February 2nd, 2009
05:26 PM ET

Super Bowl Lesson: The humiliating journey of James Harrison

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.vert.harrison.jpg caption="James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs back an interception for 100 for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII." width=292 height=320]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

From what I've read about college football, if you want to find a player with NFL potential - Kent State is generally not the first place on your list. There's talent there. But The Golden Flashes, as the Kent State team is called, consistently loses an average of more than 60 percent of its games. They've only had one winning season since 1987. James Harrison didn't even get a scholarship when he enrolled at Kent State. He was a strong high school player, being eyed by some of the big college football powerhouses, when he got into trouble  in school. The powerhouses crossed him off their list. He was what you call a "walk on" at Kent State. When he graduated there in 2002, he did not get drafted by the NFL. The scouts thought he didn't have what it takes.


February 2nd, 2009
04:06 PM ET

Bruce Springsteen: Cooler than all of us combined

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.vert.bruce.superbowl.jpg width=292 height=320]

Jack Gray
AC360° Associate Producer

I’ve always thought that, as far as bona fide rock stars go, there isn’t anyone more incredible than Mick Jagger, strutting around like a peacock in leather pants and a red bathrobe, singing “Brown Sugar.” But Bruce Springsteen, last night at the Super Bowl, damn, if that wasn’t one of the greatest performances of all time I don’t know what was. He’s like one of the Seven Wonders of the World, right up there with The Great Wall of China and Fresca.

I’m assuming, of course, that you saw the Halftime Show. If not, I hope you have a good excuse. And no, “I was out in the front yard trying to break up a fight between my brother-in-law and the pizza delivery guy” doesn’t count. What do you think this is, Easter?

Anyway, Mr. Springsteen was sublime. Granted, he doesn’t have David Bowie’s panache, Stevie Nicks’ mysticism or Bono’s sunglasses, but The Boss is, well, The Boss. And last night he rocked the crowd in a way it hadn’t been rocked since John Madden bodysurfed the nosebleed seats.

As I watched his performance, I thought of how one of the great things about Springsteen is his versatility. He is simultaneously a rocker and a poet. Someone who can pump us up with his roaring anthems and turn us introspective with his somber ballads. The kind of guy whom you expect to belt out “Born in the USA” with the E Street Band but by whom you wouldn’t be totally surprised if he brought out the Von Trapp children for a chorus of “Edelveiss.”


Filed under: 360° Radar • Bruce Springsteen • Jack Gray • Super Bowl
February 2nd, 2009
03:59 PM ET

Ethics are where morals, actions align

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.obamasprayer0202.gi.jpg]

Jeffrey L. Seglin
Special to the O.C. Register

Recently, on the first night of a class in professional ethics that I team-teach at Emerson College in Boston, I wrote these words on the board: “hard work,” “honesty,” “courage,” “fair play,” “tolerance,” “curiosity,” “loyalty” and “patriotism.”

Then I turned and asked the class: “What are these things?”

“Values,” a few of the students responded.

“Where have you heard them before?”

“In Barack Obama’s inaugural address this afternoon,” one of the students piped up.

He was right, of course. These are the values President Obama listed in his speech, the ideals upon which he thinks our success in meeting new challenges is based.

“These things are old,” he said. “These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.”


Filed under: Raw Politics
February 2nd, 2009
03:52 PM ET

Nice party, but let's talk Stimulus vote later

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/30/art.obamafootball.gi.jpg caption="Obama was rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers."]

Suzanne Malveaux
White House Correspondent

The White House theater was packed, all 40 seats filled, so guests spilled out into the East Wing where big TVs were set up overlooking the First Lady’s Garden. The Super Bowl game blasted from the theater, but the party focused more on family.

Attendees say about 75 people showed up Sunday evening, including several dozen children from ages two on up.

Kids gathered around a Nintendo WII where Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent says his 8-year-old son Jack took on two sisters determined to win. No, not the two sister who live upstairs.

President Obama, wearing a casual button-downed shirt, walked from room to room serving his guests brownies, and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. Michelle Obama worked the crowd too.


February 2nd, 2009
03:42 PM ET

Octuplets: The cost of making babies

Program Note: Tune in for Randi Kaye's full report tonight on AC360° at 10p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/01/28/octuplet.risks/art.preemie.foot.gi.jpg caption="The earlier a baby is born, the greater its risk of dying or facing significant lifelong problems."]

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Let’s put aside, for a moment, all of the disturbing details that are coming out about the California woman who gave birth to octuplets last week, and focus instead on one simple fact: Her eight preterm babies are tiny.

The largest weighed just over 3 pounds at birth; the smallest just a pound and a half. I buy my coffee beans by the pound and hardly notice the extra weight in my tote when I toss them in. I've been trying to imagine the dimensions of an infant barely bigger.

As of Friday, their mother had not yet held any of the newborns; they are too fragile. One of their doctors at Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, where the babies were born, told CNN that the infants' intestines are still developing. All eight babies are receiving fluids, proteins and vitamins intravenously.


February 2nd, 2009
03:34 PM ET

Phelps faces risks from firing up

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/01/michael.phelps.marijuana/art.michael.phelps.riyadh.afp.gi.jpg caption=""I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way," swimmer Michael Phelps said in a statement released Sunday."]

Danielle Dellorto
CNN Medical Producer

“What was he thinking?” That seems to be the common reaction when fans hear the news that Olympic superstar Michael Phelps got caught smoking pot. What’s interesting is, as I dug deeper, I realized people weren’t too concerned that his behavior may harm his health, but more appalled that his getting caught could cost him millions of dollars in endorsement money.

This got me thinking that a lot people look at marijuana as having very limited impact on our health. One friend made his case to me with absolute certainty in his tone, “In the big scheme of things, smoking pot is not going to hurt me.” He added, “At least I don’t smoke cigarettes.”

But is that really true? Are cigarettes worse for your health than marijuana? An overwhelming amount of research says not so fast.

Smoking one marijuana cigarette sends the same amount of tar into the lungs as four tobacco cigarettes. Turns out pot contains about 400 chemicals and 50 percent more carcinogens than a tobacco cigarette. Carcinogens cause damage to the DNA in our cells, increasing your risk for lung infections, heart disease and even cancer.

Keep Reading...

February 2nd, 2009
03:28 PM ET

Bailed Out Bank of America sponsors Super Bowl fun fest

Program Note: Tune in for Tom Foreman's full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Watch CNN's Christine Romans' piece from last week on Bank of America's $20 billion bailout from the government.
Watch CNN's Christine Romans' piece from last week on Bank of America's $20 billion bailout from the government.

ABC News

Despite a near collapse that required $45 billion in federal taxpayer bailout funds, Bank of America sponsored a five day carnival-like affair just outside the Super Bowl stadium this past week as President Obama decried wasteful spending on Wall St.

The event – known as the NFL Experience – was 850,000 square feet of sports games and interactive entertainment attractions for football fans and was blanketed in Bank of America logos and marketing calls to sign up for football-themed banking products.

The bank staunchly defended its sponsorship, saying it was a "business proposition" and part of its "growth strategy."


Filed under: 360° Radar • Bailout Turmoil • Keeping Them Honest • Wall St.
February 2nd, 2009
03:16 PM ET

Michael Phelps’ Pot Photo: When Kids’ Heroes Fall

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/01/michael.phelps.marijuana/art.michael.phelps.riyadh.afp.gi.jpg caption=""I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way," swimmer Michael Phelps said in a statement released Sunday."]

Sue Shellenbarger
The Wall Street Journal

The now-famous photo published yesterday, showing Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps inhaling from a marijuana pipe, raises a thorny question about parenting in a celebrity-obsessed age: What do you do when your kids’ beloved idols become fallen heroes?

Mr. Phelps’ transgression, and his acknowledgment of poor judgment, is certain to rock the worlds of the legions of youthful swimmers who dream of emulating him. Mr. Phelps has had to apologize publicly before, after pleading guilty in 2004 to a drunken driving charge. But that screwup was less widely noticed, because he hadn’t yet broken Mark Spitz’s record for winning the most gold medals at an Olympics.


February 2nd, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Drugs, sex and videotape?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/01/28/cia.rape.allegations/art.cia.hq.afp.gi.jpg caption="Two Algerian women allege that the CIA's former Algeria station chief raped them at his home, a source says."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

Did a CIA official drug, rape and videotape two women in Algeria?

Rape in the Arab world carries a stigma that is rarely discussed. When two Algerian women came forward to allege that a CIA official drugged them and raped them the news was shocking to an entire region.

Algerian media were hesitant to report the story at first. It is unclear whether the sensitivity of the topic or lack of early information available to Algerian authorities and reporters kept them from reporting. Algeria’s press is very much like the rest of the Arab world. Mostly controlled by the government and doesn’t enjoy much independence. The two women carry double nationalities and their whereabouts are unknown to us. One is Algerian-Spanish and the other Algerian-German. They filed their complaint against the CIA official directly with the US embassy in Algiers without going through the Algerian authorities.


February 2nd, 2009
01:48 PM ET

Muslims speaking up for Islam and peace

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/29/syed.obama/art.syed.jpg caption="Nafees Syed, a Muslim college student, says President Obama's early words and actions send a powerful, positive signal to Muslims."]

Eboo Patel
Washington Post

Many things were lost on 9/11 – three thousand lives, a nation's innocence and the fiction within the American Muslim community that it could live in this country without having to tell the broader society much about its traditions (the African-American Muslim community is an important exception to this).

After getting over the shock of the sheer horror of 9/11, after mourning the victims of the attacks, American Muslims realized that Osama bin Laden had just taught Americans his version of Islam 101. And because Americans were largely ignorant of this 1400-year-old faith of over a billion people, many believed it. 9/11 taught American Muslims a crucial lesson: if there is a vacuum out there about something important, and you don't fill it, someone else will.

To their credit, Muslims in America and elsewhere have been very busy since 9/11, as an important new report from the United States Institute of Peace highlights. It states, "Violent extremists are on one edge of the Muslim community, but they are counterbalanced by a growing movement of Muslim peacemakers."

The paper first and foremost debunks the falsehood that Muslim leaders have not spoken out against terrorism, pointing out that 13 American Muslim organizations issued a statement immediately after 9/11 that said: "Holding to the ideals of both our religion and our country, we condemn all forms of terrorism, and confirm the need for perpetrators of any such acts of violence to be brought to justice." It lists several other such statements from Muslim organizations around the world.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Eboo Patel • Islam • Religion
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