Comments: Running mate Ryan spices up election, spurs economic conversation
Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
August 13th, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Comments: Running mate Ryan spices up election, spurs economic conversation

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Mitt Romney has announced his pick for running mate in the 2012 election: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Readers have mixed feelings about him, but they've definitely been talking. The next five stories are all about Ryan.

When the news initially broke, many readers argued about what it means. All seemed to agree that the game was suddenly a little more interesting. Several iReporters, like Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, said they felt this choice was the right one.

"As the news began to trickle out late last night, and turn into a cascading waterfall, that House Budget Committee chairman and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan had been selected by Mitt Romney as the person to be his running mate and the next vice president of the United States, I began to read and research all I could on the congressman. That study led me to the conclusion that this morning as Romney was announcing his choice of Ryan, Romney had indeed made the correct decision. That decision puts the question of fiscal responsibility and a right direction for the country squarely on the table."

And Matt Sky  of New York said having Ryan around changes the conversation.

"Adding Paul Ryan to Mitt Romney's ticket changes this election from simply being a referendum on Obama into a core philosophical debate about the differences between conservatism and liberalism. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is an exciting figure for many Republicans, but also represents the core divisions between the parties in a way that could also rally more Democrats behind Obama. We have very articulate, intelligent candidates across the board, so I think we can expect a fascinating, very unique election year, not about personality or popularity points, but one of substance."

On CNN's Facebook page, readers were critical of Ryan's economic vision, which was the subject of an opinion article by Donna Brazile. But some were in support.

Chris Perrin: Ryan's budget would destroy the middle class and the working poor. We would all become serfs to the rich. Now that is class warfare if I've ever seen it.

Colleen Warman Meyer: "Does anyone find it ironic that democrats keep saying Ryan's budget proposal is too radical when the dems in power haven't bothered to even pass a budget in years? I think a little radical is better than nothing. Our national belt has needed a lot of tightening anyway."

Ralph Quaas: All this means is money for Republican pockets and not a dime for seniors and the needy.

Charlotte Booth Davidson: "Can anybody ANYBODY tell me why I should vote for Obama? And not because of Romney/Ryan. Convince me how our country is better off then three years ago?!!! Please!"

Michael Sercu: "Ryan and Romney declared: 'We do not want our kids stuck with trillions of dollars in debt.' The bad news: They want other people's kids stuck with that debt."

CNN.com commenters also had plenty to say.

1. Romney's pick of Ryan as his running mate energizes conservatives, opponents

This reader said they weren't originally planning to vote, but decided to do so. They were one of many who alluded to author Ayn Rand, author of the influential and controversial novel "Atlas Shrugged." Ryan has said conflicting things about his stance on Rand's work.

aabbccddee: "Thanks Romney, by choosing Paul Ryan you helped me to decide that I'm voting for Obama. The last thing we need is a conservative Ayn Randian objectivist in the White House."

THX1953: "Ha! Like your vote wasn't already cast!"

aabbccddee: "It wasn't. I dislike Obama's conservative policies so I was going to sit out this election. To me, Romney and Obama are two of the same. Romney's choice of Ryan has awoken me from my apathy."

Another reader said they were glad that a person with vigor was joining the race. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Elections • Mitt Romney • Politics • Republican Party • Wisconsin
Comments: Mars rover indulges readers' Curiosity about mysteries of Red Planet
Reader's caption: "Woke up late on first day of vacation. Lots of red sand. Locals are ... not any. Miss you all. Love, Curiosity."
August 9th, 2012
08:45 PM ET

Comments: Mars rover indulges readers' Curiosity about mysteries of Red Planet

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

"Space ... the final frontier. These are the voyages of the rover Curiosity. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
–ARAKUN, CNN.com commenter

As we get more pictures back from the Mars rover Curiosity, readers seem to be talking about it more and more. Light Years asked readers to caption three photos of the Red Planet and got more than 300 responses. The caption above, given by user talkhazin, was one of the three selected by editors. The social media galaxy has been buzzing about the fourth rock from the sun all week.

1. Why we love Mars
2. Drought vs. food
3. Running on a broken leg
4. Fossil research
5. Pet names

1. Why I love Mars

This opinion piece by Greg Bear brought out even more joy from our readers, who say space and science are important to our country. We also saw counterarguments from those who think space research is nice but are concerned that there are other things the money is needed for. You could see these views at odds.

fasteddie09: "Mars is important because it is Earthlike. Mars used to be much warmer and wetter than it is today. What went wrong? By trying to understand Mars' history, we can improve our understanding of Earth's geology and climate. When you study only one world, Earth, your knowledge is limited to a data set of one observation. The more you expand that data set, the greater your understanding can become. Closed minds narrowly focused on the ground and the now have little hope of making discoveries."

sandMonkeys: "Wow, go back to watching 'Star Trek,' nerd. We're not going to colonize Mars. That's too expensive and ultimately it gives us nothing in return. It's a pipe dream."

Justanothermonkeyman: "I love the Mars missions! The only sad part is that more people don't care about them. I think it is a shame that most people care about celebrity news more. I mean COME ON - we landed a probe on another planet! That's so amazing and intriguing to me!"

CanadaPride4: "You want to know why I love Mars? Because I don't. It is a big rock that doesn't do anything. It is a stupid big rock."

Some readers were concerned about what humans plan to do on Mars. FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Science • Space • U.S.
Comments: Randy Travis, how did 'such a talented guy end up in a mug shot like that'?
Randy Travis was arrested Tuesday after he was found naked lying on a roadway in northern Texas and smelling of alcohol.
August 8th, 2012
07:40 PM ET

Comments: Randy Travis, how did 'such a talented guy end up in a mug shot like that'?

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

We saw a lot of interesting conversations spring up in the news today, and on topics beyond the main headlines of past days.

1. Randy Travis' arrest
2. Record heat
3. Long waits at the doctor
4. Factory jobs go unfulfilled
5. School sports vs. classes

Here's a look at the variety of topics covered.

1. Country singer Randy Travis arrested, accused of DWI

Country music star Randy Travis was arrested late Tuesday after being found naked, smelling apparently of alcohol and lying on a remote stretch of roadway in northern Texas just before midnight, authorities said. His mug shot is circulating, and readers are talking about the lives of country singers.

Some talked about the ills of the bottle.

Penny Pinkerton Gearing: "My heart goes out to him as it seems he is having issues with alcohol. I hope that he receives the help that he needs soon before things get any worse and he injures someone (or himself worse than he already has)."

KENNNY: "Now I like Randy Travis' music but my problem is that they all say: 'I'm committed to being responsible and accountable, and apologize for my actions' and then they go out and do it again and again and again while John Doe, who is a 'Regular Citizen' gets the book thrown at him for the same offense. Sooner or later Mr. Travis is going to do what many drunk drivers do and that is he will be involved in an accident that will result in loss of life, either his life, someone else's life or both and it can be avoided. I hope he will get it together before it is too late."

For some, the situation sounded like the fodder for another sad country song.

Prefection: "Coincidentally, his new country single is titled 'Naked, Smelling Apparently of Alcohol and Lying on a Remote Stretch of Roadway in Northern Texas just before Midnight.' "

Snowcat764: "I get the part that he was driving while intoxicated but I think we're all wondering why he was naked."

The photo showing Travis' condition had many feeling a bit sad. FULL POST

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Filed under: Celebrity • Comments • Crime • Music • U.S.
Comments: Are Reid's tax allegations smart move or abuse of congressional power?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Mitt Romney went 10 years without paying taxes, and readers are talking about him.
August 7th, 2012
10:10 PM ET

Comments: Are Reid's tax allegations smart move or abuse of congressional power?

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

Politics took the reigns of Tuesday's fiery commenting discussions, followed by further debate over Mars exploration and a hard look at the influence of white supremacy groups in the United States. Here's the rundown.

1. Harry Reid vs. Mitt Romney 
2. The big Mars rover question: Is it all necessary? 
3. White supremacy groups 
4. Lupe Fiasco gets heated response 
5. Olympics update: Golden girls, dubious excuses

1. Harry Reid vs. Mitt Romney

This story generated more than 10,000 comments today, dominating conversation on the site. Republican sources say they're in a Catch-22 situation on how to reply to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's claims that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney went 10 years without paying taxes. They either play along with Reid and keep the conversation going, or they refuse to participate and risk rousing suspicions. Some of our readers say this situation is justified, especially after all the requests for President Barack Obama's birth certificate, while some other readers say they think Reid is playing dirty with Romney to harm his candidacy.

Reid puts GOP in a bind over Romney's taxes

What's Reid really thinking?

NoGasBags: "Harry's a genius. The only way for this issue to die down is for Romney to release the returns and disprove him. There's obviously something in there. Romney's too smart to evade taxes, but by some form of manipulation he may have avoided paying them for several years. I'd say keep the issue going. It's one more issue of secrecy in regards Romney, his ideas, plans and faith. Go too it Harry!"

oddjob3422: "A genius indeed. The move might be politically effective, but it's just another example showing how Harry Reid is the biggest embarrassment in our entire government. The man is absolutely reprehensible to abuse his power as Senate majority leader to hawk his unsubstantiated claims. Doubtless there is someone else pulling the strings, though, because Reid can hardly put together a sentence on his own. To watch the man talk on the Sunday morning political shows is to cringe in embarrassment. I didn't see the footage of his asinine Senate floor screed, but I have little doubt that he was, as usual, looking down at a cue card, slowly and haltingly sounding out words written by others. This is what we are down to – outright slander being tolerated, and the U.S. Senate floor being used as the vehicle to spread it."

Who's hunting who? FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Crime • Harry Reid • Mitt Romney • Politics • Race • Taxes • Wisconsin
Comments: 'This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion'
People wait for word on family and friends at the Sikh temple. The Oak Creek, Wisconsin, temple, or gurdwara, opened in 2007.
August 6th, 2012
09:16 PM ET

Comments: 'This tragedy has helped me to learn more about the Sikh religion'

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. What follows is a look at some of the most talked-about stories of the day.

There has been tons of conversation surrounding Monday's news, spanning the full range of humanity's capacities. Look below for a glance at these topics:

1. Wisconsin temple shooting
2. Mars rover landing
3. Situation in Syria
4. Culture of gaming
5. Underwater wreckage
6. Olympics update: Michael Phelps
7. Braydon Nichols

1. Wisconsin temple shooting

People have been going back and forth all day about =the shooting Sunday at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, which left seven people dead including the gunman, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page. Details emerged after the shooting, painting Page as the front man of a white-power rock group known as "End Apathy." Thousands of comments poured in, and readers posted dozens of stories on CNN iReport.

Police identify Army veteran as Wisconsin shooting gunman

We were surprised to find that one of our readers wrote a comment saying they knew Page.

Cjrobillard: "Wade Michael Page was one of my closest friends from my time in the Army. We met and served together in the same unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While I don't support what he did, I love him like a brother and I will miss him greatly. I am sorry for the families of the victims and officers."

CNN interviewed the commenter, who in real life is Christopher Robillard of Oregon. He described Page as his "closest friend" in the service more than a decade ago, and added that Page was pushed out of the military for showing up to formation drunk.

Robillard said Page was "a very kind, very smart individual" who loved his friends, but "was involved with white supremacy." He went on to say that Page sometimes talked about "racial holy war," but didn't seem like the kind of person who would actually hurt someone.

"It's the racial holy war talk I always took as something he would vent about, and not act on it," Robillard said. "I never pictured him as someone who would do anything. I thought maybe he was just saying it for attention." FULL POST

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Filed under: Comments • Crime • Religion • U.S. • Wisconsin
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
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
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