6:08pm

Fri January 4, 2013
On Aging

Baby Boomers' Last Wishes: Motorcycle Hearses And Facebook Obits

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Lew Bird says that before passing away, his friend requested that his funeral include one last ride on a motorcycle.
Peter Gray for NPR

Old Aristocracy Hill isn't a part of Springfield, Ill., that draws a lot of attention. The quiet neighborhood dates back to before the Civil War, its historic homes now carefully preserved by proud business owners.

But outside a stately funeral home, a large black-and-chrome Harley Davidson motorcycle trike pulls out of the parking lot, towing a matching casket in its glass-sided trailer.

It's not something you would expect to see, but it's exactly what 67-year-old Lew Bird says his friend Dave Rondelli wanted: one last ride.

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5:00pm

Fri January 4, 2013
The Two-Way

A Girl Fights To Be Called By Her Name In Iceland, Suing Government

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:31 pm

For 15 years, an Icelandic teenager has been called her given name, Blaer Bjarkardottir, by everyone except government employees and other officials. That's because "Blaer" (reportedly Icelandic for "light breeze") isn't on a list of government-approved names for girls.

So, in school and at the bank, she is often addressed as "stulka" — "girl" — before she explains the situation.

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4:52pm

Fri January 4, 2013
Latin America

Policymakers Planning For A Venezuela After Chavez

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Hugo Chavez has dominated Venezuela for so long that it's hard to imagine what the country would be like without him in charge. Opposition leaders are hoping for a new, more democratic system. But powerful factions in Venezuela want things to stay just as they are. Because the country is a key player in the region, NPR's Tom Gjelten says the U.S. is now making its own plans for life after Chavez.

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4:49pm

Fri January 4, 2013
Shots - Health News

Online Grades For Doctors Get An Incomplete

The wisdom of the crowd is hard to find if too few patients rate their doctors.
Illustration by NPR staff

Crowdsourced review sites like Yelp can be just the trick for finding a great restaurant or avoiding a bad one.

But when it comes to finding a good doctor, there still aren't enough reviews on sites that rank doctors to make them reliable, a study of urologists' ratings suggests.

Urologists averaged just 2.4 reviews on the big online doctor rating sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com. The paltry number of participants means that one cranky patient's complaint — or a rave from one doctor's relative --can skew a rating.

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4:38pm

Fri January 4, 2013
It's All Politics

Liberals In A Dither Over Whether Obama Blew It, Or Nailed It

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 10:14 am

President Obama leaves the Oval Office early Wednesday after the House passed legislation to retain tax breaks for most Americans, let tax rates rise for the wealthiest, and delay action on mandatory spending cuts.
Getty Images

Fiscal cliff week has mercifully ended with a deal done, hurricane relief approved, President Obama vacationing, and both parties bickering internally over what was won — and lost — in the early hours of the new year.

What we have found most intriguing is the vigorous post-facto wrestling within the liberal community over what the fiscal cliff negotiations say about President Obama.

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4:37pm

Fri January 4, 2013
NPR Story

Potential Geithner Departure Could Complicate Debt Ceiling Battle

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.

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4:37pm

Fri January 4, 2013
NPR Story

Disappearing Mule Deer A New Reality Throughout Western U.S.

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Scientists throughout the west are investigating a mysterious disappearance. Mule deer are vanishing. In Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, populations are half what they were in the 1970s. From Aspen Public Radio, Luke Runyon reports on some possible reasons.

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4:37pm

Fri January 4, 2013
Religion

Amid Instability In Egypt, Coptic Christians Flee To U.S.

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:38 pm

Egyptian Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas Nativity Liturgy, the start of Christmas, at the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George in Brooklyn last January.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Coptic Christians will celebrate Christmas on Monday, and many will do so outside their native Egypt. Since the revolution there, their future in the country has looked uncertain, and many are resettling in the United States.

Their population in the U.S. may have grown by nearly 30 percent, according to rough estimates. One church that has felt its membership swell with new arrivals from Egypt is in the Queens borough of New York. St. Mary and St. Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church boasts more than 1,000 families, says the Rev. Michael Sorial.

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4:34pm

Fri January 4, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Unemployment figures worse for under-30s

The national unemployment level remained unchanged at 7.8 percent for December, according to Bureau of Labor Statistic figures released today. This is the 49th consecutive month unemployment has been above 7 percent but according to analysis from an interest group, those numbers don’t reflect the reality for young adults.

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4:25pm

Fri January 4, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Extension of wind energy production tax credit likely to trigger rush on components

Wind turbines at Marble River in Clinton, NY
Sarah Harris NCPR

The last-minute fiscal cliff deal brought good news for the wind industry. Congress agreed to extend production tax credits for wind energy producers until the end of 2013.

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