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Archive for September, 2009

U.S. to Shelve Nuclear-Missile Shield

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.

The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran’s long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.

More from the WSJ

Could Texas’ Gingrich-Based High School History Curriculum Go National?

Friday, September 18th, 2009

The GOP-controlled State Board of Education is working on a new set of statewide textbook standards for, among other subjects, U.S. History Studies Since Reconstruction. And it turns out what the board decides may end up having implications far beyond the Lone Star State.

The first draft of the standards, released at the end of July, is a doozy. It lays out a kind of Human Events version of U.S. history.

Approved textbooks, the standards say, must teach the Texan student to “identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority.” No analogous liberal figures or groups are required, prompting protests from some legislators and committee members. (Read an excerpt here.)

Read on…

T.R. Reid: Looking Overseas For ‘Healing Of America’

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Journalist and author T.R. Reid set out on a global tour of hospitals and doctors’ offices, all in the hopes of understanding how other industrialized nations provide affordable, effective universal health care. The result: his book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.

Reid is a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post — in whose pages he recently addressed five major myths about other countries’ health-care systems — and the former chief of the paper’s London and Tokyo bureaus.

Listen to this Fresh Air Episode

Dmitry Medvedev’s Article, Go Russia!

Friday, September 18th, 2009

In a few months Russia will enter a new decade of the twenty-first century. Of course, important junctures and significant dates are more symbolic than practical. But they give us a reason to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and think about the future. Think about what awaits each of us, our children, our country.

First, let’s answer a simple but very serious question. Should a primitive economy based on raw materials and endemic corruption accompany us into the future? And should the inveterate habit of relying on the government, foreign countries, on some kind of comprehensive doctrine, on anything or anyone – as long as it’s not ourselves – to solve our problems do so as well? And if Russia can not relieve itself from these burdens, can it really find its own path for the future?

Read on from Medvedev’s Blog

Vladimir Putin signals plan to reclaim old job as Russian president

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Russia PM says he and Dmitry Medvedev would take joint decision over roles, raising prospect of Putin era continuing…

from the Guardian…

Radiolab on “Emergence”

Friday, September 18th, 2009

What happens when there is no leader? Starlings, bees, and ants manage just fine. In fact, they form staggeringly complicated societies, all without a Toscanini to conduct them into harmony. How? That’s our question this hour. We gaze down at the bottom-up logic of cities, Google, even our very own brains. Featured: author Steven Johnson, fire-flyologists John and Elizabeth Buck, biologist E.O. Wilson, Ant expert Debra Gordon, mathematician Steve Strogatz, economist James Surowiecki, and neurologists Oliver Sacks and Christof Koch.

Listen Here (1 hour)

Radiolab on Morality

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? We peer inside the brains of people contemplating moral dilemmas, watch chimps at a primate research center share blackberries, observe a playgroup of 3 year-olds fighting over toys, and tour the country’s first penitentiary, Eastern State Prison. Also: the story of land grabbing, indentured servitude and slum lording in the fourth grade.

Listen Here (1 hour)

The (more or less) Triangular Trade

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009