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President Obama's 165th flight on Air Force One required all the customary protocols of a presidential trip. He took a helicopter from the White House lawn to Andrews Air Force Base, where seven military officers waited at full attention. He entered his plane through a door decorated by the presidential seal and settled into a suite that includes an office and a conference room. After a short flight, he exited to cheers from a greeting party before disappearing into a limousine that cruised down the barricaded streets of this New Hampshire city.
When Obama arrived here Tuesday afternoon, he stopped at a suburban industrial park to visit a machinery company. Snipers surveyed from the roof. Secret Service agents monitored the warehouse. A 19-car motorcade idled outside. Obama, meanwhile, stood on the gray concrete floor with the company's employees, studying their manufacturing materials and trying to convey his new favorite message: He understands the problems of what he calls "everyday Americans."
Obama has made it his goal in the past 10 days to convince them otherwise. In Nashua, he hoped to connect with the unemployed despite holding the country's most prestigious job; to disparage Washington politics despite being a product of them; to have a self-described "direct conversation with the folks of New Hampshire" even as bomb squads, Secret Service officers, political dignitaries and television cameras occupied every corner of the room.
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Extensive searches have failed to uncover any clues to the whereabouts of a missing Iowa State University student.
Jonathan Lacina was last seen on Friday, January 22nd. Several law enforcement agencies are working with the Iowa State University Police in trying to locate the 21-year-old.
“It's very uncharacteristic of him to not be in contact with loved ones, “ said Annette Hunter, the Director of News Service for the school. “We are all concerned about the passage of time.” Friends told investigators that the graphic design senior vanished after leaving an apartment near the campus.
“His bank card, his meal plan card, and his cell phone, the initial review of that showed that he has not used them since January 22nd,” Hunter told CNN.
She also described Lacinia as a well-liked, dedicated student with no enemies. “People, including his parents, have characterized him as quiet but friendly,” she said, “many people mention his smile, the fact that he is a diligent student, attends class regularly, works hard on his graphic design projects and photography.”
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An abstinence-only education program is more effective than other initiatives at keeping sixth- and seventh-graders from having sex within a two-year period, according to a study described by some as a landmark.
The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, indicated that about one-third of the preteens and their young teen classmates who received an eight-hour abstinence lesson had sexual intercourse within two years of the class.
By comparison, more than half of the students who were taught about safe sex and condom use reported having intercourse by the two-year mark, and more than 40 percent of students who received either an eight- or 12-hour lesson incorporating both abstinence education and safe sex reported having sex at two years.
Among students who received instruction on overall good health, but not having to do with sex directly, nearly 47 percent had sexual activity in the two years after the class.
How do you count six days when you can see neither sun nor stars?
Buried under a crumbled building, Maxi Falon marked time by the roar of tractors and bulldozers, by the sound of voices.
"There's nobody alive in there," she heard them say.
When there was silence, she believed it to be night. But Falon, a deeply spiritual young woman, chanted the Lord's Prayer until she was discovered by Peruvian and Nicaraguan rescuers and pulled out of the rubble of Port-au-Prince's GOC University on January 18.
"I always knew I would keep breathing. I knew I would live," she said. But the miracle of rescue was only the first hurdle.
Sixteen days later, she is struggling to navigate life anew. She bears physical scars as proof of her ordeal. A bandage on her left shoulder. A fractured hipbone. Cuts and scrapes cover her head and arms. It's harder to detect the inner damage of a young woman who gave her all to endure.
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Later this week I'll head to Nashville, where I'll have the honor of speaking with members of the Tea Party movement. I look forward to meeting many Americans who share a commitment to limited government, common sense and personal responsibility. This movement is truly a grassroots, organic effort. It's not a top-down organization; it's a ground-up call to action that already has both political parties rethinking the way they do business.
From the town halls last summer to the protests and marches in the fall to the game-changing recent elections, it has been inspiring to see real people — not politicos or inside-the-Beltway professionals — speak out for common-sense conservative policies and values. As with all grassroots efforts, the nature of this movement means that sometimes the debates are loud and the organization is messier than that of a polished, controlled machine. Legitimate disagreements take place about tone and tactics. That's OK, because this movement is about bigger things than politics or organizers.
The soul of the Tea Party is the people who belong to it — everyday Americans who grow our food, run our small businesses, teach our children how to read, serve the less fortunate and fight our wars. They're folks in small towns and cities across this nation who saw what was happening to our country and decided to get involved. Thank God for them.