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11:48 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Thousands Protest Alleged Election Fraud In Russia

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.

PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

A New Reason To Beat Your Own Chest: 'Drum Machine Shirt'

Think Geek

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:36 am

The Two-Way doesn't endorse products. But we do like to pass on things we see about weird and unusual things.

So a Los Angeles Times story about a "drum machine T-shirt" caught our eye. (Since there's a drummer or two in our lives, we may be biased.)

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Thu December 15, 2011

During Call-In Show, Vladimir Putin Dimisses Russian Protesters

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual phone-in session with Russians in Moscow.
Alexei Nikolsky AFP/Getty Images

During a call-in show, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the massive protests against his 12-year rule were paid for by his opposition and supported by the West.

The AP reports:

"'The results of this election undoubtedly reflect the real balance of power in the country," Putin said on a marathon TV show that lasted 4 1/2 hours. "It's very good that United Russia has preserved its leading position.'

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Shots - Health Blog
10:48 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Once Routine, Autopsies Now Scarce At U.S. Hospitals

Unlike the medical examiner's office in New Mexico, which routinely autopsies sudden or violent deaths, most U.S. hospitals perform postmortem examinations only rarely.
John W. Poole NPR

When a loved one dies unexpectedly in the hospital, getting answers to how and why isn't as easy as it was 50 years ago.

Back then, doctors would often order a clinical autopsy. But an investigation published today by ProPublica shows that hospital autopsies have become a rarity:

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Movie Interviews
10:28 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Kevin Clash: The Man Behind Elmo

Elmo and Kevin Clash have been working together for more than 20 years. Clash has also performed in Labyrinth, Muppets from Space, Follow that Bird and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Photo courtesy of Scott McDermott/Being Elmo

When Elmo first appeared on Sesame Street, the little red monster had a deep voice and rarely laughed. But then puppeteer Kevin Clash started working with the furry red creature. Clash, now the senior puppet coordinator and Muppet captain on Sesame Street, further developed Elmo's lovable personality and started providing his trademark voice. Over the past 25 years, Clash has transformed Elmo into one of the most recognizable characters on Sesame Street.

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sheriff Arpaio Violates Latinos' Rights, Justice Department Says

Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 10:29 am

The U.S. Justice Department says Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has become a national figure thanks to his tough treatment of inmates and his tough talk on immigration, engages in "a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law," NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.

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It's All Politics
10:10 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Sioux City Debate: GOP Candidates' Last Joint Meeting Before Voting Starts

The Republican presidential debates have mattered more this year than anything else in determining which candidate had the momentum and the lead in the race for the White House nomination.

Thus, Thursday evening's Sioux City, Iowa debate (Fox News, 9 pm ET) could be decisive in narrowing the gap between Newt Gingrich and the rest of the field or cementing his frontrunner status.

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Music Interviews
10:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Reviving 'Songs For The Jewish-American Jet Set'

Idelsohn Society

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:45 am

Tikva Records was founded in 1947 as an independent Jewish record label. For the next 30 years, it would record an eclectic range of Jewish-American songs, including klezmer pop, cantorial singing, Catskills medleys and Israeli folk tunes.

Tikva Records folded in the late 1970s, but a number of singles on the label have been re-released by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and preserving Jewish music through museum exhibits, concert showcases and reissues of lost Jewish classics and compilations.

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The Two-Way
9:40 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Starting At Noon: Salvation Army Volunteers Go For Bell-Ringing Record

In Chicago: Antionette Levi rings her bell as she solicits donations for the Salvation Army.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:44 am

They can't sit down. They can't eat. And they have to keep ringing their bells.

The Salvation Army says 24 of its volunteers will be going for a record starting at noon ET when they see just how long they can keep ringing their bells as they stand by collection kettles in cities across the nation.

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Author Interviews
9:35 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Tracing Ballet's Cultural History Over 400 Years

This interview was originally broadcast on December 13, 2010. Apollo's Angels is now available in paperback.

It is ballet season, which means many companies are performing The Nutcracker for the holidays and preparing their big shows for the winter months. Everywhere you turn these days, you can see toe shoes — but there is a deep and fascinating history to the art form that few people know.

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The Salt
9:22 am
Thu December 15, 2011

How The Army Made A Sandwich That Stays Fresh For Two Years

The shelf-stable pocket sandwich gives soldiers a portable ration that they can eat on the go.
Bob Reinert U.S. Army

For the U.S. military around the world, the enemy can be hard to pinpoint and even harder to defeat. Back at home, the Army has a tiny and vexing foe in its sights: the bacteria that cause food to rot.

In this bacterial battle, though, it's clearer who's winning, and the evidence is a humble pocket sandwich, which looks from the outside no different than your average hot pocket in the frozen foods aisle.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Biomedical Research Using Chimps Should Be Curtailed

Updated 1:30 p.m.: The National Institutes of Health accepts the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report on chimpanzee research, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement. "We will not issue any new awards for research involving chimpanzees until processes for implementing the recommendations are in place," he said.

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The Two-Way
9:00 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Politicians Take Note: 'Pragmatic' Was 2011's Word Of The Year

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama in July, during the negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling and reducing future federal deficits. Americans say they want pragmatic leaders who will worth together.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:02 am

Americans put members of Congress at the very bottom of those they consider to be honest and ethical. They tell pollsters that they want politicians in Washington to "compromise in order to get things done."

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Around the Nation
8:32 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Probe Finds Arizona Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has forced inmates to wear pink and live in tent cities, gaining him a reputation as America's toughest sheriff.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a national reputation for being tough on crime but now the Arizona law man is in the spotlight for a different reason.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice released the results of a three-year investigation in which authorities conclude that Arpaio and his deputies are the ones who've been breaking law.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:41 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Experimental Magnetic Pulses May Help Heal A Brain After Stroke

A stroke affecting the right side of the brain can lead a person to be visually unaware of what's happening on the left.
Wikimedia Commons

A little brain stimulation seems to speed up recovery from a stroke.

This isn't the sort of brain stimulation you get from conversation. It's done using an electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp.

Researchers think the treatment encourages brain cells to form new connections, allowing the brain to rewire itself to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Jobless Claims Drop To Lowest Level In More Than Three Years

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 19,000 last week, to 366,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports. And that's the lowest level since May 2008.

Bloomberg News says the decline was not expected — most economists thought we would hear they remained around 390,000.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Report: 'Marines Promoted Inflated Story For Medal Of Honor Recipient'

President Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Marine Corps Sgt. Dakota Meyer.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:10 pm

"Crucial parts" of the story that Marine Corps officials told about Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer's bravery in Afghanistan are "untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, according to dozens of military documents" that McClatchy Newspapers has examined and reporting done by a McClatchy correspondent who survived the ambush in which Meyer performed heroically.

In a long report based on extensive research, correspondent Jonathan S. Landay writes that:

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Best Books Of 2011
6:16 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Fired Up: The Year's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

2011 was a good year to be a reader of science fiction and fantasy, although lately every year has been a good year: Not only are the books getting more popular — thank you, Game of Thrones — they're getting more interesting, evolving and morphing in weird, fascinating ways.

They're also interbreeding with other genres to produce wild new hybrid forms, like historical science fiction romances and hard-boiled fantasy detective novels. They're commenting on current events and swapping DNA with literary novels.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Republicans Unveil $1 Trillion Spending Bill, Possible Shutdown Still Looms

The political wrangling continues in Washington as Republicans and Democrats try to get their priorities enacted even as several key deadlines fast approach.

Overnight, as The Associated Press reports, Republicans in the House "unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama."

The wire service adds that:

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Thu December 15, 2011

As Flag Is Put Away, America's Mission In Iraq Symbolically Ends

America's colors have been cased in Iraq — the flag was just symbolically put away at a ceremony marking the end of a war that lasted nearly nine years.

At the Baghdad airport a short time ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other officials were there to mark the occasion, NPR's Kelly McEvers reports. It was, she said on Morning Edition, a "quiet, small ceremony."

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Law
10:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Death Sentences Drop To Historic Lows In 2011

The high-profile case of Troy Davis sparked national debate on the death penalty. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says there's growing discontent among Americans about capital punishment.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:05 am

Death sentences dropped dramatically this year, marking the first time in more than three decades that judges and juries sent fewer than 100 people to death row, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.

Just 78 offenders were handed capital sentences, and only 43 inmates were executed — almost half as many as 10 years ago.

American Reaction

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Business
10:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

With New Toys, Lego Hopes To Build Girls Market

The new Lego Friends toys are not yet public, but the company gave a sneak peek at its "Olivia" minifigure from the set.
Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek. Photographed by Nick Ferrari

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:45 am

Lego doesn't call itself a toy company for boys. But look at the company's website, and its products are clearly geared towards boys' love of combat and action. There's Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Alien Conquest, Racers and Superheroes. One lonely set, called Belleville, is clearly for girls. It's pink-themed and features a horse.

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Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work
10:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Willing To Sacrifice After A Long Time Out Of Work

According to a survey by NPR and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 44 percent of the long-term unemployed and 35 percent of the underemployed are willing to move to another state for a new job.
Tony Tremblay iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 2:08 pm

In the past three years, the ability and willingness of Americans to move across town or to another state have fallen to their lowest level in more than half a century.

An NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation survey examined mobility among the long-term unemployed and underemployed. Of those two groups combined, 40 percent said they would be willing to move to another state to find a job.

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It's All Politics
10:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

State Of The GOP Race: Are We In For A Protracted Primary Season?

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich face off at the ABC News GOP Presidential Debate on Dec. 10.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 9:53 am

The mitts are off, so to speak, in the Republican presidential primary. Mitt Romney, the former front-runner, and his current and most serious rival, Newt Gingrich, are now engaged in an all-out war.

With only a few short weeks until voters in Iowa go to the caucuses, Romney is doing everything he can to stop Gingrich's sudden and surprising rise.

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Look Up! There's Still A Chance To Catch Geminid Meteor Shower

In this picture provided by Wally Pacholka of AstroPics.com, a Geminid fireball explodes over the Mojave Desert in the Jojave Desert, Calif. on Dec. 13, 2009.
Wally Pacholka AP

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 4:58 pm

Every year around this time, the Geminid Meteor Shower is on display. ABC News reports that, yesterday, the shower delivered a pretty spectacular show with some star gazers reporting about 80 shooting stars per hour.

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All Tech Considered
4:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Who's Opposed To .XXX Domain Names? Not Exactly Whom You'd Think

Members of the adult entertainment industry and its trade groups gathered in San Francisco in March to oppose the creation of a separate Internet address for adult entertainment websites.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:42 pm

Education has .edu, .gov belongs to the government, and now, adult entertainment has .xxx.

Since last week, anyone can go online and buy a domain name ending in .xxx — but it's not all adult entertainment companies that are rushing to purchase the new addresses.

Colleges and other institutions have purchased .xxx domains pre-emptively to prevent others from doing so and associating their names with adult content. And many big names in the adult entertainment industry are opposed to the possibility of censorship by places that could block the entire .xxx domain.

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Books
3:51 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2011

This year-end list is dominated by fiction, but a couple of nonfiction titles also made the cut as well. Book critic Maureen Corrigan says that 2011 was a banner year for fiction — especially for several first-time novelists.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Energy
3:42 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

U.S. Nuclear Agency Suffers Leadership Meltdown

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Chairman Gregory Jaczko (center) speaks Wednesday during a meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His fellow commissioners, from bottom left: Kristine Svinicki, William Magwood IV and William Ostendorff.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:12 pm

The government organization charged with keeping nuclear power safe is having a meltdown. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission consists of five commissioners who direct the work of hundreds of nuclear engineers and other experts. They write the rules for how nuclear reactors operate.

Now four of those commissioners say the chairman of the NRC is a bully who's destroying their ability to do their job.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

As FAMU Fallout Deepens, Ga. District Halts Band Activity

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 3:34 pm

A Georgia school system has suspended all marching band activities after it launched an investigation spurred by the alleged hazing at Florida A&M University.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Dekalb County School System spokesman said they made the decision after uncovering "documented evidence of inappropriate activity that took place over the summer." The AJC adds:

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