July 3rd, 2012
04:44 PM ET

What we love about Andy Griffith

(CNN) - It's been said that when he was younger, Andy Griffith had aspirations to become an opera singer, but fans of "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock" are undoubtedly happy that he wound up pursuing acting.

The actor, who died at 86 on Tuesday, is most beloved for his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the timeless '60s favorite "The Andy Griffith Show," as well as for his role as defense attorney Ben Matlock on the late '80s-mid '90s series "Matlock."

1. The example he set:

"The Andy Griffith Show," with its unforgettable theme song, gave the actor a landmark role in Sheriff Taylor. The widowed father to a young Ron Howard's Opie, Griffith's portrayal of the Sheriff, who oversaw Mayberry, North Carolina, still resonates decades later.

Time magazine's TV critic James Poniewozik nominates the show, which ran from 1960-1968, as one of the cultural touchstones that shaped America.

"This gentle small-town comedy gave us Mayberry's quirks without ridiculing or patronizing them," Poniewozik writes. "And Griffith's Sheriff Taylor, who'd rather wield a wry comment than a gun, was a weekly example of Americans talking through their problems. "

Read the full post on CNN's Marquee blog

It's probably not wise to be a jerk to Felicia Day
Felicia Day hosted Spike TV's Video Game Awards show last December.
July 3rd, 2012
03:24 PM ET

It's probably not wise to be a jerk to Felicia Day

By Ann Hoevel, CNN

There's an old adage that says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Not everyone takes that to heart.

Early this weekend, Ryan Perez –a blogger who was a contributor to gaming hub Destructoid – decided to pick a bone with geek culture icon Felicia Day via Twitter. He questioned whether or not Day made any contribution to the gaming industry other than cultivating a geeky persona. He suggested she was a glorified "booth babe."

That was a mistake.

Aside from being a successful web content producer, a Forbes-recognized entrepreneur (they called her a mogul in the making) and an actress with a resume steeped in Joss Whedon productions, Day has some pretty influential buddies. Gaming podcaster Veronica Belmont saw Perez's tweet and quickly came to her friend's defense. Nerd celebrity, Day's costar on "The Guild" and "Eureka" and Star Trek alum Wil Wheaton also weighed in. The Twitterverse got fairly heated in response to Perez's posts.

Within a few hours of his tweets, Destructoid publicly cut ties with Perez. Perez apologized to Day, who accepted.

Read the full post on CNN's Geek Out! blog

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Filed under: Bullying • How we look • Women
Mormon influence in Nevada fading, but still a factor
Mormons showed up at polling places in robust numbers to help push Mitt Romney to victories in Western states.
July 3rd, 2012
11:46 AM ET

Mormon influence in Nevada fading, but still a factor

By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - In 1986, with control of the United States Senate up for grabs, The Economist dispatched a reporter to Nevada, an important battleground that year, to survey the race between then-Rep. Harry Reid and his Republican opponent, James Santini.

"Mr. Reid's performance in Las Vegas could well turn on the Mormon vote," the correspondent noted, spotlighting Reid's religion. "Though only some 12% of Nevadans are Mormons, they punch more than their weight. Less than half the state's eligible voters bother to register, but Mormons almost always do, which gives them about a quarter of the likely turnout."

Members of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints still punch more than their weight in Nevada politics, holding a broad array of elected offices and deep sway within the business community.

But the portrait of Nevada as a sparsely populated desert locale where elections hinge on the Mormon vote now seems quaint.

The state's dramatic population growth over the last two decades - two-thirds of all registered voters in Nevada registered to vote after the 2000 presidential election, for instance - has diluted the influence of Mormon voters on statewide elections.

Read the full story

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Filed under: 2012 Election • History • Politics • Religion • Where we live
Chely Wright: The cost of coming out
Chely Wright wrote a memoir about her experiences as a country singer who came out as gay.
July 3rd, 2012
07:49 AM ET

Chely Wright: The cost of coming out

Editor’s Note: Singer-songwriter Chely Wright is the author of the autobiographical book "Like Me." Her coming out process was filmed in the documentary "Wish Me Away." This is an edited version of her conversation with CNN about Anderson Cooper’s announcement, why she came out, and what happened after.

by Chely Wright, Special to CNN

I’m happy about Anderson (coming out) and that he didn’t allow himself to be a whisper.

It’s inspiring.

Opinion: Thank you, Anderson

I hid for 16 years of my career.

It became worth it to hide - until it is not worth it anymore.

Video: Chely Wright on coming out as a lesbian

I was afraid.

Singing is not my hobby, it is my job. I was afraid of losing my livelihood. FULL POST