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Clay Masters

For more than two decades, NPR's "Morning Edition" has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports. With nearly 13 million listeners, "Morning Edition" draws public radio's largest audience.

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It's All Politics
4:30 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Compromise: Devil Is In The Definition Of Revenue

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 11:29 am

A grand bargain, a compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, could all come down to one word: revenue. It's now widely agreed that steering away from the cliff — the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year — will require some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. The central sticking point could well be whether President Obama and Congress can agree on the definition of revenue.

At the moment, the casual observer could easily get the sense that the president and Republicans in Congress are talking past each other.

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Asia
4:15 am
Tue November 27, 2012

How Ordinary Chinese Are Talking And Fighting Back

Authorities in Hunan province sentenced Tang Hui to 18 months in a re-education-through-labor camp after she repeatedly complained about the way police investigated the case of her daughter's kidnapping and forced prostitution. An uproar on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, pushed authorities to free Tang days later.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 7:53 pm

Never have so many Chinese people spoken so freely than on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter. Just 4 years old, the series of microblog services now has more than 400 million users.

And, increasingly, Chinese are using it to expose corruption, criticize officials and try to make their country a better place — even as China's Communist Party tries to control the Weibo revolution.

Were it not for Weibo, you would never know Tang Hui's extraordinary story. She wouldn't be free to tell it; she'd be sitting in a Chinese re-education-through-labor camp eating porridge.

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Monkey See
4:04 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Running A Comedy Machine: How Chuck Lorre Makes Hits

Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory, one of Chuck Lorre's three popular comedies currently on CBS.
Sonja Flemming CBS

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 4:51 pm

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.

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Opinion
4:03 am
Tue November 27, 2012

From A Calcutta Prison To The Classical Stage

Nigel Akkara plays Ratnakar the Bandit in the dance drama Valmiki Pratibha.
Courtesy of Nigel Akkara

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 6:31 am

A new Indian feature film was inspired by a group of prisoners who formed a well-known classical dance company. Commentator Sandip Roy has the true story of a famous Indian dancer and the convicts she befriended.

Alokananda Roy walked into Calcutta's Presidency Jail on International Women's Day, 2007. The Indian classical dancer had been invited to watch female inmates perform, but it was the men who caught her eye.

"They shook me," she says. "Their body language — it was as though they had no future, nothing to look forward to."

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Your Money
3:29 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Companies That Were 'Naughty And Nice' In 2012

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The no-questions-asked return policy of the Kohl's department store chain helped it win a spot on the "Naughty and Nice" list compiled by Consumer Reports.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 6:31 am

For holiday shoppers, retailers' approach to fees, returns and other practices can bring praise or anger. And when customers rant or rave, Consumer Reports takes note — and compiles them into its annual "Naughty and Nice" list of companies.

"They're policies and practices that people either felt were consumer-friendly or not," Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. He adds that the list isn't related to the ratings his magazine is known for.

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Book Reviews
3:28 am
Tue November 27, 2012

Librarian Nancy Pearl's Picks For The Omnivorous Reader

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 3:12 pm

I'm often asked how I choose the books that I'm going to talk about on Morning Edition's "Under the Radar" segments. Simple: I just pick some of the titles that I've most enjoyed since the last time I was on, without concern for whether they're fiction or nonfiction, genre or not, or aimed or classified as being for children or teens.

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Music
5:05 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Beiber Booed At Canadian Football Halftime Show

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with sad news for Beliebers. Justin Bieber's video for "Baby" is no longer the most viewed video on YouTube. The new record-holder is "Gangnam Style" by the South Korean rapper PSY, which topped 820 million views this weekend. And then this happened. Yesterday, Mr. Bieber gave a halftime concert at Canadian football's championship game and his home country crowd booed. Bieber called out coolly: Thank you so much, Canada. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sports
5:05 am
Mon November 26, 2012

A Surprise Sprinkle For NFL's Dolphins, Seahawks

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with an example of home field advantage. The Miami Dolphins hosted the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. And with 1:40 to play in the third quarter, something strange happened: The sprinklers came on. A quick play-by-play announcer joked: This is just Miami's way of showing a little Seattle hospitality. But if that's what it was, the hospitality only went so far. Miami defeated Seattle, 24-21. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

The Salt
3:50 am
Mon November 26, 2012

At His Own Risk, Somali Chef Creates Gourmet Haven In War-Weary Mogadishu

Somali chef Ahmed Jama holds up freshly caught spiny lobsters he's about to cook in one of his restaurants in Mogadishu.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 3:48 pm

Ahmed Jama was running a successful Somali cafe in southwest London when he decided it was time to go home. Against the urgent advice of friends, he returned to Mogadishu three years ago and started cooking.

Jama epitomizes the spirit of rebirth in the city that has been brutalized by 21 years of civil war. As expatriates return to take their homeland back from warlords, terrorists and looters, Jama is doing his part to revive Mogadishu one prawn at a time.

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Business
3:50 am
Mon November 26, 2012

An Entrepreneur Expands The Lego Universe

The bodies of these World War II U.S. Marines and Western Front soldiers are made by Lego, while the helmets and weapons are made by BrickArms. The uniforms are designed and printed by BrickArms.
Will Chapman

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 3:49 pm

Lots of good business ideas have emerged from kids' play. Seattle-area resident Will Chapman could thank his youngest son. At the age of 9, he wanted to know all he could about World War II and was using Lego toys to act out history. But his son was stymied — he couldn't find all the pieces he wanted.

Each year Lego turns out 19 billion plastic bricks, figures and gears for building things. But sometimes, it seems, even 19 billion isn't enough.

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Author Interviews
3:50 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Memoir Traces How Cartoonist Lost Her 'Marbles'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:45 am

When you think of mental illness, you don't often think of comics; but for cartoonist Ellen Forney, the two came crashing together just before her 30th birthday. That's when she found out she has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that finally explained her super-charged highs and debilitating lows.

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It's All Politics
7:54 am
Fri November 23, 2012

How To Oust A Congressman, SuperPAC-Style

U.S. Rep. Joe Baca of California, shown at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, learned the power of superPACs firsthand this year, when he lost for the first time since he was elected in 1999.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

After spending millions of dollars in the presidential and Senate campaigns with little to show for it, many superPACs and other outside groups are still tending their wounds. But it's too soon to write off superPACs as a waste of wealthy donors' money.

Consider, for instance, this upset in a congressional race outside Los Angeles.

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Around the Nation
6:01 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Postcard Takes 69 Years To Reach Its Destination

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 12:35 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. The postcard begins: Dear Pauline and Theresa, we arrived safe. But the news was out of date. Sent from Rockford, Illinois, the card took 69 years to reach Elmira, New York. Pauline and Theresa's parents went to visit brother George at a military camp. They're all dead now, but another family with two girls lives at the Elmira address, and the card has become a seventh grade history project. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Asia
5:56 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Christmas Is About The Gold-Plated Christmas Tree

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Africa
4:20 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Warrant Issued For Ivory Coast's Ex-First Lady

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The International Criminal Court has identified another defendant in its prosecution of violence in Ivory Coast. The former president is already awaiting trial in The Hague, accused of crimes against humanity for his effort to stay in power after losing an election. Now the court is calling his wife a co-perpetrator, and issued a warrant for the arrest of Simone Gbagbo. NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton covered the conflict. She's on the line. Ofeibea, welcome back to the program.

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The Record
3:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

How Much Does Crowd Funding Cost Musicians?

The Mallett Brothers Band is, from left to right, Brian Higgins, Wally Wenzel, Luke Mallett, Will Mallett, Nate Soule and Nick Leen.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 1:25 pm

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Sports
3:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Notre Dame Tries For Undefeated Season

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 8:36 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Nothing goes better with a turkey sandwich than a full day of college football. The season is winding down. There's a lot at stake as teams look ahead to bowl games and to the national title. Thanksgiving weekend brings about some of the great rivalries in college football. And here to give us a preview of the weekend is Chris Dufresne, who covers college football for the L.A. Times.

Chris, welcome.

CHRIS DUFRESNE: Well, thanks for having me.

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Business
3:35 am
Fri November 23, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Today's last word in business is busting the doorbusters.

Shoppers are heading out to stores today. Many went shopping overnight to seize those Black Friday bargains. But are the deals really unbeatable?

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

No. Not according to an analysis by pricing research firm Decide Incorporated and The Wall Street Journal. They found that many products with so-called doorbuster deals had deals that were available at even lower prices at other times of the year - even at the same retailer.

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Environment
2:18 am
Fri November 23, 2012

An Arbor Embolism? Why Trees Die In Drought

A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Andrea Nardini Nature

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.

It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.

When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:18 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Cuomo, Christie And Building Consensus

President Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's World Trade Center site for a briefing on construction progress in June. The Republican Christie and Democrat Cuomo will have to find consensus on the plan for rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, together and with a divided Congress.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

The governors of New York and New Jersey are beginning to plan for the rebuilding of their states after Superstorm Sandy.

Before the storm, Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey were known for their forcefulness — and big ambitions.

But their massive task comes at a time of political transition for both of them.

'It's Got To Be Done'

The ongoing storm response has kept the governors in the national spotlight for weeks now.

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Author Interviews
2:00 am
Fri November 23, 2012

'Unorthodox' Book Of 'Jewish Jocks' Puts Stereotypes Aside

American lightweight Benny Leonard, pictured in 1925, is remembered as one of boxing's greatest.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

There have been a number of books about great Jewish athletes, starring legendary baseball players like Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer." But a new book doesn't focus only on Jewish players — it looks at the myriad ways Jews have contributed to the American athletic landscape. Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame is a collection of essays compiled and edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy of The New Republic magazine.

Foer and Tracy join NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the rise of Jews in big-league sports.

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World
5:51 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Centenarian Rejects School's Offer, Teapot Returned

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Sweden, Anna Erickson got a letter accepting her into the local preschool. It had gone out to everyone in town born in '07. Great, except for one detail: Anna was born in 1907. So the 105-year-old won't be showing up to class. In New York, the elegant Waldorf-Astoria experienced a blast from the past this week when a man returned one of the hotel's silver-trimmed teapots, pilfered back in the 1930s. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

World
5:42 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Santa Denier Arrested In Kingston, Ontario

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Kingston, Ontario held its annual Santa Claus parade this past weekend. But Virginia, we are sad to report a Grinch was in attendance. As the Christmas-themed floats cruised down the street, a man began shouting, claiming that Santa Claus does not exist. Apparently, he had gotten into the Christmas spirits instead of the Christmas spirit. He was arrested for public intoxication. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:54 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Rich Jaroslovsky's Gadget Picks For 2012

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 2:54 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

As we charge into the holiday gift buying season, gadgets are usually near the top of many people's wish lists. Our regular technology commentator Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg News tells us about his gadget picks for 2012.

Rich, thanks for joining us.

RICH JAROSLOVSKY: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: First, Rich, let's look at the camera. It's an amazing little machine. It doesn't even vaguely look like a camera. It looks like it must be expensive and do lots of clever tricks?

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Egypt's Morsi Praised For Cease-Fire As Talks Begin

In this image provided by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (right), Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meets with Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on Sunday. Morsi has won praise for brokering the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel.
AP

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 9:02 am

The cease-fire between Hamas and Israel has been a political boost for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The Islamist leader spent hours in meetings and on the phone with world leaders, including President Obama, and got results: a cessation of violence that puts Egypt back on the international map. But Morsi faces a test Thursday night, when negotiations on the details begin.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu November 22, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 5:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our last word in business goes out to all you last-minute airline travelers on this Thanksgiving Day.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And the last word is: Leave that cranberry sauce at home.

MONTAGNE: The Transportation Security Administration has posted a special Thanksgiving notice on its website, reminding flyers about the foods they cannot hand carry through the security checkpoint.

WERTHEIMER: The list includes gravy, creamy dips, spreads.

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Music
2:51 am
Thu November 22, 2012

'Don Giovanni' To 'Nixon In China': Holiday Feasts In Opera

President Nixon pardons a turkey in 1969. There's quite a celebratory banquet scene in the John Adams opera, Nixon in China.
Nixon White House Photographs Series The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 3:45 am

As you prepare to feast upon cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and your choice of entree this Thanksgiving, there's also an operatic feast to be had.

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The Salt
2:49 am
Thu November 22, 2012

A Readable Feast: Poems To Feed 'The Hungry Ear'

Still Life with Fruit and Nuts, by Robert Seldon Duncanson
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 3:45 am

This Thanksgiving, as hearty aromas fill the house, take a moment to savor a different kind of nourishment — poetry about food.

The Hungry Ear, a new collection, celebrates the pleasures and the sorrows of food with poems from Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and dozens more. Poet Kevin Young cooked up — or edited — this readable feast. He tells NPR's Renee Montagne that, much like the best meals, the best poems are made from scratch.

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Business
2:25 am
Thu November 22, 2012

On Thanksgiving, Stores Serve Up A Side Of Shopping

Walmart associate Angel Campos stocks Christmas decorations Wednesday ahead of the pre-Black Friday event at the Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Rosemead, Calif.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 6:11 am

Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.

"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."

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It's All Politics
2:23 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Before The Showdown: The Long Road To The Fiscal Cliff

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to announce a debt ceiling deal in July 2011. That deal laid the foundation for the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day, 2013.
Harry Hamburg AP

Originally published on Thu November 22, 2012 3:45 am

New Year's Day typically inspires hope and new beginnings. But this next one may be cause for trepidation. Tax cuts for all income levels expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and most federal programs will face a 10 percent haircut — because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.

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