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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Top News Memes Of 2011: Pepper Spray Cop, Bin Laden, Steve Jobs

Spraying the Declaration of Independence (John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence").
jockohomo.tumblr.com

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 9:02 am

Video of a police officer dousing Occupy protesters with pepper spray was one of the top three news-related memes of 2011, according to the analysts who follow this sort of thing at Know Your Meme.

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Thu December 8, 2011

European Central Bank Cuts Rates To Match Record Low

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 8:26 am

It's a widely expected move, but still noteworthy:

"The European Central Bank cut interest rates by a quarter of a point on Thursday to counter the twin threats of recession and deflation in the euro zone, and is expected to unveil fresh measures to help banks hurt by the bloc's debt crisis," Reuters reports.

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Strange News
8:08 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Michiganders Get Territorial About Mitten Comparison

The lower part of Michigan is shaped like a mitten, which helps people recognize the state on a map. But now nearby Wisconsin has an official website featuring a picture of a mitten, saying Wisconsin is mitten-shaped. That might be true, if the thumb is smashed. Michiganders are furious, and officials accuse Wisconsin of "mitten envy."

The Two-Way
8:03 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Corzine Apologizes, Defends Actions Of MF Global, May Invoke Fifth

Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D).
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 1:11 pm

Former New Jersey senator and governor Jon Corzine, who led MF Global as it spectacularly collapsed in a bankruptcy that has left $1.2 billion in client money missing, is due at a House Agriculture Committee hearing this morning to face questions about what happened.

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Strange News
8:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

New Treat For Grown-Ups: Frozen Cocktails On A Stick

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer with news of a cocktail on a stick. It's coming from an ice cream company - popsicles laced with booze, dreamed up during a night of drinking and eating ice cream, says a spokeswoman. They're trying out margarita and cosmopolitan flavors.

And KPHO-TV in Phoenix says kids can't tell they're spiked by looking at them. That's another reason they'll only be sold at liquor stores. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Report: Hundreds Of Troops' Ashes Were Dumped In Landfill

"The Air Force dumped the incinerated partial remains of at least 274 American troops in a Virginia landfill," The Washington Post reports this morning, adding that it's "far more than the military had acknowledged, before halting the secretive practice three years ago, records show."

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Author Interviews
5:04 am
Thu December 8, 2011

In 'Pemberley,' James Picks Up Where Austen Left Off

British author P.D. James has written more than 20 books. She is a former employee of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Departments. In 2008, she was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame.
Ulla Montan Knopf

British mystery writer P.D. James is best known for her creation Adam Dalgliesh — a pensive, private Scotland Yard detective shaped by his own personal tragedy. Dalgliesh populates many of James' stories, but not her latest. In her new book, Death Comes to Pemberley, P.D. James inhabits the world of Jane Austen — specifically, Pride and Prejudice.

"I had this idea at the back of my mind that I'd like to combine my two great enthusiasms," James tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer. "One is for the novels of Jane Austen and the second is for writing detective fiction."

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Shots - Health Blog
5:03 am
Thu December 8, 2011

When 'Critical Access Hospitals' Aren't So Critical

Shirley Holden, 78, has been coming to Hood Memorial Hospital since 1971. She says if the hospital were to close, she'd mostly stay home. "I would not be going ... anywhere else unless I went on a stretcher."
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 12:27 pm

Hood Memorial Hospital, in Amite, La., hasn't been full in at least two decades. Some people say that makes it's a perfect target for efforts to reduce federal spending.

On an average day, fewer than four of the hospital's 25 beds are occupied. Last year, Hood posted a $700,000 loss on its $7.5 million in total operating expenses. One of the few bright spots on Hood's balance sheet: the extra money it receives from the federal government through a program for critical access hospitals — small facilities that receive a higher Medicare reimbursement rate to help keep them afloat.

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Presidential Race
5:02 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Gingrich, Romney Offer Stark Immigration Choice

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney (left) and Newt Gingrich shake hands after a Republican presidential debate in Tampa, Fla.
Mike Carlson AP

There are many flashpoints between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as they battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Most of them are about character or leadership: Who can beat President Obama? Who's the real conservative?

But Gingrich and Romney do have one big policy difference — and that's on immigration.

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National Security
5:01 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Officials Detail Plans To Fight Terrorism At Home

The White House will unveil a broad, new strategy Thursday aimed at battling homegrown terrorism in the U.S. The program aims to empower communities by teaching local officials to recognize violent extremism and see the threat as a public safety issue, like the battle against gangs and drugs.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Women's Groups Outraged By Ruling On Morning-After Pill

Women's health advocates were quick to cry foul Wednesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the opinion of the Food and Drug Administration that the popular "morning after" emergency contraceptive "Plan B One Step" should be allowed to be sold without a prescription — and without age restrictions.

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Race
5:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Black Scholar Of The Civil War Asks: Who's With Me?

Soldiers of the 4th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, E Company, pose for a photograph at Fort Lincoln, Md., one of several fortifications ringing Washington, D.C., during the Civil War.
Library of Congress

The Civil War ended slavery in America. So why, asks author Ta-Nehisi Coates, do African-Americans, who benefited most from the conflict, take so little interest in it? Coates, a confessed Civil War obsessive, wrote about that question in his recent article, "Why Do So Few Blacks Study the Civil War?"

The story appears in a special issue of The Atlantic commemorating the Civil War.

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U.S.
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Blagojevich's 14-Year Term Starts In February

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison following his bribery and extortion convictions. He is expected to begin serving the sentence in February.

Europe
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

High Stakes For Europe, World Economy In Brussels

France and Germany are trying to persuade other European countries to sign onto a package of reforms aimed at shoring up the embattled euro. They're hoping to win agreement in time for Friday's big summit of European leaders in Brussels. A failure to reach agreement could send the wrong signal to the financial markets, which are already deeply worried about Europe's fiscal problems.

U.S.
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Report: Troops' Cremated Remains Went To Landfill

An investigation by the Washington Post shows that remains of 274 service members were cremated and disposed of in a landfill by personnel at Dover Air Force Base. Steve Inskeep talks to the Post's Craig Whitlock, one of the reporters who uncovered the story.

Health
4:00 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Houston's Health Clinics Struggle To Meet Demand

A new study documents the increasing crush of patients turning to free public clinics in the Houston area. Officials there are worried because they expect even more people to seek care when the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law, takes effect in a little over a year.

Europe
2:25 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Can Angela Merkel Save Europe?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Europe's economic turmoil is the continent's greatest crisis since World War II. But critics say she has been doing too little and lacks a bold vision for solving Europe's problems.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's approach to the debt crisis currently roiling Europe has been calm, logical, methodical and — according to detractors, especially outside Germany, too slow and unimaginative.

Critics are seething that she insists on austerity as the main medicine for debt-ridden southern neighbors while she offers no new ideas for growth and fiercely resists efforts to let the European Central Bank intervene more.

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Presidential Race
12:05 am
Thu December 8, 2011

The Tweets, Tics And Turns Of Twitter Politics

Texas Rep. Ron Paul's passionate base of support could explain a new study that finds he received more favorable treatment on Twitter than any other GOP hopeful.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 8, 2011 8:14 am

The tweet might go something like this:

Political convo on Twitter is more opinionated, more negative. Diff from that in blogs or lamestream media, sez new study by Pew. Like duh!

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The Two-Way
6:29 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Fed, Bloomberg Trade Jabs Over Recent Stories

We've reported on the stories Bloomberg has released about the Federal Reserve. We also noted the story that is under the microscope currently in which Bloomberg said that over the course of less than two years, the Federal Reserve had guaranteed about $7.77 trillion in order to rescue the financial system and that it did not disclose the specifics of some loans to Congress.

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The Two-Way
5:49 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

'Dr. Doom' Fears Another Financial Crisis Is Coming

Nouriel Roubini.
Tony Ashby. AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 7, 2011 7:16 pm

The economist known as "Dr. Doom" for his 2008 recession prediction says the world may be headed for another financial crisis.

New York University professor Nouriel Roubini said Wednesday that Europe's debt troubles are so profound that the continent is falling into a "recession that will get worse and worse."

And a deep recession likely will lead to another financial panic that could spread around the world — an outcome that will be " very painful," he said.

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Remembrances
5:36 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Harry Morgan, M*A*S*H's Col. Potter, Dies At 96

Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) was a father figure to Cpl. Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff).
CBS/Landov

One of television's most beloved commanding officers died Wednesday. Harry Morgan, who played Col. Sherman Potter on M*A*S*H, brought an avuncular authority to a show about the absurdities and horrors of war. He was 96.

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The Two-Way
5:13 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

2011 Breaks Record For Most Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters

NOAA

In terms of weather, 2011 has made it into the record books. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that during this year, there have been 12 different weather disasters that cost more than $1 billion. The previous record was nine in 2008.

A few more facts from NOAA:

-- "These twelve disasters alone resulted in the tragic loss of 646 lives, with the National Weather Service reporting over 1,000 deaths across all weather categories for the year."

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Shots - Health Blog
5:08 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Shape Up, America, Before It's Too Late

America's Health Rankings

You might find it hard to believe, but we Americans are, by and large, in better health today than we were 20 years ago.

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History
5:03 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

A Birds-Eye History Of Walking On Stilts

French stilt dancers from Landes, in southwestern France, walk through London on their way to the 1937 Silver Jubilee Festival of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Fox Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:12 am

A couple of years ago, NPR's Robert Siegel had a 5-year-old kid moment.

He was in the new wing of a hospital watching a workman put up drywall and, as drywall installers are wont to do, the workman reached the top of the wall by walking on stilts.

The 5-year-old inside the radio host was suddenly enchanted by the thought of stilts, so Siegel set out to learn more; first through Google, then from Joe Bowen, who walked more than 3,000 miles across the country on stilts in 1980.

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Europe
5:00 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

The Latest Greek Drama: Government Statistics

Andreas Georgiou was picked last year to run Greece's statistical agency. He promised more accurate financial data. He has won praise, though now he is under investigation following claims the country's budget deficit was artificially inflated.
Petros Giannakouris AP

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:31 pm

Greece fudged its budget numbers to enter the euro club, and its reputation as a source of accurate financial figures never really improved. As the country's financial crisis has worsened, the joke about its suspect fiscal numbers comes with the punch line, "lies, damn lies ... and Greek statistics."

The country sought to improve its standing last year when it created a new and independent statistical service, the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

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Education
4:52 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Friendly Advice For Teachers: Beware Of Facebook

Teachers have been fired for comments they posted on Facebook, which raises free speech issues and questions about how teachers should interact on social media.
Sturti IStockPhoto

The new and ever-changing world of social networking has blurred the lines between private and public, work and personal, friend and stranger. It's becoming a particular challenge for teachers who can quickly rile students and parents by posting comments or photos online.

In some cases, teachers have been fired for statements they've made on Facebook, which is raising free speech issues.

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Middle East
4:09 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

A Brutal Detention, And A Defiant Syrian Activist

This summer, NPR told the story of a young man in Syria who worked a regular job by day and was a protester by night. At the end of that story, the activist made a prediction that was later tweeted to thousands of people: "One day my time is coming. Until the world realizes what's happening in Syria, they will try and get us all."

Many weeks later, his prediction came true.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

As Protests Face Hurdles, Gorbachev Calls For New Elections In Russia

Reuters reports that today protesters in Moscow faced a huge increase in security presence that essentially stopped a mass protest against last weekend's parliamentary elections.

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Middle East
4:01 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Islamist Parties At Odds In Egypt's Ongoing Elections

Egyptian soldiers stand in front of campaign posters for candidates from the hard-line Islamist Salafist Al-Nour party, in the coastal city of Alexandria.
AFP/Getty Images

As the Egyptian elections roll on over the course of several more weeks, the incoming parliament looks likely to be dominated by Islamists. But the two leading Islamist blocs have little in common and are doing their best to undermine each other.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists do not get along in Alexandria's working-class slum of Abu Suleiman. Outside one polling station, the tension is thick as campaign workers for each group's political party hand out fliers.

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