The U.S. hasn't had unemployment this high for this long since the Great Depression. That's weighing heavily on a lot of Americans and seems to be a key part of the frustration and anger that's being directed at Wall Street and the big banks. For many people, it's not so much about high finance as it is about a weekly paycheck.
"I'm unemployed, and I'm down here because I'm unemployed," says Bob Norkus, a protester in downtown Boston.
Walking around, it doesn't take long to figure out that many people here have the same problem.
Villagers from a violent part of southern Afghanistan say that Afghan troops, along with several American mentors, forced civilians to march ahead of soldiers on roads where the Taliban were believed to have planted bombs and landmines.
No one was hurt. But if the allegations are true, the act would appear to violate the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of civilians. The episode also raises questions about how civilians are caught between the two sides in the war.
Tuesday night's brawl of a debate in Las Vegas erased any doubt that the fight for the Republican presidential nomination would get bitter. Texas Gov. Rick Perry aggressively parried former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who looked rattled for the first time.
If that hand-to-hand combat continues, the Republican primary could just become a long, drawn-out fight. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for the eventual nominee is unclear.
The protests go by a variety of names: "Occupy Wall Street," "American Autumn," "The 99 Percent." And the lack of a unified message is matched by a lack of centralized control. But the protests share a common spark: a disillusioned Canadian adman.
The "Occupy" protests seemed to come out of nowhere. But the early participants, like John Garcia, in downtown Seattle, point to a very specific catalyst.
"I get Adbusters, so that's how I heard about it," he says.
States enacted a record number of abortion restrictions in the first half of 2011, many of them requiring 24-hour waiting periods, ultrasounds or parental permission to deter women from obtaining abortions. But these types of "demand-side policies" have not had much of an impact in the past on national abortion rates, according to an article in the most recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has thrown into doubt the ownership of some foreclosed homes, when it decided that buyers of a house that was improperly foreclosed are not the legal owners of the property.
It's happening again: This time instead of a NASA satellite, it's a German satellite that will burn through the Earth's atmosphere and crash somewhere unknown. If you remember, in September a decommissioned weather satellite fell into the South Pacific.
On the night of Oct. 4, Myron and Arlene Miller were asleep in their home in Mechanicstown, Ohio, when they heard a knock on the door. According to their friend Bob Comer, when Myron came downstairs, he found five men standing on his doorstep.
"They pulled him out in the front yard, and they have scissors and a battery-powered shaver and everything," Comer says. "They're trying to hold him down and cut his beard off and cut his hair off."
Miller yelled at his wife to call 911. Then the men let him go and ran back to the trailer and had the driver take off, Comer says.
Which illness puts more elderly people in the hospital than any other? Heart failure, a serious impairment of blood-pumping power.
But, as some Yale researchers have found, the rate of hospitalization for heart failure has gone down a lot, according to Medicare data for the decade ending in 2008.
The analysis is pretty complicated, and makes adjustments for a bunch of risk factors, but the upshot is clear: The rate of heart failure admissions in 2008 was 29.5 percent lower than in 1998. It's the first study to show a national decline.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 3:59 pm
Just as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tries to overcome unease about his Mormon faith in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, a new ad campaign promoting the religion is drawing attention.
"I'm a Mormon" billboards and television commercials aimed at improving the religious group's public image have surfaced over the past week in states almost certain to be battlegrounds for next year's presidential contest.
Syria's President Bashar Assad has survived an uprising that's now in its eighth month, and he shows no signs of buckling. The president has relied on a massive security presence to limit protests at home, and has dismissed criticism and sanctions from abroad.
But is this strategy sustainable, or is Assad simply buying time?
Abbott Labs is splitting up. The diversified maker of medical products will become two companies: one focused on brand-name prescription drugs and the second on the other stuff, including medical devices, diagnostic tests and baby formula.
It's a big deal, and Forbes' Matt Herper explains the logic behind it: Investors aren't giving drugmakers much respect, so separating the businesses could give a lift to the future stock of the faster-growing non-drug business.
Eight times a year the Federal Reserve releases "beige book" reports about how the economy is doing. Named for the traditional color of their covers and based on reports from the central bank's 12 districts, they're largely anecdotal and full of generalizations about what businesses leaders and others are saying about current conditions.
Many of the protesters occupying Wall Street and other places say they are upset about the rising price of going to college. Tuition and other costs have been going up faster than inflation, and family incomes can't keep up. Despite public outrage about the problem, there's little sign these costs will drop anytime soon.
For as long as there's been an IQ test, there's been controversy over what it measures. Do IQ scores capture a person's intellectual capacity, which supposedly remains stable over time? Or is the Intelligent Quotient exam really an achievement test â€” similar to the S.A.T. â€” that's subject to fluctuations in scores?
The findings of a new study add evidence to the latter theory: IQ seems to be a gauge of acquired knowledge that progresses in fits and starts.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 12:04 pm
USA Today parses through New York Federal Reserve's latest report (pdf) on Household Debt and Credit and finds that for the first time, this year the amount of student loans will surpass the $100 billion mark and the outstanding balance will exceed $1 trillion.
"The United States will hold a fresh round of talks with North Korea on its nuclear weapons program next week and appoint a new full-time envoy as its seeks to deepen its engagement with the reclusive regime," U.S. officials and a Washington-based foreign diplomat tell The Associated Press.
Protesters are not only occupying Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park; they're also occupying Twitter and other social media sites like Livestream, where visitors to the site can watch live footage from the protests.
Originally published on Thu October 20, 2011 10:43 am
With all the time he's had to prepare since 2008 when he last ran for president, you might have thought Mitt Romney would have come up with a more persuasive and sympathetic defense to the charge that illegal immigrants once worked on his Massachusetts property.
And with all the news coverage that issue got during the 2008 presidential campaign, including being raised in GOP debates, you might have also thought that Texas Gov. Rick Perry would have resorted to the story sooner to put Romney on the defensive and counter Romney's immigration attacks on him.
In the aftermath of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon's death Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there's been a passionate discussion going on in the racing world about whether it was just too risky to have open-wheel-style cars on an oval track with banked turns designed for NASCAR races.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 11:18 am
Anger over proposed new austerity measures boiled over in Greece on Wednesday as unions shut down the country with what one newspaper called "the mother of all strikes."
Flights were grounded, and state offices and shops were shuttered on the first day of a 48-hour general strike, the biggest organized protest against austerity since the debt crisis began almost two years ago.
You know that a political food fight may be a teensy bit out of hand when it becomes fodder for late night TV. And that's exactly what happened last night to the long-running saga of the subsidized school lunch spud.
Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 12:05 pm
Movies, music and video games always seem to get a bad rap for flooding teenagers' minds with sex. The all-you-can-watch buffet of television is no exception.
A heavy, TV-watching habit makes teens who don't have close relationships with their mothers more likely to have looser attitudes about sex, according to a study of about a thousand 16-year-olds in Belgium. Teens were surveyed about the amount of TV they watched, how close they were with their moms and their attitudes on sex.
Zhou Youguang should be a Chinese hero after making what some call the world's most important linguistic innovation: He invented Pinyin, a system of romanizing Chinese characters using the Western alphabet.
But instead, this 105-year-old has become a thorn in the government's side. Zhou has published an amazing 10 books since he turned 100, some of which have been banned in China. These, along with outspoken views on the Communist Party and the need for democracy in China, have made him a "sensitive person" â€” a euphemism for a political dissident.
Let's face it, vegetables are the goody-two-shoes of the food world. We eat them because we know they're good for us. They're like station wagons, treadmills, and sensible shoes. They are practical and healthy but they're not much fun. And they're definitely not what most of us would call sexy.