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2:36 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Dear Mr. President, What's Your Name?

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 10:14 pm

On-air challenge: In honor of Presidents Day, every answer is the last name of a U.S. president. You will be given a word or phrase that is a president's last name with two letters changed. You name the president. For example, given "Carpet," the answer would be "Carter."

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Deceptive Cadence
3:33 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Jonas Kaufmann On Wagner: 'It's Like A Drug Sometimes'

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann.
Petra Stadler courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 4:00 pm

This year is the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth. The man widely called the greatest living Wagnerian tenor is marking the occasion in style — and asking listeners who may have turned away from the German composer to give his music another chance.

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Religion
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans

Nashashibi runs the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago.
Terrence Antonio James MCT /Landov

This summer on the South Side of Chicago, thousands are expected to gather for an outdoor festival sponsored by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN.

The festival, Takin' It to the Streets, attracts well-known musicians, like hip-hop artist Mos Def in 2010 and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. The goal of the festival's organizers is to promote cooperation between the city's residents, regardless of their backgrounds.

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Business
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Week In News: Reaction To The State Of The Union

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 3:03 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Coming up, a weekly conversation with James Fallows and a new kind of leader for the Muslim movement in America. We'll also check out some Twitter poetry and hear our first Three-Minute Fiction entry for this round. And now...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

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NPR Story
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

First Read: Three-Minute Fiction

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 6:23 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

More than 4,000 stories. That's how many of you submitted your original fiction to us from this latest round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. Now, we're going to start poring through those stories that did come in with the help from graduate students at more than a dozen schools.

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Poetry
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 3:03 pm

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don't remember ever learning this

I've never had a valentine before

I'm not a little baby anymore

It's poetry — rhyming couplets written in perfect iambic pentameter, those ten-syllable lines of alternating emphasis made famous by authors of sonnets and blank verse. But unlike your average metered rhyme, these lines were written by Twitter ... with some help from a program called Pentametron.

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Florida's Great Python Challenge Is Over; Not Many Are Caught

Bill Booth stretches out a dead Burmese python caught during Florida's "Python Challenge" on Jan. 19.
Wilfredo Lee AP

After all the hoopla and news of people buying tools to catch Burmese pythons invading Florida, the state's monthlong hunt for them is over. Hunters caught 68 pythons. That's right, 68, according to The Associated Press, even though 1,600 people signed up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to search for them.

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Movie Interviews
10:23 am
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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It's All Politics
9:52 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 9:59 am

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Huge Bomb Kills Dozens In Pakistani Market

Rescue teams attend the bodies of victims who died in a marketplace bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Saturday.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 4:26 am

The top of this post was updated on Feb. 17 at 6:04 a.m.

At least 81 people are dead and another 180 are wounded after an explosive device went off in a crowded marketplace in Quetta, Pakistan. Photos from the scene show heavy smoke rising over buildings.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Nuclear Waste Seeping From Container In Hazardous Wash. State Facility

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.
Shannon Dininny AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 11:24 am

They thought they'd managed this problem a few years ago. But Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee got a disturbing call Friday from Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Nuclear waste is leaking out of a tank in one of the most contaminated nuclear waste sites in the U.S.

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Fresh Air Weekend
7:03 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Detroit, Anat Cohen And Richard Thompson

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 9:15 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:

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The Two-Way
6:57 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Coroner Says Dorner Died From Single Gunshot To Head

At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon revealed new details about the final showdown with ex-cop Christopher Dorner that left one deputy dead and another seriously wounded.

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Politics
5:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Hometown Visit, Obama Advocates 'Common Sense' Approach To Guns

President Obama speaks about strengthening the middle class and the nation's struggle with gun violence at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago on Friday.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

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Europe
3:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Activists Offer Protest Tour Of Spain's Modern Ruins

A protest banner in Valencia, Spain, reflects the view that the city's economic woes are a result of political corruption.
Courtesy of Ruta Despilfarro Valencia

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

In his hometown of Valencia, Spain, Miguel Angel Ferris Gil runs a "wastefulness tour."

Every Saturday, he charters a bus to take people past government buildings where bribery is rumored to take place, and then to elementary schools where kids go to class in trailers. He wants to show foreign investors where their money has gone.

"Here we are, in [the] face of the Valencian parliament," he says. "We start all our tours, our waste tours, protesting against the political corruption and waste."

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StoryCorps
3:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier

Tracy Johnson and her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:20 pm

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson is an Iraq War veteran and an Army widow.

She is also one of the first gay spouses to lose a partner at war since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Tracy married her longtime partner, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. But eight months later, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan.

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Religion
3:18 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Pope's Resignation An Opportunity For Africa's Cardinals

Priest Anthony Obanla says Mass at a church in Lagos, Nigeria. In Africa, where the Catholic Church continues to grow, worshipers and clergy hope to see one of their own rise to lead the faithful.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:03 pm

The names of African cardinals are popping up as possible contenders to succeed Pope Benedict as head of the Roman Catholic Church when he steps down at the end of the month.

The Mary Mother of Good Council School is one of a number of respected Roman Catholic schools overseen by the archdiocese of Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana. The Metropolitan archbishop of Accra, Charles Palmer-Buckle, who trained as a priest at pontifical universities in Rome, is upbeat about the continent's contribution to the Catholic Church.

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Around the Nation
3:16 am
Sat February 16, 2013

The 'Baby Dolls' Of Mardi Gras A Fun Tradition With A Serious Side

The Baby Doll Ladies pose during Mardi Gras in New Orleans on Tuesday.
Skip Bolen Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:17 am

Just inside a room on the second floor of the Louisiana State Museum's Presbytere, there's a large baby doll dress, big enough for a woman to wear. And one did.

The costume and the baby bottle next to it belonged to 85-year-old Miriam Batiste Reed, who was known as a baby doll and one of the first women to parade in Mardi Gras. The bottle and the dress are part of a new exhibition, They Call Me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Lightning Fill In The Blank

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Now onto our final game, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?

CARL KASELL: We have a tie for first place, Peter. Brian Babylon and Roxanne Roberts both have three points. Luke Burbank has two.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Bluff The Listener

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Luke Burbank, Brian Babylon and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Thank you, Carl.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Prediction

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:35 am

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Now, panel, what will replace wrestling in the Olympics? Roxanne Roberts?

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Cage fights between drugged roosters and nervous fish called Cock-a-doodle Don't.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Brian Babylon?

BRIAN BABYLON: A new aquatic event called Competitive Cruise Ship Towing.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And Luke Burbank?

LUKE BURBANK: Drug Free Cycling, which in all honestly is going to mean sometimes walking the bikes up the hills.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

For Australian Observatory, Asteroid 2012 DA14 Was Their Time In The Spotlight

This image shows asteroid 2012 DA14 and the Eta Carinae Nebula, with the white box highlighting the asteroid's path. The image was taken using a 3" refractor equipped with a color CCD camera. The telescope is located at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia and is maintained and owned by iTelescope.net.
Aaron Kingery NASA/MSFC

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 2:01 pm

If you watched any of NASA TV's live coverage of asteroid 2012 DA14 buzzing Earth today, you were looking at a live feed of a telescope at the Gingin Observatory in Western Australia.

Shortly after DA14 completed its fly by, Lakshmi Singh and Diane Waugh of our Newscast unit spoke to the motley crew of astronomers and technicians who made the live feed happen.

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Book Reviews
3:54 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Tales Of Transformation Make 'Vampires In The Lemon Grove' A Stunner

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 5:54 pm

In one of the eight stories in Karen Russell's new collection, a group of dead presidents has been reincarnated as horses. Rutherford B. Hayes, a skewbald pinto, frantically licks the palm of a girl in a secret code that he's worked out, revealing his true identity and asking her to alert the authorities. "Ha-ha!" the girl laughs. "That tickles."

I know, you're probably thinking: "Dead presidents reincarnated as horses? Oh, come on, Meg, that sounds like the plot of so many short stories."

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The Salt
3:32 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Romanian Horse Meat In British Lasagna Reveals Complex Global Food Trade

Not all countries in Europe shun horse meat, as the sign above this butcher shop in Paris attests. But horse-eating Europeans still don't like being swindled.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:35 am

How did the Romanian horse meat wind up in the British spaghetti sauce? Follow its path, and you'll get a quick tutorial in the complexities of the global food trade.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

What Nuclear Bombs Tell Us About Our Tendons

Nuclear bomb tests like this one, conducted at the Nevada Test Site in 1957, are helping scientists understand how the human body works.
Photo courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:57 am

You really don't want to mess with your Achilles tendons. Trust us, injury to these tendons can take months to heal, and even then recovery is often not complete.

A big reason the Achilles is such a foot-dragger at getting better is that the tendon tissue we have as adults is basically the same as we had when we were teenagers.

That finding was published earlier this week in The FASEB Journal.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:57 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

After Sandy, Not All Sand Dunes Are Created Equal

Daniel Riscoe, Jenna Hart, Anthony Chau and Caroline Lloyd (all students from the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.) carry donated Christmas trees across Island Beach.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 3:04 pm

When Superstorm Sandy hit Island Beach State Park — one of the last remnants of New Jersey's barrier island ecosystem — it flattened the dunes, pushing all that sand hundreds of feet inland.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Charged With Illegally Spending Campaign Funds

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) in 2009.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 5:04 pm

Former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. of Illinois was charged Friday with conspiring with an unnamed person to illegally spend campaign funds.

As Politico reports, some of that money was spent on buying a $43,000 Rolex watch, "fur coats and memorabilia associated with Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Bruce Lee."

Politico adds:

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Around the Nation
2:29 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

NYC School Bus Strike Takes Toll On Disabled Kids

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For nearly a month, school bus drivers and aides have been on strike in New York City. They're fighting for job protections. The strikes has left thousands of children without yellow bus service. And while many are able to take public transit to school, students with disabilities who rely on door-to-door bus service have had a harder time. Yasmeen Khan from member station WNYC reports on how families are scrambling to get their kids to and from school.

YASMEEN KHAN, BYLINE: At least the Noris-Weitzman family has a car.

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Shots - Health News
2:18 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Popular Workout Booster Draws Safety Scrutiny

Some sports supplements contain the ingredient DMAA. The FDA has warned that DMAA may not be safe.
iStockphoto.com

Richard Kessinger loves to hit the gym. But some days he needs a little something to get him pumped up for his weightlifting routine.

"You might be a little bit sore. You might be tired. You might have had too many beers the day before," says Kessinger, 23, of Arlington, Va. "So you might start putting up a set and you get a few reps in and you're like, 'I'm not feeling this. I can't keep going.' "

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