Politics
2:36 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Can Low-Key Sen. Murray Guide Supercommittee?

Get ready to hear the word supercommittee a lot this fall. It's the bipartisan committee created by the recent debt ceiling deal, which has until Thanksgiving to figure out how to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit.

One of the panel's co-chairman is Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. With Congress in recess, Murray is back home, doing the obligatory factory tours. She was at Machinists, Inc. on Seattle's industrial south side on Wednesday.

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Health
10:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Benefits For Severely Disabled Children Scrutinized

To those who believe the federal Supplemental Security Income program for severely disabled children is a lifesaver and not a boondoggle, Hulston Poe is a great example.

The 4-year-old was diagnosed with severe ADHD last October, after more than a year of violent temper tantrums, and kicked out of preschool. Case workers said there wasn't much they could do for him.

"We were at a standstill," says his mother, Suzanne Poe, who was scraping by as a single parent of two in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Economy
10:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Why Does The U.S. Sneeze When Europe Gets A Cold?

The crisis in Europe is one of the underlying causes of recent wild swings in U.S. stock markets. U.S. bank stocks in particular suffer badly with any sign that Europe's debt crisis might be worsening.

But the U.S. financial sector's vulnerabilities in Europe are hard to quantify.

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Small Businesses, Big Problems
10:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Wage Rules Twist Steel Company's Growth Plans

Precision Ironworks President Steve Leighton, right, says government regulations are keeping his company from growing.
Wendy Kaufman NPR

Fourth of a five-part series

Despite the weak economy, Precision Iron Works — a small business in Pacific, Wash. — is hoping to expand, but government rules and regulations are making it more difficult, its president says.

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Law
10:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Verdict In Katrina Shooting Buoys Police Reform

Ted Jackson The Times-Picayune /Landov

On Aug. 5, a federal jury handed down one of the most sweeping verdicts in the modern history of American police brutality cases. Five New Orleans police officers were convicted of various roles in gunning down civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, and then covering it up. Five other officers pleaded guilty.

The Danziger Bridge case, as it's called, adds momentum to a reform effort already under way. The Department of Justice says it's committed to cleaning up the New Orleans Police Department, once and for all.

'This Will Not Stand'

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Games & Humor
10:01 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

The Addictive Appeal Of Bananagrams

Players form words from a pile of tiles in the center. Once all the tiles have been picked, the first to finish yells "Bananas!"
Flickr/moonlightbulb

A game out of Rhode Island is fast becoming a major player in the board game industry. Bananagrams, as the company and game are called, is an anagram puzzle built for speed; think of Scrabble with no board or complicated scoring.

And despite the down economy, the company that makes the game is thriving.

More Fun Than A ...

The first time Seth Snyder played Bananagrams, he became an addict. It made sense — the 25-year-old industrial designer is into word games and puzzles — but nothing had him this hooked.

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The Two-Way
5:23 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Riot Planner 'Somewhat Shocked' At Four-Year Sentence; Plans Appeal

It seems likely that two British men sentenced to serve four years in prison for plotting riots — which did not take place — will appeal their sentences. Their punishments were handed down less than a week after Britain was seized by fiery riots.

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Law
4:33 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

States May Have To Re-Adopt Deportation Program

There was heated testimony on Wednesday night in Chicago at a hearing about a key Obama Administration immigration program. The public meetings are providing a noisy venue for protesters who want the program dismantled. Immigrant advocates, meanwhile, are challenging the very existence of the federal Secure Communities program and are pinning many of their hopes on the governor of Illinois who opposes the federal plan.

Program Has Vocal Critics, Supporters

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Libyan Rebels Make Gains, And The U.S. Sends More Drones To Region

A Libyan rebel fighter leans on a bicycle as he patrols the empty streets of the residential area of the port of Brega Monday. The city represents the eastern front of the rebels' attempt to isolate Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Libyan rebels are fighting to isolate Moammar Gadhafi in Tripoli, as their offensive in the strategic city of Zawiya continues to gain ground. Rebel forces launched their fight for the western port this past weekend, hoping to cut one of Gadhafi's main supply lines from Tunisia.

In another development Wednesday, the United States sent two more Predator drones to its military force near Libya, which has helped take control of the country's skies. The AP reports:

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Conflict In Libya
3:43 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

As Libyan Rebels Advance, Civilians Flee The Coast

A Libyan rebel prays with his weapons in the coastal town of Zawiya, 30 miles west of Tripoli, Libya, on Aug. 16. The rebels have entered many parts of the town, but Moammar Gadhafi's forces are battling to prevent a full rebel takeover.
Giulio Petrocco AP

After weeks with little movement on the battlefield, the dynamic of the Libyan war has changed.

As the rebels came charging down from the Western Mountains and pushed into the important coastal town of Zawiya, they are no longer the ones who appear vulnerable.

Increasingly, Moammar Gadhafi's strongholds, including the capital Tripoli, appear isolated.

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