Planet Money
10:01 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Jack Abramoff Explains The 'Lobbyist Safecracker Method'

Jack Abramoff in 2004. He's the one on the right.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 8:39 am

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been making the rounds lately. He's out of prison. He has a new book. He's in a talkative mood. So I figured it was a good time to ask him about the business of lobbying — not about what he did that was illegal, but about the ordinary, legal stuff.

The firm he worked for was called Greenberg Traurig. I chose a year at random when Abramoff was working there, and picked a client I hoped would be fairly typical. I chose Tyco International, a multinational corporation that in 2003 gave Abramoff's firm $1.3 million.

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StoryCorps
8:00 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

After Son's Sudden Death, Shock, Grief And Coping

Buelah and Dennis Apple spoke about their son Denny during a visit to StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 8:04 am

Nearly 21 years ago, Dennis Apple and his wife, Buelah, were thrust into a situation parents dread. Their son Denny had come down with mononucleosis. And as they recall, just before bed one night, Denny took his medicine and then talked about where he wanted to sleep.

At the time, Denny was 18; he had begun competing in triathlons near the family's home in Olathe, Kan., outside Kansas City.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Later Tonight: Live Blogging The Latest GOP Debate

With just four full days to go before Tuesday's crucial Florida primary, the four remaining major Republican presidential candidates gather tonight for another debate.

This time the setting is the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The host network is CNN. The network's Wolf Blitzer will moderate. The other sponsors are the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right advocacy group.

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It's All Politics
4:38 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

In A Campaign Defined By Debates, Some Moments That Really Mattered

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was searching for the words "Department of Energy" during the CNBC debate Nov. 9, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Paul Sancya AP

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Shots - Health Blog
4:07 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Blood Doctors Call Foul On NCAA's Screening For Sickle Cell

University of Central Florida wide receiver Ereck Plancher died in 2008, after taking part in voluntary strength and conditioning drills. A lawsuit by his family claimed his death was related to complications from sickle cell trait that weren't properly treated. The university is appealing the decision against it.
AP

If you're a college athlete who's talented enough to play a Division I sport, the NCAA requires that you get a blood test to see if you have sickle cell trait.

People with sickle cell trait carry one copy of a gene that can lead to an abnormal type of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells. (Two copies of the gene lead to sickle cell disease.)

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The Conservation Beat
3:54 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Secretary Chu Touts Solar in Albuquerque

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Albuquerque today to talk about the future of energy in the US.  KUNM's Conservation Beat reporter Sidsel Overgaard has more.

For more conservation news check out our blog: earth air waves

Energy
3:33 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Panel Charts Path To New Home For Nuclear Waste

Without a centralized national repository for nuclear waste, the radioactive material is currently being kept at various sites across the country. Above, large concrete canisters, each holding 14 55-gallon drums of waste, are loaded on a truck in Richland, Wash., in June 2005 where they were later shipped to a facility in New Mexico.
Jeff T. Green Getty Images

A panel of experts today set forth a plan for getting rid of thousands of tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste.

Most of it is spent fuel from nuclear power reactors. It was supposed to go to a repository in Nevada called Yucca Mountain, but the government has abandoned that plan.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

McCain Says History Will Judge Obama Harshly On Policy Toward Iran

Sen. John McCain, right, as he endorsed Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency earlier this month.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama has made the case that his administration spoke out forcefully when Iran's government used deadly force to suppress protests in the spring of 2009.

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Presidential Race
3:08 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Gingrich Fights Against The Lobbyist Label

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks Thursday during a Lakeside Inn Tea Party rally in Mount Dora, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 4:27 pm

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continues to fend off accusations that he should wear the scarlet "L" — for "lobbyist." This week, he released two of his consulting contracts and said they didn't call for any lobbying.

Like many other former lawmakers, Gingrich was advocating for paying clients, while not officially registering as a lobbyist.

The two contracts disclosed this week came from Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant. Between 1999 and 2007, Freddie Mac paid his firm $1.6 million.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:04 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

'Birmingham': A Family Tale In The Civil Rights Era

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 11:40 am

Welcome to the fourth installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club, where we select a book for young readers — and invite them to read along with us and share their thoughts and questions with the author.

Our selection for January — The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis — describes the civil rights era from the perspective of a young (and extremely mischievous) boy and his family.

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