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From Alabama and Georgia north to the border with Canada, there are reports from all over the continental U.S. today about a fantastic show last night:

An intense geomagnetic storm that produced some of the best "Northern Lights" in recent memory, reports

Many folks are posting photos and videos. Here's one that the poster says was taken in Michigan.

Even after the flaws in his highly touted 9-9-9 tax plan have been relentlessly exposed and his confusing abortion stance noted, Herman Cain is still essentially tied with Mitt Romney in a new CBS/NY Times poll of Republican voters.

You read every day about the horrors of online life: stalking, harassing, the appearance of embarrassing photos that sink one's job prospects, or just the general fact that people can be real jerks when they don't have to go back and clean up after themselves.

This is not that kind of story.

Saying that it "reorders the way they do business in Washington by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform," Texas Gov. Rick Perry is this hour unveiling his "cut, balance and grow plan" on taxes.

When Steve Jobs was 6 years old, his young next door neighbor found out he was adopted. "That means your parents abandoned you and didn't want you," she told him.

Jobs ran into his home, where his adoptive parents reassured him that he was theirs and that they wanted him.

Sixth in a series

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul is known for his fervent opposition to armed intervention overseas and the Federal Reserve — and for his equally fervent supporters.

Big-Name Drugs Are Falling Off The 'Patent Cliff'

Oct 24, 2011

Some of the most popular and expensive brand-name drugs are about to go generic.

Take Lipitor, for example. In November, the heart drug comes off-patent — and by next June, there are likely to be multiple generic versions.

Will Smartphones And iPads Mush My Toddler's Brain?

Oct 24, 2011

Parents of small children have long been told to avoid using the television as a babysitter. This week, the nation's leading group of pediatricians reiterated its stance against letting kids under 2 watch any TV at all.

But what about iPhones and iPads?

If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.

"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."

Michele Norris, an All Things Considered co-host since December 2002, is stepping away from that post until after the 2012 presidential campaign because her husband has taken a senior position with President Obama's re-election effort.

She is not leaving NPR's airwaves, however. While she will not be involved in coverage of the 2012 election, Norris will continue to report and produce projects for the organization.

In a message just sent to NPR staff, Norris says:

This past week, republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hit hard over his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. During the last Republican debate, Cain's plan was attacked as regressive, meaning that it would hit the middle-class and poor Americans hardest.

The Nation: Obama Puts Lipstick On Iraq War Pig

Oct 24, 2011

Robert Dreyfuss, a Nation contributing editor, is an investigative journalist specializing in politics and national security.

Putting gobs of lipstick on the Iraq War pig, President Obama announced today that all US forces, except for a tiny number to protect the not-so-tiny US embassy in Iraq, were coming home. Said Obama:

President Obama is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — all states where Hispanic voters will play a pivotal role in next year's election.

Obama has lost popularity with Latinos recently, mostly due to the economy. But Hispanic voters looking for alternatives find problems with the Republican slate as well.

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently said he'd "electrify" the U.S.-Mexico border fence "with a sign on it on the other side that says it can kill you."

Foreign Policy: Was Killing Gadhafi A War Crime?

Oct 24, 2011

David Bosco reports on the new world order for The Multilateralist.

Update at 5:42 p.m. ET. As expected, President Obama announced that his administration was easing the terms of a federal program that would open the doors for homeowners to refinancing their homes no matter how far underwater their mortgage is.

The AP reports that the Federal Housing Finance Administration "estimated an additional 1 million people would qualify. Moody's Analytics say the figure could be as high as 1.6 million."

We wanted to share the following note from Michele Norris, which she sent to our staff and stations today. Listen for Michele's personal message this afternoon on All Things Considered.

Hello everyone,

I need to share some news and I wanted to make sure my NPR family heard this first.

Barry Duncan has an obsession that follows him everywhere he goes. "I see street signs, restaurant menus, objects while I'm walking along, and I'm just reversing them all the time," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Duncan is a master palindromist. He creates phrases, sentences, even passages that read the same forward and backward. He's been at it since 1981, when he was working at a bookstore in Philadelphia and stumbled onto a book of wordplay.

[Spoiler alert: This review gives away some elements of the story.]

When a friend gave me Merce Rodoreda's Death in Spring, he told me it would blow my mind. Ten pages in, I doubted his claim.

The book begins when the narrator, a 14-year-old boy from a small mountain village, slips into a cold, sometimes savage river to escape a bee. His swim is interspersed with descriptions of his isolated community, with its pink painted homes and wisteria vines that "over the years, upwrenched houses."

NPR's Mara Liasson spoke with Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann in New Hampshire on Tuesday. The full transcript of that interview is below. Read the edited version of the interview.

MARA LIASSON: You're now a top-tier candidate. How do you build on the momentum that you clearly have in Iowa so that you don't end up like Mike Huckabee, who came out of there like a cannon and then didn't have the resources to go further?

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota continues her announcement tour in South Carolina on Wednesday. Bachmann's strong performance in debates and on the stump has vaulted her out of the second tier of candidates.

On Tuesday, Bachmann stopped at a backyard event in Raymond, N.H. Poised and polished, she slung the applause lines as she attacked President Obama:



Raising money has also been tough for little-known Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson. The former New Mexico governor has called his own fundraising pathetic. Johnson is hoping to jump-start his campaign at a unique political event winding down now in the mountains of New Hampshire. It is the Porcupine Freedom Festival, or Porcfest, and it's an offshoot of the Free State Project, a movement to colonize the Live Free or Die state with people who believe government should do no more than protect individual rights.

Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go music, died in 2012. A year earlier, he'd stopped by World Cafe to discuss his 50-plus-year career and his last album.