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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Baseball's Reigning MVP Wins Appeal On Positive Drug Test

Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after hitting a double in Game Five of the National League Division Series, last year in Milwaukee.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Last year's National League MVP has just won an appeal on a positive drug test, which means he will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season.

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Election 2012
4:14 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Ohio GOP Voters Could Hold Key On Super Tuesday

Prospective voters listen to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, accompanied by his wife Callista, Feb. 7, 2012, at the Price Hill Chili Restaurant in Cincinnati.
Evan Vucci ASSOCIATED PRESS

Tuesday is the next big day for Republicans in choosing their presidential nominee, with primaries in Michigan and Arizona.

Then there's an even bigger day a week later: March 6 is this year's Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses. Possibly the most consequential one will be in the swing state of Ohio. It has 66 delegates at stake, and it will also be a key battleground in November.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Syrian Activist: 'I Could Be Killed At Any Moment'

A handout picture released by Local coordination Committees in Syria (LCC Syria) on Feb. 22 shows fire on the roof of a building in the Baba Amr neighborhood of the flashpoint city of Homs.
AFP/Getty Images

The situation in Syria is one of desperation, death and constant danger, a Syrian activist told All Things Considered's Melissa Block.

The activist, who goes by Abo Bakr, said he was in the house where journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed.

"We were hearing so many explosions around us, but then the sounds got closer until one rocket hit the backyard of the house," Bakr said. "Then rockets started hitting the roof, and that resulted in the roof falling down completely."

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Afghanistan
3:51 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

U.S. Apology Fails To Stop Afghan Riots

Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of President Obama and shout anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Afghans have been rioting for three days after word that several Qurans were desecrated at a NATO base. The U.S. says the burning of the Qurans was accidental.
Noorullah Shirzada AFP/Getty Images

President Obama apologized in a letter and Afghan President Hamid Karzai appealed for calm.

But that was not enough to keep Afghans from protesting violently for a third day following word that several copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, were burned at a large NATO base outside Kabul.

The latest incident resembled other cases in recent years, where rumors that a Quran was desecrated — even thousands of miles away in Florida or Guantanamo Bay — ignited deadly riots in Afghanistan.

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Books
3:49 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Enough Is Enough: 3 Books About Going Too Far

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 5:10 pm

It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.

Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Monsanto Reaches Settlement On Agent Orange Class-Action Suit

A proposed settlement has been reached in a big class-action lawsuit against Monsanto. The case is connected to the company's production of the controversial herbicide "Agent Orange," the defoliant the military sprayed over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Syrian Forces Tightening Grip On Parts Of Homs

Flames rise from a house, the result of Syrian government shelling, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria, on Wednesday, in this image provided by citizen journalists to the Local Coordination Committees.
Local Coordination Committees in Syria AP

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 5:10 pm

The Syrian army has cut off all escape routes from a rebel-held neighborhood in Homs, the city that has seen the most intense fighting in recent days, according to opposition activists.

Syrian tanks were seen moving closer to the Baba Amr neighborhood Thursday, as efforts continued to negotiate a cease-fire to evacuate the wounded, including two Western journalists.

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Performing Arts
3:01 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

For One Man, The Sword Is Mightier Than The Pen

Suzanne Gangi removes a six-inch nail from her husband Tony's nose.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Tony Gangi gave up a successful career in publishing in order to impale himself.

With his wife Suzanne's permission, he went from having a secure 9 to 5 job to following his dream of wowing audiences by doing shock-worthy things to his own body.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what I'm about to do is a 4,000-year-old art and it's known as sword swallowing," Gangi, also known as The Amazing Human Head, tells a crowd at a Salem, Mass., performance. "Oh no!" a child in the audience exclaims.

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Around the Nation
2:42 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Blue Angels Bring Winter Thrill To California Town

The Blue Angels practice above El Centro, Calif., last week.
Courtesy of Ted Gallinat

Fifteen miles from the border of Mexico, the city of El Centro in California's Imperial Valley has something most hard luck small towns don't: the Blue Angels.

For 45 years, the city has been the winter training home of the Navy's flight demonstration squadron. The "Blues," as the locals call them, have been an enduring source of pride for the desert community.

The "hay bales" is a dusty crop field a stone's throw from the runways of El Centro's Naval Air Facility. Lisa Gallinat has been watching the Blue Angels from here ever since she was a kid.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:39 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Law Student Makes Case For Contraceptive Coverage

Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University, testifies Thursday about contraceptives and insurance coverage during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Congress is in recess this week, but that didn't stop House Democrats from holding a hearing to take testimony from a Georgetown law student who was barred from testifying in last week's hearing about President Obama's policy on contraceptives, health insurance and religiously affiliated organizations.

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Technology
2:38 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

California Industries Spar Over Internet Piracy

Supporters of the website The Pirate Bay, one of the world's top illegal file-sharing websites, demonstrate in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009.
Fredrik Persson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 5:10 pm

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.

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The Salt
2:00 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce

Astronauts may have a particular affinity for Tabasco sauce in space because their sense of smell and taste is distorted.
John Rose NPR

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce.

In fact, they may start craving foods they didn't necessarily like on Earth.

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It's All Politics
1:54 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Voter ID Backer, Opponent Agree On One Point: Voter Rolls Are A Mess

There are few people further apart on the issue of new voter photo ID requirements than Laura Murphy and Hans von Spakovsky.

She's director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. He's with the Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department official under George W. Bush.

So when the two went head-to-head Thursday on the issue at the National Press Club in Washington DC, there were a few sparks.

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Presidential Race
1:44 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

For Loyalists, Is It Ron Paul Or Nothing?

Fans of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul show their support outside the Mesa Arts Center before Wednesday night's Republican debate in Mesa, Ariz.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 2:31 pm

Benom Plumb, a 31-year-old music industry executive from Nashville, thinks the country is on the wrong path, and that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can turn things around.

As for the other Republicans, Plumb doesn't mince words: Mitt Romney? Too slick. Rick Santorum? Too religious. Newt Gingrich? Untrustworthy. "They are all liars and cheaters, if you ask me," he says.

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World
1:42 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

For War Reporters, The Risks Of Going Solo

Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin often traveled by herself to the front lines of conflicts to interview civilians trapped by war. Colvin, who was killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, is shown here in Cairo in an undated photo.
Ivor Prickett AP

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 3:26 pm

War correspondents have always been at the short end of the actuarial tables. Life insurance salesmen do not pester them. No war is safe, and no correspondent is bulletproof.

But the rules of the game have been changing, and the recent deaths in Syria of two prominent correspondents, Anthony Shadid of The New York Times and Marie Colvin, an American working for Britain's Sunday Times, show how this line of work has grown even riskier.

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Planet Money
1:42 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

How Mitt Romney's Firm Transformed A Struggling Company, In 5 Steps

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:19 am

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Guy Walks Into A Denny's, Cooks A Burger, Gets Arrested

Denny's was the scene. Fraud is among the alleged crimes. A burger may have been cooked.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

This alleged crime in Madison, Wis., is odd enough — or funny enough, depending on your point of view — to begin with.

It seems that 52-year-old James B. Summers went into a local Denny's restaurant Tuesday afternoon and said he was the new general manager. This was a surprise to the folks working there.

Summers, though, insisted that he was indeed the new boss. And he seemed to be familiar with the kitchen — he grabbed a soft drink and cooked up a cheeseburger and fries.

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The Two-Way
1:35 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Closing Time: Postal Service May Cut 35,000 Jobs

The exterior of a Burlingame, Calif. U.S. Postal Service mailing processing center that has been approved for full consolidation.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:50 am

Facing a financial crisis, the United States Postal Service announced that 223 processing facilities have been "found feasible for consolidation, all or in part." Of the 264 processing facilities studied, only 35 are set to remain open.

The closings could result in the loss of 35,000 jobs. USPS has posted a full list of the facilities — which process and sort mail on its way to being delivered — on its website.

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Race
1:21 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

African-American Museum Has Its Groundbreaking

On Wednesday, President Obama and a number of special guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is expected to open in 2015.

The Two-Way
12:30 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

West Virginia Report On Mine Disaster Points To State's Shortcomings

At an April 25, 2010, service in Beckley, W. Va., for the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion, helmets — placed on crosses — were lined up in their honor.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

West Virginia's Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has issued what is now the fourth investigative report on the April, 2010, Upper Big Branch mine explosion. It largely agrees with the earlier reviews, but in language that's tepid in comparison.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Bradley Manning Defers His Plea In WikiLeaks Case

The Army private accused of leaking a huge cache of classified information to the website WikiLeaks deferred his plea, today.

In an arraignment before a military judge at Fort Meade in Maryland, Bradley Manning also put off a decision on whether to be tried by military jury or military judge.

The AP reports:

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It's All Politics
12:13 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

In South Carolina, New Report Finds No Evidence Of "Dead" Voters

The South Carolina State Election Commission has just released its initial review of allegations from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that more than 950 deceased voters appeared to have ballots cast in their names after they died. And no surprise, the commission found that of the 207 cases reviewed, there was no evidence in 197 of them that fraudulent votes had been cast. The commission said that records in the other 10 cases were "insufficient to make a determination."

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Thu February 23, 2012

LAPD Chief Says Illegal Immigrants Should Get Driver's Licenses

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Nick Ut AP

Whether undocumented immigrants are granted driver's licenses has been one of those mainstay questions in the country.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck jumped firmly into the debate, arguing that immigrants in the country illegally should be given some kind driver's permit.

Beck argued that it was a matter of public safety.

The AP reports:

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Business
11:01 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Obama's Corporate Tax Cut Plan Faces Uphill Battle

Boeing employees work on a plane engine at the company's factory in Everett, Wash. The Obama administration's corporate tax cut proposal would offer even deeper cuts for U.S. manufacturers like Boeing.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's corporate tax system would sharply cut the taxes that U.S. companies pay. But it would also eliminate many of the loopholes that help them pare down what they owe.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the proposal unveiled Wednesday should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, by doing what both sides "say is important to do ... which is lower the rate, broaden the base [and] eliminate the underbrush of unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code."

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The Salt
10:58 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Raw Milk Movement Takes Hits From Courts, Health Officials

John Clark pours raw milk into a glass at Applecheek Farm in Hyde Park, Vt.
Toby Talbot ASSOCIATED PRESS

It has been a bit of a sour week for drinkers of raw milk.

Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a federal court had granted it a permanent injunction to keep a Pennsylvania raw milk maker from distributing across state lines to raw milk buying clubs. The decision was the latest in an escalating battle between the federal government and producers and consumers of raw milk.

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The Two-Way
10:44 am
Thu February 23, 2012

NBA Phenom Lin Leaves Teammate's Couch For High-Rise Condo

Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Chris Trotman Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 10:47 am

Jeremy Lin has yet one more thing to celebrate today: After his meteoric rise from benchwarmer to superstar, the 23-year-old now has a Manhattan condo to call his own.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Lin signed a contract to rent a condo on the 38th floor of the W New York Downtown Hotel.

The Journal adds:

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The Two-Way
10:30 am
Thu February 23, 2012

From War Correspondents In Libya, A Toast To Fallen Comrades In Syria

Journalist Marie Colvin (second from left) poses with Libyan rebels in Misrata on June 4, 2011. She was killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday. Later that day in Tripoli, fellow war correspondents gathered to remember her.
Zohra Bensemra Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 11:45 am

We arrived nearly an hour late, our taxi drivers lost in the potholed, half-flooded streets of Tripoli. Our Libyan host, who would never have fathomed an on-time start anyway, invited us upstairs, where he had managed to arrange an impressive array of hors d'oeuvres and beverages on such short notice.

People arrived in groups of three or four at a time. Everyone knew almost everyone else. They hugged each other as if it could be their last time, struggled to hold back the tears, occasionally finding a way to evince a smile from each other.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Syrian Officials To Blame For Crimes Against Humanity, U.N. Panel Suggests

Syrians today carried the body of a youth reportedly killed in violence in the Idlib region.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

A United Nations panel says it has evidence that top Syrian officials "bear responsibility for crimes against humanity and other gross human rights violations" during the nearly year-long crackdown on dissent that has left thousands of civilians dead.

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All Tech Considered
9:01 am
Thu February 23, 2012

CU In Court: Texts Can Be A Divorce Lawyer's Dream

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:36 pm

Americans have learned to carefully craft their Facebook postings, and edit and spell-check e-mails. But apparently we don't give text messages much thought, and they're providing abundant and effective fodder for divorce attorneys.

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