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.
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:
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.
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.
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."
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 Posttold of decrepit housing and wounded soldiers left to fend for themselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.