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July 17th, 2009
06:37 PM ET

Sonia Sotomayor: Are You Convinced?

She faced questions and critical comments before the Senate Judiciary Committee all week. Most members seemed convinced Sonia Sotomayor will make a good Supreme Court Justice. But what do you think?
Post your comments here and we may use them on CNN Newsroom Saturday, and join us for a special hour looking at the hearings for Judge Sotomayor and what her nomination would mean for the Supreme Court at 4pm Eastern.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
July 17th, 2009
06:03 PM ET

Apollo 11: One Small Step

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 Mission Commander Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. He said, "that's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.

I remember being dragged in from playing outside at a friend's house to watch what looked like just another black and white movie. I was too young to appreciate what was arguably the best technological feat of the 20th century.

From writer Joe Parham: It was humid and I was the guest of my uncle, one of whom I occasionally disagreed.

Uncle Sam had quartered me at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, for basic training. One of the classrooms was set up with a television.

About two dozen of us showed up late that night, despite the fact we had to get up at 5:30 the next morning.

It seemed to take forever for anything to happen, for that very first step.

The room was quiet, punctuated by an occasional “wow” or ”golly” or “damn, look at that.”

We were young men, all tough as nails, and just about each of us found it hard to believe that someone was leaving footprints on the moon. As we walked out, a friend from south Georgia turned to me and said, “The Army’ll probably send us up there tomorrow to clean up after ‘em.” We all laughed, grinned and walked into the dark night, leaving history on a black and white tv set glowing in an empty classroom.

From writer Clint Deloatch: When Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon I was about 12 years old.

We were out of school and it was hot during mid-summer.

I lived in a small farming town in North Carolina and our dad was a news junkie then, as he still is now at 85 years old.

He made us all come into our den, where our black and white TV was on and we had to sit and watch history being made as man landed on the moon.

Now, he didn’t really have to make us watch TV because my sisters and brothers and I also loved TV. If it was news that was on, we watched that too.

I recall being fascinated by the sights and sounds of man landing on the moon… all the static from the radios, all the beeps and the grainy pictures.

It was great!

Where were you and what were you doing when man first walked on the moon?

Join Betty Nguyen and TJ Holmes Saturday and Sunday in the CNN Newsroom, beginning 6am ET/3am PT.

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Filed under: CNN Newsroom
July 17th, 2009
05:15 PM ET

Sand Storms Across Middle East

Photo credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images

Approaching sandstorm over Kuwait City on May 14, 2009. Photo credit: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images

by Bonnie Schneider
CNN Severe Weather Team

In recent weeks huge incessant sand storms have disrupted life across the Middle East. These massive storms shut down the city of Tehran, Iran for days, and caused U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to cancel a trip to Kurdistan while he was in Iraq recently.

According to Multi-national Corps-Iraq Technical Sgt. John Lawless, who works in the staff weather office, the sand storms in the region are getting worse.

"The last two years appear to have more numerous dust storms of longer duration…it is also likely that the drought has made more dust available in ...Iraq and Syria"

In this part of the world the wind that carries the dust and sand is called a "Shemal". This northwesterly wind blows from Western Syria into Iraq and can carry the dust for many miles. The topography of Iraq plays a role as to why the storms grow in size and intensity.

"NW Iraq to SE Iraq is a valley the dust gets picked up in Syria it gets funneled into this valley has less of a chance to disperse...this helps to make the dust denser." Sgt. Lawless told CNN.

The health effects from these tall, sand clouds are enormous. Dr. Lisa Zacher is the Pulmonary Medical Consultant to the Unites States Army Surgeon General. She treated patients with sand storm related injuries in Texas and Iraq.

"Even persons without pre-existing lung disease can suffer from irritation if the nose, throat, and lungs. ...Eye injuries can range from simple irritation to corneal abrasions...Chronic exposure can lead to the development of respiratory illnesses..." She told CNN.

If you are ever caught in a sand storm, Dr. Zacher advised: "Seek shelter. Protect eyes, nose and mouth (even with a sleeve or t-shirt). If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road. Stay well hydrated so that you can continue to have an effective cough."

In Iraq, typically sand storms start to decrease in frequency towards the end to the summer. But these violent blasts of nature can happen anytime, year-round.

Filed under: In the Newsroom • Weather
July 17th, 2009
04:21 PM ET

Heath Reform: Who’s going to pay?

What’s healthcare reform going to cost and how are we going to pay for it? TJ Holmes, Communications Director for the White House Office of Health Reform, Linda Douglass and CNN Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen discuss the financial implications of reform on your medical care.

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Filed under: CNN Newsroom
July 17th, 2009
07:56 AM ET

Tax the Rich to Pay for Health Care?

The House Democrats' plan to reform health care is funded in part by a "tax surcharge" on Americans making more than $350,000 a year. Families making between $350,000 and $500,000 a year would face a 1% tax surcharge. Those making more than $500,000 would face a 1.5% tax surcharge. And those making more than $1 million would face a 5.4% tax surcharge.

According to the Associated Press, these taxes will bring in $544 billion over the next 10 years. Estimates for the total cost of the health care plan are between $1 and $1.5 trillion.

Our question to you - is it fair to tax the "rich" to fund this plan?
Post your comments below.

Filed under: Heidi Collins