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4:53pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Economy

Some Jobless Saved By The Salvation Army Bell

Lynn Smith has been ringing a Salvation Army bell since Thanksgiving outside a grocery store in Ventura, Calif. A former travel agent, she works 8 hours a day for minimum wage.
Glorida Hillard For NPR

The Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles have been a familiar sight during the holidays for more than 120 years. Although in the past bell ringers were primarily volunteers, for many behind the kettle today, the temporary job has become a life saver.

For first-time bell ringers Lynn and Rusty Smith, it's helping keep them afloat during tough economic times. They work 8 hours a day ringing a Salvation Army bell for minimum wage.

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4:34pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Three Books...

Hell-Raising Heroines: Three Ladies With Spitfire

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 5:19 pm

James FL USA via flickr

In this age of bland romantic comedy leads, when the feminine ideal seems to mix two parts sweetly smiling Jennifer Aniston with three parts saucer-eyed Rapunzel, nothing can bring more satisfaction than the antiheroine.

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4:16pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Newt Gingrich

To Win Over Iowans, Gingrich Aims At Judges

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

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4:12pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

North Korea's Likely Leader: Young And Untested

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 5:10 pm

Kim Jong Un, who is expected to become North Korea's next leader, claps after inspecting the construction site of a power station. This undated photo was released by the Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 4, 2010.
AP

North Korea has yet to formally name its new leader, and it may take a while before it does. But there's a clear favorite. Kim Jong Un was anointed back in 2009 to succeed his father, Kim Jong Il, the country's longtime leader, whose death was announced on Monday.

If Kim does follow his father and grandfather as ruler of the secretive nation, he will face huge challenges. He's not yet 30 years old, and yet would be running a society that inherently favors leaders seen as experienced and wise, rather than young and untested.

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3:23pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Salt

To Party Like Rock Stars, They Suggest Buying Their Booze

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 5:40 pm

At the national release of "AC/DC The Wine" in Melbourne, varieties included Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato.
William West AFP/Getty Images

The year 2011, it seems, was a good one for celebrity booze. The famous fellows who launched their own labels this year weren't your run-of-the-mill rappers touting trendy liquors or champagnes, though. (I'm looking at you, Diddy.) Instead, several aging rockers, a professional athlete, and an actor decided the time had come to hawk wine, spirits or beer.

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3:10pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

U.S. Treads Cautiously With North Korean Transition

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 8:19 pm

North Korean residents line up to receive food rations at a Red Cross distribution center in Tongsin, North Korea, in 1997. Discussions over U.S. food aid to the reclusive country were to take place Monday. "You could, in a very real sense, see the needs for food assistance," said an official with Mercy Corps, after a September 2011 visit to the country.
Lasse Norgaard AP

The changing of the guard in North Korea poses clear risks for the United States.

Kim Jong Il's son Kim Jong Un is the likely successor. But he's still in his 20s and has had little time to prepare to take over the country. Analysts say that because he's weak, he won't be in any position to get back to nuclear disarmament talks and make concessions.

Kim Jong Un may also be tempted to take provocative actions to establish his leadership credentials, and the Obama administration has to take all this into account as it decides on next steps.

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3:05pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Generic Lipitor Now At Stores Near You

It's here. The cholesterol-fighter Liptor, the biggest hit in the history of the pharmaceutical industry, is now widely available in generic form.

The Pfizer drug finally lost its U.S. patent protection at the end of November, opening the door for cheaper substitutes (atorvastatin, generically) and ending the monopoly for one of the most profitable brand-name products of any kind.

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3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

Post-9/11 Vets Face Special Employment Challenges

Lynn Neary speaks with Michael Haynie, executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, about the unemployment picture for American veterans. Haynie says veterans from the post-9/11 generation have to overcome not only a tough economy but a special set of challenges, including physical and psychological traumas in war.

3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

House Poised To Reject Budget Deal

Days after it seemed Congress had struck a budget, tax cut and unemployment deal that would get it through the holidays, it is clear that they did not. House Speaker John Boehner Monday must deal with a restive House GOP caucus that signaled over the weekend that it had no interest in going along with the Senate's two-month plan. NPR congressional correspondent David Welna joins Lynn Neary with the latest.

3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

Lawmakers Fight Over Perceived Christmas Tree Tax

Christmas tree growers are frustrated that politics are delaying a marketing campaign to promote real trees over artificial. Following four years of work to get it passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the industry-sponsored real Christmas tree campaign in November. But conservatives quickly branded it as "President Obama's Christmas tree tax" and the program was delayed within days of its approval. There are 18 other commodities — like pork and eggs — with similar generic advertising programs. They show anywhere from a two-to-one to a ten-to-one return on investment.

3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Technology

'Wired' Editor Discusses 2011's Best Apps

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel, and it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Technology

Tablets Replace Some Small Businesses Tools

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And now to the spreading influence of apps and tablets in the business world. As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, many small businesses are using tablets to replace everything from the menu to the timecard to the cash register.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That is ceroni, so the green is like a pistachio.

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3:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Around the Nation

Kim's Death Met With Joy, Concern In Koreatown

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 6:54 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Many Koreans who live in the United States are following the situation in North Korea closely. Southern California is home to a huge Korean community.

And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, news of Kim Jong Il's death has been greeted there with shock and anxiety.

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2:55pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Scientists Pinpoint Source Of Stonehenge's Inner Stones

The sun rises behind Stonehenge as revellers celebrate the pagan festival of 'Summer Solstice' in 2010.
Carl Court AFP/Getty Images

It took scientists nine months, but they are now sure the inner stones of Stonehenge came from Pembrokeshire, Wales, about 160 miles from the Stonehenge site.

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2:25pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Don't Panic, It Wasn't Lil' Kim

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 2:28 pm

In case anyone's confused. Kim Jong Il is at left. And Lil' Kim is still with us.
Korean Central News Agency / Ian Gavan AFP/Getty Images

Just the headline of this Buzz Feed post made us laugh.

"25 People Who Thought Lil Kim Died."

It's funny either way:

-- If some folks were confused by the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

-- Or if they were just making mischief.

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2:01pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: So Far, 2011 Safest Year On Record For Air Travel

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 2:03 pm

An airplane takes off.
iStockphoto.com

2011 is shaping up to be the safest on record for airline travel, according to analysis of United Nations data by a trade group.

The International Air Transport Association reports that January to November of 2011 are the safest months on record since the U.N. started keeping data in 1945. The 11-month period has also seen a 22 percent improvement in safety from last year.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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1:38pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Can I Just Tell You?

The Continuing Lessons Of A Bad Break

Sometimes, a helping hand can make all the different to someone in need.
istockphoto.com

Finally, since so many people have been nice enough to ask me how I am doing with my arm since I broke it a month ago, I thought I would give an update.

First, it still hurts, a lot. I don't know what I expected since the last time I broke a bone. I think I was in fourth grade and all I remember about it was how wonderful it was to be able to get the cutest boys in my class to carry my books with little more than a crook of my finger and a toss of my pigtails. This time? Well, this is a little different.

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1:32pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Second Neti-Pot Death From Amoeba Prompts Tap-Water Warning

Keep that tap water — and amoebas — out of your neti pot.
iStockphoto.com

Washing noses with neti pots or squeeze bottles has become increasingly popular as a home remedy for colds, allergies and sinus trouble. But it's not such a great remedy if it kills you.

Now that two people have died from infection with brain-eating amoebas after using neti pots, doctors are warning: do not put tap water up your nose.

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1:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

'The Art Of Fielding': Baseball Meets Literature

Chad Harbach's debut novel The Art of Fielding is as much about literary fiction as it is about America's national past time. The book follows the baseball team at a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin — with side trips to the big leagues of American literature.

Henry Skrimshander is that college's talented but socially awkward shortstop, destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes wrong, Henry's life falls apart as he ends up embroiled in conflicts with his teammates, his roommate and a school administrator.

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1:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Iraq

What Lessons Should Americans Draw From Iraq War?

The American public, military and the intelligence community were all affected by the Iraq war. Tom Ricks of the Center for a New American Security, retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson and Army veteran Andrew Exum discuss how Americans will remember the war, and what we should learn from it.

1:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Europe

Dorfman on Havel: One Playwright Remembers Another

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 2:31 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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1:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Asia

Future Uncertain For Reclusive North Korea

The death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il leaves many open questions about the secretive country's future. Former Ambassador Christopher Hill and North Korea experts Hazel Smith and Alexander Monsourov discuss how Kim's death may affect the country's relationship with the international community.

12:58pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

Kim Jong Il's Legacy? 'North Korea Is Dark'

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 3:03 pm

North Korea's borders are outlined.
NASA via Afrikent

There's certainly already been a lot said about North Korea's Kim Jong Il. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has an obit and Planet Money has a recap of how North Korea's economy is fueled by drug dealing and smuggling of counterfeit goods.

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12:28pm

Mon December 19, 2011
North Korea In Transition

Key Moments In The Rule Of Kim Jong Il

Korean Central News Agency photo released on Jan. 18, 2009, showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il posing with soldiers.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong Il succeeded his father and ruled the secretive nation for 17 years. It was a period that included repeated friction with the international community over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and a devastating famine in the late 1990s that may have been responsible for upwards of 2 million deaths.

12:25pm

Mon December 19, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEOS: Christmas-Themed 'Senior Citizen Flash Mobs' Are Spreading

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 12:26 pm

The senior citizens flash mob in Kansas.
YouTube

12:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

What Will 'The Dear Leader's' Legacy Be?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died this past weekend. Host Michel Martin looks at the significance of Kim's death and what it means for the future of North Korea. She speaks with David Kang and Sandra Fahy of the Korean Studies Institute at USC.

12:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

A White Writer Gives Advice To A 'Poor Black Kid'

Writer Gene Marks caused a ruckus online with his recent blog post offering advice on how poor back children can succeed in life. He drew a great deal of criticism, including a sharp response from author and blogger Baratunde Thurston of The Onion. Host Michel Martin speaks with Thurston about the controversy.

12:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
NPR Story

Decades Later, Did Those Scholarships Pay Off?

In 1988, a group of Maryland fifth-graders received college scholarships from two philanthropists. Now those students are in their 30s and their lives are chronicled in The Washington Post magazine. Host Michel Martin speaks with reporter Paul Schwartzman and one of those students about how the scholarship affected their lives.

12:00pm

Mon December 19, 2011
Music

Jazz Pianist Gives Holiday Classics A New Swing

On his new album, Celebrating Christmas, veteran jazz pianist Marcus Roberts turns out a ragtime rendition of "Joy to the World," as well as other smooth but cheerful versions of holiday classics like "Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" Host Michel Martin speaks with Roberts about his desire to get toes tapping during the holidays.

11:58am

Mon December 19, 2011
Music Reviews

The Left Banke: Teenage Pioneers Of Jangle-Pop

Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 12:24 pm

If you were a New York teenager who played an instrument and wanted to be in a band, and all of a sudden British groups were coming to town and attracting rioting mobs of teenage girls, you might feel a certain urgency to get something together. Tom Finn had already had a band, The Magic Plants, when he ran into a guy named Steve Martin-Caro, a Spanish high-school student who recently arrived in the city, as they attempted to navigate the scene outside the hotel where The Rolling Stones' members were staying in 1965. The two became friends and decided to form another band.

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