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It's All Politics
4:46 am
Sat July 7, 2012

'Social Welfare' Organizations Play Big Role In Presidential Politics

Karl Rove attends a ceremony to unveil the portrait of former President George W. Bush at the White House in May. A former Bush adviser, Rove also is a founder of Crossroads GPS.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 6:57 am

Some of the heaviest advertisers in the 2012 presidential campaign are groups financed by anonymous donors. They're not organized as political committees, but as "social welfare" organizations.

Peter Overby, NPR's money and politics correspondent, says one of those groups is rivaling the campaigns themselves for money spent on high-profile ads so far in the campaign.

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Around the Nation
4:46 am
Sat July 7, 2012

USS Iowa's Guns Are Now For Show

Pacific Battleship Center

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 11:53 am

On Saturday, the USS Iowa battleship opens its decks to visitors in the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The battleship, commissioned by the Navy for World War II, will now serve as a museum.

On a gray morning, former USS Iowa crew member Mike McEnteggart shows off the ship's main deck. McEnteggart first arrived on the Iowa in 1985, fresh out of boot camp.

"I was 20 years old," he says. "Just barely 20 years old."

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Europe
4:27 am
Sat July 7, 2012

'Super Mario' Challenges The Idea Of Who's An Italian

Italian forward Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring the second goal during Italy's Euro 2012 football championships semifinal match against Germany, June 28, at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
Francisco Leong AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 5:33 pm

The Euro 2012 soccer championship ended last weekend with Spain's defeat of Italy. But many sportswriters singled out the second-place team as the tournament's unexpected surprise.

The star of Team Italy is the Sicilian-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, raised by an Italian adoptive family — and now Mario Balotelli is changing the notion itself of what constitutes Italian-ness.

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U.S.
4:09 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Gridlock: Storms, Blackouts Expose Power Problems

A power pole is bent after severe storms hit the Bemidji, Minn., area on Tuesday, knocking down thousands of trees and causing extensive damage to utility lines. Thousands of customers were left without power.
Monte Draper AP

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 1:19 pm

As hundreds of thousands swelter without power a week after a violent storm pummeled the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, energy experts say the future will look even worse if the nation's aging, congested electrical grid isn't upgraded.

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U.S.
4:08 am
Sat July 7, 2012

How One Drought Changed Texas Agriculture Forever

Siblings Charles Hagood and Nancy Hagood Nunns grew up in Junction, Texas, in the 1950s. Charles says the drought drove ranchers to find other types of work.
Michael O'Brien Michael O'Brien

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:40 pm

In Texas, there is still the drought against which all other droughts are measured: the seven-year dry spell in the 1950s. It was so devastating that agriculture losses exceeded those of the Dust Bowl years, and so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas.

From 1950 to 1957, the sky dried up and the rain refused to fall. Every day, Texans scanned the pale-blue heavens for rainclouds, but year after year they never came.

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The Two-Way
2:02 am
Sat July 7, 2012

U.S. Gives Afghanistan New Ally Status As Part Of 2014 Transition

In Kabul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces that Afghanistan is now a "major non-NATO ally" alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Sean Carberry for NPR

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 6:11 am

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan this morning, and she brought along some news. The country has officially been designated a "major non-NATO ally" of the U.S., which will facilitate defense and security cooperation between the countries even after the U.S. withdraws combat troops in 2014.

In an emailed press release, the State Department says the status "qualifies a country for certain privileges supporting defense and security cooperation but does not entail any security commitment to that country."

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Fresh Air Weekend
12:08 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Summer Cooking From Top Chefs

Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop prepare a traditional summer barbecue, as imagined by WHYY's artist-in-residence, Tony Auth.
Tony Auth

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 9:57 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:


Summer Cooking Tips From 'America's Test Kitchen': Jack Bishop and Bridget Lancaster highlight some of their favorite grilling techniques and summer recipes — everything from meats to vegetables to, yes, even desserts.

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Author Interviews
12:03 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Remembering George Szell, Powerhouse Conductor

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 3:42 pm

Michael Charry was the "sorcerer's apprentice" to celebrated 20th-century conductor George Szell. For the last decade of Szell's tenure at the Cleveland Orchestra, Charry was an assistant conductor.

Now, Charry has captured the power of Szell's artistry — as well as his tempestuous personality — in a new biography called George Szell: A Life of Music.

Charry vividly recalls Szell testing him on how many notes he could find in a chord when he first auditioned for the job.

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Religion
3:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Evangelicals Fight Over Therapy To 'Cure' Gays

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Supporters call it "conversion therapy." Critics call it "praying away the gay." Whatever name you use, it's creating a ruckus in Christian circles about whether a person can change his or her sexual orientation. And now the largest "ex-gay ministry" is rejecting the approach.

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World
3:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

At Last, A Verdict On Argentina's 'Stolen Children'

Since 1978, Rosa Tarlovsky de Roisinblit has waged a relentless search to find her daughter, Patricia, who was kidnapped by military henchmen and never seen again. Twelve years ago, Roisinblit did find Patricia's son, who is now in his 30s.
Silvina Frydlewsky for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

As a judge in Argentina read out the 50-year prison term handed down to former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, a courtroom packed with the families of the victims celebrated, feeling that justice had at last been delivered.

And no one watching Thursday's historic sentencing in Buenos Aires had worked so hard for justice as the tenacious members of one of the world's most renowned human rights groups, the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

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Movies
3:29 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Sarah Polley: A Long Look At What We Feel Is Missing

Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams as a husband and wife whose marriage becomes strained in Take This Waltz, the latest film from Canadian director Sarah Polley.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Sarah Polley started acting when she was 4, in her native Canada. She earned critical acclaim for her performance as a teenage girl injured in a school bus crash in Atom Egoyan's film The Sweet Hereafter.

Polley made her debut as a director with the subtle and devastating film Away from Her — a portrait of a marriage later in life, as the wife (Julie Christie) is pulled away by Alzheimer's disease.

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Music Interviews
3:12 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

16 Musical Odes To Very Strange Animals

Illustrator Jelmer Noordeman's rendering of a real-life creature: the venomous, nocturnal solenodon.
Jelmer Noordeman

Originally published on Sat July 7, 2012 11:21 am

CD sleeves usually feature pictures of the musicians, the text of lyrics and copious thanks.

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The Salt
3:04 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Finding Food (Even Filet Mignon) During A Week Without Power

It has been about a week since a gigantic wind storm tore through the Mid-Atlantic, leaving millions without electricity in its tattered wake. By now much of the debris has been cleared, but Reuters reports that 500,000 Americans are still without power, which of course is keeping many people out of their kitchens.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:26 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

More Answers To Your Questions About The Health Care Law

The Affordable Care Act remains pretty much intact after its review by the Supreme Court. So what's in it anyway?
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act, many Americans are scrambling to remember — or learn for the first time – what's in the law and how it works.

We asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's are some, edited for clarity and length, and the answers:

Q: Will the penalty for not having health insurance affect people at all income levels, or will low-income people be spared?

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The Salt
1:52 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Your Love Letters To Pie Came In Droves

NPR listener Rob Siegel of Philomath, Ore., says every Thanksgiving he spends a whole day making pies with his grandchildren.
Courtesy of Rob Siegel

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 1:08 pm

All good things come to an end, and we're sad to report that today marks the conclusion of Pie Week. What started as an admission of our fears of making pie crust (see Allison Aubrey's story) has become something much bigger that speaks to just how powerful pie can be as a means of bringing us together.

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It's All Politics
1:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Jobs Report And Politics: The Monthly Spin Cycle

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks about the monthly jobs report Friday in Wolfeboro, N.H.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 2:32 pm

Like any Oval Office incumbent seeking re-election, President Obama would prefer to have the economy exceeding expectations in terms of job creation at this point in the campaign.

But exactly four months from Election Day, the economy isn't cooperating. In fact, it's doing just the opposite, underperforming job-growth forecasts in recent months.

Given the trend, it seems unlikely the four monthly jobs reports to be issued between Friday and Election Day will change the pattern in which our politics now seem trapped:

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

U.S. Unemployment Rate Sticks At 8.2 Percent

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The big news from Washington today may not sound like big new. The unemployment rate remains stuck at 8.2 percent in June. Hiring was virtually flat compared to the prior months, with a meager 80,000 jobs added to the payrolls. But these days, the weak economy is increasingly a political story as NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Week In Politics: Mitt Romney, Health Care Mandate

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Time now for our weekly look at politics with columnists David Brooks of the New York Times and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. Good to see you both.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to see you.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.

SIEGEL: Those anemic job growth figures came out. As we heard, President Obama is campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania, paying special attention, I should add, to auto plants. E.J. first, how does President Obama campaign effectively on a recovery that is sputtering this way?

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Animals
1:51 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Blue Whales Drawn Unusually Close To Shore In Calif.

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. It's been a great season for blue whale sightings off the coast of Northern California. Dozens of blue whales, the world's largest animal, have been spotted unusually close to shore. Lured by an abundance of food, the tiny crustaceans called krill, their appearance has delighted whale watchers and marine biologists.

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Opinion
1:13 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Wish You Were Here: City Kayaking In Seattle

The view of Seattle from Lake Union.
Razvan Orendovici

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 2:14 pm

Novelist Jess Walter's most recent novel is Beautiful Ruins.

At dawn, the sun curls across the lake's placid surface like a twist of lemon on a gin martini. Easing into my kayak on this glacier-cut, 12,000-year-old lake, I feel as I always do on its water: alone in the world.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Zimmerman Posts Bond, Is Released

George Zimmerman during a court hearing on June 29.
Joe Burbank AP

One day after a Florida judge set his new bail at $1 million, accused killer George Zimmerman is out of jail after posting a bond.

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The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Yahoo, Facebook Reportedly In Ad Deal

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 1:52 pm

Yahoo and Facebook have agreed to re-sheath their patent swords and play nice — at least for now.

The two companies have struck a broad advertising partnership as part of a deal to end a patent dispute, Kara Swisher reports on the technology blog All Things Digital, quoting "sources close to the situation."

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Law
12:39 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

How The Health Care Ruling Might Affect Civil Rights

People gather outside the Supreme Court on June 28, the morning the health care ruling was announced. Lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law — including civil rights.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

There's been lots of talk about how the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the health care law could affect the federal Medicaid program and President Obama's political standing. But days after the historic ruling, lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law — including civil rights.

At first blush, it might seem odd that a case about the Affordable Care Act would send civil rights experts scrambling back to their law books.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hot Damn! It's National Fried Chicken Day

Celebrating the day.
Steve Parsons PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:23 pm

Someone please tell us, because we've searched and can't find the answer: Who decided this is National Fried Chicken Day?

It apparently is, judging from all the stories, Web posts and tweets we're seeing.

It's why the Los Angeles Times is offering up "Fried Chicken Five Ways" — five recipes, from classic buttermilk-battered to Korean.

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Middle East
11:38 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Yemen Airstrikes Punish Militants ... And Civilians

Some of the 26 children of Saleh Qaid Toayman, who was killed with one of his sons in an airstrike on Oct. 14, 2011. The family says the eldest son, Azzedine, has joined an al-Qaida-affiliated group to avenge the father's death. The group's black banner hangs in the family's home. The family says the militant group gives them a monthly stipend.
Kelly McEvers NPR

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:46 pm

The destruction is total. In Jaar, a town in southern Yemen, an entire block has been reduced to rubble by what residents say was a powerful airstrike on May 15.

For the first time in more than a year, the sites of the escalating U.S. air war in southern Yemen are becoming accessible, as militants linked to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have withdrawn from the area. This retreat follows the sustained American air campaign and an offensive by the Yemeni government forces on the ground.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:13 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Under Pressure, Pfizer Agrees To Change Vitamin Claims

Pfizer will drop or qualify some health claims on labels and in ads for Centrum vitamins and supplements.
CSPI

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 10:56 am

If you pay any attention at all to ads for vitamins, you'd be forgiven for thinking they're good for just about anything that could ever ail you.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Fri July 6, 2012

How Hot Is It? All You Need To See Are These Two Maps

"Papa B" (left) and "Cadillac Bob" find refuge from the heat in a shaded lot between their homes on Chicago's South Side.
Sitthixay Ditthavong AP

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:11 pm

The heat wave across much of the nation continues.

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Planet Money
9:53 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Rigging LIBOR: Banking Scandal Hits Home (Literally)

Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 7:20 pm

The biggest scandal in the world right now has nothing to do with sex or celebrities. It's about an interest rate called LIBOR, or the London Interbank Offered Rate.

Most Americans probably never heard of LIBOR. When I first moved to New York, I hadn't. Back then, I could barely afford my apartment and got an adjustable rate mortgage. And so I wondered: When my rate adjusts, how will I know how much I'll be paying?

I searched through all the documents and it was right there — LIBOR. I would be paying a few percentage points above whatever LIBOR was.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
9:52 am
Fri July 6, 2012

It's All Politics, July 5 2012

Charles Dharapak AP

If the Supreme Court says President Obama's Affordable Care Act includes a tax, then why is his rival Mitt Romney paying a political price? And who would have guessed in the aftermath of the ruling the right would attack Chief Justice John Roberts. Plus: It's getting nerve-wracking for Charlie Rangel.

NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest political news in this week's roundup.

Music Reviews
9:51 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Big K.R.I.T.: Music Straight 'From The Underground'

Big K.R.I.T.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 6, 2012 12:20 pm

Big K.R.I.T.'s distinction as a rapper is the way he spreads his vowels out over his beats like gravy. There's little that's harsh in his phrasing, even as his lyrics can be tart or tough. In general, though, his tone over the course of Live From the Underground is a voice of coolness, of relaxation or resignation, even occasionally serenity.

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