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12:01am

Wed March 28, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Watching College Basketball's Slump Into Anonymity

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 10:31 am

Duke freshman Austin Rivers, seen here in the Blue Devils' loss to Lehigh in the NCAA tournament, is leaving school for the NBA draft. The trend of athletes spending only one year in college has hurt the sport, says Frank Deford.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

This year's Final Four seems more like Best in Show at the Westminster. Such pedigree: Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville –– four of the very top dogs in the history of the sport. Well, it's a Meryl Streep kind of year, isn't it?

But if the Final Four might delight fans by giving them aristocracy in its teams, unfortunately the whole of college basketball is plagued by anonymity in its players, and external issues that have diminished the popularity of the game.

Good grief. This year, there has been more buzz about Mad Men than about March Madness.

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12:01am

Wed March 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Supreme Court's Medicaid Decision Could Reach Far Beyond Health Care

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 10:56 am

The final argument the Supreme Court will hear about the new health care law is whether its Medicaid expansion unfairly forces states to participate.
Adam Cole NPR

After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?

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12:01am

Wed March 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Court Looks At Whether Mandate Can Separate From Rest Of Health Law

If the Supreme Court rules that the health insurance mandate is unconstitutional, does that invalidate the rest of the law?
Adam Cole NPR

In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.

Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?

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7:26pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Mine Agency To Congress: Don't Blame Us For Deadly Disaster

As we reported last week, an independent panel reviewing the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster found that the agency "possibly could have prevented" the explosion that took 29 lives.

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7:10pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Pope Arrives In Havana, Where He's Expected To Meet Raúl Castro

Pope Benedictus XVI arrives at Jose Marti airport in Havana on Tuesday.
Marcelino Vazquez AFP/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI landed in Havana today and he's expected meet Cuban President Raúl Castro.

The pontiff's visit has put Cuba's dictatorship in the spotlight, because during his speeches the Pope has been taking subtle shots at the regime. The Los Angeles Times reports:

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6:09pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Salt

Activists Say Americans Support Labeling Genetically Modified Food

People march demanding labels for genetically modified food near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, 2011.
Ren Haijun Xinhua /Landov

Activists who want genetically modified food to be labeled in the U.S. say there's more support than ever for their cause. As evidence, a coalition calling itself Just Label It released the results today of a survey it commissioned from The Mellman Group, a national pollster. The survey found that 91 percent of voters favor the labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.

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6:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

British Student Jailed For Racist Tweets About Collapsed Soccer Player

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 9:09 am

Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba is obscured by medical staff trying to resuscitate him after collapsing. His teammate Ryo Miyaichi, right, and Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe, center top, watch.
Matt Dunham AP

A British student has been sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist tweets about a soccer player who collapsed on the pitch.

Liam Stacey pleaded guilty to "incitement to racial hatred," after he let loose a barrage of tweets that contained the n-word and crude sexual references. It all started earlier this month, when Fabrice Muamba, a soccer player, collapsed on the pitch and Stacey tweeted that he was dead, followed by "#Haha."

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5:59pm

Tue March 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Ex-Clinton Solicitor General, Colorado AG React To SCOTUS Arguments

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:12 pm

It was a question that seemed to be one of the most difficult for the current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., to answer persuasively, at least to the obvious satisfaction of the conservative justices: If the individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance was found constitutional, what would limit Congress from passing other laws requiring people to buy products from broccoli to cellphones?

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5:30pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

After 'Hunger Games,' U.S. Archer Shoots For Olympic Games

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 10:31 am

Archer Khatuna Lorig, seen here during the London Archery Classic last October, helped actress Jennifer Lawrence prepare for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
Dean Mouhtaropoulos Getty Images

This summer, U.S. archer Khatuna Lorig hopes to return to the Olympic Games. But she's already helped put archery into The Hunger Games this spring — by training the film's star, Jennifer Lawrence, to shoot.

In the kill-or-be-killed competition in the film drawn from Suzanne Collins' book, Lawrence's character, Katniss Everdeen, relies on her ability with a bow. And Lorig worked with the actress to ensure she had proper form.

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5:26pm

Tue March 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Buddy Roemer: All Americans In November Could Have A Third Choice

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:58 pm

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, shown here last summer in Bedford, N.H., is now seeking the presidential nomination of two third parties.
Charles Krupa AP

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, a onetime Republican candidate for president now seeking the nomination of both the Reform Party and Americans Elect, said he could be a problem in November for Barack Obama and the eventual GOP nominee.

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5:13pm

Tue March 27, 2012
National Security

Romney, GOP Pounce On Obama's Russia Comment

President Obama's remarks about missile defense to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev were meant for his ears only. But they were picked up by a microphone, and have drawn sharp criticism from Mitt Romeny and other Republicans. Obama and Medvedev are shown here on Monday at a nuclear summit in Seoul, South Korea.
Jewel Samad Getty Images

President Obama went to South Korea to talk about nuclear security, only to find that the presidential campaign followed him there.

Obama is now facing sharp criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other GOP figures following comments he made Monday, in seeming confidence, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

As reporters gathered for a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Obama leaned over to his Russian counterpart. Without realizing a microphone was open, he said:

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4:52pm

Tue March 27, 2012
It's All Politics

As Court Gets To Heart Of Health Arguments, Protests Grow

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 5:11 pm

An activist dressed as the Statue of Liberty participates in a protest on the second day of oral arguments over President Obama's health care law on Tuesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

The talent show outside the U.S. Supreme Court continued Tuesday as activists for and against President Obama's health care law sought to outdo each other with ever more artistic forms of protest.

At one point a middle-aged group of women started singing in harmony with a young drummer at their side. "Health care for everyone, I'm gonna let it shine," they sang soulfully to the tune of the hymn "This Little Light of Mine."

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4:43pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Soccer: Does The National Team Draw Against El Salvador Matter?

Terrence Boyd of the United States lies on the field after the United States tied 3-3 with El Salvador in a CONCACAF Olympic qualifying soccer match on Monday.
Mark Humphrey AP

Last night in what is being billed as a heartbreaking late draw against El Salvador, the United States Under-23 soccer team missed their opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

"A nightmare loss," says USA Today.

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4:15pm

Tue March 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Mitt Romney Rival Digs Up Details On GOP Front-Runner's New Man Cave

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 6:21 pm

Mitt Romney at his beach house in La Jolla, Calif., in 2008.
Denis Poroy AP

Presumably, most people who've been paying attention know by now that Mitt Romney is very, very rich.

But to say that he possesses a fortune estimated at up to $250 million can be too abstract for most people. From an opposing campaign's point of view, better to provide voters with a concrete example of how Romney differs from most people.

And it's hard to find a more concrete example, literally and figuratively, than a supersized basement.

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4:10pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Supreme Court Cheat Sheet: A Quick Guide To The Day 2 Arguments

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:11 pm

Opponents and supporters of President Obama's health care overhaul rallied outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Bob Mason shows support for the Tea Party by dressing in costume as one of the Founding Fathers.
John Rose NPR

A clearly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law: its requirement that by 2014 individuals have insurance coverage or face a penalty.

In contrast to Monday's dense and technical arguments, Tuesday's session was filled with sharp rhetorical volleys and clever analogies. Here are some of the more telling exchanges between the lawyers and the high court justices.

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3:36pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Asia

Abuse Claims Follow Mafia Crackdown In Chinese City

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:23 pm

Lawyer Li Zhuang spent more than a year in prison on charges of fabricating evidence and inciting witnesses, after trying to defend an alleged gangster. Li's case became a national cause celebre.
Louisa Lim NPR

The swift downfall of ambitious Chinese politician Bo Xilai exposed a bitter power struggle in the highest echelons of government. Now his victims are telling their stories, exposing a darker side to Bo's signature clampdown on organized crime.

Charismatic and outspoken, Bo seemed headed for the country's top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee, before he was removed abruptly from his post — as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing — earlier this month.

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3:33pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Matthew Weiner, Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow hosts the nightly news talk show The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
Bill Phelps Courtesy of the author

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:


'Mad Men' Creator On What's Next For Don Draper: Matthew Weiner offers his thoughts on Sunday night's Season 5 premiere, the character development of Don Draper, and what may be in store for the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

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3:21pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Music Reviews

Baloji: Finding A Home In His Music

Baloji's new album, Kinshasa Succursale, was released in the U.S. on March 6.
Nicolas Karakatsanis

Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.

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3:15pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

2 U.S. Servicemen Arrested In Drug Cartel Murder-For-Hire Plot

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 3:20 pm

1st Lt. Kevin Corley.
Justice Department

An Army officer and a soldier were arrested earlier this month for allegedly plotting a murder-for-hire scheme, the Justice Department said.

1st Lt. Kevin Corley, 29, and Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28, were arrested after police said they cut a deal with federal officials posing as members of a drug cartel to raid a Texas ranch were they believed 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by members of a rival cartel. Police said Corley, who took the lead in striking the deal, also agreed to kill the rivals using a small team in exchange for $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine.

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3:10pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Scary Moments Aboard JetBlue Flight When Captain Has 'Medical Situation'

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 3:14 pm

A JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas made an unscheduled landing in Amarillo, Texas, this morning after a man identified by passengers as the captain left the cockpit and then started shouting and pounding on its door before he was restrained.

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3:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Interviews

Supporters, Opponents Of Health Law Weigh In

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Well, now two prominent lawyers on opposite sides of this issue. John Suthers is the attorney general of Colorado. He's a Republican. He's one of the 26 state attorneys general who brought suit against the Affordable Care Act and he's been inside the court this week listening to the arguments. Welcome to the program.

JOHN SUTHERS: Glad to be with you.

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3:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Politics

Buddy Roemer Eyes Presidency

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

He's been a congressman, a governor, the head of a bank, and now he wants to be president. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana was running as a Republican. He dropped out of that race and is now seeking the nomination of the Reform Party and of Americans Elect, a new online platform for third-party candidates. Buddy Roemer says he won't take contributions of more than $100 and he won't take PAC money.

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2:56pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Music Interviews

Dry The River: Songs Of Cardiac Anatomy

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:43 pm

A veteran of punk bands, Dry the River's Peter Liddle (center) began playing acoustic guitar to keep quiet as a med student.
Courtesy of the artist

2:20pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Information Will Be Free: Media, Groups Get Around Supreme Court's Rules

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 5:47 pm

While some reporters inside scrambled to get word out, there were plenty of protesters and spectators outside the Supreme Court this morning.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Cameras aren't allowed. There are no broadcasts. No one's supposed to leave the courtroom and then come back in.

As we've said, the U.S. Supreme Court isn't very interested in having its proceedings covered "live" in any way shape or form.

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1:51pm

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

With Number Of Ticks On The Rise, This Season Could Be 'Horrific'

An adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, which is the kind that spreads Lyme disease in the Eastern U.S.
Scott Bauer USDA

The Wall Street Journal is warning us today that tick season is upon us and because of a series of ecological events, it could be a "horrific" season for the diseases they carry.

But the Journal reports that while some of the uptick (The Journal uses this pun: "This Season's Ticking Bomb") is directly related to this season, there's a bigger narrative here. They explain:

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1:50pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Judging The Health Care Law

TRANSCRIPT: Supreme Court: The Health Care Law And The Individual Mandate

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard the second of three days of oral arguments on the fate of President Obama's health care law. A transcript of Tuesday's arguments, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case 11-398, the Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida.

General Verrilli. ORAL ARGUMENT OF DONALD B. VERRILLI, JR., ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS GENERAL VERRILLI: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

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1:27pm

Tue March 27, 2012
It's All Politics

Boehner Eschews (For Now) GOP's Pile On Of Obama For Open-Mic Comment

For Speaker John Boehner, politics still stops at the water's edge. He refused to criticize President Obama's open-mic comment on missile defense, at least while the president was out of the country.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Listen to any foreign-policy hand who's been in Washington long enough and you'll hear nostalgia for a time when politics stopped at the water's edge.

It was the idea that in the foreign-policy realm, it was best if Democrats and Republicans spoke as one.

At the very least, when an American president traveled abroad, the notion was his political opponents back home should desist from criticizing him was the thinking.

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1:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Race

Trayvon Martin's Death Sparks Difficult Conversations

The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, has sparked nationwide demonstrations and school walkouts. It has also prompted new conversations about race in America.

1:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Health Care

The Health Law's Individual Mandate Has Day In Court

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: We will continue argument this morning in Case 11398, the Department of Health and Human Services vs. Florida. General Verrilli...

DONALD VERRILLI: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the court, the Affordable Care Act addresses a fundamental and enduring problem in our health care system and our economy.

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1:00pm

Tue March 27, 2012
Sports

Season Ends For Legendary Coach Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt, head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2011. As her 38th season concludes, Washington Post sports columnist Sally Jenkins talks about suspicions that Summit won't return next year.

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