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All Songs Considered
11:46 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Viking's Choice: This Song Is Literally For Throwing Stuff Out The Window

Be careful near that window, Have a Nice Life.
Courtesy of the artist

For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.

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Shots - Health News
11:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Health Exchange Enrollment By State, In 2 Charts

HHS

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:48 pm

Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.

Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.

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The Two-Way
11:32 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Mystery Bidder At French Auction Plans To Return Sacred Hopi Items

An anonymous bidder paid $530,000 for 24 Native American items that went on the block this week in Paris. The auction went ahead despite an appeal by the Hopi tribe to cancel the sale of the items it considers sacred. The U.S. Embassy asked for a delay, and the sale was challenged in court — unsuccessfully.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Earlier today, Sebelius announced an inquiry into the agency's launch of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov site.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:14 pm

"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."

Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'World Is Watching,' U.S. Diplomat Tells Ukraine

U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland offered food to pro-European Union activists as she and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, right, walked through Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday. She also offered food to some of the police nearby.
Andrew Kravchenko AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:39 am

While Ukrainian riot police have reportedly left Kiev's Independence Square, one of the United States' top diplomats says she has told President Viktor Yanukovych that "what happened last night, what has been happening in security terms here, is absolutely impermissible in a European state, in a democratic state."

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World
10:05 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Who Is The Next Mandela?

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:53 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, Pope Francis is Time magazine's person of the year for 2013. We'll talk about how the pope is changing both the Catholic Church and its relationship to the world. That's in a few minutes.

But first, mourning continues in South Africa for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela. Some 100 leaders and dignitaries from around the world attended a memorial service in Soweto yesterday. And U.S. President Barack Obama was among the many speakers.

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Faith Matters
10:05 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Is Pope Francis Really 'The People's Pope'?

Pope Francis greets his papal audience.
Marco Campagna

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:53 am

Time magazine has dubbed Pope Francis its Person of the Year, calling him "The People's Pope." This title comes weeks after he criticized aspects of the global economy and "unbridled consumerism" in a document called an apostolic exhortation. Host Michel Martin recently spoke with a group of practicing Catholics about how Pope Francis has inspired them in their faith.


Interview Highlights

Author Michael Sean Winters: What the pope's exhortation puts into focus

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Digital Life
10:05 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Civic Tech' Skips The Red Tape

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:53 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Maybe at some point, you've gotten upset about a political issue, and you decided to write your congressman or congresswoman. That used to mean you grabbed your pen, paper, an envelope, a stamp.

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Technology
10:05 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Kids Create Mobile Apps In the Classroom

Xavier Manning and Ciara Chase are students at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science. They stopped by NPR with their guidance counselor Carletta Hurt and teacher Patrick Gusman.
Davar Ardalan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 9:11 am

Tell Me More's social storytelling series is happening online using #NPRBlacksinTech. Since December 2nd, black tech innovators from all over the country have spent a day tweeting about their lives. The social media series is creating new storytelling opportunities that run parallel to what Tell Me More does every day on the radio.

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Law
9:46 am
Wed December 11, 2013

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:15 pm

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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The Two-Way
9:43 am
Wed December 11, 2013

How A Tweet On CBS' Mandela Misstep Sparked A Social Media Flare-Up

One more lesson on the power of social media:

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Lululemon Bets New Leaders Will Help It See Through Woes

Lululemon clothes at a store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:27 am

Yoga clothier Lululemon began the year with an embarrassing problem — pants that allowed way too much of women's bottoms to be seen through their sheer fabric.

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The Two-Way
9:13 am
Wed December 11, 2013

U.S. Suspends Some Aid To Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:53 pm

This story was updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

The U.S. government has suspended all non-lethal aid to the Western-backed military wing of the Syrian opposition.

The suspension, which was announced Wednesday, began on the weekend after Islamist rebel groups seized control of warehouses containing communications equipment and other aid items.

NPR's Deborah Amos, who is in Beirut, filed this story for our Newscast unit:

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The Salt
9:08 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Robots Could Help Farmers Rein In Fertilizer Pollution

Rowbot is designed to fit in between the rows of crops. Moving up and down each row, a fleet of 20 bots could fertilize and monitor the corn crops during the growing season.
Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:00 am

Lately, robots have been taking over all kinds of jobs that humans used to do on the farm — from thinning lettuce to harvesting spinach.

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The Two-Way
8:34 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Asiana Pilot Was 'Very Concerned' Before California Crash

The wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last July.
National Transportation Safety Board Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:07 am

The pilot of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet that crashed in July at San Francisco International Airport has told investigators he was "very concerned" about trying to land there, The Associated Press writes.

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Health Care
8:10 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Exchange Enrollment Growing But Still Short Of Forecasts

The Obama administration just released the latest sign-up numbers for its troubled health insurance exchange website. Enrollment picked up last month, after a disastrous start in October. Still, the number of people signing up for coverage is below the administration's original forecasts.

Strange News
8:10 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Toy-Gun-Toting Sock Puppet Can't Get Past The TSA

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Politics
8:04 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pensions Become Less Certain For Government Workers

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn smiles during the signing of the pension overhaul legislation bill on Dec. 5 in Chicago. Looking on from left are Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; Senate GOP leader Sen. Christine Radogno; Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville; Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 9:18 am

Federal workers have reason to be nervous. The budget agreement announced Tuesday — if it passes — would raise revenue by making employees contribute more toward their pensions.

It's part of a trend. Governments at all levels have been cutting back on pension benefits in recent years, in an attempt to fix funding problems caused by the recession and years of fiscal mismanagement.

In many cases, states and localities have made benefits less generous. But that has, for the most part, only affected newly hired workers.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

India's Supreme Court Restores Ban On Gay Sex

A child sitting on the shoulders of an Indian gay rights activist waves a rainbow-colored flag during a protest in New Delhi following a decision Wednesday by the country's top court that a colonial-era law criminalizing homosexuality will remain in effect.
Altaf Qadri AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:00 am

India's Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a landmark lower court ruling that decriminalized homosexual acts, in a decision that is being called a major setback to gay rights in the country.

At issue was an 1861 British colonial-era law that forbids "intercourse against the order of nature." Prosecutions under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code are rare, but are often used by police to harass gays and lesbians.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Fake' Sign Language Interpreter Marred Mandela Memorial

As President Obama and other world leaders spoke Tuesday in Johannesburg at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, a man stood nearby and appeared to be doing sign language interpretation. Many in the deaf community are outraged because the man appeared to be faking.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:52 am

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Shots - Health News
7:06 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Enrollment Jumps At HealthCare.gov, Though Totals Still Lag

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' shadow appeared behind the lectern as she spoke about the implementation of the federal health law in Detroit in November.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:56 am

Enrollment in the federal government's new health insurance exchange picked up sharply in November, but the number of people signing up for coverage still trails original forecasts. Officials from the Obama administration say they expect the pace of enrollments will continue to increase now that the insurance website is working more smoothly.

Users have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that begins in January.

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Politics
6:31 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sen. Murray On Budget Deal: A 'Compromise' With 'Smarter Cuts'

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced a bipartisan budget proposal Tuesday. For more details on the plan, Steve Inskeep speaks with Murray, who led her party in the negotiations.

The Two-Way
6:19 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pope Francis Is Person Of The Year, 'Time' Says

Time.com

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:02 am

"For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's 2013 Person of the Year."

The magazine adds that:

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Kitchen Window
5:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Breakfast-For-Dinner Shame Should Be Put To Bed

Deena Prichep for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:08 pm

A couple of years back, I was trying to help a friend come up with some quick and easy dinner plans. She was swamped at work, her husband was out of town, and her two young kids needed the usual amount of attention. I asked what she'd been cooking lately. She listed a handful of dishes — nothing fancy but certainly nothing to sniff at. Also, she admitted with some level of embarrassment, they'd been having a lot of breakfast for dinner.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Book News: Booksellers' Lawsuit Against Amazon, Publishers Dismissed

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
5:09 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:37 pm

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed December 11, 2013

As Mandela Lies In State, South Africa Says Goodbye

Graca Machel bids farewell to her husband, Nelson Mandela, whose body lay in state Wednesday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:13 am

Amid a solemn atmosphere, the body of Nelson Mandela lay in state Wednesday at an amphitheater in South Africa's capital of Pretoria, the exact spot where he was sworn in as the country's first black president in 1994, reconciling a land that had been torn by racial divisions for centuries.

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World
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Does Obama-Castro Handshake Signify Shifting Relations?

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Shortly before eulogizing Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Tuesday, President Obama shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro and set off much discussion about a possible shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. David Greene talks to Dan Restrepo, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former adviser to Obama on Latin America.

Politics
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Budget Proposal Is No 'Grand Bargain'

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

For years, there's been talk in Washington, D.C., about the "grand bargain" — a big deficit-reducing budget deal that rewrites the tax code and trims from the long-term costs of Medicare and Social Security. Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan announced what can only be described as a small bargain. But if it's approved by the House and Senate, it would avoid another government shutdown in January.

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