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National Security
10:22 am
Wed February 15, 2012

As Wars Wind Down, What Are U.S. Security Needs?

U.S. soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan for a couple more years. But already there's a debate about future U.S. security needs worldwide. Here, soldiers examine the site of a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Jan. 19.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 11:07 am

U.S. troops have already left Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, and there hasn't been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

So is America now safe enough to scale back its emphasis on security? Or are the potential threats no less dangerous — just less obvious?

These questions are not just philosophical, but practical. They're also the underpinning of the current argument about what the level of defense spending should be.

Cuts, But How Big?

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Education
10:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Big Changes Ahead For American Schools?

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

President Obama's new budget is the talk of Capitol Hill this week. And while most of the headlines are about the ongoing fight over how best to reduce the federal deficit, the president's proposal also calls for a significant boost in education funding. It's yet another window into his administration's philosophy around education.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:00 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Does Contraception Really Pay For Itself?

Birth control will be paid for by employees' insurance companies, if their employers refuse to do so.
istockphoto.com

Last week, President Barack Obama announced that religious groups won't have to pay for contraceptive services themselves. Instead, the cost would be borne by their insurance companies.

That compromise has raised a whole new set of questions on its own, though.

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Politics
9:38 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Why America Pursues More Perfect Politics

Americans are always searching for a "more perfect union." Volunteers roll up a giant banner printed with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution during a demonstration against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Oct. 20, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Americans are obsessed with perfection.

We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Wed February 15, 2012

Administration Proposes $5 Billion Competition To Improve Teacher Quality

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 9:26 am

Using its Race to the Top program as a model, the Obama administration is expected to announce a $5 billion competition designed to improve teacher quality.

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