The Study

If you are a sentient American, there are two major trends you have likely noticed: First, the increase in our collective inability to confront problems, and second, the increase in our collective girth. These two problems converged on Monday, when Congress scuttled an Obama administration initiative to make school lunches healthier. In the midst of a worsening obesity epidemic, how serious is this setback? A 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academies) suggests that Congress has missed an opportunity to address a pretty serious problem.

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Tonight, news broke that the recently-evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters have lost their appeal to maintain encampments in Zuccotti Park. It’s unclear what effect this will have on the broader Occupy movement; while it could weaken the New York protest at the movement’s forefront, Occupy movements in other cities say these developments will only galvanize their members.

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A growing nervousness is evident in Washington this week, where the bipartisan deficit “super committee” remains deadlocked just days from its deadline. News outlets with a penchant for finger-wagging are earnestly scolding lawmakers for their lack of progress, and The Washington Post is featuring a “deadline for supercommittee” countdown on its website.

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Bad news, basketball fans: It looks like efforts to salvage this NBA season have finally collapsed. Players have rejected the league’s latest offer, and now a class-action suit against the NBA appears imminent.

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Pity Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota congresswoman and certifiable presidential aspirant saw her poll numbers rise throughout the summer, but when autumn came, those heady days ended and she fell—as must all false messiahs of these unsustainable GOP boomlets—back to Earth. Now, with poll numbers hovering around 4 percent, she is reduced to trading insults with journalists.

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Lost amidst the streaming confetti that followed Tuesday’s big liberal victories in Mississippi and Ohio were two potentially disastrous voter referendum results. One was Ohio’s decision to “block” the American Care Act’s individual mandate, which my esteemed colleague explicated in great detail earlier this week. The other was Mississippi’s strict voter ID law, now the eighth of its kind in the country. The new law is simple: Except for some religious objectors and residents of state-run care facilities, voters will henceforth need to present government-issued photo IDs to place ballots.

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The polygraph test: last resort of the accused and desperate. In 2009, cocktail waitress Rachel Uchitel told two tabloids she’d take a lie-detector test to disprove charges she had an affair with Tiger Woods. Earlier this year, Lindsay Lohan offered prosecutors the same deal after she pinched a $2500 necklace. Facing new allegations of sexual assault, Herman Cain wants in too. While one intrepid Atlanta P.I.

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President Obama’s announcement that he would delay the approval deadline for the Keystone XL pipeline deadline drew cheers from the nation’s environmentalists today. For months, the green community has poured effort into protesting the pipeline, which would have carried oil from Canadian tar sands nearly 1,700 miles to Texan refineries.

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State College erupted last night after news broke that legendary football coach Joe Paterno had been canned for failing to take stronger action when confronted with allegations that one of his assistant coaches had been molesting young boys. Furious students poured into the streets, destroying lamp posts, clashing with police, and destroying vehicles (including one overturned news van).

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There’s no denying that last night was a pretty good night for liberals across the country—in Mississippi, Maine, and especially in Ohio, where voters restored public-sector collective bargaining rights. That was perhaps the night’s most high-profile win, but it wasn’t all good news from the Buckeye State: While voters rejected a right-wing push against unions, they supported one against the Affordable Care Act. By a huge margin, Ohioans approved Issue 3, a symbolic, Tea-Party backed measure to amend the state constitution (and voice conservative protests against the individual mandate).

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