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How much defense does the United States really need?  How much can it reasonably afford?  These are just two of the questions raised by "sequester," which will require a 10 percent across the board cut in Pentagon spending by the end of this year. Will it really happen or will the White House and Congress kick the can down the road once again? Also, shoddy practices at big drug makers, and after 80 years, Newsweek magazine goes out of print.

Banner image of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta (3rd L) by Glenn Fawcett/DOD

Making News Shoddy Practices at Big Drug Makers 7 MIN, 35 SEC

So-called "compounding pharmacies" regulated by the states have been taking heat since the recent outbreak of meningitis. Today's New York Times reports that one-third of the drug manufacturing industry overseen by the Food and Drug Administration is off line because of "quality issues." Katie Thomas covers the business of healthcare for the New York Times.

Katie Thomas, New York Times (@katie_thomas)

Main Topic The Pentagon, 'Sequester' and National Security 35 MIN, 34 SEC

The US plans to spend more on defense next year than the next 17 countries combined.  So why is Washington so worried about an automatic 10 percent cut? That's part of what's called "sequester," the deal made by both parties in August, when they failed to agree on an overall federal budget. Now, facing a deadline at the end of this year, Democrats and Republicans call it, "unthinkable," "devastating" and "deeply destructive." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that would be "a disaster" for the Pentagon. Republican John McCain agrees, and so do both President Obama and Mitt Romney. Why, at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and many Americans tell pollsters the US can't afford to be the "world's policeman?" Would the US suddenly be weaker? What about jobs? Is this the political club that could finally knock financial sense into the "military-industrial complex?"

David Wessel, Brookings Institution (@davidmwessel)
Kori Schake, Hoover Institution (@KoriSchake)
Robert Zarate, Foreign Policy Initiative (@foreignpolicyi)
Gordon Adams, American University / Foreign Policy magazine (@Gadams1941)

Red Ink

David Wessel

Reporter's Notebook After 80 Years of Print, Newsweek Going All-Digital 7 MIN, 51 SEC

Two years ago, the Washington Post company sold Newsweek magazine for one dollar.  The buyer, Sidney Harman, died the following year. Tina Brown founded the Newsweek and Daily Beast Company, and today she announced that the printed version of Newsweek will be no more.  After 80 years as a print publication, the magazine will go all-digital early next year. Andrew Beaujon, senior reporter at Poynter Online, has more on the changing world of information and advertising.

Andrew Beaujon, Poynter Online (@abeaujon)

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