Fiscal Cliff Notes
2:24 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Could Hit Civilian Pentagon Workers First

A Marine Corp F-35B Joint Strike Fighter lands at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland in 2011. Analysts say that if mandatory Pentagon budget cuts are imposed next year, fewer new planes could ultimately be ordered.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:23 pm

Unless Congress acts, the Defense Department faces some $55 billion in cuts after the first of the year. The cuts are part of what's known as sequestration — automatic across the board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense government spending set in motion by last year's debt-ceiling fight.

Salaries for uniformed personnel are the one major thing that's protected. Otherwise, it's about a 10 percent cut to everything from Pentagon civilian staff to the acquisition of multimillion-dollar aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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Law
6:13 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Supreme Court Questions UT's Affirmative Action Plan

Abigail Fisher, the Texan involved in the University of Texas affirmative action case, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:25 pm

Affirmative action in higher education appeared to take a potentially lethal hit on Wednesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments testing the constitutionality of a race-conscious admission program at the University of Texas, Austin.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Honoring Slain SEAL's Mom's Request, Romney Will Drop Story On Stump

This undated photo provided by Mark and Kate Quigley shows Glen Doherty, who died in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
AP

The campaign of Gov. Mitt Romney says the Republican presidential candidate will no longer tell the story of meeting Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was killed during the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Romney revealed during his stump speeches that he met Doherty at a Christmas party he crashed in his San Diego neighborhood.

In a campaign event in Iowa, yesterday, Romney choked up when he retold the story.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Man Involved With Muhammad Film Denies He Violated Probation

This Sept. 27, file courtroom sketch shows Mark Basseley Youssef, right, talking with his attorney Steven Seiden in court.
Mona Shafer Edwards AP

A man who admitted he was involved in the making of the film Innocence of Muslims says he did not violate his probation.

Mark Basseley Youssef made a court appearance today not for making the film that resulted in protests throughout the Muslim world but for his 2010 conviction of bank and credit card fraud, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:48 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Romney's Remarks On Abortion Cause A Stir

Mitt Romney's comments on abortion have surprised those on both sides of the issue.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 8:22 am

Just how many abortion positions does Mitt Romney have? Once again, that answer is unclear.

This time the confusion began Tuesday, during a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register.

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It's All Politics
4:44 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

'I Was Just Too Polite,' Says Obama, Vowing To Hit Hard At Next Debate

President Obama promised to take it to Mitt Romney in future debates.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

No more Mr. Nice Guy. That was essentially what President Obama told Tom Joyner, the black-radio megahost, to expect at upcoming presidential debates.

On Wednesday, the president explained that his main mistake at last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney was an excess of gentility.

Obama's self-critique, such as it was, came in response to a Joyner question:

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Opinion
4:32 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Listeners Take Stock Of Affirmative Action

A word cloud of listener responses to the question, "Is there still a place for affirmative action in 2012, and why?"
NPR via Wordle

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:53 am

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that could put an end to policies that take race into account in college admissions decisions.

NPR's All Things Considered recently asked listeners if there is still a place for affirmative action policies in America today. Below are just a few responses from among the more than 50 received.

'Still A Need'

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Science
4:31 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Two Americans Share Nobel Prize In Chemistry

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:57 pm

Two Americans have won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Koblika were awarded the prize for their work on protein receptors that tell cells what's going on around the human body. Their research has allowed drug makers to develop medication with fewer side effects. The pair with share the $1.2 million award.

The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

A Rare Case: Canadian Navy Officer Pleads Guilty To Selling Secrets To Russians

Sub.-Lt. Jeffrey Delisle is escorted into Nova Scotia provincial court in Halifax in June.
Mike Dembeck AP

Canada is not used to high profile spy cases. But today there is news that the country has tried its first successful case using the Security of Information Act. And it's quite the case.

The CBC reports that a Navy sub lieutenant pleaded guilty to selling secrets to Russia. Canadian Forces Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, the CBC reports, simply walked into the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and offered to work for them.

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Religion
3:58 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Sisters And Vatican II: A Generational Tug Of War

A nun chants while she and her sisters pray together during Vespers at their home near Dumfries, Va. Unlike older sisters shaped by Vatican II, a new generation of women are flocking to more conservative orders.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty NPR

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:37 pm

Fifty years ago, Pope John XXIII launched a revolution in the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council opened on Oct. 11, 1962, with the goal of bringing the church into the modern world. Catholics could now hear the Mass in their local language. Laypeople could take leadership roles in the church. And the church opened conversations with other faiths.

For American nuns, Vatican II brought freedoms and controversies that are playing out today.

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