The Two-Way
5:05 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Congress Averts Government Shutdown, But Still Divided On Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 11:59 am

Update at 1:50 p.m. ET. Government Will Not Shutdown:

The House of Representatives just passed a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through the fall. Congress, however, is still deadlocked on two major pieces of legislation. The extension of the payroll tax cut, which is a priority for the Obama administration and an extension of jobless benefits to to the long-term unemployed.

Our Original Post Continues:

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Best Books Of 2011
5:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

A Passion For The Past: 2011's Best Historical Fiction

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Historical fiction invites us to experience the exotic and the unknown while confirming our common humanity. I do not believe that human nature has changed much over the centuries, and it is possible to identify with the emotions, passions, and fears of men and women long dead.

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The Two-Way
4:30 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Japanese Officials Declare 'Cold Shutdown' Of Crippled Reactors

Workers in protective suits and masks wait to enter the emergency operation center at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station on Nov. 12, 2011.
David Guttenfelder AFP/Getty Images

Nuclear reactors crippled in Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami are now in a "cold shutdown," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced today.

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KNAU and Arizona News
4:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

iPad App Highlights the Aerial Photography of Flagstaff Geologist Michael Collier

Buzzard at Saline Valley
Michael Collier

Just a few years ago, there was no such thing as an iPad or an iPhone or any of the apps that go with them. But now, millions of people worldwide are using more than half a million apps on a daily basis. One of the latest to debut on the iPad was designed by Flagstaff geologist and photographer Michael Collier. He takes aerial photos of mountain ranges and geologic formations across the country. And he does it while solo-flying his small plane. Collier's photos have been the subject of several books.

Economy
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Popularity Bankrupts Early Retiree Program

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

A $5 billion federal program to pay for the health benefits of early retirees is proving to be more popular than expected. So popular that it's running out of money earlier than planned. The fund, part of the health care overhaul, was to provide a bridge of insurance coverage until 2014 when early retirees would have many more options under the health care law.

This report is part of a collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio, NPR, and Kaiser Health News.

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Politics
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Negotiators Reach Deal To Keep Government Open

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

So, it looks like the federal government is not going to shut down at midnight tonight. That's good news. Congressional negotiators say they've reached an agreement to move forward on a trillion-dollar-plus spending plan. It would fund the government through October. There are still some end-of-year issues that haven't been resolved.

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Law
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

DOJ Probe Finds Ariz. Sheriff Violated Civil Rights

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Joe Arpaio, the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, is not backing down. The U.S. Justice Department yesterday accused his sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Arizona of systematically violating the constitutional and civil rights of Latinos. By the end of the day, NPR's Ted Robbins reports, the sheriff was hitting back.

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Election 2012
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

GOP Presidential Contenders Done Debating Before Iowa Caucuses

Newt Gingrich stood center state Thursday night in the Sioux City Convention Center. The sharpest elbows did not come from his close rivals, Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. Instead, it was Michele Bachmann who repeatedly went after Gingrich.

Business
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Anonymous Donors Pay Off Kmart Layaway Accounts

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:33 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Our last word in business today is: Mystery Elves. At Kmart stores around the country, anonymous donors are walking in and paying off the layaway accounts of complete strangers. It seems to have started in Michigan, but the holiday spirit spread. Kmart says the stealth benefactors usually ask for accounts that include toys.

Race
2:00 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Fierce Reaction To 'If I Were A Poor Black Kid'

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich kicked up some dust recently when he opined that poor kids should be able to work as school janitors to develop a work ethic and avoid becoming, in Gingrich's words, a prostitute or a drug dealer.

This week, a tech writer on Forbes.com is causing a stir in the blogosphere with an advice column titled "If I Were a Poor Black Kid." Gene Marks is not a kid, or black. As he put it, he's middle aged, middle class, and white.

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