5:23am

Thu August 2, 2012
National Security

Drones: From War Weapon To Homemade Toy

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 4:19 pm

In this Jan. 8, 2009, photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, a small Draganflyer X6 drone makes a test flight in Mesa County, Colo. with a Forward Looking Infrared payload. The drone, which was on loan to the sheriff's department from the manufacturer, measures about 36 inches from rotor tip to rotor tip, weights just over two pounds.
Mesa County Sheriff's Dept. AP

Drones transformed the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. But their use has been extremely limited in U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation Administration essentially bans the commercial use of drones, and government use is still highly restricted.

But that's changing.

For a long time, drones, which are formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, were exotic, expensive and out of reach for all but military users. Today, however, a clever hobbyist can have his own eye in the sky.

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5:23am

Thu August 2, 2012
Education

Families Make Big Changes To Pay For College

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 8:50 am

Emily Macri looks over a college brochure with her mother, Maureen O'Brien, in Kingman, Ariz. Macri is transferring to Northern Arizona University so that she can pay in-state tuition.
Courtesy of Emily Macri

Maureen O'Brien told her daughter Emily Macri: dream big.

She could pick any college she wanted and they would figure out a way to pay for it.

Macri chose the University of Vermont, which costs more than $49,000 in tuition and fees per year for out-of-state residents.

O'Brien and her daughter co-signed a private student loan from Sallie Mae for $24,000 and a $30,000 Parent PLUS loan, a federal loan program for parents. And that was just for Macri's first two years of college.

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5:23am

Thu August 2, 2012
Africa

A Diplomat's Extended Visit With Al-Qaida In Mali

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 11:54 am

Fowler notched his 130 days in al-Qaida captivity on his belt. He was held in north Africa in 2008-09.
Courtesy of Robert Fowler

For all the verbiage about al-Qaida over the past decade, only a tiny number of Westerners are actually speaking from firsthand experience. Robert Fowler, a former Canadian diplomat and U.N. envoy, is one of them.

In December 2008, Fowler and a U.N. colleague were traveling through a remote stretch of southwestern Niger, near the border with Mali, when gunmen forced them from the road.

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5:23am

Thu August 2, 2012
Around the Nation

Ariz. Activists Rally For Votes Against Sheriff Arpaio

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 9:17 am

Rosa Maria Soto protests Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio outside the federal courthouse on July 19 in Phoenix. It was the first day of a trial that accuses Arpaio's office of racially profiling Latinos.
Matt York AP

Testimony is scheduled to end Thursday in the racial-profiling suit against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff faces a class-action civil suit on behalf of Latino citizens and legal residents in Maricopa County.

The plaintiffs say deputies stopped and detained them because of the color of their skin. As lawyers fight Arpaio in the courtroom, activists outside are using the trial as a rallying point against the sheriff in his upcoming election.

'Adios Arpaio'

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5:13am

Thu August 2, 2012
Destination Art

Marfa, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 6:36 pm

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art that bask beneath vast desert skies. In the years since, Marfa has emerged as a hot spot for art tourism.
Art (c) Judd Foundation Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

This tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than an arts world station of the cross, like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It's a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum and the drugs.

"They speak about Marfa with the same kind of reverent tones generally reserved for the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Lourdes," notes Carolina Miranda, a writer who covers the art world.

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5:13am

Thu August 2, 2012
House & Senate Races

GOP Has Big Hopes For Missouri Senate Race

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 10:07 am

Former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman has earned the endorsement of Sarah Palin in her bid for a Republican Senate nomination.
Brian Naylor NPR

Republicans hope to win control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats in November, and one seat they have high hopes for is in Missouri.

Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is facing a tough re-election fight. Outside conservative groups have already been running ads against her. On Tuesday, Republicans will select their candidate for the fall.

Meet The Candidates

In Neosho, Mo., on the edge of the Ozarks, summertime in an election year can only mean one thing: the Newton County Republican Party's watermelon fest.

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7:09pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Music Reviews

The Very Best: A Band's Summer Escape With A Message

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 10:45 am

Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Swedish producer Johan Hugo met in a London thrift shop and soon became musical collaborators as The Very Best.
David Harrison

The high-tech pop intro to The Very Best's song "Kondaine" suggests a carefree summer party. There's Afropop uplift to the sound and Top 40 melodiousness to the vocal.

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6:56pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Books

Famous For His Hates: The Cool, Witty Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal arrives at the premiere of Alexander at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Calif., on Nov. 16, 2004.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Chris Bram is the author of the novel Gods and Monsters.

Gore Vidal was famous for his hates: academia, presidents, whole portions of the American public and, most notably, Truman Capote. Yet he could be incredibly generous to other writer friends. He wrote beautiful, appreciative essays about Tennessee Williams and Dawn Powell.

He was a man of many facets and endless contradictions.

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6:15pm

Wed August 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Adviser Defends Candidate's Statements About Palestinian Culture

Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 2:05 pm

Dan Senor, senior national security aide to Mitt Romney, speaks to the press en route to Israel from London on Saturday.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

A top foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended statements the Republican presidential candidate made in Israel about the cultural differences between Israelis and Palestinians.

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5:18pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Poetry Games

'The Wrestler' Grapples With Myth, Power And Love

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 10:15 am

Ron Tanovitz

A Muslim-American poet and novelist of Indian descent, Kazim Ali's work has been featured in Best American Poetry and the American Poetry Review. He teaches at Oberlin College.

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