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May 15th, 2009
09:29 PM ET

Fighting Irish Battle Obama

Tensions are rising at the University of Notre Dame.  Many Catholics are angry that President Obama will be giving the commencement speech because of his positions on abortion and stem cell research.  Some clergy members are boycotting, many students are upset and anti-abortion activists have protested around the school's campus in South Bend, Indiana.

CNN will be covering the speech live on Sunday afternoon and we want to hear your opinion.  Was the Catholic University wrong to invite Obama to speak at their graduation ceremony?  Should the President be welcomed regardless of what he supports politically?  

Get in front of a camera and share your opinion on iReport, we may just use your video on air!!

Filed under: iReport
May 15th, 2009
06:43 PM ET

Hair Apparent?

President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009.  Official White House Photo//Pete Souza

President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. Official White House Photo//Pete Souza

From CNNI’s Alden Mahler:

This picture, by itself, might look bizarre, or even ridiculous.  What is President Obama doing, bowing to a little kid?  But it's the coolest picture I've seen of President Obama to date, and that includes the ones where he holds staff meetings out by the swingset.

I should first say that I am white and have straight hair.  As a result, of course, I've always wanted curly hair - but I've learned enough, from friends and in more academic settings, to appreciate that I'm lucky, in a way.  I can pretty much let my hair be and not have anybody comment on it one way or the other.

But our standards of beauty are indisputably racially-charged.  It's not just that hair differs between races, although it does.  The problem is that people whose hair isn't straight and silky are often made to feel less-than, and to feel compelled to work to change their hair.  In nearly every major relationship I've had in my life with a person of any non-white ethnicity, hair has been an issue.  My friends have complained about a variety of problems: their fear, sometimes, of water, which can undo styling; their fear of appearing unprofessional if they choose a "natural" hairstyle; the unfairness of being told their natural selves are unbeautiful; the difficulty, sometimes, of finding stylists who know what they're doing.

It's a huge issue on the internet, too.  Google it.  For starters, try the search term "good hair."  I'll wait.

It doesn't matter how rich and famous you are either. ran an article shortly after President Obama's inauguration critiquing Mrs. Obama's hair and its relevance to race relations in the United States.  I'm not kidding!   

That's why my friend Scott thought this picture was so amazing, why he posted it to a blog we both read, and why I have since forwarded it to everybody I know.

It's the caption that makes the picture.  "The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own."  This is the child of a White House staffer, and what he means is, "Is your hair like my hair?"

For the first time, ever, the President of the United States can say "Why yes, it is.  And you can be President someday too."

Filed under: In the Newsroom
May 15th, 2009
06:39 PM ET

Bob Barker's Priceless Memories

Bob Barker spent more than 50 years on television. He is synonymous with the game show The Price is Right – no offense Drew Carey. I remember watching the show as kid thinking how cool it would be to hear the words: “Betty, Come on down, you’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!” While that has yet to happen, I did get a warm welcome when I rang the doorbell at Bob Barker’s home in the Hollywood Hills. Although, for a moment I wasn’t sure I was at the right place. The porta-potties parked on the street out front kind of threw me. Turns out they were for the crew shooting a Ben Stiller movie right across the street from Mr. Barker’s house. I was expecting a publicist or assistant to answer the door of Barker’s beautiful Spanish style home, but it was none other than the former game show host himself.

He greeted me with that signature voice of his. It’s funny how after watching someone on television for so long you feel like you know him. We walked to his patio where my photographer was almost finished setting up lights for the interview. It was here where I met one of Barker’s closest companions, a chow mix named Jessie. Barker tells me she’s a shelter dog. That may be the case, but she’s clearly made this her home. All Jessie has to do is groan and Barker is quick to pet her. And she doesn’t mind interrupting an interview for a belly rub. There’s a real connection between these two. It’s no surprise. Barker is known for his love of animals. For many years, he ended The Price is Right with this message: “Help control the pet population, have your pets spayed or neutered.”

Just like on the show, I found Barker to be warm and witty. He has some pretty good one-liners, as you’ll see in my interview. This is a man who spent half a century on television, even watched his shows go from black and white to color. But after 19 Emmys and 35 years on The Price is Right, there are some things you might not know about Barker. Like the fact that Chuck Norris taught him martial arts, which eventually lead to the hilarious fight scene with Adam Sandler in the movie Happy Gilmore. Oh, and who can forget this “priceless memory” – Barker was offered a part in a porn flick. Did he take it? Check out my interview.

Join me and TJ Holmes every Saturday & Sunday in the CNN Newsroom starting at 6am ET/3am PT.

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Filed under: Anchors
May 15th, 2009
06:05 PM ET

R&B Superstar Usher Pays It Forward

When I pulled up to Usher’s studios in Atlanta, it was just as I thought. His creative lab is hidden deep inside a building located in what looks like your run of the mill business park. But once you get past several security doors, there’s an inner sanctum that speaks to Usher’s playfulness and artistic drive. There’s the ever-important PlayStation, which Usher confesses he doesn’t really use. Instead he’d rather watch a movie, particularly animated films. Can you see him writing his next hit while watching Kung Fu Panda? While that movie is one of his favorites, it was clear he has a penchant for old school super heroes. In fact, there’s a huge Incredible Hulk statue in corner of the room.

Like his super heroes, Usher also gets much of his musical inspiration from the old school crowd – artists like James Brown. So while Usher may be one of the best selling performers in the business, he hasn’t forgotten his roots. Those moments in time that shaped a young kid growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He credits both his mother and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for helping foster his talents at young age. If it weren’t for that positive motivation, Usher says his life could easily have been much different. This from a guy who dropped his first album at just 15.

Now a five-time Grammy winner, Usher is more than a multi-platinum recording artist. He’s a man with a mission to pay it forward, as he calls it. I sat down with him to talk about his induction into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame, what he’s doing to help prevent malaria.

Join me and TJ Holmes in the CNN Newsroom every Saturday and Sunday starting at 6am ET/3am PT.

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Filed under: Anchors
May 15th, 2009
04:42 PM ET

Survival of the Fittest

The Little Bakery That Could

May 15th, 2009
03:33 PM ET

Police Officer/Hero: Justin Garner

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Carthage, N.C. PD"]

From outside the nursing home, he could hear the shots. The elderly residents... sitting ducks for an angry gunman.

Corporal Justin Garner didn't wait for backup.

He couldn't.

He crept into the building, past bleeding victims - and encountered the shooter in a hallway, reloading.

Corporal Garner warned him several times to drop it. He didn't. The two exchanged fire, wounding each other.

But the rampage, which left eight people dead, was over.

We honor Carthage (NC) Police Corporal Justin Garner, as part of our special coverage of National Police Week.

Filed under: Kyra Phillips • Police Officer/Hero
May 15th, 2009
02:27 PM ET

Shuttle Atlantis: Stunning Photo

NASA/Thierry Legault

This is one of the amazing photos from NASA of the Shuttle Atlantis during solar transit. This is the last mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The crew is scheduled to make five difficult spacewalks during the 11-day journey. CNN is keeping an eye on the latest.

Filed under: In the Newsroom
May 15th, 2009
10:08 AM ET

The :30 Pitch-Drive By Edition

An experienced IT guy gets laid off twice in the last year. So what does he do? He gets his face out there...and we mean out there. Check out this 30 Second Pitch plus the update on a previous pitcher whose billboard got bumped for a beer.

Filed under: :30 Second Pitch • Kyra Phillips
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