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Planet Money
1:05 am
Thu March 29, 2012

The $200,000-A-Year Nanny

iStockphoto.com

I met Zenaide Muneton in the offices of the Pavillion Agency in New York, which specializes in hiring house staff for some of the richest folks in the country. Muneton says she knows how to make everything fun for kids, even homework, and that's why she is one of the better paid nannies at the agency. I asked her what that means.

"It means over $150,000 a year," Muneton said.

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Judging The Health Care Law
10:13 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Justices Ask: Can Health Law Stand If Mandate Fails?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

The historic legal arguments on the Obama health care overhaul came to a close at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with key justices suggesting the court may be prepared to strike down not just the individual mandate but the whole law.

The major arguments of the day were premised on a supposition. Suppose, asked the court, we do strike down the individual mandate — what other parts of the law, if any, should be allowed to stand?

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Music
7:48 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Earl Scruggs, Bluegrass Legend, Dies

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally, this hour, we remember Earl Scruggs, the master of the five-string banjo, who has died at age 88. As a young man, he created his own style of fingerpicking on the banjo that would come to bear his name: Scruggs style. He got his start with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in the 1940s and then teamed up with Lester Flatt as Flatt and Scruggs. And he influenced countless players over his many decades of music, among them, fellow banjo player Tony Trischka, who joins me now.

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The Record
7:40 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Bluegrass Legend Earl Scruggs Has Died

Earl Scruggs shown during a show in Indio, Calif., on May 3, 2008.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

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Remembrances
5:16 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Feminist Writer Adrienne Rich Dies At 82

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:43 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The writer Adrienne Rich has died after a long illness. She was 82. Rich is best known for her poetry, which mirrored the times in which she wrote. Her work grew increasingly political during the 1960s and '70s, and she was a touchstone for the feminist movement. Joining me to talk to about Rich's work is the poet and critic Linda Gregerson. And Linda, I wonder what the experience is for you of reading an Adrienne Rich poem. How would you describe it?

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Around the Nation
5:13 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

JetBlue Pilot Charged For Disruption Mid-Flight

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're learning more about yesterday's bizarre incident on-board JetBlue Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas. That's the plane that diverted to Amarillo, Texas after the pilot left the cockpit mid-flight and went on a rant, screaming about Iraq and Israel.

Federal prosecutors today charged the pilot, Clayton Osbon, with interfering with a flight crew. And the court filing contains new details about what apparently went on during that flight.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Female Volleyball Players Can Cover Up For Olympics

Brazil's Larissa Franca (right) cleans the feet of teammate Juliana Silva as they celebrate a point during a women's beach volleyball match against Cuba at the Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in October 2011.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 5:25 pm

Shorts and long-sleeved tops will be OK at the London Olympics' beach volleyball tournament.

That's what the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has decided: Women won't have to wear the bikinis and bodysuits that have been the norm at previous Olympics.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

FBI Pulls Offensive Counterterrorism Training Materials

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:48 pm

The FBI has completed a review of offensive training material and has purged 876 pages and 392 presentations, according to a briefing provided to lawmakers.

The office of Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, made the briefing public when it sent a letter addressed to Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI.

According to the letter (pdf), which is dated March 27, the FBI gave the senator an opportunity to review a "handful" of the material.

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Music News
4:20 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

From London, Rock Hall Inductees 'Looked To America'

Donovan performs on Ready Steady Go! in 1965.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 12:31 pm

Today, Morning Edition begins a series of stories profiling the six new inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It's a diverse bunch, including two acts that originated in 1960s London: The Small Faces and Donovan.

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It's All Politics
4:09 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

White House Aide To Skeptical Journalists: No Contingency Plan On Health Law

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest in February 2012.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:20 pm

No matter how many times he said it Wednesday, the White House press corps just didn't seem to be buying deputy press secretary Josh Earnest's assertion that Obama administration officials weren't working on contingency plans just in case the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act.

They also weren't taking at face value Earnest's defense of Solicitor General Donald Verrilli's performance on behalf of the administration Tuesday which has been widely criticized as nervous, halting and all-around less-than-inspiring.

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Middle East
4:03 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Still Wounded, Baghdad Hosts Arab Summit

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:03 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Here's another milestone for Iraq. For the first time in more than two decades, the Arab League is meeting in Baghdad. Little in the way of major policy is expected to come out of tomorrow's summit, but as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports, after years of violence and war, it's a marvel the gathering is happening at all.

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Monkey See
3:42 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

DVD Picks: 70 Years of 'Casablanca'

Warner Home Video

Time now for a home viewing recommendation from NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello. He's found himself swept up this week by the 70th Anniversary edition boxed set of Casablanca.

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Africa
3:21 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

For The Two Sudans, The Threat Of War Looms

Sudanese troops stand next to a burnt-out military vehicle in the oil center of Heglig after clashes with South Sudanese forces Wednesday. Recent fighting has raised fears of a renewed war.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

Less than a year after they formally split, Sudan and South Sudan appear to be in danger of going to war.

Fighting spilled over the disputed border this week, scuttling a planned summit intended to resolve issues lingering from South Sudan's independence last July.

International diplomats are trying to get that summit back on track and deal with a humanitarian crisis that is looming in the region.

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Law
3:11 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Trayvon's Father: We Don't Want 'An Eye For An Eye'

Tracy Martin says of his son, "We're not saying that Trayvon was perfect. But what we are saying is, he was our child. He was a good kid. And he didn't deserve death."
Doriane Raiman NPR

The death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., has sparked headlines around the country, along with many discussions about race, the law, and the media.

Martin was killed as he returned from a trip to a convenience store. The man who shot him, George Zimmerman, has not been arrested; he says he acted in self-defense.

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It's All Politics
3:10 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages.
Mark Wilson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

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It's All Politics
3:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Oral Arguments Outside The Supreme Court, As Well ...

Robert Yochem, 45, of Baltimore
John Rose NPR

What happens when impassioned demonstrators come this close to each other?

Opponents and defenders of the new national health care law found out this week, sometimes facing off outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices inside heard three days of oral arguments on the law's constitutionality.

NPR discussed the experience with demonstrators from both sides of the debate, who traveled from other states or nearby cities to bring their voices to the steps of the high court.

Carolyn Weller, secretary:

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The Salt
3:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Battling 'Red Tide,' Scientists Map Toxic Algae To Prevent Shellfish Poisoning

An oyster shucker on Samish Island, Wash. on Puget Sound. The state is frequently forced to close beaches to oyster gatherers because of the risks of harmful algae blooms.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

Public health officials have their hands full keeping your clam chowder and raw oysters safe. That's due, in part, to red tides.

Red tides happen nearly every year as coastal waters warm, killing fish and poisoning shellfish along U.S. coasts. They're not actually tides; they're huge blooms of naturally occurring toxic algae.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Despite Losses, Bank of America CEO Receives Huge Raise

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
Chuck Burton AP

Despite the fact that Bank of America lost 58 percent of its value in 2011, its CEO received a compensation package worth $7.5 million. That's a six fold increase from the year before. The AP reports that under Brian Moynihan, Bank of America also lost its title as the No. 1 bank by assets to JPMorgan Chase.

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Crisis In The Housing Market
2:50 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Spring Brings Some Green Shoots In Housing Market

A recently sold home in Palo Alto, Calif. Home inventory is declining nationwide, and real estate agents say they are seeing more interest among would-be buyers.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

Housing prices are still declining, but many analysts see some signs for optimism in the housing market. The mild spring has brought buyers out earlier than usual, and real estate agents are busy.

Doug Azarian is one of them. One of his clients recently signed a deal on a $1.5 million house in Cape Cod, Mass. — a contemporary waterfront property with three bedrooms.

"The buyers came in, and they loved it from the minute they walked in the door," Azarian says.

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It's All Politics
2:48 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Rep. Bobby Rush's Hoodie Moment Recalls His Own Family Tragedy

Rep. Bobby Rush who, like Trayvon Martin's parents, lost a son to gun violence.
Anonymous AP

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Prosecutor Says A Desire To Win Led To Misconduct In Sen. Stevens' Case

Special federal prosecutor Henry F. Schuelke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 2:26 pm

A special prosecutor who spent two years exploring Justice Department misconduct in the botched case against late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said "contest living" — the desire to win a big case — explained the failure to follow the rules in one of the biggest political corruption prosecutions in decades.

"[Lawyers] do not want to have to undermine our case if it can possibly be avoided," investigator Hank Schuelke told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. "That motive to win the case was the principal operative motive."

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The Two-Way
2:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Report: Student Loans For K-12 Are On The Rise

Anyone who watched Nursery University — a documentary about the trials and tribulations of getting your toddler in the "right" pre-school — won't be surprised by this story.

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Judging The Health Care Law
1:54 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 3:17 pm

  • Listen to Wednesday Afternoon's Supreme Court arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday afternoon's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this afternoon in case 11-400 Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONER MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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Latin America
1:40 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Pope Meets Fidel Castro, Wraps Up Visit To Cuba

Pope Benedict meets with Fidel Castro in Havana on Wednesday as he wraps up his three-day visit to Cuba. A large crowd turned out for the Mass, though the pope did not meet with dissidents.
Osservatore Romano AP

In the last public event of his three-day visit to the island, Pope Benedict XVI called on Cuba, and the world, to change and choose a path of "love, reconciliation and brotherhood."

After the Mass, the pontiff met with Fidel Castro for a half-hour before departing for Rome, wrapping up a weeklong trip to Mexico and Cuba.

The pope did not meet with Cuban dissidents during his trip, however, drawing criticism from Castro opponents in Cuba and abroad.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:08 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet Day 3: Scalia Unplugged

Activists gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the court hears a third day of arguments on President Obama's health care law.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 2:43 pm

On the final morning of its three-day health care law extravaganza, the U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with the question of whether parts of the 2010 federal statute can survive if the justices strike down its central tenet: the individual insurance requirement.

In other words, if the nine justices find the insurance mandate unconstitutional when they rule by June, would that mean that the entire law also fails the constitutionality test?

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It's All Politics
1:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Sign Of The (Wisconsin) Times: Gov. Scott Walker For President

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's future is a bigger deal to many in his state than Tuesday's presidential primary.
Don Gonyea NPR

There's a Republican presidential primary next Tuesday in Wisconsin. But as the accompanying photo taken by NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea in Delafield, Wisc. suggests, a lot of Wisconsinites have other political matters on their minds.

As Don writes in an e-mail:

"Note that the recall coming up on June is the big political story here. Not Tuesdays presidential primary."

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

For Health Care, Will One Part's End Be The End-All?

Linda Dorr (left) and Keli Carender chant along with other demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 7:11 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Hangs On Justices' Scale

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?

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Shots - Health Blog
12:58 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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Mental Health
12:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Staff Sgt. Bales Case Shows Stigma, Paradox Of PTSD

The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 12:14 pm

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

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