Unemployment has fallen to 8.8 percent, the lowest rate in two years. In March, the economy added 216,000 new jobs. But the recovery is leaving some US metros behind. Already mired in above-average joblessness, their unemployment rate is now higher than what it was when the recovery began in June 2009. Here’s a look at five of these wrong-direction metros:
Travel might be broadening, but in this case, it changes the course of three people's lives. The three main characters in this month's fiction roundup were born 100 years apart and on three different continents, but they all end up in the same place – the United States. Two are brought against their will as children and one makes the journey as an adult, 24 years later than she had planned.
The concept of emergency rule has been at the forefront of much of the Mideast unrest. Some countries have been in a “state of emergency” for decades, long after their citizens felt any threat still existed. Others have only recently implemented the emergency laws, in an effort to quell uprisings turned too large and violent for the governments to rein in. Although meant to help a country in times of danger, emergency law has sometimes been turned into a political tool.
We can only begin to imagine the depth of the political fissures once Congress seriously addresses our budget challenges as opposed to punting tough compromises down the road with last-minute, stop-gap spending bills. Just consider the intensity of the heat generated today over the Republicans’ continued resolve to cut “only” $100 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget for this year, which still would leave a massive deficit in excess of $1.4 trillion. Ultimately, Americans must consider a painful, indelicate balance of much larger spending cuts along with tax increases, coupled with the need for crucial investments in our nation’s future. In confronting these agonizing political choices, both parties, and the electorate, would benefit from advice from “Ike.” Such advice can be found in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s memorable (though little remembered) radio and television address on taxes in 1954. The address was delivered on March 15, which was Tax Day back then. Its value lies not in its details but in what he said about the government’s role domestically, about sound budgeting, and about being a “good American.” These words, from a Republican, challenged listeners then regardless of party, as they will challenge listeners today. Mount Holyoke College tax-policy scholar John O. Fox gives us Ike's four critical pieces of advice.
The devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become the latest poster child for long-standing issues surrounding nuclear energy – issues that need to be resolved to reduce the risk of a similar nuclear crisis in the United States. These range from the seemingly eternal conundrum over dealing with highly radioactive spent fuel, to fire hazards, plant design, and emergency plans, say nuclear engineers and nuclear-safety watchdogs.
The finalists for the 2011 Best Translated Book Award – sponsored by the Three Percent weblog – were announced last week. The winning works of fiction selected were translated from German, Spanish, Afrikaans, Czech, French and Swedish. To read these books is to travel the globe in extraordinary style.
Every marriage is a little business. "Economics is about how to allocate scarce resources," says Paula Szuchman, coauthor with Jenny Anderson of "Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes." "That's what married people are trying to do, given that they have limited resources – time, money, patience." Marriage experts and even economists aren't ready to replace Dear Abby with Adam Smith. "Marriage is more than an economic transaction." says Raymond Fisman, a Columbia University economist. Still, he's a fan of the book. Test these four economic principles on your marriage:
Tax filing is never fun, especially for the unemployed, whose income plunged but who still owe taxes. The Internal Revenue Service tried to ease things a bit last year by not fully taxing the unemployment benefits. That offer has expired. Still, there are ways that the unemployed, and newly employed, can lower their taxes this tax-filing season. Here are five of them:
It’s the nature of the NCAA tournament beast. Of the 11 Big East Conference teams that made the tournament field, two remain (Connecticut and Marquette). That’s the same number of Mountain West Conference teams still competing in the round of 16 (BYU and San Diego State). The field has already lost a No. 1 seed (Pittsburgh), and sees four teams from the bottom half of the seeding still breathing (No. 12 Richmond, two No. 11 seeds: Virginia Commonwealth and Marquette, and No. 10 Florida State). Oh, and Butler’s back. Here’s our rundown of Thursday's Sweet 16 matchups. YOUR PICKS: Who do you have moving into the Elite Eight?
The clash that led Wisconsin to limit the collective-bargaining rights of public-sector unions was fed by a mix of a tea-party-backed Republican resurgence, the fiscal crisis facing state governments, and the unions’ fight to preserve power. Here are seven questions the Wisconsin union protest raised about the role of unions in the US.
The Arizona Legislature is considering an array of bills that would ease state gun control. The bills have generated controversy, since they were crafted only weeks after the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others. Among the gun-related bills working their way through the Republican-controlled legislature:
The United States has an image problem in the Middle East. Years of supporting regional dictators and occupying Iraq have undermined influence. The current upheaval provides a rare opportunity for the US to reset regional relations. For years, US strategic interests, such as securing access to oil, counting allies in the fight against terror, or countering Iranian influence, trumped anemic calls in Washington for reform. But it is actually a US strategic interest to stand up for democracy, as open countries are inherently more prosperous, capable of upholding rule of law, and stable in the long-term. Initiating military action in Libya makes a transparent vision for engagement in the region imperative. Foreign policy expert Adam Hinds lists six decisive steps President Obama must take.
One year ago, President Barack Obama signed a sweeping health-care law to fulfill a long-standing Democratic pledge to ensure health-care coverage for all Americans. Passage of the law was a major legislative victory for Obama and helped change the political landscape, but not always in the way Democrats had hoped. Republicans strongly opposed the law and successfully worked public skepticism about it into sweeping election victories in November. Here's a look at the uncertain future of the health care law:
Much talent, many marriages, and great beauty. Such is the legend of Elizabeth Taylor, who died today at the age of 79. Taylor – indisputably one of the great actresses of Hollywood's golden era – attracted prodigious amounts of press coverage throughout her lengthy career. Here are a handful of the best books that chronicle her life.
While President Obama predicts US forces could disengage from Libya within the week, Senate hawks who pressed for military intervention watch closely to see that the mission's goals are fulfilled. Critics, including conservatives, say they are leading the nation into endless, costly wars. Here’s how the hawks respond – and what they say should happen next.