Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.
And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.
To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.
Well, the Southeastern Conference season has begun. I have it on good authority that other college football teams around the country will also be playing games this fall.
I don't know when exactly the SEC took over America. I know this is hard to believe, but the epicenter of college football used to be in the Midwest. I'm so old, I can remember when Notre Dame actually mattered, and the real tough players were supposed to come from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
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Having spent much of the summer hammering Mitt Romney, President Obama is working to sell his record this week. Yesterday, administration spokesmen insisted that Americans are better off than they were four years ago.
INSKEEP: That's a change from the previous day's message, when key Obama backers would not make that claim. Yesterday, the president himself pointed to a success story.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Democrats hold their convention this week. And yesterday on this program, we heard one version of the challenge President Obama will face. Cokie Roberts said the president will need to talk of more than President Bush's failures and Mitt Romney's tax returns. He will face the challenge of defending his own record and speaking of what he'd do in four more years.