By Todd Leopold, CNN
(CNN) - Sheryl Sandberg is a role model, say her defenders.
The chief operating officer of Facebook earned two degrees from Harvard and spent the early part of her career in public service, rising to become chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during the latter days of the Clinton administration. She helped build Google into a powerhouse; she has led the Facebook team in making the social media site ubiquitous. She's a mother who cares deeply about work-life balance and has been outspoken about women pulling together.
Sheryl Sandberg is no role model, say her detractors.
She's glided to the top thanks to the help of powerful men, whether it's the patronage of Summers, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. She's worth hundreds of millions of dollars, lives in an exclusive Bay Area suburb with a staff of minders and knows as much about being a working mother as a Pacific Heights socialite.
One thing's for sure: Sheryl Sandberg is in the crosshairs.
Her new book, "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead," is out Monday, and her arguments, focusing on how women in the workplace can grow their careers and their lives, have attracted both praise and denunciation - though, as the New Yorker's Anna Holmes has noted, many of the denouncers have jumped on Sandberg in the "ready, fire, aim" fashion typical of the commentariat.
"Anyone who had read her book would have known that Sandberg herself is the first to acknowledge the debts she owes to the women who came before her, not to mention her youthful naivete and eventual engagement with gender politics," Holmes wrote.
So just who is Sheryl Sandberg, and why are people saying such extreme things about her?FULL STORY
This is the first in an occasional series on issues of race, identity and politics ahead of Election Day, including a look at a white Southern Democrat fighting for survival, a civil rights icon registering voters and how parallels to the past haunt the age of Obama.
By Todd Leopold, CNN
(CNN) – The images – on TV, YouTube, our social networks – have become so familiar that we take them for granted.
We're treated to scenes of Barack Obama with a group of middle Americans at a cozy restaurant table, then with an African-American woman in an office. Or we see clips from a rally, the president surrounded by faces of all ages and hues.
It's much the same with Mitt Romney: A quartet of white male engineers pore over plans, then an African-American woman talks with a colleague. We see shots of factory workers, then a burst of flags as the candidate heads for the stage. Or we get farms, children and a colorful audience at a speech.
More than 60 years into the Television Age, campaign messages have become a formula: Uplifting ads are full of inspirational music, flapping flags and stolid candidate portrayals; negative ones feature ominous melodies, dramatic black-and-white images and gloomy narrators. FULL POST
(CNN) - His name is Gerald Lester Watson Jr., but he goes by Bubba.
The newest Masters champion is a proud Bulldog, a graduate of the University of Georgia. He owns the General Lee, the Confederate flag-emblazoned car from "The Dukes of Hazzard." And he loves God and his momma: He thanked the former and hugged the latter at the tournament's final playoff hole.
How much more Southern can you get?
"Bubba's name echoed as much through the pines on Sunday as the roars. He was embraced in this Southern town as if he drank, smoked, hunted and fished," wrote the Augusta Chronicle's Scott Michaux, before adding, "In truth, Bubba doesn't do any of those things."
That's the thing about the South. It's got all those stereotypes, but it confounds you at every turn.