12:01am

Thu September 1, 2011
Politics

Labor's Criticism Of Obama Grows Louder

Organized labor is traditionally one of the strongest sources of money and organizing power for Democrats, but lately union leaders have strongly criticized President Obama.

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12:01am

Thu September 1, 2011
Economy

Will Consumer Queasiness Drag Down The Economy?

Customers shop for kitchen appliances at a Home Depot store in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

When it comes to the economy, there's lots to worry about: Jobs, home prices, debt. And all those concerns seemed to have come together in the latest snapshot of consumer confidence — it plunged to its lowest level in two years.

The concern is that a country full of increasingly pessimistic consumers will stop spending and undermine the recovery.

But the relationship between consumer confidence and spending habits isn't at all straightforward.

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Ron Elving is the NPR News' Senior Washington Editor directing coverage of the nation's capital and national politics and providing on-air political analysis for many NPR programs.

Elving can regularly be heard on Talk of the Nation providing analysis of the latest in politics. He is also heard on the "It's All Politics" weekly podcast along with NPR's Ken Rudin.

7:46pm

Wed August 31, 2011
It's All Politics

Washington Partisans Pick Up Right Where They Left Off

Job creation may be the biggest issue facing the nation this fall, but it's not what set off the latest test of wills between the White House and Republican leaders of Congress today.

The president's promised speech on job creation could be a pivotal event in itself, but it's not what caused the latest outbreak of stunning childishness in Washington.

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7:12pm

Wed August 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Physicists Test For Most Efficient Way To Board A Plane

It's an age old question: What's the easiest way to board a plane? In this 1933 picture, passengers wait to board a new passenger service between London and Paris.
Davies Getty Images

It's obvious. Everyone knows that the way you should board a plane is to start from the back and work your way to the front. Then again, every airline seems to think otherwise, because some do it front to back, others board you by "groups," and others board window seats, then middle seats, then aisle seats.

Well, physicists at the prestigious Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics just released a study (pdf) that says we're all wrong. Boarding planes by sequential rows is one of the least effective methods, they found.

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5:58pm

Wed August 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Texas A&M Asks To Leave Big 12 Conference

Texas A&M notified the Big 12 Conference that it had intentions to play elsewhere. In a press release, the College Station, Texas university said if it is accepted in another conference, it would end its Big 12 membership on June 30, 2012.

Here's a bit from President R. Bowen Loftin:

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5:57pm

Wed August 31, 2011
Hurricane Irene Hits East Coast

To Dodge Blame, Officials Prepare Public For Worst

Originally published on Thu September 1, 2011 3:59 am

In preparing the public for a disaster, officials want to make the right call, but they also want to avoid blame.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Four days after Hurricane Irene struck, some people think the government over-reacted, and others feel not enough was done. People's points of view on the matter are likely highly influenced by how much, or how little, damage they experienced during the storm.

That's utterly human, but new psychological research suggests this way of judging things has a perverse effect on policymakers trying to keep us safe.

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5:47pm

Wed August 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Can Potatoes Give Your Health A Boost? A Chemist Thinks So

iStockphoto.com

Potatoes have gotten a lot of bad press as major contributors to obesity and diabetes. But Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton, aims to rehabilitate the humble tuber. When he had overweight people eat potatoes daily for a month, their blood pressure dropped, and they didn't gain weight.

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5:18pm

Wed August 31, 2011
The Two-Way

Feds Still Finding Problems At Old Massey Mines

Originally published on Wed August 31, 2011 6:04 pm

Federal mine safety regulators have discovered false reporting of accidents and injuries at two West Virginia coal mines once owned by Massey Energy, which also owned the mine hit by a deadly explosion last year.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says the Randolph and Justice No. 1 mines in Boone County, W.Va., inaccurately reported or neglected to report 24 injuries last year that resulted in 1,125 lost days of work.

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4:51pm

Wed August 31, 2011
The Two-Way

A Paraphrased Quote Stirs Criticism Of MLK Memorial

The new memorial for Martin Luther King on the National Mall in Washington includes a lot of quotes from the civil rights leader. But on the north side of the memorial, there is a paraphrased quote that's causing a stir.

"I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness," the inscription reads.

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