Thursday's intriguing people
Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford says there's an urgent need for solutions to gridlock.
March 3rd, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Bill Ford

The chairman of Ford Motor Co. is calling for an end to "global gridlock." During a presentation at the annual TED conference Wednesday, Ford said that as many as 4 billion automobiles will be on the earth by the year 2050 — extending traffic jams, delaying food provisions and stalling health care delivery. He's calling on a collective group of transportation officials, manufacturers and policy makers to develop a global solution to gridlock. "[Without it] our quality of life will be significantly compromised," he said.

Salman Khan

When the former hedge fund manager began posting humorous math tutorials on YouTube for his young cousins, they not only loved it, but it quickly earned a grass roots following. Today, the Khan Academy offers 2,000 such tutorials, ranging from basic addition to vector calculus - for free. Khan conducts all the tutorials for his audience of 1 million students. This past year, a northern California school district began using a Khan-developed curriculum that uses data analysis and self-paced learning to help its teachers better work with students individually. Following Khan's rousing presentation at the annual TED conference Wednesday, Khan supporter Bill Gates told the audience: "I think we've just gotten a glimpse into the future of education."

Peter Hatas

The homeless veteran has raised $20,000 toward converting the St. James hotel in North Toledo, Ohio, into a home for military veterans. An engineer by training, Hatas told Toledo's WUPX news that he needs just $55,000 more to make the project a reality. He has reportedly received e-mails of support from CSX railroad system, as well as the Veterans of the UAW. The building will give homeless veterans a place to eat, sleep and work, Hatas said. "A lot of these men and women on the streets have phenomenal skill traits," he said. "They are carpenters, brick layers, cement finishers, iron workers." He believes these contributions will keep the building in perfect condition.

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Tuesday's intriguing people
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev calls Russia's ruling party "a rotting monopoly."
March 1st, 2011
10:27 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Mikhail Gorbachev

The former Soviet leader, who turns 80 on Wednesday, has done a series of interviews offering scathing assessments of the current Russian government — particularly Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Calling Russia's ruling party "a rotting monopoly," Gorbachev told Agence France-Presse last month that Putin's party is "a bad copy of the Soviet Communist Party."

Since 1990, Gorbachev has been blamed for Russia's demise and failed reforms. Still, he defended the institutions now in place, including a legal system to support democracy.

Gorbachev addressed a report that Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev plan to sit down in private and decide who will run for president in 2012.

"I do not like how they are acting," Gorbachev said. "This is not Putin's - this is the nation's business. This is the decision of those who vote."

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Monday's intriguing people
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan says Tunisian-style protests will erupt in the U.S.
February 28th, 2011
10:53 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Louis Farrakhan

The leader of the Nation of Islam predicts that uprisings like those in the Middle East will happen in the United States, according to the Chicago Tribune. He is calling on President Obama not to attack the protesters when they revolt. During an address Sunday, Farrakhan told his followers: “What you are looking at in Tunisia, in Egypt … Libya, in Bahrain … what you see happening there … you’d better prepare because it will be coming to your door.”
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Wednesday's intriguing people
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says a license plate honoring Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest won't actually pass.
February 16th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Haley Barbour

The Mississippi governor, who is reportedly considering a 2012 presidential bid, refused to denounce an effort to put a Confederate-era member of the Ku Klux Klan on state license plates, saying, "I don't go around denouncing people." Barbour also said of the ex-Klansman, "He's a historical figure."

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Monday's intriguing people
Writer-director Paul Haggis is dishing the goods on Scientology in The New Yorker magazine.
February 7th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Paul Haggis

The award-winning writer-director of “Crash” has given The New Yorker an interview detailing the inner workings of Scientology. A member for 35 years, Haggis broke with the church in 2009 after it refused to condemn Proposition 8, which made marriage an institution between only man and woman in California.

In his letter of resignation to spokesman Tommy Davis, Haggis wrote that he could not align himself with an organization that would back "that hate-filled legislation." He concluded, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”

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Wednesday's intriguing people
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's term ends in 2013. He was last re-elected in 2006.
February 2nd, 2011
10:52 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Ali Abdullah Saleh

After 32 years in power, Yemen's president announced this morning that he won't seek another term, and he won't install his son to replace him.

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Monday's intriguing people
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad says he will push for political reforms in his country.
January 31st, 2011
08:51 AM ET

Monday's intriguing people

Bashar Al-Assad

Syria's president told The Wall Street Journal that the riots in Egypt and Tunisia mark a new era in Arab countries and that he will push for more political reforms in his own country.

John Conyers

At an age when many members of Congress would choose to retire, the 81-year-old Democrat from Michigan has announced that he will seek his 25th term.

Mike Tomlin

As he approaches his 39th birthday, the Pittsburgh Steelers' coach will take his team to the Super Bowl this weekend for the second time in three years.

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Friday's intriguing people
Alberto Contador is reportedly threatening to quit cycling if he's suspended for a positive banned-substance test.
January 28th, 2011
11:19 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Alberto Contador

The three-time Tour de France champion is expected to respond next week to a proposed one-year cycling ban after testing positive for a banned substance during last year’s competition, according to The Daily Telegraph in Australia.  He reportedly is threatening to quit the sport if he's banned.

Did Contador eat tainted beef, which he blames for the positive test? Is he cooperating with investigators? Either way, if the ban goes through, Contador will be the second Tour champ - Floyd Landis being the first - to be stripped of the title.

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October 25th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Monday's intriguing people

STANLEY McCHRYSTAL

The ousted commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan appeared before an audience at the Daily Beast's Innovation Summit on Friday in New Orleans.

The former Army general addressed a range of issues ranging from Wikileaks and civilian deaths in war to Afghanistan and the U.S. relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“I think it's sad,” McChrystal said regarding Wikileaks, calling the website's release of classified documents illegal and a "threat to comrades."

“I think that a level of responsibility towards our people needs to be balanced with any argument for a need or right to know. “

McChrystal also spoke about the Afghan people's perception of the U.S. - saying that despite technological strength, the U.S. appeared  "cavalier" in the way it carried out operations that led to civilians being killed.

“It wasn't something that we could simply say, 'War's difficult, people get killed, and you have to accept that ,' ” he said.  "... I don't think we were being cavalier, but their perception was that way.”

ALLEN IVERSON

With no team to call home stateside, hoopster Allen Iverson is taking his services overseas, according to published reports.

Sources have told Yahoo! Sports that the onetime all-star signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Besiktas in the Turkish basketball league. He could join the team, one of Turkey's best, before its November 6 game against Bornova, Yahoo! reported.

Seref Yalcin, an executive board member for the team, told the Turkish daily Hurriyet that he planned to have a final face-to-face meeting with Iverson on Friday and that he expected the 35-year-old point guard to arrive in Istanbul in 10 days.

Iverson, also known as "A.I." or "The Answer," spent 14 years in the NBA and racked up an impressive resume. In addition to being named an all-star 10 times, Iverson averaged 27.1 points a game, one of the top averages in NBA history. He also was co-captain and leading scorer for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team.

Iverson's career has been riddled with controversial moments and observers have long said his inability to find work in the NBA may have as much to do with his personality as it does with his age or performance on the court.

October 13th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Condoleezza Rice

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making the rounds today, promoting her first memoir. “Extraordinary, Ordinary People” is the story of Rice’s upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama.

She has been sharing her thoughts about civil rights and politics, and USA Today captured on video another side of the former secretary.

Television: She watches a “little bit of news” and was a big fan of “V” when it ran on ABC. She also likes “American Idol,” though “Without Simon Cowell, I’m not sure it’s going to be so much fun,” she said. You won’t see her on “Dancing with the Stars” anytime soon. “That’s a real possibility for humiliation,” she said.

Music: The classical pianist is big on Brahms, Mozart and Beethoven, as well as Motown and R&B. Yet she has a special place for “hard, hard, hard rock like Led Zeppelin and Cream.” “Black Dog” is her favorite Led Zeppelin song.

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August 20th, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Friday's intriguing people

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GEORGE MITCHELL

The former Senate majority leader and current U.S. envoy to the Middle East may not only get Israel and the Palestinians talking, but he also led the special investigation over steroid use in Major League Baseball that contributed to the indictment of Roger Clemens.

According to an extensive profile from The Washington Post’s Whorunsgov website, Mitchell stepped down as Senate majority leader in 1995 to secure universal health care. Previously he had turned down an offer for a Supreme Court nomination from President Clinton. He did, however, accept Clinton’s offer to be a special envoy to Northern Ireland in 1996. He later described the process as “700 days of failure, and one day of success.”

Mitchell was then asked to lead the special investigation into performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball. The 400-plus-page report cast light on the so-called epidemic among players and led to Senate hearings that included testimony by Clemens, who was indicted Thursday.

Whorunsgov.com: Why Mitchell matters

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July 30th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Friday's most intriguing people


Admiral Mike Mullen

The commander of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may have "blood on his hands." “Meant what I said,” Mullen reiterated on his Twitter feed late Thursday night. In an unrelated report, three U.S. soldiers died yesterday in two separate IED incidents, making the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan in July a record-high 63.

As the top member of the military to advise President Obama, Mullen, 60, was appointed in 2007 by President George W. Bush. According to a Washington Post profile, Mullen is a creative, yet pragmatic problem solver who has restored the influence of the military to the White House, after two of his predecessors were marginalized by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mullen is a Harvard Business School graduate whose motto is “The Sea is my business.” Fast Company magazine reported in its April issue that Mullen is the first military commander to approach his job seeking constant feedback, including “economists, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit executives, even a former Disney Imagineer.” Incidentally, Barbara, his wife and the mother of his two children, manages his Twitter account.

Fast Company: How America's top military officer uses business to boost national security

CNN: Mullen: WikiLeaks founder may have 'blood' on his hands

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