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It's All Politics
1:43 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Presidential Speeches: Sound And (Partisan) Fury, Signifying Not Much

When presidents give major set-piece speeches, they're mainly engaged in exercises in futility since a commander-in-chief's high-flown rhetoric rarely shifts voter attitudes for long.

Indeed, the exercise could even be more negative than neutral since speeches by presidents advocating specific policy not only leave citizen unswayed but can fire up political opponents in the other party, according to Ezra Klein in an essay in the New Yorker.

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Rebuilding Japan
1:39 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Rethinking, Not Just Rebuilding, Japan's Northeast

Demolished ships lie strewn about near the fishing port of Minamisanriku town, in Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Japan, Feb. 23, 2012. The local fisherman's union says last year's tsunami wiped out 90 percent of local fishing boats.
Yuriko Makao Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 8:56 pm

With a fierce yell and a resounding thwack, 13-year-old Japanese student Nanami Usui brings her bamboo sword down on her opponent.

By practicing Kendo, or Japanese swordsmanship, Usui is one of several students in the town of Minamisanriku who are rebuilding their confidence after last year's tsunami washed away their homes and shattered their hometown in the country's northeast.

Usui says she dreams of being a police officer, but she doesn't know yet where she wants to live and work.

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The Two-Way
1:36 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Penn State: Paterno Was Fired After 'Failure Of Leadership'

Penn State head coach Joe Paterno stands with his team before they take the field during an NCAA college football game against the University of Wisconsin in State College, Pa., on Oct. 13, 2007.
Carolyn Kaster AP

In a report issued today, the board of directors of Penn State University confirmed what everyone already figured: They fired head coach Joe Paterno over his actions concerning the sexual abuse allegations against his once assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

The university said it made its decision based on a grand jury report that said graduate student Mike McQueary had told the coach that he saw Sandusky "in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy."

The board says:

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The Two-Way
1:20 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Priest 'Placed On Leave' After Denying Communion To Lesbian

The Gaithersburg, Md., priest who refused to give Communion to a lesbian parishioner during a funeral mass for the woman's mother has been has been placed on leave, according to NBC Channel 4 news.

A letter from an archdiocese official says that Rev. Marcel Guarnizo was placed on leave for engaging in intimidating behavior. The archdiocese had previously apologized for Guarnizo's behavior.

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Afghanistan
1:06 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Afghan Shooting Leaves Many Unanswered Questions

An Afghan youth mourns for relatives who were killed on Sunday.
Allauddin Khan AP

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 4:09 pm

Many details remain unknown about Sunday's shooting in southern Afghanistan, where a U.S. Army sergeant is suspected of walking through villages near Kandahar and killing 16 Afghan civilians.

But the shooting has raised the specter of reprisals against American troops and also led to questions about how much damage it could cause to the larger American war effort in Afghanistan.

Here's a look at what is, and isn't, known so far.

The Suspect

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