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5:57 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Showdown Over The Shutdown

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Congress needs to approve a budget by midnight Monday — at which point the U.S. government is set to shut down. Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon talks with Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review about the GOP and looming potential government shutdown.

Simon Says
5:57 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Dr. Seuss Suited For The Senate; Shakespeare, Not So Much

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, read from Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss during a 21-hour talking protest on the Senate floor.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is an educated man. But like a lot of well-educated people who run for office, you might not detect it by the quotations he deployed over his 21 hours holding the floor of the U.S. Senate.

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Africa
5:57 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Sense Of Foreboding Lingers After Mall Bombing

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:28 am

Kenyans are feeling helpless a week after gunmen stormed a Nairobi mall in a carefully orchestrated terrorist attack. NPR's Gregory Warner looks at what we now know about those terrorists, including claims that a British woman was among the attackers.

Africa
5:57 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Al-Shabab Shifts Focus From Territory To Terrorism

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:05 pm

Al-Shabab has been around for years as a militia group fighting for territory in Somalia.

When al-Shabab militants, dressed in casual clothes, turned up in a ritzy shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last weekend and gunned down men, women and children, the group shifted from an insurgent movement to a terrorist organization.

"A week ago, al-Shabab wasn't in the news," says Bruce Hoffman, a a terrorism expert at Georgetown University and the Rand Corporation. "Arguably, outside of Somalia, no one really cared about them."

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Birch For Breakfast? Meet Maple Syrup's Long-Lost Cousins

Beyond maple: Sap drips from a pine tree. Around the nation, producers are making syrup from the sap of pine, birch, even black walnut trees.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:17 pm

Americans have a longstanding love affair with maple syrup. According to the USDA, production of the sticky stuff in the United States totaled 3.25 million gallons this year. However, it isn't the only tree syrup that's available to drizzle on your short stack or sweeten your latte.

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Author Interviews
4:05 am
Sat September 28, 2013

On Eliot's 125th, His 'Waste Land' Hasn't Lost Its Glamour

American-born British poet and playwright T.S. Eliot received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.
Chris Bacon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 7:55 am

What do you get a Nobel Prize-winning poet for his birthday?

The poet, in this case, is T.S. Eliot, and this year he would have turned the intimidating age of 125. It's a tough question, but New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon has got an answer: a new re-issue of the first edition of Eliot's groundbreaking poem, The Waste Land.

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Author Interviews
3:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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Music News
3:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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Poetry
3:24 am
Sat September 28, 2013

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
3:21 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Not My Job: Consultant James Carville Gets Quizzed On Couples

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 12:18 pm

James Carville is a Democratic political consultant, a TV pundit, and one half of the most famous mixed marriage in the country — his wife is Republican consultant Mary Matalin.

We've invited him to play a game called "You're like two peas in a pod!" Three questions about freakishly similar couples.

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It's All Politics
1:44 am
Sat September 28, 2013

In Washington's Fiscal Tango, Obama's Lacking A Dance Partner

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Largo, Md. In the latest fiscal fight with Republicans, the president is lacking a partner to make a deal with — or even to vilify.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Top White House aides constantly refer to a "civil war" in the Republican Party.

They sometimes use the phrase with near delight, reveling in the tensions that threaten to pull apart the GOP. But for President Obama, the divided opposition creates a major problem: He has neither a partner to cut a deal with nor a high-profile adversary to vilify.

That situation stands in stark contrast to previous fiscal standoffs.

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Politics
1:43 am
Sat September 28, 2013

With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, express frustration on Friday after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of language crafted by House Republicans to defund Obamacare.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 1:21 pm

As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.

Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?

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It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: Obama Says 'Gears Of Our Economy' At Risk

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:25 pm

Friday's highlights:

As expected, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed its own version of a short-term spending bill. It's the version the House approved last week, minus language that would defund Obamacare. That effectively tossed the ball back to the Republican-controlled House.

And President Obama warned House Republicans to avoid the twin disruptions of a government shutdown (at midnight Monday) and a debt default (in mid-October).

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The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

U.N. Ambassador: U.S. Got What It Sought With Syria Resolution

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:31 pm

In an interview with All Things Considered's Robert Siegel, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says the U.S. got what it sought in a U.N. draft resolution that calls for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons or face "consequences."

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Shutdown Politics, Bill Clinton-Style

President Clinton shakes hands with House Speaker Newt Gingrich prior to giving his State of the Union address in January 1996.
Denis Paquin AP

If the government shuts down on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be temporarily forced out of their jobs — and we will almost certainly begin to hear a few of their stories soon after.

On NPR's Tell Me More Friday, Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor, reminded us of a Social Security Administration worker, Richard Dean, who was laid off during the 1995-96 government shutdown and thrust into the forefront of the budget debate by President Bill Clinton.

What made his story unique?

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Ex-U.S. Army Sniper Instructor Nabbed In Thai 'Hit Squad' Sting

Joseph Manuel Hunter (center) is escorted by Thai police commandos to Police Aviation Division after being arrested, in Bangkok on Thursday.
Sakchai Lalit Associated Press

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm

Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.

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Movie Reviews
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

'Don Jon': Smooth Move There, Mr. Gordon-Levitt

Wonder where he gets that: Gordon-Levitt's Jon, looking a lot like a chip off the old block (Tony Danza).
Relativity Media

Once a child actor on TV, then an indie sensation, then an honest-to-God movie star going head-to-head with the likes of Bruce Willis in Looper and Leo DiCaprio in Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt hardly needs to burnish his LinkedIn resume at this point. But that's not kept him from adding a couple of skills — writing and directing — with his latest picture.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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Economy
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Is The Fed Chair Succession Too Politicized?

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

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Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Week In Politics: Shutdown Showdown, Obama At The UN And Iran

Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and Ramesh Ponnuru of The National Review magazine. They discuss Congressional wrangling over a continuing resolution to stave off a government shutdown, President Obama's speech at the UN and U.S.-Iranian nuclear negotiations.

Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Senate OKs Stopgap Spending Bill, Leaving Obamacare Intact

Tea Party-backed Republican senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee failed to block the Senate from removing language defunding Obamacare from a stopgap spending bill. Democrats proceeded to replace the House spending bill that took away money for Obamacare with their own version that funds the government through Nov. 15, but leaves the Affordable Care Act alone. A federal government shutdown starts Tuesday if both chambers don't agree on a spending plan by then.

Your Money
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Nixed Flood Insurance Subsidy Drowns Coastal Home Values

In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.

Sports
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Cuban Athletes Can Finally Go Pro (Outside Of Cuba)

For the first time in over 50 years, Cuba is letting its athletes sign professional contracts in other countries. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Robert Siegel about the historic announcement.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Amb. Power: Security Council Draft Plan On Syria Has Teeth

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:22 pm

The United Nations Security Council is considering a legally binding resolution that would require the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons.

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the U.S. is getting what it wants in the Security Council's draft plan, which calls for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons or face consequences.

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Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Aid Groups Say Relief Should Be Part Of UN Deal On Syria

UN Security Council diplomats are working on a resolution that focuses on ridding Syria of chemical weapons. Aid groups want the UN to go further and help them open up routes to get desperately needed assistance to Syrians uprooted by the civil war. They say the paralysis on the security council has had a real costs on the ground and has added to donor fatigue.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Obama Speaks To Iranian President Rouhani

In a press conference Wednesday, President Obama said he had spoken with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by telephone, the first such contact between the leaders of the two nations since 1979.

Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Gaza Strip Proves Uneven Refuge For Syrian Refugees

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:48 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some two million Syrians have fled the war in their homeland. Most have sought refuge in neighboring states - Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. But some have gone farther afield to a place few would consider a safe haven, the Gaza Strip. Emily Harris has that story.

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Middle East
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Egypt Foreign Minister: Elections And Constitution By Spring

Robert Siegel speaks with former Egyptian ambassador to the U.S. and the current foreign minister for Egypt's interim government, Nabil Fahmy, about some of the crises facing his country.

Around the Nation
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Report To Detail What Led To Deaths Of 19 Ariz. Firefighters

In Arizona, the state Forestry Division will release its official report Saturday regarding the the Yarnell Hill fire, where 19 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed. The deaths shook firefighters across the country. They and others hope the report addresses problems they see in current firefighting policies.

Movie Interviews
2:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

A Brutal Movie From China, Ripped From The Headlines

In one of the four intertwining storylines of the brutal Chinese drama A Touch of Sin, a young receptionist (Zhao Tao) must resort to violence to defend herself.
Kino Lorber

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:29 pm

If you want to see modern Chinese life at its darkest, consider A Touch of Sin.

The film is a series of loosely knit vignettes that revolve around themes of violence, greed, sex, power and crime. And there's nothing subtle about the imagery.

In one scene, a corrupt businessman tries to force a receptionist at a massage parlor to have sex with him by beating her with wads of cash — until she stabs him to death.

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