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In an interview with CBS' The Early Show, the head of the Democratic party said they expect Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) to "come back to help us full time."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said the Democratic National Committee was prepping for a re-election bid in case Giffords decides to run.

One Final Hurdle: Debt-Ceiling Bill Faces Senate Vote

Aug 2, 2011

It seems to be all over but the voting.

Hours before the deadline to avert a U.S. default, the Senate was expected to pass legislation Tuesday in time to send it to President Obama and end the self-inflicted debt-ceiling crisis that has shaken confidence in the nation's credit and its political leaders.

The compromise bill, which easily passed the House on Monday night, is virtually assured to clear the Senate by a bipartisan tally. The president has promised to sign it into law almost immediately.

The battle over the debt ceiling may be over, but Congress remains deeply divided.

"Republicans are now taking a well-deserved victory lap while the Democrats are in a state of near total dejection," says journalist Robert Draper. "The Republicans got some cuts, they kept some revenue off the table but most of all, what they've done is dramatically shift the ethos in Washington."

FDA: Wake Up, People, Those Lazy Brownies Are Unsafe

Aug 2, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration has given the maker of Lazy Larry relaxation brownies a wake-up call.

The Associated Press reported the agency has warned HBB LLC, the Memphis-based company that sells the brownies, that the melatonin in them has not been deemed a safe food additive. And the FDA says it can seize the brownies, which it considers adulterated, if HBB keeps making and selling them.

The Japanese women's soccer team stunned the United States a few weeks ago. After a tense match in which Team America seemed to have the upper hand throughout, Japan leveled the game with a late equalizer and then went on to win a penalty shootout.

As we reported yesterday, the FBI jump-started D.B. Cooper mania with its revelation it has a new suspect in the unsolved skyjacking that occurred 40 years ago this November.

New details continue to trickle out with each interview with FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt. Among the new bits of information about the man who may or may not prove to be D.B. Cooper:

-- The "suspect" died more than 10 years ago of natural causes

After last night's vote on the debt ceiling compromise, the House adjourned for the summer but left nearly 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees, who have been furloughed because of a funding impasse, in limbo.

Reuters reports that because of the House recess and the fact that a compromise in the Senate faltered last night, it is now near certain that the FAA could be shut down through August.

Mary Jo Kane is the director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota.

"The newest kid on the women's sports block is finding that the old formula for attention-getting is as robust as ever. 'Sex sells,' says Atlanta Beat defender Nancy Augustyniak, who was astonished to learn she finished third in a Playboy.com poll of the sexiest female soccer players." — Wendy Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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:

Kara Brandeisky is an intern at The New Republic.

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:

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.

After 15 Years, GOP Revives Balanced Budget Idea

Aug 2, 2011

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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

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.

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.

Stigma Hinders Treatment For Postpartum Depression

Aug 1, 2011

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."

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."

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.

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.

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.

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Exploring Asteroid Belt

Aug 1, 2011

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:

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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