Morning Express with Robin Meade

A fast, personal, and smart blend of all the news you want in the morning. We call it "News in the Fast Lane." So buckle up.

Actor and comedian Steve Carell salutes the troops

Submit a salute of your own by visiting the special Morning Express with Robin Meade Salute To Troops assignment page at: iReport.com! Or create your own salute and send it off immediately at sendasalute.cnn.com

Sports blog: The redemption of Mike Vick and a backwards penalty kick

Michael Vick, the guy who spent a year and half in jail on dogfighting charges, went to Congress yesterday to support tougher anti-dogfighting legislation. Vick's really trying to change his image. He wants to penalize people who attend animal fights or who bring minors to animal fights. He doesn't want kids to get involved in the same culture of violence that he witnessed growing up. The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has teamed up with the President of the Humane Society to help kids before they go down the wrong path… It is illegal in 49 states to be a spectator at an animal fight, in 28 of those states it's a felony. Vick wants people attending an animal fight to get a year in prison, and 3 years if you bring a minor.

In light of the tragic fan accident on july 7th, the Texas Rangers are taking strides to make their ballpark safer for all guests. The team announced that for all rails in the front of seating sections, the height will be increased to 42 inches. Currently the front row rails are 30 or 34 inches in a majority of the seating sections, which actually exceed local codes. New warning signs will also be posted.

Watch out, New England: the heat's moving east


At this point, Mid Westerners would gladly sit through a triple showing of "The Smurfs" just to spend more time in the icy-cold movie theater air conditioning. I don’t blame them, either.

Here’s the deal with the heat: It is sliding east, so some Western states are seeing the warnings expire, but some Eastern states are seeing the warnings and watches appear for them. Counties from New England down to the Carolinas have been added to the heat watches for Thursday and Friday. I’ll have that on the show, but for now, you can check for your region on the map:

Army wife sends a salute - and a happy anniversary - to husband

Submit a salute of your own by visiting the special Morning Express with Robin Meade Salute To Troops assignment page at: iReport.com! Or create your own salute and send it off immediately at sendasalute.cnn.com

Is breast feeding baby doll an appropriate toy? Robin and Jen take sides:

Is a toy doll that mimics breast-feeding a good way to teach "nurturing" to little girls? We've heard from a lot of you during "Morning Express with Robin Meade" today about "The Breast Milk Baby":

Christine in Savannah, GA emailed us:
It is ok for little boys to "kill" each other with their toys, why is it not ok for a little girl to "nurse" a doll? Maybe it will help Americans be more comfortable with breastfeeding. As a new mom I'm surprised at how uncomfortable many people still are with something so natural and healthy.

Heat, humidity, and a haboob!

Twenty-one days straight of 100F or more in Tyler, TX. Make it 22 for today, unfortunately. The screaming hot readings will mix with the high humidity to make it feel like 110-115 from the Mid MS Valley to the Upper MW today, with warnings for more regions starting this afternoon. Check out the map, with more than 25% of the CONUS under an excessive heat warning, advisory, or watch. The sprawling high-pressure center is drifting to the East a touch now, and the Western flank is being whittled down by some storms, but the heart of the heat is still intact. I’ll have the forecasted highs on the show.

NWS Heat Map

Big bad robbers no match for little dog: Paco the Chihuahua chases gunman

Check out how one tough little pup took on an armed robber and WON!

Paco the Chihuahua was in his owner's smoke shop in Altadena, CA when two men burst in and robbed the place. But Paco, a rescue dog, wasn't about to let the bad guys get away without a fight! He nipped at their ankles and then chased them across the street!

13 million Americans watch USA vs. Japan World Cup – more than MLB All Star Game

Team USA is back home!! About 24 hours after the women were beaten by Japan in the World Cup Final, they arrived in Manhattan, where hundreds of fans greeted them like the heroes they are. Goalie Hope Solo and scoring machine Abby Wambach will be on the "Late Show With David Letterman" tonight. By the way, more than 13 million Americans watched that Finals match between Team USA and Japan, that's a much higher TV rating than recent events like Baseball's All-Star Game and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The heat wave is affecting everyone, including professional athletes. Imagine standing on a mound in long pants for 2 hours having to throw as hard as you can!! It's not a good week to be a pitcher. It was 91 degrees, with a heat index of 103, at the beginning of the game between the Cubs and Phillies in Chicago, and it got hotter as the game went on. Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay did not look like he was having a good time in the heat he left in the fifth inning Monday at Wrigley Field. It was his shortest pitching stint in more than 2 years. After he hit the clubhouse, the Phillies admitted that Halladay was dealing with issues from the unbearable heat.

Five women waiting for Air Force Staff Sergeant Stephen Bullington to come home

This is a salute to Staff Sergeant Stephen Bullington, U.S. Air Force from his wife Ashley and their four daughters. Ashley writes:

"Staff Sergeant Stephen Bullington is currently deployed, he left just three months after the birth of our third and fourth daughters (twins), and they are now seven months old. This is the second time he has had to deploy in the past two years. The first time was just two weeks after we were married. He will have been gone a total of a year by the time he arrives home sometime in the fall. His little girls talk to him every single day. They miss him terribly. We are so proud of him and all of his wonderful accomplishments! Way to go honey! I think that he deserves a salute in his honor, as well a high five!"

Hurricane season makes it to the G's without a hurricane

Tropical storm Gert is dying quickly over the Atlantic Ocean this morning. Interesting note – this is the first time since they’ve given proper names to storms (early 1950s) that a hurricane season has reached the ‘G’ name without a hurricane. So far they have all been tropical storms!

It has been wet though baby. The NE has had a too of rain in the last few days, with anywhere between 6-11” falling over the NYC area. More rain is falling around the entire NE this morning, but like Tyson it has lost a lot of punch. I still wouldn’t want to get popped by him though.

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