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Monkey See
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Stephen Colbert Wants You To Know: That's Definitely Not His SuperPAC

Comedian Stephen Colbert appears before the Federal Election Commision in Washington, June 30, 2011. The FEC granted Colbert's request to form a political action committee.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:06 am

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is running for president. He's parodying the process β€” including, now, superPACS β€” in the same way he has parodied cable news. He's getting plenty of attention, but to really look into his political practical joke, I needed to go upstairs and find Peter Overby, NPR's man on campaign finance. I warned him it would seem like a dumb question, but I needed his help. What, exactly, is a superPAC?

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Africa
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

For Moroccan Activists, The King's Reforms Fall Short

Morocco's King Mohammed VI introduced reforms after protests began last February. But activists say the measures didn't go far enough and they are still taking to the streets. Here, the king is shown in his palace in Rabat on June 17.
Azzouz Boukallouch AP

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 8:42 am

When a pro-democracy movement took to the streets of Morocco last February, King Mohammed VI, who has been on the throne for more than decade, responded swiftly.

Within weeks, the king had proposed a new constitution and snap elections. The Moroccan example of reforms without violence was hailed by some as a model.

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Your Money
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

How Property Taxes Climb, Even If Home Value Drops

Shaker Heights in Cleveland has some of the highest property tax rates in the state (roughly $3,700 per $100,000 of assessed home value).
Brian Bull WCPN

Millions of homeowners are finding out that their property taxes are either holding steady or climbing, even as their house may be worth much less. There may not be much they can do about it.

In Ohio, Cuyahoga County's fiscal officer, Wade Steen, has been taking many calls from unhappy homeowners. He says they most often live in a community where voters passed a recent levy. That's a property tax measure that boosts funding for things such as schools and libraries.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Dissolvable Tobacco Products Draw FDA Scrutiny

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a gathered a group of scientists and other experts to study flavored melt-in-your-mouth tobacco products.

The panel, meeting this week, will hear from two camps of stop-smoking advocates: those who worry that dissolvables are a gateway to smoking and others who say they help people kick the habit.

Gregory Conley, a 24-year-old law student at Rutgers University, pops a dissolvable during class or while he's studying.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Katy Perry's Perfect Game

Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 3:55 pm

If you listen to commercial radio, this is not news: Katy Perry had a huge year. She went No.1 five times. She was the most played artist on the radio. But the record industry is so weird, it's hard to know whether this kind of success translates into huge amounts of money.

So we asked.

I walked over to Katy Perry's record label. She's on Capital, which is under EMI. I met Greg Thompson, executive vice president of marketing and promotion at EMI.

"Did you guys end up in the black?" I asked.

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Asia
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Not-So-Happy New Year: Rail Website Woes In China

People line up to buy train tickets at Changsha Railway Station in Changsha, in southern China's Hunan province on Dec. 28, 2011. Million of Chinese are expected to cramp onto China's train network in the coming weeks to return home for the Chinese lunar new year that starts on Jan. 23, 2012.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 10:33 pm

During China's Lunar New Year holiday, more than 200 million people will travel home. It's the world's largest annual migration, and every year, Chinese tell horror stories about trying to get train tickets.

This season, the holiday falls on Monday, and it was supposed to be different: For the first time, China's rail ministry created a website to reserve seats. But things didn't work out as planned.

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Movie Reviews
12:01 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Carol Channing, Still Delightfully 'Larger Than Life'

Carol Channing β€” who turns 91 on Jan. 31 β€” appears in the 2010 Gypsy of the Year celebration, an annual salute to Broadway's hardest-working chorus performers.
Peter James Zielinski Entertainment One

Whenever the late New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld sketched Carol Channing β€” whether picturing her as an indomitable Dolly Levi, swathed in feathers and sequins, or as carbon-crazed Lorelei Lee, eyes sparkling like the diamonds that were that splendid creature's best friends β€” he always made her appear a creature composed entirely of lipstick, mascara and hairspray.

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Movie Reviews
11:57 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

'Coriolanus': A People's Hero Turns On His Own

Bare-Knuckle Politics: The battle-hardened Roman general Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes) runs for office at the urging of his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) β€” but it turns out he's no booster of majority rule.
Larry D. Horricks The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 12:16 pm

Ralph Fiennes showed up for a frenzied cameo near the end of Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, and her hand-held, adrenaline-charged approach clearly inspired his film of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, which he both acts and directs the bloody hell out of.

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StoryCorps
10:00 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Using A New Voice To Enjoy Life After Cancer

Rene Foreman visited StoryCorps in Los Angeles with her daughter Michelle.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 12:01 am

In 1999, Rene Foreman was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She underwent surgery that saved her life; it also took her voice box. To speak, Rene now uses an electrolarynx β€” a small device that she holds against her throat to produce her voice, electronically.

Discussing how having a synthesized voice has changed her life, Rene, 70, told her daughter Michelle that the electrolarynx helps her to enjoy each day, even if it also makes her stand out in some ways.

Of those times, Michelle asks, "How do you feel when people turn around and look at you?"

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The Record
8:00 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Megaupload Shut Down By The FBI

Courtesy of Megaupload.

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 4:37 pm

Click the link above to listen to Laura Sydell's conversation with Morning Edition's David Greene about the Megaupload indictment and the attack on the Department of Justice's website by the group Anonymous.

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Opinion
6:26 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

For Two City Slickers, Survival Of The Savviest

A wagon makes its way across the country.
istockphoto.com

Rhoda Janzen is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.

Recently my friend Peggy and I decided to make a jaunt from my house in Southwestern Michigan, across the state to Detroit. We took her car. At day's end we pulled into my remote driveway on Lake Allegan. It was then I realized that didn't have my keys. They were in fact, hanging in the little key box in my laundry room.

Oh no.

I had no way of getting into my home.

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The Two-Way
6:16 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Feds Shut Down File-Sharing Site; Hackers Attack Justice Department Site

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 7:36 pm

Earlier today, the Justice Department announced it had charged seven people on counts of copyright infringement and conspiracy in what's being called one the biggest criminal copyright cases.

NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Justice Department accused Megaupload, a popular file sharing site, with helping millions of people gain access to pirated movies, music and TV programs, often before the items are released for sale.

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It's All Politics
6:16 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Iowa Republicans To The GOP: Please Don't Ask Us Who Won

Iowa caucusgoers deposit their ballots on Jan. 3 at a school in Des Moines. On Thursday, the state GOP said it could not account for all votes from the caucuses.
Jewel Samad Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 20, 2012 12:56 am

How embarrassing for Iowa GOP officials. How embarrassing for Iowa Republicans as a party. How embarrassing for Iowa.

But on the other hand, who told the world to hold its breath earlier this month, awaiting the latest word on who had edged ahead in the Iowa caucuses?

That would have been us. The news folks. Up all night to bring you the latest information β€” or misinformation, as it turns out.

And who told the world to care about these homey little midwinter Midwestern klatches in the first place?

That, too, would have been us.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:26 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Spot Quiz: Name The Health Issue That Affects 1 In 5 Americans

iStockphoto.com

The correct answer is mental illness.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health problems facing Americans, with 20 percent of adults having a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. That's according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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The Salt
5:14 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Big-City Mayors Dig In To Food Policy

Farmer's markets are just one part of Baltimore's food programs.
Steve Ruark ASSOCIATED PRESS

Food policy can sound like a dreary enterprise best left to Washington, D.C. But big-city mayors are starting to see local food policy as a key step in getting healthy, affordable food to their constituents.

This afternoon, the mayors of America are meeting in Washington, D.C., to launch their own food policy task force. The goal is to share information on projects that work, and also make sure that federal food policy doesn't muck up those local efforts.

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Digital Life
5:13 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

This App Was Made For Walking β€” But Is It Racist?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Microsoft is under fire this week over a patent it was granted that's been dubbed the "avoid ghetto" feature for GPS devices.

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Music Interviews
5:13 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Were You 'Born To Run'? Springsteen As Workout Motivator

Does Clarence Clemons' sax and Bruce Springsteen's voice motivate you to hit the pavement?
Eric Meola

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The Two-Way
5:09 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Ski Pioneer Sarah Burke Succumbs To Practice Injury

Sarah Burke of Canada is airborne as she competes in the women's halfpipe freestyle event at the World Cup finals in Valmalenco, Italy in 2008.
Giovanni Auletta AP

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 5:27 pm

Freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke died this morning at the University of Utah Medical Center from injuries suffered nine days ago while practicing the sport she championed.

"Sarah passed away peacefully surrounded by those she loved," says a statement from the medical center. "In accordance with Sarah's wishes, her organs and tissues were donated to save the lives of others."

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It's All Politics
4:58 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

In South Carolina, The Cain Train Is Back

The Herman Cain tour bus in South Carolina.
Arnie Seipel NPR

NPR's Arnie Seipel came upon something unexpected in Charleston, S.C. and he sent this picture of it:

Yep. The Cain Train is back in South Carolina and he's getting help from comedian Stephen Colbert, who as we've noted, announced his intention to run for President of South Carolina.

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Europe
4:24 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Rock And A Hard Place: What To Do With Concordia

Technician Andera Faccioli positioned a laser-equipped device to determine whether the Costa Concordia has shifted position off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy.
Vincenzo Pinto AFP/Getty Images

What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully.

The wreck of the cruise liner Costa Concordia, which ran aground last week, is not unlike a car accident. The first order of business is determining whether it's worth repairing or it gets junked. Then there are the questions of how best to go about it – and who pays.

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Obama's First 2012 TV Ad Defends Energy Record, Dings Koch Bros

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 5:00 pm

President Obama's campaign on Thursday released its first TV ad of the 2012 election cycle, and it's a defense of his record on energy.

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Monkey See
4:00 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Fox International Finds That Not Everyone Wants To Buy What Hollywood Sells

Stephanie Sigman as Laura, a beauty queen drawn into a Mexican drug gang, in the film Miss Bala.
Eniac Martinez Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 10:16 pm

Remember that movie Sarah's Key? Did you miss it? It was last year's highest grossing foreign-language film, but it made less than eight million dollars. The fact is that selling foreign language films to U.S. audiences is a notorious challenge. Nevertheless, Fox, one of the world's most powerful media conglomerates, is beefing up its investment in foreign films.

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Asia
3:43 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

In Malaysia, Student Challenges Limits On Politics

Student activist Adam Adli addresses protesters outside Malaysia's high court in Kuala Lumpur on Jan. 9. The crowd was awaiting a verdict in the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted on charges of sodomy shortly afterward. Adam is leading the fight to abolish a decades-old law that bans college students from joining or speaking in support of political parties.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 10:16 pm

In Asia's modern history, college students have played a leading role in pushing for political reform and challenging authoritarian regimes.

Adam Adli is one of these student activists, and is becoming a prominent political figure as he fights to abolish a 40-year-old law that bars college students in the prosperous Southeast Asian country from participating in politics.

The 22-year-old was among the crowd of thousands chanting "reformasi," or reform, outside Malaysia's high court in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Jan. 9.

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It's All Politics
3:32 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Last GOP Debate Before S.C. Primary Could Produce Political Fireworks

If there's ever been a presidential debate with as much news happening in the hours leading up to the event, it's hard to remember when.

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The Record
3:32 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Johnny Otis, Rhythm And Blues Pioneer, Has Died

Johnny Otis was many things over his career, including a bandleader, producer, radio and TV host and composer. Additionally, Otis launched the careers of many of R&B's finest singers. Otis died on Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90 years old.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:12 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

New Restrictions On Abortion Almost Tied Record Last Year

If it seemed like 2011 was a big year for laws restricting abortion, it was.

In fact, according to "Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights In the U.S.," the 21stannual report compiled by the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, the 69 laws enacted restricting a woman's reproductive rights were just one short of the record set in 1999.

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Middle East
3:09 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

In Egypt's New Parliament, Women Will Be Scarce

In Egypt's recent parliamentary elections, the first since Hosni Mubarak's ouster and the fairest in the country's history, Islamists won big.

And one group suffered a shocking disappointment β€” women.

Although the final numbers haven't been announced, it appears there will be only about eight women out of the 508 seats – or less than 2 percent.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Pakistan's Prime Minister Appears Before Country's Supreme Court

The prime minister's legal counsel Aitzaz Ahsan (center) outside the Supreme Court, following the appearance of Prime Minister Yousef Reza Gilani before a seven member bench. Gilani faces contempt charges for his government's refusal to re-open a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Sajid Mehmood NPR

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 2:53 pm

Extending the political crisis that has churned up a media frenzy and put the nation on edge, Pakistan's Supreme Court has given the Prime Minister ten more days to answer contempt of court charges

Prime Minister Yusef Reza Gilani drove himself to the imposing Supreme Court building framed by stormy skies this morning. Facing contempt charges, he stood in the well of the packed court and defended his refusal to re-open a graft case against his boss, President Zardari.

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The Two-Way
2:44 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Moldovan Crew Member: Italian Ship Captain 'Did A Great Thing'

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 2:45 pm

A woman who was seen dining with the captain of the Costa Concordia the night the luxury liner crashed off the Italian coast is defending him. The AP reports that the woman, whom Italian authorities want to interview, is Dominican Cermotan, a 25-year-old Moldovan, who worked for Costa as a hostess but was not on duty the day of the incident.

"He did a great thing, he saved over 3,000 lives," Cermotan told Moldova's Jurnal TV, according to the AP.

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The Salt
2:39 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Surviving China's Cultural Revolution On Seasonal, Local Food

A Chinese propaganda poster from the Mao era.
Maopost.com

Originally published on Thu January 19, 2012 8:24 pm

Any cook who has had to make do with very little knows there's a sort of pride in whipping up a tasty meal from a bare pantry.

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