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It's All Politics
5:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:37 pm

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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Mitt Romney
5:11 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

With Eye On November, Romney To Expand Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.

With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.

There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

3 Secret Service Agents Will Leave Agency Over Prostitution Scandal

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:22 pm

Three agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the "advance" team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia are leaving the agency.

The AP reports:

"Of the three workers forced out in the scandal, one is a supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another is a supervisor who has been designated for removal for cause, which requires that the employee be given 30 days' notice and a chance to respond with the help of a lawyer; and a third employee, not a supervisor, has quit.

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Three Books...
4:47 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books On Writing's Art

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:49 am

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

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Africa
4:46 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Tourists Make Historic Visit To War-Ravaged Liberia

The 150 passengers aboard the National Geographic Explorer cruise ship arrive in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, on April 16. It's reportedly the largest group of tourists to visit the country since the 1970s.
Tamasin Ford for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 9:26 am

Liberia has been better known for conflict than tourism the past couple of decades.

But this week, a group of 150 tourists, many of them Americans, arrived for a brief stay in the small nation on Africa's West Coast. When their cruise liner docked in the capital of Monrovia, they became the largest group of tourists to visit the country in many years, probably since the 1970s.

Dock workers in Monrovia usually unload cargo ships full of secondhand clothes or rice — not a cruise ship full of American tourists.

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It's All Politics
4:43 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Vatican Says U.S. Nun Association Doesn't Adhere To Church Teachings

The Vatican has ordered a crackdown of an American organization representing most nuns in the United States. The Vatican ordered an investigation of the group in 2008 and today it said it was appointing an American archbishop to oversee a reform of the group.

The AP reports:

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Deceptive Cadence
4:24 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Talk Like An Opera Geek: Wading Into The 20th Century

Soprano Cheryl Barker (as Jenůfa) and tenor Peter Wedd (as Luca) sing in a production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa from Opera Australia.
Patrick Riviere Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:21 am

Talk Like An Opera Geek attempts to decode the intriguing and intimidating lexicon of the opera house.

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Energy
4:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:34 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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Energy
4:04 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

As Gasoline Goes Up, Natural Gas Cheaper Than Ever

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:54 pm

At the same time gasoline prices are soaring, the cost of electricity is falling. The reason? Cheap and plentiful natural gas. A utility in Massachusetts has just sliced rates by 34 percent. Coming out of a recession, the lower electricity prices are quietly boosting the economy and providing some welcome savings to businesses and families.

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