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Books
7:00 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Bear Wants Hat Back; For More, See Kids Book

Jon Klassen's latest book, I Want My Hat Back, is the delightful story about a bear who loses, and then finds, his hat. Scott talks with Weekend Edition's ambassador to the world of children's literature, Daniel Pinkwater, about the story and the importance of art in children's books.

Around the Nation
6:56 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Decking The Halls: A White House Tradition

Ornaments made to honor loved ones decorate the Gold Star Families Tree.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:13 am

A group of more than 100 volunteers helped decorate the White House this year, covering the mansion in Christmas trees, cookie ornaments and several versions of the Obamas' dog, Bo. The real stars, however, were the military families who joined the celebration.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Politics
6:41 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Gingrich's Popularity: A Winning Boost?

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has seen a recent bump in the polls. More criticism is sure to come, but Gingrich says he doesn't think attacks from other candidates will be effective.
Richard Shiro AP

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 7:36 pm

Newt Gingrich is now the focus of the race to become the GOP presidential nominee — and with that comes the heat. His main opposition, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went on the attack Friday, but Gingrich insists he'll stay positive. The big question is whether the former House speaker can sustain his surge in the polls.

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Simon Says
6:33 am
Sat December 3, 2011

What's In a (Baby) Name?

So many end-of-the year lists detail something trivial. But sometimes those lists can help us appreciate something obvious.

BabyCenter.com has just released their list of the most popular names for American babies in 2011.

The most popular girl's names: Sophia, Emma, Isabella, Olivia, and Ava, which sound like they could be lifted, letter by letter, from 1960s movie marquees. The most popular boy's names: Aiden, Jackson, Mason, Liam and Jacob, which could be the name of a Boston or Chicago law firm.

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Economy
6:08 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Behind Unemployment Figure, A Nuanced Outlook

NPR

The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.

Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.

"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.

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The Two-Way
6:00 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Son's Funny And Loving Obituary About Dad Charms Readers

"Robert Spiegel's passion for Russian literature, the New York Mets, ethnic cooking and beagles endeared him to generations of students and colleagues at Central Connecticut State University," The Associated Press says. "Now, through the power of social media, the 77-year-old former English professor's obituary is charming strangers, as well."

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Ron Paul
5:03 am
Sat December 3, 2011

5 Things You May Not Know About Ron Paul

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul speaks with voters after a town hall meeting in Keene, N.H., on Nov. 21.
Cheryl Senter AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 2:42 pm

Everybody knows that Ron Paul is a doctor from Texas. Born in Pittsburgh in 1935, he graduated from Gettysburg College and Duke University's medical school. He was a flight surgeon in the Air Force. His wife's name is Carol. He has served as a Republican congressman for years and years.

Everybody knows that Paul has made bids for the presidency three times — as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and this time around. And everybody knows he lost the first two.

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Movie Interviews
5:02 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Gary Oldman Steps Into A Spymaster's Shoes

'Cosh And Carry': Smiley's colleague Peter Guilliam (Benedict Cumberbatch, left) runs the MI6 division charged with blackmail, kidnapping and other rough stuff.
Focus Features

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 2:31 pm

The character of George Smiley is an iconic one — longtime spy, mild, podgy, middle-aged. He blends into the fog and the old gray streets of London.

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Strange News
5:02 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Haiku Traffic Signs Bring Poetry To NYC Streets

John Morse NYC DOT

If you're walking or biking around New York City this weekend you might look up at a busy intersection and see signs like these:

Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse. There are 12 designs in all, 10 in English and two in Spanish.

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Architecture
5:01 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Nature And Design Meet In Lautner's Modern Homes

Designed in 1958, architect John Lautner's Chemosphere House perches atop a 29-foot concrete pole on a roughly 45 degree slope in California's Hollywood Hills and is accessible via funicular.
Sara Sackner Courtesy of Judith Lautner and the John Lautner Foundation

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 2:31 pm

An artist with an idyllic childhood might be as rare as a house with walls made of air, but both play a part in the story of architect John Lautner.

Lautner's homes have appeared in Hollywood movies, but the architect himself wasn't particularly well-known when he died in 1994. Still, in 2011 — the centennial year of Lautner's birth — his hometown of Marquette, Mich., has honored him with two exhibitions: one at Northern Michigan University's DeVos Art Museum and one at the Marquette Regional History Center.

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Europe
4:00 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Turks Enjoy A Little Schadenfreude At EU's Expense

A woman walks up the stairs of Galata Bridge in Istanbul. With the financial crisis in the eurozone, Turks are rethinking their years-long bid to be a part of the European Union.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

As he prepares for the midday rush, Mustafa Baljan puts the finishing touches on the kebabs, salads and stews that make up many a working Turk's lunch. As the steam carries the scent of lamb and garlic into the street, the 37-year-old restaurant owner considers a popular question: With European economies on the ropes, should Turkey still be seeking to join the European Union?

"Are you kidding? Of course I don't want to join," Baljan says. "Countries are going bankrupt. Why would we want to join a union like that?"

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Fresh Air Weekend
1:43 am
Sat December 3, 2011

Fresh Air Weekend: Danny Burstein, Michio Kaku

Michio Kaku is an author and the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York. His books include Hyperspace, Visions and Beyond Einstein.
Andrea Brizzi Doubleday

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 1:59 pm

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Arts
5:20 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Reviews of the Latest Art, Independent, Foreign & Documentary Films

Thanksgiving marks the start of something special.  No, not the shopping frenzy, or the decorating, or the baking.  It marks the season of movies released in time for holiday viewing!  Just in time to let you know what's out there, our film critics gather round with their picks and pans from the latest in independent, foreign and documentary films.

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Justice Withdraws Inaccurate 'Fast And Furious' Letter It Sent To Congress

Under fire for losing track of weapons that turned up at crime scenes along the Southwest border, the Justice Department has taken the extraordinary step of formally withdrawing an inaccurate letter about the episode that it sent to Congress earlier this year.

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U.S.
5:11 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

GOP Leaders, Lawmakers Differ On Payroll Tax Cut

House Speaker John Boehner wants his Republican colleagues to agree to a payroll tax cut extension.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:21 pm

Two different bills calling for an extension of a payroll tax holiday failed to pass the Senate late Thursday, but work on a compromise is continuing on Capitol Hill.

President Obama and Democratic lawmakers put forth concerted efforts to extend the measure, which is set to expire next month. Economists say failure to renew the tax cut, which allows the average American family to keep $900 a year of earnings, would hurt job growth.

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Shots - Health Blog
5:08 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Siri's Anti-Abortion Tendencies A Result Of Technology, Not Apple Conspiracy

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're out to get you.

That could be the motto this week for abortion rights groups that immediately sprang into battle mode when it was discovered that Siri, Apple's new artificially intelligent personal assistant, wasn't so, well, intelligent when it came to abortion.

It turns out, however, that it was all much ado about not so much.

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Health
4:55 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Abortion-Rights Groups Outraged By Apple's Siri

When it was discovered earlier this week that Apple's new iPhone assistant Siri had trouble telling people where to get an abortion, abortion rights groups immediately cried foul. It turns out the problem is not a conspiracy but a software glitch.

Business
4:37 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Sears Considers Leaving Illinois For Better Tax Deal

Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, is considering a move from its corporate headquarters after a tax incentive package failed to pass the state House of Representatives. More than 6,000 employees work at the Hoffman Estates, Ill., campus.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 6:00 pm

Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.

The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.

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board of education
4:34 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Nicastro Punts On KCPS Governance

Middle East
4:02 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

After Fleeing, Syrian Activists Regroup In Turkey

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Turkish President Abdullah Gul meet in Ankara, Turkey on Friday. Biden praised Turkey for putting pressure on neighboring Syria to stop its bloody crackdown of protesters.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar AP

In a matter of months, Turkey has gone from one of Syria's strongest allies to one of its sharpest critics as the uprising in Syria has been met with a harsh crackdown by President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has become a haven for Syrian refugees, a base for Syrian army defectors and a home for Syria's main political opposition group. And on Friday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Turkey for talks that included the deteriorating conditions in Syria.

On the streets of Istanbul, Akram Asaf, a 31-year-old lawyer who fled Syria, says he feels safe, but not yet free.

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Music Interviews
4:02 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Olof Arnalds: An Icelandic Take On Heartland Rock

Ólöf Arnalds.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 3, 2011 2:43 pm

Ólöf Arnalds was born and raised in Iceland, and has been part of its experimental rock scene for years.

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The Two-Way
4:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Study Finds Turtle Embryos Communicate To Synchronize Hatching

A turtle embryo.
Judy Cebra-Thomas and Scott Gilbert National Science Foundation

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 5:23 pm

We were pretty impressed by this piece of news reported by Wired about Australian turtles:

"Murray River turtles communicate with their siblings while they are still in their shells, buried under the soil, in order to coordinate when they hatch."

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Turning To Big Business To Solve The Obesity Epidemic

Cory Booker is mayor of Newark, New Jersey and honorary vice-chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America.
Doug Van Sant

The Partnership for a Healthier America is a Washington-based group and it has Washington's most prestigious woman as its honorary chair: first lady Michelle Obama.

But this coalition to fight childhood obesity is focused on what needs to happen outside this town, namely in the private sector, to halt the epidemic. And in the last 12 months, it has managed to ink almost 20 deals with some of the biggest food companies in the country.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

For The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul, A Sequel About Strength

Mary J. Blige's new album is My Life II.
Markus Klinko and Indrani

Originally published on Sun January 22, 2012 9:07 am

Seventeen years ago, Mary J. Blige shook up the world of R&B when she released the record My Life. It ushered in a new sound: soul music over hip-hop beats. Instantly, Blige became known as the queen of hip-hop soul.

My Life was about pain — about Blige's rough childhood, abusive relationship and battles with addiction and depression. Seventeen years on, she's revisited that album. Her new record is called My Life II ... The Journey Continues. She says it's about strength.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:33 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

US AIDS Chief Says Tipping Point Is In Sight

Eric Goosby, United States Global AIDS Coordinator, sees a turning point for HIV coming soon.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 3:51 pm

If all goes according to plan — the plan President Obama laid out on Thursday — the HIV pandemic may reach an important tipping point by the end of 2013.

"We believe that with 2 million more people in treatment, we will reach a point where the number of new infections is less than the number going into treatment," says Dr. Eric Goosby.

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Politics
3:26 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Why Recall Elections Are So Difficult To Pull Off

Supporters of recalling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker march toward the state elections board office to deliver required paperwork to launch the effort in Madison on Nov. 15.
Scott Bauer AP

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 12:00 pm

When the word "recall" makes headlines, it usually involves the removal of a defective product from store shelves or perhaps the testimony of some nervous executive at a congressional hearing saying, "I don't recall."

But 2011 has been the year of another kind of recall: the recall election. Angry at elected officials' handling of the economy, budget cuts and other issues, voters across America are taking the "Throw the bums out" approach to new heights.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Wants Protesters To Pay For Security

A farmer drives his tractor past the Wisconsin State Capitol during a rally in March.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 4:14 pm

The Wisconsin State Capitol building has been the scene of protests since February, when Gov. Scott Walker started the process of passing a law that severely limits collective bargaining for public employees in the state.

Yesterday, the Walker administration took a step that is likely to antagonize protesters further. His administration enacted new regulations that would require permits to protest at the Capitol and other state buildings.

The controversial part is that the bill allows officials to charge groups for the security and clean-up costs of such events.

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Afghanistan
2:46 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

For Afghan Women, Rape Law Offers Little Protection

Afghan women walk in the northwestern city of Herat on Nov. 23. Women still have few rights, and can end up in jail on adultery charges when they accuse a man of rape. There are fears that women's rights will be further eroded when Western troops leave the country.
Aref Karimi AFP/Getty Images

This week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced the pardon of a 19-year-old Afghan woman who was imprisoned for adultery after being raped by a relative, in a case that has attracted international media coverage.

But what happened to the woman, Gulnaz, who has been in prison for two years, is not an isolated episode.

Many other women have suffered similar fates. A recent U.N. report suggests that laws to protect women in Afghanistan from rape and forced marriage are still not being enforced — with devastating results.

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Opinion
2:41 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

The Marvels And Messes Of A Month Of Writing

istockphoto.com

Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus.

Yesterday I was told I had approximately 20 hours to write an essay: 450 words about National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I'm quite partial to the event. Still, I thought about declining the essay, given the time constraint.

But then I decided, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, that it was rather silly to say "oh, I can't write 450 words in less than a day" So here we go:

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Monkey See
2:15 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Bow Bow, Chk-a-Bow: Five Voices Rise To The Top Of TV's A Cappella Competition

Pentatonix performs on The Sing-Off.
Lewis Jacobs NBC

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 6:00 pm

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