Business
12:37 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Debt, Debt And More Debt: Is Democracy To Blame?

The marble statue of Plato stands in front of the Athens Academy in Athens. The ancient Greek philosopher had his doubts about democracy.
Dimitri Messinis AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:03 pm

High-profile experts are staging two separate Washington press conferences Tuesday to demand action on public-debt problems. One group is targeting state budget crises; the other, the federal budget mess.

If the ancient Greek philosopher Plato were still alive, he might hold a third press conference to declare: "It's hopeless. I told you so. Democracy will always degenerate into chaos because people will vote for their immediate self interests, not the long-term good."

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It's All Politics
12:36 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Romney Repeats No-New-Tax-Releases Stance, Defends Offshore Accounts

Mitt Romney leaves a fundraiser in Baton Rouge, La., on Monday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 6:15 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continued Tuesday to push back on calls to release more years of tax returns and defended keeping investments in offshore accounts — both issues that have been dogging his run for the White House.

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It's All Politics
12:22 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Obama Campaign Ad: Did Romney Pay 'Any Taxes At All' Some Years?

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:59 pm

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Afghanistan
12:22 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Old Mines Bring New Casualties In Afghanistan

An Afghan man rests after walking on his new artificial leg at the International Committee for the Red Cross Ortho Center in the eastern city of Jalalabad, last month. Many Afghans continue to be injured by mines.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:01 pm

Windblown villages of mud houses surround the huge Bagram Airfield north of Kabul. These poor villagers make a living in ways that can also kill them: They graze their animals or forage for scrap metal — often on a NATO firing range.

The East River Range dates to the 1980s, when the Soviet army occupied Afghanistan. It's full of mines, grenades and other ordnance that should have detonated during training exercises over the years. It sprawls along a mountainside and grazing areas. It's poorly marked, and only small sections are clearly identified by signs and concrete barriers.

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The Two-Way
12:16 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

U.S. Laboratory Breaks Laser Record, Delivering 500-Trillion-Watt Beam

The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility are the first step in increasing the energy of laser beams as they make their way toward the target chamber.
National Ignition Facility

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:32 pm

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced a record-breaking laser beam at its National Ignition Facility. The lab's system of 192 beams produced more than 500 trillion watts and 1.85 megajoules of laser light onto a 2-millimeter in diameter target.

And we know, those numbers sound like gibberish. But the laboratory puts it in every-day terms:

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Religion
11:54 am
Tue July 17, 2012

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:18 pm

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

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The Two-Way
11:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Republican Lawmakers Seek To Block Funding On Black Lung Regulation

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 6:33 pm

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have inserted into a broad appropriations bill language that would block funding for a Labor Department effort to reduce the occurrence of black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust.

The bill covers appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013 for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Tucked away deep inside the measure is this language:

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 11:56 am

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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Shots - Health Blog
10:50 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Health Insurance Prices For Women Set To Drop

Women pay extra for the coverage, but not for much longer.
iStockphoto.com

Any woman who has bought health insurance on her own probably didn't find herself humming the old show tune, "I Enjoy Being a Girl." That's because more than 90 percent of individual plans charge women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, a practice known as gender rating.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:45 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Atom Central/YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 2:23 pm

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