US-Dunford-Afghanistan (with art)
With little fanfare Monday, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford was confirmed by the Senate as the newest commander for the international forces in Afghanistan, charged with overseeing the final two years of the U.S.-led war and executing the White House plan to phase out troops and leave a small number behind after 2014. Dunford, much like his confirmation, has made a career of flying under the radar, but he will be front and center as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force, replacing Gen. John Allen. He is well-known in the tight-knit Marine Corps community as a thoughtful and calm leader and has 22 months of commanding in Iraq.
Paul Sacco says searching for his missing daughter feels like something akin to bleeding out. All the hope, heartache and anxiety that go into it leave him feeling diminished. But the Colorado lawyer and amateur guitarist has managed to bottle up some of that energy, spending hundreds of hours creating what is both a tribute to Aubrey Sacco and a monument to his sorrow: a 14-song album he has published to Internet vendors.
Freedom-Project-Operation-Hope (with art)
From horror to hope: A boy's remarkable recovery from a brutal attack.
The Pacific island of Nauru, the world's smallest independent republic, is slipping away. Literally. The island is disappearing amid rising sea-levels. And is part of 43 member alliance that accuses nations like India, China and the United States of not addressing climate change with enough urgency.
Braving lions to deliver Maasai nomads' vaccines.
Along the lush sea-islands and the Atlantic coastal plains of southern East coast of America, a distinctive group of tidewater communities has stuck together throughout the centuries, preserving its African cultural heritage and carving out a lifestyle that is uniquely its own. The Gullah/Geechee people are direct descendants of West African slaves brought into the United States around the 1700s. They were forced to work in rice paddies, cotton fields and indigo plantations along the South Carolina-Georgia seaboard where the moist climate and fertile land were very similar to their African homelands.
Dangling from the top of a 20 meter mast while bouncing along the open waves would test even the most hardened sailor's stomach. If the vertigo doesn't rattle you, the mast lurching at a 45 degree angle will. Then there's the real possibility the whole boat could capsize under the strain -- plunging you deep under water with it. But for maritime photographer Kos Evans -- who pioneered the hazardous art of masthead photography and bagged some of sailing's greatest images in the process -- it's all part of the day-job.
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have been here before: a high-stakes showdown over the debt, visions of a grand bargain and a looming deadline. Last year, secret talks between Obama and Boehner -- discussions that began over a round of golf -- fell apart. So what's different now?
The current outcry over the fiscal cliff feels like déjà vu for those intimately familiar with previously failed debt talks. Congressional brinksmanship with the White House over the nation's debt and federal spending. Numerous eponymously named plans. Groups with catchy titles charged with finding a solution. Grand bargains. Raised hopes. Flared tempers. Bruised egos. As talks break down and partisan lines are drawn, the problem finally is kicked down the road.
POL-Rice-Kerry (with art)
It's a favorite game in Washington to weigh the odds of each potential nominee to a president's cabinet and that game is in full swing -- especially in trying to anticipate President Barack Obama's choice for replacing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. With speculation mounting that President Obama may soon announce his nominee, two very well-known names -- Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice -- remain the two top possibilities. Each comes with strengths but with baggage as well.
POL-2012-Campaign-Insight (with art)
As voters headed to the polls on Election Day, several of Mitt Romney's senior campaign aides said, they truly thought he was going to win the presidency and retake the White House Republicans lost four years earlier. "I was cautiously optimistic," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said. Instead, Barack Obama garnered 51% of the popular vote and 332 electoral votes to 206 and approximately 48% of the popular vote for his opponent. Newhouse was one of the key Romney campaign officials who joined counterparts from Obama's campaign at a Harvard University symposium last week that examined the election, the strategies and how various factors influenced the outcome.