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Fact-checking sites like PolitiFact referee assertions by politicians, public figures and pundits. The fact-checking movement has been gaining momentum — and fans. But PolitiFact has come under fire after announcing its "Lie of the Year": a claim by some Democrats and liberals about a House Republican plan to change Medicare.

In snowy Norway, nothing evokes Christmastime like a pot of glogg brewing on the stove. The traditional Scandinavian winter drink mixes wine and port with spices like clove, cardamom and cinnamon to make for a brew that smells divine and tastes even better.

Urd Milbury, cultural affairs officer from the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C., teaches NPR's Lynn Neary how to make the holiday treat.


Recipe: A Simple Glogg

Ingredients:

Even heard in modern synthesizer arrangements, the melody of the carol "Good King Wenceslas" brings the words and images of the story into my head: "Good King Wenceslas looked out / on the Feast of Stephen / When the snow lay 'round about / deep and crisp and even.

Wenceslas was a real person: the Duke of Bohemia, a 10th-century Christian prince in a land where many practiced a more ancient religion. In one version of his legend, Wenceslas was murdered in a plot by his brother, who was under the sway of their so-called pagan mother.

Ah, 'tis the season to be indulgent. Another glass of champagne? Please, have some homemade cookies. Does anyone want to go to the movies instead of the gym? As far as I'm concerned, December is Guilty Pleasures Time.

Early in her career, Glenn Close was often cast in the "good girl" role: the idyllic muse in The Natural; the understanding friend, wife and mother in The Big Chill.

Things took a sharp turn for her when she played an evil manipulator in Dangerous Liaisons and then created one of film's greatest villains in Fatal Attraction.

The range of her roles alone would make Close one of the great actors of her generation. Now, she adds another remarkable character to the list, playing the title role in the new movie Albert Nobbs.

Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.

Our Christmas tree gets uglier every year. It's not the tree's fault. This year we sprung for a Fraser fir, cut fresh at a local farm. It has soft needles, that ideal pine-cone shape, and a pointy top perfect for holding a star. But when we got home, I felt like apologizing. This tree did not deserve what we were about to do. We re-cut the bottom, mounted it in its holder, and gave it water. For about five minutes, our tree looked beautiful. Then came the decorations.

Is it pure whimsy that makes something like "Callin' Oates" appealing?

If you pick up your phone and call 719-26-OATES — at least as of this writing — you'll get a computerized woman's voice telling you what numbers to press to hear one of four Hall & Oates songs.

The question, of course, is ... why?

After being force-fed a steady diet of Oscar hopefuls for almost a month, I may just be ready for empty-calorie time at the cineplex. But I have to confess a sense of relief this week, as I watched entertainments that didn't seem to want to do anything other than show an audience a good time.

North Korean state-run television today showed Kim Jong Il lying in state — and for the first time since his death, it also showed the man being prepared to inherit the mantle of power.

Kim Jong Un looked solemn, frowning as he paid his respects and bowed to his father's body laid out in a glass coffin, surrounded by red flowers known as Kimjongilia.

Eric Weiner's most recent book is Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine.

Surveys show religious people are happier than the secular. Why is this? Is it — as an atheist friend quipped — that "ignorance is bliss?" Not long ago, that's what I would have concluded. Like many people of my ilk — cerebral East Coaster, highly skeptical and, yes, latte drinking — I reflexively viewed the religious as less sophisticated. And, if I'm brutally honest here, somehow less intelligent, or at least more narrow-minded. I don't feel that way anymore.

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Joining us from his office at the Capitol now is California Republican Congressman David Dreier. Welcome to the program.

REPRESENTATIVE DAVID DREIER: Always good to be with you, Robert. And as the sun sets across the country, happy Hanukkah.

In Cairo, Women Protest Recent Crackdowns

Dec 20, 2011

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With three weeks to go before the New Hampshire primary, presidential campaigns are working at full speed to reach out to voters.

Political strategists say a good ground game — a campaign's ability to identify voters and get them to the polls — is worth 3 points at the ballot box. That's a boost any candidate would want.

Prominent Iowa Conservative Backs Santorum

Dec 20, 2011

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

The airwaves in Iowa are filled with a lot of people saying some not very nice things about Newt Gingrich.

Margaret Thatcher's policies as British prime minister earned her the nickname "The Iron Lady," and now that's also the title of a new film about her life.

Thatcher was famously tough on British labor unions, IRA hunger strikers, the Soviet Union and the war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. So in the film, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig questions Thatcher's knowledge of war, the then-prime minister's response is predictably unyielding.

AT&T Drops T-Mobile Bid

Dec 19, 2011

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Perhaps Kim Jong Il's most enduring legacy was to turn North Korea into a nuclear weapons state. The country successfully tested a nuclear bomb underground in 2006, and a second test followed in 2009.

With Kim's death, which was announced Monday, his presumed successor is his son Kim Jong Un. But little is known about him or his thinking on the country's nuclear program.

In this age of bland romantic comedy leads, when the feminine ideal seems to mix two parts sweetly smiling Jennifer Aniston with three parts saucer-eyed Rapunzel, nothing can bring more satisfaction than the antiheroine.

House Poised To Reject Budget Deal

Dec 19, 2011

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

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Many Koreans who live in the United States are following the situation in North Korea closely. Southern California is home to a huge Korean community.

And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, news of Kim Jong Il's death has been greeted there with shock and anxiety.

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Time now for a couple of your letters. Faith and atheism both figure in. On Friday, we remembered writer Christopher Hitchens. He was known for his cutting remarks about the likes of Mother Teresa and especially, God.

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And now to the spreading influence of apps and tablets in the business world. As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, many small businesses are using tablets to replace everything from the menu to the timecard to the cash register.

As War Ends, Iraqi Exile Looks Back

Dec 18, 2011

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

On April 9, 2003, historian Kanan Makiya watched the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad's Firdaus Square on a TV set in the Oval Office. At his side, the president of the United States.

With just a few weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is leading the pack for the Republican presidential nomination.

Given the possibility that President Obama could be facing Gingrich in the campaign next fall, it seemed like a good time to check in with someone who has experience running against the former speaker of the House.

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. caught a lot of people off guard when he opened his mouth to sing at his televised audition for America's Got Talent. The dreadlocked former car-washer is 6'4" and in his late 30s, but when he belted the first notes of the pop standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" like a certain blue-eyed crooner, audiences and judges alike delightedly voiced their surprise.

Murphy's own social circle was harder to win over. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that at first, his family members laughed at the thought of him singing Sinatra.

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