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Remembrances
1:00 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Whitman Held Court For English Speakers In Paris

The founder of a venerable literary institution in Paris has died at 98. George Whitman founded the Shakespeare & Co bookstore, across from the Notre Dame cathedral. The shop was a magnet for English speakers in the French capital.

Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

GOP Presidential Hopefuls To Debate In Iowa

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:10 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary.

The Republican candidates gather for yet another debate tonight. This one is in Sioux City, Iowa. It's the last debate before the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. And it comes as Mitt Romney and other candidates try to stop the surge of Newt Gingrich. Romney and his allies have been launching a furious assault on the former House speaker.

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Animals
1:00 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Ornithologist Discusses Causes Of Bird Downings

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

They're just everywhere. That's how a wildlife manager describes the mass casualties of Eared Grebes that crash landed in southern Utah on Monday night. Some 1,500 grebes died, another 3,000 have been rescued. The small water birds were migrating and apparently mistook a Walmart parking lot, highways and football fields covered with snow for bodies of water.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

As Holidays Near, Congressional Standoff Continues

The Republican House and Democratic Senate pushed their game of chicken closer to the precipice Thursday, with a government shutdown threat looming at midnight Friday. Both maneuvered to be able to blame the other — should things fall apart and the government actually runs out of money to operate. NPR's Andrea Seabrook joins Lynn Neary with the latest.

The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Google's Brin Says Piracy Bills Puts U.S. Censorship On Par With China

Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 12:46 pm

Google's co-founder Sergey Brin unleashed perhaps the most stinging criticism of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act that is working its way through Congress.

In a Google+ post, Brin said if the U.S. passed either SOPA, the House version of the bill, or the Protect IP Act, the Senate version, it would put the country in same league as China and Iran as far as Internet censorship is concerned. Brin said the bills were a "threat to free speech."

Brin writes:

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Shots - Health Blog
12:12 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Wyden-Ryan Medicare Plan Shakes Up Politics More Than Policy

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, (left) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, present their plan for changing Medicare at the U.S. Capitol Thursday.
Tom Williams Roll Call/Getty Images

There's not much that's new in the Medicare proposal just unveiled by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

So why is it getting so much attention? One word. No, not plastics. Politics!

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5 Things...
11:50 am
Thu December 15, 2011

5 Things You May Not Know About Michele Bachmann

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann speaks at The Gift of Life movie premiere in Des Moines on Wednesday night.
Jim Young Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:35 pm

She was born Michele Amble. Her parents divorced when she was young. She studied political science and literature in college and was a student volunteer for Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign for president.

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Europe
11:48 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Thousands Protest Alleged Election Fraud In Russia

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.

PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

A New Reason To Beat Your Own Chest: 'Drum Machine Shirt'

Think Geek

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:36 am

The Two-Way doesn't endorse products. But we do like to pass on things we see about weird and unusual things.

So a Los Angeles Times story about a "drum machine T-shirt" caught our eye. (Since there's a drummer or two in our lives, we may be biased.)

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Thu December 15, 2011

During Call-In Show, Vladimir Putin Dimisses Russian Protesters

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual phone-in session with Russians in Moscow.
Alexei Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

During a call-in show, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the massive protests against his 12-year rule were paid for by his opposition and supported by the West.

The AP reports:

"'The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country," Putin said on a marathon TV show that lasted 4 1/2 hours. "It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position.'

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Shots - Health Blog
10:48 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Once Routine, Autopsies Now Scarce At U.S. Hospitals

Unlike the medical examiner's office in New Mexico, which routinely autopsies sudden or violent deaths, most U.S. hospitals perform postmortem examinations only rarely.
John W. Poole NPR

When a loved one dies unexpectedly in the hospital, getting answers to how and why isn't as easy as it was 50 years ago.

Back then, doctors would often order a clinical autopsy. But an investigation published today by ProPublica shows that hospital autopsies have become a rarity:

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sheriff Arpaio Violates Latinos' Rights, Justice Department Says

Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 10:29 am

The U.S. Justice Department says Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a national figure thanks to his tough treatment of inmates and his tough talk on immigration, engages in "a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law," NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

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It's All Politics
10:10 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Starting At Noon: Salvation Army Volunteers Go For Bell-Ringing Record

In Chicago: Antionette Levi rings her bell as she solicits donations for the Salvation Army.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:44 am

They can't sit down. They can't eat. And they have to keep ringing their bells.

The Salvation Army says 24 of its volunteers will be going for a record starting at noon ET when they see just how long they can keep ringing their bells as they stand by collection kettles in cities across the nation.

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The Salt
9:22 am
Thu December 15, 2011

How The Army Made A Sandwich That Stays Fresh For Two Years

The shelf-stable pocket sandwich gives soldiers a portable ration that they can eat on the go.
Bob Reinert U.S. Army

For the U.S. military around the world, the enemy can be hard to pinpoint and even harder to defeat. Back at home, the Army has a tiny and vexing foe in its sights: the bacteria that cause food to rot.

In this bacterial battle, though, it's clearer who's winning, and the evidence is a humble pocket sandwich, which looks from the outside no different than your average hot pocket in the frozen foods aisle.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Biomedical Research Using Chimps Should Be Curtailed

Updated 1:30 p.m.: The National Institutes of Health accepts the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report on chimpanzee research, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement. "We will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place," he said.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Politicians Take Note: 'Pragmatic' Was 2011's Word Of The Year

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama in July, during the negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling and reducing future federal deficits. Americans say they want pragmatic leaders who will worth together.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:02 am

Americans put members of Congress at the very bottom of those they consider to be honest and ethical. They tell pollsters that they want politicians in Washington to "compromise in order to get things done."

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Around the Nation
8:32 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has forced inmates to wear pink and live in tent cities, gaining him a reputation as America's toughest sheriff.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a national reputation for being tough on crime but now the Arizona law man is in the spotlight for a different reason.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice released the results of a three-year investigation in which authorities conclude that Arpaio and his deputies are the ones who've been breaking law.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:41 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Experimental Magnetic Pulses May Help Heal A Brain After Stroke

A stroke affecting the right side of the brain can lead a person to be visually unaware of what's happening on the left.
Wikimedia Commons

A little brain stimulation seems to speed up recovery from a stroke.

This isn't the sort of brain stimulation you get from conversation. It's done using an electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp.

Researchers think the treatment encourages brain cells to form new connections, allowing the brain to rewire itself to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Jobless Claims Drop To Lowest Level In More Than Three Years

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 19,000 last week, to 366,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports. And that's the lowest level since May 2008.

Bloomberg News says the decline was not expected — most economists thought we would hear they remained around 390,000.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Report: 'Marines Promoted Inflated Story For Medal Of Honor Recipient'

President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:10 pm

"Crucial parts" of the story that Marine Corps officials told about Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's bravery in Afghanistan are "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents" that McClatchy Newspapers has examined and reporting done by a McClatchy correspondent who survived the ambush in which Meyer performed heroically.

In a long report based on extensive research, correspondent Jonathan S. Landay writes that:

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Best Books Of 2011
6:16 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Fired Up: The Year's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

2011 was a good year to be a reader of science fiction and fantasy, although lately every year has been a good year: Not only are the books getting more popular — thank you, Game of Thrones — they're getting more interesting, evolving and morphing in weird, fascinating ways.

They're also interbreeding with other genres to produce wild new hybrid forms, like historical science fiction romances and hard-boiled fantasy detective novels. They're commenting on current events and swapping DNA with literary novels.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Republicans Unveil $1 Trillion Spending Bill, Possible Shutdown Still Looms

The political wrangling continues in Washington as Republicans and Democrats try to get their priorities enacted even as several key deadlines fast approach.

Overnight, as The Associated Press reports, Republicans in the House "unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama."

The wire service adds that:

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NPR Story
5:36 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Dobbey The Reindeer Delights Kids In North London

We Americans have Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the rest but residents of Enfield, North London, can expect a visit from Dobbey the reindeer this time of year. His owner Gordon Elliott takes him everywhere — to the local pub and with him on the subway or bus. On Christmas, Elliott dresses as Father Christmas and walks Dobbey through town.

Europe
5:31 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Freak Wind Rains Down Apples On Motorists

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Drivers near Coventry, England experienced unusual weather conditions yesterday: apples falling from the sky. About 100 rained down in a few minutes. Meteorologists blamed a freak wind, clearly a strong one, since a woman whose car hood was pounded by the fruit said there are no orchards nearby. This isn't the first time strange objects have rained down in Britain. In 2007, fish fell in Norfolk. Frogs rained down in Wales in 1996. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
5:25 am
Thu December 15, 2011

As Flag Is Put Away, America's Mission In Iraq Symbolically Ends

America's colors have been cased in Iraq — the flag was just symbolically put away at a ceremony marking the end of a war that lasted nearly nine years.

At the Baghdad airport a short time ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were there to mark the occasion, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports. It was, she said on Morning Edition, a "quiet, small ceremony."

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Monkey See
4:41 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Television's New Antiheroes: Creating Sympathy For The Devilish

Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) owns slaves on AMC's Hell On Wheels. But the guys he's chasing are worse.
Chris Large AMC

Jackson "Jax" Teller, the antihero at the heart of FX's blockbuster biker gang series Sons of Anarchy, is pretty easy to distinguish from a traditional hero. Just this season, Jax blew away a rival gang with an RPG missile, shot a Russian gangster in the head and got into some serious trouble while selling guns to the scariest gangsters on the planet.

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Business
2:15 am
Thu December 15, 2011

China Slaps Tariffs On Large U.S.-Made Cars, SUVs

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's turn now to the latest volley in the ongoing tariff war. American politicians have vowed to fight new Chinese tariffs on U.S. made cars and SUVs. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has more.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: In 2010, the U.S. won a Chinese tire-dumping complaint before the World Trade Organization. Then China complained about U.S. poultry dumping. The U.S. said China subsidizes solar panels. Now the fight's over cars. Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas heads a trade subcommittee.

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NPR Story
2:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Obama Thanks Fort Bragg Soldiers For Iraq Service

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

President Obama has vowed to stay committed to Iraq. He emphasized that earlier this week when he met at the White House with Iraq's Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Yesterday, the president marked the pullout of troops from Iraq in North Carolina. He and the first lady visited Fort Bragg to offer thanks and congratulations to the soldiers there.

Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio sent this report.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello Fort Bragg.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIENCE RESPONSE)

OBAMA: All the way.

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