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5:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Politics

Four Reasons The Supercommittee Isn't So Super

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 5:12 pm

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a member of the congressional supercommittee on the deficit, fends off reporters as he arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

When the bipartisan supercommittee on the federal debt was formed four months ago, there was more than a little skepticism that the 12-member group could come up with $1.2 trillion in savings and avoid a severe round of automatic government budget cuts.

On Monday, with the deadline fast approaching and no plan in sight, it looked like the skeptics were on the verge of being proved right.

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4:57pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Salt

Farm-Fresh Food May Have Shaped The Modern Mouth

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 10:04 am

Anthropologists say early humans who hunted and gathered had longer jaws to hold all those teeth.
iStockphoto.com

Got a mouthful of metal and stack of orthodontic bills? You can thank your farmer ancestors for them.

That's according to an anthropologist who says the switch from chewing wild game to eating corn, rice and wheat could have shortened the human jaw so that teeth don't fit in it as well.

When agriculture took off in some parts of the world, it had a lot to offer people: Farmed foods are a more reliable source of calories, and are easier to chew and digest. But they also may have helped transform the jaw bone before the teeth could catch up.

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4:57pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Supercommittee Admits It's Failed To Reach A Deal

The co-chairs of the Supercommittee made it official, minutes ago: They said they have failed to reach an agreement over a deficit reduction package.

The AP reports:

"Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling say that despite 'intense deliberations' the members of the panel have been unable 'to bridge the committee's significant differences.'

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4:20pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Politics

With No 'Super' Deal, What's Next In Deficit Debate?

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 7:30 pm

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, the supercommittee co-chairwoman, arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Sen. John Kerry with other members of the deficit reduction panel on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

For the not-so-super debt reduction supercommittee, failure is clearly an option.

As the blame-gaming bipartisan congressional committee stumbled toward collapse Monday, washing out on even the most basic show of common purpose, the "what happens next" scenarios began to take shape.

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4:20pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Middle East

In Iran, Secret Plans To Abolish The Presidency?

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 9:27 pm

A power struggle between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left, in portrait) is growing. There are signs that Khamenei may want to eliminate the presidency and replace it with the less powerful position of prime minister.
Joseph Eid AFP/Getty Images

The next presidential election in Iran is scheduled for 2013, but doubts are emerging about whether it will actually take place.

A conservative member of Iran's Parliament recently claimed that a secret committee convened by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been working on a plan to do away with the office of the presidency.

Meanwhile, the conflict between the supreme leader and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to sharpen.

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4:08pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Three Books...

Presidents And Pilgrims: 3 Boundary Pushing Books

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 9:27 pm

Donna Neary flickr.com

With Thanksgiving hard upon us, now is a good time to think about our past. History writers can tell the best stories from centuries of human achievement and folly, yet too often they produce recitations of one damned thing after another. A few, though, combine a respect for accuracy with a deep understanding of the longings, fears and triumphs of the people of our past. Such books make magic.

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4:03pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Politics

Obama's Hands-Off Approach To The Supercommittee

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 4:03 pm

U.S. President Barack Obama delivered remarks before signing legislation that will provide business tax credits to help put veterans back to work on Monday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama has kept his distance from the supercommittee. Unlike the budget battles earlier this year, there were no bargaining sessions at the White House. No presidential motorcades to Capitol Hill.

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3:57pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

California Republicans Quietly Embrace Medicaid Expansion

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the No. 3 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, has a very clear record on the Affordable Care Act. He has repeatedly called for its defeat and was one of the co-sponsors of the January repeal measure that easily passed the House but died in the Senate.

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3:55pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

VIDEO: Flour Children, Or What A Bag Of Flour Can Do To A House

We'll get back to the serious things in a just a moment. But first we wanted to share with you a video that's started to make some noise around the Internet.

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3:44pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Performing Arts

At Pop-Up Magazine Shows, No Recordings Allowed

iStockphoto.com

Magazines, documentaries and art are usually meant to be preserved to live on in time. But a group in San Francisco has decided that art, if ephemeral, may be appreciated in a different way.

The group created Pop-Up Magazine, a live magazine that happens once onstage, in one place — and it's not recorded.

Editor Douglas McGray says the idea came from trying to get different kinds of artists in the same room.

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3:28pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

'Casually Pepper Spraying Cop' Meme Takes Off

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 9:56 am

Spraying the Declaration of Independence (John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence").
jockohomo.tumblr.com

When he walked down a line of seated Occupy protesters Friday at the University of California Davis and shot pepper spray directly at them, campus police Lt. John Pike likely never thought that video of the incident would go viral on the Web, that there would be outrage not only at the school but around the nation, or that "casually pepper spraying cop" would quickly become one of the year's top memes.

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3:21pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Music Interviews

Yo-Yo Ma's Bluegrass-Inspired 'Goat Rodeo'

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 1:27 pm

Yo-Yo Ma's latest Americana exploration features his work with mandolinist Chris Thile, bassist Edgar Meyer and fiddler Stuart Duncan.
Jeremy Cowart

A sense of humor comes through The Goat Rodeo Sessions, the latest Americana exploration for the world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

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3:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
NPR Story

As Governor, Romney Deleted Electronic Footprint

Before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor's office, 11 of his aides purchased more than a dozen computer hard drives and the administration wiped a server clean. The Boston Globe first reported the story last week. Aides to Romney's Republican predecessors describe the actions as unprecedented. Romney defended his administration at a campaign appearance on Saturday. And his campaign has filed a public records request for contacts between the administration of Romney's successor, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick and President Obama's reelection campaign.

2:33pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Former AIG Exec Sues Federal Government For $25 Billion Over Takeover

The United States government takeover of American International Group saved the company from going under during the financial crisis of 2008. As The Wall Street Journal reported at the time, the government drove a hard bargain — tens of billions would get it an almost 80 percent stake of the company — but the government argued if AIG went down, so would the rest of the economy and AIG argued if the company wasn't pumped with money, it would collapse. The U.S.

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2:02pm

Mon November 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Supercommittee's Failure Could Have Super Political Fallout

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 3:06 pm

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., center, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on a Deficit Reduction, with Sen. Jon Kyl, arrive for a Sept. 2011 meeting,
J. Scott Applewhite AP

With the members of the congressional deficit-cutting supercommittee essentially announcing that they couldn't get to "yes," the nation is only seeing the latest turn of the screw in the partisan paralysis gripping policymakers in Washington. We all know it is far from the last.

Coming as it does now less than a year before the 2012 general election, the panel's failure to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction means each major political will now be focused on trying to persuade voters that the other party is more responsible for the impasse.

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1:45pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Egyptian Cabinet Members Submit Resignations

From NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and The Associated Press, both in Cairo:

State TV in Egypt is reporting that Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and his cabinet have submitted their resignations to the nation's military council.

It isn't known, Soraya says, whether the interim government's resignations will be accepted.

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1:35pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

It's Still OK To Text 'Offensive' Words In Pakistan

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:40 pm

Pakistani families walk past an advertisement for a cellular telephone company in Rawalpindi.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

You can still text the name "Jesus Christ" and the word "naked" if you're a Pakistani with a cellphone.

Also still safe for texting: damn, nude and poop.

Those are among more than 1,600 words and phrases that the Pakistan Telecommunications Agency had reportedly ordered mobile companies in the country to block by today.

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1:22pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Salt

For The Origins Of Pie, Look To The Humble Magpie

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 3:26 pm

A drawing of a medieval pie baker, circa 1465-1475.
Courtesy of Institut für Realienkunde

This is the month when the stately, voluptuous turkey takes a place of pride on most dinner tables. But when it comes to dessert, it's worth considering the relevance of another bird — the humble magpie.

That's because, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "pie" — defined as a baked dish topped with and sometimes also surrounded by pastry — may well derive from the Latin word pica, meaning magpie.

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1:22pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Does Diabetes Need A Blue Circle To Establish Its Disease Cred?

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 11:54 am

Is there room for a blue diabetes button?
iStockphoto.com

Breast cancer has a pink ribbon. Cystic fibrosis has a purple ribbon. Heart disease has a red ribbon.

Would diabetes be easier for people to talk about if it had a blue circle?

Some advocates think so and have been pushing various diabetes groups to unite behind the color blue. The idea has a lot of traction outside the United States.

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1:19pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Israeli Defense Minister: 'Time Has Come' To Act On Iran

Israel's Minister Defence Ehud Barak responds to a reporters question as he takes part in a press conference with Canada's Minister of Defence Peter MacKay in Ottawa.
Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press

A report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which concluded Iran was working on nuclear weapons, continues to reverberate internationally. Yesterday, in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak was asked bluntly if Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

Here's how Barak answered:

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1:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
NPR Story

Fallout Expected Without Debt Agreement

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 2:31 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's not yet official, but all signs indicate the so-called supercommittee will raise the white flag on Capitol Hill later today. The bipartisan panel was charged to cut more than a trillion dollars from federal spending over the coming decade. Failure to reach an agreement means automatic cuts in 2013, half to the defense budget. Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans traded blame on the Sunday talk shows. Does the supercommittee's failure matter to you, and if so, why?

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1:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
NPR Story

Sexual Predators Often Elude Casual Profilers

After allegations of child sexual assault at Penn State, many wonder why more people didn't see warning signs. Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole says many predators spend years grooming victims and parents and gaining their trust. O'Toole and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Harold Burszatajn explain.

1:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
NPR Story

Op-Ed: 'Sympathy' For Pepper-Spraying Policeman

A video showing an officer methodically spraying pepper spray in the faces of seated protesters has created an uproar. While some say the incident represents a wider problem with the way police confront protesters, Santa Clara University professor Marc Bousquet argues that misses the point.

1:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
NPR Story

Can Sanctions End Iran's Nuclear Ambitions?

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 2:31 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After a U.N. report earlier this month bolstered the case that Iran continues work on nuclear weapons, the U.S., Britain and Canada announced new sanctions today. But there's no indication that these or any other sanctions will change Iran's determination, which leaves a range of bad options.

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12:15pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Stocks Down Sharply At Midday

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 4:38 pm

The likely collapse of the so-called supercommittee's efforts to put together a deficit-reduction deal and continued concern about the debt crisis in Europe are pushing stocks lower on Wall Street.

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12:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
The Two-Way

No Criminal Charges Against Justice Dept. Lawyers Who Prosecuted Stevens

Originally published on Tue November 22, 2011 12:59 pm

The Justice Department lawyers who prosecuted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) will not face criminal contempt charges for failing to share evidence that could have helped his defense team, a federal judge said Monday.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and the special prosecutor he appointed, Washington lawyer Henry Schuelke, had tough words for the Justice Department, though.

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12:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Politics

Gingrich Takes GOP Lead, Takes On 'Occupy'

A new poll says Newt Gingrich is the front-runner of the GOP presidential primary race. How did his popularity surge, and what are chances of him winning? Meanwhile, 'Occupy' organizers are trying to harness their political power amid tougher responses from police. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with journalists Cynthia Tucker and Mary Kate Cary.

12:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Health

Fighting Over Rights Of Sperm Donor Babies

Many children born through donor insemination may never meet their fathers or know that they have numerous half siblings. Guest host Tony Cox explores the renewed debate over regulating reproductive services and the issues facing donors and their offspring. He hears from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Donor Sibling Registry.

12:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Law

Using Donated Sperm: What Does The Law Say?

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 12:04 pm

Transcript

TONY COX, HOST:

For a legal perspective now on the reproductive medicine industry, we turn to Naomi Cahn. She is a professor of law at the George Washington University, specializing in family law and reproductive technology. She is also the author of the book, "Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation."

Professor Cahn, nice to have you.

NAOMI CAHN: Thank you very much.

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12:00pm

Mon November 21, 2011
Music

After 20 Years, No End Of The Road For Boyz II Men

Nathan Morris (left), Wanya Morris (center) and Shawn Stockman (right) are Boyz II Men.
Amy Ta NPR

Boyz II Men members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and former member Michael McCary began cementing themselves in R&B history in 1991. Their single "Motownphilly" became a hit and was followed by a series of other chart-topping songs. The group has earned four Grammy Awards, performed around the world and sold tens of millions of albums.

Their latest album, Twenty, features 10 new songs and 10 past hits. It marks their two decades of entertaining a generation of loyal fans.

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