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Books
3:13 am
Sat March 23, 2013

From One Author To Another, Letters Of Praise

Host Scott Simon reads some of the best fan mail to authors, written by authors.

Politics
3:13 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Gay Lobbying On The Hill Has Short Yet Strong History

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:37 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

One argument used by some conservatives in the Supreme Court cases is that gay Americans have become so politically powerful and prominent they don't need special consideration from the courts. Whether or not that's true, it is clear that lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgendered advocacy groups have built a strong network of lobbyists and political activists in Washington, D.C.

NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Middle East
3:13 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Obama Leaves Middle East With Mixed Reviews

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 4:26 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And President Obama heads home from the Middle East today after a mixed reception to his four-day visit. Mr. Obama spent much of that time in Israel trying to lay the groundwork to revive the long-stalled peace process with Palestinians. He also traveled to the West Bank and met with Jordan's King Abdullah. NPR's Scott Horsley has a recap.

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The Two-Way
2:59 am
Sat March 23, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Georgetown Upended, And Other NCAA Surprises

Florida Gulf Coast's Chase Fieler (left) and Georgetown's Mikael Hopkins leap for a rebound during a second-round game of the NCAA tournament Friday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 8:33 am

Another big shock from the NCAA tournament: Florida Gulf Coast "busted a load of brackets" Friday, beating second-seeded Georgetown, as The Associated Press reports.

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles managed a 78-68 victory over the Hoyas, only the seventh time in NCAA history that a No. 15 seed beat a No. 2, the AP says.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
2:32 am
Sat March 23, 2013

The Senators Who Oppose DOMA, Despite Having OK'd It

Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday they'll hear arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 7:53 am

The soul-searching over the Defense of Marriage Act went viral last week after Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, a social conservative and original co-sponsor of the 1996 bill, sought out CNN to say something no one saw coming.

Portman said he'd decided to oppose DOMA and support same-sex marriage, two years after learning his college-age son was gay.

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Music Interviews
1:25 am
Sat March 23, 2013

The Milk Carton Kids: At Life's Crossroads, A Duo Looks Both Ways

Kenneth Pattengale (left) and Joey Ryan, who record as The Milk Carton Kids. Their new album is called The Ash & Clay.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 4:28 am

Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were doing just fine as solo performers. Then one night, Ryan walked into a bar where Pattengale was playing.

"I heard Kenneth perform a song that he had written from the perspective of a dead dog, only very recently having been hit by a truck," Ryan says, wryly. "And it was that sort of uplifting material that drew us together."

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Middle East
1:24 am
Sat March 23, 2013

In Saudi Arabia, Shiite Muslims Challenge Ban On Protests

Anti-riot police face off with protesters in Saudi Arabia's eastern city of Qatif on March 11, 2011. Despite bans on the demonstrations, Shiite Muslims in the eastern part of the country have continued to stage protests, demanding political changes.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 11:27 am

Editor's note: When Arab Spring protests broke out in Saudi Arabia in 2011, the government reacted quickly, pumping $130 billion into the economy and cracking down on dissent. While this approach has worked in some cities, the Shiite Muslims in the Eastern Province continued to demonstrate. Reese Erlich, on assignment for GlobalPost and NPR, managed to get into the city of Qatif and meet with protest leaders.

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Author Interviews
1:24 am
Sat March 23, 2013

'Z' Tells The Fitzgeralds' Story From Zelda's Point Of View

St. Martin's Press

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 3:13 am

F. Scott Fitzgerald first saw his future wife from across a crowded room at a country club dance in Montgomery, Ala., where he was in basic training and she was waiting to be discovered by the world. They wed in 1920, and the two went on to have a famously turbulent marriage — tarnished by personal and professional jealousy, alcohol abuse and mental illness — which they both immortalized in their writing.

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Education
1:22 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Race, Poverty Central To National School-Closure Debate

Jean De Lafayette Elementary School is one of 50 schools slated to be closed in Chicago. Cities across the country are facing similar decisions, and opposition to the closures is growing.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 3:49 pm

In Chicago, parents are fighting to prevent the city from closing 54 public schools. The Chicago Teachers Union is planning a rally against the cost-cutting proposal next week.

School closings are nothing new, but in a growing number of districts around the country, what was once seen as a local decision to close schools has now morphed into a politically charged campaign.

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Shots - Health News
1:18 am
Sat March 23, 2013

At Age 3, Affordable Care Act Is No Less Controversial

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act at the White House on March 23, 2010.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 7:33 am

The Affordable Care Act turns 3 on Saturday, and it seems just as divisive as the day President Obama signed it.

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The Two-Way
1:17 am
Sat March 23, 2013

Coal And Coral: Australia's Self-Destructive Paradox

The city of Gladstone near the Great Barrier Reef is the world's fourth largest coal-export hub. Dredges, like one seen here, have turned the harbor brown as they work to expand the coal port.
Richard Harris NPR

NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris traveled to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to find out how the coral reefs are coping with increased water temperature and increasing ocean acidity, brought about by our burning of fossil fuels. Day 5: A return to shore finds that people prefer cars to corals.

It's not every day you open an in-flight magazine and read an ad touting "spitwater pressure cleaners for the mining industry." Flip the page and you'll also see an ad cajoling you to "snorkel, sip, snooze" on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
1:20 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

As Support For Gay Marriage Grows, An Opponent Looks Ahead

Maggie Gallagher has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage for the past decade. She debated the issue at Saddleback College this month with John Corvino (right), a gay-marriage proponent who is also a personal friend.
The Lariat Robert Cody Shoemake

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to weigh in on gay marriage, Maggie Gallagher, one of the nation's leading voices in opposition to same-sex marriage, is also preparing for what might come next.

Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, likes to call herself an "accidental activist." After graduating from Yale in 1982, she thought she'd become a writer and focus on what she called "important things," like money and war. She never fathomed she'd end up on TV almost daily, smack in the middle of the war zone over gay marriage.

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The Two-Way
1:10 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Saturday Mail Delivery: Safe For Now?

Veteran USPS letter carrier Michael McDonald gathers mail to load into his truck before making his delivery run in the East Atlanta neighborhood on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:25 pm

Does the budget bill passed by Congress this week derail the United States Postal Service (USPS) plan to end Saturday delivery of first class mail?

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Politics
12:34 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

From Leadership Posts, Women Said To Be Changing Senate Tone

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a field hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, in Tacoma, Wash., last year.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

A lot of fanfare followed last November's election, when the number of women in the U.S. Senate surged to 20 — more than ever before.

But quieter victories came after. Female senators now claim an unprecedented number of leadership positions, and for the first time in history, women are at the helm of both the Appropriations and Budget committees — as well as half of the Armed Services subcommittees.

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It's All Politics
12:32 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Republicans Launch Mission To Turn Up Their Digital Game

Tweets from GOP supporters scroll along the side of a large-screen display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 28, 2012.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

The Republican and Democratic parties have been in a digital arms race for years. And this week, Republicans frankly admitted that they are losing.

Now, the GOP has ambitious plans to improve its game.

Monday's report from the Republican National Committee puts it bluntly: "Republicans must catch up on how we utilize technology in our campaigns. The Obama team is several years ahead of everyone else in its technological advantage."

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The Salt
11:57 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Are Younger Catholics Abandoning Fish On Fridays?

A young parishioner carries plates filled with fried fish and potatoes to a table during a Lenten Friday fish fry at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Littleton, Colo., in 2009.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:35 pm

It's Friday, and it's Lent. Maybe those of you raised Catholic, as I was, remember tuna noodle casserole, sticks, or the Friday night fish fry?

Seafood consumption typically increases during Lent in the U.S. But Harry Balzer of the survey firm NPD Group says younger Americans are less likely to follow the tradition.

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From Our Listeners
11:56 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Letters: Reaction To Gun Series

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Our Series this week on guns in America have sent many of you to your keyboards. And every day, a new batch of stories sparked conversation and some heated debate at our website. Some listeners complained that our coverage was pro gun control, some that it was pro National Rifle Association.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Law
11:56 am
Fri March 22, 2013

State Laws Govern Gun Purchases Very Differently Across The Country

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
11:25 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Doubts Raised About Cutting Medicare Pay In High-Spending Areas

Whose wallet would get pinched if Medicare payments were cut in areas where service levels run high?
iStockphoto.com

Doctors and hospital administrators in parts of the country that are heavy Medicare spenders can relax their grips on their prescription pads and billing computers.

An influential panel on Friday panned the idea raised in Congress to pay them less for Medicare services if their regions are heavy users of medical services.

The idea is an outgrowth of decades of research into why Medicare spends more per beneficiary in some places such as New York City, Florida and McAllen, Texas, and significantly less in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Fri March 22, 2013

FAA Announces Tower Closures Coming In April

The control tower at Troutdale Airport in Troutdale, Ore., one of the towers slated for closure.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 1:22 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday that it will close 149 air traffic control towers from April 7 due to budget constraints. The number announced is 40 fewer than the FAA originally planned to close. The cuts in service are part of the FAA's response to sequestration, as we reported in a recent story from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa.:

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Author Interviews
10:10 am
Fri March 22, 2013

With Humor And Sorrow, 'Life After Life' Explores Death

Elderly and young person holding hands
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 2:17 pm

A woman who moves from Boston to be near the grave of her lover; the widow of a judge who keeps a scrapbook of murder and crime; an 85-year-old who has always seen the sunnier side of life; an old man feigning dementia. In the fictional Pine Haven retirement center, together and separately, these characters face the ends of their lives. They're the stars of Jill McCorkle's new novel, Life After Life, which balances humor and sorrow as it explores the moment of death.

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The Two-Way
9:42 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Chinua Achebe And The Bravery Of Lions

Chinua Achebe, Nigerian-born novelist and poet speaks about his works and his life at his home on the campus of Bard College in 2008.
Craig Ruttle ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:30 am

Chinua Achebe, the prominent Nigerian novelist and essayist who died on Thursday, said in a 1994 interview with the Paris Review, "There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."

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Shots - Health News
9:28 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Talk Globally, Go Locally: Cellphones Versus Clean Toilets

A young boy plays on a commode during an event for World Toilet Day in New Delhi in November. An estimated 131 million Indian homes don't have a latrine or a clean toilet.
Raveendran AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 4:56 am

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous across Africa and Asia, but lowly toilets haven't.

Right now, 6 billion people around the world have cellphones. But only 4.5 billion people have access to a clean commode, the United Nations said Thursday.

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The Two-Way
8:45 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Bloomberg: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum Talked About A 2012 'Unity Ticket'

Presidential candidates Rick Santorum, left, Mitt Romney, center, and Newt Gingrich during a debate in February of 2012.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Yes the 2012 elections have been combed over a thousand times. But what's one more detail, right?

Today, Bloomberg reports that were it not for egos, Mitt Romney could have been toppled by a conservative "unity ticket" featuring Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Had the two united, there would have been a real possibility that Romney wouldn't have made it past the primary process and 2012 would have been truly different race.

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The Salt
8:43 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Some Toddler Foods Come With A Mega-Dose Of Salt

Prepacked foods marketed for toddlers can have extremely high levels of sodium compared to the 1,500-milligram daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:46 am

Feeding toddlers can be a challenge, so it's easy to see the lure of prepackaged favorites like mac and cheese. But many of those foods deliver startlingly high amounts of sodium, some with three times more than recommended in a single serving, according to a new survey.

The offenders include not just savory snacks but also healthful-sounding foods like pasta and chicken, according to Joyce Maalouf, a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Fri March 22, 2013

HBO: Programming Could Be Sold Directly Through Internet Providers

HBO chief Richard Plepler speaks in New York at a 2011 screening.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Time Warner

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:21 am

HBO CEO Richard Plepler is saying something a lot of the television network's fans have been waiting to hear — that its content could be offered to customers directly through their Internet service providers instead of a cable company.

Right now, HBO must be purchased through a cable provider. Plepler tells Reuters that HBO Go, an online streaming service launched by the network in 2010 (but still only available as an extra to your cable TV) might also be sold through ISPs.

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U.S.
7:24 am
Fri March 22, 2013

'Severing Love From Diapers': The Other Case Against Gay Marriage

Zachariah Long (left) and Edward Ritchie protested last year against a gay marriage bill in Maryland. In 1973, Maryland became the first state to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Voters there legalized gay marriage in 2012.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Sat March 23, 2013 3:30 pm

Gay marriage opponents say they're protecting women and children first.

When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments about same-sex marriage next week, much of the debate will turn on legal questions surrounding issues such as federalism and due process.

But the underlying questions are more emotional, with moral objections frequently raised by members of the faith community.

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The Two-Way
7:01 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Legalized Marijuana Forcing Old Dogs To Learn New Tricks

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco in Olympia, Wash., on December 9, 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 9:07 am

Drug-sniffing dogs, those cute bellwethers of illegal activity, are dropping Marijuana from their repertoire in Washington state.

A 2012 ballot initiative legalized the use of marijuana in the state (although federal law still prohibits its use). Since then authorities have been working to implement the law. Part of that process is, apparently, to employ canines who don't react to the smell of marijuana. The AP explains why:

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Barbershop
6:52 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Should There Be Sympathy For Steubenville Rapists?

Two teens accused of rape in Steubenville, Ohio were convicted and sentenced this week. Host Michel Martin talks to the Barbershop guys about how the victim — and the perpetrators — were treated in the press. Writer Jimi Izrael, political science professor Lester Spence, civil rights attorney Arsalan Iftikhar and Republican strategist R. Clarke Cooper discuss the week's news. ADVISORY: Please note, this conversation includes a discussion about rape and may not be suitable for all listeners.

Remembrances
6:52 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Remembering Chinua Achebe, Who Defended Africa To The World

Chinua Achebe, widely considered the grandfather of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82. His popular book, Things Fall Apart, tackled the effect of colonialism on Africa, and has sold more than 10 million copies. Host Michel Martin is joined by NPR Africa Correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton to look back on his life and work.

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