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11:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Debt, Debt And More Debt: Is Democracy To Blame?

The marble statue of Plato stands in front of the Athens Academy in Athens. The ancient Greek philosopher had his doubts about democracy.
Dimitri Messinis AP

High-profile experts are staging two separate Washington press conferences Tuesday to demand action on public-debt problems. One group is targeting state budget crises; the other, the federal budget mess.

If the ancient Greek philosopher Plato were still alive, he might hold a third press conference to declare: "It's hopeless. I told you so. Democracy will always degenerate into chaos because people will vote for their immediate self interests, not the long-term good."

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NPR News Investigations
10:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Calculating The Value Of Human Tissue Donation

Chris Truitt holds a photo of his daughter, Alyssa, who died when she was 2, at his home in De Forest Wis. After donating her organs and tissues, he decided on a career change that made him rethink tissue donation.
Narayan Mahon for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 7:11 pm

Part 1 of a four-part series

The story of how Chris Truitt went from being a tissue industry insider to an industry skeptic starts with a family tragedy.

In 1999, his 2-year-old daughter, Alyssa, died of a sudden health complication. Truitt and his wife, Holly, donated their daughter's organs and tissue, which saved the life of another young girl, Kaylin Arrowood.

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It's All Politics
10:46 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Romney Repeats No-New-Tax-Releases Stance, Defends Offshore Accounts

Mitt Romney leaves a fundraiser in Baton Rouge, La., on Monday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continued Tuesday to push back on calls to release more years of tax returns and defended keeping investments in offshore accounts — both issues that have been dogging his run for the White House.

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Afghanistan
10:22 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Old Mines Bring New Casualties In Afghanistan

An Afghan man rests after walking on his new artificial leg at the International Committee for the Red Cross Ortho Center in the eastern city of Jalalabad, last month. Many Afghans continue to be injured by mines.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 8:01 pm

Windblown villages of mud houses surround the huge Bagram Airfield north of Kabul. These poor villagers make a living in ways that can also kill them: They graze their animals or forage for scrap metal — often on a NATO firing range.

The East River Range dates to the 1980s, when the Soviet army occupied Afghanistan. It's full of mines, grenades and other ordnance that should have detonated during training exercises over the years. It sprawls along a mountainside and grazing areas. It's poorly marked, and only small sections are clearly identified by signs and concrete barriers.

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It's All Politics
10:22 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Obama Campaign Ad: Did Romney Pay 'Any Taxes At All' Some Years?

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:59 pm

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Tue July 17, 2012

U.S. Laboratory Breaks Laser Record, Delivering 500-Trillion-Watt Beam

The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility are the first step in increasing the energy of laser beams as they make their way toward the target chamber.
National Ignition Facility

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:32 pm

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has produced a record-breaking laser beam at its National Ignition Facility. The lab's system of 192 beams produced more than 500 trillion watts and 1.85 megajoules of laser light onto a 2-millimeter in diameter target.

And we know, those numbers sound like gibberish. But the laboratory puts it in every-day terms:

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Religion
9:54 am
Tue July 17, 2012

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the vice president of the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, Iowa.
LCWR

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:18 pm

In April, the Vatican announced that three American bishops (one archbishop and two bishops) would be sent to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a member organization founded in 1956 that represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States, to get them to conform with the teachings of the Church.

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Republican Lawmakers Seek To Block Funding On Black Lung Regulation

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 4:33 pm

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have inserted into a broad appropriations bill language that would block funding for a Labor Department effort to reduce the occurrence of black lung, the disease that afflicts coal miners exposed to excessive mine dust.

The bill covers appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013 for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. Tucked away deep inside the measure is this language:

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Open Gays; Call It 'Absolutely The Best Policy'

In Mississippi last month, scouts took part in a flag retirement ceremony.
Philip Hall / Enterprise-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 9:56 am

"After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said the 11-member committee decided that is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.

The Boy Scouts' policy states that:

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Shots - Health Blog
8:50 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Health Insurance Prices For Women Set To Drop

Women pay extra for the coverage, but not for much longer.
iStockphoto.com

Any woman who has bought health insurance on her own probably didn't find herself humming the old show tune, "I Enjoy Being a Girl." That's because more than 90 percent of individual plans charge women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, a practice known as gender rating.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:45 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Atom Central/YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:23 pm

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Strange News
8:24 am
Tue July 17, 2012

'Cluster Balloon' Daredevils Attempt Record Flight

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue July 17, 2012

In 'Dour' Report, Fed's Bernanke Says Economy Has Decelerated

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 12:10 pm

"The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tells Congress this morning in testimony prepared for his semiannual report on economic conditions and monetary policy.

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Dutch Police Join Investigation Into Needles Found In Delta Sandwiches

A Delta Air Lines jet being serviced last year by Gate Gourmet caterers in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 1:22 pm

"Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport say they still do not know how needles got into turkey sandwiches on Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, but are investigating," The Associated Press reports.

As The Wall Street Journal writes:

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Tue July 17, 2012

VIDEO: Hero Neighbor Catches 7-Year-Old Girl Who Falls 3 Stories

Steven St. Bernard, who made the catch that saved a little girl from serious injury or worse.
CBS New York

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:42 am

"I was just praying that I would get there and that if she [fell] that I would catch her," Steven St. Bernard tells CBS 2 TV in New York City.

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The Salt
7:14 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Cooking On The Sunny Side: How Solar Chefs Put Food On The Table

Corn dogs sizzle in a solar cooker made from reflective car windshield shades.
EBKauai Flickr

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:51 pm

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Around the Nation
6:07 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Alaska Mayor Is Purrfect For The Job

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. The mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska is celebrating his 15th year on the job. No worries about term limits for this mayor. Stubbs, so named because he's missing half a tail, is as popular as the day he was elected. Townspeople voted for him as a write-in candidate even though he's a cat out of disappointment with the human candidates and Stubbs has been mayor ever since - honorary mayor.

The Two-Way
5:55 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Mass Casualties After Shootings In Toronto And Tuscaloosa

Separate mass shootings at opposite ends of North America have left dozens wounded and at least two people dead.

Late Monday evening in Toronto, two people were killed and at least 19 others wounded in a shooting that "Police Chief Bill Blair called the worst in the city's history," The Globe and Mail writes. It adds that:

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The Two-Way
5:41 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Pentagon Is Prepping Defenses Against Iran, 'Wall Street Journal' Reports

One of this morning's scoops, from The Wall Street Journal:

"The Pentagon is building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar and organizing its biggest-ever minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf, as preparations accelerate for a possible flare-up with Iran, according to U.S. officials."

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Around the Nation
5:34 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Don't Try This At Home: Gun As A TV Remote

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Salem, Oregon police say a man turned off his TV using a different kind of remote - he was playing with a gun. He aimed the laser scope at the TV and pulled the trigger and discovered the gun was loaded. Nobody was hurt but neighbors called police about the bullet that came through their wall.

The Two-Way
5:26 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

On Monday, a weed was growing through the dry earth at Marion Kujawa's pond, which he normally uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:16 pm

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

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Research News
4:27 am
Tue July 17, 2012

How Rodents Stashing Seeds Helps Trees To Grow

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story takes on some new scientific research involving wily rodents, rodents that run around through the rainforest stealing mercilessly from one another. That doesn't sound very nice, but they're actually providing a service for the forest that may once have been provided by wooly mammoths.

NPR's Richard Harris could not resist telling a story with such an intriguing cast of characters.

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Remembrances
4:24 am
Tue July 17, 2012

'Encyclopedia Brown' Author Dies At 87

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's take a moment to remember mystery writer Donald Sobol who died last week in Miami. He was a man who wrote his mysteries short. In the 1950s, he succeeded with syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries."

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But Sobol is most remembered for his "Encyclopedia Brown" kids' books, books that Don Weisberg knew well as both a publisher and a reader. Weisberg is currently the president of the children' book division of Penguin Books.

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Europe
4:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Athletes, Visitors Flood London's Heathrow Airport

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Start with a city centuries old, mix in contests that trace their origins back millennia, then add in record numbers of arrivals at London's Heathrow Airport, including athletes who in some cases felt like they'd spent centuries on the bus stuck in traffic on the way into town.

The London Olympics are days away, along with some complications, as NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIRPLANE)

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Business
3:32 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Tech World Star Marissa Mayer To Head Google

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:11 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Silicon Valley, the buzz is the latest hire by Yahoo. Marissa Mayer is the new CEO. Yahoo lured the 37-year-old away from Google, were she was one of that company's most prominent executives. She studied computer science at Stanford, was hired on as employee number 20 at Google, and as NPR's Steve Henn reports, she is something of a rock star in the tech world.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: For years the rap on Yahoo has been: this company lacks focus.

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Politics
3:29 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Democrats' Efforts To Reveal GOP Donors Stymied

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Once again, a push by Democrats to force outside campaign spending groups to reveal their big hidden donors has been stymied. Last night for the second time, Senate Republicans closed ranks and blocked legislation on what's known as the Disclose Act. And as it happens, that legislation would've affected groups that are a key source of spending this year, favoring Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. NPR's David Welna explains.

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Election 2012
3:26 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Romney, Obama Keep Up Campaign Sniping Attacks

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Here's what's happening in the presidential race. Republican Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama for cronyism. Romney contends that Obama campaign donors got alternative energy grants.

MONTAGNE: Romney is trying to return to the offensive after being slammed over his own record. President Obama and his campaign have been questioning Romney's business background.

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Business
2:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Silicon Valley Firm To Help UVA Expand Online Courses

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we're here next about a new educational partnership with Silicon Valley. It's what the University of Virginia. You may recall last month, UVA's board of governors fired and then rehired President Teresa Sullivan. One reason some board members say they called for her ouster in the first place was that she had not moved quickly enough to expand the university's online courses. That has prompted new initiative being announced today, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

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Business
2:48 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Self-Help Guru Covey Dies At 79 After Bike Accident

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:17 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Today's last word in business could be several things: abundance mentality or win-win.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Or maybe sharpening the saw. Those are all aspects of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." The author of that business Bible died yesterday. Stephen Covey was 79.

MONTAGNE: He wrote "The 7 Habits" in 1989. Years later, Covey appeared on this program. He was asked what skills of leader should have.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

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