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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

One Commenter Reminds Us Why 'Big Tex' Matters

Big Tex watches over the crowd at one end of the State Fair of Texas midway in 1997, in Dallas.
Bill Janscha AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:37 pm

Many have had good fun at the expense of Big Tex, the 52-foot cowboy that burnt down in Dallas today.

But Big Tex was an institution, an icon of the State Fair of Texas, as big and bold as the great state itself.

NPR's John Burnett, a Dallas native, remembered him on All Things Considered today. He told this story:

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This Is NPR
3:05 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

A Very Public (Radio) Halloween

NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:41 am

It's fall y'all! No tricks here, just treats: check out these NPR-themed stencils to inspire your pumpkin carving.

If you use these templates to carve a pumpkin or if public radio otherwise inspires your Halloween celebrations, email a picture to thisisnpr@npr.org. We'll post the collection here and on our Facebook page on Halloween.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

German Lawmakers Move To Quell Uproar Over Circumcision

A rabbi holds up a pillow used during ritual circumcision at a synagogue in Berlin.
Markus Schreiber AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 9:38 am

Circumcisions have been virtually suspended in Germany for the past four months. The practice was effectively banned after a regional court in Cologne ruled that circumcision amounts to assault.

That controversial ruling this summer alienated the country's 120,000 registered Jews and 4 million Muslims, who saw it as a violation of religious freedom. It also fueled accusations of intolerance in a country still haunted by its Nazi past.

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National Security
2:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Minnesota Case Re-Opens Wounds Among Somalis

Burhan Hassan of Minnesota was recruited to fight in Somalia for al-Shabab, which the U.S. calls a terrorist group. He was killed there in 2009. This undated file photo released by his family in 2008.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

For nearly three weeks, the benches at the back of a federal courtroom in Minneapolis were filled with local Somalis. The man on trial, Mahamud Said Omar, was accused of conspiring to help a terrorist group recruit some two dozen young Minnesota men to fight a holy war in Somalia.

It took a federal jury just eight hours to convict him of all of the five terrorism charges leveled against him, but the verdict is only the beginning for the Somali community in the Twin Cities.

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It's All Politics
2:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Race For Arizona's Open Senate Seat Gets Personal

Democrat Richard Carmona (left) and Republican Rep. Jeff Flake shake hands before Thursday's debate in Chandler, Ariz.
Ross Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

For the first time in nearly a generation, Arizona voters will elect a new senator. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl is retiring after 18 years. His ideological successor is Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and a lot of people expected Flake to have an easy time of it.

But recent polls suggest Democrat Richard Carmona — a former surgeon general and a Hispanic — has a shot at winning. The race has become heated, and the airwaves are filled with brutal ads.

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Monkey See
2:58 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Home Video Review: Universal's 'Classic Monsters' Collection

1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon is featured in the new release of Universal's classic monster movies.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Time now for a home viewing recommendation from film critic Bob Mondello. This week, Bob's getting ahead of the Halloween curve, with an 8-disk Classic Monsters collection from Universal Pictures.

The scene you know best is nowhere to be found in the novel Frankenstein. No electrifying the creature with lightning, no ecstatic doctor's cry of "It's alive, it's aliiiiiiive!"

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Two Cancer Survivors, Two Opinions On Lance Armstrong And His Troubles

Suleika Jaouad says she still supports Lance Armstrong.
Suleika Jaouad

It's been a tough few months for Lance Armstrong. Within the past two weeks, the United States Anti-Doping Agency released all its evidence against him, many of his sponsors walked away from him and he resign from Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded.

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Europe
2:20 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

With Topless Protests, 'Sextremists' March In Paris

French policemen on Oct. 15 detain topless activists from the group Femen who are protesting the verdict in a gang rape trial. The group was established in Ukraine but is now setting up an office in Paris.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Sometimes, less is more.

That's certainly the thinking of the Ukrainian feminist movement Femen, best known for its bare-breasted protests in its home country. Now it has brought its self-described "sextremism" to Paris, opening its first international training camp and wasting no time attracting new recruits, causes and attention.

On a recent sunny morning, seven young women stride purposefully toward the stone facade of France's Justice Ministry. Suddenly they throw their coats to the ground. Slogans are painted across their bare bosoms; garlands decorate their hair.

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It's All Politics
2:17 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

White Men, A Key GOP Demographic, Discuss The Romney Appeal

Annual "Biketoberfest" participants ride along Beach Street in downtown Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2010.
Daytona Beach Visitors Bureau

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

For all the attention paid to women in this race, there's another gender gap — with white men.

The Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaigned in northeastern Florida on Friday, where thousands of men had descended on Daytona Beach for the annual motorcycle festival Biketoberfest.

A bunch of them were at Willie's Tropical Tattoo smoking cigarettes, drinking beer and listening to music.

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It's All Politics
1:49 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Obama Battling To Maintain Women's Vote, Seen As His Key To Victory

The crowd joins Republican Mitt Romney in singing the national anthem at a rally Wednesday in Chesapeake, Va.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:54 pm

After President Obama's self-described somnolent first debate performance, his female supporters lit up social media and tagged the campaign with complaints about his failure to talk about their issues, from pay equity to health and reproductive rights.

He's been playing catch-up ever since, focusing on shoring up his party's two-decade-long domination with female voters who are key to Obama's hold on the White House.

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It's All Politics
1:18 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Colorado, A Big Win For Obama In 2008, Now A Harder Sell

Supporters turned out for President Obama's first post-debate rally on Oct.4 in Denver. The president is facing a fierce fight for Colorado after winning it by 9 points four years ago.
RJ Sangosti AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

In Colorado, the presidential race is a statistical dead heat. The state went heavily for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 — but the president is now facing fierce headwinds.

Obama won last time by 9 points, an astounding margin in a state that hadn't gone Democratic since 1992. One Democratic strategist calls 2008 a one-time case of "irrational exuberance," especially among Colorado's large contingent of swing voters.

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Health
1:13 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

For Cancer Survivors, Armstrong An Inspiration

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tonight in Austin, Livestrong, the cancer organization founded by Lance Armstrong, is holding its 15th anniversary gala and Armstrong is scheduled to speak at the event. But it's been a bad stretch for the champion cyclist. In the face of a scathing report linking him to doping, he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong and he lost major sponsors, including Nike.

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Food
1:13 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Record-Breaking Bratwurst Story Has A Twist

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We'd like to take a moment now to recognize greatness. Earlier this month in a grocery store parking lot in Prescott, Wisconsin, the world's largest bratwurst was cooked.

PATRICK PTACEK: Fifty-two feet and two inches.

(APPLAUSE)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The brat was grilled in honor of the 100th anniversary of Ptacek's IGA. Patrick Ptacek co-owns the store. He and his family paid for the massive brat and made it in the store.

SIEGEL: Actually, we should say brats. They made two.

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Sports
1:13 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Pitching Puts Tigers In World Series

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The Detroit Tigers are in the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals are close. And sportswriter Stefan Fatsis is with us to discuss baseball's playoff season. Hiya, Stefan.

STEFAN FATSIS: Hey, Robert.

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Law
12:54 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Marriage Law Likely Headed To Supreme Court

A New York case in which a same-sex couple was denied a tax benefit is likely headed to the Supreme Court.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

A federal appeals court ruling on Thursday has catapulted a New York case to the head of the line, as the Supreme Court considers which of many cases it should use to decide whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional.

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Presidential Race
12:42 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

For Hispanics, A Question Of Turnout

Latino supporters hold up signs as they attend a campaign rally for President Obama at Sloan's Lake Park in Denver on Oct. 4.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

By now, it's no surprise that most Latinos plan to vote for President Obama. They are the nation's largest minority group, often likened to a sleeping giant that could decide the outcome in key swing states.

But will enough Latinos show up on Election Day to make good on the prediction?

As many as 60,000 Hispanics reach voting age every month, but Latinos overall have yet to bring their full force to the voting booth. Two-thirds of eligible whites and African-Americans voted in the 2008 presidential election, while barely half of Hispanics cast ballots.

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Music Reviews
12:13 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Elina Duni: Love, Lust And Albanian Folk Songs

On Matane Malit, the Elina Duni Quartet lays expansive instrumentation over traditional Albanian folk melodies.
Blerta Kambo Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:12 pm

The spread of formal jazz education has created a new breed of global musician: one who uses improvisation, and other devices associated with jazz, to transform folk and traditional music. The Albanian singer Elina Duni is part of this rising class. Her latest release, Matane Malit ("Beyond the Mountain"), offers a transfixing balance of old and new.

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri October 19, 2012

U.S. Military Apologizes, Sets Curfew After Alleged Rape In Japan

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:50 pm

The commander of U.S. Forces Japan apologized and announced that all military personnel in Japan would have to adhere to a night curfew beginning today.

The move comes after two Navy sailors allegedly raped a woman in Okinawa. Like the case in 1995, when three servicemen raped a school girl, opposition to U.S. bases swelled after the arrests.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Does The Hallmark Channel Have Basic Cable's Most Efficiently Defined Brand?

Kellie Martin and Ethan Erickson in I Married Who?
Alexx Henry Hallmark Channel

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:50 pm

You know Hallmark cards, of course. "When you care enough to send the very best." They made themselves The Company That Makes Greeting Cards, Whether You Like It Or Not, and that brand is made of iron.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'A Fire I Can't Put Out': Texas State Fair's 'Big Tex' Destroyed By Blaze

Big Tex goes up in flames.
John McKibben via Twitter

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:21 pm

If you've ever been to the Dallas area during the State Fair of Texas, you no doubt have encountered Big Tex.

He's impossible to miss. He wears size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat. His height comes in at a stunning 52 feet. He's an icon, his western shirt dusted off every year since 1952.

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