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2:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Hangs On Justices' Scale

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And now to another provision in the health care law that's being challenged: the Medicaid expansion. Those arguments took place this afternoon. And NPR's Julie Rovner is here in the studio to talk about them. Julie, the key question before the court was whether the law goes too far. It requires states to expand their Medicaid programs. So why don't we back up and start with the basics, how Medicaid works and how the law changes that?

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Shots - Health Blog
1:58 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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Mental Health
1:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Staff Sgt. Bales Case Shows Stigma, Paradox Of PTSD

The U.S. military is trying to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. But many veterans say they're still under pressure to deny they have problems. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in December 2009.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:14 pm

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

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The Two-Way
1:52 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Wrapping Up Oral Arguments, Justices Disagree On Medicaid Expansion

The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.

The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

'He's Gone And We're Searching For Answers,' Says Trayvon Martin's Father

Tracy Martin, Trayvon Martin's father, at a forum held Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

"I haven't even started grieving and I don't think I'll start grieving until I get justice for him."

That's Tracy Martin, father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, moments ago in an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin (no relation).

During a conversation due for broadcast on Thursday's edition of Tell Me More, Tracy Martin also said:

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The Salt
1:18 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Why 'Pink Slime' Isn't That Different From Other Meat

As we reported earlier this week, the company that makes the lean finely textured beef that earned the notorious moniker "pink slime" is closing three out of its four plants.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Human Rights Group Says Cuba Arrests, Harasses Activists During Papal Visit

Amnesty International says the Cuban government has increased its harassment of opposition activists.

According to the human rights organization, the government has detained more 150 opponents and in other situations has surrounded some of the activists' homes to prevent them from "denouncing abuses during Pope Benedict's tour."

Amnesty adds that some human rights organizations and prominent activists have had their phones cut off.

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Books
1:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

'Hitler': The Lasting Effect Of An Infamous Figure

A.N. Wilson's book Hitler encapsulates the German dictator's life in just 190 pages.
Basic Books

In the new biography Hitler, A.N. Wilson describes the Nazi dictator as the "Demon King of history" — who instigated the Holocaust and forced the world into a second world war — but also as an ordinary, even boring man.

"We like to distance ourselves from anything to do with him because he was an essentially evil character," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "But actually, many of the ideas that he had and expressed were very ordinary ideas, and they were ideas that more or less everybody had at that time."

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Arab Ministers Call Syria To Enact U.N.-Backed Peace Plan

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 12:37 pm

The peace plan backed by the United Nations got the support of Arab foreign ministers today.

The leaders, who were in Baghdad for an Arab League summit, endorsed the plan which calls for a cease fire, the release of political prisoners and dialogue with the opposition. The ministers said Syria should enact the plan.

Reuters reports:

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Judging The Health Care Law
12:23 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And Severability

  • Listen to Wednesday Morning's arguments

The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the last of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Wednesday morning's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case Number 11-393, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and case 11-400, Florida v. The Department of HHS.

Mr. Clement. ORAL ARGUMENT OF PAUL D. CLEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS MR. CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Father Of Trayvon Martin: 'I Won't Rest' Until Son's Killer Is Prosecuted

Tracy Martin (left) and Sybrina Fulton appear at a forum held by Democratic members of Congress in Washington on Tuesday. Lawmakers discussed the death of the couple's son, Trayvon Martin, and racial profiling.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 5:39 pm

The parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin have been in Washington, D.C., the past two days, meeting with Democratic lawmakers and pleading for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood watch volunteer who shot their son.

I talked today with the boy's father, Tracy Martin, 45, about the whirlwind of attention the case has drawn, the latest claims made about his son's role in the Feb. 26 incident in Sanford and his hopes for an arrest.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

When Is It Time To End A Political Run?

Though he insists he's not suspending his run, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich announced he's cutting his staff and shifting his campaign strategy. NPR's Ken Rudin and veteran campaign manager Chip Saltsman discuss the decisions candidates face when a win seems unlikely.

Around the Nation
12:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Pilots And The Cockpit: What We Don't Understand

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:27 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A scary incident, yesterday, on JetBlue Flight 191 when passengers saw a disturbed pilot locked out of the cockpit shouting about a bomb onboard and forcibly restrained by aircrew and passengers.

(SOUNDBITE OF NBC NEWS BROADCAST)

CLAYTON OSBOURNE: I'm so distraught. We've got Israel. We've got Iraq. We've got Israel. We've got Iraq. We're going to get doomed.

DAVID GONZALEZ: He kept pointing at me and said, you know, you need to pray. As soon as he pointed at me, I grabbed his arm, and I put him in a choke hold.

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Business
12:00 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Employment Background Checks: How Far Is Too Far?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. For years, employers have used credit checks and criminal histories to vet potential hires. With the growth of social media, hiring managers now turn to websites like Facebook, and some employers go so far as to ask applicants to turn over their passwords.

Facebook warns against this procedure. Two United States senators asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether these employers are violating federal law.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:36 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court Mulls Whether Health Law Can Survive Without Mandate

People wait for tickets to attend the last day of arguments over the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

With the fate of the health law's insurance mandate in doubt, the last day of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court became even more crucial to the future of the Obama administration's central legislative achievement.

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The Two-Way
11:25 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Hoodie In The House Leads To Shouting In The Capitol

Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., during his hooded statement on the House floor.
C-SPAN.org

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 2:45 pm

On the floor of the House this morning, Rep. Bobby Rush's effort to call attention to the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin turned into a contest of wills between the Illinois Democrat and the presiding officer because Rush donned a hoodie while speaking.

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Music Interviews
11:00 am
Wed March 28, 2012

The Thomashefskys: Stars Of The Yiddish Stage

Bessie and Boris Thomashefsky were mega-stars in the Yiddish theater world. Their story is told in a new documentary, written and conducted by their grandson, Michael Tilson Thomas.
courtesy of Michael Tilson Thomas

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:10 pm

The names Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky may not sound familiar today, but at the height of their fame in the 1920s and '30s, the Thomashefskys were one of the most famous couples in New York City's burgeoning Yiddish theater scene.

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World
11:00 am
Wed March 28, 2012

At Arab League Summit, High Stakes For Host Nation

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 5:16 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

I'm Jacki Lyden and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away this week. Coming up, there are a number of people in the U.S. who continue to insist that President Obama is Muslim, despite his Christian faith. But that begs the question: what does it matter? So what if he were? We'll talk about it what it means to be a Muslim in America in just a bit.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Justices Seem OK With Leaving Some Parts Of Healthcare Law Alone

Members of the anti-abortion group Bound4Life pray outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the third day of oral arguements over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 11:51 am

Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. Everyone Had A Hard Go Of It Today:

NPR's legal correspondent Nina Totenberg tells Ari Shapiro that both sides had a tough go of it today.

During the final day of arguments, Supreme Court justices seemed split on the idea of striking the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, if its the "individual mandate" centerpiece was also found unconstitutional.

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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Lorax Statue Stolen From Dr. Seuss' Garden, Family Hopes For Its Return

The Lorax, before he was taken away.
San Diego Police Department

The Grinch returned all those stolen presents.

Now the family of Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) is hoping that the person or persons who took a Lorax statue from the garden of the late, great author's home also has a change of heart.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:30 am
Wed March 28, 2012

A Struggle To Define 'Death' For Organ Donors

A new method of obtaining organs for transplantation is raising a host of ethical questions, including whether the donors are technically "dead."

For decades, organ donation has been guided by something called the "dead donor rule."

"We have this idea that you must be dead first — so before your organs can be removed, we agree that you are dead," said Leslie Whetstine, a bioethicist at Walsh University in Ohio.

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Sports
9:26 am
Wed March 28, 2012

The 'Illegal Procedure' Of Paying College Athletes

Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:09 pm

In a stunning piece published in Sports Illustrated in 2010, former sports agent Josh Luchs admitted to paying money and providing other benefits to college athletes, in clear violation of NCAA and NFL Players Association rules. Luchs, who represented more than 60 NFL athletes over the course of his career, named more than 30 former players who allegedly accepted money or other benefits while still enrolled at universities around the country.

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The Two-Way
9:07 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Mega Millions Jackpot Grows To Record $476 Million

Mega Millons

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 9:00 am

If this blogger's photo isn't on The Two-Way next Monday, assume it's because he's gotten very lucky and is headed for some exotic location:

Friday's Mega Millions jackpot will be a record $476 million. The previous high was $390 million, in 2007.

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Opinion
9:07 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Foreign Policy: Eating Cinnabon In Damascus

Syrians hold up the national flag as they line the street as the coffins of some 27 people who were killed in two bomb blasts the previous day leave the Othman mosque following their funeral service in Damascus on March 18, 2012.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 7:43 am

Katie Paul is a Beirut-based journalist and former Fulbright fellow in Damascus.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:59 am
Wed March 28, 2012

How To Spot A Mimic Octopus — The Mystery Revealed

xkcd

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 11:02 am

In my last post, I wondered: How did Asian fishermen manage to discover the mimic octopus? Thaumoctopus mimicus is a wildly talented cephalopod that lives in shallow waters off Indonesia and Malaysia.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Tibetan Exile Dies From Burns Suffered In Self-Immolation

In Kolkata on Tuesday, exiled Tibetans and human rights activists held a candlelight for Jamphel Yeshi.
Dibyangshu Sarkar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:55 am

Jamphel Yeshi has died. The 27-year-old Tibetan exile, who on on Monday set himself on fire in New Delhi, was the latest in a small but growing number of Tibetans who in the past year have burned themselves in protest of China's rule over their country.

As we reported Tuesday, at least 30 Tibetans have taken that dramatic step in the past year.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Wed March 28, 2012

JetBlue Freak Out: Passenger Had To Put Panicked Pilot 'In A Choke Hold'

Newseum.org

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 3:38 pm

"I grabbed his arm and put him in a choke hold. ... I'm just happy I was able to get him down to the floor."

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Animals
6:22 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Tiny Pup May Take Crown For World's Smallest Dog

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Two-Way
6:20 am
Wed March 28, 2012

It's Day 3 For Health Care Cases At The Supreme Court

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 6:22 am

  • Ari Shapiro, on the NPR Newscast

On the third and final day of Supreme Court arguments over the constitutionality of the health care overhaul law enacted in 2010, the focus turns to whether the law could survive if the justices decide to strike its most controversial component — the so-called mandate that "requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty," NPR's Julie Rovner reports.

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