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The Two-Way
7:10 am
Wed August 31, 2011

'9/11 Commission' Leaders: Nation's Security Isn't What It Should Be

National Security Preparedness Group

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 7:13 am

While they believe "our country is undoubtedly safer and more secure than it was a decade ago," the co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission warn today that some of their panel's most important recommendations remain unfilled.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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The Two-Way
4:12 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

8 Miami Hurricane Players Suspended, Must Repay Benefits

The NCAA has ruled that eight Miami Hurricane players will sit out games and repay benefits they received in order to entice them to play for the University of Miami.

The AP reports:

Starting quarterback Jacory Harris and four other players must sit out one game and make repayment.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Human Rights Group: Syria Is 'Persecuting Its Own People On A Vast Scale'

From a Facebook page created about Hamza.
Facebook.com/hamza.alshaheed

In a report released today by human rights group Amnesty International, Syria is described to be in the middle of a brutal crackdown. The report alleges that amid protests, more people are being detained and more people are dying behind bars.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:23 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

A Remnant From Algae In Malaria Parasite May Prove Its Weakness

An Anopheles albimanus mosquito, which is an important vector for malaria transmission in Central America.
James Gathany CDC

Scientists may have found a critical weakness in Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. Researchers say the discovery provides a promising target for new malaria therapies.

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Africa
3:13 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Libyan Rebels Set Deadline For Surrender

Libyan rebel fighters advance in their tank about 60 miles east of the town of Sirte on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Sirte is Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and the last bastion of his loyalist forces.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Libya's rebels say they have more than 10,000 fighters surrounding Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and are waiting for the order to attack.

The rebel officials say that order will be given this Saturday. But over the next few days, they will try to negotiate the peaceful surrender of Sirte, the last major bastion of Gadhafi's forces.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

When Is Eid? Muslims Can't Seem To Agree

An Indian Muslim woman poses showing her hands decorated with mehendi (henna) during 'Chand Raat' or 'Night of the Moon' in Hyderabad on August 30, 2011, traditionally held on the eve of the festival of Eid al-Fitr.
NOAH SEELAM AFP/Getty Images

Today is Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Except that it isn't.

Today, many Muslims in the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan are celebrating Eid. Meanwhile, many Muslims in Indonesia, South Africa, India and Oman are not celebrating Eid until Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

When It's Your Time, Would You Like To Be Liquefied?

We had to read on after spotting this line atop a BBC News story today:

"A Glasgow-based company has installed its first commercial 'alkaline hydrolysis' unit at a Florida funeral home."

And just what does that involve? As the St. Petersburg Times explained last October:

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

August Is Deadliest Month Ever In Afghan War

This month, 66 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan. According to The Associated Press that makes August the deadliest month in the nearly 10-year-old war. The previous record was in July 2010, when 65 service members were killed.

August's number includes the 30 American troops killed on Aug. 6, when insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter.

The AP reports:

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The Record
1:30 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Bluesman 'Honeyboy' Edwards Has Died

David "Honeyboy" Edwards in an undated photo.
Dave Peabody Redferns

David "Honeyboy" Edwards, considered to be the last of a generation of musicians who brought music from the rural Mississippi Delta to the rest of America, died at his home in Chicago early Monday morning. He was 96 years old.

Honeyboy Edwards was born in 1915. He grew up in segregated Mississippi during Jim Crow. Though his dad was a share-cropper, the young Edwards did not work in the fields.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Libya Offers Obama Vindication, But Not Doctrine

President Barack Obama addresses the 93rd American Legion National Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Tuesday.
Cory Ryan Getty Images

While Libya's ultimate fate is still unclear, the past week has marked a decisive change. In a speech to the American Legion in Minneapolis Tuesday, President Obama praised "our brave forces who helped the Libyan people finally break free from the grip of Moammar Gadhafi."

The last five months brought a great deal of controversy and criticism to the White House's handling of Libya. Now the administration is claiming some vindication.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

In Syria, Homs Emerges As Center Of Protest Movement

Now that Hama has been crushed and demoralized, Homs is emerging as the center of anti-government activity in Syria, as protesters have taken up arms to conduct targeted operations against security forces and the army.

Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Perry, Romney Boost Military, Bash Obama In Texas

The two top leaders of the large field of Republican presidential hopefuls have gotten a warm welcome this week from the friendly crowd at the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both boasted of their admiration and support for the military in their speeches, but they sidestepped attacks on each other, saving their vitriol for President Obama.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:51 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Commission: Researchers Knew Of Ethical Problems In Guatemala STD Study

U.S. researchers knowingly breached medical ethics by infecting Guatemalans with venereal diseases in the 1940s without informing them of the risks, a presidential commission has found.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, which was asked by President Barack Obama to investigate the Guatemalan study in October 2010, came to the conclusion after learning that the researchers had conducted similar research with American prisoners in 1943 but had given them the chance to make informed consent.

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Around the Nation
12:16 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Flooding From Irene Damages Roads, Strands Towns

Roaring Brook flows onto Route 73 in Keene, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Tom Woodman, Adirondack Explorer AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:28 am

Vermont's National Guard began mobilizing helicopters and heavy equipment Tuesday to airlift food, drinking water and other essentials to about a dozen towns cut off by flooding in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

Days after the massive storm cut a treacherous swath across 11 states, hundreds of roads and scores of bridges remained impassable in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. In some cases, those roads and bridges were the sole access routes in and out of rural or coastal communities.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:49 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Taming High Health Costs Takes Taming High-Tech

Expensive technologies like proton beam therapy and hot chemo baths are among the reasons America's health care spending is rising at an unsustainable clip and making the federal deficit so hard to tame.

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The Two-Way
11:35 am
Tue August 30, 2011

$100 Million, Six-Year Deal For Michael Vick

Michael Vick, quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, earlier this month.
Jim McIsaac Getty Images

The six-year deal announced Monday night that will keep Michael Vick with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles could be worth up to $100 million for the quarterback who just a little more than two years was finishing up an 18-month prison term after being convicted on charges related to dog fighting.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Mexican Police Make 5 Arrests In Casino Arson; Say 7 More Still At Large

Mexican authorities say they have arrested five men in connection with a Casino arson that killed 52 people. As we reported, last week, witnesses say armed men walked into the Casino Royale in Monterrey, ordered everyone out, then poured gasoline all over the building and set it on fire.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Under Scrutiny For 'Fast And Furious,' ATF Announces New Leader

Justice Department officials announced Tuesday that the troubled Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has a new leader. Officials handpicked Minnesota's top federal prosecutor, B. Todd Jones, to serve as the bureau's acting director.

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It's All Politics
10:25 am
Tue August 30, 2011

On Perry's Turf, Romney Aims Jab At 'Career Politicians'

Mitt Romney speaks during a town hall meeting in Keene, N.H., on Aug. 24.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 8:49 am

Deep in the heart of Texas, home to one of his toughest rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declared today that:

"I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy. Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don't know how to get us out."

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World
10:00 am
Tue August 30, 2011

Understanding Syria Today: Country Of Conflict

On Monday, Syria's closest ally Iran called on President Bashar al-Assad to listen to the "legitimate demands" of demonstrators. But today, Syrian government forces reportedly opened fire on protesters as worshipers exited mosques, marking Ramadan's end. To learn about Syria, host Michel Martin speaks with members of Al Jazeera International and the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies.

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