8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Politics

GOP Walks Away From Payroll Tax Debacle Bruised

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Hawaii with his family today. Yesterday, just before leaving Washington, D.C., he signed a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits for two months. It was a political victory for the president and for Democrats who had made extending the tax break a priority.

For Republicans in the House of Representatives though, it may have marked a political defeat. NPR's congressional correspondent reporter, Tamara Keith, has more.

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8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Animals

A Pigeon's Potential: Learning Abstract Numbers

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Pigeons are not known for their algebra skills or intelligence generally. They don't talk like parrots. They don't make tools out of twigs like some crows.

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8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Education

To Make Algebra Fun, Rethink The Problem

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Schools across the country are on break this week, meaning that millions of students don't have to think even about algebra - or are they just missing the algebra that's all around them? We're joined now by our Math Guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University, who joins us this week from member station KJAU in Boulder, Colorado. Keith, thanks so much for being with us.

KEITH DEVLIN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott. Nice to be here.

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8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Presidential Race

Romney Reaches Out To N.H. Voters

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Mitt Romney had one of the busiest public stretches of his presidential campaign this week. A big blue bus with his name on the side rolled along hundreds of miles of New Hampshire roads making more than a dozen stops to meet voters just three weeks before the primary. The campaign called it The Earn It Tour. NPR's Ari Shapiro was along for the ride.

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8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Africa

For A Libya In Flux: A Theme Song

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has spent much of this year covering the uprising and civil war in Libya. As she and her Libyan colleagues drove through the streets of Tripoli this week, they often found themselves listening to a legendary American country music song. The lyrics about changing fortunes seemed to ring true for Libya, as she tells us in this reporter's notebook.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: If every conflict has a theme song, then Libya's for me is as unlikely as it is fitting.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAMBLER")

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8:00am

Sat December 24, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Violence Intensifies As Observers Arrive

Originally published on Sat December 24, 2011 8:25 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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6:49am

Sat December 24, 2011
The Salt

Pride And Prejudice: For Latinos, Tamales Offer Up A Delicious Serving Of Both

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:10 pm

Many Americans are familiar with cornhusk-wrapped tamales. But those aren't my favorite.
Chicago Tribune MCT via Getty Images

It's Christmas Eve, and many Latinos will celebrate the holiday tonight by unwrapping a delicious little present: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (a type of starchy corn dough) that's been wrapped in leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses, others spiced with mole. Some are plain, others filled with meats or vegetables.

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6:32am

Sat December 24, 2011
Theater

A Homecoming For Rachel Griffiths On Broadway

In the Broadway play Other Desert Cities, Brooke (played by Rachel Griffiths) forces her family to confront the truth behind her brother's suicide.
Joan Marcus Lincoln Center Publicity

Australian actress Rachel Griffiths, best known in the U.S. for her work on HBO's Six Feet Under and ABC's Brothers and Sisters, has made an acclaimed Broadway debut in the new play Other Desert Cities.

Griffiths, who is well-known in Australia for her stage work, tells NPR's Scott Simon she would have been happy if all she had ever done was act onstage.

"Theater was where I began and what I really thought my career would be in Australia," she says. "That was my thing. ... The movies were an unexpected joy, and television even more unexpected."

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6:12am

Sat December 24, 2011
Hard Times: A Journey Across America

In Camden, S.C., A Family's Generations Talk Race

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 12:07 am

Sisters Ernestyne James Adams (right) and Althea James Truitt are concerned about the economy and today's political climate.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Part of a series

With the 2012 presidential election on the horizon, NPR's Debbie Elliott heads to Camden, S.C., to hear from the close-knit Gaither-James family. Like other African-Americans — considered the political base for President Obama — they're concerned about the economy and today's political climate.

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6:11am

Sat December 24, 2011
Around the Nation

Secular Opponents Of Holiday Displays Get Creative

A skeleton dressed in a Santa Claus costume is part of the holiday displays at the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Va. Many local residents are not pleased with the "Skele-Claus" or other displays by secular activists and atheists.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Joseph, Mary, and ... the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Nativity scenes have long been a part of holiday displays at city halls and small-town courthouses across the country. This year, some proponents of secularism are finding new ways to protest the time-honored tradition. They're putting up their own versions of the creche — and causing quite a commotion in places like Leesburg, Va.

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