Just as the Arab uprisings were getting under way, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warning that the region's foundations were sinking in the sand and that governments needed to respond to the needs of a young, educated and underemployed generation.
Now, she's come up with a new catchphrase.
"As tens of millions of young people enter the job market each year, we recognize that the Arab political awakening must also deliver an economic awakening," Clinton said. "And we are working to help societies create jobs to ensure that it does."
The 2012 presidential campaign is already being shaped by new rules for political money. The Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling allows corporations to jump into the presidential contest, as lower-court rulings and the Federal Election Commission provide new avenues through which corporate money can flow.
Most mornings George Uraguchi grabs his paddle board and heads down a steep, secluded canyon in Palos Verdes, one of Los Angeles County's wealthier coastal communities. On one recent morning, though, his predawn excursion was interrupted by what he saw in the still water.
"It was more than just debris," Uraguchi says. "I saw some life jackets, and when I looked a little bit closer, then sure enough there was an overturned boat out there."
Uraguchi called 911, then hopped into the water and paddled out through the floating life jackets and bobbing fuel cans.
As confounding as was the failure of Penn State officials to act, the consensus explaining the motives for their ignoble behavior is that, first, Joe Paterno didn't want to scar the reputation of himself or his football program; and then, university executives wanted to protect the reputation of the dear old coach and his moneymaking team.
When it comes to the politics of school lunch programs, the easy part is agreeing that kids should be eating more fruits and vegetables.
The hard part? Determining what counts as a vegetable. Take, for instance, the tomato sauce on pizza. As part of new nutrition standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, schools would need to use about one-half cup of tomato paste on pizza in order for the sauce to count as a vegetable serving.
Lawmakers say pizza and french fries deserve to keep their place in school cafeterias. New nutrition standards aimed at putting more fresh and healthy food in front of kids are being revised in a current House agriculture appropriations bill. The latest version says the tomato sauce on a slice of pizza is the equivalent of a vegetable. Critics are likening it to the "ketchup-as-a-vegetable-controversy" during the Reagan administration.
In an interview with NPR, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu vigorously defended the actions of the Department of Energy with regards $528 million in loans it gave the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra.
Chu told All Things Considered's Melissa Block that neither he nor any of his staff working on DOE loans program was swayed by politics and that even in hindsight there was no way to know that Solyndra would fail.
Polls continue to show former House Speaker Newt Gingrich solidly in the top tier of Republican presidential contenders. But at the same time, he is dogged by questions about a job he had after leaving Congress: consulting for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac — but not, he says, lobbying.
The questions began at the candidates' debate in Michigan last Wednesday, when CNBC's John Harwood asked Gingrich what he did for a $300,000 contract with Freddie Mac in 2006.
"I offered them advice on precisely what they didn't do," Gingrich said last week.
A State Supreme Court judge has backed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the owners of Zuccotti Park, saying police had a right to enforce rules that prohibit camping at the park overnight. In the pre-dawn hours, Bloomberg ordered the removal of protesters from the park.
Earlier, another Supreme Court judge had issued a temporary injunction and ruled the protesters could return to the park with tents and sleeping bags.