National News

Residents are waving the flag in Brookline, Mass., both for — and against — the Pledge of Allegiance.

Courts have ruled that public schools cannot compel students to recite the pledge, so in Brookline, as elsewhere, the pledge is voluntary.

But critics say there's still pressure on students to conform, and they want the pledge out of the classroom altogether.

A Concern About Peer Pressure

Pirate Party Wins Seats In Berlin Elections

Sep 19, 2011

Germany's state parliament now has representatives from a brand new political party that focuses heavily on Internet freedoms. The Pirate Party won 8.5 percent of the vote for the Berlin state parliament and ousted the Free Democrats, which is part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition.

And who are the party members? Here's how Der Spiegel opens their story today:

"A painting considered beyond repair after being submerged in filthy floodwater when the Thames breached its banks in 1928 will be seen in something approaching its wild and lurid former glory on Tuesday when it goes on public display for the first time in a century," The Guardian writes.

President Obama's plan to cut the deficit doesn't exactly spare Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs. But he also doesn't propose the sweeping sorts of changes envisioned by House Republicans earlier this year.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.

When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore.

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