Around the Nation
2:58 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

A Tough Year For Unions, With Few Bright Spots Ahead

Despite huge protests at Michigan's state capitol building in Lansing, Republican lawmakers in the state made the union stronghold the 24th right-to-work state in the country.
Rebecca Cook Reuters via Landov

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 3:55 pm

This year was a tough one for organized labor.

In June, Scott Walker — the Wisconsin governor who banned collective bargaining for public employee unions — survived a recall election.

And, despite huge protests in Michigan, the union stronghold became the 24th right-to-work state, banning unions from requiring workers to sign up. That came just 10 months after Indiana passed a similar law.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Debate: Why The (Very) Few Rule The Many In Congress

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:15 pm

In the final hours of the latest budget crisis in Washington, several salient facts are increasingly clear.

First, the leaders of the two parties in the Senate might still put together a negotiated deal that would avert the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The leaders would start with President Obama's top priorities, modify them to accommodate Republican preferences, throw in some measures that are GOP priorities and take the package to the floor.

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It's All Politics
1:10 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

McConnell Appeals To Biden To Break Through Fiscal Cliff Logjam

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., walks to a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats at the Capitol on Sunday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:36 pm

Senate negotiators failed to reach a deal Sunday on averting the "fiscal cliff," with the chamber adjourning for the night and only one day remaining before a package of spending cuts and tax increases automatically kicks in.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will go back in session at 11 a.m. ET Monday. It's at least theoretically possible that negotiators might reach a deal and the Senate will have a package to vote on when it reconvenes Monday, meaning the measure could go to the House — where it may or may not come to the floor for a vote.

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Books
11:59 am
Sun December 30, 2012

WORDS ON A WIRE: Benjamin Alire Saenz (extended)


Daniel interviews his co-host, Benjamin Alire Saenz, whose latest collection of stories is entitled "Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club."  Ben talks about how he came to write these stories, and why the Kentucky Club, a famous bar in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, plays a part in each story. 


In this exclusive online extended interview, Ben talks a little more about the Kentucky Club and Juarez, and how they were central to the border culture prior to the recent drug wars in Mexico.


He also talks about some of the stories in the collection and why they often touch upon the subject of addiction.  Ben closes out the interview by reading an excerpt from one of the stories in the collection, "The Hurting Game."


Aired Dec. 30, 2012.

Books
11:59 am
Sun December 30, 2012

WORDS ON A WIRE: Benjamin Alire Saenz


Daniel interviews his co-host, Benjamin Alire Saenz, whose latest collection of stories is entitled "Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club."  Ben talks about how he came to write these stories, and why the Kentucky Club, a famous bar in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, plays a part in each story.  He also talks about some of the stories in the collection and why they often touch upon the subject of addiction.  Ben closes out the interview by reading an excerpt from one of the stories in the collection, "The Hurting Game."


For this week's Poem of the Week, Daniel reads "The Joy of Writing" by Wislawa Szymborska.


Aired Dec. 30, 2012.

Music
10:03 am
Sun December 30, 2012

It's Never Early To Think About 2013's Best Music

Radiohead's Thom Yorke leads Atoms for Peace, his supergroup with Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 10:22 am

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It's All Politics
8:57 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Obama 'Modestly Optimistic' On Cliff Deal; 'He Won,' Says Graham

President Obama returned early from his holiday in Hawaii on Thursday for discussions on the "fiscal cliff."
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 10:48 am

President Obama went on the air to levy pressure on Congress Sunday as Senate leaders worked to negotiate a deal to avert the tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

"I was modestly optimistic yesterday, but we don't yet see an agreement," Obama said in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press taped on Saturday. "Now the pressure's on Congress to produce."

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Kee Facts: A Few Things You Didn't Know
5:50 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Close The Year Out With Some Best-Selling Last Words

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 3:27 pm

People often make lists of the greatest opening lines in fiction, but closing lines really appeal to me. They're your final moments with a book and can help you remember and treasure it forever.

The last weekend of the year seems an appropriate time to consider the final words of our favorite novels and short stories. Here are some that I'm especially fond of:

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

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Music News
4:45 am
Sun December 30, 2012

The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit'

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 10:45 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. The song "Strange Fruit" has been recorded by many musicians, but it belongs to Billie Holiday. She made it famous but she did not write it. The man who did did not have a big career as a songwriter but he did have an amazing life story, as NPR's Elizabeth Blair tells us.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: The man is Abel Meeropol and he really has two stories. They both begin at a public high school in the Bronx.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHATTER)

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Business
4:45 am
Sun December 30, 2012

Housing Made A Big Turnaround In 2012

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 10:45 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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