The Obama administration rolls out its new gas mileage standards for cars and trucks Thursday. The fuel efficiency targets for 2016 model vehicles is 39 mpg for cars and 30 mpg for light trucks (more than 34 mpg combined). President Obama says the new rules will "reduce our dependence on oil while helping folks spend a little less at the pump." The standards, to be phased in between 2012 and 2016, would increase fuel efficiency by 5 percent each year. Currently, cars must average 27.5 mpg and trucks must get 24 mpg.
Fact Check: How much oil will new fuel standards save, and how will the environment and individual drivers benefit?
President Obama is announcing plans Thursday to boost domestic energy production, which is expected to include new offshore oil exploration and drilling. The White House says its new strategy will "set America on a path to energy independence." While drilling isn't likely to win many fans among environmentalists, it could help bring Republicans on board with the president's energy initiatives since the GOP has pushed hard for more domestic drilling to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
Fact Check: How dependent is the U.S. on foreign oil, and where does most of it come from?
New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa walked out of Congress andÂ straight into the scandal spotlight this week, offering a laundry list ofÂ reasons for resigning as he made the rounds on evening talk shows. When CNN's Larry King asked, "Why did you resign - health, ethics, Democratic leadership, what?" his response was "All of the above." Amid questions about cancer and "groping" male staffers, Massa repeated his assertion that he was pushed out by the Democratic leadership to improve the party's odds of passing health care reform - an allegation House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer calls "absurd."
Regardless of whether he was pushed out or not, Massa's departure changes the dynamics in the House by reducing the number of votes needed for a majority. And if it comes down to one or two votes, he says, "You'd better believe it makes a difference."
Fact Check: Could Eric Massa's resignation from Congress be the key to passing health care reform?
Drastic cuts in state budgets are forcing many states to consider drastic measures in education, including closing schools, getting rid of significant numbers of teachers and administrators, and cutting out extracurricular activities.Â Another contentious idea being kicked around in many school districts is scaling back to a four-day school week, and adding an extra hour or so to the remaining days.
The head of a Minnesota district that's switching to four-day weeks next year says she's confident it will save money without affecting learning, and might even have some positive effects, such as fewer absences. Superintendent Deb Henton told CNN's Campbell Brown a four-day week has a "neutral" effect on academic achievement: "It's neither a positive gain, nor a negative gain." And she said it would prevent bigger problems, such as additional cost cuts and larger class sizes.
Fact Check:Â Can a four-day school-week save money without undermining learning?