From NPR News

A Premiere Chef Explores The Jiggly Joys Of Gelatin

Oct 21, 2011

If you think gelatin's charms go no further than wobbly, crimson cubes of lunchroom Jell-O, one of the most celebrated and ambitious chefs in the country would like to convince you otherwise.

President Obama, a critic of the Iraq war from the very beginning, announced Friday that all U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of December. After nearly nine years, he said, the war will be over.

The president spoke after a video-conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The White House says the two men agreed this is the best way forward for both countries.

The president's announcement fulfills a campaign promise he made more than four years ago.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has begun showing more interest on the ground in Iowa.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has staked the future of her campaign on a strong showing in the state's Jan. 3 GOP presidential caucuses.

But it's Herman Cain, the surging former pizza executive, who appears to be capturing the imagination of Hawkeye State Republican voters just 10 weeks out from decision day.

NATO Mission In Libya To End Oct. 31

Oct 21, 2011

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said today that NATO had made a preliminary decision to end its mission in Libya on Oct. 31.

The AP reports:

He said Friday the bloc made a preliminary decision to end air operation on Oct. 31, and will make a formal decision next week.

After Libya's former rebels killed Gadhafi on Thursday, officials said they expected the aerial operation to end very soon.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan has taken a lot of heat recently. One of the biggest criticisms: several independent analysts have found that under the plan, poor and middle class families would pay higher taxes while the richest of the rich would see a substantial tax cut. Today in Detroit, Cain unveiled his response.

"If you're at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9," said Cain with the abandoned Michigan Central Station in the background. "It's 9-0-9."

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain's much discussed 9-9-9 tax plan just got a major facelift after intensifying criticism that it would shift the tax burden to the least fortunate Americans.

In a Detroit speech Friday, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO created another numbers scheme for those "at or below poverty level."

"Your plan isn't 9-9-9," Cain said, addressing low-income voters. "It is 9-0-9."

"Say amen y'all," said Cain, also a Baptist minister. "9-0-9."

This past week, republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hit hard over his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. During the last Republican debate, Cain's plan was attacked as regressive, meaning that it would hit the middle-class and poor Americans hardest.

Fifth in a series

Perhaps more than any other Republican running for president this year, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has railed against taxes. She says they're too high, and that the current tax code should be repealed.

But Bachmann had a somewhat surprising early career: going after tax evaders as a prosecutor for the Internal Revenue Service.

'Know Your Enemy'?

At times, the congresswoman and former state senator has seemed to deny that for nearly her entire professional life, she's been on the public payroll.

Chicago recently ranked as the city with the second-worst traffic congestion problem in the country, but it doesn't have a lot of money to invest in other transit options. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's solution? A $2 "congestion fee" on weekday parking in public lots and garages downtown.

Other cities have had some success with congestion pricing for parking, but some Chicagoans are skeptical of the plan.

The Oakland minister who predicted the end of the world would take place on Friday, Oct. 21, was confronted by the continuation of the world instead. It marks the second time this year that the ministry led by Harold Camping, 90, has settled on a doomsday date, only to have it tick by in quotidian fashion.

But to be fair, Camping has said that "the end is going to come very, very quietly," as Mark reported last week.

The state of Texas already made waves in September when it decided to stop honoring death row inmates' final meal requests. The decision was prompted by the huge meal requested by white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Pakistan to urge the country's leadership to eliminate safe havens for terrorists, says that U.S. officials met with the Haqqani network this summer. She did not say who the participants were, or what was discussed.

As the BBC reports:

Reports about such a meeting circulated over the summer but the US refused to confirm them at the time.

Mrs Clinton said the US had reached out to the Taliban and to the Haqqani network to test their sincerity and willingness to engage in a peace process.

Unemployment rates across America didn't change much in September, says the Labor Department. But among the mostly small shifts that occurred, 25 states reported decreases in their unemployment rate. Of the remaining states, 14 saw a higher jobless rate, and 11 remained the same.

This weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Brussels with other European Union leaders. Their goal: to settle on a plan to pay the debts of struggling member nations.

Their meeting might go better if Alexander Hamilton's ghost could get a seat at the table.

Hamilton, one of the United States' Founding Fathers, was the fiscal genius who insisted that paying off debts of this union's member states would lead to economic greatness.

Obama To Address Iraq Troop Withdrawal

Oct 21, 2011

A few minutes ago, President Obama announced that the war in Iraq was over.

"After nearly nine years, the long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year," the president said. President Obama said he talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki earlier today and they were both in complete agreement about how to proceed. Obama said that "as promised" by the end of the year all troops will withdraw from the country.

He said that this means the relationship between Iraq and the United States will now be a normal one between two sovereign countries.

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