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Environment
1:47 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

In Arid West, Cheatgrass Turns Fires Into Infernos

The Constantina Fire burning in Long Valley, Calif., in 2010, very likely started in cheatgrass.
Courtesy of Nolan Preece

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:36 pm

Cheatgrass is about as Western as cowboy boots and sagebrush. It grows in yellowish clumps, about knee high to a horse, and likes arid land.

One thing cheatgrass does is burn — in fact, more easily than anyone realized. That's the conclusion from a new study that says cheatgrass is making Western wildfires worse.

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Economy
1:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

A Thin Line: Economic Growth Or Corporate Welfare?

In her series for The New York Times, reporter Louise Story says that the manufacturing sector — automakers, in particular — benefit the most from incentive packages.
Ricardo Azoury iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:59 am

In her new series for The New York Times called "The United States of Subsidies," investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put.

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It's All Politics
1:30 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Celebrities And The Senate: Would Ashley Judd Stand A Chance?

Ashley Judd acknowledges the crowd during a University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., in January.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 1:48 pm

Could an actress and political activist with no electoral experience give the Senate's top Republican a race in very red Kentucky?

It would be a long shot, say political experts, even though Ashley Judd has deep roots in the state, calling herself an "at least 8th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Jets' Coach Rex Ryan Sticks By His Man: Mark Sanchez Will Start Sunday

Quarterback Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets looks on near the end of the game against the New England Patriots Nov. 22.
Rich Schultz Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 1:57 pm

If there is one decision football fans have argued over intensely over the past few months is whether embattled Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez should be allowed to start another game.

During his previous outing, Rex Ryan, the team's coach, pulled him late in the third quarter, after the home crowd booed him mercilessly after a disasterous performance in which he completed 10 of 21 passes for 97 yards.

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Music Interviews
1:10 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

For One Day, NPR Gets A House Band: Los Straitjackets

Los Straitjackets' members rehearse in NPR's Studio 4A.
Christopher Parks NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:00 pm

We call them "buttons" and "deadrolls" — and, less cryptically, "breaks" — but most NPR listeners know them as the interstitial music spots that pepper NPR's newsmagazines. They add shading, mood, energy and other nonverbal context to our stories.

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Middle East
12:59 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem (center), splashes holy water toward worshippers after the washing of the feet ceremony in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2009, during Easter celebrations. A crisis was narrowly averted recently when the church's $2.3 million water bill was waived.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:13 am

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

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Movies
12:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Revisiting, Reappraising Cimino's 'Heaven's Gate'

Jeff Bridges as John L. Bridges, Isabelle Huppert as Ella Watson and Kris Kristofferson as James Averill in the 1980 Western Heaven's Gate, a director's cut of which was released in November.
Criterion Collection

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:38 am

The director Francois Truffaut once remarked that it takes as much time and energy to make a bad movie as to make a good one. He was right, but I would add one thing: It takes extraordinary effort to make a truly memorable flop.

The best example is Heaven's Gate, the hugely expensive 1980 movie by Michael Cimino that is the most famous cinematic disaster of my lifetime. It's part of that film's legend that it not only took down a studio, United Artists, but was the nail in the coffin of Hollywood's auteur filmmaking of the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

As Two States Legalize Pot, Tommy Chong Isn't Nostalgic About The Old Days

Tommy Chong.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:11 pm

  • From 'All Things Considered': Tommy Chong talks with Audie Cornish

With Washington state set to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana just after midnight tonight, and Colorado set to decriminalize pot next month, All Things Considered today turned to "stoner" comic Tommy Chong to get his perspective.

Needless to say, the half Asian half of Cheech and Chong is very happy. He's planning to move to both states, Chong joked.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Activists Tell Damascus Residents To Prepare For The 'Zero Hour'

A Syrian soldier aims his rifle during clashes with rebel forces in the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday. The recent fighting around Damascus has raised fears of a looming battle for control of the capital.
HOPD AP/SANA

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:14 pm

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Socialism, Capitalism: Merriam-Webster's Odd-Couple Words Of The Year

A demonstrator carries a sign calling people to "resist" President Barack Obama perceived socialist policies during a march of supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement in Washington.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:12 pm

The dictionary Merriam-Webster has declared an incongruous pair their words of the year: Socialism and capitalism.

"There's no surprise there that politics was in people's minds," the dictionary's Editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski told CBS News when making the announcement.

Sokolowski said that the dictionary, which bases its decision on what people are looking up in their online edition, chose two words for the first time because they trended together.

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Sports
11:28 am
Wed December 5, 2012

How History Created The Cult Of The Catcher

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Earlier this week, Deacon White was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. And yes, we know, you've never heard of him. White's career began in 1871, at the dawn of professional baseball. He played catcher in the days when catchers use no equipment at all: no glove, no pads, no facemask. They became heroes celebrated for their courage and their wits, and Deacon White stood out as one of the best.

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Politics
11:25 am
Wed December 5, 2012

The Election, Gay Marriage And The GOP

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Standstill, nowhere, nothing happening - House Republicans ask the president to talk, but they know taxes top his Christmas list. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Naughty and nice...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Middle East
11:22 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Chemical Weapons And The Syrian Civil War

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:12 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As more and more of Syria slips out of government control, concern deepens over what's believed to be an enormous stockpile of chemical weapons. Last weekend, several reports cited suspicious activity at some chemical weapon sites in Syria.

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Shots - Health News
10:41 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Turning Vaccine Refusals Into A Teachable Moment

Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, braces herself for a whooping cough booster shot at a health clinic in Tacoma, Wash., in May.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:01 pm

More and more parents who object to vaccination aren't getting their children immunized, leading to outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other diseases.

Some states have responded by making it much harder for parents to get exemptions from required vaccinations based on their personal beliefs.

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The Two-Way
10:41 am
Wed December 5, 2012

VIDEO: No Stupid Pet Trick; In New Zealand, Some Dogs Learn To Drive

Porter, a 10-month-old Beardie Cross, behind the wheel.
Facebook.com/Drivingdogs

We have to admit we were skeptical.

And we wouldn't want to look over in traffic and see Fido cruising by.

But the stories from New Zealand about how the SPCA there is teaching three dogs to drive (sort-of) have some must-see video. Check out what Monty, Ginny and Porter are learning to do. They've learned to respond to some verbal commands that allow them to move a Mini Countryman around a bit.

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History
9:30 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Buying Freedom Through Dressmaking

The new movie 'Lincoln' explores the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life and sheds light on prominent figures of the time. One lesser-known person is former slave Elizabeth Keckley. She became a close confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln. Host Michel Martin speaks with professor Clarence Lusane about Keckley's contributions to American history.

Education
9:30 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Grading Kids Based On Race

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:04 am

Some public schools across the U.S. are setting different standards for students based on their race. The goal is to cut the achievement gap in half. Host Michel Martin speaks with Emily Richmond, of the Education Writers Association, about criticisms to this approach.

Economy
9:30 am
Wed December 5, 2012

How Helpful Is Extending Unemployment Benefits?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, for years now we've been talking about ways to close the achievement gap. Now some states are asking to set standards based on race. You can imagine why this is controversial. So we'll try to learn more about this in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Wed December 5, 2012

VIDEO: Missouri Bridge Blows Up Real Good (On Purpose)

Boom! The westbound side of Missouri's Blanchette Bridge went down Tuesday.
Missouri Department of Transportation

We're little kids when it comes to watching things blow up.

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The Two-Way
9:02 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Legendary Jazz Musician Dave Brubeck Dies

Dave Brubeck performs along with his Dave Brubeck Quartet in November 2005.
Timm Schamberger AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:36 am

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