The space shuttle Endeavour and its seven astronauts returned to Earth on Friday, completing a long but successful construction job that boosted the size and power of the international space station. Endeavour touched down smoothly and on-time on Kennedy Space Center’s landing strip. While visiting the space station, the crew put on a new addition to Japan’s $1 billion lab, installed fresh batteries, and stockpiled some big spare parts.
The Obama administration has opened up a new front in the health-care battle, saying that extending publicly funded programs such as Medicaid and Medicare was essential to combating homelessness. The Washington Post reports that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan said there was “no question” that successful health-care reform would limit the growing number of homeless families and would benefit the tens of thousands of chronically homeless people. HUD reported this month that the number of homeless families nationwide rose 9 percent in the 12 months leading up to Sept. 30, 2008, and by 56 percent in rural and suburban areas.