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  • Top 5 overlooked stories of 2010

    Top 5 overlooked stories of 2010

    History, it seems, will remember 2010 in the United States as the year of health-care reform, the Gulf oil spill, and the tea party movement. But the most widely covered stories are clearly not the only events that could shape the future of the nation. Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 – developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead.

  • 'Twas the time to recover and all through the shops...

    'Twas the time to recover and all through the shops...

    An ode to the economic recovery – and other news of 2010 – inspired by Clement Clarke Moore's classic Christmas poem.

  • Obama vacation book list: Is he reading up on bipartisanship?

    The Vote Obama vacation book list: Is he reading up on bipartisanship?

    Obama vacation activities often include reading, and his book list apparently includes one on GOP icon Ronald Reagan. If nothing else, the book could offer valuable lessons on leadership style.

  • 'Tis the season for flash mobs, you say? They're just getting started.

    'Tis the season for flash mobs, you say? They're just getting started.

    This year's delightful run of flash mobs is winding up with a flurry of Santas and carolers. But the phenomenon is so well suited to modern society and technology, it should last a while.

  • EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases. Can next Congress stop it?

    EPA presents plan on greenhouse gases. Can next Congress stop it?

    The EPA set out a timetable Thursday for curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants and refineries. But Republicans have signaled their steady opposition, and a battle looms.

  • How to pick a college? 10 tips for seniors from their peers

    How to pick a college? 10 tips for seniors from their peers

    Christmas vacation is often no vacation for college-bound high school seniors, many of whom spend these weeks refining their list of schools, polishing their essays, and completing their applications. The application process can be exhausting, but it’s making the final choice that keeps you awake at night. Which school is “the one”? There’s no shortage of advice from parents and guidance counselors. But people who’ve recently been through the process – and come out the other end – have words of wisdom, too. Here are 10 things your future classmates say you should consider before sending in that deposit.

  • Snow storm: Who will get a white Christmas?

    Snow storm: Who will get a white Christmas?

    Atlanta could have its first real white Christmas since 1882. But whether the snow storm pummels major East Coast cities is still up in the air.

  • Festivus and three other made-for-TV holidays

    Festivus and three other made-for-TV holidays

    Faux holidays like “Seinfeld’s” Festivus, popularized in 1997, forgo the traditional in favor of another way to celebrate the season. Consider it Hollywood’s way of poking fun at – or maybe offering a little social commentary about – Americans’ tendency to go overboard on their Christmas observances. Festivus is not the only made-for-TV holiday – and it even may not be the only one to catch on in real life. Here’s the skinny on Festivus and three other invented days of celebration, brought to you by the Dream Machine.

  • Hugo Chávez tightens his grip in Venezuela. Can US do anything about it?

    Hugo Chávez tightens his grip in Venezuela. Can US do anything about it?

    With the US focused on other parts of the world, Latin American neighbor Hugo Chávez has tightened his hold on power. The next Congress may press Obama to act, but what are his options?

  • Did WikiLeaks bring on cyberwar? Maybe a cyber sit-in.

    Did WikiLeaks bring on cyberwar? Maybe a cyber sit-in.

    After Visa, MasterCard, and others cut services to WikiLeaks, a group launched ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks against these businesses. But a new analysis shows that the attacks lacked punch.

  • Obama vacation: What flavor shave ice will he order?

    The Vote Obama vacation: What flavor shave ice will he order?

    President Obama joined his family in Hawaii late Wednesday, anticipating an 11-day vacation. Forget tax-cut deals and nuclear weapons treaties. The Obama vacation is all about shave ice.

  • Gas prices hit $3 a gallon, highest in 27 months. Will they go higher?

    Gas prices hit $3 a gallon, highest in 27 months. Will they go higher?

    Now at an average price of $3 a gallon, gasoline could cost at least $3.50 a gallon by spring. Rising gas prices go hand in hand with higher oil prices, driven up by outlook for a stronger economy.

  • Rahm Emanuel clears one hurdle in Chicago mayor's race; more ahead

    Rahm Emanuel clears one hurdle in Chicago mayor's race; more ahead

    A hearing officer with the Chicago election board recommends that Rahm Emanuel be permitted to run for mayor of Chicago. The full board is set to vote on his eligibility Thursday.

  • What's your 2010 political IQ? Take the quiz.

    What's your 2010 political IQ? Take the quiz.

    This year's political events included Republicans regaining control of the House of Representatives in a decisive mid-term election, sweeping health care reform, and dueling DC rallies by cable-TV hosts Glenn Beck and Jon Stewart. How closely did you follow it all? Take our 2010 quiz.

  • Six big achievements of a surprisingly 'do something' Congress

    Six big achievements of a surprisingly 'do something' Congress

    The outgoing 111th Congress is among the most productive in history, in spite of its reputation for gridlock and 13 percent approval rating. Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, and used their large majorities to push through landmark legislation with barely any GOP support. The post-election lame-duck session – typically a mopping-up operation to get out of town – also made history, passing key pieces of legislation, often with greater input from Republicans than had earlier been the case. People can argue the merits of what Congress did, but it’s hard to quibble with the scope of the undertaking. Here are six of this Congress’s major accomplishments, in the order in which they were approved.

  • Guantánamo: Is Obama's vow to close detention camp facing a reality check?

    Guantánamo: Is Obama's vow to close detention camp facing a reality check?

    Obama insists that the US terror detention camp at Guantánamo can close. But new obstacles are emerging in a defense bill passed by Congress and his own plan to detain suspects indefinitely.

  • Broadway's accident-prone 'Spider-Man': Will it be worth the trouble?

    Broadway's accident-prone 'Spider-Man': Will it be worth the trouble?

    The web of misfortune is spreading for 'Spider-Man.' A stunt double is hospitalized; performances are canceled; officials are investigating; and on Broadway, rumbles of anger are getting louder.

  • When is mudslide danger greatest? Lessons from California storms

    When is mudslide danger greatest? Lessons from California storms

    Mudslides pose perhaps the biggest threat from the torrential rains drenching California this week. Here's what researchers have learned about mudslides and the conditions that cause them.

  • Congress approves $4.2 billion in new aid for Sept. 11 responders

    Congress approves $4.2 billion in new aid for Sept. 11 responders

    The bulk of the money will go to the first responders who worked on and after Sept. 11, 2001, at ground zero. President Obama has said he will sign the legislation.

  • Obama hails lame-duck Congress's respite from partisan squabbling

    Obama hails lame-duck Congress's respite from partisan squabbling

    At a press conference Wednesday, President Obama cites 'season of progress' brought about by less partisanship and more cooperation between Democrats and Republicans during the lame-duck Congress.