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10:46am

Thu December 22, 2011
Economy

What's The Economic Impact If The Tax Break Dies?

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:28 pm

Mary Polocy (left) stands in line to enter a career fair in Independence, Ohio, in November. Congress has yet to agree on a measure that would extend unemployment benefits.
Tony Dejak AP

Most political analysts say that Congress and President Obama will eventually agree to extend the payroll tax cut into 2012 – even if it takes another month of arguing.

But what if Congress really can't get it done?

Economists are fairly unanimous in saying growth would be slowed — at least in the short term — if Congress were to fail to pass legislation to extend the tax holiday and include two other proposals to: 1) continue federal help for the long-term unemployed and 2) block a 27 percent Medicare pay cut for doctors.

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10:31am

Thu December 22, 2011
Holiday Music

Hugh Martin's 'Hidden Treasures' Explored

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:14 pm

The late Hugh Martin wrote the Christmas standard, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
The Musical Theater Project

The late songwriter Hugh Martin wrote "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for Judy Garland's 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis, along with dozens of other songs for MGM and Broadway musicals.

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10:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Swept Away By '04 Tsunami, Indonesian Girl Reportedly Finds Way Home

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 10:49 am

Jan. 4, 2005: Indonesians search for names of relatives on notice boards in Banda Aceh, one of the places devastated by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami.
Dimas Ardian Getty Images

Seven years ago, an estimated 230,000 people died after an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that devastated South Asian coasts from Indonesia to Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.

Wednesday, one of those who was thought to be dead apparently "found her way back to her home," according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.

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9:05am

Thu December 22, 2011

9:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
World

U.S. Admits To Some Mistakes In Deadly Pakistan Raid

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The United States has admitted that NATO forces made mistakes that led to the deaths of two dozen Pakistani soldiers. The incident happened along the Afghan-Pakistan border in November. Pakistan had claimed the U.S. purposely attacked its troops and the incident contributed to a spiraling deterioration in relations between the two allies. Now, according to the Pentagon's investigation, the United States admits some responsibility for the deadly raid. In a moment we'll have the view from Pakistan.

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8:40am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Third Quarter Growth Estimate Revised Down Again, To 1.8 Percent

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 10:21 am

The nation's economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis just reported.

The new estimate marks the second time that BEA has revised its third-quarter estimate downward. In its first look, BEA said gross domestic product grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate. Last month, it said the pace was 2 percent.

Still, the third quarter was better than the second — when GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

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7:50am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

U.S. Cites 'Self Defense,' Concedes Poor Coordination In Pakistan Incident

Protesters in Karachi, Pakistan, burned an American flag earlier this month to express their anger over the airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Rizwan Tabassum AFP/Getty Images

American military forces, "given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon" when they called for airstrikes along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in late November in an incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the Pentagon said this morning.

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7:39am

Thu December 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Elves Pass Out $100 Bills In Detroit

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:40 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer. For the fourth year in a row, a couple dressed in elf hats drove around Detroit handing out $100 bills to strangers - $12,000 worth. Many thought those crisp Benjamins were a joke. Some burst into tears. The anonymous couple stopped a Detroit bus and gave every passenger $100. The couple does ask recipients to pay it forward, in kindness. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:35am

Thu December 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Ga. Lottery Winner Must Come Forward Soon

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Attention lottery players in Georgia: No one has stepped up to claim a $77 million jackpot that expires on Monday, and the state's lotto offices will be closed starting tomorrow for the Christmas holiday. But if you're out there, lucky winner, you can claim your prize at a kiosk at Atlanta's International Airport throughout the Christmas holidays. Then you can do all the duty-free holiday shopping you want. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:10am

Thu December 22, 2011
The Two-Way

Dozens Killed, Scores Injured In Wave Of Bombings In Baghdad

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:38 am

Iraqi security forces inspect a crater caused by a car bomb attack in the neighborhood of Karrada in Baghdad earlier today (Dec. 22, 2011). It was one in a wave of such bombings in the Iraqi capital today.
Hadi Mizban AP

It's been a terrible day in Baghdad, where at least 16 explosions in 13 different locations have killed dozens of people and left about 200 wounded, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the Iraqi capital.

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7:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Best Books Of 2011

Indulge Yourself: 2011's Best Celebrity Tell-Alls

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:36 pm

Priscilla Nielsen for NPR

Ah, 'tis the season to be indulgent. Another glass of champagne? Please, have some homemade cookies. Does anyone want to go to the movies instead of the gym? As far as I'm concerned, December is Guilty Pleasures Time.

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6:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Movie Reviews

Flicks, Picked (Redux): Edelstein's 2011 Top 10 Films

Beginners — based on director Mike Mills' life--Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finds out his father is gay, and has denied himself throughout his married life. After coming out, Oliver's dad becomes physically and spiritually transformed. " href="/post/flicks-picked-redux-edelsteins-2011-top-10-films" class="noexit lightbox">
In Beginners — based on director Mike Mills' life--Oliver (Ewan McGregor) finds out his father is gay, and has denied himself throughout his married life. After coming out, Oliver's dad becomes physically and spiritually transformed.
Focus Features

Fresh Air's film critic David Edelstein says 2011 was the kind of year without a list-topping film.

"There's no best film this year," says Edelstein. "This is in alphabetical order because I liked all these movies, I loved some of them, but I just couldn't pick a best. It wasn't that kind of year."

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4:13am

Thu December 22, 2011
Business

Home Depot Shines A Light On Bulb Choices

Most incandescent light bulbs were supposed to be phased out starting Jan. 1. But tucked inside the House's omnibus spending bill, there's a provision barring the Energy Department from enforcing more energy-efficient standards for light bulbs. For those who still want them, there are increasing options for efficient bulbs. Renee Montagne talks to Bill Hamilton, merchandising vice president of electrical at Home Depot, which sells about a third of all light bulbs in the U.S.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
NPR Story

'Smart Decline' May Cure Zombie Subdivisions

The suburban Southwest is awash with empty lots and zombie subdivisions — developments that have been abandoned by builders. Experts believe up to a million dirt lots in central Arizona were in some stage of approval for new homes when the housing market crashed. Urban planners say to fix the zombie problem, the state must realize the that people are leaving the suburbs and should consider "smart decline." Peter O'Dowd of member station KJZZ explains.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
NPR Story

GOP Candidates Enlist Wives For Holiday Campaign Ads

With less than two weeks before voting begins in Iowa, three Republican candidates are pulling out the big guns. Callista Gingrich, Anita Perry and Anne Romney appeared in campaign ads for their husbands.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
NPR Story

North Korea's Heir Apparent Has His Work Cut Out For Him

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 9:44 pm

Kim Jong Un, heir apparent to North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il, faces formidable challenges in the isolated communist nation.
Kyodo/file

While North Korea is preparing for the state funeral of longtime leader Kim Jong Il next week, attention is quickly turning to his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. Even veteran Pyongyang watchers know little about the successor. But it's clear what he's inheriting: a country in dire economic straits, and a tough fight to consolidate his political power and legitimacy.

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4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Middle East

Hundreds Killed In Bloody Month For Syrian Uprising

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:01 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Syria, this week has been one of the bloodiest reported in months. Activists and groups monitoring Syria say hundreds have been killed as the government moves against villages and towns near the Turkish border. The Syrian government acknowledges the campaign but calls it a fight against terrorists.

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4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Education

Hawaii Could Lose Federal Education Dollars

The state of Hawaii is in danger of losing millions of dollars in Race to the Top funds due to its "unsatisfactory" performance.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Election 2012

Super Pac Has Internet Fun At Gingrich's Expense

The Democratic political action committee American Bridge 21st Century has taken over the website newtgingrich.com. Visitors to the site — which is not controlled by Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign — were re-directed to, among other things, the website Tiffany & Co., and to articles critical of the former House speaker.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Election 2012

Romney Spends Another Day Campaigning In New Hampshire

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is campaigning hard in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on January tenth. The former Massachusetts Governor had four events on Wednesday, there is seven on Thursday and more on Friday..

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Business

Ratings Drop For 'All-American Muslim'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:27 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is ratings reality. Ratings for this week's episode of the reality TV show, "All-American Muslim," dropped to more than 30 percent from the previous week's ratings. The show had plenty of drama off-screen earlier this month when the home improvement retailer Lowe's admitted it pulled its ads on the show after pressure from a conservative Christian group.

Yesterday, Lowe's said it would not change its decision. Cable channel TLC has not yet said whether the show will get picked up for another season.

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4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Charities Compete With Stores For Shoppers Money

Americans make more charitable donations than people of any other country, and this is the time of year they dig the deepest. In Little Rock, Arkansas, that means the anti-poverty charity, Heifer International, is going full throttle. Contributors purchase living things, which are donated to struggling families in 52 countries.

4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Around the Nation

Marine Thankful To Be Home At Christmas

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We've been following the Dark Horse Battalion this year. NPR's Tom Bowman has brought us a series of stories on the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment of the Marine Corps. They fought in the deadliest place in Afghanistan, Sangan in Helmand Province.

The Dark Horse Battalion is home this Christmas and we reached out to one of them. Staff Sergeant James Foley joined us by phone from Camp Pendleton here in Southern California and shared memories of what he was doing this time last year.

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1:26am

Thu December 22, 2011
Music

A Church, An Oratorio And An Enduring Tradition

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:17 am

The interior of the renowned Marienkirche church, where Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio is traditionally performed.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig on Christmas Day in 1734. In Germany, no matter what the economic and political times, it's the Christmas work. In the oldest functioning church in Berlin, the 13th-century Saint Mary's, performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a fixed tradition.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Education

Texas Schools Grapple With Big Budget Cuts

What's known as Middle School No. 8 in Leander, Texas, was supposed to help relieve overcrowding in the rapidly growing community. But after significant statewide cuts to education, the district can't afford to open the school.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Newt Gingrich

Gingrich's Catholic Journey Began With Third Wife

Any discussion of Newt Gingrich's journey to Catholicism begins with his wife.

"I have always been a very spiritual person," Callista Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this year. "I start each day with a prayer, and pray throughout the day, because I am grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us."

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Asia

U.S. And Pakistan Relations: From Bad To Worse

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:04 am

Relations between the U.S. military and the Pakistan military have become even more strained since American forces were involved in a shooting last month that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. Here, Pakistani soldiers march during a ceremony in September.
Arif Ali

In Pakistan, transit routes for NATO supply trucks heading to Afghanistan remain shut. The CIA drone missile program has gone quiet in Pakistan's tribal area. Pakistan's government has called for a re-negotiation of its troubled relationship with the U.S.

All of this is fallout from an attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month in which NATO fire from helicopter gunships killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Author Interviews

'The Dead Witness': Classic Victorian Crime Fiction

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:48 am

Michael Sims, editor of The Dead Witness, resurrects long-forgotten Victorian crime writing.
Dennis Wile

With his pipe, deerstalker hat and formidable "methods," Sherlock Holmes may be the most recognizable face of the Victorian mystery story. But how does he stack up against Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, who pioneered deductive reasoning? Or quicksilver Violet Strange, debutante by day, intrepid sleuth by night?

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6:25pm

Wed December 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Staying In Shape On The Campaign Trail: Romney Drops A Few Pointers

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Romney eats a slice of pizza — this one with the cheese still on — at a campaign stop in Newport, N.H
Ari Shapiro NPR

Stumping in New Hampshire on Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney revealed a bit about his strategies for staying in shape on the campaign trail.

"Hey, I heard you pull the cheese off your pizza to stay thin. Is that true?" asked a woman at Village Pizza in Newport, N.H., in the southwestern part of the state, where the Romney bus tour had made a stop.

"You know, on occasion, but on the campaign trail you need all the calories you can get," laughed Romney.

"And do you run three miles a day like they say?" she asked.

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6:14pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Canada's Less Productive, Yet Gaining On U.S. Quality Of Life

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:09 pm

Canadians live it up, while Americans work. This is actually an October picture of Canada's national baseball team at the Pan American Games in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
Javier Galeano AP

According to Canada's statistics agency, Canadians are less productive than their U.S. counterparts, yet their standard of living gained 5 percent during the 14 year period they analyzed.

Now, the reasons for that argument are quite complex, but The Wall Street Journal boiled it down to a lesson Americans can take from their neighbors to the north: "Be less productive, live better."

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