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Movies
1:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

A Sunday Christmas Means A Change For Holiday Movies

The Christmas holidays always mean big money for Hollywood. The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is traditionally the biggest box-office week of the year. But this year something weird is going on: more movies are opening on Sunday instead of the traditional Friday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello about what this will mean for the holiday movie season.

Analysis
1:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

2011: The Year In Stories

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 3:15 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

From NPR News, it's weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Thanks for joining us this Christmas Eve. Today and tomorrow, instead of our usual cover story, we'll hear updates from some of the folks who appeared on this program this past year.

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Asia
1:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Stain Of Disaster Remains In Some Areas Of Japan

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 3:15 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Ten months ago, reporter Lucy Craft who's based in Tokyo was about to get the story of her career. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami left nearly 16,000 people dead, most of them in northern Japan. Here's a clip from her reporting on that day.

LUCY CRAFT: The scenes of horror playing out on national TV, scenes of biblical proportion, an entire town engulfed in flames. Hundreds of bodies discovered, victims of tsunami waves more than 30 feet high.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Ousted By Tea Party, Rep. Inglis Looks Back

Republican Representative Bob Inglis was one of only a few Republicans in the House of Representatives who lost their seats to Tea Party challengers in 2010. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz spoke with Inglis, a longtime conservative, just over a year ago before he left Congress. He checks back in with Inglis to find out what he has been up to since he left politics.

Europe
1:00 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

For Norway, A Horrific Memory Lingers

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

On a Friday night this past July, it was July 22nd to be exact, we began to hear details about a shooting in Norway. Now, at first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But by Saturday morning, the full extent of the attacks started to become clear. A series of explosions, and then the systematic killing of dozens of young people by an extreme right wing gunman named Anders Behring Breivik.

That morning, we called journalist Anders Giaever. He's a columnist at one of Norway's largest newspapers and he was shaken.

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Television
12:28 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

The Good Old Yule Log Spreads To HDTV

A screencap of the iconic WPIX Yule Log. The original video was filmed in 1966; this version was redone in 1970.
WPIX

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Law
4:31 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Justice Department Blocks New S.C. Voting ID Law

The Justice Department has blocked a new South Carolina voting law, saying it violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The state law requires voters to present a photo ID in order to vote. The Justice Department says the law disenfranchises minorities, but the state says it protects against voter fraud. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Pam Fessler.

Monkey See
2:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

For 'Downton' Fans, A New Season And A New Book

Brendan Coyle is John Bates and Joanne Froggatt is Anna Smith in Downton Abbey, which returns January 8 to PBS.
Nick Briggs PBS/Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 6:08 am

It's almost here. And by "it," we mean the new season of Downton Abbey, the UK-produced drama about the Crawley family and their servants that PBS imported for Masterpiece Classic with great success. Series two has already run in the UK, but if you've been good and patient and resisted the urge to obtain it by illicit means, your wait is nearly over: the new season begins on PBS on January 8th.

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Law
1:00 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

Alleged Victims Emboldened By Penn State Scandal

It took 40 years for Bill Conlin to write his way into baseball's Hall of Fame — but just one newspaper story for his career to unravel. Conlin stepped down from his job at the Philadelphia Daily News this week, hours before its sister paper, the Inquirer, published a lengthy investigation into charges that Conlin had sexually abused children in the 1970s. The alleged victims say they were emboldened to come forward by the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State.

Opinion
9:37 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Bittersweet Anticipation: Expecting The Expected

iStockphoto.com

Ben Dolnick is a writer based in Brooklyn.

Lately, just in time for Christmas, I've discovered that I've been acting in a play. A kind of holiday pageant, really. Working title: Things Are Always Better Before You Have Them.

Act One: I learn about the existence of something I want. Say, a book. (Ooh, a book of letters between William Maxwell and Eudora Welty!)

Act Two: I add the book to my Amazon wish list, which I proceed to circulate shamelessly to my family.

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NPR Story
2:57 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Resolution For Payroll Tax Extension May Be Near

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 2:57 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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Media
2:53 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

'PolitiFact' Faces Criticism From Liberals

Fact-checking sites like PolitiFact referee assertions by politicians, public figures and pundits. The fact-checking movement has been gaining momentum — and fans. But PolitiFact has come under fire after announcing its "Lie of the Year": a claim by some Democrats and liberals about a House Republican plan to change Medicare.

Food
12:52 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Get Into The Holiday Spirit With Scandinavian Glogg

iStockphoto.com

In snowy Norway, nothing evokes Christmastime like a pot of glogg brewing on the stove. The traditional Scandinavian winter drink mixes wine, port and brandy with spices like caraway, cardamom and cinnamon to make for a brew that smells divine and tastes even better.

Urd Milbury, cultural attache from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and her husband, Todd, teach NPR's Lynn Neary how to make the holiday treat.

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Music
8:49 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Wenceslas: A Goodhearted King And His Popular Carol

Circa 1300, King Wenceslas II of Bohemia.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 5:36 pm

Even heard in modern synthesizer arrangements, the melody of the carol "Good King Wenceslas" brings the words and images of the story into my head: "Good King Wenceslas looked out / on the Feast of Stephen / When the snow lay 'round about / deep and crisp and even.

Wenceslas was a real person: the Duke of Bohemia, a 10th-century Christian prince in a land where many practiced a more ancient religion. In one version of his legend, Wenceslas was murdered in a plot by his brother, who was under the sway of their so-called pagan mother.

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Best Books Of 2011
5:00 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Indulge Yourself: 2011's Best Celebrity Tell-Alls

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 5:36 pm

Ah, 'tis the season to be indulgent. Another glass of champagne? Please, have some homemade cookies. Does anyone want to go to the movies instead of the gym? As far as I'm concerned, December is Guilty Pleasures Time.

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Movies
2:56 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Glenn Close Finds Chemistry In Role Of Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close portrays a woman quietly living as a man in 19th-century Ireland. The character, Albert Nobbs, worked and saved money to avoid the wave of poverty plaguing the country at the time.
Patrick Redmond

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Early in her career, Glenn Close was often cast in the "good girl" role: the idyllic muse in The Natural; the understanding friend, wife and mother in The Big Chill.

Things took a sharp turn for her when she played an evil manipulator in Dangerous Liaisons and then created one of film's greatest villains in Fatal Attraction.

The range of her roles alone would make Close one of the great actors of her generation. Now, she adds another remarkable character to the list, playing the title role in the new movie Albert Nobbs.

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Opinion
1:56 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Appreciating The Ugliness Of The Christmas Tree

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 3:03 pm

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.

Our Christmas tree gets uglier every year. It's not the tree's fault. This year we sprung for a Fraser fir, cut fresh at a local farm. It has soft needles, that ideal pine-cone shape, and a pointy top perfect for holding a star. But when we got home, I felt like apologizing. This tree did not deserve what we were about to do. We re-cut the bottom, mounted it in its holder, and gave it water. For about five minutes, our tree looked beautiful. Then came the decorations.

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Monkey See
11:55 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Callin' Oates: The Hotline You Don't Need (But Might Call Anyway)

John Oates (left) and Daryl Hall (right) of pop duo Hall & Oates, seen here in 1987. These days, they're available on your phone.
Dave Hogan Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 4:08 pm

Is it pure whimsy that makes something like "Callin' Oates" appealing?

If you pick up your phone and call 719-26-OATES — at least as of this writing — you'll get a computerized woman's voice telling you what numbers to press to hear one of four Hall & Oates songs.

The question, of course, is ... why?

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Movie Reviews
9:52 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Stirring Adventures, At Home (In A Zoo) And Abroad

Matt Damon gets up close and personal with one of his new four-legged family members in We Bought A Zoo.
Neal Preston Twentieth Century Fox

After being force-fed a steady diet of Oscar hopefuls for almost a month, I may just be ready for empty-calorie time at the cineplex. But I have to confess a sense of relief this week, as I watched entertainments that didn't seem to want to do anything other than show an audience a good time.

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Asia
3:05 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

After Kim's Death, No Signs Of Power Struggles

The body of Kim Jong Il, the deceased leader of North Korea, now lies in state in the capital, Pyongyang. His sudden death has raised concerns about possible power struggles. But so far, all outward signs suggest that the North Korean leadership is lining up behind his son, Kim Jong Un.

Opinion
1:48 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

A Quest To Seek The Sublime In The Spiritual

A globe Buddha is visible against the sunset in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma).
istockphoto.com

Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.

Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular? Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical, and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.

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Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Prominent Iowa Conservative Backs Santorum

The Family Leader, an influential social conservative organization based in Iowa, has decided to remain neutral in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But the group's founder, Bob Vander Plaats, surprised many political observers Tuesday by throwing his support to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Sports
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Montrealers Reject New Interim Canadiens Coach

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 4:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Montreal Canadiens hockey team has lost more games than it's won this season. It's in last place in its division and so, as often happens when a sports teams does poorly, the Canadiens coach, Jacques Martin, was fired. In his place, the Canadiens, who are owned by Geoff Molson of Molson Beer fame, promoted the assistant coach, Ontario-born Randy Cunneyworth. Mr. Cunneyworth instantly encountered a serious objection, though. He may know hockey, but he doesn't know French.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

How GOP Candidates Are Reaching Out To N.H. Voters

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul laughs as he sits down with Elizabeth Rose Chamberlain, 3, of Epping, N.H., while campaigning at the Early Bird Cafe in Plaistow, N.H., on Tuesday.
Charles Krupa AP

With three weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, presidential campaigns are working at full speed to reach out to voters.

Political strategists say a good ground game — a campaign's ability to identify voters and get them to the polls — is worth 3 points at the ballot box. That's a boost any candidate would want.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Stephen Daldry Discusses New Movie

Robert Siegel talks to director Stephen Daldry about his new film, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It follows the story of a young boy, played by Thomas Horn, whose father dies on 9/11.

Presidential Race
4:10 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Despite Spate Of Negative Ads, Gingrich Stays Positive

Newt Gingrich speaks Monday at Global Security Services in Davenport, Iowa. Despite falling poll numbers, Gingrich says he will avoid negative campaigning.
Chris Carlson Associated Press

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:44 pm

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Movie Interviews
4:04 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

From Meryl To Margaret: Becoming 'The Iron Lady'

Meryl Streep stars as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady.
The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 4:54 pm

Margaret Thatcher's policies as British prime minister earned her the nickname "The Iron Lady," and now that's also the title of a new film about her life.

Thatcher was famously tough on British labor unions, IRA hunger strikers, the Soviet Union and the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. So in the film, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig questions Thatcher's knowledge of war, the then-prime minister's response is predictably unyielding.

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Business
4:03 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

AT&T Drops T-Mobile Bid

AT&T shuttered proposed plans to buy T-Mobile. For more, Robert Siegel talks to NPR's Joel Rose.

North Korea In Transition
3:35 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

How Will A New Leader Handle North Korea's Nukes?

Perhaps Kim Jong Il's most enduring legacy was to turn North Korea into a nuclear weapons state. The country successfully tested a nuclear bomb underground in 2006, and a second test followed in 2009.

With Kim's death, which was announced Monday, his presumed successor is his son, Kim Jong Un. But little is known about him or his thinking on the country's nuclear program.

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Three Books...
2:34 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Hell-Raising Heroines: Three Ladies With Spitfire

James FL USA via flickr

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 3:19 pm

In this age of bland romantic comedy leads, when the feminine ideal seems to mix two parts sweetly smiling Jennifer Aniston with three parts saucer-eyed Rapunzel, nothing can bring more satisfaction than the antiheroine.

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