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  • A glance at chained consumer price index, a key part of Obama’s 2014 budget

    April 10, 2013 5:54 PM 123

    The ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scams the IRS wants you to avoid The new measure would show a lower level of inflation than the more widely used Consumer Price Index. It assumes that as prices rise, consumers would turn to lower-cost alternatives, reducing the amount of inflation they experience. For example, if the price of beef increases while the price of pork does not, people

  • USA TODAY wins IRE award for justice coverage

    April 10, 2013 5:24 PM 109

    USA TODAY reporter Brad Heath was among the winners Wednesday of a prestigious journalism prize for his coverage of the criminal justice system. The judges of IRE's Tom Renner Award, which honors criminal justice reporting, said "IRE commends Heath for digging for the truth to correct an unbelievable breakdown in the justice system." Heath won for a selection

  • Don't Cut Social Security!

    April 10, 2013 5:20 PM 129

    Why reducing retirement benefits to pay down the deficit is a terrible idea President Obama's budget, unveiled today, proposes to cut Social Security benefits by changing the formula used to calculate annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). This is a bad idea masquerading as a painless technocratic correction. The specific proposal is to calculate

  • Senators reach deal on gun background checks

    April 10, 2013 4:30 PM 121

    The Senate is heading toward the most intense debate on gun control since the 1994 crime bill was passed. WASHINGTON — Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. announced a compromise bill Wednesday that would expand background checks for gun buyers, possibly paving the way for votes this week on a key piece of legislation aimed at reducing gun violence

  • What's in the Obama budget

    April 10, 2013 4:21 PM 127

    Obama's budget blueprint -- which has already drawn criticism from the left and the right -- offers changes to Medicare and Social Security. It also includes tax increases that would primarily hit high-income households and corporations. The plan calls for greater spending on infrastructure, early childhood education and nondefense research. Those investments

  • Students Would Learn About Climate Change Under New Teaching Guidelines

    April 10, 2013 4:11 PM 121

    The Next Generation Science Standards also recommend that students be taught evolution. But will policy-makers listen? Proposed national standards for science education were unveiled Tuesday, and include recommendations for teaching evolution, as well as the first-ever expectations for students to learn about climate change. Known as the Next Generation

  • New Orleans asks judge to seize troubled prison from sheriff

    April 10, 2013 2:03 PM 119

    But city officials in New Orleans, which may have to pour millions into improving the prison, were so galled by the sheriff's testimony that they asked the federal judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, to place responsibility for the prison in someone else's hands. Local voices joined a chorus of opposition to the sheriff, who could

  • Above-average Atlantic season

    April 10, 2013 1:56 PM 140

    Colorado forecasting team predicts 18 tropical storms in 2013, of which nine will be hurricanes. Top forecasters predict an above-average 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 tropical storms forecast, of which nine will be hurricanes. A typical year, based on weather records that go back to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven are hurricanes

  • Mary Jo White officially sworn in as new chairman of SEC

    April 10, 2013 1:55 PM 134

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White was officially sworn in as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, the agency announced. White's swearing in came just in time for her to preside over an open meeting slated for Wednesday morning, in which the SEC is expected to adopt new rules requiring some brokers

  • Senators to announce background check deal

    April 10, 2013 1:54 PM 162

    Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are expected to announce a deal on gun control and background checks in just a few hours. NBC's Kristen Welker reports. Two key senators have reached a deal to expand background checks to firearms sales at gun shows and on the Internet, sources close to the negotiations