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2:32 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The History Lessons Obama Hopes We'll Learn

President Obama began last year's State of the Union address by recognizing recently returned Iraq War veterans, adding: "At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known." Expect more historical references in Obama's Tuesday night address to a joint session of Congress.
Evan Vucci AP

Sometimes the best way to advance an argument is by looking back.

President Obama's second inaugural address was filled with historical allusions. His State of the Union address on Tuesday, which will lay out a long list of agenda items for the year and his second term, is likely to employ fewer references to the past.

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Shots - Health News
2:31 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids' Autism Risk

Despite public health campaigns urging women in the U.S. to take folic acid, many are still not taking the supplements when they become pregnant.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:19 am

A common vitamin supplement appears to dramatically reduce a woman's risk of having a child with autism.

A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Asia
2:09 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Did North Korea Test A 'Miniature' Nuclear Bomb?

An official with the Korea Meteorological Administration shows a seismic image of a tremor caused by North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul on Tuesday.
Kim Jae-Hwan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:19 am

North Korea's latest nuclear weapons test is much more powerful than the previous two, according to estimates made by instruments that measure seismic waves from the blast. It's about the size of the bomb that devastated Hiroshima in World War II.

But it's not so easy to verify the claim that the nuclear explosive has also been miniaturized. That's a critical claim because a small warhead would be essential if the rogue regime chose to threaten the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Big bombs are easier to make, but they aren't all that useful as a threat.

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The Salt
2:02 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

What To Serve At A State Of The Union Party: 'Sour Grapes And Whine'

For your State of the Union address nibbling pleasure, how about some American cheese?
Courtesy of Esteban Pulido

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 3:20 pm

Plenty of people are ready to offer advice on noshing options when it comes to the Super Bowl. But what do you serve when the occasion for gathering in front of our screens is President Obama's State of the Union address?

When NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro posed that question to his 125,000 Facebook followers earlier Tuesday, plenty of people jumped at the chance to toss off a bon mot.* Among our favorites:

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

'The Street Parade Of Life:' Mardi Gras Rolls On Despite Rain Threat

A reveler shows off his mask during the Krewe of Okeanos parade in New Orleans on Feb. 10, 2013.
Gerald Herbert AP

There was a threat of rain in New Orleans, today. But revelry doesn't stop for dark clouds.

In fact, as The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, "this weather actually is perfect" was a refrain repeated over and over:

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All Songs Considered
1:54 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Song Premiere: Take A 'Tofutti' Break With A Wonderful Oddball

The Heligoats.
Courtesy of the artist

In concerts, The Heligoats' Chris Otepka spends a good deal of time explaining his songs, often introducing them with strange, funny, byzantine stories that somehow serve as functional explanations for the words he's about to sing.

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The Two-Way
1:27 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Rosa Parks Statue, Capitol's First Of African-American Woman, To Be Dedicated

Rosa Parks in June 1999, when she was presented with a Congressional Gold Medal.
William Philpott Reuters /Landov

The late civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who broke racial barriers in 1955 when she would not move to the back of a segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala., will be posthumously part of another barrier-breaking moment on Feb. 27.

The office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Tuesday that a statue of Parks will be dedicated that day in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Esquire Story On Bin Laden 'Shooter' Sparks Debate About Veterans' Benefits

Young Pakistani boys play near demolition works while Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan is demolished.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

With an excerpt of a 15,000 word story on the SEAL who allegedly killed Osama bin Laden, Esquire magazine has sparked a whole lot of debate on the kinds of benefits afforded to military veterans.

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Planet Money
1:12 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The Jobs With The Biggest (And Smallest) Pay Gaps Between Men And Women

Kathryn Gilles, a new registered nurse at Sutter Memorial Hospital, in Sacramento, Calif., puts information into a patient's chart under the supervision of her mentor, Eileen Anderson, R.N., BSN.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 7:31 pm

Women are paid significantly less, on average, than men — even when they're doing the same jobs. But the gap varies dramatically for workers in different jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sent us some data on how much women made in comparison to their male counterparts in hundreds of different jobs; here are the jobs where the wage gap is smallest, and those where the gap is biggest. The gap is based on comparisons of full-time workers.

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All Tech Considered
1:09 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

This App Uses The Power Of You To Report The Weather

map shows data reported by users of the mPING app during Friday's blizzard in the Northeast." href="/post/app-uses-power-you-report-weather" class="noexit lightbox">
This map shows data reported by users of the mPING app during Friday's blizzard in the Northeast.
The PING Project

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:19 am

If you love to talk about the weather — or want to help collect information about it — a new smartphone app may be for you.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

'Heart Attack Grill' Greeter Dies After Heart Attack

One of the Heart Attack Grill's "triple bypass" burgers.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:22 pm

Two customers' collapses last year didn't seem to faze fans of Las Vegas' Heart Attack Grill.

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National Security
12:55 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The Sticky Questions Surrounding Drones And Kill Lists

A French military drone takes off in December 2010 from a U.S. airbase in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:17 pm

New York Times reporter Scott Shane and colleague Jo Becker reported last year that the Obama administration has a list of terrorists targeted for drone attacks, and that the president personally approves such strikes.

The administration has been trying to keep details of its drone program under wraps, arguing that to make it public could threaten national security. Shane has reported numerous such stories.

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The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Syrian Rebels Take Air Base, Dam In Northern Syria

Syrian rebels say they captured an important military air base in northern Syria on Tuesday. Here, rebels sit behind an anti-aircraft weapon in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday.
Abdullah al-Yassin AP

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:41 pm

After weeks of relatively little movement in the Syrian war, rebel forces have claimed two significant advances in northern Syria in the past two days.

They said they seized the military's Jarrah air base on Tuesday in the northern province of Aleppo after days of clashes with government troops.

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Sports
12:01 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Sports Fixing: When Gambling And The Game Collide

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. If you walk into any clubhouse in organized baseball, from Yankee Stadium to a rookie-league park, you'll see a large poster that specifies the prohibitions against gambling, and they'll specify the penalty. There is only one: a lifetime ban.

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U.S.
12:01 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Looming Cuts Could Mean Big Changes For U.S. Military

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. If no budget deal is reached by March 1st, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester kick in. And that includes the defense budget, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of federal spending.

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World
12:01 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

World's Eyes On China After North Korean Nuclear Test

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue February 12, 2013

'Zombie Alert' Also Aired In Michigan; Hacking Traced To Overseas Source

OK, we're pretty sure this isn't real. (A 1012 Halloween-related festival in Georgia.)
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:07 pm

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The Salt
11:52 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Most Americans Eager To Buy Seafood That's 'Sustainable'

Swordfish from Canada are marked with a label from the Marine Stewardship Council at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C. The MSC says its label means the fish were caught by a sustainable fishery, but critics says it's not always so clear.
Margot Williams NPR

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:31 pm

This week, our colleagues Daniel Zwerdling and Margot Williams with NPR's investigations unit have a terrific three-part series on the Marine Stewardship Council. As they report, the MSC's labels tell consumers which seafood is supposed to be good or bad for the environment.

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Book Reviews
11:38 am
Tue February 12, 2013

A Soured Student-Teacher Friendship Threatens 'Everything'

Matjaz Boncina iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:55 pm

Over the past week or so, I've mentioned James Lasdun's new book, Give Me Everything You Have to a bunch of colleagues; they've all heard about it already and they're all dying to read it. What Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was to parenting a couple of years ago, Lasdun's Give Me Everything You Have may well be to teaching: a controversial personal reflection on the professor-student relationship — except Lasdun, unlike Chua, really has no advice to offer; no certitude, nor help for pain.

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The Two-Way
11:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Newtown Teacher Among First Lady's State Of The Union Guests

Gun violence. Immigration. Education. The economy. Veterans. Afghanistan. Women in combat. Innovation. Science. Equality. Heroism.

It's safe to say those will themes in Tuesday night's State of the Union address, based on the list the White House has released of the guests who will be sitting with first lady Michelle Obama in the House gallery. Such guests, and the reasons they're there, usually make their way into a president's address.

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Around the Nation
10:53 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras Merriment Beyond Bourbon Street Festivities

A reveler dances with a young girl during the Courir de Mardi Gras in Mamou, La., in 2007.
Josh Noel MCT /Landov

It's Fat Tuesday, the final day of indulgence before the fasting and penance of Lent begins. While the revelry in New Orleans tends to grab the spotlight, you can find some fascinating Mardi Gras traditions elsewhere.

From chasing chickens in Cajun Country to catching MoonPies in Mobile, communities all along the Gulf Coast have their own way of marking Carnival season.

The Fatted Ox

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The Two-Way
10:32 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Hagel Three-Step: Committee Vote; Floor Fight; Then Confirmation?

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has been nominated to be the next secretary of defense.
Ron Sachs DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 3:18 pm

Update at 5:04 p.m. ET. Committee Approves Confirmation:

Voting along party lines, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the country's next defense secretary.

The vote was 14 to 11 with Sen. David Vitter, a Republican of Louisiana not casting a vote.

Our Original Post Continues:

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Cruise Ship Triumph Now Being Towed To Alabama; Investigation Announced

Two tugs tow and steer the Carnival Triumph cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday. The ship is headed to Mobile, Ala., after an engine room fire on Sunday.
Ensign Chris Shivock U.S. Coast Guard

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:28 pm

Passengers aboard the cruise ship Triumph, set adrift after an engine fire Sunday, will now wait until Thursday before what was billed as a four-day cruise finally ends, the Carnival cruise ship line says. Strong currents have pushed the ship another 90 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, foiling plans to tow it to Progreso, Mexico.

The news comes as those aboard the ship have been reaching out to loved ones on shore to describe life on the stricken vessel, marked by a lack of air conditioning and ventilation below decks, improvised toilets, and sleeping on the open deck.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Did The West Misjudge Kim Jong-un?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (right) claps during a ceremony unveiling statues honoring his grandfather and father, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, respectively, in Pyongyang last April.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 12:35 pm

When the boyish Kim Jong Un assumed power in North Korea barely a year ago after his father's passing, speculation was that he might strike out a more open and less provocative path.

Figuring out what is or isn't going on in North Korea has long been an exercise in reading tea leaves, and no one predicting a thaw in the hard-line hereditary regime did so without qualification.

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Politics
10:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

What to Expect From The President

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world when he announced his resignation yesterday, so we decided to talk about some of the issues facing the church worldwide and to see if there are any potential papal candidates from the developing world, which is where most Catholics actually live. That's coming up later in the program.

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Religion
10:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Going Global With A New Pope?

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you probably heard that girls are now getting the majority of Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degrees. We'll talk with a scholar who says that that is in part because the educational system is failing boys in a big way. And we'll hear from parents too, coming up later in the program.

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Education
10:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Dads Weigh In On Why Boys Fall Behind

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms and dads in your corner every week. We check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice. Now, we are continuing our conversation about the so-called achievement gap with boys.

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Education
10:05 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Boys Are At The Back Of The Class

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 1:09 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we turn to an important and sensitive issue in education. If you follow the news in education or you find yourself around schools at just about every level, then you will probably have noticed that there are major gaps opening up between girls and boys, with boys on average falling behind girls in grades, in participation in advanced classes, and graduation rates.

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The Salt
10:00 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Meet The Calas, A New Orleans Treat That Helped Free Slaves

Waitress Gaynell James serves up calas cake from the kitchen at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans on Jan. 28, 2013.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:35 am

It's Mardi Gras, and down in New Orleans, the King Cakes, beignets and other gustatory delights are flowing freely. But if you prefer your culinary temptations with a side of history, allow me to introduce you to the calas, a Creole rice fritter with a storied past.

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The Two-Way
9:56 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Cheney Likes Something Obama's Doing: Drone Strikes

Former Vice President Dick Cheney in October 2011.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 11:08 am

"I think it's a good program and I don't disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration has pursued."

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