The Two-Way
10:50 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Deal With Banks Isn't Only Way For Homeowners To Get Help, HUD Chief Says

For sale signs on a foreclosed house in Glendale, Calif., last September.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images
  • Michel Martin talks with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

The $25 billion settlement with five banks unveiled Thursday, which aims to give some mortgage relief and other help to homeowners who got hurt when the housing bubble burst before the 2007-2009 recession, has been viewed with skepticism by some folks in the nation's hardest-hit housing markets, as NPR's Greg Allen reported.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Stocks Take Dive, As Greek Bailout Deal Remains Uncertain

Protesters write on the wall of the National Bank of Greece during a demonstration involving thousands in Athens on Friday.
Milos Bicanski Getty Images

Just a day after it appeared that Greece and its eurozone partners had reached a deal, we're back where we've been for months: There are fiery protests on the streets of Athens, the markets and the euro are in turmoil and negotiations are at a tense point with four Greek Cabinet ministers tendering resignations over their opposition to austerity measures.

Here's the how the AP rounds up the latest:

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Politics
10:00 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Secretary Donovan Talks Multi-Billion Deal

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan talks with host Michel Martin about the settlement reached yesterday between federal and state officials and major banks. It was an effort to address unfair banking practices that led to the mortgage crisis. President Obama praised the deal, but critics say the settlement is inadequate.

Shots - Health Blog
9:49 am
Fri February 10, 2012

White House Bends On Birth Control Requirement For Religious Groups

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 10:30 am

Under increasing pressure, the White House has offered what it's calling an "accommodation" to religious groups on a requirement to cover birth control free of charge.

Even some Democrats, who generally support the policy of requiring most employers to offer no-cost contraception, were unhappy with the rule's reach.

But the change unveiled by the White House isn't expected to completely quell the uproar raised by Catholics and others who say the policy violates their freedom of religion.

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Planet Money
9:26 am
Fri February 10, 2012

The Undertaker Who Helps Big Banks Write Death Plans

Nobody lives forever.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 4:03 pm

The nation's big banks are writing death plans — living wills that spell out how, in a future crisis, they could be safely dismantled. The idea is that the death plans will help avoid another government bailout of the banks.

"You're technically writing your own funeral, down to the color of the flowers" says Dolores Atallo.

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StoryCorps
8:47 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Scheming Parents Set Their Kids Up — And It Works

Steven and Alexandra Ketcham were brought together by their parents, who decided they would be perfect for one another. They visited StoryCorps on their wedding day.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:01 pm

When Steven Ketcham met Alexandra Budny's mother, she told him, "I'm going to be your future mother-in-law." There was just one catch: Steven had never met Alexandra. But their parents had already decided that their children were a good match.

Eventually, Steven and Alexandra agreed with that idea. But it took some time — and those early days of their relationship came up when the couple visited StoryCorps to discuss how their parents got them together.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:43 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Why We Like What We Like

Can we really taste the difference, or is it all just down to context?
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 6:41 am

Can you tell the difference between gourmet liver paté and dog food?

I mean, can you tell the difference by taste?

Many of you are probably pretty sure that you could, and also that you could tell the difference between a $100 bottle of a splendid vintage and some $5 schlock, right? But can you really? In a blind taste test?

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Opinion
8:43 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Weekly Standard: Big Economic Challenges Remain

Job seekers attend a career fair in midtown Manhattan on Feb. 6, 2012 in New York City. In signs that the U.S. economy is recovering, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.3% from 8.5%, its lowest level in three years. However, there are other employment measures to consider.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:16 am

Jay Cost is a staff writer for The Weekly Standard.

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Opinion
8:42 am
Fri February 10, 2012

New Republic: Birth Control Bad Politics For Obama?

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash, speaks with Sen. Blumenthal, D-Conn, Sen. Lautenberg D-NJ, and Sen. Boxer, D-Calif, during a news conference on Feb. 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The news conference discussed the Obama administration's requiring employers to provide free contraceptive in their health coverage.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:17 am

Johnathan Cohn is a senior editor for The New Republic.

Many pundits seem convinced the Obama Administration's decision on contraception coverage is bad politics for the president. And although I support the decision to make coverage mandatory, even for large religious institutions, that conclusion about the politics is likely true in at least one sense.

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Opinion
8:42 am
Fri February 10, 2012

The Nation: Rocky Recovery For Women

A woman begs for alms along the Las Vegas strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 11, 2011. U.S. unemployment edged down to 8.3 percent at the end of January. Employment levels are not equal among all demographics.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 7:17 am

Laura Flanders is a commentator for The Nation.

Three years ago, when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, he said:

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