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Mitt Romney
6:15 am
Sun December 18, 2011

Romney Seeks Gingrich's Tea Party Lead In S.C.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a town hall meeting Saturday in Charleston, S.C. Romney is hoping to gain conservative support following the endorsement of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

It was warm and beautiful in the seaside resort of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Saturday, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held his final town hall meeting of the weekend. As he stood surrounded by supporters wearing campaign T-shirts, Romney's mood seemed as sunny as the 65-degree weather outside.

Romney had a lot to be happy about. South Carolina's Tea Party-backed Gov. Nikki Haley had not only endorsed him, she regaled him with glowing tributes at every campaign stop in the multi-city tour.

Lining Up With The Tea Party

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Leaving Iraq
9:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Huge Embassy Keeps U.S. Presence In Iraq

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani speaks at the opening of the huge U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Jan. 5, 2009. It is the largest U.S. Embassy in the world.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 18, 2011 12:40 pm

As the final U.S. troops leave Iraq, they leave behind the largest U.S. Embassy in the world.

There will be about 16,000 people working for the State Department at the embassy in Baghdad and consulates elsewhere in Iraq.

At least 5,000 of those in Iraq will be private security contractors, and there are lots of questions about whether the State Department is ready to run such a big operation in such a volatile country.

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Leaving Iraq
9:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Improvised Warfare In Iraq Leaves Lasting Effects

U.S. and Iraqi soldiers display "sticky IEDs" — magnetic bombs that militants attach to vehicles — found during a raid at a checkpoint near the Iraq-Iran border.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Army Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett spent about three years in Iraq hunting for improvised explosive devices, also knows as IEDs.

"I can remember going out and one week I got blown up three times," Burnett says. He says back then, it wasn't whether you were going to get blown up, it was just a matter of when you were going to get blown up.

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Middle East
6:02 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

The Arab Spring: A Year Of Revolution

Tunisians protest outside the gates to the French embassy in Tunis. The country is where the Arab Spring began when a fruit vendor set himself on fire in protest in front of a government building.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

A year ago, 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi was getting ready to sell fruits and vegetables in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia.

Bouazizi was the breadwinner for his widowed mother and six siblings, but he didn't have a permit to sell the goods. When the police asked Bouazizi to hand over his wooden cart, he refused and a policewoman allegedly slapped him.

Angered after being publicly humiliated, Bouazizi marched in front of a government building and set himself on fire.

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Around the Nation
3:44 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

U.S. Somalis Lose Only Means Of Sending Cash Home

Just north of downtown Minneapolis stand two cement, skyscraper apartment buildings covered in faded pastel patches. Most of the people who live there are part of the city's large Somali community. Once a month, many of them walk across the street to the small, blue shop that houses Kaah Express, a money-wiring business that links Somalis in Minneapolis to relatives in camps throughout East Africa.

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Music Interviews
3:30 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Dessa: A Twin City Rapper Explores A Softer Side

Dessa is a member of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective Doomtree. Her newest album is Castor, the Twin.
Kelly Loverud Courtesy of the artist

Dessa is best known as a member of Doomtree, a hip-hop collective based in Minneapolis. But there's much more singing than rapping on her latest album, Castor, the Twin, which puts a jazzy, melodic spin on some of her previous work.

Dessa says the title refers to the brothers Castor and Pollux from Greek and Roman mythology. Castor, she explains, is the milder of the two.

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The Record
3:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Cesária Évora, Grammy-Winning Cape Verdean Singer, Has Died

Cesária Évora performing in Amsterdam in 2000.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 3:54 pm

Cesária Évora, the Grammy-winning singer from the West African island nation of Cape Verde, has died, the Associated Press reported Saturday. She was 70.

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Iraq
3:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

How To Withdraw From A Country

In the run-up to the U.S. military's withdrawal from Iraq over the last few weeks, up to 60 convoys have been roaring across the country at any given time, hauling supplies south to Kuwait. But that's just the equipment the military is taking. Major General Thomas Richardson, the Army's chief logistician in Iraq, tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that sometimes it's cheaper to leave it there.

Politics
3:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

Each year, as Congress works to wrap up budget and tax bills and other "must-pass" legislation, inevitably not so must-pass items creep into the mix — inserted either to smooth passage for the more important things, or in the hopes that no one will notice. This year marks the first time that leadership has been unable to use earmarks to buy off reluctant votes, and has turned to other forms of grease instead. NPR's David Welna reports.

Author Interviews
2:55 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

William F. Buckley, Father Of American Conservatism

William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator who founded the political magazine National Review in 1955. He died in 2008.
Bettmann/CORBIS

When William F. Buckley burst onto the national scene in 1955, conservatism was a dead letter in American politics.

"Lots of people thought that it was outdated, anachronistic, prehistoric, foolish, not very intelligent," Carl Bogus tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

Bogus is the author of a new biography, called Buckley: William F. Buckley and the Rise of American Conservatism. He says that back in the 1950s and 1960s, there really was an established liberal elite in America, which controlled both political parties.

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The Two-Way
1:49 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

"It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year," Obama said after the Senate passed a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:53 pm

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

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Inside NPR.org
1:32 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

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Latin America
12:05 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Paroled U.S. Activist Says Peru Won't Let Her Leave

Paroled U.S. activist Lori Berenson said Saturday that she and her toddler son were not permitted to leave Peru despite being granted permission in court to spend the holidays in New York with her family.

"They didn't let me leave and they're putting out this version that I arrived late," she said in a brief phone conversation with The Associated Press, referring to media reports citing unnamed airport officials.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Congress Reaches Short-Term Compromise At 11th Hour

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Politics
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

A Freshman's Year In A Dysfunctional Congress

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We're going to go to a Republican member of the House, Congressman Bill Huizenga of Michigan. He represents the 2nd district in western Michigan. We check in with him from time to time throughout his first year in Congress. Congressman, welcome back.

REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUIZENGA: Hey. Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Now, let me ask about - are these stop-gap measures just the new way of doing business in Congress, and does that just kick the can down the road a couple of months?

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Around the Nation
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Penn State Officials Face Trial In Sex Abuse Case

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Technology
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Top Gadgets And 'Best Innovations' Of The Year

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Popular Science magazine is out with its 100 best innovations issue. If you've got hard-to-please family members on your holiday shopping lists, maybe you want to consider something like an inflatable wetsuit for big-wave surfing. That's just one of the year's top gadgets. Tell us a little more about some of the noteworthy innovations, we have Mark Jannot in our New York studios. He's the editor-in-chief of Popular Science. Thanks for being with us.

MARK JANNOT: It's always fun, Scott.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

The Truth Squad Reports On The GOP Debates

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week the Republican presidential hopefuls squared off in the last debate before the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd. There have been 16 debates this election cycle and the assertions have been flying.

We're joined now by Bill Adair, who is editor of the non-partisan fact-checking website PolitiFact.com, to look at some of the noteworthy half-truths, maybe outright falsehoods that may have been uttered.

Bill, thanks for being back with us.

BILL ADAIR: Thanks for having me.

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Sports: Patriots Vs. Tebow's Faith; Bonds Sentenced

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Sports
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Barry Bonds Under House Arrest Plus Probation

Former Major League Baseball star Barry Bonds was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest and two years probation on Friday for his federal conviction of obstruction of justice. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

Iraq
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Five Big Moments In The Iraq War

With the Iraq war officially over and the pullout of U.S. forces nearly complete, host Scott Simon talks with Tom Ricks, author of The Best Defense blog, and Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker about the most influential turning points of the war.

National Security
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Soldier's Hearing Weighs Harm From Wikileaks

Military prosecutors say Army Pvt. Bradley Manning downloaded troves of secret documents from a computer station in Baghdad and passed them to Wikileaks. If investigators recommend that Manning face court martial, it could land him in prison for the rest of his life. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

Commentary
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Phones In Hand, Busy Mourners Miss The Story

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 10:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Gadgets, like cell phone cameras and digital tablets, can turn almost anybody into some kind of amateur journalist. But writer Gwen Thompkins wonders when the amateurs will realize that what the professionals already know - recording an event often stops people from experiencing what's right in front of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE TALKING)

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Performing Arts
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Grandma The Clown Is Leaving The Tent

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF CIRCUS MUSIC)

SIMON: When the bright lights beam under the Big Top of the Big Apple Circus, Grandma shuffles in. She's got a silver hair, a slow walk, a sly smile, and a purse so huge you think she might have New Jersey somewhere in there. I mean Grandma the Clown.

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From Our Listeners
8:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Your Letters: Laura Nyro; The Christmas Krampus

Lots of comments came in this week about host Scott Simon's remembrance of Laura Nyro. We also heard from several Krampus revelers, who celebrate the Christmas Krampus, a horned, mythical kind of dark sidekick to Santa Claus. Host Scott Simon reads listener reaction to last week's program.

Food
7:54 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Coquito: A Tropical Twist On The Holiday Classic

Coquito is eggnog, Puerto Rican style, enriched by a delicious addition: a dollop of coconut.
iStockphoto.com

Coquito, an eggnog made with rum and coconut, is as integral to a Puerto Rican Christmas as presents under the tree.

In New York on Saturday, 12 coquito makers are battling to be this year's Coquito Masters champion. It's the 10th year of the contest. Trolleys will take fans to different locations in Spanish Harlem to sample coquito and vote for their favorite drinks in blind taste tests.

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Simon Says
7:36 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens And The Delight Of Defying Labels

It may be telling that Christopher Hitchens should die in this season. I don't mean the holiday season but a contentious season in Congress and on the campaign trail, with politicians jabbing fingers and accusing each other of inconsistency.

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Leaving Iraq
6:35 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Internally Displaced Iraqis Struggle For Permanency

Makeshift houses in Baghdad are the only homes some internally displaced Iraqis know. Many are too afraid to go back to their original homes; for them, the threat of being targeted is still very real.
Mohammed Ameen Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Nadia Karim Hassan says she stayed in her Baghdad neighborhood as long as she could, but by the height of the sectarian war in 2007, too many fellow Shiites were getting killed, and she had to leave the area and move into an abandoned building.

As American troops pull out of Iraq, one of the most striking consequences of the war remains unresolved today: the issue of people who were forced out of their homes and still can't go back. Relief organizations estimate there are some 2 million displaced people inside Iraq.

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Economy
6:26 am
Sat December 17, 2011

SEC: Mortgage Execs Took Pains To Hide Risky Loans

Robert Khuzami (right), director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division, announces that the SEC is charging six former top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with securities fraud on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 1:10 pm

Ever since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government in 2008, questions have swirled over who was responsible for their collapse. Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission weighed in, filing fraud charges against former Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd, former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron and four other former executives.

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Presidential Race
6:19 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Endorsement Kicks Off Romney's Battle For S.C.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in South Carolina Friday to celebrate an important announcement. The Palmetto State's Gov. Nikki Haley has officially endorsed him, just weeks before the South Carolina Republican primary.

The Romney campaign staged this event at a capacious fire station that was so crowded the chief had to bar the door when the crowd reached 500 people.

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