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Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Romney Campaigns In Michigan

Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.

Election 2012
4:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Santorum Campaigns In Michigan

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 9:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And at his stops in Michigan yesterday, Rick Santorum spoke of economic revival through low taxes, fewer regulations and his commitment to conservative family values.

Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Rick Santorum can't outspend Romney in Michigan, and he's facing a barrage of ads on radio and TV paid for by the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future. The ads attack Santorum's U.S. Senate record.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT)

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Television
4:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

How Friday Night TV Started Producing Hits

Fridays used to be infamous as the worst night for TV ratings. It was where shows went to die. Now, between DVRs and people not going out because of the lousy economy, Friday has become a perfectly respectful night to have a certain kind of show on TV and even become a hit.

Business
4:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Business News

Renee Montagne has business news.

Business
4:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 9:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's go to a very different reality for one student. Our last word in business today: beyond opulent.

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All Tech Considered
3:06 am
Fri February 17, 2012

When The Car Is The Driver

Chris Urmson (right) and Anthony Levandowski, one of the leaders of Google's self-driving car project, get into the driverless car.
Steve Henn NPR

This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It's not quite driver's licenses for robots — but it's close.

The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.

Do people notice it's a self-driving car and gawk?

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Shots - Health Blog
3:05 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Questions About Bird Flu Research Swirl Around Private WHO Meeting

H5N1 avian flu viruses (seen in gold) grow inside canine kidney cells (seen in green).
Cynthia Goldsmith CDC

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 10:37 am

A closed-door meeting to discuss controversial bird flu research is drawing to a close at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and the WHO plans to publicly report on what happened once it's officially over.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:59 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Weight-Loss Drugs Face High Hurdles At FDA

The FDA hasn't approved a new weight-loss drug since 1999. In the meantime, Americans' waistlines have continued to grow.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:52 pm

Tammy Wade knew she had to try something else to lose weight when she stepped on the scale and saw the number: 203 pounds.

Wade, 50, of McCalla, Ala., is only 5 feet 3 inches tall. She had tried everything. Nothing worked.

"I had problems with my feet and ankles, and they were saying I was borderline diabetic," Wade says. "I'm like, well, I gotta do something, you know. So, I needed, really did need to lose the weight."

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Business
12:01 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Big Bucks Attract High School Grads To Mining

The Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho's Silver Valley, shown in 2007, was temporarily shut down in January while it complies with safety regulations, according to the mine's operator, Hecla Mining.
Nick Geranios AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 3:25 pm

This spring, some high school grads in Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Nevada may see some good job prospects.

The recent spike in metal prices, combined with a shortage of miners, means mining companies are hiring. So some teens are opting not to go to college, and instead are heading underground.

But these high-paying jobs also come at a high cost.

An Educator Questions His Own Path

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri February 17, 2012

What It Feels Like In China When Europe Comes Asking For Help

Help.
ED JONES AFP/Getty Images

Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.

"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Money & Politics
12:01 am
Fri February 17, 2012

White House And SuperPAC: How Close Is Too Close?

Bill Burton, shown during a news briefing at the White House in January, is now with pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA Action. He says the superPAC is "careful to make sure that we are in compliance with the rules."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 9:34 am

President Obama's decision to have White House officials and Cabinet secretaries help raise money for a pro-Obama superPAC is raising questions.

The superPAC, Priorities USA Action — which is supposed to be independent of the president's re-election campaign — is launching a new effort to bring in six- and seven-figure contributions.

By law, it cannot coordinate its messaging with Obama's re-election campaign committee. But coordinating other things? That's possible.

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StoryCorps
10:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Professor Hits A Wall And Falls In Love

Gwendolyn Diaz and her husband, Henry Flores, at StoryCorps in San Antonio.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 9:34 am

Henry Flores was walking down the hallway at St. Mary's University in San Antonio when he noticed that the last office in the hallway's door was open.

"I just kind of looked inside to see who was in there, and I saw a flash of ankle, and I saw this blond hair, and I went smack-dab into the wall," says Flores, who is now a professor of political science and dean of the graduate school at St. Mary's.

It was the mid-1980s and Gwendolyn Diaz, who had just joined the university faculty, was sitting in the office.

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The Two-Way
6:00 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Gary Carter, Hall Of Famer And Mets Hero, Dies Of Brain Cancer At 57

Gary Carter of the New York Mets looks on during a game in the 1989 season. The star of the Mets' 1986 World Series win died Thursday, after a fight with brain cancer.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Gary Carter, the former Major League Baseball catcher who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, has died of brain cancer at 57. In a career marked by tenacity — and the ability to hit homeruns — Carter was chosen for 11 All Star teams.

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Law
5:33 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Pa. Priest Faces Trial On Child Abuse Cover-Up Charges

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 3:25 pm

Between 1992 and 2004, Monsignor William Lynn was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's point person for allegations of clerical abuse. When he heard a claim, he was supposed to investigate and, if warranted, remove or turn the priest over to police.

But as two grand juries reported in 2005 and 2011, that often didn't happen.

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It's All Politics
4:59 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Glitter Bombing: A Sparkly Weapon Of Disapproval On The Campaign Trail

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum brushes off glitter after being "glitter-bombed" before a campaign rally on Feb. 7 in Blaine, Minn.
Ben Garvin Getty Images

Earlier this week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was glitter-bombed by Occupy protesters in Tacoma, Wash., during a rally.

It wasn't the first time for Santorum. In fact, all of the Republican presidential candidates still in the race have faced off with glitter bombers. Unlike a ticker-tape parade or a burst of celebratory confetti, glitter-bombing is a form of protest — it tells candidates that someone thinks they're wrong on an issue.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:59 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Birth Control: Latest Collision Between Individual Conscience And Society

A House panel heard testimony about conscience and religious freedom Thursday from (left) Rev. William E. Lori, Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn.; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod; C. Ben Mitchell, Union University; Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yeshiva University; and Craig Mitchell, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:00 pm

President Obama's controversial decision to require Catholic employers to provide free contraceptives to their employees is still reverberating.

A new New York Times/CBS News poll out this week shows 60 percent of the public supports the president, including 58 percent of all Catholics.

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Middle East
4:59 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

The Woman Behind Egypt's Crackdown On Aid Groups

Egyptian Planning and International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga (shown here in Washington, D.C., last April) has repeatedly warned Egyptians about the alleged danger foreigners pose to their country. She is the driving force behind recent efforts to prosecute 43 people, including American and other foreign democracy activists, for operating illegally in Egypt.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 6:39 pm

In Egypt, a female Cabinet minister has emerged as the driving force behind a crackdown on U.S.-funded pro-democracy groups.

The attacks of Faiza Aboul Naga — a holdover from the regime of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — have made her a hero to many Egyptians who believe she is defending their country's honor. But the threat she poses to billions of dollars in U.S. aid and international loans could make her power short-lived.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:31 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Doctors 'Disgruntled' And Frustrated By Looming Medicare Cuts

A looming 27.4 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements likely won't happen. But next year, any cuts could be greater.
iStockphoto.com

The good news for the nation's doctors — and the millions of Medicare patients they care for — is that assuming everything goes as planned, the 27.4 percent cut in reimbursements that would have taken effect March 1 won't.

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Halt In 'Colbert Report' Production Reportedly Due To Family Emergency

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 6:46 pm

Provocateur comedian Stephen Colbert is known for many things. Silence has not been among them — until now. An abrupt suspension in his Colbert Report's production schedule sparked rumors online Thursday, after Comedy Central said it would air reruns for three days this week.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Santorum Ally Friess Praises Old-School 'Contraceptive': Aspirin Between Knees

Foster Friess got somewhat off message during an MSNBC interview Thursday.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 10:01 am

Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire supporter, drew some attention from his candidate Thursday with a comment about contraception that was, to say the least, unusual and surefire fodder for late-night TV comedians .

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Election 2012
4:18 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

In Arizona, Romney Can't Take Mormons For Granted

Karen Johnson, from Linden, Ariz., supports the candidacy of Ron Paul. She says Mitt Romney shares her faith, but not her politics.
Peter O'Dowd For NPR

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 6:41 pm

The wind howls on a blustery Sunday morning in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, as well-dressed families pull into the parking lot of a Mormon church.

Mormon pioneer roots run more than a century deep in this part of the state, an isolated spot between two Indian reservations.

Karen Johnson is among the Mormon faithful, passionate about God and country.

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Election 2012
4:13 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

In One Maine County, Every Caucus Vote May Count

Washington County, Maine, is not a place for unhardy souls.

It's the easternmost county in all of New England, and one of the poorest. And at this time of year, people in Down East Maine do anything they can to eke out a living.

"I get about six months out of it," county resident Hartley Goston said, referring to his lobster boat, The Darian Sue. "I get a few odd jobs here and there to help tie up some loose ends."

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Movie Reviews
4:08 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

A Veteran's 'Return' To The Front Lines Of Home

Linda Cardellini plays a vet who returns from overseas with no way to make sense of where she was and what it meant in director Liza Johnson's new drama Return.
Dada Films

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 1:36 pm

The coming-home genre is so rife with stock ingredients that first I'd like to tell you what Liza Johnson's very fine drama Return doesn't do. The camera doesn't move in on returning-veteran Kelli, played by Linda Cardellini, as the sound of battle rises and she's back in her head on the front lines. The film doesn't give you what I call the "psychodrama striptease," in which a past trauma is revealed piece by piece until you're finally, at the end, shown the essential bit.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:56 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Doctors Cheer As Feds Delay New Disease Codes, Again

Dolphin bite? There's a medical code for that.
Simone Di Tonno - Annachiara Fig iStockphoto.com

Poking fun at a complex new system for classification of diseases is surprisingly easy and enjoyable.

Yes, there are codes your doctor will be able to use someday to submit bills for treatment of a dolphin bite (W5601XA), being struck by a dolphin (W5602XA) or "other contact" with a dolphin (W5603XA). And that's just the start.

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Around the Nation
3:41 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Hold On To Your Tuba: Brass Bandits Hit L.A. Schools

Teacher Ruben Gonzalez conducts the South Gate High School band. According to Gonzalez, thieves passed up a computer as well as a stash of valuable flutes, saxophones and clarinets to get to the school's tubas.
Krissy Clark for NPR

The words "black market" usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas. Yet authorities in Los Angeles say the instrument is in such high demand that the black market may be what's driving a wave of local tuba thefts.

Ruben Gonzalez is teaching an after-lunch band class at the scene of one recent tuba crime — the music room at South Gate High School outside L.A. He starts with a request only a band teacher would make.

"Make sure we rinse out folks — we don't need any hamburgers or hot chilies coming through those instruments," he says.

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The Salt
3:08 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Yes, There's Arsenic In Your Rice. But Is That Bad?

Rice plants absorb arsenic from soil, and some if it makes it to the bowl.
iStockPhoto.com

Is there arsenic in your rice? Probably. That's the news behind a study that found surprisingly high levels of arsenic in rice-based organic toddler formula and energy bars.

One toddler formula with organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient had arsenic concentrations six times the federal limit of 10 parts per billion for arsenic in drinking water.

Cereal bars that contained rice products like brown rice syrup or rice flour had arsenic levels ranging from 23 to 128 parts per billion, according to researchers at Dartmouth College, who tested the products.

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Christmas Day Bomber Sentenced To Life In Prison

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in October to a plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009.
U.S. Marshals Service, File AP

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 5:10 pm

The man who tried to blow up a U.S. passenger plane three Christmases ago was sentenced to life in prison in a Detroit courtroom today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, boarded Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009, with a massive bomb hidden in his underwear. As the plane approached Detroit, he tried to detonate the explosives. They failed to go off.

Four months ago, on the second day of his criminal trial, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty.

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Amanda Knox Signs Book Deal Worth Millions

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 4:03 pm

Amanda Knox, the U.S. college exchange student who won an appeal to overturn her murder conviction in Italy last October, has signed a deal to write a memoir — for which she'll earn nearly $4 million, according to reports.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

#Feb17: Excised From The Record

A falcon statue, painted in the colors of the revolutionary flag and covered with the inscription "God is great", and is displayed outside the museum set up on Tripoli boulevard in Misrata on Feb. 12.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

The plane landed at Benghazi airport, about an hour late, which seemed just about right to most people on board. Elderly women sported tattoos from their bottom lip to the tip of their chin; several men carefully removed plants that somehow survived being crushed in the overhead luggage bins.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

Can A Diet Clean Out Toxins In The Body?

Experts say specialized diets won't help rid the body of toxins any more than what the liver and kidneys already do every day.
iStockphoto.com

Between lingering New Year's resolutions and impending Lenten restraint, it's the season when many people are inspired to get healthy by refusing foods they normally delight in.

Increasingly, we're seeing elimination diets that promise weight loss and a tantalizing bonus: detoxification.

"Cleansing diets" trade on this most alluring idea: By limiting our intake of food to a few super-pure items, we can free up the body to get rid of all the gunk accumulated in our cells.

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