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12:03 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

The Story Of The Chitlin' Circuit's Great Performers

Cover detail

During the years before the Civil Rights movement got underway, segregated American cities helped give birth to a touring circuit that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians and eventually brought about the birth of rock 'n' roll. Today, rock historian Ed Ward looks at two books, Preston Lauterbach's The Chitlin' Circuit and the Road to Rock 'n' Roll and Fever, Susan Whitall's biography of Little Willie John, one of the Chitlin' Circuit's last stars.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Tue December 20, 2011

'Ultimate Dog Tease' Is No. 2 On YouTube's List, No. 1 In Some Hearts

How can you not love that face?
Talking Animals

YouTube is out with its most-viewed video list for the year and if you didn't know that Rebecca Black's Friday would be on top, than you're among the (dare we say?) lucky few who didn't get her song stuck in their head this year.

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Tue December 20, 2011

CNN's Piers Morgan Testifies Before British Parliament About Phone Hacking

CNN's Piers Morgan has been testifying today before the British Parliament about the country's phone hacking scandal. Morgan, who was the editor of two British tabloids, became a figure in the scandal when a British politician said Morgan had "boasted" about hacking into phones.

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Business
10:02 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Investors Endure Another Disappointing Year

For Americans saving for retirement, 2011 was another lackluster year, filled with lots of risks but few rewards.

Savers who tried to avoid risks by putting money into federally insured savings accounts earned almost no interest. The money just sat there, even as inflation ate away at its value, with consumer prices rising nearly 3.5 percent this year.

And for those who invested in a broad array of U.S. stocks, the results were — at best — mixed.

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Election 2012
10:01 am
Tue December 20, 2011

In Iowa, The Final GOP Ground Game Takes Shape

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry passes out stickers on Dec. 16 in Cherokee, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

Two weeks from Tuesday, Iowa voters will head out to almost 1,800 caucus sites to help select a Republican presidential nominee. It could be cold. It could also be snowing. And the campaigns know they'll have to work hard to make sure their supporters show up. Those get-out-the-vote efforts could make all the difference in a race that now appears to be up for grabs.

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The Salt
9:51 am
Tue December 20, 2011

With Hanukkah Microbrews, A Taste of Jewish History

An early predecessor to the Hanukkah brews of today, Russian Jew Max Lapides stands with his sons in front of the Bauernschmidt Brewery Saloon in Baltimore, circa 1900.
Gift of Rose Sacks. Courtesy of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, 1988.227.1

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 10:32 am

During the holidays, many beer manufacturers roll out seasonal brews. But there's a relative newcomer for the festival of lights: Hanukkah beer.

Lompoc Brewing, in Portland, Ore., is one small, craft brewery that has added it to its winter lineup.

"We had a Jewish gentleman here ... and he wanted to make a Hanukkah brew," says David Fleming, the head brewer. "So we thought it was a great idea. We already had six Christmas beers going anyhow, so why couldn't we have a seventh one for Hanukkah?"

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Cool Video: Massive Cloud 'Waves' Roll Over Alabama

Huge clouds roll over Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 16, 2011.
ABC 33/40

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 3:28 pm

Video of some pretty awesome looking clouds rolling across the sky last Friday in Birmingham, Ala., is beginning to roll up a lot of views.

They sure look like either some amazingly huge waves or a line of Loch Ness monsters marching across the horizon.

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Best Music Of 2011
8:09 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Ken Tucker's Top 10: The Year In Music

Television
8:07 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Bianculli Picks The Best (And Worst) TV Of 2011

Over the past few seasons, Breaking Bad's Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has changed from meek hero to forceful villain. TV critic David Bianculli says he isn't just breaking bad anymore — he's entirely broken.
Gregory Peters AMC

Fresh Air's TV critic David Bianculli liked so many shows this year that he says he couldn't pick just 10 favorites. Instead, he split his favorites into several lists, including best documentaries and best scripted comedies/dramas.

Bianculli also highlights some of the worst shows to hit TV screens this year — including not one but two shows featuring Snooki.

Despite his Snooki misgivings, Bianculli says it was a banner year for TV.

"There is more good television on a weekly basis than there has ever been," Bianculli says. "I am absolutely certain of it."

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It's All Politics
7:59 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Flagging In Polls, Gingrich Urges Voters To Reject Negative Campaigning

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich makes remarks at a town hall meeting at Level 10 Apparel's screen-printing warehouse, in Hiawatha, Iowa, Dec. 19.
MIKE THEILER UPI /Landov

New polls — both in Iowa and nationwide — show front-running GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich losing his edge. Over at the New York Times' blog FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver's latest forecast shows Ron Paul taking the lead in Iowa.

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The Two-Way
7:55 am
Tue December 20, 2011

VIDEOS: Lights Go Out At Candlestick During 'Monday Night Football'

Most of the lights were out, but between camera flashes and emergency back-ups it wasn't pitch black when there were two power failures Monday night at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

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Shots - Health Blog
7:52 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Hospitals That Serve The Poor Struggle With Readmissions

Hospitals across the country are trying to clamp down on frequent readmissions in anticipation of new penalties Medicare is readying. But it's a bigger problem at hospitals that treat lots of low-income patients.

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The Salt
7:49 am
Tue December 20, 2011

11 Food Gifts We'd Like To See On The Doorstep

Artichokes for Christmas? For some veggie lovers, a box from Pezzini Farms may be the perfect gift.
Ethan Taniguchi for Pezzini Farms

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:26 am

When it comes to a gift that embodies the warmth and sharing of the holidays, food wins every time. This week, millions of boxes of treats are jetting across the country, spreading cheer and calories. We asked the denizens of NPR's science desk what food they're hoping to find on their doorsteps this week. Here are their picks, from traditional to outré.

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The Two-Way
7:20 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Top Stories: Blizzard, North Korea, Payroll Tax Dispute

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 7:25 am

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Home Construction Rose In November; 2011 Still A Weak Year

There was a 9.3 percent rise in "housing starts" last month vs. October, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

"Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 447,000," the agencies say. "This is 2.3 percent above the revised October figure of 437,000." The really big increase was in construction of buildings with five or more living units. Starts in that category were up 32.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Tue December 20, 2011

House Rejects Senate's Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut

House John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the U.S. Capitol on Monday (Dec. 19, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 12:23 pm

Update at 12:56 p.m. ET. House Rejects Bill:

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a Senate bill extending unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut to conference. With the Senate in recess, the move leaves the bill in limbo and could mean that come January, 2 million Americans will lose their long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million workers could see their taxes rise by 2-percentage points.

Before the vote, Democrats and Republicans went head to head on the House floor.

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It's All Politics
6:45 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Why Is Times Columnist Gail Collins So Obsessed With Mitt Romney's Dog?

This 1982 family photo provided by the Romney campaign shows the Romney family during summer vacation: from left, Mitt, Tagg, Ben, Matt, Craig, Ann and Josh Romney. Seamus, unfortunately, is not pictured. His fateful voyage to Canada occurred the following summer.
Anonymous AP

Plenty of folks have their unshakable obsessions. Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail. Captain Ahab pursued the Great White Whale. For New York Times columnist Gail Collins, it's her fixation on the voyages of an Irish Setter named Seamus.

"For some reason, the idea that you've got this guy who would drive all the way to Canada with an Irish setter sitting on the top of the car — it absolutely fascinated me," Collins says.

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The Two-Way
6:15 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Kim Jong Un's Ascension Is 'Being Cemented For Him'

A screen shot from North Korean TV foottage shows Kim Jong Il's body lying in a glass coffin in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is now lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang — enclosed in a glass coffin and surrounded by flowers. He died Saturday and the period of mourning is set to continue until well into next week.

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Sports
6:11 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Power Outage Delays Start Of Monday Night Football

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 6:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. If you were ready for some football last night, too bad. The aptly named Candlestick Park in San Francisco lost electricity twice, causing a Monday Night Football lighting malfunction. The game started 20 minutes late due to darkness. The second-quarter blackout lasted almost as long.

Suspended Steeler James Harrison Tweeted: If I can't play, can't nobody play. Lights out. When the lights came on, the '49ers won. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

World
6:06 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Airline To Let Passengers Pick Seatmates

The misery of holiday flying can be made even worse by who you end up sitting next to. So KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is unveiling a new feature allowing flyers to link up their social media profiles during check-in then pick a flying buddy from other passenger profiles.

Remembrances
5:49 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Jazz Musician Bob Brookmeyer Dies At 81

Bob Brookmeyer began his career in the 1950s. From the beginning, Brookmeyer was credited with a highly distinctive personal style — first as an improviser, then as a composer and arranger for big-band jazz. And his primary instrument is one that's rarely heard — the valve trombone — instead of a slide.

Europe
5:42 am
Tue December 20, 2011

France, Britain Fight To Keep AAA Ratings

An economic war of words has broken out between France and Britain as both nations try to hang on to their coveted AAA ratings. There is speculation that France will be downgraded soon. Meanwhile, the head of France's central bank suggested that rating agencies might want to take a closer look at Britain.

Iraq
5:37 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Arrest Warrant Issue For Iraq's Vice President

Just days after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, Iraq is in the midst of a growing political crisis. Aides to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki say one of his main rivals, ordered attacks on Shiite politicians.

Food
5:30 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Menudo: Spicy Red Chili Broth, A Christmas Tradition

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 7:09 am

Morning Edition asked listeners to write in about a dish they only make during the holiday season. Monica Bencomo of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote in to tell us about her favorite holiday dish: menudo, a red chili-based soup that her mother makes almost every December.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Blizzard Pounds Great Plains, Northeast May See White Christmas

It's slick out there: The scene Monday along U.S. 550 near Rio Rancho, N.M.
Susan Montoya Bryan AP

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 5:34 am

Stranded motorists. Closed highways. Packed hotels.

It's winter and the Great Plains has gotten walloped:

"From northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle through Oklahoma and northwestern Kansas," The Associated Press writes, "blizzard conditions [on Monday and into today] put state road crews on alert and had motorists taking refuge and early exits off major roads."

Some reports from the stricken states:

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Business
5:16 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Portland Micro-Brewer Introduces Chanukah Beer

During the holidays, beer manufacturers roll out seasonal brews. And now, in addition to Ebenezer Ale and Santa's Private Reserve, there's a relative newcomer for Chanukah: a chocolate rye porter from a micro-brewer in Portland, Oregon.

Politics
5:06 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Why Mitt Romney's Dog Is Getting A Lot Of Press

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 9:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

New York Times columnist Gail Collins feasts on the foibles of elected officials, with a lively take on politicians past and present. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, this election season, Collins has brought a laser-like focus to a shaggy dog story with a political tie.

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Asia
4:52 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Anger Spreads Over Chinese Government Land Grabs

As residents of the Chinese village of Wukan continue their rebellion against local government land seizures, NPR is uncovering evidence of the scale of the problem. Many villages around Wukan — which has been sealed off by police and paramilitary troops — also accuse corrupt officials of selling off their land.

Asia
2:00 am
Tue December 20, 2011

North Koreans Honor Late Leader Kim Jong Il

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 6:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The body of North Korea's late leader Kim Jong Il lies in state today in a glass coffin in the capital, Pyongyang. In the three days since his death, little has emerged about what's next in North Korea, other than a state funeral has been set for next week.

Governments around the region are monitoring for signs of instability, and they're also debating how to respond to the events.

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Business
2:00 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Business News

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 6:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a mobile phone patent wars.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Smartphone makers have filed dozens of lawsuits against one another for patent infringement. Yesterday, a federal agency handed Apple a limited victory in a closely watched case. It's one of the first of many mobile patent disputes to be decided.

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