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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

$1.35 Billion In Losses Reported By Nevada's Major Casinos

Large casinos in Nevada are continuing their losing streak, reporting more than a billion dollars in losses for the most recent fiscal year. Here, a view of Paris Las Vegas, a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip.
John Gurzinski AFP/Getty Images

Nevada's big casinos are on a losing streak. For the fifth straight year, the state's largest casinos are reporting net losses – in this case, a total of $1.35 billion in the most recent fiscal year. That's the news from a report released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board Friday, which focuses on casinos that gross at least $1 million in gaming revenue.

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It's All Politics
5:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Will Bad Jobless Data Spur Action On Unemployment Insurance?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., cited the bad December jobless numbers as a reason Congress should extend federal unemployment insurance.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Just as the Senate seemed to descend into another round of partisan gridlock, this time over extending emergency jobless benefits, the arrival of a surprisingly weak December jobs report raised the pressure on Congress to act.

The question is whether news that the economy created a mere 74,000 jobs last month — far fewer than the 200,000 forecasters predicted — delivered enough of a jolt to Capitol Hill, where what seemed like bipartisan progress on the issue early in the week had reverted to partisan nastiness.

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Environment
5:19 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees

Tom Tiddens, supervisor of plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden, displays bark with beetle larvae.
David Schaper NPR

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Political Consultant Mary Matalin Plays Not My Job

George Long Photography

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:14 am

In September we played the Not My Job game with James Carville, a laconic, Cajun from Louisiana and lifelong Democrat. And now we play the game with his exact opposite — a high-intensity Chicagoan and lifelong Republican named Mary Matalin. The best part is: they're married.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Prediction

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:14 am

Transcript

CARL KASELL: Now panel, how will the mayor of Fort Lee exact revenge on Chris Christie? Adam Felber?

ADAM FELBER: It's simple. He'll just send him an extremely attractive realistic-looking ceramic brisket.

(LAUGHTER)

FELBER: I broke another tooth.

PETER SAGAL, HOST: Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Prior to engaging in a fun and friendly round of hide and seek, the mayor of Fort Lee will block the shipment of olive oil.

(LAUGHTER)

HOST: And Charlie Pierce.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Lightning Fill In The Blank

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:14 am

Transcript

PETER SAGAL, HOST: Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can, each correct answer now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?

CARL KASELL: We have a tie for first place, Peter. Adam Felber and Charlie Pierce each has three points. Paula Poundstone has two.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Limericks

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:14 am

Transcript

CARL KASELL: Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank, but first it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the contact us link on our website waitwait.npr.org. There you can find out about attending our weekly live shows right here at the Chase Bank Auditorium and our upcoming shows at the University of Chicago January 30th and in Phoenix Arizona on February 13th. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

N.J. Bridge Scandal: New Emails And Documents Are Released

Newly released documents depict officials discussing the controversial September closure of several lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. Here, the New Jersey side of the bridge, which leads to New York City, is seen Thursday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

A New Jersey State Assembly committee released a trove of documents Friday that shed more light on the bridge lane-closure scandal that is embroiling Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration. The panel is seeking details on what's seen as an act of political retribution, which targeted the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. It obtained the documents under a subpoena.

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This Week's Must Read
4:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

American Beer Fans, Praise The Heavens: A Trappist Brewery In U.S.

Spencer Trappist Ale, made by the first official Trappist brewery outside Europe, will go on sale next week in Massachusetts.
Nick Hiller The Spencer Brewery

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:27 pm

The town of Spencer, in central Massachusetts, isn't well known for ... well, anything, really. But it's about to become internationally famous — at least in beer-drinking circles.

Spencer is home to St. Joseph's Abbey, where robed monks are busy brewing the first American Trappist beer. If all goes as planned, Spencer Trappist Ale will be available in Massachusetts retail stores by the middle of next week.

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Movie Interviews
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Cate Blanchett Finds Humor In The Painfully Absurd

Laugh Riot: Blanchett, pictured here at a Hollywood screening of Blue Jasmine on Jan. 9, tells NPR's Robert Siegel that she read the film as a black comedy. It wasn't until three weeks into filming that director Woody Allen told her it was meant to be a serious drama.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

The actress Cate Blanchett is in the States this week; it's summer vacation time for her kids in Australia, where she and her husband are artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.

It's also awards season, and Blanchett makes a compelling claim for one: She plays the title role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, for which she's earned near-unanimous acclaim.

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Politics
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Tech Companies 'Gob-Smacked' To Find NSA Collecting Data

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Changes are coming soon to the way the National Security Agency gathers information about people all over the globe. President Obama is slated to speak next Friday about what action he'll take to revamp the NSA surveillance programs, which were revealed in news leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The president has been meeting with stakeholders for several months, including executives from some of the biggest technology firms.

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Commentary
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Week In Politics: Christie Scandal & The War On Poverty

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's time now for our weekly political talk with columnists David Brooks of the New York Times and E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution. Hello to both of you.

DAVID BROOKS: Hello.

E.J. DIONNE: Great to be with you.

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Politics
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

In Christie Scandal, A Question Remains: Who Was The Target?

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's lengthy mea culpa has not put an end to the scandal surrounding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. He continues to face the fallout from a scandal that has received national coverage.

Politics
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Minimum Wage Fight Takes Shape Across The Map

Trish Gallagher holds a sign for passing motorists to read during a demonstration in support of a higher minimum wage near a Burger King in Boston on Dec. 5. Massachusetts is one of several states considering a minimum wage ballot measure.
BRIAN SNYDER Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

You never know where you might find a volunteer with a clipboard looking for signatures trying to get a voter referendum on the local ballot – like Ed Flanagan in the town of North Pole, Alaska.

"I'm out in what's called the North Pole transfer station. This facility has about 50 metal dumpsters arranged in a fenced area. Folks back up and throw their household trash in there. This is a very busy place," he says.

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Planet Money
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

How A Community Bank Tripped On Footnote 1,861 Of The Volcker Rule

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:05 am

When people talk about the Volcker Rule, they often mention JPMorgan Chase, the giant bank where a trader recently made a bad bet that lost $6 billion. The Volcker Rule is supposed to put an end to that sort of thing, by prohibiting banks from trading with their own money.

But some banks that are very, very different from JPMorgan Chase are struggling with an obscure provision in the rule. Specifically, footnote 1,861, which bars banks from investing in something called trust-preferred securities — a rather obscure investment favored by lots of small, community banks invest

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Economy
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

For Target, Holiday Woes Are Worse Than Expected

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The retail giant Target delivered more bad news today. The company was the victim of a massive security breach before Christmas, and today it announced that that cyber-attack was much worse than originally reported. NPR's Sonari Glinton explains.

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Economy
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

December Jobs Report Disappoints

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Is it a bad economy or just bad data? That's the question today after a new round of disappointing employment numbers. The government reported the economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, well below expectations. The other surprise, the unemployment rate still dropped.

NPR's John Ydstie spent the day talking with economists about the report, and many say they just don't believe it.

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs

This composite image shows new details of the aftermath of a massive star that exploded and was visible from Earth over 1,000 years ago.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center NASA

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Alicia Soderberg studies the death of stars. Often, these final moments come as violent explosions known as supernovae. They're spectacular events, but catching one as it unfolds can be tricky.

"You have to be in the right place at the right time, and often we're not," says the professor in Harvard's astronomy department. "So all you can do is do a stellar autopsy and go back and try to pick up the pieces and try to figure out what happened."

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Parallels
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

An Execution In North Korea Has A Chilling Effect In China

The Chinese and North Korean flags are seen attached to a railing as trucks carrying Chinese-made goods cross into North Korea on the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge at the Chinese border town of Dandong on Dec. 18, 2013. Ties between the two longtime allies are strained after the execution of the North Korean official in charge of economic relations with China.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:48 pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shocked the world last month when he accused his uncle and mentor of treason and had Jang Song Thaek executed.

The consequences of that purge are reaching beyond North Korea's border. Jang had been in charge of trade with China, and his death has had a chilling effect on ties with North Korea's neighbor and longtime ally.

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U.S.
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Marijuana 'Hash Oil' Explodes In Popularity, And Kitchens

Jim Andersen displays butane hash oil at a marijuana growing facility in Seattle in April 2013. The state's licensed producers will be required to use professional-grade equipment when making the extracts.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

If you think the recent liberalization of marijuana laws around the country is only about smoking leaves and buds, think again. For users younger than 25, "hash oil" is where it's really at. This concentrated resin of marijuana is creating new public safety headaches — even in places where it's legal.

There have always been forms of the substance, but the resins available today are much stronger than in years past. That's due in part to the expertise developed by medical marijuana producers, who have learned how to make more potent versions of the oil.

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Sports
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Story Of The Boston Marathon Bombing, As Told On Skates

Ross Miner skates during the men's short program at the 2013 Skate Canada International last year. He hopes to qualify for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Dave Sandford Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Ross Miner is among those competing for a spot on the U.S. Men's figure skating team Friday night in Boston. He is a hometown favorite who is bringing some local flavor to his performance — he's going to tell the story of last year's Boston Marathon bombing.

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Around the Nation
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Chemical Spill In West Virginia Leads To State Of Emergency

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in nine counties because of water contamination. Approximately 300,000 people have been affected as a chemical has leached into the water supply.

Law
3:01 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

U.S. Government Will Recognize Same-Sex Marriage In Utah

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 5:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Department of Justice said today it will recognize more than a thousand same-sex marriages that took place in Utah recently. The announcement comes despite the state's questions about their validity. Utah is appealing an earlier court ruling that allowed the unions. From member station KUER in Salt Lake City, Terry Gildea has this report.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: News of the federal government's recognition of gay married couples in Utah didn't change the minds of state officials.

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Shots - Health News
1:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Half Of A Drug's Power Comes From Thinking It Will Work

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:37 pm

When you take a pill, you and your doctor hope it will work — and that helps it work.

That's not a new idea. But now researchers say they know just how much of a drug's effect comes from the patient's expectation: at least half.

When patients in the midst of a migraine attack took a dummy pill they thought was a widely used migraine drug, it reduced their pain roughly as much as when they took the real drug thinking it was a placebo.

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Business
1:20 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

What's Behind The Drop In Unemployment

Shoppers make a purchase at an outlet mall in Los Angeles. Employers added 55,000 jobs in the retail sector in December.
Gus Ruelas Reuters/Landov

Whether you had a job or were looking for one, December was a gloomy month.

The Labor Department said Friday that for December, employers added only 74,000 jobs — about a third as many as most economists had been predicting. That was the lowest level of job creation in three years — not exactly the news that 10.4 million job seekers wanted to hear.

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All Tech Considered
1:11 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Tech Week That Was: CES, T-Mobile CEO And Predictions For 2014

John Legere, CEO and president of T-Mobile USA, crashed rival AT&T's Consumer Electronics Show party and won a slew of free publicity as a result.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:12 pm

It's 2014 and we're back to full team strength, which means we've returned with your guide to the week's previous tech coverage on NPR (in case you missed it) and from our friends at what seems like an ever-growing crop of tech journalism organizations.

ICYMI

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Song Travels
12:37 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

John Proulx On 'Song Travels'

John Proulx.
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist, pianist and composer John Proulx has a voice that recalls another great all-around musician, the late Chet Baker.

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Interviews
12:30 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Julian Fellowes On The Rules Of 'Downton'

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey.
WGBH/PBS

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 11, 2012.

Julian Fellowes may be the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford, but the English screenwriter, director and novelist says his background "was much more ordinary than the newspapers have made it." What he means is that he did not grow up with servants waiting on him hand and foot, as people have seen done for the Crawley family on Downton Abbey, the hit television series Fellowes created.

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Remembrances
12:26 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Remembering Activist Poet Amiri Baraka

Playwright, poet and activist LeRoi Jones on June 30, 1964. Jones later changed his name to Amiri Baraka.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:48 pm

The influential and controversial poet, playwright and essayist Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, was one of the key black literary voices of the 1960s. The political and social views that inspired his writing changed over the years, from his bohemian days as a young man in Greenwich Village, to black nationalism and later years as a Marxist.

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