Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.
And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.
To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.
Well, the Southeastern Conference season has begun. I have it on good authority that other college football teams around the country will also be playing games this fall.
I don't know when exactly the SEC took over America. I know this is hard to believe, but the epicenter of college football used to be in the Midwest. I'm so old, I can remember when Notre Dame actually mattered, and the real tough players were supposed to come from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 10:51 pm
On Tuesday, NPR's Frank James hosted a live chat during the Democratic convention. He was joined by Neal Carruth, NPR's elections editor; political science professors Sarah Treul of the University of North Carolina and Melody Crowder-Meyer of Sewanee: The University of the South; and Jake Silverstein, editor of Texas Monthly.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:55 am
There were a lot of preliminaries, but it was Michelle Obama's show Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, and she used it masterfully — carrying a rapt crowd along with a narrative of family, hard work, and truth-telling.
Largely wrung of politics, the first lady's speech plotted parallels in her life and that of her husband, President Obama. She pointedly tracked their humble beginnings and strivings in an unspoken but clear contrast to the privileged upbringing of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
We've also compiled five things that struck us about the night:
'Mom In Chief' Takes A Stand: There is no question that the first night of the convention belonged to first lady Michelle Obama, who delivered a sweeping, personal and dramatic endorsement of her husband, President Obama.
Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke on the University of Missouri Columbia campus Tuesday to kick off her “On Our Campus, On Our Side” tour.
The Democratic incumbent told students it’s important to keep Pell Grants and federal student loans available to sustain education. McCaskill says her opponent, Rep. Todd Akin, wants to eliminate student loans and that would hurt the middle class.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:37 am
Defense Department officials say that No Easy Day, former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette's book about the secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden, includes classified information that may harm U.S. military operations. The book went on sale yesterday despite the Pentagon's warnings of possible legal action last week.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 12:53 pm
They billed the gathering in a Charlotte, N.C., Holiday Inn conference room Tuesday as the first national meeting of Mormon Democrats.
Don't laugh. Crystal Young-Otterstrom says she figures there are 1 million of them out there, and she's determined to find them.
"It's like a missionary effort," Young-Otterstrom said in a room packed with the curious, the media and a cadre of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints making the argument that the Democratic Party best represents their personal and religious values.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led General Assembly will face-off next week over a bill vetoed earlier this year that would have required Missouri residents to pay sales taxes on vehicles purchased in other states.
The bill in question sought to reverse a State Supreme Court ruling that local sales taxes cannot be levied on out-of-state vehicle purchases. Governor Nixon says overriding the veto would result in a retroactive tax hike without a vote of the people: