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Shots - Health News
2:44 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Medicare: Where Presidential Politics And Policy Collide

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney first debated Medicare on Oct. 3.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 5:06 pm

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for about 50 million senior and disabled Americans, is simultaneously one of the most popular and imperiled programs in America.

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Author Interviews
2:38 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

In A 'Dream,' Lincoln Checks In On State Of The Union

Roaring Book Press

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 8:48 am

With the country mired in a civil war, Abraham Lincoln had a lot on his mind, so it's not surprising that the 16th president experienced vivid, troubling dreams.

"He was haunted by his dreams," says author and illustrator Lane Smith. In one dream, Lincoln found himself aboard an indescribable vessel moving toward an indistinct shore, Smith tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "He had these dreams apparently several times before momentous events of the Civil War, and in fact he had it the night before he was assassinated."

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Economy
2:37 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Home Health Aides: In Demand, Yet Paid Little

Home health aide trainees Marisol Maldonaldo (center) and Nancy Brown (right), shown here with assistant instructor Miguelina Sosa, are studying to join one of the nation's fastest growing yet also worst paid sectors of the workforce.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 1:29 pm

The home care workforce — some 2.5 million strong — is one of the nation's fastest growing yet also worst paid. Turnover is high, and with a potential labor shortage looming as the baby boomers age, there are efforts to attract more people to the job.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Louisiana To Soon Have State's First Black Chief Justice

Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson.
Louisiana Supreme Court AP

Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled today that Justice Bernette Johnson has the seniority that entitles her to become the panel's chief justice at the end of January, NPR's Debbie Elliott tells our Newscast Desk.

Johnson will be the first African-American to sit in the chief justice's seat. The state's first Supreme Court was created in 1812.

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National Security
2:26 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Op-Ed: Maybe We Don't Need Military Academies

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

U.S. military academy like West Point are 19th century relics that infantilize their students, produce officers no better than those that emerge from ROTC and look increasingly outdated in comparison to their counterparts in other western democracies. That's all according to Bruce Fleming who's taught at the U.S. Naval Academy for the past 25 years. In a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fleming argues that these academies have lost sight of their goals, and he questions whether they should even exist anymore.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Former Sen. George McGovern Enters Hospice; Was 1972 Democratic Nominee

Then-Sen. George McGovern in 1972, when he was running for president.
Keystone Getty Images

Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic Party's 1972 presidential nominee, has moved into a hospice care facility in Sioux Falls, his family and friends tell The Associated Press and other news outlets.

The 90-year-old World War II veteran is "coming to the end of his life," his daughter, Ann McGovern, tells the AP.

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Economy
1:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

6 Things Surnames Can Say About Social Mobility

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Using data on surnames dating back almost 1,000 years, economic historian Gregory Clark says he's found evidence that families rise and fall across generations at a much slower rate than anyone previously thought. And he says that rate remains constant across national boundaries and time periods.

Clark is writing a book about his research, and he says he's still working out some of his conclusions, but here are six possible takeaways from what he's found so far:

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Economy
1:00 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Movin' On Up? That May Depend On Your Last Name

New research suggests that success in life may be determined by ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The research finds that your chance of making it into the elite is the same in the United States as it is in South America, no matter when you were born.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 5:06 pm

Here is a question that social scientists have been pondering for years: How much of your success in life is tied to your parents, and how much do you control?

The academic term used for this is "social mobility." And a striking new finding from economic historian Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis claims your success in life may actually be determined by ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago. That means improving opportunities across generations might be a lot harder than anyone imagined.

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Music Reviews
12:29 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

K'Naan Brings Down Walls On 'Country, God Or The Girl'

K'Naan's new album is titled Country, God or the Girl.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 5:06 pm

The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.

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Presidential Race
12:27 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Speechwriters Compare The 2012 Stump Speeches

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney speak almost every day throughout the campaign season, sometimes two or three times a day. They deliver everything from commencement addresses to foreign policy analyses. But at rallies and union halls, high school auditoriums, at county fairs and a thousand other venues, they offer slight variations on a set of standard remarks known as the stump speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Children's Health
12:24 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Disabled Kids Living Isolated Lives In Institutions

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Thousands of children with physical and mental disabilities live in institutions, isolated from their families and decades younger than other patients. The institutions are often better equipped to handle their medical needs, but can fall short when it comes to other aspects of the kids' lives.

National Security
12:08 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Cyberattacks Escalate Around The Globe

Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 9:02 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last month, customers of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo and several other banks were unable to access their bank accounts. Hackers overwhelmed the sites with traffic that made them extremely slow or totally unresponsive. No funds were lost, but it was a nuisance.

Months earlier in Saudi Arabia, a virus named Shamoon spread through 30,000 of the computers of ARAMCO, the world's largest oil company, and erased file after file.

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Books
11:43 am
Tue October 16, 2012

'Test Kitchen' Chefs Talk The Science Of Savory

Jack Bishop is the editorial director at America's Test Kitchen, where every day a near army of professional chefs test, test, then retest recipes to arrive at the best possible result.
Larry Crowe AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:22 pm

You might think that Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop — two of the culinary talents behind the public television shows America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country — would have their cooking techniques pretty much figured out. Think again.

For the new Cook's illustrated book The Science of Good Cooking, Bishop and Lancaster tested principles they assumed were true — and as Bishop tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Things that we thought were actually accurate turned out to be, perhaps, more complex."

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Music Reviews
11:40 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Budapest Quartet Gets To The Heart Of Beethoven

The Budapest String Quartet in 1919.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:42 am

The Budapest String Quartet has always been my standard-bearer for chamber music. I grew up listening to their recordings, and especially admired not only their gorgeous sound, but also the uncanny interaction among all four players, even when there were changes in personnel. They had a way of playing as if they were speaking to each other, expressing deep and sometimes complicated feelings.

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Shots - Health News
11:38 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Feds Seek Comments On Bird Flu Safety Fears

An electron microscope view of the bird flu virus.
PR Newswire

Here's your chance to weigh in on mutant forms of bird flu that have been in the news — the U.S. government wants to know just how scary you think these new viruses are.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Citigroup CEO's Exit Leaves Wall Street Scratching Its Head

Vikram Pandit on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on in June.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Today's announcement that Vikram Pandit had abruptly resigned as chief executive of banking giant Citigroup has left competitors, analysts and media pundits stunned and sputtering.

"This comes as a huge surprise," William George, a Goldman Sachs board member, said in an interview on CNBC.

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The Two-Way
11:22 am
Tue October 16, 2012

A Victory For Obama, High Court Refuses Ohio Early Voting Case

With a one sentence decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Obama a victory today.

The court refused to hear a case that sought to block early voting Ohio. The AP reports:

"The court on Tuesday refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day.

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Shots - Health News
11:16 am
Tue October 16, 2012

At Polio's Epicenter, Vaccinators Battle Chaos And Indifference

Kano, in northern Nigeria, has been called the "epicenter" of the current polio outbreak. This part of Nigeria is the only place in the world where polio cases are increasing.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:16 pm

Polio was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in the early 1990s. It was stamped out in Europe a few years later. And now, even the Congo and Somalia are polio free.

But in Africa's largest oil-producing nation, Nigeria, polio has been a difficult, contentious foe.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
11:15 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Should We Ration End-Of-Life Care?

Sally Pipes and Ken Connor argue against the motion "Ration End-of-Life Care" in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Samuel LaHoz

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 1:19 pm

  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

As the presidential candidates make their cases to the nation, health care is taking up a lot of talking points. But one subject that's less likely to be debated forthrightly is end-of-life care.

A big driver of U.S. health care expenditure is what's spent in the last year of life. Those who argue in favor of rationing that care say the country cannot afford to provide unlimited health care — either the government or insurance companies have to ration end-of-life care as a policy response.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Second Female Marine Fails Grueling Infantry Officer Course

Female Marines unload their rifles after a patrol with Afghan soldiers in Helmand province in June. The Marine Corps leadership has started an experiment to determine whether female Marine lieutenants have what it takes to become infantry officers and lead on the battlefield.
Adek Berry AFP/Getty Images

The second of two female Marines who tried to make it through the grueling Infantry Officer Course has failed due to medical reasons. The female volunteers are part of a study by the Marines to see if women can become ground combat leaders.

The Marines have not released the names of either woman, citing privacy concerns.

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Asia
10:03 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Reporter On Friendship With Malala Yousafzai

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we've been talking a lot about the national debt this election year, but did you know that Americans, as a group, owe more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt? In a few minutes, we'll speak with a former college professor, who says faculty advisors need to be doing more to help students think that through. That's in just a few minutes.

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The Salt
10:02 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Farmer Tackling Monsanto's Seed Policy Gets A Day In Supreme Court

Many folks protest Monsanto's business practices, like this Greenpeace protester spraying paint on a company research soybean field in Iowa.
John Gaps III AP

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 8:57 am

Why do so many people hate Monsanto?

Is it because this multinational corporation pioneered some enormously successful genetically engineered crops, including corn, soybeans and cotton?

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It's All Politics
9:57 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Town Hall Format Could Make Things Tough On Obama

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 12:46 pm

It was Bill Clinton who made the town hall-style debate famous, and looking back to his performance in the first such fall faceoff in 1992, it's easy to see why.

Clinton commanded the stage and used the format — in which voters, not journalists, ask the questions — to "feel the pain" of the audience. Now, President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney get a shot at the same format.

However, it's the president who comes at it from a distinct disadvantage, says Chris Arterton, a professor of political management at George Washington University.

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Election 2012
9:56 am
Tue October 16, 2012

The Tea Party: Cooled Down, Or As Strong As Ever?

The Tea Party may have took the 2010 midterm elections by storm, but many analysts are now asking if the party's influence has cooled off. Host Michel Martin looks at the Tea Party's prospects for this election with NPR's Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving and Shelby Blakely, journalist coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots.

It's All Politics
9:55 am
Tue October 16, 2012

As Debate Stakes Rise, Both Candidates Must Walk A Fine Line

Banners hang inside the media center amid preparations for tonight's presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 12:46 pm

Tonight's presidential debate in New York is shaping up like an episode of the old game show To Tell the Truth: Will the real Barack Obama/Mitt Romney please stand up?

There are a lot of questions about what personas and strategies the two candidates will choose to adopt. Partisans on both sides argue that their man's opponent is a shape-shifter.

Democrats are convinced that part of the reason Romney won their first debate earlier this month is that he shamelessly lied about his own positions in tacking to the center.

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Economy
9:30 am
Tue October 16, 2012

5 Questions 'Real' People Might Ask At The Debate

An audience member holds up his hand at a Mitt Romney town hall meeting in Dayton, Ohio, in March. Audience members will be allowed to ask questions at the second presidential debate, being held Tuesday night in Hempstead, N.Y.
Gerald Herbert AP

As this election year began, political pundits insisted the No. 1 issue would be the economy. They expected the candidates to offer voters detailed plans for encouraging job growth.

Now, with the election just three weeks away, many Americans are still scratching their heads, wondering what exactly President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney would do to improve the economy.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Cuba Eases Exit Visa Requirements For Most Of Its Citizens

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 10:45 am

Cuba announced another set of significant reforms today. This time, President Raúl Castro announced the country is lifting exit visa requirements for most of its citizens.

Beginning January 14, Cuban citizens, with the exception of some professionals like doctors, will no longer need to apply for permission to leave and they won't need a letter of invitation from someone living abroad.

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Shots - Health News
8:38 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Teenage Brains Are Malleable And Vulnerable, Researchers Say

Brain scans are showing researchers why it's important to treat problems like depression in teens.
iStockphoto.com

Adolescent brains have gotten a bad rap, according to neuroscientists.

It's true that teenage brains can be impulsive, scientists reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans. But adolescent brains are also vulnerable, dynamic and highly responsive to positive feedback, they say.

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The Two-Way
7:33 am
Tue October 16, 2012

U.K. Blocks Extradition Of Hacker Accused Of Accessing Pentagon Computers

Briton Gary McKinnon in 2009.
Shaun Curry AFP/Getty Images

Gary McKinnon, who the U.S. government says perpetrated the biggest military computer hack of all time, will not be extradited to the U.S. from Britain, CNN reports.

The network adds:

"Home Secretary Theresa May said McKinnon's Asperger syndrome and depressive illness meant 'there is such a high risk of him ending his own life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights.'

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit Steps Down

Vikram Pandit on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on in June.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:41 am

Vikram Pandit, the chief executive officer of Citigroup, has stepped down, the company's board announced today.

"The Board also announced it has unanimously elected Michael Corbat CEO and a director of the Board," Citigroup said in a statement. "Mr. Corbat previously served as Citigroup's CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa."

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