Top of the list: Law and Order controversy, and the countdown is on for the big game

What were people talking about on Thursday, January 31, 2013?  Here’s our list.

1.  SUPER COUNTDOWN:  It is sure to be an emotional start to the big game this weekend.  Word today the Sandy Hook Elementary School Chorus will sing "America the Beautiful" in the pregame show.  The school was the scene of a mass shooting late last year. 

One Ravens cheerleader will have to watch that performance from her living room.  Courtney Lenz tells ABC’s "Good Morning America" she was benched earlier in the year for gaining about a pound and a half during a weekly weigh in.  The Ravens say the decision was based on seniority, performance and personal conduct throughout the season.  Lenz, a 5 year veteran of the Ralliers, believes it is because of her weight.

"The last straw had to come down to the weight.  They said I had 'had a rough year.' They had to take disciplinary action and I was benched for my weight," she said.

We all know the game will pit two brothers against each other as coaches.  But another little known fact is that retiring Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ first sack was Jim Harbaugh.  He was the Indianapolis Colts quarterback at the time, and is now the 49ers head coach.

2.  LAW & ORDER:  The NBC cop drama is drawing criticism from rape victim advocates for a controversial upcoming episode of its popular SVU franchise.  The show follows New York City detectives investigating sexually based crimes, and it has cast convicted rapist Mike Tyson in an upcoming episode.  The decision has resulted in an online petition on, which was started by SVU fan, and sexual assault survivor Marcie Kaveney. 

The List talked with her by Skype on Thursday.

"My ultimate goal is to have Mike Tyson removed from the cast of Law and Order SVU," said Kaveney 

NBC has not commented.

"You know, I think as a survivor and an advocate it makes me sad they’re not responding and they’re not reading the comments and listening to us who are a lot of their viewers," said Kaveney.  

SVU producer Warren Leight responded to the backlash via twitter, sending out a series of 7 tweets.  While acknowledging the casting may seem inappropriate to some, he goes on to say the show’s intent is to provoke discussion and awareness and urged viewers to keep an open mind.  He also acknowledged Tyson’s past "while in no way excusing his past actions, it’s worth noting Mike Tyson was convicted over 20 years ago and served his time."  

Mariska Hargitay, one of the stars of the show, created her own organization to support victims of sexual assault.  It’s called the Joyful Heart Foundation, and while Hargitay herself has not responded to the controversy her foundation released a statement saying in part "we were not aware of this casting choice and we have formally expressed our concerns to the executives and producers at SVU."  The episode airs Wednesday on NBC.

3.  ASSUME THE POSITION:  Forget horoscopes the new way to learn about someone’s personality is to watch them sleep.  According to a study in Men’s Health magazine, stomach sleepers are extroverted and take criticism personally.  If you snooze in the fetal position you are rough on the outside but sensitive on the inside.  And for those of you who "starfish," which means sleep with your arms above your head, you’re a good listener and you avoid the spotlight.

4.  FLU-LIST:  Drink fluids and beware of flu scams.  The FDA has issued a warning to the makers of ‘"Germ Bullet," saying the company’s claims to reduce the virus are “false and misleading”. 

Los Angeles firefighters also doing their part to battle the virus, they are being pulled off engines and put into ambulances to help with transporting patients to the emergency room.  In New Jersey, the norovirus is taking on Princeton.  The illness has sickened 67 students there.


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