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4:22 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Sing-Spelling At The National Bee

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There is no shortage of wonders on display at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, under way this week outside Washington, D.C. Students are easily spooling off words such as wiesenboden and machicotage. But even the Scripps Bee judges were flummoxed when 7th grader Katie Danis made this request today.

KATIE DANIS: Would you mind if I were to, like, sing the letters, it would help me. I could do that.

BLOCK: The judges conferred, and said OK. So here's Katie Danis, sing-spelling stabilimeter.

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Police Say New York Mayor Bloomberg Sent Ricin-Laced Letters

New York Mayor Bloomberg speaks out for gun reform at a March news conference in New York.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:11 am

Police in New York say preliminary tests of two threatening letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of ricin.

The anonymous letters, both addressed to Bloomberg, were opened Friday in New York at the city's mail facility and Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the nonprofit started by Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, according to authorities.

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Bachmann's Legacy: A Trailblazer, For Better And For Worse

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks during the Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:55 pm

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Wednesday that she won't seek a fifth term unleashed a torrent of tweets and blog posts on the left lampooning the short-lived 2012 presidential candidate.

Yet the response — her retirement effectively dominated the news cycle — provided a glimpse of Bachmann's impact on Washington.

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

'Soda Mouth' Can Look A Lot Like 'Meth Mouth'

A dental researcher says he's concerned that excessive soda consumption is leading to severe erosion of teeth.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:23 pm

Drink enough soda and your teeth could deteriorate so much that they look like the teeth of a methamphetamine or crack addict.

That's one of the messages of a case study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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All Tech Considered
3:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Fixing Your Online Reputation: There's An Industry For That

What a potential employer finds when researching an applicant online can make or break a job opportunity.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:21 am

This year, nearly 1.7 million students will graduate from college. Many of them are engaged in a new ritual of the digital age: cleaning up and polishing their online profiles. The demand is so great an entire industry has sprung up to help.

According to numerous surveys, the vast majority of hiring managers routinely Google potential job candidates. And what they see on that first page of search results matters — a lot. Just ask Pete Kistler, who was a college junior when he started applying to a bunch of computer software firms, looking for a summer job.

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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The 10 Biggest Tax Breaks (And How Much They Cost)

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:01 pm

The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.

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It's All Politics
3:35 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Why Obama Wants To Change The Key Law In The Terrorism Fight

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on May 23.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Almost all of the federal government's actions against terrorism — from drone strikes to the prison at Guantanamo Bay — are authorized by a single law: the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress passed it just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, President Obama says he wants to revise the law, and ultimately repeal it.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Health Law Spared Young Adults From High Hospital Bills

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Researchers at the RAND Corporation set out to find some hard data on one aspect of the health law: Does having medical insurance protect young adults from the financial ruin that often comes with a major injury or illness?

The quick answer: Yep.

Since September 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to remain on their parents' medical insurance until they turn 26, and 3.1 million young people have taken advantage of the new rule.

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Remembering Heroes From The Second World War
3:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For Tuskegee Airman George Porter, Failure Was Not An Option

George Porter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007. Porter joined the armed forces in 1942 and served as a crew chief, squadron inspector and flight engineer with the Army Air Forces and the Air Force.
Paul Kitagaki Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Disinfect All ICU Patients To Reduce 'Superbug' Infections

To fight antibiotic-resistant staph germs like these, a study suggests disinfecting the skin of all intensive care patients.
Janice Carr CDC

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:41 pm

Hospitals can sharply reduce the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria in their intensive care units by decontaminating all patients rather than screening them and focusing only on those found to be infected already, researchers reported Wednesday.

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Code Switch
2:47 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race

How do you respond to questions about your culture or race?
Ariel Skelley Corbis

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:58 am

Since Code Switch launched, friends and people on Twitter have been sharing examples of questions they've been asked about their race or culture that they've found interesting, awkward or just plain offensive.

We were intrigued when we saw this question posted on AskReddit: "What's one question you've been dying to ask another race but never do because of the impending 'THAT'S RACIST' aftermath?"

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Employee Unions Take Issue With Immigration Overhaul

Chris Crane, president of the union that represents deportation agents, officers and employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April. Crane has been a vocal opponent of the proposed immigration overhaul.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

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The Two-Way
2:38 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Prosecutor: Radical Islam Motivated Attack On French Soldier

A 2009 photo of the La Defense shopping mall, west of Paris, where Saturday's stabbing attack took place.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 3:12 pm

Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.

Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.

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Media
2:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:26 pm

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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Books
2:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

How OxyContin's Pain Relief Built 'A World Of Hurt'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:40 am

Prescription painkillers are among the most widely used drugs in America. In the decade since New York Times reporter Barry Meier began investigating their use and abuse, he says he has seen the number of people dying from overdoses quadruple — an increase Meier calls "staggering."

"The current statistic is that about 16,000 people a year die of overdoses involving prescription narcotics. ... It's a huge problem. The number of people dying from these drugs is second only to the number of people that die in car accidents," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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The Salt
2:02 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cooking With Cicadas: No Weirder Than Eating Cheese?

Cicada: It's what's for dinner?
Sean Bush AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

You knew this one was coming.

Earlier this month, we told you about a U.N. report that makes the case for insects to improve global food security: They're cheap, plentiful and environmentally sustainable. Now, the coming of the 17-year cicadas provides East Coast Americans, for whom bug eating is considered novel at best, with an opportunity to try local insect cuisine.

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Parallels
1:52 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's The Meaning Of This? A New Twist In The Spelling Bee

Minka Gill of Kokomo, Ind., participates in Round 2 of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

If Snigdha Nandipati, the 14-year-old who won last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee, had been asked to define her winning word, "guetapens," things might have turned out differently.

This year, a vocabulary test with word definitions is, for the first time in the bee's 86-year history, part of the competition. Preliminary and semifinal contestants must pass the test to get to the finals of the grueling competition.

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Shots - Health News
1:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Middle East Coronavirus Called 'Threat To The Entire World'

A nurse walks towards the Roger Salengro Hospital in Lille, France, where two patients were diagnosed with a coronavirus related to SARS.
Michel Spingler AP

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 9:43 am

If you've been following the news out of China about the latest bird flu and its threats to humans, may we direct your attention toward the Middle East for a minute?

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Business
1:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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Environment
12:48 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Colorado Crisis: America's Great River Dwindles in Drought

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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NPR Story
12:44 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Cartoonist Lynda Barry Helps College Students Tap Innate Creativity

Angela Richardson

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 9:50 am

Like most of her work, cartoonist Lynda Barry's class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is unorthodox. "No artistic talent required," the course description states. The course is described as a "writing and picture-making class with focus on the basic physical structure of the brain."

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Research News
12:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Opinion On The Record Number Of Female Breadwinners

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.

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Politics
12:13 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Role Of The Attorney General Throughout History

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 1:39 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The president throws footballs with Chris Christie on the Jersey Shore. Michele Bachmann throws in the towel in Minnesota. And Scott Gomez throws shade at Ed Markey in Massachusetts. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GABRIEL GOMEZ: Pond scum...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

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Movie Interviews
12:12 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

From Boos To Bravos: A Recap Of Cannes

French film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, tells the story of a teenager named Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) who falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Lea Seydoux).
Wild Bunch

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 2:30 pm

"It was the film of the festival," critic John Powers tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about Blue Is the Warmest Color, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. When Powers says "film of the festival" he means "it was the film that people loved the most, some hated the most, and everyone talked about the most."

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Nasdaq Agrees To $10M Penalty For Handling Of Facebook IPO

A year ago, before the initial public offering of stock, Nasdaq and Facebook were quite excited.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 11:55 am

One year after Facebook's troubled initial public offering, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it has "charged Nasdaq with securities laws violations resulting from its poor systems and decision-making ... [and that] Nasdaq has agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying a $10 million penalty."

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Asia
11:35 am
Wed May 29, 2013

For China's Youth, A Life Of 'Darkness Outside The Night'

Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below." href="/post/chinas-youth-life-darkness-outside-night" class="noexit lightbox">
A small, child-like creature in a cone hat peers into a toy shop, happy at the sight of a snow globe, in a vignette called "Tininess" in Darkness Outside the Night, a graphic novel illustrated by Xie Peng. Find out what happens in the excerpt below.
Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with permission to reproduce the panels from Tabella Publishing LLP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 2:48 pm

Xie Peng, a 36-year-old Chinese graphic novelist, spent six years working on his first book, Darkness Outside the Night. It's been praised by China's first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan, as inspiring people on how to deal with life.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Tempest Over A Teapot: JC Penney Removes 'Hitler' Billboard

Photos of a JC Penney billboard in Culver City, Calif., spurred an online debate over whether the tea kettle resembles German tyrant Adolf Hitler.
Imgur, via KPCC

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:45 pm

After receiving complaints that a billboard advertisement included an image resembling Adolf Hitler, JC Penney has reportedly taken the sign down. The move came after images of the billboard in California's Culver City spurred a controversy on Reddit and elsewhere online. The retailer says any resemblance to the late leader of the Third Reich was unintended.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Drone Said To Have Killed Key Pakistani Taliban Commander

Waliur Rehman, who was reportedly killed Wednesday in Pakistan.
U.S. State Dept.

It's not confirmed that he's dead. But if a suspected U.S. drone strike on Wednesday did kill Waliur Rehman, as Pakistani officials say it did, then a top Pakistani Taliban commander with a $5 million price on his head has been taken off the battlefield.

According to the U.S. State Department's "rewards for justice" program:

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The Salt
10:07 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Pot Brownies Should Be Childproofed, Doctors Say

Marijuana gingerbread cookies, like this one sold at The Apothecarium in San Francisco, could easily appeal to kids.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:26 pm

As some states become friendly to medical marijuana, many users are opting to eat their pot instead of smoking it. And that means marijuana dispensaries are doing heavy business in brownies, cookies, sodas, candy and other treats heavily dosed with THC.

But unlike drugs that come in bottles, these tasty marijuana foods haven't been childproofed. And in Colorado, doctors say that kids who apparently get into their parents and grandparents' stashes are getting sick.

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