a short time without power was enough to have them concerned. The following reader said they had made several calls to their electrical service provider in the hopes of getting information, but it was very difficult. They also said Santa might be bringing them a generator this year.

RabbitMan196: "I live in Virginia and was without power for three days. I have an electric well (no manual capability yet - will be rectified VERY soon) so no power means no water. I drove 50 miles on Saturday looking for ice. I think I now know what the end of the world (at least in America) will look like: thousands of folks driving in their air-conditioned cars, clogging gas stations and looking for ice."

But others said we need to be more resilient without power.

Lovemypitbulls: "We are so reliant on computers and electricity that we freak out when we lose them. That gas station in Silver Spring could still sell ice and food. People shouldn't go without because electric cash registers aren't working. Pen and paper will get the job done; it'll just mean a little more work for the owner when the power finally comes back."

Some people are very miserable. FULL POST

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Filed under: Heat • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S. • Weather
Overheard on CNN.com: America may not be perfect, but we love it anyway
The idea that Americans are a "chosen" people has shaped history in big ways, from the American Revolution to Election 2012.
July 2nd, 2012
07:45 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: America may not be perfect, but we love it anyway

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.

This week, CNN is featuring a series exploring the concept of American exceptionalism. Readers debated whether the United States is No. 1, and whether it matters. There were no easy answers; many said there are good and bad things about America, so perhaps we rank well in some things, but not others.

We're No. 1! We're No. 1! We're ... uh ... not?

This reader was very proud of the country.

lacertosus: "One thing this beloved country does very well where no other country comes even close is the sense of community and citizenship. As a migrant, it amazes me how American I feel. This is the only country that makes you feel that you are an essential part of it upon receiving one's citizenship. No other country provides that! Even though America is not No. 1 in many areas compared to other countries, this is BY FAR the only place I'd rather be."

Does the United States think globally enough?

MarineNick: "America is a fantastic nation but America needs to join the global community and realise that greatness is only achieved through cooperation and education. We can learn from others' successes and failures and through that we will become a truly great planet."

RSG12345: "Talk to India, China, Malaysia and Russia. Europe is a spittoon. They can't even get their budgets in order, or have you not been paying attention. And CNN is promoting this crap?"

Another said politics is too polarized.

Alex Klatsky: "Politics is the reason we are falling behind in many of these areas. Every single issue in America has to become a political debate. Part of the problem is the media reporting every single issue as a political debate, part of it is politicians who are unwilling to put aside rhetoric and party lines in order to make changes, part of it is American citizens who are unwilling to elect some out of the box politicians for fear of losing an electoral majority. We do so much fingerpointing and try to blame someone or another for the reason things have gotten this way. It's the rich, or the poor, or immigrants, or liberals, or conservatives, or OWS, or tea party. There are so many positive changes that can be made in this country and that both parties agree on but never happen anymore because everyone wants to know 'Whats in it for me?' We have let politics take us so far away from what it meant to be America. When I was a kid I wanted to be a politician. These days I think I'd rather scrub toilets at the local high school."

No. 1 can mean a lot of different things. FULL POST

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Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • U.S. • World
Overheard on CNN.com: 'CrackBerry,' Jelly Bean, Apple get just desserts
Some BlackBerry fans still love them, but recent years have been tough for the once-dominant device.
June 29th, 2012
07:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'CrackBerry,' Jelly Bean, Apple get just desserts

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.

"Today Blackberry changed its name to Blackbury"
–QthePower¬†

As readers discussed three popular and whimsically named mobile platforms, their commentary turned mouth-watering. Readers were reacting to a story about decline of the BlackBerry mobile device in a world of iPhones, Androids and Windows 8 phones.

"A blackberry was squished by an apple," said RKW29.

"Apples suck. Jelly Beans Rule," said Another_Fine_Mess, referring to the latest dessert-themed Android update.

From 'CrackBerry' to depressing: The BlackBerry's 5-year fall

One reader noted that the BlackBerry is popular in business settings.

jimbo0117: "People need to keep these kinds of headlines in perspective. The VAST majority of BB's users have always been business users. And for the most part, they still use the BB. BB tried, but never really got a large consumer base. Mainly because their products weren't tailored to the average teen/early 20's user – and they were/are expensive. So it isn't like BB has lost as much, but more like it never gained – just basically stagnated. And for most business watchers, they equate that with decline."

On the other hand, plenty of readers say businesses are warming up to other devices and adding support for people to "BYOD," as in "bring your own device." FULL POST

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Filed under: Android • Apple • Overheard on CNN.com • Technology
Overheard on CNN.com: Are there winners, losers in immigration policy debate?
Readers are debating pros and cons of the Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's controversial immigration law.
June 25th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Are there winners, losers in immigration policy debate?

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down key parts of an Arizona law that sought to deter illegal immigration. The court also let stand a controversial provision that lets police check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally. Some readers kept metaphorical scorecards weighing each side's views about heavier enforcement and possible consequences. With all this debate, are there points where most people can agree?

Supreme Court mostly rejects Arizona immigration law; gov says 'heart' remains

Some of our readers said Arizona got a raw deal.

Bob Jones: "So Arizona is screwed. The Fed won't enforce its own laws and Arizona is told to sit down and shut up and take it with a smile. Thanks for nothing, SCOTUS. This is the first step. Eventually the people will have had enough."

eddiev5: "I think public opinion polls pretty much show time and time again what people are looking for. And it has nothign to do with the rhetoric you hear from the Democratic Party. On this issue, the Republicans are correct."

Gus Seals: "Actually this is a win, it builds a bigger picture over time how the feds are cooking the books on the number of illegals. The state can use the federal resources to check legal status so says the court. In the long run if the state says we stopped ten thousand illegals and the feds refused to do their job, it is not going to look good politically."

For many, Arizona got a big win.

Chaz: "I love how CNN tries to make this seem like Arizona lost here. They got exactly what they wanted and I say good for them. I have a very hard time with commenters from the East Coast who are just so full of 'forward thinking' opinions, but who don't really have a dog in this fight. This is a serious problem for those states who face these issues every day and I'm glad the ability to check a person's legal status is in place. I liked Governor Brewer's laws, as the state of Arizona faces terrible crime and security issues, due to the illlegal aliens. If the Feds can't protect the Arizona citizens, who can? I like the idea of 'self deportation'. The Mexicans think The AMERICAN DREAM is about getting on the government dole. It is about 'freedoms,' not breaking laws. Entering this country illegally was your first mistake. You broke a federal law. If you can't come in the legal way, leave."

Others were excited to see that the state didn't get everything it wanted.

JimmyNelson: "SCOTUS just smacked Jan Brewers hand.. and I like it."

This commenter said they thought Arizona's law is unacceptable. FULL POST

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Overheard on CNN.com • Supreme Court
Overheard on CNN.com: Are you a 'huggy' person? Would you make a child hug?
Some experts advise parents not to make their children hug and kiss relatives, so children will feel in control of their bodies.
June 20th, 2012
09:00 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Are you a 'huggy' person? Would you make a child hug?

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.

As the Jerry Sandusky trial moves forward, some people are talking about the roots of child molestation. Katia Hetter wrote an article about whether children should be required to hug or kiss their grandmothers, their relatives, and other people children are typically asked to embrace. Readers had varying attitudes toward such compulsory affection and any possible consequences that could result.

I don't own my child's body

Many readers were in support of letting the child have some freedom over who they hug and kiss, but others said there are lessons to be learned about manners and the way to show affection.

runabout: "Good article. I visited my cousin (who I had not seen in 10 years) and she practically forced her daughter to hug me goodbye. This kid had never seen me in her life and had now seen me for all of two hours. She didn't want to hug me. And I was OK with that. It felt weird she got forced by her Mom. I kept saying, 'It's OK, I understand ... why should she hug someone she barely knows.' Since I brought a little gift, it was appropriate that her Mom reminded her to say 'Thank You.' And I agree that a Mom should teach their kids to formally say 'Goodbye' to guests. But forcing unwanted touching? And if a older relative is offended ... tell them to get over it ... they are adults."

2sc00ps: "Um, long-lost cousin vs. grandmother is completely different. You're damn right you're going to hug the woman who gave your mother/father life so you could have life."

But what if there is something else going on with the child?

FreonP: "All of the people agreeing with the author clearly know nothing about autism or myriad other problems that can make an adult seem different or creepy to a child. They assume that a child's instincts are correct and that no child is ever controlling or cruel toward adults. If the child doesn't like hugging anyone, fine. But don't encourage the child to be cruel by discriminating."

Hugging can be a greeting in some cases.

russpro82: "But is asking them to give their grandmother a hug really a matter of controlling their body? It's a way that we greet people who are close and special to us, and I think if we explain to our children that we should hug grandma because she is a special lady and she deserves a hug, then we are teaching them that hugging is OK for special people but not for just anyone."

Scarred for life?

banjoist1234: "I have a friend who was forced by their parent to kiss their grandmother in her casket, and he carried that horrible memory into adulthood. Hearing him talk about it, you could hear the anger and resentment in his voice towards the parent, 40 years later. Kids are not intelligent obedient pets; they're human beings, and it's their body to control as they wish."

This person said they experienced an episode of abuse when younger, and didn't want their child to feel obligated to touch anyone. FULL POST

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Too lazy to place our own orders? Please.'
This year's LeWeb London event examines the push for "faster than real time" technology and its implications.
June 19th, 2012
08:25 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Too lazy to place our own orders? Please.'

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.

swohio: "And everyone used to think technology would make our lives so much better."

seyedibar: "And everyone was right."

CNN spoke with Loic Le Meur, founder of the European Internet conference known as LeWeb, about tech companies devising "faster than real time" experiences that anticipate your needs. Such topics will be the theme of LeWeb London this year. For example, a computer might be able to select food for you before you know what you want to order. Such projects are controversial; critics say they put people's privacy at risk. Readers responded with lots of hypothetical scenarios, with many wondering how this technology could and should be applied.

Should we fear mind-reading future tech?

Some smelled a hint of dystopia.

Kynt: "We're being lulled into lazy, ignorant obedience and compliance by the promise of ultimate comfort. We readily sell our privacy and leave our brain and conscience at the door for yet more instant gratification. All those who believe they will be in control delude themselves, because the true cost for the comfort and instant gratification are the very tools that would give you control."

Are we getting lazy?

WickedTribe: "Sounds like a huge waste of time and money. I know we as a society are becoming as lazy as possible, but too lazy to place our own orders? Please."

Maybe we're just becoming less autonomous.

thecabin: "We’ve been slowly losing our freedom. This could be the device that speeds the process up. I think there’re already a lot of people who have been 'brainwashed' to a certain degree. This is how government and corporations get more 'control' over the population. Who knows? Something like this could start a war."

How much is that doggie in the window? FULL POST


Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Technology
Overheard on CNN.com: Rodney King 'had demons. But called them his own'
The CNN community debates Rodney King's often-muddled legacy.
June 17th, 2012
05:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Rodney King 'had demons. But called them his own'

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.

Two decades ago, Rodney King became a divisive figure in American culture. His beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police brought our country’s racial debate to a boil and, for a time, brought the city of Los Angeles to its knees.

King, 47, was found dead today in his swimming pool. His passing has reignited debate on his legacy, the meaning of justice and the state of race of in America.

Here are some examples of what CNN.com readers and CNN iReporters had to say:

Rodney King: An ambiguous figure

thespiritguy: Rodney King wasn't really a hero or villain. Although he was an alcoholic who made a lot of mistakes and certainly deserved legal punishment, I can admire and respect his decision to talk about getting along, at a time when he could have screamed, 'burn down the city.' That act redeemed him, in my book, and he did deserve a settlement. At least it was a reminder to those who are sworn to uphold the law that they can't take prosecution into their own hands, which is healthy.

The debate continues

Brad Simmons:  I'm very familiar with the case. Yes, he did rush the police and perhaps he needed to be restrained but there is what needs to be done to restrain a person and then what these people did. I saw the tape and it was excessive force, plain and simple and if you can't/don't see it, then that's your problem not mine.

Also, the jury doesn't ALWAYS get something right. OJ Simpson got acquitted for killing his wife and Goldman and he was guilty. The system isn't fail proof you know! I know, that must come as a shock to you.

apple597 Thank you, Brad. There was no reason why 2 officers could not have subdued him while the other 2 put his hands in cuffs and held his feet together. The beating was excessive and this video has been shown many times, so whatever happened before is pretty irrelevant. We don't pay taxes so that the police can beat whoever they feel like, so that my tax dollars additionally go to treating these people in the hospital ... their job is to subdue these criminals and take them away. The fact that the guy had to be taken to the hospital and have surgery for his injuries is enough evidence for me.

Another_Fine_Mess: Good man yourself!

A lesson learned

Racism revisited

okatj: Rodney King is a symbol. He's not a hero, and I don't think anyone (including himself) in this country really believes that he was a hero. Those who were watching the television that day (not from their mother's womb where I think a lot of you pinheads were at the time), used to think racial profiling was an urban legend. I know I did until I saw what happened to him - and NO - not a single person on this earth deserves to be beaten nearly to death. Death is reserved for punishment befitting the crime that has occurred and has been proven in a court of law. (I say with some trepidations considering the number of condemned on death row that are being exonerated by DNA evidence.) That camera shot shed light on something that white America was really clueless about because it wasn't happening to them and nobody had shown America the truth.

I am stunned by the racism and ignorance in comments posted here. It's absolutely shameful how so many folks still believe the color of a person"s skin dictates who they are. How absolutely UNAMERICAN of any person in our country to really think in this manner. My grandfather, who I believe was a closeted Klansmen, would be proud of you! (PUTRID and DISGUSTING!!) Those who do think these things should read a little about our country's history.

Can’t we all get along?

Brational2:  He wasn't a saint. He had demons. But he knew their names and called them his own. He didn't blame anybody else for them. He endured things most of us never will have to. He forgave what many of us could not. And he asked one really important question, for which he will be remembered, and which still needs an answer: Can we all get along?

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Filed under: Justice • Overheard on CNN.com • Race
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