Afghanistan
2:37 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Afghan Shootings Could Complicate U.S. Mission

The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
AP

It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.

U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.

But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.

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Around the Nation
2:18 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Vegas Museum Offers A Mob History You Can't Refuse

Look Out, Copper: A 1928 Ford Model A car (left) and a 1938 Ford paddy wagon arrive at the Feb. 14 grand opening of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

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

As soon as you step in the elevator of Las Vegas' new Mob Museum, a cop on a video monitor reads you your rights. When the doors finally open, you're greeted by a huge photo of 1920s-era gangsters standing in a police lineup, wearing fedoras.

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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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