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NPR Story
11:02 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The SciFri Book Club Tours 'The Planets'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:08 pm

The SciFri Book Club is touring the solar system, with Dava Sobel's 2005 The Planets. Call in with a review of the book. Plus Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, joins the club to give an update on what's happened planet-wise since the book was published.

NPR Story
11:02 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Stem Cells Treat Lou Gehrig's Disease, In Mice

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:08 pm

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, researchers write that neural stem cell implants were able to slow the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, in mice. Study author Evan Snyder discusses the stem cells' protective effect, and why human trials may not be far behind.

Best Books Of 2012
10:28 am
Fri December 21, 2012

5 Young Adult Novels That You'll Never Outgrow

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 3:05 pm

This was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction — but also a confused and divisive one. We learned that 55 percent of young adult fiction was read by adults. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. Apologetic grown-ups sneaked into the teen section of the bookstore, passing subversive teens pattering into the adult paranormal and literature and mystery shelves.

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Governing
10:27 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Gun Control: What Would Mayors Do?

In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., mayors are a key part of the debate over the country's gun laws. Host Michel Martin speaks with two leaders who frequently encounter issues of gun violence and gun ownership; Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sylvester James and former Cincinnati Mayor Kenneth Blackwell.

Politics
10:16 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Sen. Kerry Gets Obama's Nod For Secretary Of State

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. This afternoon, President Obama is set to nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as the nation's next secretary of state. Kerry would replace Hillary Clinton, who's planning to leave that post after four years as the president's globe-trotting emissary. Joining us to talk about the move is NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley; and NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen, who's here in the studio with me.

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The Two-Way
10:08 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Only 'A Good Guy With A Gun' Can Stop School Shootings, NRA Says

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at this morning's news conference in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:08 pm

(We retopped this post at 11:35 a.m. ET.)

Saying that last week's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., could have been prevented or stopped if there had been armed, trained security personnel on site, officials of the National Rifle Association on Friday called for Congress to appropriate funds to put police officers in every American school.

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Politics
9:48 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner Answers Questions About Withdrawing 'Plan B'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Action last night in the U.S. House of Representatives suggests just how hard it could be to pass a solution to the tax increases and spending cuts due at the end of the year.

INSKEEP: House Speaker John Boehner has yet to reach a deal with President Obama so he sought to put his own plan before the House last night.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama Taps Sen. Kerry For Secretary Of State

President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 3:02 pm

  • President Obama nominates Sen. Kerry

President Obama announced this afternoon that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's long experience in the Senate (he was first elected in 1984) and especially in foreign affairs (he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee) mean the senator's "not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said.

We followed the short appearance at the White House by the president and Kerry and posted some highlights.

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Television
9:19 am
Fri December 21, 2012

HBO's 'Enlightened' Take On Modern Meditation

Laura Dern and series creator Mike White, shown together on the set of Enlightened, first worked together on White's 2007 film Year of the Dog.

Prashant Gupta HBO

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:00 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on October 10, 2011.

Can people really change? That's the question Laura Dern and Mike White ask in their HBO series Enlightened, the second season of which begins Jan. 13. The show features Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious executive who has a nervous breakdown at her workplace. She goes to a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, where she experiences an awakening.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner: 'We'll Continue To Work' On Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:14 am

On this morning after he couldn't get fellow Republicans to support his "Plan B" for avoiding the year end "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner took some questions from reporters.

We listened in and posted updates. Hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions:

-- Update at 10:12 a.m. ET. House Will Come Back "If We're Needed":

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U.S.
8:40 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Moment Of Silence To Remember Newtown Victims

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is raining in Newtown, Connecticut, where people observed a moment of silence seven days to the minute after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. NPR's Kirk Siegler is in Newtown; he's on the line. And Kirk, what do you see this morning?

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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Everybody Over The Cliff?

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday in the Capitol.
Alex Wong Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner's "major defeat" Thursday night — when he had to pull his "Plan B" to extend Bush-era tax cuts for nearly all American taxpayers because he couldn't get enough support from his fellow Republicans — means negotiations about avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff remain at an impasse.

So now what?

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Shots - Health News
8:24 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Phew! You Survived The Mayan Apocalypse. Now What?

Photographer David Blackwell and his wife prepared for the apocalypse. Cats and cat food? Check. Toilet paper? Check. Exploding volcanoes and hurtling asteroids? Not so much.
David Blackwell Flickr

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:45 am

Good morning! If you can read this, then we offer our congratulations on surviving the Mayan Apocalypse!

You've evidently made it through the initial cataclysm caused by the collision of Earth with an unknown comet, a massive solar storm, a burst of radiation from the center of the galaxy, the mysterious Planet X (aka Nibiru), or some other catastrophe that scientists assured us wouldn't happen.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
8:12 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The NRA Isn't The Only Opponent Of Gun Control

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 12:20 pm

Entering into the discussion about how to respond to last week's school shootings in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association on Friday called for putting "qualified armed security" in all schools.

It's a message that echoes calls from some state lawmakers and other gun groups that haven't been as silent as the NRA over the past week.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Consumer Spending, Orders For Durable Goods Rose In November

Shoppers at a K-B Toy store in northern Virginia last month.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

There are two positive economic signals to pass along this morning:

-- The Census Bureau says orders for durable goods rose 0.7 percent in November from October. That follows a 1.1 percent rise in October from September and is the sixth increase in the past seven months.

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The Two-Way
6:58 am
Fri December 21, 2012

#MomentForSandyHook In Memory Of Newtown Victims

Stuffed animals and flowers at a makeshift memorial near the entrance to the grounds of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:38 am

Update at 9:36 a.m. ET: In Newtown and across the nation, bells rang starting at 9:30 a.m. ET, to honor the 20 children and six adults killed one week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. And on the Web, it appears many did take part in #MomentForSandyHook — judging from the sharp slowdown in our Twitter feed.

Our original post:

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Around the Nation
6:26 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Seattle House Is Too Small For Christmas Tree

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
6:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Holiday Lights Flip Neighbors 'The Bird'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Two-Way
6:14 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Apocalypse Not? Seems Like It

This morning on a beach in Brazil, some celebrated summer's first day — and the news that the world didn't end.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:24 am

So, it looks like all that talk about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world coming today was just ... talk.

But the fun continues. NASA's Voyager 2 Twitter feed, for instance, has this:

"END MAYACAL BTUN 12.19.19.17.19 SHUTDOWN:UNIV(12) BEGIN BTUN 13.0.0.0.0 BOOT:UNIV(13)."

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Politics
3:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Plug Pulled On 'Plan B,' House Breaks For Christmas

House Speaker John Boehner pauses during a news conference Thursday. House GOP leaders abruptly canceled a vote on his measure after they failed to round up enough votes for it to pass.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

House Speaker John Boehner was dealt a major defeat Thursday night. After spending most of the week trying to round up votes for his "Plan B" to extend tax cuts for virtually everyone, he pulled the measure without a vote and sent the House home for Christmas. The clock keeps ticking toward the end of the year, when automatic tax increases and spending cuts are set to hit.

Early Thursday, Boehner expressed confidence not only that his bill would pass but that the Democratic-controlled Senate would feel so much pressure, it would be forced to consider it, too.

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NPR Story
3:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now you can consider this. It's our last word in business today: A Bluetooth bathroom. The Japanese are known for being on the cutting edge of tech, and now that extends to the edge of the toilet seats.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A Japanese company recently announced a smartphone-controlled toilet. Yup. Using a smartphone app, you can flush - that means not having to touch the handle at all.

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NPR Story
3:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama Focuses On Newtown, 'Fiscal Cliff'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Action last night in the House of Representatives suggests just how hard it could be to pass a solution to the tax increases and spending cuts due at the end of the year.

INSKEEP: House Speaker John Boehner has yet to reach a deal with President Obama, so he sought to put his own plan before the House last night.

Read more
NPR Story
3:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with hard time for another Madoff.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Planet Money
2:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

When The Doctor Works For The Insurance Company

This won't hurt a bit.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Some insurance companies are taking a page out of their own history books: running their own doctors' offices and clinics. Though the strategy previously had mixed results, insurers think that by providing primary care for patients, they might reduce costly diseases and hospital stays in the long run.

Dr. Michael Byrne spent eight years working for a Brooklyn hospital and he saw firsthand why the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world.

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Research News
2:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Why Some Kids Have An Inflated Sense Of Their Science Skills

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 7:49 pm

If you're a student at the halfway point of the academic year, and you've just taken stock of your performance, perhaps you have reason to feel proud of yourself.

But a recent study suggests some of the pride you feel at having done well — especially in science — may be unfounded. Or at least your sense of your performance may not be a very accurate picture of how good you actually are.

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Shots - Health News
2:50 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Medicare Starts To Reward Quality, Not Quantity, Of Care

In a push to improve quality, Medicare will pay some hospitals more and others, including Boston's Massachusetts General, less.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

It's no longer enough for hospitals to just send a bill to Medicare and get paid.

The nation's biggest insurer is starting to dole out bonuses and penalties to nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.

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U.S.
2:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

New TSA Standards: Carry On Small Snow Globes and Pies, Keep Checking Jam

One of these snow globes doesn't belong onboard. The one on the left, which is about the size of a tennis ball, is permitted in your carry-on luggage. The one on the right is not.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

The airline industry predicts some 42 million of us will be flying this holiday season, and that this weekend before Christmas will be one of the busiest periods.

For tips on how to get through what's expected to be some long security lines, we turn to the Transportation Security Administration's Lisa Farbstein. She says there's a useful guide on the TSA's homepage that allows you to type in an item to see if it's allowed in your carry-on, as well as a mobile app.

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The Salt
2:23 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Pie-Making Encore: Start With The Perfect Recipe, Serve With Love

The foundation of a good pie starts with the crust.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 8:00 am

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

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StoryCorps
2:22 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Santa Claus Is Driving To Town

In December, when Boyd Applegate isn't driving his big-rig truck, he dresses up as Santa and hand-delivers gifts under Christmas trees. It's a pastime he's enjoyed for more than 20 years.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

Boyd Applegate never set out to become a real bearded Santa Claus. No, the calling found him.

The 56-year-old, who was last on StoryCorps talking about volunteering at the polls on Election Day, is a big-rig truck driver. He's logged nearly 5 million miles on the road.

"Santa Claus was a byproduct of truck driving," he explained to his sister, Rhonda Dixon, at StoryCorps. "Because I drive a truck, I can have a beard that's a little bit longer than most people."

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Business
2:21 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Not Your Grandma's B&B: Traditional Inns Transform For Young Travelers

Innkeepers are combating old stereotypes about bed and breakfasts. The Abbott Room at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, Vt., was renovated in 2009 to reflect more modern tastes.
Jumping Rocks

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:16 am

There is a war going on. The enemy is an innocuous little piece of ornamental fabric.

When the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched the Death to Doilies Campaign this year, the approach was tongue-in-cheek, but the message of change was serious: The doily has had the run of bed and breakfasts for too long.

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