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Around the Nation
1:07 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'The Watchers' Have Had Their Eyes On Us For Years

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.

In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Wanna Be A Rock Star? NASA Needs Help Tracking Asteroids

Actor Bruce Willis appears on the surface of an asteroid in a scene from the movie Armageddon.
Frank Masi AP

It won't be quite like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but maybe you'll feel just as much a hero.

The White House and NASA are seeking the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could someday smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Fed Leaves Interest Rates And Bond Purchase Plan Untouched

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 1:57 pm

The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.

Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today:

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All Songs Considered
12:31 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Viking's Choice: True Widow Wants To Make Your Summer A Bummer

True Widow.
Allison Smith Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:30 pm

Slow and steady wins the race, but sometimes, as in life, you need a moody sidekick to get you through it. (Or maybe that's just Daria.) Over the course of three mid-tempo albums, True Widow's stoner-rock and shoegaze mix (dubbed "stonegaze," of course) trudges with back-breaking heft. It's actually perfect music for hiking — tough and determined, yet as hypnotic as the rhythmic crunch of dead leaves beneath your feet.

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Country Singer Slim Whitman, Known For His Yodel, Dies

Slim Whitman arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1976.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

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The Two-Way
12:24 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

'Suffering On A Huge Scale': World Refugee Numbers Swell

Afghan refugee children collect items of use from a pile of garbage on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan.
Muhammed Muheisen AP

The United Nations Refugee Commission says more than 45.2 million people were in "situations of displacement" around the world as of last year — the most since 1994.

A report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 15.4 million refugees in other countries, 937,000 people seeking political asylum and 28.8 million people forced out of their homes but still inside their own countries.

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Politics
11:41 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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Business
11:36 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Will Work For Free? The Future Of The Unpaid Internship

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Oops. Wrong Birth Year Fixed On NYC Mayor Koch's Tombstone

Look closely: Ed Koch's tombstone had the wrong birth date. It's fixed now, but the error had the late New York City mayor born in 1942, rather than 1924.
Andrew Savulich NY Daily News via Getty Images

"You could call it a 'grave' mistake," says WNBC-TV of New York City.

The tombstone of Edward I. Koch, the city's colorful, three-term mayor who died in February, listed an incorrect birth date for him. Instead of showing Dec. 12, 1924, the year mistakenly read 1942 — until yesterday.

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The Salt
11:01 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Women And Children Caught In Middle Of Potato War

Fresh white spuds aren't allowed in a government supplemental nutrition program for women and children because, unlike other fruits and vegetables, potatoes aren't lacking in the typical diet.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.

Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.

According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.

Huh?

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The Two-Way
11:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

FBI Director Says Agency Is Using Drones Over The U.S.

A Predator drone
General Atomics Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:55 pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is using drones on United States soil for surveillance purposes, the agency's director, Robert Mueller, told a Senate committee today.

"Our footprint is very small, and we have very few and of limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use," said Mueller , answering a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Mueller, who was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said they were used in a "very, very minimal way and very seldom."

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Fine Art
10:40 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Art Of Life: Claes Oldenburg At MOMA

Oldenburg's fascination with simple, everyday objects often led him to food as a subject, as with Pastry Case, I, 1961-62.
Claes Oldenburg Museum of Modern Art

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 2:05 pm

The sculptor Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm but grew up in Chicago, went to Yale and came to New York in 1956, where he became a key player in the pop art movement — the major counter-reaction to the abstract expressionism that dominated the 1950s. So much for art history.

Although Oldenburg is a serious artist, probably no artist in history ever created works that were more fun. In a new show at the Museum of Modern Art — really two shows — practically everyone, including myself, was walking through the galleries with a huge grin.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's Beach Time... In Alaska, Where Heat Wave Breaks Records

In this photo taken on Monday, people swim and sunbathe at Goose Lake in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rachel D'Oro AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 11:44 am

Taking advantage of an intense heat wave that broke long-standing records yesterday, residents of Anchorage, Alaska, headed to the beach at Goose Lake.

As the Anchorage Daily News reports, the National Weather Service recorded a high temperature of 81 degrees in the city, beating the previous record of 80 degrees set in June of 1926.

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Middle East
10:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

To Arm, Or Not To Arm The Syrian Rebels?

The White House says the United States will arm Syrian rebels, but a new poll shows most Americans don't like the idea. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Shadi Hamid of The Brookings Institution, about America's current and future involvement in Syria.

Around the Nation
10:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

'Teenpreneur' Makes Money Off Great-Grandma's Hair Recipe

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Next we're going to talk to a young entrepreneur who's all about hair. Leanna Archer was just nine years old when she launched her own line of natural hair care products. Her great-grandmother in Haiti had a special recipe for hair pomade and Archer used that recipe to begin a line of oils, hairdressings, and conditioners.

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Race
10:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Hair Touching Is A No-No

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll talk to the CEO of a six-figure company who launched a hair business when she was nine. But first, can I touch your hair? It's a question many black women say they're often asked. And sometimes people don't ask, they just reach out and grab it. It's a familiar topic here on TELL ME MORE, but a recent project in New York has started the conversation again.

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History
10:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Exhibit Explores U.S. History of 'Rights' Versus 'Privileges'

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll glimpse into the mind of a sociopath. We'll hear from an author who says she is a sociopath, but your assumptions about people like her might be completely off-base. That's in a few minutes.

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The Salt
9:28 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Martini: This American Cocktail May Have An International Twist

The martini: international drink of mystery?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:15 pm

There's no cocktail more distinctly American than the martini. It's strong, sophisticated and sexy. It's everything we hope to project while ordering one.

Baltimore-born satirist H.L. Mencken is said to have called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet." But is the martini perfectly American? Maybe not entirely.

So in honor of National Martini Day on Wednesday, we decided to dig into the drink's muddled past.

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Political Junkie
9:05 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's The Final ScuttleButton Puzzle ... For Now

Ken Rudin collection

Some words I never thought I would utter: This is the last ScuttleButton puzzle that will ever appear on the NPR Web site.

With the cancellation of Talk of the Nation, and of course the weekly Political Junkie segment that goes with it, the long relationship between Political Junkie and NPR is coming to an end.

Thus, this is the last button puzzle, with the final winner (and t-shirt and button prizes) announced on Wednesday, June 26th — the final Junkie segment on TOTN.

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Shots - Health News
9:04 am
Wed June 19, 2013

AMA Says It's Time To Call Obesity A Disease

NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 7:15 am

While the American Medical Association may not have the clout it once did, it's still the largest single group of doctors making waves about health and the practice of medicine.

So it's not nothing when the AMA's House of Delegates approves a measure to label obesity a disease. The group's deliberative democratic body passed a measure in Chicago Tuesday that broadly, if vaguely, says obesity is a medical condition:

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Planet Money
8:58 am
Wed June 19, 2013

How A Used Bottle Becomes A New Bottle, In 6 GIFS

Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 6:39 pm

For more, watch our video: Secrets From The Recycling Plant

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Monkey See
8:03 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The 25 Movies To Which 'World War Z' Is A Sequel, Probably

Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, Abigail Hargrove is Rachel Lane, and Mireille Enos is Karin Lane in World War Z.
Jaap Buitendijk Paramount Pictures

World War A (in which Isaac Newton is bonked on the head and still bravely figures out gravity)

World War B (spun off from a VH1 reality show)

World War C (in which two dudes hit each other with cellos for 2.5 hours)

World War D (part of The Great Report Card Skirmish Of 1998)

World War-E (in which a tiny robot rolls around and watches Hello Dolly and then smashes the doubloons out of everything in sight)

World War F (the [bleep]ing best war ever)

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It's All Politics
7:34 am
Wed June 19, 2013

IRS Staffer: 'What I Did Was Not Targeting'

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right) speaks with the committee's ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, earlier this month, during a hearing on IRS conference spending.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 am

Another interview with a key IRS employee, another oblique connection to Washington, D.C., and yet still no explosive revelations in the scandal surrounding the agency's targeting of Tea Party groups.

That, it seems, was precisely the point of Rep. Elijah Cummings' decision to release 205 pages of redacted interview transcripts Tuesday (here and here).

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Wed June 19, 2013

In Germany, Obama Defends NSA Surveillance Programs

President Obama speaks on the Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday in Berlin.
Timur Emek Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:45 am

Update at 10:20 a.m. ET. 'Peace With Justice':

Speaking at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin — near the spot where John F. Kennedy made his famous speech almost 50 years ago — President Obama on Wednesday called on the global community to fight for democracy and freedom everywhere.

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Wed June 19, 2013

In Brazil, Protests Continue As Some Cities Cut Bus Fares

Students block an avenue in São Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday night, during a protest against a recent rise in public bus and subway fare.
Daniel Guimaraen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:33 am

For a second night in a row, tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest everything from the cost of living to government corruption.

The AP reports that during Tuesday's demonstrations:

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Monkey See
6:47 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Bait And Twitch: Vice Magazine, Suicide Glamour, And Not Staying Quiet

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 12:48 pm

This week, Vice magazine unveiled a fashion spread featuring images based on famous female writers who killed themselves. To call it merely tasteless would be to understate how calculated it was, as well as how revolting it was — it literally created an image based on a real writer who really hanged herself with a pair of stockings, and then it told you where to buy the stockings.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Top Stories: NATO Attacked In Afghanistan; NBA's Game 6 Final

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:16 am

Good morning, here are our early stories:

-- Afghan Govt. Suspends Talks; Taliban Attack Kills 4 Soldiers.

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The Two-Way
5:58 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Book News: Kim Jong Un Reportedly Gave 'Mein Kampf' As Gifts

Kim Jong Un (center) watched a performance celebrating the anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Yao Dawei Associated Press

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:52 am

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

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The Two-Way
5:12 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Heat, Spurs Headed To Game 7 After Stunning Game 6

LeBron James (right) of the Miami Heat snatches the ball from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs during overtime in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:14 am

We'll let LeBron James do the talking. He said about the sixth game of the NBA finals between the Heat and Spurs:

"It's by far the best game I've ever been a part of."

And it certainly was a stunner: The Heat's Ray Allen hit a three-pointer with just 5.2 seconds on the clock to tie the game, denying the Spurs their fifth NBA title. The game went into overtime and remained airtight, but eventually the Heat prevailed 103 to 100.

ESPN has highlights:

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World
5:09 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Just Washed Your Car? Try Speeding To Dry It

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A Canadian man was a bit wilder than his country's reputation. Police say he was driving 112 miles per hour on a highway south of Black Diamond, Alberta. When they got a look at the man, they found he was 67 - possibly old enough to know better. But by the time the suspect got to court, he had his story straight.

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