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2:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 4:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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NPR Story
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Week In News: Reaction To The State Of The Union

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 2:03 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Coming up, a weekly conversation with James Fallows and a new kind of leader for the Muslim movement in America. We'll also check out some Twitter poetry and hear our first Three-Minute Fiction entry for this round. And now...

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote.

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NPR Story
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

First Read: Three-Minute Fiction

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

More than 4,000 stories. That's how many of you submitted your original fiction to us from this latest round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. Now, we're going to start poring through those stories that did come in with the help from graduate students at more than a dozen schools.

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Poetry
1:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 2:03 pm

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don't remember ever learning this

I've never had a valentine before

I'm not a little baby anymore

It's poetry — rhyming couplets written in perfect iambic pentameter, those ten-syllable lines of alternating emphasis made famous by authors of sonnets and blank verse. But unlike your average metered rhyme, these lines were written by Twitter ... with some help from a program called Pentametron.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Florida's Great Python Challenge Is Over; Not Many Are Caught

Bill Booth stretches out a dead Burmese python caught during Florida's "Python Challenge" on Jan. 19.
Wilfredo Lee AP

After all the hoopla and news of people buying tools to catch Burmese pythons invading Florida, the state's monthlong hunt for them is over. Hunters caught 68 pythons. That's right, 68, according to The Associated Press, even though 1,600 people signed up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to search for them.

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Movie Interviews
9:23 am
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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It's All Politics
8:59 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Huge Bomb Kills Dozens In Pakistani Market

Rescue teams attend the bodies of victims who died in a marketplace bomb blast in Quetta, Pakistan, on Saturday.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 3:26 am

The top of this post was updated on Feb. 17 at 6:04 a.m.

At least 81 people are dead and another 180 are wounded after an explosive device went off in a crowded marketplace in Quetta, Pakistan. Photos from the scene show heavy smoke rising over buildings.

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The Two-Way
7:45 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Nuclear Waste Seeping From Container In Hazardous Wash. State Facility

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.
Shannon Dininny AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:24 am

They thought they'd managed this problem a few years ago. But Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee got a disturbing call Friday from Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Nuclear waste is leaking out of a tank in one of the most contaminated nuclear waste sites in the U.S.

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Around the Nation
7:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. Charged With Illegally Spending Campaign Funds

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now to another remarkable fall from grace. Just three months after he resigned from Congress, Jesse Jackson, Jr. is preparing to plead guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge. Prosecutors say the Illinois Democrat used $750,000 in campaign funds to buy a Rolex watch, mink coats, sports memorabilia. His wife Sandy will plead guilty to a tax change for failing to report that money to the IRS.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has the story.

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Fresh Air Weekend
6:03 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Detroit, Anat Cohen And Richard Thompson

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:15 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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The Two-Way
5:57 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Coroner Says Dorner Died From Single Gunshot To Head

At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon revealed new details about the final showdown with ex-cop Christopher Dorner that left one deputy dead and another seriously wounded.

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Politics
4:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Hometown Visit, Obama Advocates 'Common Sense' Approach To Guns

President Obama speaks about strengthening the middle class and the nation's struggle with gun violence at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago on Friday.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

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Politics
3:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

New Gun Laws Still A Touchy Subject In Congress

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Obama's also trying to get the government more involved in trying to stop gun violence, but his supporters in Congress face an uphill battle in getting new gun control measures passed. Senator Richard Durbin's Senate judiciary subcommittee held hearings this week. The senator from Illinois, who is also majority whip, joins us now. Thanks for being with us.

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: It's good to be with you, Scott.

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Sports
3:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Week In Sport: A Track Star's Fall From Grace

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Oscar Pistorius remains in prison, the athlete who mesmerized so much of the world last summer when he became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games, has been changed with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Oscar Pistorius has been a hero in South Africa and lionized all over the world as the blade runner.

We're joined now by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Howard, thanks for being with us.

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Religion
3:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

When The Pope Speaks (Latin), Who Is Listening?

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation this week. He gave the announcement in Latin, but who still understands the language? Apparently there are more than 50,000 people in Finland who do. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with Finnish radio broadcaster Tuomo Pekkanen about his Latin radio show.

Europe
2:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Activists Offer Protest Tour Of Spain's Modern Ruins

A protest banner in Valencia, Spain, reflects the view that the city's economic woes are a result of political corruption.
Courtesy of Ruta Despilfarro Valencia

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:05 am

In his hometown of Valencia, Spain, Miguel Angel Ferris Gil runs a "wastefulness tour."

Every Saturday, he charters a bus to take people past government buildings where bribery is rumored to take place, and then to elementary schools where kids go to class in trailers. He wants to show foreign investors where their money has gone.

"Here we are, in [the] face of the Valencian parliament," he says. "We start all our tours, our waste tours, protesting against the political corruption and waste."

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StoryCorps
2:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier

Tracy Johnson and her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 1:20 pm

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson is an Iraq War veteran and an Army widow.

She is also one of the first gay spouses to lose a partner at war since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Tracy married her longtime partner, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. But eight months later, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan.

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Simon Says
2:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Is Honest Abe's Stovepipe Hat A Fake?

Abraham Lincoln's iconic stovepipe hat is on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:06 am

Abraham Lincoln's black stovepipe hat is an icon. It seemed to enhance his height, emphasize his dignity and, I suppose, keep his head warm.

There is a stovepipe hat at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., soiled and slightly brown with age. Lincoln is said to have given it to William Waller, a farmer and political supporter in Jackson County, Ill., and kept by his family for decades.

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Religion
2:18 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Pope's Resignation An Opportunity For Africa's Cardinals

Priest Anthony Obanla says Mass at a church in Lagos, Nigeria. In Africa, where the Catholic Church continues to grow, worshipers and clergy hope to see one of their own rise to lead the faithful.
Sunday Alamba AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 7:03 pm

The names of African cardinals are popping up as possible contenders to succeed Pope Benedict as head of the Roman Catholic Church when he steps down at the end of the month.

The Mary Mother of Good Council School is one of a number of respected Roman Catholic schools overseen by the archdiocese of Accra, the capital of the West African nation of Ghana. The Metropolitan archbishop of Accra, Charles Palmer-Buckle, who trained as a priest at pontifical universities in Rome, is upbeat about the continent's contribution to the Catholic Church.

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