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4:02 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Government Job Cuts Threaten Black Middle Class

An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va. The USPS, which is projecting a $14.1 billion loss this fiscal year, is discussing restructuring options with potential advisers.
Andrew Harrier Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:58 pm

The planned downsizing of the U.S. Postal Service, which wants to shed thousands of jobs and reduce hours at post offices, struck Baltimore native Eric Easter at his core.

For him, it will mark the end of an era in which a post office job has meant stability and a path to a better life, as it did for him and his six siblings living in public housing in the 1960s.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

President Obama: Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able To Wed

President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday. President Barack Obama told an ABC interviewer that he supports gay marriage.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 5:19 pm

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama declared his support for gay marriage. This marks a departure from the president's previous stance, which has repeatedly been described as "evolving."

Here's the money quote from ABC's OTUS blog:

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Agent, Double Agent Or Mole? Which Was The Underwear Bomb Character?

Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 3:45 pm

Many headlines and stories (including some of ours) have been saying that a "double agent" infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and foiled a plot to get another underwear bomb aboard a U.S.-bound passenger jet.

But we've been looking at definitions of spy terms and think that based on what we have been told so far, the person at the center of the story wasn't a double agent.

That character was at least an "agent."

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You Must Read This
2:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Beyond The 'Blonde': A Look At Marilyn's Inner Life

Gabriel Bouys AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 7:19 pm

Manuel Munoz's first novel is What You See in the Dark.

Think Julianne Moore's take on Sarah Palin, or Meryl Streep's depiction of Margaret Thatcher.

Actors in biopics have a major leg up on writers when it comes to developing character. Even casual viewers can judge the performance a success if it mimics what we remember of the public persona.

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The Salt
2:37 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

What Our Gut Microbes Say About Us

The bacterium Enterococcus faecalis is a beautiful example of a gut microbe.
National Institutes of Health

What if it's not just our genes or our lifestyle, exactly, that makes us skinny or fat, healthy or sick? What if it's also the makeup of the bacterial ecosystem that inhabits our gut?

A growing pile of scientific studies is pointing us in that direction. Researchers in this hot new field describe the microbes in our gut as a vital organ that's as essential as our liver or kidneys. They're finding that this organ, which they call the "microbiome," varies greatly from person to person.

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The Two-Way
2:31 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Study: Plastic Garbage In Pacific Ocean Has Increased 100-Fold In 40 Years

An insect known as a "sea skater." Scientists say the abundance of floating plastic has led to an increase of these creatures.
Scripp Institution of Oceanography

The amount of plastic debris in the part of the Pacific Ocean known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" has grown 100-fold in the past 40 years.

In a paper published today by the journal Biology Letters, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography report that most of that plastic has degraded into pieces no bigger than a fingernail. But that wasn't the major finding the scientists are reporting.

The scientists have found that all those pieces of plastic have provided ample opportunity for insects called "sea skaters" to breed.

The AP reports:

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Latin America
1:03 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Mexican Crime Reporters Risk Becoming The Story

A woman lights a candle during a tribute to slain Mexican journalists at the Monument of Independence in Mexico City on May 5. The vigil took place to protest violence against the press after the brutal murders of four journalists in Veracruz state.
Sashenka Gutierrez EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 9:37 am

Mexico is reeling from another round of brutal murders of journalists. Four journalists and photographers who covered the police beat have been killed in eastern Mexico's crime-ridden state of Veracruz.

There's a new call for the federal government to take measures to protect journalists in a country where more and more reporters censor themselves out of fear.

The ceremony to remember the most recent killings took place last weekend in Mexico City on the steps of the Monument of Independence between statues depicting peace and law.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

County Judge Overturns Small Claims Hybrid Judgement Against Honda

Heather Peters and her 2006 Honda Civic hybrid. She went to court over its disappointing mileage.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:23 pm

It was a story about the little guy taking on the big, multinational corporation on equal footing: Heather Peters, a California woman, took Honda to small claims court claiming her hybrid Civic wasn't getting the gas mileage promised on the window sticker.

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Fitness & Nutrition
12:49 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just For '20 Minutes'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 1:14 pm

If you're sitting at a desk reading this article, take a minute and stand up. That's the latest advice from New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, Reynolds details some of the surprisingly simple ways you can combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:38 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

FDA Leans On Device Makers To Cut X-Ray Doses For Kids

Easy does it on the X-ray doses for kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 12:58 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has a proposition for the companies that make X-ray machines.

Make sure your new equipment has settings and instructions that minimize radiation hazards for kids, or the agency will look to slap a label on the machines that recommends they not be used for children at all.

The agency proposed the approach today (details in the Federal Register); it's the latest move to curb radiation hazards from imaging equipment.

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