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Fresh Air Weekend
9:08 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Fresh Air Weekend: Critics' Picks For 2012

Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel... is Ken Tucker's pick for best album of 2012.
Dan Monick

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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Favorite Sessions
6:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

KCRW Presents: Robert Glasper Experiment

KCRW

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:17 pm

The Robert Glasper Experiment makes a unique mix of jazz, soul and R&B. It's impossible to classify as one particular genre, but as a sound, it's as eclectic and different as it is cohesive and round. Watch the group (with Robert Glasper on keys) perform "Lift Off" from Black Radio, released earlier this year.

Enjoy the full performance from KCRW here.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Love Lists? We've Got 'Em, For Better & Worse

The mysterious, most-interesting, super-sexy North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (And if you believe all that, you may be reading too many reports from Chinese media.)
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 3:58 pm

For those inclined toward nostalgia, forgetfulness or with a fondness for accounting, it's the season of The Lists: The excellent and execrable, winners and losers, scoundrels and heroes, the hot and the not.

We've searched through such lists so that, as they say, you don't have to. Here are 21, in no particular order, that touch on some of the outliers and prognostications of our times.

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Business
4:13 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Facebook, Apple Part Of Big Year For Business News

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Any new member of Congress faces a steep climb to get up to speed on the economic challenges facing the U.S. over the next 12 months. Some of the loudest demands for congressional attention will no doubt come from America's CEOs and business leaders because while the recovery has been trudging along in the right direction, some of America's largest companies and corporations have not distinguished themselves over the last year.

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History
4:13 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Virtually Anyone Can See The Dead Sea Scrolls Now

A fragment of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls is laid out at a laboratory in Jerusalem. More than 60 years after their discovery, 5,000 images of the ancient scrolls are now online.
Uriel Sinai Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

This week, an ancient and largely inaccessible treasure was opened to everyone. Now, anyone with access to a computer can look at the oldest Bible known to humankind.

Thousands of high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls were posted online this week in a partnership between Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority. The online archive, dating back to the first century B.C., includes portions of the Ten Commandments and the Book of Genesis.

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Politics
4:13 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Ruiz Part Of The New Class Of A Diverse Congress

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer in for Scott Simon.

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Movie Interviews
4:12 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Matt Damon On His Promising New Film

Steve (Matt Damon), a salesman for a large oil company, visits a small town in which he hopes to buy drilling rights.
Scott Green Focus Features

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Matt Damon has played Jason Bourne, the brainwashed assassin. He won an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck. And now he's returned to the writer's chair for his latest film — Promised Land.

Damon plays Steve Butler, a salesman who comes to a small Pennsylvania town to sell the local farmers on allowing his company to drill on their land for natural gas using a controversial process known as fracking.

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NPR Story
4:12 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Recalling Battles Of Congress Past

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

There is nothing new about the Congress coming to a hostile halt at a critical moment - fussing and fuming, holding impromptu news conferences at the Ohio Clock - that's a nearly 200-year-old timepiece that counts the hours outside the Senate Chamber - or representatives stopping to chat in the beautiful Rayburn reception room outside the House with George Washington looking disapprovingly down from his portrait.

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NPR Story
4:12 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Looking Ahead At Immigration Reform In 2013

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama says immigration reform will be a priority for the White House early next year. The last time Congress tried to tackle the divisive issue it failed. In the meantime, states have become the center of debate following Arizona's lead in passing their own strict laws intended to curtail illegal immigration. NPR's Debbie Elliott has been following the issue. She joins us now. Good morning, Debbie.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Good morning.

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NPR Story
4:12 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This last weekend of the year, we're looking back on some of the best books of 2012. In this encore broadcast, Glen Weldon highlights two graphic novels from the past year, starting with one called "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier.

GLEN WELDON: "Drama" is a young adult graphic novel about a middle-school girl named Callie...

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL #1: (as Callie) What's up?

WELDON: ...who is a complete theater nerd.

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The Record
3:31 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Reflecting On EMI, An Industry Giant Felled In 2012

The London headquarters of EMI, whose sale this year brought the number of major labels from four to three.
Simon Dawson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

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It's All Politics
3:22 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Congressional Leaders Hopeful As Fiscal Cliff Deadline Nears

House Speaker John Boehner arrives at the White House on Friday for talks with President Obama and congressional leaders aimed at avoiding the "fiscal cliff."
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

Even though the top four congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hourlong encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the tone of the discussion to head off across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts as "candid." An aide to House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that noted that the group agreed the next step should be the Senate's — a tacit acknowledgement that Boehner is no longer the lead negotiator with President Obama.

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Europe
3:22 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

A man wears a costume reading "Dad" and "Mom" during a demonstration against gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in Nice, France, in October.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 6:14 pm

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

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It's All Politics
3:21 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Obama: 'The American People Are Watching What We Do Here'

"I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time," the president said after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Friday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

We have reached the last weekend of the year, and Washington still has not reached a deal to avert the big tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.

President Obama met with top congressional leaders at the White House on Friday afternoon: John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi from the House, and Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell from the Senate.

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The Two-Way
3:19 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Marvel Kills Peter Parker, But Spider-Man Will Live On (Sort Of)

The Amazing Spider-Man #700 is the final issue of the series.
AP/Marvel Comics

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:47 pm

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with Marvel Comics' web-slinging, wise-cracking superhero. Spider-Man is no more. Well, to be more precise, Peter Parker is no more.

In the 700th and final issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, writer Dan Slott's controversial story saw Spider-Man's mind switched with that of his dying arch-foe Dr. Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus. The twist is that with his final effort, Spidey was able to give all of his memories and morals to his body-stealing enemy.

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Music Interviews
12:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Johnny Cash's Boyhood Home Tells The Story Of A Town

The Cash family house today.
Michael Hibblen

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 3:38 pm

It's been almost a decade since Johnny Cash died, but fans still travel from around the world to see the place the music legend often described as key to his development: his boyhood home in the eastern Arkansas town of Dyess. The small house will soon serve as a museum — not only as a tribute to Johnny Cash, but also to tell the history of the town.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Opening Panel Round

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Our panelists answer questions about politics throughout history: The Number One Rule of Legislating.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Tippecanoe And Carl, Too

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Carl reads political slogans, our panelists identify which ones are real and which ones we just made up.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
11:43 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Bluff The Listener

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:08 am

Our panelists tell us three stories of political adversaries coming together, only one of which is true.

It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

New Immigration Battle: Driver's Licenses

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:19 pm

In a sign of growing opposition to President Obama's immigration policy, Iowa has become the latest state to deny driver's licenses to young illegal immigrants who receive deferments from deportation.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

President And Congress Extend FISA Wiretapping Act To 2017 [Updated]

National Intelligence Director James Clapper leaves the Capitol after briefing members of Congress earlier this month. The Senate voted Friday to extend the FISA Amendments Act to 2017, granting federal agencies wide surveillance powers.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 4:16 pm

The FISA Amendments Act has been approved for another five years, as the Senate voted to renew the law that grants the government wide surveillance authority. President Obama has said he intends to sign the measure, which senators approved by a 73-23 margin Friday morning. It had already won approval in the House.

Update at 6:10 p.m. Dec. 31: Obama signs FISA extension.

The president signed the FISA extension Sunday. Our original post continues:

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Victim Of Brutal Rape In India Dies In Singapore Hospital

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:51 pm

A woman who survived a brutal gang-rape on a bus in India has died, according to reports. Earlier Friday, hospital officials in Singapore, where the 23-year-old student was being treated, had warned that her condition was worsening.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
2:45 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Storm Refugees Struggle To Rebound In Times Square

Natisha Laws near her hotel in the middle of Times Square. She and her family were placed at the DoubleTree in mid-November by FEMA. They lost their rental apartment during Superstorm Sandy and have been struggling to recover.
Cindy Rodriguez for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The DoubleTree Hotel sits on one of the loudest and glitziest corners of Times Square. It's where enamored 9-year-old Isaiah Douglas has been staying with his mom, dad and little sister.

"It has been a great experience," Isaiah says. But the family isn't there on vacation.

Their story emerges in an elevator as a hotel guest strikes up a friendly conversation with Isaiah's mom, Natisha Laws.

"Where are you from?" the tourist asks.

"I'm from here. I'm from New York. We're with FEMA because of the Hurricane Sandy."

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

California Missions Undergo Upgrades To Resist Quakes

Scaffolding is seen at the basilica at a mission in Carmel, Calif., a sign of its multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit.
Krista Almanzan for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

At California's nearly two dozen Spanish missions, conversion these days isn't just about religion; it's also about seismic retrofitting. That's because the missions — which date to the late 1700s, when Spain's king sent Franciscan missionaries to convert natives to Christianity — would not withstand a major earthquake.

At a mission in Carmel, a 220-year-old basilica is in the middle of an earthquake retrofit. Workers removed the structure's red tile roof and replaced it with scaffolding and a protective plastic.

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Economy
2:38 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Reading The Economic Tea Leaves For 2013

A housing revival will be key to an economic recovery in 2013, analysts say.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The U.S. economy was a bit of a disappointment in 2012. During the early months of the year, job creation was surprisingly strong, but by the end of the year, uncertainty about the election and the "fiscal cliff" slowed the economy's forward motion. So will 2013 look any better?

Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics says that while Washington likely will steer us away from the fiscal cliff at the last minute, some elements of the deal will be a drag on the economy early in 2013.

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Analysis
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Week In Politics: Fiscal Cliff, Immigration Reform

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Audie Cornish talks to regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of The New York Times.

Politics
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Obama Meets With Congressional Leaders On Fiscal Cliff

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about efforts to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect at the beginning of the year.

U.S.
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Is It Morally Wrong For U.S. To Export Coal?

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

The Seattle area is seeing widespread, well-organized opposition to an export industry: coal. Thousands of people have turned out to express their disgust with a plan to build export terminals on Puget Sound to ship American coal to Asia. Opponents cite noise, traffic delays, coal dust and global warming.

Remembrances
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Kincannon: Painting A More Accurate Portrait Of America

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

C. Louis Kincannon, the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, died of cancer Dec. 15 at age 72. Kincannon brought ethnic and linguistic diversity to his agency. We remember him with Tom Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director.

The Salt
2:18 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

One Lunch Lady's Cafeteria Conversion

Kathy Del Tonto (far right) participates in a class that teaches school cafeteria workers how to prepare meals from scratch.
LiveWell Colorado

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:02 pm

Kathy Del Tonto started cooking school food 30 years ago in the Montrose school district at the foot of Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Back then, the cafeteria workers made everything from scratch.

"My first kitchen that I managed was a little country school out south of town, and we made our own ketchup and everything," she says.

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