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Planet Money
1:01 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Sales Are Like Drugs. What Happens When A Store Wants Customers To Quit?

Formerly known as "clearance."
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:27 am

Last year, J.C. Penney saw what every big retailer had been seeing for years: the threat of Amazon and other new competitors rising to destroy their business.

So J.C. Penney brought in a bold new CEO. Ron Johnson had already created Apple Store, a chain of physical stores where people flocked to shop. Before that, he had revamped Target.

And Johnson had a plan for J.C. Penney: Tell customers they don't have to spend time anymore clipping coupons or waiting for sales to happen. Instead, the store would offer fair prices on its merchandise every day.

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Law
1:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Administration Asks Supreme Court To End Calif. Gay-Marriage Ban

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:47 am

The Obama administration has filed a friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on gay marriage as a denial of "equal protection under the law." But the brief does not call for the abolition of all state bans on same-sex marriage.

The case now before the high court tests the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, a referendum narrowly passed by voters in 2008 that reinstituted a ban on gay marriage.

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Business
12:59 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Stay-At-Home Workers Defend Choice After Yahoo Ban

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 11:51 am

Yahoo's sweeping edict against telecommuting has been felt as a personal attack by some of the two-thirds of Americans who regularly work from home.

Lawyer Shannan Higgins of Washington, D.C., finds one line of the company memo outlining the policy change particularly offensive: "Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home."

For nearly a decade, Higgins has worked one day a week from the basement office in her rowhouse, where she takes pride in her work and is obsessed with efficiency.

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Afghanistan
12:59 am
Fri March 1, 2013

New Afghan Challenge For U.S.: Shipping Stuff Out

A pair of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles are lined up for a convoy to Kandahar Airfield. One of the trucks broke down before leaving Forward Operating Base Frontenac. The unit has to move out 50 vehicles from the compound.
Sean Carberry/NPR

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:12 am

In addition to training and equipping Afghan soldiers, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have another critical mission: packing up more than 11 years worth of equipment and sending it home. The number of containers to move out is in the six figures, and some question whether everything can be shipped out by the end of 2014.

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The Salt
12:58 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Wild Bees Are Good For Crops, But Crops Are Bad For Bees

Wild bees, such as this Andrena bee visiting highbush blueberry flowers, play a key role in boosting crop yields.
Left photo by Rufus Isaac/AAAS; Right photo courtesy of Daniel M.N. Turner

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 10:13 am

Some of the most healthful foods you can think of — blueberries, cranberries, apples, almonds and squash — would never get to your plate without the help of insects. No insects, no pollination. No pollination, no fruit.

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Shots - Health News
12:56 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Sacrificing Sleep Makes For Run-Down Teens — And Parents

Napping in class may be common, but it's also a sign that kids need more sleep.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:00 am

When NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health asked parents and caregivers in our new poll whether getting a good night's sleep is important, families overwhelmingly told us that sleep is a high priority.

But almost all said that it's difficult to pull off. And studies suggest this is especially true for teenagers.

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The Record
12:40 am
Fri March 1, 2013

David Bowie, Rock's Shape Shifter, Returns

David Bowie's album, The Next Day, will come out on March 12.
Jimmy King Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 7:41 am

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Fine Art
12:38 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Vermeer's 'Woman In Blue' Brings Her Mystery, Allure To L.A.

The Getty Museum is the last€” and only U.S. stop on the world tour of Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest) Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 3:41 am

Johannes Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring is easy to fall in love with — she's young, dewy, beautiful (Scarlett Johansson played her in the 2003 movie about the painting), and she looks right at you. But the 17th-century Dutch master's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter is different — her face is shadowed and she stands in profile, totally absorbed in her letter.

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StoryCorps
12:37 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Latina Sisters Aimed High, Defying Low Expectations

When she was in high school, says Linda Hernandez, her guidance counselor told her she shouldn't bother aiming high academically because she was Latina.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 3:41 am

When Linda Hernandez was growing up in Lincoln, Neb., in the 1960s, her family was one of the few Latino families in town. And that sometimes made school life difficult, she says.

"We had to sit in the back of the class and stay after school and clean the erasers when the other kids didn't have to do that," says Linda, now 60. "But both my parents laid down the law and said, 'You had to go to school.' "

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Law
5:29 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Obama Administration Brief Doesn't Call For End To Bans On Gay Marriage

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. This evening, the Obama administration filed a friend of the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on gay marriage, but the brief does not call for abolition of bans on same-sex marriage across the country. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg joins us in the studio. And, Nina, just to start, remind us quickly how this case actually came to be.

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The Two-Way
4:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Two For One: Groupon Replaces CEO Mason With Board Members

Andrew Mason, a co-founder of Groupon, has been ousted by the company's board, one day after a disappointing earnings report. Here, he's seen at a 2012 conference in Germany.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 4:48 am

Hear Laura Sydell's report for Morning Edition by clicking the audio link.

Groupon co-founder Andrew Mason has been fired as the daily-deal company's CEO, one day after Groupon posted financial results that showed it lost $67.4 million during 2012. Board chairmen Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis will jointly fill the CEO post on an interim basis.

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Music Reviews
4:30 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Atoms For Peace: Thom Yorke's Electronic Shadow-World

Atoms For Peace's debut album is called Amok.
Eliot Lee Hazel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:44 pm

When singer Thom Yorke stepped away from his influential rock band Radiohead in 2006 to release The Eraser, many thought the quirky electronic project was a one-off. Not so, it turns out. Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich called on rock-star friends for a tour, and since then, the group has convened occasionally in the studio.

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Business
4:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Texas Study Points To A Longer Natural Gas Boom

A natural gas drilling rig just east of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. A new decade-long study finds the region's Barnett Shale formation has sufficient gas reserves to last another 25 years.
David Kent MCT/Landov/Fort Worth Star Telegram

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:59 pm

There are few things in life more joyful than discovering a giant oil or natural gas field in Texas. You're suddenly rich beyond your wildest dreams. When the scope and size of the natural gas reservoir in the Barnett Shale in North Texas first became apparent, there were predictions that the find would last 100 years.

Well, that was over the top. But University of Texas geology professor Scott Tinker, who designed and authored a new study of the Barnett Shale, says there's still a lot of gas down there, even after a decade of drilling.

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Sports
4:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Pete Rose: A Living Legend, Off The Record

Pete Rose holds the record for all-time hits, but he was banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling on the game. Now, his records — but not his name — appear on Topps baseball cards.
Otto Greule Jr Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 7:04 pm

As baseball emerges from its winter hibernation, one of the game's greatest and most controversial figures, Pete Rose, is back in the news.

The all-time hits leader has been banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling on the game.

It appears fallout continues: A new batch of Topps baseball cards lists some of his many records, but not his name. It's a reminder of Rose's singular status as a Major League Baseball pariah. It also raises the question, with so much bad behavior by top athletes, is it time to re-evaluate Rose's status?

The Art Of Pete

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It's All Politics
4:10 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Christie's Post-Sandy Remarks About House GOP Behind Non-Invite To CPAC

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks with reporters in Trenton, N.J., this month. Christie was not invited to this year's CPAC conference.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:17 pm

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was hoping for a return invite to the big CPAC convention this year, he probably should have thought of that before he bad-mouthed House Speaker John Boehner a couple of months back.

Christie was incensed by the House's failure to pass a relief bill helping victims of Superstorm Sandy, which hammered New Jersey and the rest of the Northeast last autumn. In typical Christie style, he did not pull any punches.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Obama Will Side With Those Asking High Court To End Calif. Gay Marriage Ban

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:04 pm

Update at 6:44 p.m. ET. Limited Gay Marriage Right:

The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to end a ban on gay marriage in California.

But NPR's Nina Totenberg tells our Newscast unit that the government is arguing for limited gay marriage rights.

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It's All Politics
3:42 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Some Political Lessons From The Violence Against Women Act Vote

Supporters of the Violence Against Women Act rally in front of the U.S. Capitol last June. On Thursday, the House passed a reauthorization measure.
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Flickr

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:22 pm

The fight over reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is now behind us. But like much of what happens in Washington, the process wasn't pretty.

In the debate leading up to Thursday's House vote, you had Democrats accusing Republicans of continuing a "war on women," and Republicans accusing Democrats of crass political pandering.

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Law
3:41 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Obama Administration To File Brief Urging Supreme Court To Strike Down Prop. 8

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

Now to a developing story about a major Supreme Court case. NPR has previously reported that the Obama administration would file a Friend of The Court Brief, urging The Court to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage in California. Well, today is the deadline to file that brief but it has not yet been filed.

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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

After Tough 2012, Conservative Koch Brothers Regroup

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, attends an event at The Economic Club of New York last year.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

The network of political groups headed by conservative industrialists David and Charles Koch spent millions of undisclosed dollars in last year's elections. Now, after failing to help Republicans win the White House or the Senate, the Koch brothers are re-examining the network, its goals and strategies.

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Iceland's Plan To Ban Online Porn Spurs Outrage

Iceland's government is drafting plans to ban pornography online and in print. Supporters say it's an attempt to shield children.
Stoyan Nenov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 3:53 pm

File this one under Sisyphean tasks: The government of Iceland is drafting plans to ban pornography both online and in print.

Supporters of the ban, proposed by Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, says it will shield children from harm.

Writing in the Guardian, Halla Gunnarsdottir, political adviser to Jonasson, said:

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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The Pope Emeritus' New Shoes And The Mexican Man Who Makes Them

Armando Martin Dueñas shows replicas of the hand-crafted loafers given to Pope Benedict XVI.
Alfredo Valadez AP

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:42 am

As Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican and his papacy, he slipped out of his trademark red shoes and put on a pair of Mexican leather loafers. The shoes, actually three pairs, two burgundy and one brown, were a gift to the Pope during his trip last year to Mexico.

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Shots - Health News
3:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Change In Law May Spur Campus Action On Sexual Assaults

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi discusses the Violence Against Women Act on Capitol Hill on Thursday. The House passed the measure, which could help curb violence on campus.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 7:41 pm

Most cases of sexual assault or harassment on school campuses don't attract national attention.

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A Blog Supreme
3:15 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

A List Of 5 Songs About ... Lists

Detail from the cover art to Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson.
Verve Records

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 9:42 am

Over the past few years, Take Five's theme-based jazz lists have covered a wide variety of subjects. We've covered the careers of legends, the cutting-edge work of up-and-coming artists, styles, periods, holidays, regional scenes and more. Today, Take Five goes "meta" and presents a list of songs about... lists.

The lyrical conceits of these five songs are simply to list things. And, of course, feel free to suggest your favorite songs about lists that weren't included here. ("What, no 'Route 66'? Really?")

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Movie Reviews
3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Jack The Giant Slayer': A Fun, Fractured Fairy Tale

Nicholas Hoult plays the young Jack, who must wage battle against an ancient race of giants in Jack the Giant Slayer.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Great deeds start out as current events, move on to history, and eventually, with some craft and embellishment, become folklore and legend. This process is central to the structure of Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Slayer, which merges elements of the familiar folktale of "Jack and the Beanstalk" with the less ubiquitous "Jack the Giant Killer." It sets the story as a kind of midpoint between one "true" story that has become a legend for Jack, just as the events of Jack's "true" story have supposedly passed into the realm of a simple folk story.

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It's All Politics
3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Justice Department Warns Of 'Pain' From Looming Cuts

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks before a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General on Tuesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

President Obama minced no words when he talked about how the looming budget cuts known as sequestration could hurt the Justice Department.

"FBI agents will be furloughed. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go," Obama said.

Starting late Friday, if Congress and the White House can't come to an agreement, the Justice Department will face $1.6 billion in cuts — about 9 percent of its budget. Attorney General Eric Holder told a group of state law enforcement officials who met in Washington this week that the situation looks ugly.

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Movie Reviews
3:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Adolescent Angst Turns Deadly In 'Stoker'

Evelyn and India Stoker (Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) slowly descend into icy paranoia after their family patriarch dies through suspicious circumstances in the horror thriller Stoker.
Fox Searchlight Pictures

It's a mark of a great filmmaker when a movie is felt first and understood later, allowing audiences to intuit their way through a fog of mystery and sensuality before finally getting a clear view of the landscape. Best known for an operatic trio of revenge thrillers — the second, Oldboy, won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004 and a fervent cult following — South Korean genre maestro Park Chan-wook expresses florid emotion in cool, impeccable, gothic language.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Hava Nagila: The Movie' Pays Homage To Unlikely Jewish Touchstone

Hava Nagila: The Movie." href="/post/hava-nagila-movie-pays-homage-unlikely-jewish-touchstone" class="noexit lightbox">
Young newlyweds are serenaded with the strains of "Hava Nagila." The unlikely origins of the popular Jewish standard are explored in Roberta Grossman's documentary feature Hava Nagila: The Movie.
International Film Circuit

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:47 am

I grew up on "Hava Nagila," and I'll admit it's not the catchiest of tunes. The ingenuous Hebrew lyrics ("Come! Let us rejoice and be happy!") don't wear well in our age of knowing irony and ennui.

Hip young Israelis wince at the very mention of the song, and for many Diaspora Jews, a few bars of the tune are all it takes to recall that excruciating moment late in a fancy wedding or bar mitzvah, when the band invites all remaining guests (tipsy uncles included) to kick up their heels — and then go home already.

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Movies
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Soviet Ghosts Resurface In Soggy 'Phantom'

Grizzled Soviet submarine captain Demi (Ed Harris) fights crew subversion and personal pain in a losing Cold War struggle against American opponents.
RCR Distribution

Explosions rattle the crew. The air is turning fetid. And the captain has ordered a descent toward "crush depth." Yet everything is on course in Phantom, the newest model of the old submarine-from-hell picture.

But the predictability of writer-director Todd Robinson's film is, well, predictable. There are only so many things that can happen in the close quarters of an imperiled sub. What Robinson purports to do is show those familiar undersea events from a different vantage point. All the characters in Phantom serve in the Soviet navy of the 1960s.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'Leviathan': Of Fish And Men, Without Chats

The dingy commercial fishing boats that dot the waters off the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Canada have lives all their own in the new documentary Leviathan.
The Cinema Guild

Undersea things — iridescent creatures, mossy rocks, silky-slimy plants — are just weird. They're fascinating by their very nature, often barely resembling anything we have on land. Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's half doc, half art project Leviathan capitalizes on that strangeness while linking it to the more prosaic world of commercial fishermen plying their trade off the coast of New Bedford, Mass.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

March Kids' Book Club Pick: 'The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz'

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:50 am

Our next book club adventure takes us on a journey that is familiar to people across generations: We will be taking a trip down the yellow brick road with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first published in 1900. It is one of the most beloved stories in popular American culture, but over the decades, the book has taken a back seat to the wildly successful Wizard of Oz film.

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