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1:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
NPR Story

Finding Bright Spots In A Difficult 2011

2011 has been a tough year in many ways: the economy is still struggling, Europe's dealing with a huge debt crisis and Japan is still recovering from a devastating tsunami. But from Chrysler to coconut water, there are people, products and ideas that have done well in 2011.

1:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
NPR Story

Revisiting The First Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Before the 2011 film version of John Le Carre's spy novel, British director John Irvin directed the original 1979 multi-episode series for the BBC, starring George Smiley as the master spy recalled from forced retirement to root out a traitor in the top ranks of the British intelligence service.

1:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
From Our Listeners

Letters: Video Games And The High Cost Of College

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including realizing how much college actually costs, recovering from a traumatic injury and the season's big video games.

12:45pm

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

CNN's Piers Morgan Testifies Before British Parliament About Phone Hacking

CNN's Piers Morgan has been testifying today before the British Parliament about the country's phone hacking scandal. Morgan, who was the editor of two British tabloids, became a figure in the scandal when a British politician said Morgan had "boasted" about hacking into phones.

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12:02pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Business

Investors Endure Another Disappointing Year

For Americans saving for retirement, 2011 was another lackluster year, filled with lots of risks but few rewards.

Savers who tried to avoid risks by putting money into federally insured savings accounts earned almost no interest. The money just sat there, even as inflation ate away at its value, with consumer prices rising nearly 3.5 percent this year.

And for those who invested in a broad array of U.S. stocks, the results were — at best — mixed.

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12:01pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Election 2012

In Iowa, The Final GOP Ground Game Takes Shape

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:11 am

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry passes out stickers on Dec. 16 in Cherokee, Iowa.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Two weeks from Tuesday, Iowa voters will head out to almost 1,800 caucus sites to help select a Republican presidential nominee. It could be cold. It could also be snowing. And the campaigns know they'll have to work hard to make sure their supporters show up. Those get-out-the-vote efforts could make all the difference in a race that now appears to be up for grabs.

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12:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
NPR Story

Forget The Fads, Stick To Classic Toys

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 11:31 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hanukkah begins tonight, and since many people wait until the last minute to do that holiday shopping, some are probably still trying to figure out what to get for their favorite little people.

Last week, we talked about the newest electronic gifts, like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Introducing Fijit Friends, a girl's interactive best friend. Fijit Friends say more than 150 different phrases.

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12:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
NPR Story

Parents Strive To Instill A Spirit Of Giving

Three out of 4 moms consider their kids spoiled, according to a recent survey on Parenting.com. But the survey also found that most parents use the holidays as an opportunity to teach volunteerism and charity. Host Michel Martin discusses the challenges of instilling a spirit of giving with a diverse panel of moms.

12:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
NPR Story

Do You Need Your Mailman?

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 11:31 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, our money coach offers some end-of-the-year advice on keeping your credit clean during and after the festive season. That's coming up. But first, if you want those holiday cards to make it in time, then you better get them in the mail soon. Today is expected to be the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service and your last chance to guarantee first-class delivery before December 25th.

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12:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Governing

Is A Privatized Post Office Better?

Not everyone thinks the U.S. Postal Service is worth saving. Tad DeHaven of the Cato Institute says spiraling costs and uncertain revenues can be solved with privatization. Host Michel Martin and DeHaven discuss what a private postal service might look like.

12:00pm

Tue December 20, 2011
Money Coach

This New Year, Resolve To Improve Your Credit

Personal finance experts say the start of a new year is the perfect time to check your credit report. Host Michel Martin speaks with Tell Me More regular 'Money Coach' Alvin Hall about what to look for and how to boost your credit in 2012.

11:51am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Salt

With Hanukkah Microbrews, A Taste of Jewish History

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 12:32 pm

An early predecessor to the Hanukkah brews of today, Russian Jew Max Lapides stands with his sons in front of the Bauernschmidt Brewery Saloon in Baltimore, circa 1900.
Gift of Rose Sacks. Courtesy of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, 1988.227.1

During the holidays, many beer manufacturers roll out seasonal brews. But there's a relative newcomer for the festival of lights: Hanukkah beer.

Lompoc Brewing, in Portland, Ore., is one small, craft brewery that has added it to its winter lineup.

"We had a Jewish gentleman here ... and he wanted to make a Hanukkah brew," says David Fleming, the head brewer. "So we thought it was a great idea. We already had six Christmas beers going anyhow, so why couldn't we have a seventh one for Hanukkah?"

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10:35am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Cool Video: Massive Cloud 'Waves' Roll Over Alabama

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:28 pm

Huge clouds roll over Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 16, 2011.
ABC 33/40

10:09am

Tue December 20, 2011
Best Music Of 2011

Ken Tucker's Top 10: The Year In Music

W W Norton & Co Inc

10:07am

Tue December 20, 2011
Television

Bianculli Picks The Best (And Worst) TV Of 2011

Over the past few seasons, Breaking Bad's Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has changed from meek hero to forceful villain. TV critic David Bianculli says he isn't just breaking bad anymore — he's entirely broken.
Gregory Peters AMC

Fresh Air's TV critic David Bianculli liked so many shows this year that he says he couldn't pick just 10 favorites. Instead, he split his favorites into several lists, including best documentaries and best scripted comedies/dramas.

Bianculli also highlights some of the worst shows to hit TV screens this year — including not one but two shows featuring Snooki.

Despite his Snooki misgivings, Bianculli says it was a banner year for TV.

"There is more good television on a weekly basis than there has ever been," Bianculli says. "I am absolutely certain of it."

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9:59am

Tue December 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Flagging In Polls, Gingrich Urges Voters To Reject Negative Campaigning

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich makes remarks at a town hall meeting at Level 10 Apparel's screen-printing warehouse, in Hiawatha, Iowa, Dec. 19.
MIKE THEILER UPI /Landov

New polls — both in Iowa and nationwide — show front-running GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich losing his edge. Over at the New York Times' blog FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver's latest forecast shows Ron Paul taking the lead in Iowa.

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9:55am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEOS: Lights Go Out At Candlestick During 'Monday Night Football'

Most of the lights were out, but between camera flashes and emergency back-ups it wasn't pitch black when there were two power failures Monday night at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

9:52am

Tue December 20, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Hospitals That Serve The Poor Struggle With Readmissions

Hospitals across the country are trying to clamp down on frequent readmissions in anticipation of new penalties Medicare is readying. But it's a bigger problem at hospitals that treat lots of low-income patients.

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9:49am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Salt

11 Food Gifts We'd Like To See On The Doorstep

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 10:26 am

Artichokes for Christmas? For some veggie lovers, a box from Pezzini Farms may be the perfect gift.
Ethan Taniguchi for Pezzini Farms

When it comes to a gift that embodies the warmth and sharing of the holidays, food wins every time. This week, millions of boxes of treats are jetting across the country, spreading cheer and calories. We asked the denizens of NPR's science desk what food they're hoping to find on their doorsteps this week. Here are their picks, from traditional to outré.

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9:20am

Tue December 20, 2011

9:05am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Home Construction Rose In November; 2011 Still A Weak Year

There was a 9.3 percent rise in "housing starts" last month vs. October, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

"Single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 447,000," the agencies say. "This is 2.3 percent above the revised October figure of 437,000." The really big increase was in construction of buildings with five or more living units. Starts in that category were up 32.2 percent.

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8:55am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

House Rejects Senate's Extension Of Payroll Tax Cut

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 2:23 pm

House John Boehner (R-Ohio) at the U.S. Capitol on Monday (Dec. 19, 2011).
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Update at 12:56 p.m. ET. House Rejects Bill:

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a Senate bill extending unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut to conference. With the Senate in recess, the move leaves the bill in limbo and could mean that come January, 2 million Americans will lose their long-term unemployment benefits and 160 million workers could see their taxes rise by 2-percentage points.

Before the vote, Democrats and Republicans went head to head on the House floor.

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8:45am

Tue December 20, 2011
It's All Politics

Why Is Times Columnist Gail Collins So Obsessed With Mitt Romney's Dog?

This 1982 family photo provided by the Romney campaign shows the Romney family during summer vacation: from left, Mitt, Tagg, Ben, Matt, Craig, Ann and Josh Romney. Seamus, unfortunately, is not pictured. His fateful voyage to Canada occurred the following summer.
Anonymous AP

Plenty of folks have their unshakable obsessions. Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail. Captain Ahab pursued the Great White Whale. For New York Times columnist Gail Collins, it's her fixation on the voyages of an Irish Setter named Seamus.

"For some reason, the idea that you've got this guy who would drive all the way to Canada with an Irish setter sitting on the top of the car — it absolutely fascinated me," Collins says.

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8:15am

Tue December 20, 2011
The Two-Way

Kim Jong Un's Ascension Is 'Being Cemented For Him'

A screen shot from North Korean TV foottage shows Kim Jong Il's body lying in a glass coffin in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is now lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang — enclosed in a glass coffin and surrounded by flowers. He died Saturday and the period of mourning is set to continue until well into next week.

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8:11am

Tue December 20, 2011
Sports

Power Outage Delays Start Of Monday Night Football

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 8:14 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. If you were ready for some football last night, too bad. The aptly named Candlestick Park in San Francisco lost electricity twice, causing a Monday Night Football lighting malfunction. The game started 20 minutes late due to darkness. The second-quarter blackout lasted almost as long.

Suspended Steeler James Harrison Tweeted: If I can't play, can't nobody play. Lights out. When the lights came on, the '49ers won. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

8:06am

Tue December 20, 2011
World

Airline To Let Passengers Pick Seatmates

The misery of holiday flying can be made even worse by who you end up sitting next to. So KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is unveiling a new feature allowing flyers to link up their social media profiles during check-in then pick a flying buddy from other passenger profiles.

7:49am

Tue December 20, 2011
Remembrances

Jazz Musician Bob Brookmeyer Dies At 81

Bob Brookmeyer began his career in the 1950s. From the beginning, Brookmeyer was credited with a highly distinctive personal style — first as an improviser, then as a composer and arranger for big-band jazz. And his primary instrument is one that's rarely heard — the valve trombone — instead of a slide.

7:42am

Tue December 20, 2011
Europe

France, Britain Fight To Keep AAA Ratings

An economic war of words has broken out between France and Britain as both nations try to hang on to their coveted AAA ratings. There is speculation that France will be downgraded soon. Meanwhile, the head of France's central bank suggested that rating agencies might want to take a closer look at Britain.

7:37am

Tue December 20, 2011
Iraq

Arrest Warrant Issue For Iraq's Vice President

Just days after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops, Iraq is in the midst of a growing political crisis. Aides to Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki say one of his main rivals, ordered attacks on Shiite politicians.

7:30am

Tue December 20, 2011
Food

Menudo: Spicy Red Chili Broth, A Christmas Tradition

Originally published on Tue December 20, 2011 9:09 am

Morning Edition asked listeners to write in about a dish they only make during the holiday season. Monica Bencomo of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote in to tell us about her favorite holiday dish: menudo, a red chili-based soup that her mother makes almost every December.

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