1:33pm

Mon August 20, 2012
Participation Nation

A Simple Gesture In Paradise, Calif.

Cool green bags of food for the hungry from A Simple Gesture.
Courtesy of A Simple Gesture

In 2010, my wife Karen and I — inspired by the Ashland Food Project in Oregon — founded A Simple Gesture in Paradise, a small northern California town.

Simply stated: We give a donor a cool green shopping bag. Every time she goes shopping for her own groceries she buys one extra non-perishable item and puts it in the cool green bag. Every two months a volunteer picks up the bag at the home and gives her another.

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12:38pm

Mon August 20, 2012
Presidential Race

Ann Romney Adds Fire, Faith To Husband's Campaign

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 5:52 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, greet supporters during an Illinois primary victory party in March.
Scott Olson Getty Images

If you want to see how much Mitt and Ann Romney consider themselves a team, check out his official portrait at the Massachusetts Statehouse. He's the first governor to request that an image of his wife be included in the painting — he's posed beside a framed picture of her.

By all accounts, the Romneys consult each other on everything. So after a bruising campaign in 2008 that left Mrs. Romney openly disgusted by the process and vowing she would never do it again, it looked like that might be it for Mitt.

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12:35pm

Mon August 20, 2012
The Two-Way

Phyllis Diller, Legendary Comedian, Is Dead

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:48 pm

In this May 20, 1966 file photo, comedian Phyllis Diller appears in character in the ABC-TV comedy series "The Pruitts of Southampton."
AP

Phyllis Diller, who was known for her trademark self-deprecating humor and laugh, has died at 95.

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12:35pm

Mon August 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Todd Akin Fallout Spreads From Missouri To White House Race

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 6:28 pm

Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and his wife Lulli, talk with reporters last Thursday at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo. On Monday, Akin was resisting GOP calls to resign from his Senate race.
Orlin Wagner AP

After Republican Rep. Todd Akin's inflammatory comments over the weekend in which he blithely minimized rape-induced pregnancies, there are at least two inescapable questions:

1) What impact will his remark have on his U.S. Senate race in Missouri against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill?

2) And how much will the shockwaves buffet the presidential contest or other races elsewhere?

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12:29pm

Mon August 20, 2012
Remembrances

Comedy's Self-Deprecating Pioneer Phyllis Diller Dies

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Diller poses with a photo at her Los Angeles home in 2005.
Chris Pizzello AP

A queen of comedy has died. Phyllis Diller had audiences in stitches for more than five decades with her outlandish get-ups and rapid-fire one-liners. She died at her home, where she had been in hospice care after a fall. She was 95.

Diller was glamorously outrageous — or at least the character she created was glamorously outrageous, the one who wore wigs that made her look like she had her finger in an electrical outlet, who wore gaudy sequined outfits. She was known for her laugh and those nasty jokes about her dimwitted husband, "Fang."

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12:03pm

Mon August 20, 2012
Latin America

Dissident's Death Stirs A Drama In Cuba

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Oswaldo Paya, who challenged Cuba's communist regime for decades, died in a car crash on July 22. A Spanish man who was driving Paya has been charged with the equivalent of vehicular manslaughter. Here, a nun holds a portrait of Paya during his funeral in Havana.
Adalberto Roque AFP/Getty Images

The family of well-known Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who was killed in a car crash in July, claims that the Cuban government may have had a role in his death.

But as new details come to light, it appears that a European activist who came to help Paya ended up accidentally killing him on a trip gone horribly wrong.

Actually, two Europeans, both 27, were in the car with Paya at the time of his death. The Europeans had met through Facebook.

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12:00pm

Mon August 20, 2012
MY MIX TAPE

"Terrorist Threats" by Ab Soul

Joshua Bloom, from San Francisco's Visitacion Valley, chose this song  because it reaches people. 

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11:47am

Mon August 20, 2012
Election 2012

Medicare And Medicaid: How The Campaigns Differ

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 2:07 pm

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., discusses Medicare, Medicaid and the federal budget last year, in Kenosha, Wis.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Since GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, seems all we've been hearing about is Medicare and its future.

No surprise, of course: Ryan is the author of the GOP budget plan that would dramatically remake how the health care insurance program for seniors is managed and funded. He also calls for big changes to Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, including elderly Americans who have exhausted their means.

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11:42am

Mon August 20, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Planned Parenthood Windfall Funds Breast Health Expansion

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 2:05 pm

Radiologist Gerald Iba checks mammograms at The Elizabeth Center for Cancer Detection in Los Angeles in May 2010.
Damian Dovarganes AP

When the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure moved to cut funding for Planned Parenthood's work to screen women for breast cancer early this year, the reaction was swift and furious.

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11:30am

Mon August 20, 2012
Mental Health

Behind Mental Health Stigmas In Black Communities

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder has focused attention on the shame that sometimes accompanies mental health diagnoses in the African-American community. Psychiatrist William Lawson joins NPR's John Donvan to discuss why such a stigma exists.

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