This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The battle for Aleppo, Syria's largest city, continues into a second week. Rebels control more and more smaller towns, the defection of senior military officers and diplomats continues, all signs that the government's grip on power is slipping, and many analysts suspect that President Bashar al-Assad's fall is inevitable.
The U.S. women's gymnastics team has won the team gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, handily beating Russia, which took silver, and Romania, which took bronze. China finished fourth.
Update at 2:25 p.m. EDT: The U.S. women led off with their strength — the vault. The apparatus gives them an advantage, and not only because Maroney is the world champion and gold-medal favorite in the event.
The London 2012 Games have been touted as the first Olympics to live fully in the age of social media. After all, the organization's Twitter feed has nearly 1.4 million followers, as it lists on its special portal for Facebook and other social sites. But a rash of scandals and news related to Twitter has put a new mark on the face of these games. And, as they say, it ain't pretty.
Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 12:26 pm
Pokerstars, an online gambling site, says that it has reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice in which it has agreed pay the government $547 million over three years, part of which will be used to reimburse customers of the site Full Tilt Poker.
In December, Congress is poised for another showdown on the deficit and taxes. If Congress doesn't act, 2013 will mark the end to Bush-era tax cuts that have been in place for a dozen years, and the beginning of automatic cuts to domestic and defense programs that would total $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says the combination of higher taxes and deep spending cuts could create a 4 percent reduction in economic output, a number big enough to throw the country into another recession.
A dozen years ago, if someone told me that one of the liveliest, most inventive party albums of the year would come from a band originally associated with wedding celebrations and beer festivals, I would have been all, "Yeah, sure, you bet." If it was further explained that the band's roots were much closer to polka than rock, funk or hip-hop, I would have responded, "Don't push it." But nowadays, I'm familiar with the Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, whose retrospective Golden Horns will lighten the heart and lift the feet as surely as anything you'll hear in 2012.
Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 7:20 am
Matt Nathanson performed this set for Mountain Stage, recorded live in West Virginia, back in December 2007. The singer, who was born in Massachusetts but now lives in San Francisco, began writing songs in high school, and made his first record while attending college in 1993. He's recorded seven studio albums since — the latest of which, Modern Love, came out last year.