Mon July 2, 2012

Lack Of Electricity Dims Afghan Economic Prospects

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 2:38 pm

Afghanistan produces about half the power it currently uses and imports the other half from neighboring countries. But that total still doesn't meet the country's demands. This photo shows Kabul at night in January.
Jawad Jalali EPA/Landov

Afghanistan desperately needs to jump-start its economy if it hopes to stand on its own after NATO's drawdown in 2014. But there's a major constraint for a country trying to build a modern economy: electricity shortages.

Afghanistan ranks among the countries with the lowest electricity production per capita in the world. Despite billions of dollars in projects over the past decade, at best one-third of the population has access to regular power.

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Mon July 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Judge Rules Twitter Must Turn Over Occupy Protester's Messages

An interesting technological case has emerged from the Occupy Wall Street protests of last fall. At issue is whether prosectors can simply subpoena the tweets of Malcom Harris, one of about 700 protesters arrested last year while walking on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. had already ruled on this once before saying Harris had no jurisdiction to challenge the subpoena because his tweets belonged to Twitter.

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Mon July 2, 2012

"Wind of Change" by Scorpions

This song reminds Mike Marshall of an important political shift he witnessed in Albania. 


Mon July 2, 2012
Book Talk

Book Talk July 8, 2012

Christopher Buckley

Alan talks with Christopher Buckley about his new satirical novel, "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?"


Mon July 2, 2012
The Two-Way

European Giant Airbus Set To Open First American Plant In Alabama

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 12:51 pm

Airbus President & CEO Fabrice Bregier, second from left, shakes hands with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley as they pose with a model of the A320 Airbus.
Dave Martin AP

Airbus, the European aviation giant, announced that it was opening its first assembly plant in the United States.

The AP reports this is a significant and symbolic step in its rivalry with the American Boeing.

The AP adds:

"The French-based company said the Alabama plant is expected to cost $600 million to build and will employ 1,000 people when it reaches full production, likely to be four planes a month by 2017.

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Mon July 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Gatorade And Cheetos: Blackout In Small-Town West Virginia

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 12:28 pm

Members of the Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department were unable to find fuel at a station in Crawley, W.Va. Elsewhere, people waited in line for hours for the chance to fill up.
Alan Greenblatt NPR

People who show up at the Shell station in Crawley, W.Va., hoping to find ice, water or a working bathroom are out of luck. With no power to work the pumps, there's no hope of buying gas, either.

Still, a steady stream of customers arrived at the station Sunday evening, picking up snack cakes and 12-packs of Bud Light. A couple of women left the food store with little kids in tow holding Gatorade and Cheetos, which seems like a suitable supper when the food in your home freezer has started to go bad.

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Mon July 2, 2012
The Two-Way

CBS News: Roberts Switched His Vote On Health Care

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 11:55 am

The U.S. Supreme Court justices (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.
Supreme Court

It was much rumored as soon as the 5-4 decision that upheld President Obama's signature health care law was announced.

Chief Justice John Roberts had sided with the liberal wing of the court and he had done so after initially voting in favor of striking down the individual mandate, the part of the law the required every American to obtain health care.

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Mon July 2, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Glaxo To Plead Guilty To 3 Charges In Sweeping Health Settlement

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 6:15 am

GlaxoSmithKline's mishandling of information on safety problems with diabetes drug Avandia is just one of the violations cited in a settlement with the government.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

If you've grown numb to the federal fraud charges settled by drugmakers one after another, shake it off and take note of today's huge settlement by GlaxoSmithKline.

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Mon July 2, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

Assessing The Supreme Court's Recent Term

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 11:43 am

The U.S. Supreme Court justices (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan — pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

An eventful term of the U.S. Supreme Court ended Thursday with the landmark 5-4 ruling affirming the legality of the Affordable Care Act. Much attention has focused on the pivotal role of Chief Justice John Roberts in the case — and whether some elements of his opinion in the health care ruling will have a conservative influence on future cases.

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Mon July 2, 2012
The Two-Way

Anderson Cooper Confirms: 'I'm Gay'

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 5:39 am

CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

"The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn't be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

That's CNN's Anderson Cooper in an email to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, which Sullivan posted this morning.

Why say that now? As Cooper says in the email, he's been asked "the gay question" before about what had been an open secret for years and not publicly addressed it.

Now, he says in the email:

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