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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Today's Top Stories: Jobs Plan, Wildfires, Terror Threat

Good morning.

A lot's been happening since last evening, and we've already posted about:

-- Terror Threat Is 'A Tip,' And Isn't 'Rock-Solid'

-- Power Coming Back On In San Diego; Human Error Blamed

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Shots - Health Blog
7:00 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Medicare Chief Turns 65 And Qualifies For Coverage He Oversees

Today is a big day for Medicare Chief Donald Berwick. He turns 65. And now he is the first head of the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled to also be a beneficiary.

"I'm excited," he told Shots in a pre-birthday interview Thursday. "I feel like I'm in my 20s still. I don't feel 65. It's going to be a great day to celebrate."

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Fri September 9, 2011

President's Plan Would Have 'Substantial, Powerful Effect,' Geithner Says

Moments ago on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that if the Obama administration's latest jobs plan is enacted it should have a "substantial, powerful effect" on the economy.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Interpol Issues Arrest Warrants For Gadhafi And His Son

Interpol's online "wanted" poster for ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Interpol

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 6:01 am

The international police agency Interpol today issued "red notices" — arrest warrants, in effect — for ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his son Saf Al-Islam Gadhafi, and Libya's former director of military intelligence, Abdullah Al-Senussi.

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It's All Politics
5:54 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Did Obama's Jobs Speech Seize The 'Big Moment'?

President Obama's jobs speech on Thursday had been characterized in the wide world of punditry as his "Moment of Truth." His "Last Chance." His "Big Speech." His ... well, you get the picture.

There was a lot riding on the president's address to a joint session of Congress, in which he laid out an expansive and expensive — nearly $450 billion — plan to "jolt" the nation's anemic employment market.

To gauge Obama's performance in a speech pivotal to his efforts to win re-election next year, we turned to a couple of political media consultants for their takes.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Texas Wildfires: 'Aerial Assault' To Start Today

"Firefighters are planning their biggest aerial assault yet Friday of a massive wildfire that has raged for days across Central Texas, destroying nearly 1,400 homes and tens of thousands of acres of drought-parched land," The Associated Press writes.

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Port Authority Cops: Recovering From Sept. 11

Retired Port Authority Police officers Brian Patrick Tierney (left) and Kevin Devlin visited the World Trade Center site this week. Both men say it's been a struggle to adjust to normal life after losing friends and searching for remains at Ground Zero.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri September 9, 2011 6:01 am

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, inflicted the single greatest loss of life ever suffered by a police department in U.S. history. The department wasn't the New York Police — it was the less well-known Port Authority Police Department. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey polices the bridges and tunnels around New York, and it also was in charge of security at the Twin Towers. It's a small, tight-knit department, and it lost 37 officers that day.

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Business
10:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Amazon Agrees To Collect State Tax In California

Amazon and California have reached a deal on sales taxes. The online retailing giant, which doesn't collect sales taxes in the state has agreed to start collecting them a year from now.

Amazon has long enjoyed a huge advantage by not collecting the tax — like brick-and-mortar stores do. Consumers pay that much less for the same goods.

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

For U.S. Ambassador, A Decade On The Hot Seat

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan (shown here in a file photo from July 2010), says that while he understands Americans' feeling of war fatigue, leaving Afghanistan would have a far worse consequence: "If we think the war is expensive — and it is — it is a lot cheaper than another 9/11."
Presidential Palace AP

Since Sept. 11, 2001, no U.S. diplomat has spent more time in more sensitive places than Ryan Crocker. He was ambassador to Pakistan as that country struggled with political turmoil and violence; he was ambassador to Iraq as the U.S. military surge changed the complexion of the war; and now he is ambassador to Afghanistan.

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

'The Banality Of Evil': Following The Steps To Sept. 11

Ten years ago Friday morning, the men who would become the Sept. 11 hijackers were ready. They woke up on Sept. 9, 2001, in small motels along the East Coast. Their leader, Mohammed Atta, was one of the last ones on the move. He was checking in with the teams on his way to Boston.

The White House counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, was also at work that day. He was watching something happening in al-Qaida email chatter — he just didn't know what.

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:01 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Slain Priest: 'Bury His Heart, But Not His Love'

A mortally injured Father Mychal Judge is carried out of the World Trade Center by first responders, including Bill Cosgrove (in white shirt). Cosgrove says, "everybody you see in that picture was saved" from the North Tower's collapse, moments later.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Father Mychal Judge was a Franciscan friar and a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. He was also a true New York character. Born in Brooklyn, Mychal Judge seemed to know everyone in the city, from the homeless to the mayor.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Father Mychal arrived at the World Trade Center shortly after the first plane hit. And as firefighters and other rescue personnel ran into the North Tower, he went with them.

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Nearly 100,000 Told To Flee Flooding

Nearly 100,000 people from New York to Maryland were ordered to flee the rising Susquehanna River on Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee dumped more rain across the Northeast, closing major highways and socking areas still recovering from Hurricane Irene.

In downtown Binghamton, N.Y., water from the Susquehanna River flowed over retaining walls. In Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and the surrounding area, authorities ordered mandatory evacuations affecting 10,000 homes.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Obama's Message: 'Stop The Political Circus,' Pass His Jobs Plan Now

President Obama plans to tell the nation tonight that there is "nothing controversial" in his latest jobs program and he's set to tell Congress that it should be passed "right away."

"The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning," Obama will also say, according to excerpts of his address that were just released by the White House.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:45 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Hair Straightener Contains Dangerous Chemicals, FDA Says

FDA says beware Brazilian Blowout
Inga Ivanova iStockphoto.com

Nearly a year ago, we warned you that a popular hair product which turns frizzy locks smooth and luxurious may be endangering the health of the salon workers who use it. Well, now the Food and Drug Administration has made it official.

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Reporter's Notebook
2:26 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Boy Scouts Look Forward To New Site

Christopher Lechalk, 11, and Matthew Lechalk, 14, of the Fayetteville, W.Va., Boy Scouts say they are looking forward to the new camp.
Noah Adams NPR

I spent a few days in Fayetteville, W.Va., while recording interviews about the new scout camp being built nearby. I found myself longing to talk to some actual Boy Scouts — kids from the area who would surely be eager to see what the scout leaders had in mind for the opening in July 2013.

So I sat on a back porch with George Lechalk, a scoutmaster, and his sons Christopher, 11, and Matthew, 14.

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
2:16 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

For Young Afghans, History's Lessons Lost?

Afghanistan is a country of the young: According to best estimates, half the population was under age 10 when the Sept. 11 attacks took place a decade ago. Now, a generation of Afghans has very little knowledge about the events that so transformed their country. In this photo, Afghan children gather for school in Old Kabul, Aug. 25, 2010.
Yuri Cortez AFP/Getty Images

Afghanistan is, perhaps, the country most transformed by the Sept. 11 attacks. And yet most Afghans have no clear memories of those world-changing events because, according to best estimates, most of the country's current population was under the age of 10 at that time.

This generation of Afghans has gone from having no television or Internet to having access to a torrent of media information without much experience filtering truth from rumor.

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Africa
2:14 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Libyan Rebels Vie For Key Posts In Tripoli

Libyan rebel fighters raid a house in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday as they search for supporters of ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi. The rebel leadership is trying to get various rebel factions to work together to create a new government and security force.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

Rebel soldiers in the streets of Tripoli are still savoring the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi and his forces. But rebel commanders are facing the difficult task of uniting disparate militias and consolidating their powers.

By some accounts, members of a newly formed security council are spending more time vying for power among themselves than they are in ensuring security.

At a checkpoint in Tripoli, young men in scavenged military garb chant, "God is greatest."

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Humans
1:53 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

'Mosaic' Fossil Could Be Bridge From Apes To Humans

The fossil of Australopithecus sediba could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans. "It shows a small brain, but a brain that's beginning to reorganize in some ways that resemble our brain," says anthropologist Lee Berger.
Brett Eloff via Lee Berger University of Witwatersrand

A pair of fossils from a South African cave have scientists both excited and puzzled. Scientists say the fossils — an adult female and a juvenile — could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans.

The bones belong to creatures related to the famous Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia in the 1970s, but their owners lived more recently, just two million years ago.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:47 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Fewer Shots Of HPV Vaccine May Still Protect Against Cancer

Women who didn't get all three doses of HPV vaccine, as is recommended, were still protected against the virus that causes cervical cancer, a new study finds. If that result holds up, it could become easier and less expensive to protect women against this common form of cancer.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Dude, Change Your Number: Guy Says Woman Called Him 65,000 Times

Edward J Bock III iStockphoto.com

We had some questions after reading this, and unfortunately none have been answered in any of the stories so far:

"Dutch prosecutors are charging a 42-year-old woman with stalking after she allegedly called her ex-boyfriend 65,000 times in the past year." (The Associated Press)

First: Didn't the "ex-boyfriend," who's 62, change his number after, say, call No. 10,000 or so?

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Challenges To Health Law Rejected, But Decisions Don't Address Key Point

"In a win for the Obama administration, a federal appeals court in Virginia today tossed out two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the sweeping law overhauling the health care system," our colleague Scott Hensley writes over at the Shots blog.

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News
1:00 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Learn Lessons From Disasters? No, Thanks

The seemingly unbroken run of news this year about earthquakes, floods and wildfires will prompt lots of discussion about how and where houses get built, in hopes of making them safer.

But chances are that few regulatory changes will actually occur.

Rewriting the codes that regulate building practices is a long, drawn-out process that encounters push-back every step of the way from home builders and other property-rights advocates, because of their concern about the impact on the cost of construction.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:37 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Federal Court Rejects Two Challenges To Health Law

In a win for the administration, a federal appeals court in Virginia tossed two lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the sweeping law overhauling the health care system.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed cases brought by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Obama's Guest List Offers Clues To His Themes

Ever since President Reagan's 1982 State of the Union, part of the story of presidential addresses to Congress has been who gets invited to sit with the first lady in the gallery.

Reagan's A-list guest was Lenny Skutnik, who two weeks earlier was among the heroes who helped pull people from the icy waters of the Potomac River after an Air Florida jet crashed shortly following takeoff from National Airport (now known as Reagan National Airport).

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Around the Nation
11:46 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Boy Scouts Find New Home Amid Mountains

Here, an aerial shot of the future site of a Boy Scouts camp in West Virginia.
Noah Adams NPR

In West Virginia, an Appalachian mountain is being transformed into a vast Boy Scout camp. It's more than 10,000 acres and will cost the Boy Scouts of America more than $400 million to build The Summit Bechtel Reserve, also known simply as the Summit.

The year-round high-adventure camp will soon be the permanent home of the National Scout Jamboree — the next one is in 2013 — and the camp will host the 2019 World Jamboree. The Boy Scouts announced on Thursday that they received $85 million in new gifts to help the effort.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Thu September 8, 2011

On The Nevada Jobs Front, One Voice Of Hopelessness

We hear it over and over, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its jobs reports: Things out there are not getting any better for those looking for a job.

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Business
11:37 am
Thu September 8, 2011

What Will It Take To Get Companies Hiring Again?

Courtesy of Bob Mitchell

President Obama on Thursday will outline for Congress his new jobs-creation plan amid the grimmest employment picture in decades, with private sector hiring at a virtual standstill and state and local governments cutting jobs by the thousands to plug budget shortfalls.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Afghan Journalist Was Mistakenly Killed By U.S. Soldier, Report Concludes

Ahmad Omid Khpalwak, in an undated photo.
PAJHWOK AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 8, 2011 11:25 am

An Afghan journalist who was working at the time for the BBC was mistakenly killed by U.S. forces in late July, the allied military command in Afghanistan conceded today.

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Politics
11:04 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Federal Court Tosses Lawsuit Over Health Reform

A federal appeals court in Virginia has dismissed two lawsuits that had claimed President Obama's health care overhaul was unconstitutional.

The unanimous decision was issued Thursday by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It is the second appellate court ruling affirming the government's right to require individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. A federal appeals court in Cincinnati also upheld the law, but an appeals court in Atlanta struck down the insurance mandate.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Thousands Ordered Evacuated, As Rain Continues To Pound Northeast

The headline of today's Philadelphia Enquirer says it all:

Enough already with rain!

Philadelphia along with the rest of the Northeast has had a period of intense rainfall that in some places extends 10 days since the tropical cyclone Irene worked its way across the region.

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