It's All Politics
5:02 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

As The Campaign Hits Cruising Altitude, Critics Again Target Presidential Travel

President Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, en route to Florida, on April 10. Whenever a president runs for re-election, his travel tends to become a political issue.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

The White House has been fielding questions lately about President Obama's travel — what's official, what's political and whether taxpayers are getting stuck with the bill. It's the same issue that rolls around every time a president runs for re-election.

Take President Obama's trip to Florida earlier this month. It featured an official presidential speech on the economy at Florida Atlantic University. On the same trip, the president hit two fundraisers.

How do you sort that out?

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Animals
4:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

A Bug's Life: Store Caters To Collectors Of Crawly Pets

The Poecilotheria metallica is a species of tarantula that reflects a metallic blue color. It is just one of many tarantulas for sale in Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil's pet store. Price: $200.
Kenthebugguy.com

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:49 pm

If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.

Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
4:52 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Olympian's Arc: From 'Ninja Turtles' To London

Terrence Jennings (right) lands a kick during a taekwondo match last fall. Jennings, who says his love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drew him to the sport, will compete in his first Olympics this summer.
Martin Mejia AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Taekwondo is fairly new to the Olympics; it was first officially included in 2000. But in just a few years, the Olympics have become the pinnacle event of the Korean martial art. And the odds of earning a spot competing on that stage are incredibly slim. There are only four slots for Americans — two for men, and two for women.

Terrence Jennings has beaten those odds, by defeating opponents over months of qualifying matches. In July, he'll head to London for his first Olympics.

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Newt Gingrich
4:30 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Through Debt And Derision, Gingrich Keeps Running

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:38 pm

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win all five of the Republican presidential primaries being held Tuesday. The GOP front-runner hasn't had to worry about real competition since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month.

But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running for president, even though he's short on money and lagging far back in the polls.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Obama Calls Secret Service Employees In Prostitution Scandal 'Knuckleheads'

President Barack Obama laughs with Jimmy Fallon during commercial break as he participates in a taping of the Jimmy Fallon Show on Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:42 pm

In his first public comments about the prostitution scandal that has engulfed the Secret Service, President Obama praised the agency and said those implicated in the scandal should not the diminish the work of everyone else.

"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," Obama said according to Politico. "They protect me, they protect our girls... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do."

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Law
4:15 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Firm Leaves Miss. After Its Prison Is Called 'Cesspool'

In 2010, former inmate Ross Walton describes mistreatment he says inmates received from guards. Faced with a court order to reform the Walnut Grove juvenile prison, the company managing the prison is leaving Mississippi.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:06 pm

One month after a federal court ordered sweeping changes at a troubled juvenile prison in rural Mississippi, the private company managing the prison is out. A report by the Justice Department describes "systemic, egregious and dangerous practices" at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.

As those words imply, the official report is scathing.

Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that the youth prison "has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk."

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NPR Story
4:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Student Loan Debt Exceeds One Trillion Dollars

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

President Obama wants Congress to extend the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which would freeze interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans for one year. Melissa Block speaks with Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert and publisher of FinAid.org for a primer on student loans and repayments.

NPR Story
4:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Obama Takes Multistate Trip To Woo College Voters

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

President Obama kicked off a three university tour on Tuesday at UNC-Chapel Hill. Student debt now surpasses credit card debt in the U.S., and Obama is pressing Congress to pass an act that would keep interest rates on those loans from doubling this summer. Robert Siegel talks to Scott Horsley.

Books
4:01 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

'America's Great Debate' Saved Union From War

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 12:32 pm

The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.

In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:40 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Los Angeles Bets On Crusading Doctor To Turn Around Public Health System

Dr. Mitch Katz rides his bike to work, defying the commuting norm in Los Angeles.
Michael Wilson L.A.County Health Services Dept.

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 9:24 pm

It would be easy to confuse Dr. Mitch Katz with any other doctor at the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. His desk in a closet-sized, windowless office is littered with patient records, X-rays and cans of Diet Coke.

His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget.

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