The world inside Mark Zandi's computer model feels pretty familiar. It's full of people who are worried about the economy. Their homes are being foreclosed on. They're paying more for gas. Something like 13 million of them can't find jobs.
One of the primary issues at the heart of the the Chicago teachers' strike is whether student test scores should be used to evaluate teachers and determine their pay. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing that approach, as are other officials around the nation.
But many teachers insist that it's inherently unfair to grade their teaching based on their students' learning.
Over the years, ZZ Top has stayed contemporary: dabbling in new wave, flirting with grunge and techno, making goofy music videos, even using a drum machine. But the band has never strayed too far from its classic amalgam of electric blues, garage rock and greasy grooves. On their new album, La Futura, the members sound like their old selves.
Patrick Karabaranga, a warden at the Virunga National Park, plays with an orphaned mountain gorilla at the park headquarters in Rumangabo, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on July 17. The Virunga park is home to about 200 mountain gorillas, approximately a quarter of the world's population.
Credit Phil Moore / AFP/Getty Images
A Virunga National Park ranger stands at an observation post at the edge of the park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on July 17. M23 rebels now occupy Rumangabo and several other locations within Africa's oldest national park, which is also affected by other armed groups.
When crossing from Uganda into Congo at the shabby border town of Bunagana, I encountered a broadly smiling man in a black leather jacket named Hamid Kashaisha.
He asked if I wanted to see the gorillas. I replied that it's guerrillas — with guns, that is — that I wanted to see: the M23 rebels who, for the past two months, had occupied a piece of real estate in eastern Congo larger than Delaware.
We turn now to Washington for more reaction to this brazen attack. The Obama administration is sending a Marine anti-terrorism unit to bolster security in Libya. It's also taking precautions elsewhere. The stepped up security comes as the State Department mourns its losses. NPR's Michele Kelemen has that story.
MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Shock and sadness hovered over the State Department as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of the devastating losses of four foreign service personnel.
This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this about the slain ambassador, Christopher Stevens.
SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON: He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya. The world needs more Chris Stevenses.
BLOCK: Earlier this year, before Chris Stevens assumed his position as ambassador to Libya, he made a video, subtitled in Arabic, directed to the Libyan people. It was posted on the U.S. Embassy's website and on YouTube.
Every election season Republicans and Democrats tried to rally their base and to go after undecided voters. They're increasingly using the Internet in Get Out The Vote efforts.
NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who reports on social science research, joins me now to talk about how Facebook could become a potent weapon in going after the biggest untapped voting bloc in the nation. Shankar, welcome.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Melissa.
BLOCK: Who are these mystery voters, this untapped voting bloc that we mentioned?