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5:02pm

Tue April 24, 2012
It's All Politics

As The Campaign Hits Cruising Altitude, Critics Again Target Presidential Travel

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

President Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, en route to Florida, on April 10. Whenever a president runs for re-election, his travel tends to become a political issue.
Cliff Owen AP

The White House has been fielding questions lately about President Obama's travel — what's official, what's political and whether taxpayers are getting stuck with the bill. It's the same issue that rolls around every time a president runs for re-election.

Take President Obama's trip to Florida earlier this month. It featured an official presidential speech on the economy at Florida Atlantic University. On the same trip, the president hit two fundraisers.

How do you sort that out?

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4:57pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Animals

A Bug's Life: Store Caters To Collectors Of Crawly Pets

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:49 pm

The Poecilotheria metallica is a species of tarantula that reflects a metallic blue color. It is just one of many tarantulas for sale in Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil's pet store. Price: $200.
Kenthebugguy.com

If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.

Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.

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4:52pm

Tue April 24, 2012
London 2012: The Summer Olympics

Olympian's Arc: From 'Ninja Turtles' To London

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Terrence Jennings (right) lands a kick during a taekwondo match last fall. Jennings, who says his love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drew him to the sport, will compete in his first Olympics this summer.
Martin Mejia AP

Taekwondo is fairly new to the Olympics; it was first officially included in 2000. But in just a few years, the Olympics have become the pinnacle event of the Korean martial art. And the odds of earning a spot competing on that stage are incredibly slim. There are only four slots for Americans — two for men, and two for women.

Terrence Jennings has beaten those odds, by defeating opponents over months of qualifying matches. In July, he'll head to London for his first Olympics.

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4:30pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Newt Gingrich

Through Debt And Derision, Gingrich Keeps Running

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:38 pm

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win all five of the Republican presidential primaries being held Tuesday. The GOP front-runner hasn't had to worry about real competition since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month.

But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running for president, even though he's short on money and lagging far back in the polls.

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4:28pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama Calls Secret Service Employees In Prostitution Scandal 'Knuckleheads'

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:42 pm

President Barack Obama laughs with Jimmy Fallon during commercial break as he participates in a taping of the Jimmy Fallon Show on Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

In his first public comments about the prostitution scandal that has engulfed the Secret Service, President Obama praised the agency and said those implicated in the scandal should not the diminish the work of everyone else.

"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," Obama said according to Politico. "They protect me, they protect our girls... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do."

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4:15pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Law

Miss. Prison Operator Out; Facility Called A 'Cesspool'

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:06 pm

In 2010, former inmate Ross Walton describes mistreatment he says inmates received from guards. Faced with a court order to reform the Walnut Grove juvenile prison, the company managing the prison is leaving Mississippi.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

One month after a federal court ordered sweeping changes at a troubled juvenile prison in rural Mississippi, the private company managing the prison is out. A report by the Justice Department describes "systemic, egregious and dangerous practices" at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.

As those words imply, the official report is scathing.

Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that the youth prison "has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk."

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4:05pm

Tue April 24, 2012
NPR Story

Student Loan Debt Exceeds One Trillion Dollars

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

President Obama wants Congress to extend the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which would freeze interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans for one year. Melissa Block speaks with Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert and publisher of FinAid.org for a primer on student loans and repayments.

4:05pm

Tue April 24, 2012
NPR Story

Senate Democrats Blast Arizona Immigration Law

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

On the eve of oral arguments in an important immigration case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the issue came to Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer convened a Senate hearing on the controversial Arizona law.

4:01pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Books

'America's Great Debate' Saved Union From War

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 12:32 pm

The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.

In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.

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3:40pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Los Angeles Bets On Crusading Doctor To Turn Around Public Health System

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 9:24 pm

Dr. Mitch Katz rides his bike to work, defying the commuting norm in Los Angeles.
Michael Wilson L.A.County Health Services Dept.

It would be easy to confuse Dr. Mitch Katz with any other doctor at the Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. His desk in a closet-sized, windowless office is littered with patient records, X-rays and cans of Diet Coke.

His everyman demeanor belies his stature. As director of the county's Department of Health Services, Katz, 52, oversees Los Angeles' public hospitals and clinics, the health care of last resort for millions of low-income Angelenos. He oversees 22,000 employees and a $3.7 billion-dollar budget.

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3:34pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

USDA: New Case Of Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:25 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in a cow in central California. It is the fourth case found in the country in recent years.

The animal was a dairy cow and "at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health," U.S.D.A. Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford said in a statement.

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3:02pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Music Interviews

Classical 'Rock Star' Joshua Bell Takes On Conducting

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:17 pm

Joshua Bell.
Ethan Miller Getty Images for The Smith Center

Joshua Bell, the violin prodigy who grew into what some call a classical-music rock star, has taken the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra's first music director since Sir Neville Marriner, who created the group.

On his first tour with the group as both music director and conductor, Bell plays the violin while conducting the orchestra simultaneously, gesturing with his bow. And he leads from the concert master's chair, rather than the podium, which seems unusual to some audiences.

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2:55pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Cardboard Prom Dress Is Just The Right Fit For This Young Woman

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:51 am

Maura Pozek in her latest creation.
Steve Pozek (her dad)

Why did Missouri teen Maura Pozek make her prom dress out of cardboard and paper bags?

Because after fashioning the previous two years' outfits out of Doritos bags and soda can tabs, "I had to top myself somehow."

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2:39pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

With 'Drive,' Google Joins The Cloud Storage War

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:44 pm

Google Drive.
Google

After years of speculation and rumor, today Google announced Google Drive, a new service that allows users to store data on the cloud.

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2:25pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Bird Flu Scientist Has Applied For Permit To Export Research

The Dutch scientist at the center of the controversy over recent bird flu experiments says that his team applied for government permission today to submit a paper describing their research to a science journal.

The Dutch government has asserted that the studies, which describe how to make bird flu virus more contagious, fall under regulations that control the export of weapons technology.

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2:07pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Americans' Cholesterol Levels Shrink, Even As Waistlines Expand

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 9:47 am

Americans are heavier than ever, yet the amount of cholesterol in our blood is on the decline.
iStockphoto.com

A curious — and good — thing has happened on the road to Obesity Nation: the share of the U.S. adult population with high cholesterol has dropped.

Data just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that only 13.4 percent of adults in this country have high cholesterol, according to data collected in 2009 and 2010.

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2:07pm

Tue April 24, 2012
NPR Story

Un- and Under-Employment Await Many College Grads

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:01 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a few weeks, long lines of college seniors will cross the stage, turn a tassel and walk into one of the worst job markets in a decade. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, about half of college graduates under the age of 25 were either jobless or underemployed last year, taking jobs as cashiers or barristas to pay the bills.

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2:07pm

Tue April 24, 2012
NPR Story

The NRA And 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:01 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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1:55pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Cuban Actors, In Movie About Defecting, Appear To Have Defected

As many news outlets have put it, this might be a perfect case of life imitating art: Two Cuban actors, who star in a movie about about teenagers who decide to defect to the United States, have gone missing shortly after arriving in the United States for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Una Noche.

Six days later, Javier Núñez Florián and Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre are still missing and assumed to have defected.

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1:43pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

George Zimmerman Has Pleaded Not Guilty In Trayvon Martin Case

George Zimmerman during his bond hearing in a Seminole County, Fla., courtroom on April 20.
Gary Green Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images

On the day after he was arrested, George Zimmerman officially entered a "not guilty" plea to the charge of second-degree murder in the Feb. 26 death of Trayvon Martin, according to court records now posted online by Florida's 18th Circuit Court.

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1:29pm

Tue April 24, 2012
It's All Politics

3 Things To Watch For In Tuesday's Primaries

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:15 pm

A man prepares to put in place an informational sign for voters on primary day 2012 in North Greenbush, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

(Revised at 2:03 pm ET with new Ron Paul-Pennsylvania material.)

The contest for the Republican presidential nomination may be over for all practical purposes, with Mitt Romney the all-but-certain GOP nominee. But that doesn't mean there's nothing of interest in Tuesday's primaries.

Voters are going to polls in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and New York, though turnout is expected to be low. Still, here are four things to watch for.

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1:07pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Picture Show

Bicycle Portraits: What Do Bikes Say About A Culture?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:52 am

Jors Moentsabato: "It helps me a lot, this bicycle of mine. There where I go, I ride my bike. I bought this bike at the shop where they sell old stuff, I found it there."
Stan Engelbrecht

I have to admit I was a bit reluctant when I first saw this series of "Bicycle Portraits" because biking has, in some cases, become something of a cliche steeped in hipdom sprinkled with granola. Or mainly: For NPR to present a series of bicycle portraits just seemed too cute, too predictable.

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1:07pm

Tue April 24, 2012
Africa

The Two Sudans Appear On The Verge Of War

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 1:16 pm

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visits the southern town of El-Obeid on April 19 amid rising tensions with South Sudan. The countries have been skirmishing, and there are fears of a full-scale war. Bashir says South Sudan's leaders only understand "the language of the gun."
Ebrahim Hamid AFP/Getty Images

Sudan and South Sudan are careering closer to a full-scale war, with fighting along their ill-defined border and belligerent rhetoric coming from both sides.

The conflict threatens to cripple the fragile economies in both nations, and it could create new burdens on neighboring countries in east and central Africa, a region prone to humanitarian disaster.

In the latest developments, South Sudanese officials say that Sudan's air force bombed its territory for a second straight day on Tuesday.

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12:36pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Salt

Poll: Are Your Friends Bombarding You With Food Porn?

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 10:22 am

NPR's Becky Lettenberger freely admits she is guilty of showering her friends with her food photos.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Is the "culinary paparazzi" out of control? That's the message of a parody video by musical comedians The Key of Awesome.

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12:24pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Diners Not Fazed By Second Collapse At 'Heart Attack Grill;' Would You Be?

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 5:57 am

One of the Heart Attack Grill's "triple bypass" burgers.
Matt York AP

The news that for the second time this year someone has collapsed while dining at Las Vegas' Heart Attack Grill doesn't seem to bother the restaurant's fans.

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12:05pm

Tue April 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Government Files First Criminal Charges In BP Oil Spill

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:31 pm

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in April of 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

"The first criminal charges in connection with the BP oil spill have been filed against a former BP engineer named Kurt Mix," NPR's Carrie Johnson reports exclusively.

Carrie just told our Newscast unit that Mix has been charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text messages after the spill. The texts were related to the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf. Mix will make his first appearence in court today.

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11:41am

Tue April 24, 2012
Health

Plame Wilson Makes Fighting Postpartum New Mission

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 1:53 pm

Years before CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's cover was blown in a newspaper column, she faced a private struggle with postpartum depression. After giving birth to twins, she suffered from debilitating sleep deprivation and emotional strain. Host Michel Martin speaks with Plame Wilson about how she got help and her new mission.

11:41am

Tue April 24, 2012
Music

Armando Perez, aka Pitbull, Up For Latin Billboard

Some of the hottest artists in Latin music descend on Miami for the annual Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards. All week long, host Michel Martin checks in with Jasmine Garsd, co-host of NPR Music's Alt.Latino podcast. Martin and Garsd look into a few of the artists nominated for song of the year, including Don Omar and Pitbull.

11:28am

Tue April 24, 2012
Author Interviews

Anna Quindlen: Over 50, And Having 'Plenty Of Cake'

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 12:44 pm

Anna Quindlen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose new memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, explores her past, present and future.
Courtesy of the author

As a little girl, Anna Quindlen wasn't afraid of a whole lot. She frequently got into trouble and occasionally shot off her mouth. But as she grew older, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer became what she calls a "girl imitation."

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11:28am

Tue April 24, 2012
Book Reviews

'Death And The Penguin' Captures Post-Soviet Reality

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 11:32 am

When you hear the words "Russian novel," you probably picture something as big and heavy as an anvil. Yet ever since the fall of communism, we've seen the ascent of Russian novelists who are shorter-winded and jauntier.

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