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6:49 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Foreign Policy: Influencing A Murderer's Manifesto

Two young women stand in silence after placing flower near Sundvollen close to the Utoya island, near Oslo, Norway, Tuesday, July 26, 2011, where a gunman Anders Behring Breivik killed at least 68 people. The defense lawyer for the man who confessed to the mass killings told The Associated Press on Tuesday that there's no way his client will walk free and is likely insane.
Ferdinand Ostrop AP

Phillip Longman, a fellow at the New America Foundation, is author of The Empty Cradle: Why Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It.

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Opinion
6:43 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Weekly Standard: Going Forward, Five Fiscal Lessons

Tax hikes and spending cuts are one of the most contentious parts of the budget debate in Washington.
iStockphoto.com

Fred Barnes is the executive editor for The Weekly Standard.

We've learned a lot from the fight to attach spending cuts to the debt limit increase. Here are five of the lessons:

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Opinion
6:43 am
Tue August 2, 2011

New Republic: Capitulate In Debt Debate? Not Clinton

President Clinton, accompanied by sixth grade students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Va., gestures while speaking in the Oval Office of the White House Monday Dec. 18, 1995 after vetoing two spending bills. With negotiators mired in a broader budget debate, the president vetoed the bills arguing they would undermine the nation's environment.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Kara Brandeisky is an intern at The New Republic.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Deepening Crisis In Somalia; Crackdown Continues In Syria

Good morning!

As we wrote earlier, the big news of the day is the debt ceiling compromise that's making its way through Congress. We'll be following that story throughout the day, but here are some other headlines:

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Amid Grumbling From Both Sides, Senate Scheduled To Vote On Debt Deal

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks with reporters after the House voted to raise the debt ceiling.
Win McNamee Getty Images

After the House passed the debt ceiling deal with a surprising lopsided 269-161 vote, yesterday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill at noon, today. If it passes, it heads to the president's desk and with a signature the debt ceiling is immediately raised by $400 billion. And it would all happen just hours before the day the Treasury said the country would run out of money.

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Politics
5:37 am
Tue August 2, 2011

After 15 Years, GOP Revives Balanced Budget Idea

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole on Capitol Hill on March 1, 1995 after he came up one vote short in his quest to pass a balanced budget amendment in the Senate.
John Duricka ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's an idea whose time may have come again.

There was lively debate about amending the Constitution to require a balanced budget throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, but the issue seemed to die off in the face of the federal surpluses that marked the end of the Clinton years.

"The reason it fell off the radar screen then is we actually did it," says Robert S. Walker, who served on the House Budget Committee as a Pennsylvania Republican during the Clinton administration. "We simply said, look, if it's not possible to pass the amendment, let's balance the budget."

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Europe
3:00 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Some Worry French Military Stretched Too Thin

France has been engaged on numerous military fronts this year as the country's armed forces back up President Nicolas Sarkozy's active foreign policy. The French military's quick success in ousting Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was lauded, but other interventions — like the one in Libya — drag on, leaving many to wonder if public support and the country's budget will be able to keep pace.

Analysts say the French military is in crisis, strained by restructuring and budget cuts, and tested by three simultaneous conflicts abroad.

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Energy
2:59 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Worries Over Water As Natural Gas Fracking Expands

Workers move a section of well casing into place at a natural gas drilling rig near Burlington, Pa. The industry is expected to drill as many as 10,000 new wells in the next few years.
Ralph Wilson AP

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 12:24 pm

Drive through northern Pennsylvania and you'll see barns, cows, silos and drilling rigs perched on big, concrete pads.

Pennsylvania is at the center of a natural gas boom. New technology is pushing gas out of huge shale deposits underground. That's created jobs and wealth, but it may be damaging drinking water. That's because when you "frack," as hydraulic fracturing is called, you pump millions of gallons of fluids underground. That cracks the shale a mile deep and drives natural gas up to the surface — gas that otherwise could never be tapped.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Pays House A Surprise Visit For Debt Vote

The House of Representatives' vote to approve a bill raising the U.S. federal debt ceiling ended weeks of uncertainty and bitter debate. But even as the vote tally came in, the loudest cheers in the chamber were heard when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) made her first appearance on the House floor since she was severely wounded by a gunman in January.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

House Approves Bill To Raise Federal Debt Limit

The House voted Monday to extend the federal debt limit and enact spending cuts. Here, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrives for a meeting with House Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden at the Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The House of Representatives has approved legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling and prevent a possible U.S. default, as the nation moves toward ending a bitter standoff.

The bill passed by a vote of 269 to 161; it required only a simple majority to pass.

A loud round of applause broke out on the House floor as the votes came in — apparently prompted by the sudden appearance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

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The Two-Way
3:57 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Obama, U.N Secretary-General, E.U. Condemn Syria After Deadly Attacks

A pro-Islamic human rights group chants slogans as they call for the removal of Syrian president Bashar al Assad and his regime during a demonstration outside the Syrian Embassy in Ankara.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned Syria's use of violence against anti-government protesters, urging Damascus to halt its military attacks on those unhappy with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. In a statement, Ban said that Syrian officials "are accountable under international human rights law for all acts of violence perpetrated by them against the civilian population."

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The Two-Way
3:29 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Killing Bin Laden 'Like Mowing The Lawn,' SEAL Tells Journalist

Policemen stand guard outside the compound used as a hideout by Osama bin Laden, the day after a U.S. raid killed the al Qaida leader in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

The SEAL mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was in doubt for around a full minute after one of its helicopters crash-landed at the al-Qaida leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That and other details are in Nicholas Schmidle's account of the raid, in a piece in The New Yorker.

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It's All Politics
3:01 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Carl '60 Cent' Kasell And The Debt Ceiling

Carl "60 Cent" Kasell brings the pain as he explains the debt ceiling.
Illustration by Nelson Hsu

Confused by all the details about the debt ceiling?

NPR's legendary newscaster Carl "60 Cent" Kasell explains everything...in a RAP! (be gentle people, this was a rush job)

We've included the lyrics so that you can sing along:

Here's a little lesson,

Sit back for just a bit

Here's how we make a dollar out of 60 cents

It started years ago,

In 1917

Congress set a limit

On the U.S. Treasury

It capped what they could borrow

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Politics
2:52 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

FAA Debate Puts Subsidized Rural Airports At Risk

Construction crews at a new air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport were told on July 19 to stop working after the U.S. House refused to reauthorize routine funding of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Construction projects at airports around the country have stopped and 4,000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration are furloughed, all because Congress couldn't agree on an extension of the agency's authority to operate.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FAA, indicates he will offer a plan as soon as Monday night to end the shutdown. Rockefeller's plan includes cuts in air service subsidies to some rural communities.

Those subsidies keep commercial aviation service in rural areas that would otherwise be isolated.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:22 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Infants Got Modest Cold Relief, If Mom Took DHA While Pregnant

Diego Cervo iStockphoto.com

DHA has become the "it" nutritional supplement for pregnant women and babies, marketed as an elixir that that will make a child bigger, stronger, smarter, healthier and more coordinated.

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Science And Medicine
2:16 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Stigma Hinders Treatment For Postpartum Depression

Dorothy Mwesiga with her third child. Mwesiga was treated with antidepressant drugs and talk therapy for her postpartum depression.
Joanne Silberner for NPR

When Heidi Koss picks up her daughter Bronwen from middle school in a Seattle suburb, it's completely routine: They chat about kickball and whether Bronwen ate the muffin her mother packed for breakfast.

But 10 years ago when Bronwen was born, things were anything but ordinary, says Koss.

"I felt nothing toward my baby," says Koss. "One day I woke up and I didn't care about her."

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Economy
2:03 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Despite Deal, Credit Downgrade Still A Possibility

Congress' tentative deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts, far short of the $4 trillion in deficit reductions proposed earlier in the process.

And that keeps the doors open to a potential downgrade in the country's credit rating. Of the three major ratings agencies, Standard & Poor's toed the hardest line on a possible downgrade to U.S. debt.

Last month, S&P said there was a 50 percent chance the U.S. could lose its top AAA rating if Congress failed to come up with a "credible agreement to reduce the debt."

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America's Mayors: Governing In Tough Times
1:59 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Redondo Beach: Unusual Leadership Dodges Red Ink

While much of California is struggling financially, the city of Redondo Beach has managed to stay out of the red.
The City of Redondo Beach

Part 4 of a 6-part series

The wall in the hallway outside the Redondo Beach Mayor's Office kind of says it all: There is row after row of smiling faces. Almost all male. All pale. Some blond, some gray. All very indicative of what many Americans still think of when you say "California beach city," until the last photo in the last row.

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The Two-Way
1:42 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

S.C. Loses Civil Rights Legend Judge Matthew Perry

In 2004, the federal courthouse where U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry worked was named after him. Here, Perry speaks at the dedication ceremony.
Lou Krasky AP

The state of South Carolina has lost a leading light of its Civil Rights transformation, as U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry died this past weekend. Perry, who spurred social and educational integration, would have celebrated his 90th birthday this week.

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Asia
12:46 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

China Aims To Renew Status As Scientific Superpower

A researcher works at the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics in central China's Hubei province on June 9. Beijing's spending on research and development has increased over the past few years in an effort to re-establish the country's scientific prowess.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 3, 2011 3:32 pm

First in a three-part series

China was probably the world's earliest technological superpower, inventing the plow, the compass, gunpowder and block printing. Then, science in the Middle Kingdom languished for centuries.

Until 1893, the Chinese didn't even have a word for "science." That was when a Japanese term originally made its way into the Chinese language, a symbol of just how much of a latecomer China was to modern science.

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The Two-Way
12:33 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Exploring Asteroid Belt

NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image of the giant asteroid Vesta with its framing camera on July 24, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 3,200 miles.
NASA

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has started beaming back pictures of the second largest body in the Asteroid belt that's between Mars and Jupiter. The images are the first of the asteroid Vesta, which is about the size of Colorado, and they are stunning:

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The Two-Way
11:51 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Colleges For Partying, Eating, And Learning (If You Must)

College students aid a colleague as he performs a keg stand in this file photo. Princeton Review released its new list of top party schools in America Monday.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 12:16 pm

For the second year in a row, two universities in towns named Athens are at the top of the Party Schools rankings put out by the Princeton Review. But this year, Ohio University topped the University of Georgia for the No. 1 spot.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:19 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Feds Order Insurers To Cover Birth Control Free Of Charge To Women

Before long, almost all insurers will have to cover birth control pills at no charge to women.
iStockphoto.com

Even though the decision was widely expected, there's no denying the news is still a pretty big deal. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted in full the women's health recommendations issued two weeks ago by the independent Institute of Medicine.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:27 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Food On A Plate Shouldn't Move

YouTube

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 12:07 pm

There should be a law that says food on a plate shouldn't move.

Especially when you're about to eat it.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon August 1, 2011

CBO: Budget Compromise Would Cut At Least $2.1 Trillion

Originally published on Mon August 1, 2011 10:46 am

The independent Congressional Budget Office has finished scoring the budget compromise reached by President Obama and Congressional leaders, yesterday.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, the CBO reports that because of budget caps, the legislation would reduce budget deficits by $917 billion between 2012 and 2021 and because of spending cuts, it would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. That's a $2.1 trillion cut over the next ten years. Using another projection, it found the cuts could amount to at least $2.3 billion.

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Economy
10:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Debt Agreement Is An Answer But No Solution?

President Obama and congressional leaders reached an agreement Sunday to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. The plan raises the debt ceiling and cuts more than $2 trillion from government spending over a decade. The Senate is expected to vote on it today. To learn more about the deal, host Michel Martin speaks with U.S. News and World Report's Mary Kate Cary and The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart.

Can I Just Tell You?
10:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Debt Talks: Getting Locked In And Driving Out

How is negotiating a federal spending plan like getting out of a crowded parking lot?
iStockphoto

I was trying to keep track of the negotiations over raising the debt ceiling this weekend, and all of a sudden, it reminded me of an incident I had in a parking garage near my house last year.

It was late spring or summer, and it was hot. I had the kids with me, and we were finished doing whatever it was we were doing, and we were ready to go home. We jumped into the car and tried to head out. But we could not.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Mon August 1, 2011

It's Hot Out There, But Dallas Is Hotter

July was scorching. The National Weather Service says it was the warmest month on record in Washington, D.C.(84.5) Oklahoma City (89.2) and Wichita Falls (92.9). And the stifling heat will continue in the Southern and Central Plains, this week.

But as you wipe that sweat off your brow, think about Dallas. The city is in the midst of a 30-day streak of triple-digit temperatures. That is the second hottest streak in history.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Manufacturing Hits Lowest Level In 2 Years

The markets reacted positively to the debt ceiling deal this morning, but bad news on the manufacturing level sent them lower.

The Institute for Supply Management announced that manufacturing activity barely grew in July. The AP reports:

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Politics
8:39 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Congress Gears Up For Possible Debt Deal Votes

Vice President Biden walks through the Senate Subway on his way to meetings at the U.S. Capitol on Monday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

House and Senate leaders prepared for possible votes Monday on the tentative deal to raise the government's debt ceiling and prevent a U.S. default.

Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the votes could come as early as Monday evening, depending on the outcome of meetings with members. Cantor's office said the House would go first.

The agreement gained momentum in the Senate on Monday after months of partisan rancor.

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