June 25th, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Live blog: Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona immigration law, upholds one part

Editor's note: We're live blogging from the Supreme Court today as the nation waits to see whether the justices will hand down rulings on the controversial health care and immigration laws. You can follow along below as CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears and Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin get the latest details live from the court as well as analysis when, and if, the major rulings come on Monday. Watch live coverage and analysis now on CNN TV, CNN’s mobile apps and http://cnn.com/live.

[Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement reacting to the Court's ruling:

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 on federal preemption grounds. Today’s ruling appropriately bars the State of Arizona from effectively criminalizing unlawful status in the state and confirms the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate in the area of immigration.

While I am pleased the Court confirmed the serious constitutional questions the government raised regarding Section 2, I remain concerned about the impact of Section 2, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped or detained when they have reason to suspect that the person is here unlawfully. As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation. We will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”

[Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama has weighed in on the court decision, praising that some parts were struck down, but adding that he was concerned about the provision that remained. His statement is in full below:

"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it."

[Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET] In regard to similar laws that have been enacted in other states, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin predicts “legal trench warfare on all these laws.”

The  “mixed nature of the verdict” makes it impossible to say if these laws or constitutional or unconstitutional, so judges in the future will have to go through each law provision by provision to determine constitutionality.

The ruling guarantees American will see more cases out of other states in the future,” Toobin said.

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Poll: Catching criminals is fine, but don't use drones for speeding tickets, Americans say
The FAA says many universities, companies and government organizations are developing and producing 155 drone designs.
June 13th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Poll: Catching criminals is fine, but don't use drones for speeding tickets, Americans say

Go ahead and use drones to track down criminals, to combat illegal immigration or for search-and-rescue missions. But to issue traffic citations?

No way, say Americans.

A recent Monmouth University poll showed there was overwhelming support for using unmanned aircraft in a variety of circumstances, but routine police work was not one of them.

Fewer than a quarter of the 1,708 adults surveyed last week said they would OK the use of drones to issue speeding tickets. Sixty-seven percent said they opposed the idea, and 10% had no opinion. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points (view a PDF here).

Compare that with the approval ratings for other drone applications: illegal immigration (64%), rescue missions (80%) and locating criminals (67%). The poll also indicates that 64% of Americans would be concerned about their privacy if U.S. law enforcement agencies began using drones with high-tech cameras.

Under the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which President Barack Obama signed in February, the Federal Aviation Administration is charged with developing a plan “for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.”

The act is in response to the strict FAA regulations on drone use. It loosens those restrictions, allowing many government agencies to get swifter FAA permission to operate the unmanned aerial vehicles. It also allows any "government public safety agency to operate unmanned aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less," if certain criteria are met.

The FAA has authorized drone use for dozens of entities, including more than 20 universities, the U.S. military, local police forces, the FBI, NASA and the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior and Energy.

Drone uses vary greatly, according to an FAA document issued in March that outlines how drones will be used in six test ranges.

Not only can their objectives encompass everything from surveillance to searches to air quality testing, they can take many forms. Wingspans range from 6 inches to 240 feet. Weights run the gamut from 4 ounces to 16 tons.

"One thing they have in common is that their numbers and uses are growing dramatically. In the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs,” according to the FAA.

The agency says it will select the test ranges in late 2012, with the first location becoming operational in 2013. The FAA currently has a test site at New Mexico State University, which it’s been using since June 2011.

There have been few incidents with domestic drone use, aside from an accident this month when a $176 million Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk went down in a marsh outside Salisbury, Maryland.

Outside the U.S., however, there has been widespread opposition to American reliance on drones to take out terrorists. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that the U.S. was the only country among 20 surveyed that approved of using drones to kill extremist leaders in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

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Racism, rather than Ronaldo and Ribery, dominates Euro 2012 storylines
The families of England's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, left, and Theo Walcott will not be attending Euro 2012 for fear of racism.
June 7th, 2012
03:09 PM ET

Racism, rather than Ronaldo and Ribery, dominates Euro 2012 storylines

The UEFA European Football Championship is second only to the World Cup in size and prestige, and it's equally rich in storylines. But right now, one storyline seems to overwhelm all others.

The story today is not whether Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can shake his reputation as Europe's Lebron James, a man who wows fans all season only to choke in big games. Nor is the story about whether defending champion Spain can defend the title without two of its biggest stars. It's also not about how Franck Ribery and the French squad can rebound from an embarrassing, soap opera-esque campaign in the 2010 World Cup.

Heck, the media aren't even paying that much attention to German coach Joachim Low's promise to break world soccer protocol by allowing his team to smoke, drink booze and have sex during the tournament. That would normally be prime tabloid fodder.

Nope, the story today is about racism, especially within the stadiums of Poland and Ukraine, which are jointly hosting the Euro 2012 tournament beginning Friday. The day before the competition began, the Dutch national team opted to train on the opposite side of its training ground at Stadion Miejski in Warsaw because of racist chants, Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said Thursday.

And while a recent BBC investigation showed several instances of bigotry and racism at club games there - some of them violent - Polish and Ukrainian officials are insisting their countries have been misrepresented.

"There is a problem with racism and anti-Semitism in Poland, but it is blown out of every possible proportion in this material," Marcin Bosacki, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said of the BBC documentary. "We are hospitable and treat all people who come here as friends."

Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Volodymyr Khandogiy also defended his country, saying, "Ukraine is very well known for its tolerance and it has a long history of living together with other nationalities. In our national football championship, roughly half of all the players are from Asian, African and Brazilian countries."

Regardless, many players and former players are speaking out, and English police issued a warning to fans after the Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Donetsk Company threatened to attack black and Asian English supporters during the tournament, Sky Sports News reported.

The families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, black English internationals who play for London's Arsenal, have said they will not attend the tournament because they fear becoming victims. Former English captain Sol Campbell, in the BBC documentary, warned his countrymen to stay out of the host countries.

"Stay at home. Watch it on TV. Don't even risk it because you could end up coming back in a coffin," he told a reporter.

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May 28th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Children shot, knifed, axed to death in Syria's Houla massacre, reports say

The livid white-haired Syrian’s question to the U.N. blue helmet was rhetorical. He didn’t expect a real answer, not to that question.

“Did the infant carry an RPG?” he asked angrily, gesturing wildly, his hands clad in red rubber gloves.

He had washed the bodies of nine slain children already, one of whom was not even a year old, he told the U.N. observer. He wanted to know why. That question he actually wanted answered. The observer appeared overwhelmed.

Why are they treating us like animals?” the man demanded.

It was an understatement. Across Houla, an anti-regime suburb of Homs, images emerged indicating people there had been treated like something less than animals. The bodies of 108 people killed, most of them women and children, filled rooms, rugs and the backs of trucks.

Children were missing limbs. Others suffered gaping head and chest wounds. Images showed children sprawled on blood-smeared floors, their lifeless eyes staring into oblivion, their clothing torn and stained crimson. While many young victims were apparently shot, there were reports that children had been stabbed to death or attacked with axes.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the United States was horrified by "credible reports" of the massacre, "including stabbing and ax attacks on women and children."

In one video posted online, a man shows a room full of dead bodies covered with sheets. He pulls back one and asks Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a pointed question: “Here are the children. What was their crime, Bashar? What was their crime, Arabs?”

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Obama: Same-sex couples should have right to marry
President Obama told ABC on Wednesday that gays should have the right to get married.
May 9th, 2012
03:03 PM ET

Obama: Same-sex couples should have right to marry

President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC that "it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

With his Wednesday announcement, the president reversed his longstanding position on the issue. It came on the heels of his own vice president and education secretary saying they were in favor of gay marriage.

According to an ABC blog post, Obama further described his thought process as an "evolution" that progressed as he discussed the issue with staff members, gay and lesbian service members and his own family.

He said he thinks Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with the concept of gay marriage and cited his own daughters' views on the matter.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” he said. “You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents.

"And Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them, and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”

Read CNN's full coverage of President Barack Obama's stance on gay marriage
Junior Seau's apparent suicide leaves San Diego Chargers "in shock"
Junior Seau had a stellar career with the San Diego Chargers. He was found dead Wednesday at age 43.
May 2nd, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Junior Seau's apparent suicide leaves San Diego Chargers "in shock"

[Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET] Talking to reporters outside Seau's home, a distraught Luisa Mauga Seau, the ex-player's mother, repeatedly thanked those who had shown love to her son.

"I pray to God, take me! Leave my son! But it's too late," she said in tears as those nearby tried to console her.

[Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET] The Oceanside, California, police chief says Junior Seau's death is being investigated as a suicide.

Authorities received a call from a woman who said she was his girlfriend. She said she found the former Pro Bowler unconscious with a gunshot wound to his chest Wednesday morning, Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy said in a news conference.

Police officers and firefighters went to the house and found him in one of the bedrooms. They tried to revive him, to no avail, McCoy said, adding that a handgun was found near Seau's body.

[Posted at 3:18 p.m. ET] The San Diego Chargers issued a statement on their website regarding "the passing" of their former Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who reportedly killed himself in his Oceanside, California, home Wednesday.

"Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they're doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family," the statement said.

After TMZ and other media outlets reported a police presence at his home early Wednesday, the Chargers tweeted that they had no information on the matter. Minutes later, they announced that a conference call with Coach Norv Turner had been canceled before issuing the statement on Seau's passing.

"The outpouring of emotion is no surprise," the team tweeted shortly after 3 p.m. ET.

Seau played 20 seasons in the NFL, 13 of which came with the Chargers. He played his last seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.

Read CNN's full coverage of Junior Seau's apparent suicide
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San Francisco auditorium uses sonic blast, nightly, to disperse homeless
Homeless people camp out a few blocks from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco last year.
May 2nd, 2012
02:30 PM ET

San Francisco auditorium uses sonic blast, nightly, to disperse homeless

Encouraging the homeless to find a new haunt is nothing new, but managers at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium may be breaking ground by attempting to do it sonically.

Of course, Manuel Noriega is and David Koresh was familiar with the acoustic warfare tactic, which at least one now-vanquished homeless San Franciscan felt was a harsh reaction to his and his cohorts' squatting, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Between 20 and 40 homeless had been hanging out and sleeping at Civic Center Park, and according to the newspaper, it was a source of frustration for police, the mayor, the city Recreation and Parks Commission and the concert promotion outfit, Another Planet Entertainment, which operates the auditorium.

To combat this scourge, Another Planet began using the building's outside speakers to blare a cacophony of the world's most jarring noises - chainsaws, motorcycles, jackhammers, an aircraft carrier alarm - in hopes of shooing the homeless off of its stoop.

The clamor, which begins nightly at 11 and continues until 7 a.m., prompted building manager Robert Reiter to comment to the paper, "I thought it was the building alarm going off."

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Adviser to lottery winners: Take the money and hush
Neysa Thomas, the Kansas Lottery deputy executive director, presents a Mega Milions jackpot check to 'Anonymous.'
April 18th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Adviser to lottery winners: Take the money and hush

The Butlers kept their secret for more than two weeks, but like most lottery winners they eventually had to let the world know of their millions.

It was revealed Wednesday that Merle and Pat Butler, a 60-something couple from the tiny St. Louis suburb of Red Bud, Illinois, had the third and final winning ticket in the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot from March 30.

Their take was $217 million, which comes to $158 million after taxes, and the couple had good reason for waiting so long to come forward.

“I figured the quieter I keep it, the better we are to get it set up and get it going before we did the claim,” Merle Butler said.

Michael Boone, a Bellevue, Washington-based wealth manager, said he often encourages clients with “found money” – that is, inheritance, lottery winnings or high-dollar sports contracts – to keep a low profile.

It seems at least a few lucky souls got similar advice. Of 10 past lottery winners CNN tried to reach, seven had changed their numbers. Of the three who answered their phones, two politely declined to discuss their experiences.

“I still prefer to remain anonymous,” said a past District of Columbia Lotto winner.

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Bolton's Fabrice Muamba to get defibrillator, return to training, according to reports
Bolton's Fabrice Muamba collapsed after a cardiac arrest during a match against Tottenham last month.
April 11th, 2012
03:58 PM ET

Bolton's Fabrice Muamba to get defibrillator, return to training, according to reports

The Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba is not only on the mend, according to media reports, but - incredibly - he may soon be able to return to training.

The Zaire-born Englishman, who turned 24 last week, collapsed last month during an English FA Cup match against Tottenham. Doctors said he suffered a cardiac arrest and was, in effect, dead for 78 minutes as medics tried to restart his heart.

He gave the sporting world a fright as he lay motionless on the field for several minutes before being put into an ambulance where efforts to revive him continued. The Tottenham match was postponed until later in the month.

Less than a week after Muamba's collapse, doctors said he was improving - joking about and speaking in English and French - despite remaining in serious condition. Today comes news from the Daily Mirror that Muamba will have a minor operation to install a miniature defibrillator in his armpit.

The procedure will take place at the London Chest Hospital, where Muamba has been treated since his March 17 collapse. The purpose of the procedure, according to the tabloid, is to help him in the event he suffers a similar event in the future, as Muamba intends to return to training with his squad.

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April 10th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Marlins suspend manager Guillen for 5 games; he apologizes for Castro comments

The Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games, effective immediately, on Tuesday, just before Guillen apologized for recent comments praising Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Guillen sparked a firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected  Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

"I respect Fidel Castro," Guillen said in the article. "You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that son of a bitch is still there."

Guillen apologized during a press conference Tuesday, first speaking in Spanish, saying that he had "betrayed a Latin community" and that he was speaking to "ask for forgiveness with my heart in my hand."

But, he said, he originally spoke of Castro in Spanish and "the translation to English was a bit confusing."

In response to questions in English on Tuesday, Guillen said he was "very stupid" to make comments outside of baseball.

"Politics has nothing to do with sports," Guillen said.

"This is the biggest mistake so far in my life," he said.

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April 9th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Ozzie Guillen to fly home to Miami to address Fidel Castro backlash

Ozzie Guillen has a knack for controversial statements and it's easy to treat his bombast as Ozzie being Ozzie, but his latest words on his respect for former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro aren't going away - not in Miami.

Guillen, who took over the Miami Marlins this season after eight years with the Chicago White Sox, announced he was flying back to Miami after the Phillies game tonight to hold a press conference about the remarks, according to The Miami Herald.

“I was planning to do something Friday, but (Tuesday) we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face-to-face,” Guillen told the paper. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball-club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

He said he hasn't been able to sleep for three days because of the controversy and he wanted to speak to the media and people of Miami in person, rather than via a statement.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. ... Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen sparked the firestorm when he told Time magazine recently that he respected Castro for being able to lead Cuba for six decades.

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April 6th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

Marion Barry's remarks on Asians' 'dirty shops' ignite criticism after primary win

[Updated Friday at 4:09 p.m. ET] Washington Councilman Marion Barry said Friday he could've rephrased his controversial remark about "dirty" Asian businesses in his district, but he refused to back down.

He said his adrenaline was flowing after Tuesday's primary victory, when he made the comment, and that he merely was trying to convey that the business community in his Ward 8 needs a new attitude. Asians run a large percentage of the ward's stores and small shops, he said.

“I said something that I probably could have phrased differently. What you mean is the same. You’re not going to have people who are exploiting us in this community. They’re going to be part of the community. We welcome all businesspeople here … but give us some jobs.”

Several lawmakers, including the D.C. mayor and some of Barry's fellow council members, condemned his remarks - criticism Barry downplayed earlier this week. CNN's Athena Jones, who interviewed Barry on Friday, also spoke to Korean shop owner Helen Lee, who said she was angered by the councilman's castigation.

"We work really hard to keep our facility clean and to serve, like, this community. We've been here for over 20 years now," said Lee's daughter, Miriam. "So it's really insulting for him to come out of the blue and say that we're dirty and that, you know, we should be replaced, basically because we've been here for so long."

Told of the Lees' sentiments, Barry again disregarded the criticism, saying, "Leadership requires leadership."

"If she’s mad at me, tell her put some money in this community. Hire some people in this community. Give money to various organizations in this community, " he said. "If she’s mad, then do something about it.”

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April 6th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Players react with disgust to Gregg Williams ordering Saints to target 49ers' heads, knees

In many ways, the "kill the head" speech by former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sounds like typical pregame, fire-up-the-troops rhetoric, but former and current players say there are several instances where the now-suspended coach crossed the line.

The speech has added new fire to an already scalding scandal in which the NFL alleges that the Saints administered a bounty program aimed at taking out opposing players.

The day before the Saints' January 14 playoff clash with the San Francisco 49ers, Williams started his speech by instructing his team to never apologize for how they play. No big deal.

Williams goes on to say, "Kill the head, the body will die," a twist on the frequent tutelage of boxer "Smokin'" Joe Frazier. It sounds nefarious given the recent attention given to concussions in football, but it could probably be written off as normal locker room bravado.

Except, and this is a big except, Williams starts naming players by name, and what's more, he starts naming anatomy: tight end Vernon Davis' ankle, running back Frank Gore's head, quarterback Alex Smith's chin and wide receiver Michael Crabtree's "outside ACL."

Former Detroit Lions cornerback Lamar Campbell, who retired in 2004, told the Detroit Free Press that Williams' speech began like many that Campbell heard during his playing days. Listening to it made him reminisce at first.

“You hear, ‘Knock the (expletive) out of him,’ and, ‘Kick his ass,’ and I love, ‘They’re going to be shocked with our contact, they’re going to be shocked with our speed, they’re going to be shocked with the way we strip,’ ” Campbell said Thursday. “I felt nostalgic reading it and then I get to a line that says, ‘Let’s see how many times we can bull rush and get that outside ACL,’ and it’s like, hold up. You had me and then, ‘Go get this guy’s ACL?’ Are you serious?”

Perhaps most disturbingly, Gregg Williams demands a big hit on kick returner Kyle Williams because of a recent concussion, something the New York Giants' Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas caught heat for the following week when they said the same thing.

"We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore's head," Gregg Williams said on the tape. "We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways."

This could simply mean Williams wants his defense in the backfield so quickly that Gore has trouble getting upfield, that he wants Gore running east and west rather than north and south. Again, probably pretty typical of the instructions that defensive coordinators give to their men.

Even Williams' invocation to "knock the f*** out of" backup running back Kendall Hunter isn't as bad as it initially sounds because he follows it with world-class hyperbole.

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Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship
Baylor's Brittney Griner cuts down the net after the Lady Bears thrashed Notre Dame 80-61 on Tuesday night.
April 4th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship

If she hadn't made the point already that she and the Baylor Lady Bears were the queens of women's hoops, Brittney Griner left no doubts Tuesday night.

With their 80-61 win over Notre Dame, the Bears did the unprecedented, winning 40 straight games in a season and planting themselves firmly in the debate over which is the best women's college team ever. In a game that was close before the Bears shredded the Fighting Irish 46-33 in the second half, Griner filled the stat sheet as she's done all season.

Playing all but one minute, the Naismith Trophy winner tallied 26 points, 13 boards and five blocks. Oh, and she tossed in an assist for good measure. Her shooting percentage in the second half? A lights-out 89%.

While all the talk after the men's championship revolved around the next level  who's going to the pros, who's staying for another year  Griner, a junior, has insisted she will forgo making upwards of $1 million, a fortune in women's hoops, to play for the Lady Bears her senior season. Yes, even if Baylor won the championship game, she has said.

The Lady Bears' performance made them only the 10th women's team to run the table since 1972, when the tournament era began.

Now, undefeated seasons in women's hoops aren't the shooting stars they are in the men's game. The Connecticut Huskies' women's team went 39-0 in 2002, 2009 and 2010, whereas the last men's team to run the table was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

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From Anthony Davis' unibrow to the 'Boss Button': March Madness by the numbers
Anthony Davis is one of the tourney's most electrifying players. His Kentucky Wildcats are one of the most electrifying teams.
March 15th, 2012
11:25 AM ET

From Anthony Davis' unibrow to the 'Boss Button': March Madness by the numbers

March Madness is a time for numbers. The number one, for instance, represents the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats or, perhaps, the number of eyebrows that their star freshman forward, Anthony Davis, has.

You know you're good when you not only rock a unibrow with abandon, but your mom shows up to a game with a unibrow mask. Simply put, dude's a beast. If you want some more stunning numbers from the 6-foot-10 Davis, he averaged more than 14 points, 10 rebounds and almost five blocks per game during the season.

One more number: He celebrated a birthday Sunday. His 19th.

But the tournament is much bigger than one player, and there are several teams - especially in the loaded South region - that will be looking to take John Calipari's Wildcats down a notch.

The games tip off today at 12:15 p.m. ET. Here's a look at the tournament by the numbers, with big ups to Amy Roberts at the CNN Library for putting these together:

67 – Number of games in the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

68 – Number of teams invited to be in the tournament.

1 in 4,294,967,296Chances of creating the perfect bracket through the first round.

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Picking the teams to win NCAA tournament can be ... well, madness
Kentucky may be the No. 1 seed, but Vanderbilt walked away with the SEC Tournament title Sunday.
March 12th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Picking the teams to win NCAA tournament can be ... well, madness

Geez, how am I supposed to get my bracket done with my bosses asking me to do all this work? Ridiculous.

March Madness, that magical season of underdogs and lost productivity, is again upon us, and folks across the nation will scramble from Web page to Web page for the next three days, hoping to get an edge in this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament.

Before you waste ludicrous amounts of your and your employers’ time, consider this: Butler and VCU composed half of last year’s Final Four. I feel pretty confident in the assumption that almost no one reading this picked that pair.

Call the Bulldogs and Rams sleepers or flukes if you like, but it was Butler’s second-straight Final Four, and VCU has made it back to the Big Dance this year, albeit as a 12 seed.

If last year taught us anything, it’s that the term Cinderella, given to no-name teams who enjoy unexpected success in the tournament, is overplayed. Way overplayed.

This year’s matches promise to be just as unpredictable. If you were paying attention over the weekend, you saw that Michigan State was the only No. 1 seed to win its conference tournament.

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For $2,500, Brooklyn artist invites 1% to take home complaints of the 99%
An Armory Show attendee examines Sebastian Errazuriz's Occupy Chairs in New York.
March 9th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

For $2,500, Brooklyn artist invites 1% to take home complaints of the 99%

Sebastian Errazuriz is at it again, making political statements with his art. This time, the target is the 1% - of which he may be a member when the art exhibit is through.

The Chilean-born artist used placards from the Occupy Wall Street movement as his muse and painted some of the movement's slogans onto wooden fold-out chairs. The acrylic paint messages include, "Hungry? Eat a Banker," "Kill Corporate Greed" and "Too Big to Fail is Too Big to Allow."

"The artist wishes to support the 99% by inviting collectors (representing the 1%) to purchase the complaints as art or furniture, thus introducing the ideas of one group into the homes of another and at the same time getting the rich to support the cause of the 99%," a news release states.

There are eight Occupy Chairs, and 10 of each design. The eight designs are on display at the Cristina Grajales Gallery booth at the Armory Show, an annual modern art fair in Manhattan that began Thursday and runs through the weekend.

Though Errazuriz, 34, doesn't shy away from bold statements - such as, say, planting 1,100 crosses under the Brooklyn Bridge to highlight the number of deaths in New York each week - his latest endeavor made him nervous.

"I honestly didn't know if the 1% would buy the Occupy Chairs or feel attacked and insulted," he said. "The other gallery people looked at us like, 'What the hell are (they) doing bringing protest signs to an art fair focused on collectors who are obviously all 1%?' "

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Filed under: Art • Chile • Economy • New York • Occupy Wall Street • Protest • U.S.
March 1st, 2012
08:16 AM ET

RIP tees: In Murder City, a market for wearable memorials

Markets are telling. The best indicators of a region’s demands are the items it keeps in plentiful supply.

In New Orleans, residents demand ways to honor their slain loved ones. With a murder rate that has been tops in the nation for years, perhaps it’s no surprise that a number of custom T-shirt companies specialize in wearable memorials.

The city’s Times-Picayune newspaper wrote in 2004 that RIP tees were becoming as common as flowers at funerals, but filmmaker John Richie found more recently that, for many T-shirt shops, the shirts are a mainstay of their revenue.

Check out the CNN.com's story on the violence plaguing New Orleans

Lawrence Elzy, owner of Exclusive Tees in the 7th Ward, told Richie during a documentary shoot that there are roughly 20 shops like his in a 3-square-mile area.

“If I’m too busy, my customer will go to another shop, and if they’re too busy, their customer will come here. There’s not a shortage,” he said.

When Elzy first opened, he wanted to focus on birthdays, family reunions, “things more of the living,” but he quickly realized it wasn’t a sound business plan.

“You can survive without doing Rest In Peace shirts, but your business will never grow - because of New Orleans.”

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Filed under: Crime • Drug violence • Drugs • Economy • Justice • Louisiana • U.S.
Stranded dolphins tracked to Maine coast, suggesting success in rescue op
Dozens of dolphins began washing ashore near Cape Cod, Massaschusetts, on January 12.
January 27th, 2012
12:48 PM ET

Stranded dolphins tracked to Maine coast, suggesting success in rescue op

It's too early to call the rescue near Cape Cod a success, but it looks like there's good news for a fifth of the dolphins that began washing ashore on the Massachusetts coast earlier this month.

The majority of the dolphins rescued during the "mass strandings" have survived and appear to be tooling about off the coast of Maine, according to a news release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Rescuers put satellite tracking tags on six of the 24 animals that they have rescued and released since January 12, when rescuers began finding dozens of common and Atlantic white-sided dolphins along a 25-mile stretch of shoreline.

As many as 100 dolphins may have been stranded during the episode, 50 of which were dead when they were discovered, wrote IFAW senior program coordinator A.J. Cady earlier this week. Three of the dolphins with tracking tags died after being released.

"We're all exhausted, muddy and unsure what tomorrow will bring," Cady wrote Tuesday, "but rest assured, if more dolphins strand, we'll do everything in our power to rescue and release them into open ocean."

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Filed under: Animals • Fish • Maine • Massachusetts • Nature • U.S.
Headhunting: Giants boast of targeting punt returner, raise questions about concussions
Kyle Williams fumbles in the NFC Championship on Sunday. Two Giants say they targeted Williams because of his concussions.
January 25th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

Headhunting: Giants boast of targeting punt returner, raise questions about concussions

Editor's note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary, "Big Hits, Broken Dreams" debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.

It’s a reality of sport, and not just football: If your opponents know you have an injury, they’re going to target it.

If a quarterback’s ribs are fractured, they make sure to put a shoulder right in his numbers. A pitcher in baseball may hurl the horsehide a little differently when a batter has a jacked-up wrist or hip. In hockey, soccer and basketball, a player with a tender elbow or knee can expect opponents to clip her or him on multiple occasions. And we’re not even going to discuss what happens to a boxer with a swollen eye.

But what about a brain injury? Is it different? Especially in the NFL, where concussions have become the cause du jour among those who say the game is too violent, is "headhunting" a player with a history of concussions the same as going after a quarterback’s sore hand?

The New York Giants are making this a prime topic for discussion after two players told the media after their NFC Championship win Sunday that they targeted punt returner Kyle Williams.

The San Francisco 49ers' Williams, of course, provided the biggest headlines in Sunday’s game, first by letting a punt graze his leg, and on a later punt return, by coughing up the football after a hit from linebacker Jacquian Williams.

(For what it's worth, Kyle Williams didn't get his bell rung on the play, an NFL rep said there were no illegal hits on Williams and a San Francisco newspaper flatly stated there was no evidence the Giants were aiming for the 23-year-old's noggin Sunday.)

The G-Men recovered both balls, ultimately resulting in half their points in a 20-17 overtime win. Some zealous tweeters quickly called for Kyle Williams' death.

Jacquian Williams said of Kyle Williams during a locker room interview, “We knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, to take him out of the game.”

It might’ve been written off as a slip of the tongue. Perhaps in the gleeful post-game atmosphere of the locker room, Jacquian Williams did not mean to say the Giants targeted Kyle Williams because of his past concussions.

Well, Devin Thomas put an end to any speculation when he told the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, that Kyle Williams was indeed a target because “he’s had a lot of concussions."

“We were just like, ‘We gotta put a hit on that guy.’ … (Tyler) Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.”

Late Tuesday, Big Blue did a little backtracking as two of the team's more veteran players (Thomas has been in the league only four years, and Jacquian Williams is a rookie) told a Star-Ledger reporter they did not discuss in team meetings the prospect of targeting Kyle Williams.

“It’s not like we wasn’t trying to hit him,” defensive end Justin Tuck told the newspaper, adding that the team "was definitely trying to get a lot of hats on him" because the 49ers' starting punt returner was hurt, but "as far as trying to knock him out of a football game, no.”

Added linebacker Michael Boley, “In our meeting we didn’t talk about it. ... Concussions is a big deal. That’s something that you don’t teach. We don’t talk about it. Obviously, we don’t want to hurt anybody. We’re a fraternity of brothers all across the league, so we don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

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Filed under: California • Football • Health • New York • Pro football • Sports • Super Bowl • U.S.
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