On the heels of the debt ceiling crisis, Congress has established a "super committee" to find ways to reduce America's debt. The twelve-member committee began work on debt-reduction strategies this week, aiming to come up with a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion by Thanksgiving of this year. But as lawmakers lock horns over where to find spending cuts, we've been asking our listeners for suggestions on how to fix the economy. One suggestion our listeners had was to boost housing prices.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to last week's riots by bringing in outside counsel. On Saturday, Cameron announced that he’ll be seeking advisement from Bill Bratton, an American policeman with a history of combating street crime. Bratton served as New York City police commissioner under Rudy Guiliani, and as chief of police in Los Angeles he overhauled the police department after the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The British media are calling Bratton a "supercop," but the British Police have not taken kindly to the announcement.
Voters separated wheat from chaff this weekend, at the Iowa straw poll. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the poll, while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a poor showing and cut his campaign short, removing himself from the GOP roster. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy Saturday, and Sarah Palin attracted big crowds at the Iowa State Fair, further shaking up the GOP roster. This week, President Obama is also in the midwest, on a bus tour of Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. He's planning to sharpen his messaging against Republicans on the handling of the economy and jobs creation.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped pictures of what appears to be flowing liquid water on the surface of the red planet. The pictures, which were taken over the past five years, show what look like seasonal patterns of flow, in which a spring surge trickles down the side of the crater throughout the summer, then dries up in winter. Though frozen water has been found on Mars, near the polar ice caps, liquid water is different. The presence of liquid water on the Martian surface would open the possibility of taking samples and finding living microbes. NASA may eventually be able to bring home and study the first known evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday that Congress has struck a deal to fund the Federal Aviation Administration, ending a weeks-long partisan impasse that kept 4,000 FAA workers off the job, and tens of thousands out of work in airport construction. The Senate will ensure that a deal can be made before lawmakers leave for August vacation, and the bill will fund the agency through September 16.
The oil and gas industry drills natural gas wells with a technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And for decades, both industry executives and regulators have maintained that it’s safe. In an appearance before congress in January of last year, Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, claimed that "there is not one, not one, reported case of a fresh water aquifer having ever been contaminated from hydraulic fracturing, not one." Now, there is one.
The five countries of the Horn of Africa are experiencing the worst declared drought in 60 years. What was a serious problem with the weather has become a humanitarian crisis in Somalia where over 60 percent of the country is controlled by militias who have been hampering the access of aid groups.
With the debt deal in place, our Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich looks to what the political costs may be — and what groups have been pitted against each other for 2012. (Troops vs. Medicare? Wealthy Americans vs. Troops?) How will this debate play out for the Republican presidential candidates? Plus, what will we see before 2012, when the next deficit reduction package has to pass in the fall of this year?
Temperatures will be in the 90s today across the country, as the heat wave that has been stifling the Midwest begins to move east. The National Weather Service reported yesterday that at least 22 people have died from the heat, and 141 million more are under heat warnings or advisories. With the heat wave reaching this lethal level, is there technology in the U.S. that we should be using to battle it?
The mood was bittersweet in Cape Canaveral. this morning, as the space shuttle Atlantis landed, bringing NASA's 30-year-old shuttle program to a close. A permanent marker will be placed on the runway where Atlantis touched down just before 6:00 AM EDT. In its final mission, the 135th of the shuttle program, Atlantis brought supplies to the International Space Station. With the end of the shuttle era, NASA's involvement in future space flight has been called into question.
We’re exactly two weeks away from the August 2 deadline for lawmakers to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. If Congress can’t come to an agreement by then, the U.S. may default on its loans, and that could likely mean losing our Aaa bond rating. But with debt ceiling negotiations seemingly at a standstill, Moody’s Investor Service has suggested eliminating the debt ceiling altogether.
For almost 40 years, conventional wisdom has been that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. "Serotonin" is a household word, along with Prozac, Zyprexa, and Zoloft. But recently, there's been a vigorous debate within the medical community over whether that line of thinking is accurate. This summer Marcia Angell, a physician, senior lecturer at Harvard, and former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, wrote in the New York Review of Books that the chemical-imbalance model of mental illness may be ineffective at best — and harmful, at worst.
Three bombs blasted through Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, leaving at least 21 dead and 113 injured. The homemade bombs exploded within 15 minutes of each other, in a coordinated attack that targeted the busiest districts of the country's economic capital. The worst casualties were at Zaveri Bazaar, a gem and jewelry district. There were also explosions in the Dadar neighborhood and at the Opera House business district. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.
It's day twelve of the Minnesota government shutdown, now the longest state government shutdown in U.S. history. On the first of July, after Minnesota's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders failed to enact a new budget, the state sent home 22,000 state workers and closed 66 state parks. All but the most essential services were put on pause. Even the websites are closed.
President Obama will resume talks today with top House and Senate leaders, in an attempt to reach an agreement over deficit reduction. Obama met with leaders from both parties for an hour and fifteen minutes last night, but little progress was made. The president continues to vie for a bold package that would require new taxes and entitlement cuts, while Republicans insist on a more modest plan and oppose tax increases. They're aiming to reach an agreement by August 2.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says there needs to be a public inquiry into allegations that the NewsCorp.-owned newspaper News of the World hacked mobile phones to listen to voicemails of murder and terrorism victims. The latest allegation against the Murdoch tabloid is that a private investigator employed by the paper hacked into the personal accounts of family members of soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
When a soldier dies in a combat zone, the family can expect certain official gestures. Men in uniform will fire a salute. A flag will be folded into a neat triangle. And a letter will arrive, signed by the president, expressing thanks for their loved one's service to the country, and condolences for their loss. That is, unless a soldier died by their own hand.
With gas prices on the rise, and energy policy in the headlines, both consumers and governments have reason to be happy about GM’s new hybrid, the Chevy Volt. The car is still in limited supply, and it’s pretty expensive — near $50,000. But for those who can get their hands on a brand new Chevy Volt, the government has added an incentive — a tax rebate of $7,500. However, as Mary Chapman writes in The New York Times "Wheels" blog, that deal may have been a little too sweet. Car dealers across the country have begun snatching up the rebate for themselves, and leaving their customers in the dust.
Stocks plummeted Wednesday after reports that the U.S. factory sector experienced its biggest one-month drop off in May since 1984. Weak factory sector figures, combined with dreary manufacturing data from around the world, and continuing high unemployment doesn't just present a political problem for the Obama White House. Some economists worry the economy could face a "double-dip" recession. "Financial crises are followed by slow recoveries," says Kelly Evans, "Ahead of the Tape" columnist for The Wall Street Journal.
The Tunisian revolt was inspired by Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old fruit vendor who set himself on fire after police officers confiscated his cart. In Egypt, the revolution was kindled by the beating death of Khaled Said, an ordinary Alexandrian. Now, Syrian protesters may have found a martyr to unite under: 13-year-old Syrian boy Hamzah Al-Khatib. Ian Black, Middle East Editor for The Guardian says "what's happening in Syria is really happening without the scrutiny of the international media," so there's been no way to verify the size of the protests or those loyal to the regime.