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10:14pm

Thu October 13, 2011
National Security

Defending Defense Contracts: Programs Turn To PR

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 3:45 pm

In southern Arizona, troops take part in a large-scale search-and-rescue exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

Ted Robbins NPR

Five Air Force Pave Hawk helicopters are parked or landing in the high desert east of Tucson, Ariz. They are transporting victims of a mock earthquake as part of a training exercise called Operation Angel Thunder.

"We were always known for staying really quiet and not really saying much," says Brett Hartnett, who started Operation Angel Thunder five years ago.

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10:01pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Planet Money

Playing Chicken To Cut The Deficit

Originally published on Sun October 16, 2011 11:38 am

U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) speaks as Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) listen during a hearing before the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee, also known as the supercommittee.

Alex Wong Getty Images

If you've ever thought that most of politics is game-playing, you're right. Political scientists often use mathematical game theory to describe how Congress works. And when they look at the current battle over how to handle the deficit, the game that comes to mind is chicken.

Steven Smith is a professor of political science at Washington University, and he says yes, Republicans and Democrats sometimes remind him of two cars driving as fast as they can toward a cliff.

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10:01pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Politics

Trade Deals May Alienate Some Obama Supporters

This steel plant in Weirton, W.Va., was idled in 2009. The United Steelworkers union worries that a trade deal signed this week could result in more jobs lost.

Rick Gershon Getty Images

President Obama had a rare bipartisan economic success this week when Congress passed three trade deals.

Obama is going to Detroit on Friday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to take a victory lap. But some important parts of Obama's base are not fans of these deals — with South Korea, Panama and Colombia — which could have political consequences for the president.

Friday's event is at a General Motors plant. The auto industry and its workers are big fans of the free-trade deal with South Korea, so they're sure to give the world leaders a warm welcome.

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10:01pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Europe

Apathy Reigns In Russian Election Season

Vladimir Putin will be president, says 30-year-old Yelena.

The lifelong Muscovite is chatting to a friend in Alexander Gardens next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Yelena, who like many Russians won't give her last name when discussing politics, says she's not even sure she will vote.

"Everything's been decided," she says in Russian. "It will be the same no matter who we vote for."

It's election season in Russia, with votes due for parliament in December and president next March. Everyone knows who will win, however, and voters are not energized by the campaign.

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10:01pm

Thu October 13, 2011
Around the Nation

A New Muesli Maker's Quest For The Cereal Aisle

Originally published on Fri October 14, 2011 10:46 am

Muesli Fusion for sale at the Rochester Public Market in Rochester, N.Y. Being a local brand has served owner Ian Szalinski well, but he has bigger plans for his cereal business.

Zack Seward for NPR

Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.

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