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Health Care
9:01 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Texas, Feds Face Off Over Planned Parenthood

Rene Resendez, a 24-year-old uninsured graduate student, used to be a client at the Planned Parenthood in Odessa, Texas, which closed earlier this month because of state budget cuts.
John Burnett NPR

Texas and the federal government are going at each other again, this time over Planned Parenthood.

The Texas Legislature cut off all Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood because of its involvement in abortions; in response, the federal government has suspended funding for the state's reproductive health program.

Now, Texas is suing the Obama administration.

Closed For Business

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Shots - Health Blog
9:01 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Supreme Court's Medicaid Decision Could Reach Far Beyond Health Care

The final argument the Supreme Court will hear about the new health care law is whether its Medicaid expansion unfairly forces states to participate.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 7:56 am

After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?

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Sweetness And Light
9:01 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Watching College Basketball's Slump Into Anonymity

Duke freshman Austin Rivers, seen here in the Blue Devils' loss to Lehigh in the NCAA tournament, is leaving school for the NBA draft. The trend of athletes spending only one year in college has hurt the sport, says Frank Deford.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 7:31 am

This year's Final Four seems more like Best in Show at the Westminster. Such pedigree: Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville –– four of the very top dogs in the history of the sport. Well, it's a Meryl Streep kind of year, isn't it?

But if the Final Four might delight fans by giving them aristocracy in its teams, unfortunately the whole of college basketball is plagued by anonymity in its players, and external issues that have diminished the popularity of the game.

Good grief. This year, there has been more buzz about Mad Men than about March Madness.

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Movies
9:01 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

In Japan, 'Sliced-Up Actors' Are A Dying Breed

Fukumoto in one of the numerous period costume dramas he has acted in for the Toei Company's film studios since he began work there in 1959.
Toei Kyoto Studio Park

Japan is home to Asia's oldest and largest motion-picture industry, with its own unique genres and traditions. While every film industry has stuntmen, only Japan has a class of actors whose main job is to be sliced and diced by samurai sword-wielding protagonists. But the decline of period dramas means that this class of actors is literally a dying breed.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:01 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Court Looks At Whether Mandate Can Separate From Rest Of Health Law

If the Supreme Court rules that the health insurance mandate is unconstitutional, does that invalidate the rest of the law?
Adam Cole NPR

In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.

Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?

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The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Mine Agency To Congress: Don't Blame Us For Deadly Disaster

As we reported last week, an independent panel reviewing the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster found that the agency "possibly could have prevented" the explosion that took 29 lives.

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The Two-Way
4:10 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Pope Arrives In Havana, Where He's Expected To Meet Raúl Castro

Pope Benedictus XVI arrives at Jose Marti airport in Havana on Tuesday.
Marcelino Vazquez AFP/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI landed in Havana today and he's expected meet Cuban President Raúl Castro.

The pontiff's visit has put Cuba's dictatorship in the spotlight, because during his speeches the Pope has been taking subtle shots at the regime. The Los Angeles Times reports:

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The Salt
3:09 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Activists Say Americans Support Labeling Genetically Modified Food

People march demanding labels for genetically modified food near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, 2011.
Ren Haijun Xinhua /Landov

Activists who want genetically modified food to be labeled in the U.S. say there's more support than ever for their cause. As evidence, a coalition calling itself Just Label It released the results today of a survey it commissioned from The Mellman Group, a national pollster. The survey found that 91 percent of voters favor the labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

British Student Jailed For Racist Tweets About Collapsed Soccer Player

Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba is obscured by medical staff trying to resuscitate him after collapsing. His teammate Ryo Miyaichi, right, and Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe, center top, watch.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 6:09 am

A British student has been sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist tweets about a soccer player who collapsed on the pitch.

Liam Stacey pleaded guilty to "incitement to racial hatred," after he let loose a barrage of tweets that contained the n-word and crude sexual references. It all started earlier this month, when Fabrice Muamba, a soccer player, collapsed on the pitch and Stacey tweeted that he was dead, followed by "#Haha."

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It's All Politics
2:59 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Ex-Clinton Solicitor General, Colorado AG React To SCOTUS Arguments

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 4:12 pm

It was a question that seemed to be one of the most difficult for the current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., to answer persuasively, at least to the obvious satisfaction of the conservative justices: If the individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance was found constitutional, what would limit Congress from passing other laws requiring people to buy products from broccoli to cellphones?

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