SCOTT SIMON, host: As we said, NATO is winding down its military mission in Libya and NATO ambassadors meeting in Brussels say that the air campaign will end by October 31, seven months after it began. We're joined now by the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Ambassador Ivo Daalder, who is in Brussels. Mr. Ambassador, thanks so much for being with us.
Virginians have always enjoyed their liquor, and for much of the 18th century, their preferred drink was rum. But when war and tariffs made imported rum hard to come by, George Washington saw an opportunity. Why not make liquor out of grains he was growing on his farms?
"He was a businessman and he was a very, very successful one," says Dennis Pogue, the director of preservation programs at Mount Vernon.
Parents of small children have long been told to avoid using the television as a babysitter. This week, the nation's leading group of pediatricians reiterated its stance against letting kids under 2 watch any TV at all.
Even as President Obama announced the troop withdrawal from Iraq on Friday, he acknowledged the U.S. now faces a bigger challenge: creating opportunity and jobs in this country.
"After a decade of war, the nation that we need to build — and the nation that we will build — is our own," he said, "an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe."
At a recent rally, hundreds of young supporters of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez chanted that her late husband is not dead. In a way, he's not. Celebrated for guiding Argentina out of economic calamity a decade ago, former President Nestor Kirchner is as present in his wife's re-election campaign as she is.
Today, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into a law a bill that effectively repeals one passed earlier this year that barred teachers from having contact with any student on Facebook or any social media site that enabled private messaging.
I couldn't let the week pass without a quick quiz.
Which one of the four red tablets in the picture is medicine? The mystery pill is Coricidin HPB, an over-the-counter cold remedy, if that helps. The candies are M&M's and a Skittle. Pull the slider to the right for the answer.
Tunisians, who touched off the Arab uprisings and rid themselves of a dictator nine months ago, are now going to the polls to elect a constitutional assembly. There is pride, confusion, but mostly optimism ahead of Sunday's vote.
The people of Tunisia had basically one choice at the ballot box for the last 50 years. But now they have more than 100 parties and thousands of candidates to choose from. And they're getting a taste of a real political campaign.
What happens if a Ford Focus slams into a concrete wall at 120 mph?
The guys at the British motoring show Fifth Gear — an offshoot of the popular Top Gear — wanted to find out. They make some grand claims about the test they conducted. For example they say the test is the fastest test crash ever conducted, which brings up doubt. They also say the test was so fast, test experts didn't want to use their dummies. They're too expensive and it was likely they would be destroyed.
Existing home sales and home prices declined last month, indicating the market remains in a slump. Now there's a proposal in Congress to try to change that. Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a bill Thursday that would grant U.S. tourist visas to foreign homebuyers paying with cash.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan has taken a lot of heat recently. One of the biggest criticisms: several independent analysts have found that under the plan, poor and middle class families would pay higher taxes while the richest of the rich would see a substantial tax cut. Today in Detroit, Cain unveiled his response.
"If you're at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9," said Cain with the abandoned Michigan Central Station in the background. "It's 9-0-9."
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 2:29 pm
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's much discussed 9-9-9 tax plan just got a major facelift after intensifying criticism that it would shift the tax burden to the least fortunate Americans.
In a Detroit speech Friday, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO created another numbers scheme for those "at or below poverty level."
"Your plan isn't 9-9-9," Cain said, addressing low-income voters. "It is 9-0-9."
"Say amen y'all," said Cain, also a Baptist minister. "9-0-9."
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 1:33 pm
This past week, republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hit hard over his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. During the last Republican debate, Cain's plan was attacked as regressive, meaning that it would hit the middle-class and poor Americans hardest.
Perhaps more than any other Republican running for president this year, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has railed against taxes. She says they're too high, and that the current tax code should be repealed.
But Bachmann had a somewhat surprising early career: going after tax evaders as a prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service.
'Know Your Enemy'?
At times, the congresswoman and former state senator has seemed to deny that for nearly her entire professional life, she's been on the public payroll.
Chicago recently ranked as the city with the second-worst traffic congestion problem in the country, but it doesn't have a lot of money to invest in other transit options. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's solution? A $2 "congestion fee" on weekday parking in public lots and garages downtown.
Other cities have had some success with congestion pricing for parking, but some Chicagoans are skeptical of the plan.
The Oakland minister who predicted the end of the world would take place on Friday, Oct. 21, was confronted by the continuation of the world instead. It marks the second time this year that the ministry led by Harold Camping, 90, has settled on a doomsday date, only to have it tick by in quotidian fashion.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan to urge the country's leadership to eliminate safe havens for terrorists, says that U.S. officials met with the Haqqani network this summer. She did not say who the participants were, or what was discussed.
As the BBC reports:
Reports about such a meeting circulated over the summer but the US refused to confirm them at the time.
Mrs Clinton said the US had reached out to the Taliban and to the Haqqani network to test their sincerity and willingness to engage in a peace process.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 11:45 am
Unemployment rates across America didn't change much in September, says the Labor Department. But among the mostly small shifts that occurred, 25 states reported decreases in their unemployment rate. Of the remaining states, 14 saw a higher jobless rate, and 11 remained the same.
This weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Brussels with other European Union leaders. Their goal: to settle on a plan to pay the debts of struggling member nations.
Their meeting might go better if Alexander Hamilton's ghost could get a seat at the table.
Hamilton, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, was the fiscal genius who insisted that paying off debts of this union's member states would lead to economic greatness.
A few minutes ago, President Obama announced that the war in Iraq was over.
"After nearly nine years, the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year," the president said. President Obama said he talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier today and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.
He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one between two sovereign countries.
A Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana this morning. It was the first time one of them has blasted off outside its old Soviet Union bases.
It also marked a more important first: The rocket was carrying the first piece of Europe's Galileo global positioning system, which aims to provide more accurate information than the United States' GPS system.
Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 10:20 am
In China, an "outpouring of grief" is meeting the sad news that a toddler has died after being struck by two vans on a crowded street in the city of Foshan, according to state-run media.
The story became a national — and then international — sensation after a security camera's video revealed that more than a dozen passers-by had ignored the injured Wang Yue, 2, as she lay in the street, crying.
Only Chen Xianmei, 57, who was in the area collecting garbage, pulled the girl to safety and called for help. Police reportedly have the drivers of both vans in custody.