AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
We posed a question to our listeners on Facebook recently: Are you a parent who is worried your adult children won't have the same chance at a middle-class life as you did? Or are you the child of middle-class parents, and find you're not able to match your parents' lifestyle?
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Organizers say more than 5,000 people signed up online for a protest today at the White House. At issue is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is proposed as a way to take oil from Alberta, Canada 1,700 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Environmental groups are asking President Obama to kill the project, but labor unions argue the construction would create badly needed jobs. Joining us to talk about the pipeline controversy is NPR's science correspondent, Richard Harris. Richard, welcome.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: Is it still possible to move up the economic ladder in the U.S.? Has the American dream become just that - a dream? As we found out from our social media callout, those questions are on the minds of many families like the Spoerners.
If your U.S. senator or representative is on the super committee, expect your local airwaves to be peppered with oil industry ads in coming weeks. The basic message: Higher taxes on oil companies don't make financial sense.
The super committee in Congress is racing to find places to cut more than a trillion dollars out of the nation's deficit by Thanksgiving. The oil industry fears that ending its tax breaks may be one way the super committee will decide to raise revenue. That's spurred Big Oil's lobbying machine to work overtime.
For nearly 40 years, voters in Maine have been able to walk into a polling place or town hall on Election Day and register to vote. But the Republican-controlled legislature this year decided to remove the option, citing the stress on municipal clerks and concerns about the potential for voter fraud.
Angry Democrats responded by launching a people's veto campaign, and come Election Day this Tuesday, voters will consider whether to restore same-day registration.
Taylor Howell told Vasquez High's football coach that if he wasn't blind he sure would love to play football. The coach told him he'd have to come up with a better excuse than that. The sophomore now plays center on the junior varsity team.
Credit Gloria Hillard / for NPR
Taylor's teammates look out for him and give him cues on the field.
It's afternoon practice for the junior varsity football team at Vasquez High in Acton, Calif. A high desert wind somersaults a discarded paper plate across the line of scrimmage just before it becomes a pile of white jerseys and purple helmets.
"You were offsides," the coach yells after blowing his whistle.
The players dust themselves off and line up for the next play. At center, is Taylor, a lean 15-year-old. His quarterback, Bryan McCauley, is a few yards behind him in shotgun formation.
Chinese children celebrate the Communist Party in Chongqing municipality in March. Bo Xilai, the region's party secretary who is vying for a place in the Politburo Standing Committee, espouses a government-intervention model to economics.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang is taking a different approach from Chongqing's secretary. Wang follows a more market-oriented, liberal strategy.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Academic Qiu Feng suggests that factions may become institutionalized inside China's Communist Party, leading to a possible split into two parties.
What goes on inside China's leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.
The entrance to the Two Rivers Regional Detention Facility in Hardin, Mont. The 464-bed detention facility was built with the promise of bringing jobs and stimulating the economy, but it has sat empty since it was completed in 2007.
Federal and state officials are increasingly contracting private companies to run prisons and immigration detention centers.
Critics have long questioned the quality of private prisons and the promises of economic benefits where they are built. But proponents say private prisons not only save taxpayers money, but they also generate income for the surrounding community.