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Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.

There's really not much we need to add regarding Monday night's "discussion" about guns and gun control on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. Everyone's perfectly capable of forming their own opinions.

The widow of slain Civil Rights organizer Medgar Evers will deliver the invocation at President Obama's inauguration. Myrlie Evers-Williams will become the first woman, and someone other than clergy, to say the prayer that precedes the ceremonial oath of office, as The Washington Post reports.

The inaugural ceremony will take place on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Her death has caused outrage in India and around the world.

It's been two years since the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. To learn what has and hasn't changed since then, host Michel Martin talks with Daniel Hernandez Jr., Giffords' former intern who was credited with saving her life, and Carolyn Lukensmeyer of the National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Young And Doubly Insured: A Modern Health Dilemma

Jan 8, 2013

There may be worse problems to have, but overlapping health coverage can be a problem for young people nonetheless.

Many young adults have more health insurance options now that they can stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26 under the administration's health law.

Gays who were forced to leave the U.S. military before 2011's repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy were often given honorable discharges — but were only granted about half of the discharge pay that otherwise would have been due to them.

After the settlement Monday of a class action lawsuit brought in New Mexico, about 181 such men and women will be getting the money that was withheld.

One day after the check was issued, million dollar lottery winner Urooj Khan was dead.

The initial report from the Cook County (Ill.) Medical Examiner's office cited natural causes.

But now, authorities say, they've determined that Khan's July 20 death was due to cyanide poisoning. So Chicago police are back on the case.

Richard Ben Cramer, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his reporting from the Middle East for the Philadelphia Inquirer and went on to write critically acclaimed books and magazine pieces, has died.

The Inquirer reports that Cramer, who was 62, "died Monday ... of lung cancer at the Johns Hopkins [Medical Institutions] in Baltimore."

When children are gunned down in their classrooms, as happened last month in Newtown, Conn., it's time to say "enough," former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., tells ABC News.

Ali Harzi, the only person who had been known to be in custody in connection with last September's attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, has been released by authorities in his native Tunisia, the suspect's lawyer tell The Associated Press.

Chinese Dad Wants Gamer Son To Get A Job

Jan 8, 2013

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A Chinese man worried his son spent too much playing online video games. He was especially worried because the 23-year-old was out of work. So the father went online and hired virtual assassins to kill his son's avatar. He hoped his son would give up and get a job. A gamer's blog reports the son discovered the plot, asking his attackers why they whacked him every time he logged in. He told his father he's just waiting for the right job. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lone Wolf From Oregon Roams California

Jan 8, 2013

The wolf is called OR7 because he was the seventh gray wolf in Oregon outfitted with a GPS tracking collar. Unlike most gray wolves, he strayed far from home, to California, where he's roamed thousands of miles.

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Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."

Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. The good news for Notre Dame fans is that they should be well rested this morning. They had no reason to stay up late last night. Alabama took the fight out of the Irish, 42-14, defeating the previously undefeated team and winning the BCS championship. NPR's Tom Goldman was at the game in Miami.

On Monday, Morning Edition explored crime rates in Chicago and how the murder rate went up in 2012. That was against national trends and even against Chicago's long-range decline in crime. We discussed police focus on "hot spots," and the dissolution of gangs. But listeners asked: What about gun bans?

This year's flu season started about a month early, prompting federal health officials to warn it could be one of the worst in years. They're urging everyone to get their flu shots.

But like every flu season, there are lots of reports of people complaining that they got their shot but still got the flu. What's up with that?

Well, as Michael Jhung of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, there are lots of possible reasons.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Washington this week for meetings with President Obama and other senior administration officials. The talks are expected to help set the framework for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan after the bulk of American and NATO forces leave at the end of 2014. One of the key issues to be discussed is the number of American troops to remain in Afghanistan after that date.

The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.

In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."

Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.

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The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

2 Pi: Rhymes And Radii

Jan 8, 2013

For the third straight year, spending on health care in 2011 grew at a historically slow rate, government researchers report.

According to a study published in the January issue of the policy journal Health Affairs, U.S. health spending rose 3.9 percent in 2011. That's statistically almost identical to the rate of increase in each of the two previous years.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the famed and widely cited case that legalized abortion. Yet across the country, states are continuing to approve restrictions.

With little fanfare, Virginia and Michigan Republican governors recently signed new abortion bills into law. Virginia's Bob McDonnell, in particular, quietly approved clinic regulations adopted by the state's Board of Health three months ago that hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.

Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.

So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?

First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.

We're living in the golden age of generic drugs.

Eight in 10 prescriptions are filled with generics rather than brand-name drugs these days.

The generics are usually inexpensive. Think $4 for a month's supply of the depression drug fluoxetine (or Prozac) at Wal-Mart. If you have insurance that covers pharmaceuticals, your copay will be lower with a generic than a brand-name drug, too.

In Spanish, most nouns default to masculine or feminine, as do the adjectives that describe them. So if you're referring to a group of people that includes a man, the word you'd use for that group would be masculine — even if that group is mostly made up of women.

(For a handy explainer on how words in languages become gendered, check out the "When Nouns Grow Genitals" episode of Slate's Lexicon Valley.)

President Obama's choice of John Brennan to lead the CIA appears to be less controversial than his decision to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense.

The top Republican on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, said in a statement Monday that he looks forward to working with Brennan at the CIA. Still, the Brennan nomination will raise questions about Obama's national security policy.

It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.

And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.

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