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Paul Starobin, author of the new book "After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age," says a dramatic rethinking of geographic boundaries and economic responsibility would greatly improve the U.S. and states like California. Starobin suggests that America's broke, ill-governed and way-too-big nationlike state, California, might be saved, truly saved, not by an emergency federal bailout, but by a merciful carve-up into three republics that would rely on their own ingenuity in making their connections to the wider world.

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John McCain wanted to shake things up with his unexpected nomination of an unknown "outsider," at least when it came to the political scene in Washington -- but by Tuesday, as reports about issues from Sarah Palin's home life and professional past circulated in the media, some McCain allies (and certainly many detractors) wondered how much his unconventional move might cost his campaign.

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