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11:07 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Jane Mayer: Obama In 'Impossible Bind' Over Donors

President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:12 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.

Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.

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Participation Nation
11:03 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Group Gardening In San Antonio, Texas

Angela Hartsell, community gardener.
Courtesy of Jason Winn

My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.

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NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

'Green-On-Blue' Attacks Challenge Afghan Security

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:06 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As the U.S. and NATO start to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan, many in Kabul are considering the lessons of history this summer, and two years in particular: 1989 and the withdrawal of Soviet troops after 10 years; 1992 and the Afghan civil war.

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NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Preventing The Spread Of West Nile Virus

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:10 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2012's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. The mayor of Dallas recently authorized an aerial spraying program to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which provoked protest from area residents.

NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

A Sneak Preview Of The 2012 Paralympics

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:17 am

The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics, and begin August 29th. 4,000 elite disabled athletes will compete in 20 sports. Many of the sports are familiar, but others — like boccia and goalball — are unique to the Paralympics.

Movies
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Summer Movies: Older Movies With Modern Themes

Excited about The Expendables 2? Try renting The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or The Wild Bunch.
Frank Masi

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 6:43 am

The Avengers and Expendables 2 are two of the summer's biggest movies, and they share a common theme: a band of heroes trying to save the day.

Film buff Murray Horwitz — with some help from Talk of the Nation listeners — suggests alternative movies to watch at home if you like that theme, but don't want to stand in long lines at the box office.


The Magnificent Seven

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It's All Politics
10:35 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Will Tropical Storm Isaac Blow The GOP Convention Off Course?

Republican National Committee officials unveiled the stage inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week ahead of the Republican National Convention, which may or may not begin Monday.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:05 pm

Hurricanes and politics don't mix. That's why next week's gathering in Tampa, Fla., might be the second-consecutive Republican National Convention to be delayed by a storm.

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Monkey See
10:18 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Rovers Are From Mars: How Curiosity Is Killing It On Twitter

This artist's rendering provided by NASA shows the Mars Rover, Curiosity.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:00 am

Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.

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Planet Money
10:16 am
Thu August 23, 2012

American Houses Are Still Much, Much Bigger Than They Used To Be

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:30 pm

Newly built homes got a little smaller during the housing bust. But just a little. As of 2010, the median new home was still bigger than homes built in the 1990s, when the economy was booming.

And the median home built in 2010 was much, much bigger — 41 percent bigger — than the median home built in 1975.

For more data, see this PDF.

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:10 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Ivan Dies At 50: A Gorilla Life, Remembered

Ivan chews on his finger at Zoo Atlanta in 1996.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 11:11 am

I've written before in this space about how an animal obituary may help mark a life of significance. Here is my obituary for Ivan the gorilla.

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The Two-Way
10:02 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Drought's Still Deep In Nation's Midsection

The week of Aug. 21.
National Drought Mitigation Center

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:04 pm

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

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Author Interviews
9:57 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Paul Auster Meditates On Life, Death And Near Misses

Paul Auster is the author of fiction including The New York Trilogy and In the Country of Last Things.
Lotte Hansen Picador

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:28 pm

Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.

Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Thu August 23, 2012

One Poll Finds Zero Percent Of Blacks Support Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP annual convention in Houston, Texas in July.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Over at The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart writes that few poll numbers "make me gasp."

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Election 2012
8:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Is Tampa Ready For 2 Oncoming Storms?

The Republican National Convention is being held in Tampa, Florida, and it's expected to bring the city tens of millions of dollars. But many are wondering if Tampa is ready for two oncoming storms — the whirlwind of people descending on the city, and brewing tropical storm Isaac. Guest host Viviana Hurtado talks with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Around the Nation
8:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Cop Car Death Ruled Suicide, But Doubts Remain

Questions are swirling around the death of a 21-year-old Arkansas man who died in police custody in July. An autopsy report lists Chavis Carter's death as a suicide. But his family is asking how he could have shot himself in the head while handcuffed in a police car. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with Associated Press reporter Jeannie Nuss.

Africa
8:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

South Africa Mine Shooting Hints At Deep Divisions

Memorial services are being held for miners shot dead recently by police at a South African mine. The violent images were compared to the darkest days of apartheid. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with prominent Johannesburg radio host John Robbie to gauge the mood in the country.

The Two-Way
8:04 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Former Penn State President Launches 'Full-Throttle Defense'

Then-Penn State President Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno last fall, before the Jerry Sandusky scandal cost them both their jobs.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Graham Spanier, who lost his job as president of Penn State University for allegedly not doing enough to investigate whether former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting young boys, has "launched a full-throttle defense" against charges that he cared more about the university's reputation than Sandusky's victims, Harrisburg's

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Participation Nation
8:03 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Saving Landmarks In Eldon, Iowa

Volunteers in Eldon.
Courtesy of TAGHC

From a volunteer pool of more than 30 — most past retirement age – friendly folks greet visitors at the American Gothic House Center.

Unpaid guides provide pitchforks so tourists can pose in front of the house that inspired Grant Wood's recognizable painting. And they dispense information about one of America's most celebrated artists.

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The Salt
7:32 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Kids Ditching Full-Sugar Soda For Diet Drinks, Just Like Mom And Dad

Even Junior is drinking diet soda now. But is it good for him?
Todd Keith iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 8:00 am

Diet soda, once the soft drink of choice for adults watching their calories, isn't just for grown ups anymore. Increasingly, kids are getting their fix, too.

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Thu August 23, 2012

No Parole For Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's Killer

Mark David Chapman in May 2012.
NYS Dept. of Corrections Reuters /Landov

The man who murdered Beatle John Lennon in December 1980 has been denied parole for a seventh time, The Associated Press reports.

Mark David Chapman, New York State Corrections inmate No. 81A3860, is now 57-years-old. He's serving a prison term of 20 years to life.

Lennon was gunned down at the entrance to his Manhattan apartment building.

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