The Two-Way
6:15 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Layoffs Slowed In August, But Were Still Far Above Year Ago

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 6:44 am

Government agencies and private employers said this month that they plan to lay off 51,114 workers, the outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported this morning.

And while that's down 23 percent from the 66,414 layoffs announced in July, the August total was still "up 47 percent from a year ago," the firm said.

What's more, it added:

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The Two-Way
5:55 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Today's Headlines: Irene's Aftermath; Sept. 11 Panel's Report

Good morning.

States from North Carolina north to New England continue to cope with the aftereffects of Hurricane Irene, as we reported earlier. The Associated Press says 2.5 million customers still don't have power and that the death toll now stands at 44 people in 13 states. Flood waters continue to be huge problems in New Jersey and states to the north.

Meanwhile, other stories making headlines include:

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Wed August 31, 2011

Rebuilding After Irene Is Not Going To Boost The Economy

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 6:40 am

While Hurricane Irene may, according to The New York Times, "prove to be one of the 10 costliest catastrophes in the nation's history," the recovery efforts as work gets going to repair the estimated $7 billion to $10 billion in damages are not going to give the overall U.S. economy a much-needed lift, our Planet Money colleague Adam Davidson says.

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Afghanistan
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Training Afghans To Take Over Bomb-Defusing Efforts

U.S. soldiers check for land mines on a canal running through Highway 1 in Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Aug. 6. Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are the Taliban's weapon of choice and are the leading killer of civilians and soldiers in Afghanistan.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

August brought a grim new statistic from Afghanistan: The death of at least 66 U.S. soldiers, making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops in nearly 10 years of war.

Nearly half of those casualties were the result of the rare shootdown of a Chinook helicopter packed with U.S. Navy SEALs. Of the remaining casualties, many were caused by what the military calls improvised explosive devices, or IEDS — homemade land mines, bombs and booby traps.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Cell Phones Could Help Doctors Stay Ahead Of An Epidemic

Two women check their cell phones as they hawk their wares on a bridge over the Artibonite river, whose waters are believed to be the source of Haiti's 2010 cholera outbreak.
NICHOLAS KAMM AFP/Getty Images

The year 2010 was a very bad one for Haiti. It started with an earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, mostly in the crowded capital of Port-au-Prince. After that, cholera originating in a U.N. camp broke out in a northern province and eventually spread to the city.

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Your Money
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

A Push To Curb Auto Service Contract Scams

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 10:01 pm

You've likely seen the commercials for vehicle service contracts on TV promising to save customers thousands of dollars in repairs to their older cars and trucks.

And St. Louis is like the Silicon Valley of those vehicle service contract companies. But while the industry continues to thrive, Missouri's Better Business Bureau logged almost 1,000 complaints about it last year alone.

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Closing Walter Reed
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

In 2007, Walter Reed Was The Army's Wakeup Call

At Walter Reed, Oscar Olguin and his family were visited by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. But Olguin says that when he left the hospital, he had to fend for himself.
Courtesy of Oscar Olguin

For more than a century, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center was known as the hospital that catered to presidents and generals. Eisenhower was treated and died there. So too did Generals "Black Jack" Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and George Marshall.

But in recent years, Walter Reed was shorthand for scandal.

A 2007 series that dominated the front page of The Washington Post told of decrepit housing and wounded soldiers left to fend for themselves.

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Politics
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Perry Revives Social Security 'Ponzi Scheme' Rhetoric

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry was asked about Social Security during a campaign stop in Ottumwa, Iowa, last weekend, he didn't mince words. He suggested that younger workers who are required to pay into the retirement system are the victims of a government swindle.

"We need to have a conversation with America, just like we're having right here today, and admit that is a Ponzi scheme for these young people," Perry said. "The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, the current program, that it's going to be there for them, is a lie."

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

N.J. Chef: 'It's A Disaster In Here' After Irene

Sallee Tee's restaurant in Monmouth Beach, N.J. was flooded following Hurricane Irene.
Courtesy of Andrew West

Many of the places in Hurricane Irene's path were big tourist destinations: North Carolina's Outer Banks; Cape Cod; Ocean City, Md. Some businesses in those areas escaped relatively unscathed, allowing managers to breathe a sigh of relief and hope for a big turnout on Labor Day weekend.

Others weren't so lucky — places like Sallee Tee's Grille, blocks from the ocean in Monmouth Beach, N.J. It's a big operation that serves everything from jumbo sea scallops, to deli fare, to sushi.

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Sweetness And Light
8:00 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Too Many Days Hath September (And Baseball)

The sun sets over Coors Field in Denver. While summer nights are perfect for baseball, late-season games can get a little chilly.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 10:54 am

When baseball fell into its current schedule more than a century ago, the national pastime owned the sporting landscape. There was no professional football, and college football was a regional enterprise in a nation where few folks even had a college alma mater to care about. In a culture still quite agricultural, the schools started later. So, in effect, the harvest extended summer.

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