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Melissa Block, Michelle Norris, Robert Siegel

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Around the Nation
3:13 pm
Sat June 30, 2012

Synthetic 'Bath Salts' An Evolving Problem For DEA

Use of synthetic "bath salts," compounds sold legally but used as a controlled substance, has been on the rise since 2010.
Brian Peterson Minneapolis Star Tribune

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 5:22 am

One night a little more than two years ago, a 24-year-old man was rushed into the emergency room at Tulane University Medical Center in Louisiana. He was extremely agitated and hallucinating.

Dr. Corey Hebert figured the man was on drugs, probably PCP or a stimulant. But a few minutes later, the man became paranoid.

"He started doing some self-mutilating actions [and] was pulling out his eyebrows and eyelashes," Hebert tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan.

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Music Interviews
10:03 am
Sat June 30, 2012

Metric: A Rock Band Declares Independence

Metric's new album, its second on the band's own label, is titled Synthetica. Left to right: Joshua Winstead, Emily Haines, James Shaw, Joules Scott-Key.
Brantley Gutierrez

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 3:56 pm

Metric has long been identified as an indie-rock band, but it recently embraced the "indie" part of that descriptor in a big way.

For their last album together, the band's members formed their own company — Metric Music International — to distribute the record, organize a tour and handle promotion without a label's support. The result was the biggest album of Metric's career: Fantasies sold half a million copies worldwide.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:28 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

The Day After A Health Care Crescendo, Each Side Plays A Familiar Refrain

Joy Reynolds of San Diego, Calif., looks over Friday's front pages on display at the Newseum in Washington, the day after the Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

On the day after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law, Washington returned to business as usual.

In other words, supporters of the law were busy praising its virtues, and opponents calling for its demise.

Over at Georgetown University Law Center, several health law experts got together to dissect the court's ruling and what it might mean down the line.

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Judging The Health Care Law
3:53 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Court's Recent Rulings Shake Up Partisan Narrative

The U.S. Supreme Court justices — (first row, from left) Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (back row) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan — pose at the Supreme Court in 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.

That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions — neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.

But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Tea Party Sees Ruling As New Rallying Cry

The Supreme Court is reflected in the sunglasses of Susan Clark on Thursday as she demonstrates against President Obama's health care law.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Some of the earliest and most vocal opponents of President Obama's health care law were members of the Tea Party. In fact, health care quickly became the issue fueling the rise of the movement.

Anger over the Affordable Care Act drove the Tea Party and Republicans to big gains in the 2010 elections, but since then the movement has seen its prominence and influence wane.

Now, Tea Party activists say the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the law will reignite that original passion in time for this fall's election.

Call For Repeal Continues

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:27 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Gross-Out Gags AND Life Lessons In 'Wimpy Kid'

Jeff Kinney Abrams

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.

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Judging The Health Care Law
2:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

How Health Law's Taxes, Penalties Will Be Enforced

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We're going to try to break down now just what those penalties will be for those who don't buy health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office projects in the year 2016 four million people will pay the penalty. I'm joined now by Timothy Jost. He's law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and he's been looking into these numbers. We should say, Professor Jost, first off, you are also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, right?

TIMOTHY JOST: That's correct, yes.

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Obama Visits Colorado In Wake Of Fires

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

President Obama visited Colorado Springs on Friday to survey the damage caused by the Waldo Canyon fire, which burned more than 300 homes.

From Our Listeners
2:17 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Letters

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters, and some of you wrote to us in memory of a popular tourist destination in Colorado Springs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Ropes and saddles and steers and steaks, cowboys, guitars, fiddle and bass, little wranglers love this place, Flying W Ranch.

BLOCK: The Flying W Ranch billed itself as a step back into the Old West and featured historic memorabilia and cowboy entertainment.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Sports
2:17 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

The Latest On The Euro Cup, Wimbledon

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Audie Cornish talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the latest from Wimbledon and soccer's Euro Cup tournament.

Health
1:44 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Sole Abortion Clinic In Miss. Fights Law To Stay Open

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside Mississippi's only abortion clinic in Jackson.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

A new Mississippi law requires doctors who perform abortions in the state to be board-certified OB-GYNs. They also must have privileges to admit patients at a local hospital.

The law is regulatory in nature, but at a bill-signing ceremony in April, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was clear about the intent.

"We have an opportunity today with the signing of this bill to end abortion in Mississippi," he said.

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World
10:52 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Will Reforms End Myanmar Monks' Spiritual Strike?

Buddhists donate food and other necessities to monks as a way of earning merit for future lives. Monks have refused donations of alms from the military as a political protest in 1990 and 2007, a boycott that some monks insist is still in effect.
Ye Aung Thu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

In response to political reforms in Myanmar — also known as Burma — the U.S. and other Western countries have eased some sanctions targeting the country's former military rulers.

But so far, one of the most powerful institutions inside the country has kept its sanctions in place. For some time, Myanmar's Buddhist clergy have effectively been on a spiritual strike by refusing to take donations from the military — a serious blow to the former regime's legitimacy.

Read more
Movie Reviews
7:37 am
Fri June 29, 2012

A Boy And His Bear, At Large In A Man's World

Ted (voiced by writer-director Seth MacFarlane) and Johnny (Mark Wahlberg) share a laugh in Ted. The talking teddy bear got his powers when 8-year-old Johnny wished upon a falling star for Ted to speak.
Universal Pictures/Tippett Studio

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:26 pm

Seth MacFarlane is known mostly for creating, writing and directing the animated TV show Family Guy. In the show, he also voices Peter and Stewie Griffin, and their dog, Brian.

With his new movie, Ted, he has moved to the big screen for the first time, again creating, writing and directing. And though it's a live-action picture, he has again voiced one of the characters — the titular teddy bear, whom I tried to resist but couldn't.

Read more
Judging The Health Care Law
4:09 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

The Reaction In Florida: From Protesting To Partying

Todd Long, a conservative activist, is running for the GOP nomination in Florida's 9th Congressional District.
Art Silverman NPR

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Just after 10 a.m. on Thursday, a cheer went up at Hispanic Health Initiatives, a nonprofit in Casselberry, Fla., just north of Orlando.

The enthusiasm for the Supreme Court's decision to uphold nearly all of the federal health care law was unmistakable at the nonprofit, which advocates for health care for the local Latino population.

The news took Josephine Mercado, the nonprofit's founder and executive director, by surprise — and changed her plans for Friday.

Read more
Law
4:09 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Tight Court Decision Produces Explosion Of Emotion

This artist's rendering shows Chief Justice John Roberts (center) speaking at the Supreme Court on Thursday. From left are Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan. The court voted 5-4 to uphold President Obama's health care law.
Dana Verkouteren AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 8:45 am

  • NPR Special Coverage: The Health Care Decision

Shock, dismay, relief, confusion — all those emotions played out Thursday when the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-to-4 decision to uphold almost all of President Obama's health care overhaul.

The ruling, with shifting majorities on different provisions and multiple dissents, covered close to 200 pages and provoked initial confusion. Both Fox News and CNN got it wrong, reporting at first that the individual mandate had been struck down. But when the dust cleared, the law labeled derisively by Republicans as "Obamacare" was largely intact.

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The Salt
2:34 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

How the Taste Of Tomatoes Went Bad (And Kept On Going)

Notice how some of these tomatoes have unripe-looking tops? Those "green shoulders" are actually the keys to flavor.
pocius Flickr.com

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

The tomato is the vegetable (or fruit, if you must) that we love to hate. We know how good it can be and how bad it usually is. And everybody just wants to know: How did it get that way?

Read more
Health Care
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

How One Patient's Health Care Outlook Has Changed

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We want to find out what today's ruling means for someone who's had difficulty with his health-care coverage. So we're turning to Shawn Pollock. He's 30 years old. He said he had excellent benefits until he was laid off from his job at a TV station, in 2009. He couldn't afford insurance, even under COBRA. And then he got viral meningitis and was hospitalized, leading him to be labeled high risk when he applied for insurance.

Shawn Pollock joins me now from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Welcome to the program.

SHAWN POLLACK: Thank you.

Read more
NPR Story
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Republicans Say Health Care Fight Still Has Life

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Across the street at the Capitol, lawmakers lined up to issue their reactions to the court's ruling upholding the health care law. Democrats celebrated what for many of them was an unexpected victory. Republicans denounced the decision and vowed to repeal the law.

NPR's David Welna has that story.

Read more
NPR Story
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Attorney General Cited For Contempt Of Congress

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Read more
NPR Story
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Political Diagnosis Post-Health Care Decision

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

For more now on the political impact of the Supreme Court ruling, we're joined by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, hi.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Melissa.

BLOCK: We heard jubilation from Democrats, some shock from Republicans there. This is clearly a very important legal win for the president and for his policy on health care. But until this point, health care has not always been a winning issue for the president. Let's listen to some of what he said today addressing that question.

Read more
Law
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

More now on the Supreme Court where health care was not the only case decided today. The justices struck down the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime to lie about receiving military decorations or medals. The Court ruled it may be unethical to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor, but it's protected speech under the First Amendment.

NPR's Larry Abramson reports that veterans groups are disappointed, but they say the decision leaves room for Congress to try again.

Read more
Law
2:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Justice Roberts Breaks The Tie On Health Care

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So in the end, it was the chief justice, John Roberts, providing the key fifth swing vote to uphold the health-care law. Roberts, the conservative appointee of George W. Bush, ended up siding with the liberal wing of the court.

To talk about that turn, I'm joined by Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington University. Welcome back, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY ROSEN: Good to be here.

Read more
Election 2012
3:51 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Some Democrats To Skip Obama's Renomination Party

Bank of America stadium in Charlotte, N.C., where President Obama will accept his party's nomination on Sept. 6.
Jeff Siner MCT/Landov

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 1:52 pm

This summer's Democratic National Convention has already gotten shorter, shrinking from the traditional four-day extravaganza to three days. Now it appears the attendance for the event is shrinking, too.

At least a dozen Democrats say they won't be able to make it to Charlotte, N.C., when the convention begins Sept. 4. It's no coincidence that all are facing tough election campaigns in places where President Obama's popularity lags.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
3:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Can IVF Treatments Reverse A Woman's Biological Clock?

Human embryos under a microscope at an IVF clinic in La Jolla, Calif.
Sandy Huffaker Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Modern reproductive technologies can give older women the same chances of having a baby as younger women, researchers reported Wednesday.

The new study found that women age 31 and younger have about a 60 percent to 75 percent chance of having a baby after three IVF cycles. The chances drop to about 20 percent to 30 percent for women ages 41 or 42, and to about just 5 percent to 10 percent for those age 43 or older.

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Around the Nation
3:47 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Pieces Of AIDS Quilt Blanket Nation's Capital

People view the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the National Mall this week.
Ebony Bailey NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 5:06 pm

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is too big to display all in one piece. Since 1987, it has grown to more than 48,000 panels that honor the lives of more than 94,000 people who have died of AIDS. The last time the whole quilt was shown together was in 1996, on the National Mall. Now it's back in Washington, D.C., for its 25th anniversary.

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Europe
3:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

European Union Tradeoff: Sovereignty For Stability

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:50 pm

In order to salvage its common currency, Europe is working toward a tighter fiscal union. That will require a tradeoff — sovereignty for economic stability. Over the next two days European Union leaders will try to come to an agreement to boost growth.

Architecture
3:13 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Still Unimplemented, Ariz. Law Has Chilling Effect

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:49 pm

It will be weeks — maybe longer — before the one part of Arizona's immigration law the Supreme Court left standing goes into effect. A lower court has to remove its injunction before local police are required to ask about immigration status. But as NPR's Ted Robbins reports, there's already been a backlash.

Shots - Health Blog
2:56 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Goes Overlooked In Supreme Court Anticipation

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it will also rule on whether the expansion of Medicaid is an unconstitutional infringement of states' rights.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 4:20 pm

When the Supreme Court announces its long-anticipated decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, all eyes will be on the so-called individual mandate. That's the section of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

Read more
Mom And Dad's Record Collection
2:30 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Chris Thile's First Musical Memory

Chris Thile says he was only a year old when he first heard "The Girl from Ipanema."
Danny Clinch

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:54 pm

It's clear Chris Thile has an ear for music: The 31-year-old mandolinist, best known for his bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, has been playing music his entire life.

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Election 2012
2:28 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Influx Of Puerto Ricans Changes Fla.'s Voter Calculus

A sign lets voters know they can cast early ballots for the Florida primary election in January at the South Creek Branch Library in Orlando.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:51 pm

Florida is a perennial battleground state in presidential elections. And within Florida, the area around Orlando is a battlefield where the terrain has changed radically.

It used to be a tossup. But four years ago, Barack Obama won in Orlando — or technically in Orange County — with 59 percent of the vote, a margin of almost 80,000 votes.

What happened in Orlando?

There were several things: The Democrats registered a lot of black voters. Obama ran well among independents. But the biggest difference was the number of new arrivals to the area.

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