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3:26pm

Fri December 30, 2011
The Road Back To Work

When The Road Back To Work Detours

Randy Howland works in his small office in March, shortly after he began a work-from-home job with a call center earning $10 an hour.
Tamara Keith NPR

Part of an ongoing series

For the long-term unemployed, getting a job isn't always the end of the story.

Randy Howland spent most of this past year working at a $10-an-hour customer service job. He used to make six figures. With this job, he was settling, just so he could have the satisfaction of working. It was essentially a call-center job.

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3:22pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Around the Nation

How A Teen's Coerced Confession Set Her Free

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 9:53 pm

Nga Truong (front) meets with social services advocate Lisa Gigliotti. Truong says she's struggling to rebuild her life after nearly three years awaiting trial for murder.
Jesse Costa WBUR

3:19pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Movies

Bob Mondello Picks The Year's Top 10 (Plus 10)

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 12:25 pm

'Pina': German filmmaker Wim Wenders' 3-D dance documentary is a homage to influential German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, who died in 2009.
Donata Wenders Neue Road Movies

Wizards, transformers and vampires did their best, but they couldn't transform 2011 into a magical year for Hollywood: Despite all the 3-D and IMAX screenings and the premium prices that come with them, industry box office sagged by half a billion dollars compared with last year. But quality? That's another story.

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3:11pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Around the Nation

'Haters' Are Going To Hate This Story

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 7:20 am

The word "Hater" — as it's often used today — is derived from the term "Player Hater," a phrase popularized by late rapper Notorious B.I.G., shown here clutching his Billboard Music Awards in 1995.
Mark Lennihan AP

Haters are here. And there. And everywhere. And the word "hate" is in the air.

Fox has a new sitcom: I Hate My Teenage Daughter. A recent issue of Us magazine tells us "Why Scarlett Johansson Hates Blake Lively." Psychology Today explains "Why We Hate Airport Security." Dick Meyer, formerly of NPR and now executive producer for news services at BBC America, wrote a provocative book called Why We Hate Us.

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3:08pm

Fri December 30, 2011
The Salt

A Year That Was Good To Beets

Heirloom beets served at Bibiana Restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C.
JOSEPH SILVERMAN The Washington Times /Landov

Children hate beets. Many adults hate beets. In fact, so few people in the U.S. eat table beets that the federal government doesn't bother to keep track of how many are grown and sold, even though it does keep track of just about every other crop, including turnip greens and horseradish.

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2:56pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Build-A-Bear Workshop Recalls Colorful Hearts Teddy Bears

Build-A-Bear has recalled almost 300,000 Colorful Heart teddy bears.
CPSC

If you gave or received a Build-A-Bear this holiday season, you may want to check it over.

Nearly 300,000 Colorful Hearts teddy bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop sold in the U.S. and Canada have been recalled.

The teddy bear's eyes can fall out and become a choking hazard for children, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Company spokeswoman Jill Saunders tells Shots in a statement that Build-A-Bear hasn't received any reports of injuries or deaths from the teddy bears.

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2:39pm

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

University Of Miami Will Return $83K In Former Booster Donations

The University of Miami will return $83,000 in donations it received from Nevin Shapiro, a former booster, who was incarcerated for his role in running a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

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2:17pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Economy

Even Finish Masks Volatile Year For U.S. Economy

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:16 pm

A trader walks in New York City's financial district on Sept. 12, a day when stocks fell early based on fears that the Greek government would default, then rallied on news that China might buy Italian debt. This year, what sent the market into a tailspin often took place overseas.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

2011 was a year of crisis and revolution, and that took a big toll on the world's financial markets. In the United States, stocks lurched along for much of the year, losing and gaining ground over and over again.

Stock prices are ending the year just about where they were at the beginning, and anyone who invested in anything but the bluest of blue chip stocks probably didn't make much money. And yet, the flat trend lines masked a huge amount of volatility, says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank.

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1:48pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Education

Big Education Grants Threatened By Teacher Spats

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 6:58 pm

Teachers and school districts say they agree that better teacher evaluations are needed, but they can't agree on the details. Now, those disputes threaten federal grants meant to encourage education reform.

Take New York state, which has a lot of failing schools. Those schools got more than $100 million in federal School Improvement Grants. In exchange, districts promised to phase in new evaluation systems.

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1:47pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Music News

Leaders Wanted: Protest Songs From The Arab Spring

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 5:40 pm

Tunisian rapper El Général's "The President of the Country" is an essential song of the Arab Spring.
Courtesy of the artist

1:46pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Music Interviews

Winter Songs: The Frozen Tale Of 'Lord Franklin'

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 3:24 pm

We continue our Winter Song series with a lament for a 19th century British Arctic explorer. It's the choice of Andrew Revkin, who writes the Dot Earth blog for the New York Times.

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1:41pm

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

'An Extraordinary Battle': Judge Claims SEC Misled Court In Citi Case

A man walks by a Citibank branch at the U.S. bank Citigroup world headquarters on Park Avenue, in New York in 2008.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff ruffled feathers back in November when he refused to approve a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commision and Citigroup.

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1:01pm

Fri December 30, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

Your Turn: What's It Been A Good Year For?

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 6:56 pm

A word cloud featuring readers' submissions to the question, "What was 2011 a good year for?"
NPR

For many people, 2011 wasn't a great year. When the economy wasn't sluggish, it was turbulent. And all manner of disasters seemed to rotate through the headlines. But in some states, and some neighborhoods, people got along just fine. Look closely at the worlds of business and sports, music and politics, and you'll find a few people and places that had it pretty good in 2011.

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1:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
NPR Story

Making Resolutions That Stick In 2012

Many have fallen of the new year's resolution bandwagon soon after adopting a new diet or quiting smoking. So how can you achieve year-end goals and start the year on a positive note? Roy Baumeister, co-author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength , has some tips.

1:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
NPR Story

Year in Review: Science Stories of 2011

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:00 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. When you look back on 2011, what will you remember, the Fukushima nuclear disaster following the tsunami? What about the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and the pioneer of personal computing? How about the world's population reaching seven billion?

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1:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
NPR Story

NASA Probes Set To Orbit The Moon Over New Year's

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:00 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. The New Year's countdown has begun, not at the clock in Times Square but this one for two NASA probes set to orbit the moon this weekend. The twin spacecraft, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B are expected to enter lunar orbit 24 hours apart, one on New Year's Eve, the other on New Year's Day.

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1:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Science

Exploring Science At The End Of The Earth

Every year thousands of scientists visit Antarctica. Some study the gas plume from the active volcano, Mount Erebus. Others map the ever-changing ice caves. But they all face the same challenges of working on extreme terrain. Two researchers and a photojournalist discuss how research is done on the frozen continent.

12:50pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

To Your Health: Time For New Resolutions

Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 7:55 am

What's on your list?
Catherine Jones iStockphoto.com

When the New Year's parties end, a lot of us are left with some tough promises to keep.

This year, I'll lose weight. Smoking? History! And, of course, I'll start working out, too. Really, I mean it this time.

So with the day for fresh starts looming, we resolved to ask Americans about their New Year's resolutions, past and future, in the latest NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll.

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12:15pm

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

First 79 Of The 100+ Sears And Kmart Stores Being Closed Are Identified

There are 79 stores in 25 states on the first list of Sears and Kmart locations being closed in the coming year, Sears Holdings has announced.

The 79 locations are posted here. Some details:

-- 11 of the stores are in Florida, the most of any state.

-- The second-most stores (6) are in Georgia, Michigan and Ohio.

-- 38 Kmarts are included.

-- 25 Sears "full-line" locations are listed.

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12:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Politics

In 2011 Politics, 'Best New Artist' Is ...

Host Michel Martin looks at some of the year's top political moments with the 'Tell Me Awards.' Who are the winners and losers? Nominees range from Tim Geithner to the women who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Martin talks with journalism professor Cynthia Tucker and U.S. News and World Report columnist Mary Kate Cary.

12:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Politics

Politicians Who Made You Laugh Out Loud In 2011

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 12:03 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Coming up, social conservatives in Iowa have several candidates facing their support ahead of next week's caucuses, but one of the most prominent leaders among so-called values voters has thrown his support to an underdog. We are going to hear from Bob Vander Plaats about his endorsement. That's coming up in just a few minutes.

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12:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Faith Matters

Iowa Evangelical Endorses The Political Underdog

As the Iowa caucuses rapidly approach, faith and family values play big roles in how local voters determine their support for candidates. Host Michel Martin talks with evangelical Bob Vander Plaats, who heads the Iowa-based conservative group, The Family Leader. He recently announced his personal endorsement for Rick Santorum.

12:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
From Our Listeners

The Most Popular Stories Among Listeners In 2011

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Here, once again, is Ammad Omar, editor at TELL ME MORE. Welcome back, Ammad. What do you have for us?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Well, Michel, we're digging really deep into the mail bag today for some of our best listener interaction of the year, but we're going to go into the virtual mailbox, take a look at some of those stories that got a big response on Facebook, Twitter, email and our website.

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12:00pm

Fri December 30, 2011
Barbershop

Shop Talk: No More Sex Tape Celebrity In 2012?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We cannot say goodbye to 2011 without asking the Barbershop guys to give us their final thoughts on the year.

So, sitting in the chairs for the final 2011 shape-up are author Jimi Izrael, civil rights attorney and author Arsalan Iftikhar, Sports Illustrated reporter Pablo Torre and Republican strategist and former White House aide Ron Christie.

Take it, Jimi.

JIMI IZRAEL: Thanks, Michel. Hey, what's up? Welcome to the shop. How we doing?

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11:24am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Best Of Fresh Air 2011

South Park Creators Talk 'Book Of Mormon'

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 11:25 am

The Book of Mormon features music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone and plays at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City.
John Marcus Courtesy of the artist

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 19, 2011.

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11:10am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Family, Friends, Fans Bid Farewell To Ben Breedlove, Who Touched Many

Ben Breedlove, in one of his final videos.
TotalRandomness512

10:00am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Someday, Your Car May Know If That's Your Butt In The Driver's Seat

"Oh dear, the car doesn't seem to recognize me." (1960 file photo from the U.K.)
Chaloner Woods Getty Images

We're a little behind on this story, butt it's too fantasstic not to point out:

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Industrial Technology have developed an anti-theft device for cars that senses whether the derriere sitting in the driver's seat is or isn't supposed to be there.

Not the right backside? Then the vehicle won't start.

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8:50am

Fri December 30, 2011

8:38am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Clashes Resume In Syria, Activists Say

"Syrian forces and activists have clashed during after-prayer protests in Damascus, as Arab observers continue their mission in the country," the BBC reports. It adds that "activists said troops fired nail bombs to disperse protesters who retaliated with stones in the suburb of Douma."

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8:25am

Fri December 30, 2011
The Two-Way

Fireworks, Celebrations As Samoa Skips Friday

"Sirens wailed and fireworks exploded in the skies over Samoa as the tiny South Pacific nation jumped forward in time" today, The Associated Press writes.

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