NFL fans on Twitter hyped for refs' return
NFL officials -- the genuine article -- get ready for Thursday night's game in Baltimore.
September 27th, 2012
08:14 PM ET

NFL fans on Twitter hyped for refs' return

Football fans were rejoicing Thursday that the NFL's real officials were going to be back on the field for the evening's midweek matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Replacement officials hired by the NFL during a lockout of the regular officials had endured increasing criticism over a long list of what appeared to be bad calls.

Early arrivals at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium gave a rousing cheer to the game's seven officials, led by referee Gene Steratore, as they took the field before Thursday night's kickoff.




Once news got out that the lockout had been resolved, NFL fans on Twitter let fly with some ref-fueled humor:




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September 27th, 2012
05:05 PM ET

Mash-up: Lil Wayne's legal mind

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Lil Wayne gives quite a performance

Faithful celebrate 'no matter where'

iReporter Theodros Arega captured vibrant images of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians celebrating the annual Meskel religious festival in Stockholm, Sweden.

The festival commemorates what they believe is the finding of "the true cross" by St. Helena in the fourth century. The highlight of the festival is a Demera ceremony, where a massive bonfire is lighted and attendees celebrate with songs.

"Many Ethiopians who live abroad stick to their culture and tradition no matter where they live and how difficult it is," he said. "I'd never been to this beautiful celebration in Stockholm, and I was eager to document it."


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September 26th, 2012
06:39 PM ET

Mash-up: Is that a squirrel in your shirt?

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Oh sure, blame it on the squirrel

Homes saved from brush fire at last minute

iReporter Andy Deane was relieved to see a helicopter crew dropping water on a brush fire in Murrieta, California, on Sunday, as the fire neared homes and Calvary Chapel Bible College, which is at the bottom of the hill.

"We have 500 students that all smelled the fire. We had all the students pray at 7 p.m. for the safety of the community and firefighters. The students' parents were calling concerned we would evacuate them, but the township told us that we were safe and it was not necessary," he said.

Deane shot some dramatic video of the copter, which you can view here.

Cute animal video alert

Fond memories of Andy Williams

CNN readers were quick to share their memories of watching Andy Williams on TV or in person and listening to his music, especially during the holidays. Williams, whose biggest hit was the ubiquitous elevator song "Moon River," died of bladder cancer Tuesday night at 84.

As a late baby boomer, I remember the Andy Williams specials and shows as a kid sitting on the floor of our living room watching our console TV - the kind that had a record player and radio as well.
My dad was a HUGE fan of his and I remember nothing but good things about him and his music.
Goodbye Andy - you finally crossed over Moon River.

Jon Herman
I lived and worked in Branson for 10 years.  When I worked at the movie theater, he would rent out a theater after hours on occasion for his employees.  He was great to talk with and down to earth.  His music was legendary, and he will be missed by many.  He helped build Branson to what it is now by building his theater.  Before Moon River theater, they were all small, cramped and low-budget theaters.  He shined up the place and put a new face on the town.

Step away from the smartphone

Tech-savvy Americans are forgetting how to do nothing, it seems. Christopher Lynn, an anthropology professor at the University of Alabama, compares tapping at smartphones to smoking a cigarette.

When you're habituated to constant stimulation, when you lack it, you sort of don't know what to do with yourself. ... When we aren't used to having down time, it results in anxiety. 'Oh my God, I should be doing something.' And we reach for the smartphone. It's our omnipresent relief from that.

On the horizon: Netanyahu at U.N., latest GDP report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday amid tensions between his country and Iran. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also will speak to the gathering.

The Commerce Department and the Bureau of Economic Analysis will provide a snapshot of the U.S. economy with the release of second-quarter gross domestic product figures at 8:30 a.m. ET.

September 27 anniversaries

Mark McGwire

1954 - "The Tonight Show" premieres, with Steve Allen as host.

1959 - Typhoon Vera hits the Japanese island of Honshu, killing almost 5,000 people.

1964 - The Warren Commission investigating the John F. Kennedy assassination releases its report, concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

1998 - St. Louis Cardinals baseball player Mark McGwire hits his 70th home run, setting a Major League record.

September 27 birthdays

Meat Loaf

• Actor Wilford Brimley, 78

• Singer/reality star Meat Loaf, 65

• Baseball player Mike Schmidt, 63

• Actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, 62

• Singer/actor Shaun Cassidy, 54

• Singer Avril Lavigne, 28

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September 24th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

Mash-up: Ahmadinejad addresses riots

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Piers Morgan interviews Iranian president

During an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed an anti-Islam film that has provoked a violent reaction in the Muslim world. Ahmadinejad denounced the online film, "Innocence of Muslims," which portrays the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer. However, he also said random violence is not a good response.

[W]e condemn any type of extremism. Of course, what took place was ugly. Offending the Holy Prophet is quite ugly. This has very little or nothing to do with freedom and freedom of speech. This is the weakness of and the abuse of freedom, and in many places it is a crime. It shouldn't take place, and I do hope the day will come in which politicians will not seek to offend those whom others hold holy. We also believe that this must also be resolved in a humane atmosphere, in a participatory environment, and we do not like anyone losing their lives or being killed for any reason, anywhere in the world.

Readers weigh in on Ahmadinejad

The Iranian president also talked about his country's tensions with Israel, and about homosexuality, which in 2007 he said did not exist in Iran. As always, his remarks sparked passionate responses from CNN readers, to wit:

Ethan Marsh
Ahmadinejad is obnoxious because he portrays himself as this enlightened, reasonable person who thinks everyone should just be left alone to do whatever they want in their own country. But he is as hypocritical as any other world leader, if not more so. He complains here about a world where Israel can threaten Iran over suspected nuclear ambitions, yet Iran refuses to recognize Israel as a state and has said that he wants the current Israeli political regime to cease to exist. Iran also funds and supports militants on Israel's border who have thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli population centers. The idea that Iran just wants to live in peace and security with its neighbors is a fiction. I'm not saying Israel is not militaristic as well, but at least they don't pretend they're not.

I am an American, and no big supporter of Ahmadinejad; however, any U.S. and Israeli foreign policy of sanctions and pre-emptive attack based on falsified information is completely wrong. An attack on Iran only stands to endanger Israel and the Iranian people. An attack on Iran could quite easily be the catalyst for WW3 and nuclear destruction should China and Russia become involved. Only the severely brainwashed would believe that containment, and undiplomatic solutions are the best course, continuing down this path of aggression could very well lead to a major world depression once the Strait of Hormuz is threatened, and at worse resulting in death and destruction worldwide, including America.


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September 6th, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Mash-up: Life, the universe and everything

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Four minutes of timeless beauty

CNN iReporter John Eklund started a film project to capture the beauty of the American Pacific Northwest in June 2011. He finally finished his time-lapse video in August 2012.

"I choose to shoot locations that appeal to the way I would like to interpret the story of time," he said. "Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are endless opportunities to document the magnificence of the world around us. I have discovered that when time is the storyteller, a special kind of truth emerges."

Check out the beautiful time-lapse video here.

Atheist scientist on religious scientists

Biologist and author Richard Dawkins is a noted atheist who doesn't have much patience for followers of creationism or intelligent design. Here's a brief excerpt from a longer conversation Dawkins had with CNN's Light Years science blog.

Richard Dawkins is firm in his unbelief.

There are many very educated people who are religious, but they're not creationists. There's a world of difference between a serious religious person and a creationist, and especially a Young Earth Creationist, who thinks the world is only 10,000 years old.

If we wonder why there are still serious people including some scientists who are religious, that's a complicated psychological question. They certainly won't believe that God created all species or something like that. They might believe there is some sort of intelligent spirit that lies behind the universe as a whole and perhaps designed the laws of physics, and everything else took off from there.

But there's a huge difference between believing that and believing that this God created all species. And also, by the way, in believing that Jesus is your lord and savior who died for your sins. That you may believe, but that doesn't follow from the scientific or perhaps pseudoscientific that there's some kind of intelligence that underlies the laws of physics.


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September 5th, 2012
05:22 PM ET

Mash-up: Moose on the loose

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Not a fan of paparazzi

Brent Olsen looked out his window in Westford, Vermont, and saw a bull moose placing a hoof on Olsen's car.

"I had run out in my shorts from the morning and I started hollering at it: 'Do not jump on my car, Mr. Moose,'" Olsen told CNN affiliate WCAX.

Once he was satisfied his car was safe, Olsen decided to shoot some video of the "cute" animal with ivy tangled in its antlers.

That's when the scene switched from a nature documentary to some kind of weird slasher movie. WCAX tells the rest of the story here.

How long can you hold your breath?


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September 4th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Mash-up: NOLA returns to abnormal

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

The end of bin Laden

Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette's book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was released Tuesday, feeding a public hungry for insider details and angering a Pentagon worried about classified information. In the book, Bissonnette (writing under the pen name Mark Owen) says he helped finish off bin Laden after the al Qaeda leader had been mortally wounded by another member of the team:

In his death throes, he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.

Ah, New Orleans

CNN iReporter Lynn Magnuson shot fun video of a ragtag group of "second line" musicians taking to the streets in the French Quarter of New Orleans after Hurricane  Isaac passed through the area.

"I was on my way home when I encountered the procession. Second lines are a part of the culture here, but several tourists on the street were quite surprised as the second line was totally spontaneous," Magnuson said. "I'm a musician myself and ended up tapping on a light pole to keep rhythm."


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September 3rd, 2012
10:44 PM ET

Starship guitarist dead at 46

Mark Abrahamian, lead guitarist for the veteran rock group Starship, has died, according to the band's official website.


Multiple news sites reported Abrahamian, 46, died of a heart attack backstage after a concert Sunday night in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Starship's planned Monday night concert in Orem, Utah, was canceled, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. People who have tickets for future Starship shows should check with the concert venue.

Abrahamian had been touring with Starship, featuring original member Mickey Thomas, since 2000.

According to the band's website, Abrahamian's life was changed when he heard the Van Halen song "Eruption" when he was in the seventh grade.

"I went home and didn't leave my room until the ninth grade," he says on the site.

Starship's songs include "Sara," "Jane," "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us," "Built This City on Rock and Roll" and "Find Your Way Back."

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September 3rd, 2012
06:59 PM ET

Mash-up: Firefighters revive dog

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Firefighters revive dog

Firefighters in Richfield, Minnesota, were able to revive a dog pulled from a burning house, CNN affiliate KARE reports. No humans were home at the time, and a second dog died in the fire that destroyed the house, but firefighters are trained in animal resuscitation techniques, the station reported.

Massive fire overwhelms firefighters

A fire at a sprawling abandoned hotel in Oregon proved too much for firefighters, who turned out in large numbers but had to stay outside and fight it from there.

Apology by text doesn't cut it

MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle is one of the leading researchers looking into the effects of texting on interpersonal development, Time's Jeffrey Kluger writes. Turkle believes that having a conversation with another person teaches kids to think and reason and self-reflect.


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September 3rd, 2012
04:55 PM ET

10 beached whales rescued on Scotland coast

Ten beached pilot whales were rescued Sunday in Scotland, but 16 others could not be saved, the local newspaper The Scotsman reported.

The stranding occurred between Pittenweem and Anstruther at the mouth of the bay called the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.

Rescuers took advantage of high tide to get 10 whales out of trouble about 4:30 p.m., but the rest, including three calves, died, the paper said. A 17th whale died Monday, BBC reported.

The Fife Coastguard, Fire Brigade, British Divers Marine Life Rescue team, and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were joined by local veterinarians and volunteers in the rescue effort, The Scotsman reported. Large crowds gathered but were urged not to interfere with the rescuers.

A group of whales believed to be the ones that were refloated was spotted Monday near North Queensferry, across the Firth of Forth from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, BBC reported. They were being monitored for signs of stranding as low tide approached. About two dozen other whales, believed to be from the same pod, were seen in shallow water a short distance away.

Bob McLellan, Fife Council's head of transport and environmental services, told BBC the whale carcasses are in a hard-to-reach place and may have to be winched up the cliff face for disposal.

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August 30th, 2012
10:21 PM ET

Isaac works its way up Mississippi River

[Updated 4:15 a.m. Friday] Isaac, now a tropical depression is working its way up the Mississippi River Valley, bringing heavy rain and the threat of flash floods to the area. A tornado watch remains in effect for much of Mississippi. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi are under flash flood watches and warnings, according to the National Weather Service.

[Updated 10:35 p.m. ET] And finally ...


[Updated 10:21 p.m. ET] The folks who catch the shrimp we enjoy on our tables are a tough lot, a breed apart. Not a few of them rode out Isaac on their boats.

[Updated 10:09 p.m. ET] Electric utility Entergy says it will bring its Waterford 3 nuclear plant back online over the coming days. The plant, 25 miles from New Orleans, was shut down Tuesday as a precaution as Tropical Storm Isaac approached. About 41 percent of all homes in Entergy's Louisiana service area were without power as of late afternoon.

[Update 10:01 p.m. ET] Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport received its first post-Isaac incoming flight this evening, from Aspen, Colorado, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office says.

[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] The Salvation Army says it has provided more than 8,000 meals, 7,000 drinks, 6,000 snacks, and emotional and spiritual care to nearly 600 individuals along the Gulf Coast during the storm period.

[Updated 9:44 p.m. ET] New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted a message of support for the folks back home while the Saints prepared for a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville:


[Updated 8:39 p.m.] Storm surge and high winds pushed several pleasure boats out of Mississippi's Pass Christian Harbor, leaving vessels high and dry on streets and in parking lots, CNN affiliate WLOX reports.

"I'd say in one word, it's a mess," Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott told WLOX. "We had 215 boats in the harbor, and all but six or seven got out. As you can see, three are in the road, and that is a big problem."

Boat owners were under orders to remove their vessels from the harbor before the storm struck. McDermott wants to have a word with those who didn't.

"I'm personally taking it upon myself to talk with these boat owners," he said. "I'm personally doing it."


Read CNN's full coverage of Hurricane Isaac
Water trapped between levees
August 29th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Water trapped between levees

  • New Orleans mayor imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew
  • More than 817,000 without power across 5 states
  • Isaac's maximum sustained winds slip to 60 mph
  • Emergency crews rescue people stranded by floods

Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.

[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]

[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.

[Updated 10 p.m. ET]

[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET]  New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.

[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.

Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.

[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.

"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.

"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."

The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.

Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."


August 28th, 2012
11:11 PM ET

Isaac 'producing a dangerous storm surge' along northern Gulf Coast

Governments, business and residents in New Orleans and the central Gulf coast rushed Tuesday to complete last-minute preparations to bear the brunt of Hurricane  Isaac.

The storm made initial landfall Tuesday evening as a Category 1 hurricane after graduating from tropical storm status Tuesday afternoon.

Read the full story here.

[Updated 11:29 p.m. ET]

[Updated 11:11 p.m. ET] Hurricane Isaac is "producing a dangerous storm surge" along the northern Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. ET update. Flooding from heavy rainfall will follow the storm surge, the NHC said.

At 11 p.m. ET, the storm's center of circulation was about 75 southeast of Houma, Louisiana, or 75 miles south-southeast of New Orleans, still moving at 8 mph with 80 mph maximum sustained winds.

[Updated 11:01 p.m. ET] Designer John Nelson created this fascinating and oddly beautiful visualization of every hurricane recorded since 1851. It's reproduced by Fast Company.

The image takes some getting used to, as it employs a southern polar projection; that is, Antarctica is in the center of the picture, with the other continents extending away from it. Hovering your mouse over the map enlarges an area so you can see greater detail.

Nelson created the map using data from NASA Visible Earth and NOAA International Best Track Archive, according to Fast Company.

[Updated 10:45 p.m. ET] Tropical Depression 11 rapidly intensified Tuesday evening and became the 11th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Kirk, the National Hurricane Center said. Kirk is located in the middle Atlantic and is not likely to become a threat to land.

[Updated 10:40 p.m. ET] Utility companies in four states report more than 200,000 customers have lost power because of Hurricane Isaac, all but 1,000 of them in Louisiana.


August 27th, 2012
11:17 PM ET

Storm surges up to 12 feet predicted

Thousands of people on the Gulf Coast have been told to leave ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac. Forecasters warn the storm will gain strength and is following the path Hurricane Katrina took seven years ago.

The tropical storm was expected to make landfall late Tuesday or Wednesday, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, though as a much weaker Category 1 hurricane, compared with 2005's monster storm.

Read the full story here.


[Updated 5 a.m. ET Tuesday] Isaac is still a tropical storm and is located 125 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving northwest at 12 mph.

[Updated 4:35 a.m. ET Tuesday] The top sustained winds early Tuesday morning are 70 mph. The storm is expected to become a hurricane today.


[Updated 11:17 p.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center projected storm surges of 3 to 6 feet for the Florida Panhandle, 6 to 9 feet for the Alabama coast and 6 to 12 feet for the Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana shores.

[Updated 10:02 p.m. ET] Here's another way people can help their neighbors, at this location and others:


[Updated 9:54 p.m. ET] Mandatory evacuations are under way in the low-lying coastal areas of Mississippi's Hancock County, which includes Bay St. Louis and Waveland.


August 27th, 2012
11:13 PM ET

Preparing for a storm: Links, tips and resources

Informed and prepared. They're the two things you want to be if you’re in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Some preparations for storms like Isaac, the tropical storm making its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, can begin (ideally) months ahead of time or within hours of its expected landfall.

But knowing how to react and whether to evacuate requires that you stay informed of the storm’s progress by tuning into local television and radio stations – preferably, with a battery-powered radio. You can buy a battery-powered NOAA radio that tunes in to special Weather Radio frequencies.

While the power is still on, people can find the most recent information on the storm's movement on the National Hurricane Center's Isaac advisory page. You can also get NHC updates on your mobile phone. Other useful apps can be found for iPhone at the App Store and for Android devices at the Google Play Store.

Some states keep general information about hurricane preparedness on their websites, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Here's a state-by-state breakdown of Isaac's impacts. Many towns, counties and parishes keep information on their websites regarding the storm's progress, evacuation procedures, shelters and suspension of services. Some use Twitter and/or Facebook to post real-time updates. Below are just a few municipal websites that has identified, though the list is not exhaustive:

Develop an evacuation plan tailored to your family’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. If the safest areas are not in your home, locate safe areas or buildings in your community and listen to local news for announcements on schools, shelters or designated safe areas. Determine an escape route from your home and places to meet in case family members become separated.

If your family hurricane plan includes immediate evacuation because of the location or conditions of your home, the National Hurricane Center recommends that you do not delay your departure. You may want to evacuate ahead of official orders to avoid travel delays or traffic congestion. Pick a location as close to your home as possible. If it’s a motel or hotel, make a reservation before you leave to ensure space. If you have a pet, this may be your best bet, as many shelters do not accept pets.

Before you leave, make sure you have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.

Safe and Well on Let relatives know you're safe

Securing your home includes putting away anything surrounding the home that the wind can pick up: bicycles, lawn furniture and decorations and branches, to name a few. Seal all your windows and doors, and if you don’t have hurricane shutters, board up windows with plywood. Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to reduce roof damage.

The National Hurricane Center has tips for preparing yourself and your home for a storm and coping with its aftermath, as well as assembling a plan and emergency kit.

Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. Close off propane tanks.

Whether you ride out the storm in your home or evacuate, you’ll want to have a disaster supply kit at the ready that includes these items, according to the National Hurricane Center:

– Water: At least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days

– Food: At least enough for three to seven days nonperishable packaged or canned food and juices, snack foods.

– Eating supplies: Nonelectric can opener, cooking tools, disposable plates and utensils.

– Flashlights and extra batteries, radio

– Baby supplies: Bottle, formula, baby food, diapers.

– Toiletries: Hygiene items, moisture wipes, etc.

– Bedding: Blankets and pillows, etc.

– Clothing: Seasonal clothes, rain gear, sturdy shoes.

– First aid/medical: Pain relievers, bandages, splints, insect repellant, sunscreen, seven-day supply of prescription drugs, hearing aids with extra batteries, eyeglasses.

– Modern necessities: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a telephone set with a cord, cash in small bills, extra sets of house and car keys,

– Important documents in a waterproof container: Passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

More tips can be found here.

Information obtained from the National Hurricane Center, FEMA and the Red Cross.

August 27th, 2012
08:15 PM ET

Mash-up: Isaac, Armstrong and earthquakes

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

With Katrina in mind, NOLA gets ready

The Donald on business and politics

Donald Trump - you've heard of him, right? - told Republicans they need to be "mean as hell" against the Democrats in this fall's campaign. He also talked about the challenges business titans such as himself and Mitt Romney can face when they wade into politics:

They've been tough. They've been competitive. They work. They built their business. And honestly, they have left people in their wake, and they've made enemies. ...
They can't really go out there. They can't put it together because all of those people that they beat consistently over a lifetime ... all of those people come back to haunt (them).

Strangers pay bill for sick baby's family

The parents of 4-month-old Paul Sennert must keep an oxygen machine running to keep him alive, but the Woodward, Iowa, family fell behind on their electric bills. When viewers of CNN affiliate KCCI in Des Moines got wind of the Sennerts' dilemma, they stepped up big-time. The family's account with the electric utility has gone from $270 in the red to $1,400 in the black, with that much more on hand to help defray medical bills.

Over the moon over Neil Armstrong

CNN iReporter Mike Black shared a table with astronaut Neil Armstrong.

CNN iReporter Michael Black met space pioneer Neil Armstrong at a NASA celebration in April. He describes Armstrong as humble, funny and informative.

"One of the people at my table asked him, 'What are your thoughts about your fame?' and he said, 'I don't deserve it,' " Black recalled.

Black said watching Armstrong's Apollo 11 moon landing inspired him to become a science teacher.

"When I was 10 years old, everyone wanted to be firefighters, policemen or astronauts. Apollo gave teachers the opportunity to say, 'This is what is possible' to students," he said.

Black said he is sad that Armstrong's death faded quickly from the headlines.

"He is one of the most famous people who will ever live," Black said. "Five hundred years from now, so much of history will be forgotten, but people won't forget about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon."

Earthquakes shake up the conversation

A "swarm" of hundreds of small earthquakes near the California-Mexico border Sunday didn't do much harm, but it did inspire some spirited exchanges among users, including this amusing one aimed at comment-thread trolls:

Quick!! Relate this to politics and blame a political party!

These earthquakes are clearly being caused by the massive debt (illustrated by a large bag of money) that California owes, sitting on the left side of the state and therefore causing the earthquakes.

No, saving the hurricane heading to New Orleans for that!



On the horizon: Republican convention, consumer confidence

The weather-shortened Republican National Convention will get under way in earnest Tuesday in Tampa, Florida. Tuesday's schedule includes the nomination of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for vice president, and speeches by former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney.

The Conference Board will release its latest assessment of consumer confidence at 10 a.m. How confident are you feeling?

August 28 anniversaries

1955 - Black teenager Emmett Till is murdered by a group of white men in Mississippi after he supposedly whistled at a white woman.

1963 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his "I have a dream" speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

1990 - Several weeks after invading Kuwait, Iraq declares the occupied country its new 19th province.

1996 - Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially divorce.

2006 - Fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is captured after a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas.

2008 - Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president.

August 28 birthdays

LeAnn Rimes

– Baseball player/manager Lou Piniella, 69

– Baseball pitcher Ron Guidry, 62

– Poet Rita Dove, 60

– Figure skater Scott Hamilton, 54

– Singer Shania Twain, 47

– Actor Jason Priestley, 43

– Singer LeAnn Rimes, 30

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August 23rd, 2012
05:30 PM ET

Mash-up: Tampa stripper confidential

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Naked ambition

Strippers in Tampa, Florida, are looking forward to next week's Republican National Convention. It's difficult for most folks to imagine what it's like to disrobe for a living, so the women who do it form close bonds. An exotic dancer, Go-Go, explains it in stark terms:

We see each other naked every day, so we kind of open up to each other.

Blind man mugged at gas station

A blind, wheelchair-using man from Rumford, Maine, tells CNN affiliate WMTW he fears a pair of men who robbed him won't face prosecution because he won't be able to identify them. The 31-year-old victim says he was outside a Lewiston gas station Tuesday night waiting for his brother when the men approached and asked for a cigarette. Things went bad from there.

Truck drags man in wheelchair

A man in a wheelchair was injured by a hit-and-run driver in Houston on Wednesday, CNN affiliate KTRK reports. Police say the victim was trying to cross the street in the early afternoon when he was struck. "I saw the truck coming and the truck hit the guy and I started screaming, 'Stop! Please stop! You've got a man under your car,'" said witness Jacquelin Pineda. Police say the man was dragged by a white pickup a few blocks until another driver pulled in front of the truck and blocked it.

Artists' canvas going away

CNN iReporter Ameer Hassoun shot some terrific photos of a graffiti hotspot in Long Island City, Queens, New York, that's slated to be demolished in September. He lives not far from the graffiti-covered warehouse that has long attracted artists from around the world to paint on its walls (with permission of the owner).


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August 22nd, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Daily Mash-up: Tell the truth, shame the devil

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

The truth about lies

Canards, lies and distortions are spread by repetition on the Internet, even by individuals and groups you may trust, the availability of fact-checking sites notwithstanding. University of Southern California psychology professor Jesse Graham says people have different motivations yet they all think that the truth is on their side:

It just spreads like a virus and no amount of debunking seems to stop it. It's frustrating to anybody that really cares about our democracy, that really wants this to be a civilized conversation, and that we can as a nation sort of agree on the direction to move our country forward.

Living large in a small space

Kristen Booth stretches out in her East Village apartment.

Having lived in a very cozy 214-square-foot East Village studio apartment for 13 years, CNN iReporter Kristen Booth says tight quarters are a given for New Yorkers.

"When I first moved in, I loved it. Heating and air conditioning costs are significantly less. It doesn't take nearly as much to keep the temperature right," she says. "Small spaces force one to not be a hoarder, though sometimes I still feel that way. Also, it generally proves that we really don't need as much as we think we do to live right. But I'd like to live a little larger at this point and have a bubble bath!"

People rally around dog shot in face

CNN Detroit affiliate WDIV reports that kindhearted people have pledged more than $15,000 to help Niko, a dog who was shot in the face Saturday by a home intruder. Niko's owner, Gail King, also was shot but is out of the hospital, and the only thing on her mind now is her loyal yellow Lab.


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August 20th, 2012
06:33 PM ET

Mash-up: Women can take their swings

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Welcome to the club

Augusta National Golf Club has admitted its first female members, the private club announced Monday. The decision to admit former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore ends a longstanding policy excluding women as members of the Georgia club, which hosts the prestigious Masters golf tournament every spring.

Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Billy Payne

These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well-known and respected by our membership.

Women's rights activist Martha Burk

They have chosen two groundbreaking women, two very prominent women, who are clearly equal in stature to the other members who are, of course, all male. I think it would have been a mistake to choose a lower-profile woman and basically make that statement that, yes, we're letting women in but they're not really going to be equal with the men.

Back off, Brits!

The USS Constitution, the frigate that fought off a British warship 200 years ago in the War of 1812, is still in fighting trim.

Loud and clear

On a slightly overcast day at Liberty State Park during New York City's Air Force Week, CNN iReporter John Dunstan captured this photo of the Air Force squadron the Thunderbirds performing a flyover. "It was such a great scene with the flags, the Statue of Liberty and the jet formation," he says. "I was pretty pleased to get this shot." We're pleased too.

Click on the image to see an eight-second video.


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August 16th, 2012
05:56 PM ET

Mash-up: Will you marry me?

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on in the past 24 hours. We top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs from around the world.

Creative proposals just keep on coming

Viral Internet videos seem to keep upping the ante for men who want to make marriage proposals in unusual ways. Tony Boga of Boston recruited his girlfriend's sisters to help round up a flash mob for his proposal at the Boston Public Library, CNN affiliate WHDH reports.

Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, a firefighter took advantage of his high position:

Not to be left out of the fun, CNN iReporter Jenifer Brennan of Hackettstown, New Jersey, was swept off her feet atop a Vermont mountain for yet another surprise proposal. She said her fiancé, Phil Crowley, spent more than a year planning the trip and had invited two of her best friends to come along with their husbands. While on a hike to the top of Mount Mansfield, a proposal was the last thing on her mind, she says.

Phil Crowley proposes to Jenifer Brennan atop Mount Mansfield in Vermont.

"I was in shock because I was not expecting it," she says. "I think public proposals are wonderful. It takes courage for a person to get on one knee and ask someone to marry them in the presence of others. Personally, once he was on his knee I lost sight of everyone and everything around me."


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