• Young minds with big ideas: Meet the whiz kids of the White House Science Fair

    Politics Confidential

    10-year-old Evan Jackson had just made a touchdown in his football game, but he had to be pulled off to the sideline because he had overheated. It got him thinking, along with his brother Alec and cousin Caleb: what if there were a way to keep football players cool and hydrated without having to leave the field?

    The three boys--all elementary school students from McDonough, Georgia--came up with a prototype of a hydration and cooling system for football players. And along with 30 students, they were invited to present their award-winning science and engineering project to President Obama at the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair.

    “The idea of cool pads is shoulder pads that have an ice pack and Gatorade built in to prevent against heat exhaustion and save lives,” they explain to Politics Confidential, pointing to their display set up inside the White House. “It works by using three basic features--the compression shirt, the helmet, and the shoulder pads.”

    When

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  • A trippy idea or fiscal genius? Two pols idea to smoke away the deficit

    Top Line

    What if the United States could shrink the federal deficit and get high at the same time? Two congressmen calling for the legalization of recreational marijuana say it's not such a trippy idea.

    Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) say marijuana legalization is a common sense fiscal policy that could save the government billions of dollars through a combination of tax revenues and savings from not pursuing costly enforcement and incarceration.

    “We are trying to rationalize federal drug policy,” Blumenauer tells Top Line. “We're spending too much money on enforcement for something most Americans think should be legal, and we're losing revenue. And we're going to create federal train wreck if we don't fix it.”

    They say the federal government is behind the curve of states like Washington and Colorado, where recreational marijuana is regulated and taxed.

    "Colorado and Washington voters agree, as do I, that the proper policy with regard to marijuana is to

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  • Game changer: Maj. Gen. Abrams on the “homegrown” rejection of Taliban in Afghanistan

    On the Radar

    Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams, the top U.S. and NATO commander in southern Afghanistan, is confident the country won’t fall back into the grips of the Taliban and other extremists when international forces pull out in two years—pointing to what he calls a “homegrown” rejection of the Taliban and the readiness of the Afghan security forces.

    “No one expected it to happen in the place we're today,” the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division tells On the Radar, standing in the same region of Afghanistan where al Qaeda trained many of the 9/11 perpetrators just over a decade ago.

    “All the places in southern Afghanistan considered the heartland for the Taliban, no one expected that the people here would rise up against the Taliban in a sort of homegrown, anti-Taliban movement, and it happened here. It is real,” Abrams says.

    Abrams tells the story of a village in the Panjwai region, located in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, where a village elder pushed the

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