President Obama has called on small, elite military units to carry out several risky operations in the past year, like the hostage rescue this week in Somalia. Here, Navy SEALs are shown during a training exercise at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
With First Lady Michelle Obama looking on, President Obama speaks Tuesday with the father of Jessica Buchanan. She is the American aid worker who was rescued from Somali pirates after being held for three months.
President Obama sent a U.S. Navy SEAL team to rescue an American woman and a Danish man held hostage in Somalia, part of a pattern for a commander- in-chief who has shown a clear preference for limited, small-scale military operations.
Obama has authorized several risky missions in the past year and can point to major successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the air strike that killed terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen and the ongoing drone strikes in Pakistan.
As an investigative journalist for ProPublica, Michael Grabell has reported on the Lance Armstrong doping allegations, the Federal Air Marshal Service and the Transportation Security Administration's controversial body scanners.
No issue will be more important in the upcoming presidential election than President Obama's handling of the nation's economy. Critical to that debate is an assessment of the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. Republicans claim it was a costly failure. Supporters maintain it saved the U.S. from a depression.
Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 9:30 am
A Texas man whose conviction for sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl raised questions about the science behind determining how children die has won a key legal battle. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday threw out the conviction of Ernie Lopez, ruling that the Amarillo man's original attorneys failed him by not calling potentially important medical experts as witnesses.
Now the Amarillo district attorney must decide whether to retry Lopez, who has been in prison for nine years. Lopez is serving a 60-year sentence.
2011 was the worst year on record for sales of new homes. The dismal year was capped by a drop in home sales in December.
The AP reports:
"The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.
"About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963.
The new food safety recall for salt really got our attention. How could salt be contaminated with salmonella?
If your blog's named The Salt, you've just got to find out. So we dug into the story, and found that it's a collision of two distressing trends: contamination of herbs and spices, and safety issues with organic products.
Over the past week, 21,000 more Americans claimed unemployment benefits, the Labor Department reports. Like most economic news, that's the bad news. The good news, reports the AP, is the that the four-week average is down 2,500, which "still signals a healthier job market."
The Commerce Department also has some good news on the economy: Orders for durable goods rose 3 percent, last month.
The AP reports that this marks a gain for the second straight month. The AP adds:
As the Republican presidential hopefuls head into their final televised confrontation Thursday night at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville (at 8 p.m. ET on CNN), NPR's Ari Shapiro reports that the debate could sway the outcome of the close race.