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Sweetness And Light
1:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

NBA And NHL Playoffs: Does Anyone Really Care?

Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs have won 18 games in a row as they head into the NBA's Western Conference Finals. But Frank Deford wants to know: Has anyone noticed?
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:23 am

It's the climax of the hockey and basketball seasons, but both have potential playoff visibility problems. Let me explain.

OK, the NBA first. As you know, basketball is the most individualized, celebrity-ized team game. Like movie stars, the best players are known by their first names: LeBron, Kobe, Dirk. Every basketball superstar wants to take his talents to a hot-dog, big-time market. Or at least marry a Kardashian.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:23 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Health Insurance Cutbacks Squeeze The Insured

Amber Cooper lives in Modesto, Calif., with her son, Jaden, 5, and her husband, Kevin. She had a liver transplant when she was 10 years old and needs daily medication so her body won't reject her liver.
Deanne Fitzmaurice for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:16 am

Amber Cooper and her husband were doing OK. They had jobs, a healthy 5-year-old son, a house in Riverbank, Calif., and health insurance from her job in the accounting department of a small manufacturing company.

Then one day everything changed.

"We were in a conference room ... and I had heard rumors but didn't know if it was true, and I started crying in front of everyone and actually had to excuse myself to gather myself together and go back in. It was devastating for me," Cooper said.

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Mongolia Booms
1:21 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Mongolians Scramble For A Share Of Mining Wealth

Tseren-ochir is a superintendent at Oyu Tolgoi mine who goes by the name "Augie" because it's easier for the foreigners he works with to pronounce. He is overseeing workers digging a nearly 5,000-foot-deep shaft down to reach the copper ore.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 3:18 pm

Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.

Third of four parts

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The Record
11:58 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

The End Of 'Idol': There Are No More Songs Left To Be Sung

American Idol finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez on stage with host Ryan Seacrest on the Fox TV show Tuesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:47 pm

Tonight, when Ryan Seacrest announces who has won the 11th season of American Idol — when the confetti falls and Jennifer Lopez sheds a perfect dewy teardrop and Randy Jackson's thought bubble explodes with "Dude, that was a moment moment MOMENT" and Steven Tyler purses his immortal lips in that vampire-connoisseur way he does, smelling the perfume of another sweet young victory — I will be out to dinner with friends, far from the agony and ecstasy finalists Jessica Sanchez and Phi

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All Tech Considered
5:24 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Stolen Phone Beams Photos To Owner, Who Puts Them On Facebook

A month after Katy McCaffrey's iPhone was stolen, photographs began streaming from the phone to her "cloud" account. She used them to create a photo album on Facebook; she called it "Stolen iPhone Adventures."
Facebook

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 6:06 pm

There are many ways to find a lost or stolen cellphone. You can call the number and see who answers; you can use "Find My Phone" apps that track your phone's GPS. Or, if your camera phone automatically posts photos to your account in "the cloud," you can simply watch your photo feed and look for clues in the strange new images that start popping up. Just be prepared to see anything — like scenes from a cruise ship.

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Sheriff Arpaio Sends Publicly Funded Deputy To Hawaii On 'Birther' Hunt

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2011.
Ross D. Franklin AP

It seems there's not a month that goes by that Maricopa (Ariz.) County Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn't involved in one controversy or another.

As we've reported, Arpaio is already facing a federal civil rights lawsuit.

But now there's news that Arpaio is using public money on his quest to investigate President Obama's birth certificate. Both the Arizona Republic and Honolulu Star Advertiser report that Arpaio sent his deputy, Brian Mackiewcz, to Hawaii in part because of what Arpaio said were "security issues," related to the investigation.

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U.S.
4:26 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Blacks, Gays And The Church: A Complex Relationship

The Apostolic Tabernacle Mass Choir performs in Oakland, Calif., in 2010.
Christopher Polk WireImage via Getty Image

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 5:14 pm

Fairly or not, African-Americans have become the public face of resistance to same-sex marriage, owing to their religious beliefs and the outspoken opposition of many black pastors.

Yet the presence of gays and lesbians in black churches is common. And the fact that they often hold leadership positions in their congregations is the worst kept secret in black America.

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The Salt
4:09 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Judge Sours On POM Wonderful's Erectile Dysfunction & Heart Disease Claims

POM Wonderful

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 6:42 am

Pom Wonderful Pomegranate products may be loaded with antioxidants, but there's not sufficient evidence that it can treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of specific conditions such as heart disease or erectile dysfunction according to a ruling handed down by Chief Administrative Law Judge Michael Chappell.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:01 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Easier Colon Cancer Test Works Well, But Colonoscopy's Still King

A big study of a colon cancer test called flexible sigmoidoscopy may provide a good example of how a cheaper, easier-on-the-patient and possibly better technology isn't always the one American doctors choose to use.

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Author Interviews
3:50 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

I Vs. We: The 'Heart' Of Our Political Differences

E.J. Dionne Jr. writes a weekly column for The Washington Post on national policy and politics. He lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife, Mary, and their three children.
Paul Morigi Courtesy of Bloombury USA

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:45 pm

For years now, the Tea Party has held individualism up as the great American value. But Washington Post columnist and Georgetown University professor E.J. Dionne Jr. says that while Americans have always prized individualism, they've prized community just as much.

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It's All Politics
3:36 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Romney And GOP-Linked Committees Close Fundraising Gap

Mitt Romney greets the crowd during a campaign stop last week in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Edward Linsmier Getty Images

With the latest campaign dollar totals officially on the Federal Election Commission books, at least one thing is certain: President Obama will not have the huge spending advantage this November that he did four years ago.

Obama and his various committees reported raising $43.6 million in April, while presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney's campaign announced pulling in $40 million in that same period.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:19 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Woman Charged In Death Of Fetus Is Out Of Jail

Bei Bei Shuai, seen in a file photo, was charged with murder in the Jan. 2, 2011, death of her 3-day-old daughter Angel Shuai, after eating rat poison.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. AP

Bei Bei Shuai is out of jail for the first time since March 2011.

Shuai, a Chinese immigrant who lives in Indiana, is still facing charges of murder and feticide following a failed suicide attempt in December 2010, when she was 33 weeks pregnant.

She was released today after posting a $5,000 bond.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Race, Art, Free Speech: Portrait Of South African President Vandalized

The controversial portrait of South African President Jacob Zuma painted by Brett Murray stands defaced at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday.
Jerome Delay AP

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Middle East
3:08 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Egyptians Prepare For Historic Presidential Vote

An Egyptian woman walks under a campaign banner in Cairo on Tuesday. Egypt holds its first competitive presidential election on Wednesday and Thursday, with a dozen candidates in the race.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 6:46 pm

The first free presidential election in Egypt begins Wednesday.

Twelve candidates are running for the top spot vacated by Hosni Mubarak during last year's revolution. But none is expected to get an outright majority, and if that proves true, then a runoff will take place next month between the two leading vote-getters.

Many Egyptian voters say they are excited about the presidential election, which the country's ruling generals promise will be fair.

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It's All Politics
2:38 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Mitt Romney Vs. Rand Paul In 2016?

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., talk at a campaign event for the elder Paul in Des Moines, Iowa, last August.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 3:07 pm

As sort-of-still-a-presidential-candidate Ron Paul continues to collect delegates at state Republican Party conventions, the question of what the libertarian Texas congressman wants has become more urgent in GOP circles.

A speaking role at the Republican convention, where Mitt Romney is expected to accept the nomination?

A seat at the party's rule-making table to advocate making it easier for non-mainstream candidates to compete in future GOP nominating contests?

Well, yes, as a start.

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Author Interviews
2:30 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

'It Worked For Me': Life Lessons From Colin Powell

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 3:50 pm

If you're looking for advice on leadership, it's good to start with a four-star general. Colin Powell's new memoir, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, is a collection of lessons learned and anecdotes drawn from his childhood in the Bronx, his military training and career, and his work under four presidential administrations. The memoir also includes Powell's candid reflections on the most controversial time in his career: the lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003.

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Around the Nation
2:28 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

R.I. Strikes Out On Ex-Pitcher's Video Game Venture

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling had to push through a mob of reporters on Monday after meeting with Rhode Island officials to discuss the finances of his troubled video game company and ask for more state help.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 8:04 am

In 2004, pitcher Curt Schilling became a New England folk hero. That's the year he helped the Boston Red Sox beat their archrival, the New York Yankees, by pitching with a surgically repaired ankle. And when that wound started to bleed, his bloody sock also became legend.

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Afghanistan
2:03 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Former Taliban Stronghold Faces The Post-U.S. Future

Afghan local police officers wait outside a classroom at a training facility in Marjah. U.S. Marines are training local security forces how to maintain calm in the region.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:15 am

If there was a place in Afghanistan synonymous with the Taliban, it was the district of Marjah in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand.

Two years ago, thousands of U.S. Marines and British and Afghan forces descended on this checkerboard of villages, canals and fields. They pushed out the insurgents — but at a heavy cost.

Now, with U.S. combat forces on track to depart in the coming months, many are asking whether Marjah's relative peace will last after the Marines are gone.

'We Have Good Security Here'

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

As Egyptians Prepare To Vote, Jimmy Carter Watches 'Complete Transformation'

In Cairo on Monday, Egyptian Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatni (left) met with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 5:44 pm

On All Things Considered today, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson will look ahead to Egypt's first free presidential election — voting begins Wednesday and is expected to lead to a mid-June runoff — and how some Egyptians who played roles in last year's revolution there are refusing to take part because they don't trust the military leaders who run the country.

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It's All Politics
1:24 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Under Obama, U.S. Gov't Spends At Lowest Rate In Decades, Says Journalist

President Obama is getting a bum rap on the pace of federal spending, a journalist writes.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 9:39 am

(Updated on 5/23/12 @ 11:55 am. See end of post for Romney campaign response.)

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

In Italy, A Comedian Upends Local Elections

Italian comedian Beppe Grillo poses during an interview at his home in Genoa.
Giuseppe Cacace AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 1:16 pm

Signs of global discontent are everywhere. States side it's represented by the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements. In Italy, it's the Cinque Stelle (Five Star) movement, founded by comedian and satirist Beppe Grillo.

Grillo's movement upset the Italian political establishment in yesterday's local elections. This wrap from Reuters will sound terribly familiar:

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Shots - Health Blog
12:29 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

Shoddy Drugs Threaten Malaria Treatment

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito transmits the malarial parasite while dining on human blood. You can find this type of mosquito in Afghanistan, China, India, Thailand and the Middle East.
CDC

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 12:50 pm

A look at malaria drugs being used in places that are hotbeds for the mosquito-borne illness finds that many of them are substandard or even fake.

And that's a big problem. Combinations of well-made drugs, including those that contain arteminisin, are a cornerstone of malaria treatment. But when some of the drugs are of poor quality or are outright fakes, people don't get well. Ineffective combinations can promote drug-resistant malaria.

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

We Should Have Known: Megaseconds Are Much Longer Than Milliseconds

Typos and mistakes are part of the news business — as anyone who regularly reads this blogger surely knows. We don't want them to happen, but they do.

Sometimes they're kind of quirky and educational.

Check out this correction from The New York Times:

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The Two-Way
11:50 am
Tue May 22, 2012

The Father Of The Couch Potato, Inventor Of Wireless Remote Dies At Age 96

This 1955 photo illustration provided by LG Electronics, shows an ad for a Zenith "Flash-Matic," the first wireless TV remote control.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 4:35 pm

Before you sink into your couch, before you flip through channels tonight when you get home, take a minute to think about the guy who made being a couch potato possible:

Back in 1955, Eugene J. Polley invented the "Flash-Matic," or the world's first wireless TV remote control. Back then, you held it like a gun and it acted like a flashlight using visible light to trigger photo cells on the TV to change channels.

Polley, whose engineering career with Zenith spanned 47 years, died on Sunday. He was 96.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Tue May 22, 2012

U.S.-Bound Passenger Jet Diverted Due To 'Security Issue' On Board

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 12:47 pm

There was a "security issue" aboard a US Airways flight from Paris to Charlotte, N.C., earlier today, and the plane was diverted to Maine's Bangor International Airport, where it landed around noon ET.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Mexican Police Arrest 'El Loco' In Beheading Of 49

Army soldiers flank Daniel Ramírez, alias "El Loco," during his presentation to the media in Mexico City on Monday.
Alexandre Meneghini AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 10:55 am

The Mexican military trotted out Daniel Jesus Elizondo Ramírez or "El Loco," yesterday, to face the media. They accused the Zeta leader of directing the mutilation and beheading of 49 people.

Earlier this month, the bodies were dumped at the entrance of the town of San Juan.

The AP reports that Ramírez was directed by the top Zeta leaders to dump the bodies and hang banners around the country that shunned responsibility.

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Auction Of Reagan's Blood Draws Condemnation

March 30, 1981: President Ronald Reagan, moments before he was shot.
Mike Evens AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 12:06 pm

An online auction of a vial said to contain blood drawn from President Reagan on the day he was shot in 1981 is "a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," says a spokesman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

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Book Reviews
10:22 am
Tue May 22, 2012

'Right-Hand': A Lush Prequel To 'Mason's Retreat'

Whenever I think about Christopher Tilghman's writing — and I have many times since his atmospheric novel, Mason's Retreat, came out more than 15 years ago — I think of critic John Leonard. John, among many other distinctions, was my predecessor as book critic for Fresh Air and, every once in a while before his death in 2008, we'd have occasion to talk or exchange e-mails about books. I remember John sending me a note in 1996, in which he mentioned Mason's Retreat and said of Tilghman, "He's the real deal."

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Theater
10:02 am
Tue May 22, 2012

David Alan Grier's 'Sporting Life' On Broadway

In Porgy and Bess, David Alan Grier plays the drug dealer Sporting Life, a role closely associated with Sammy Davis Jr. and Cab Calloway.
Courtesy of the American Repertory Theater

In 1935, George Gershwin brought the script for his folk opera Porgy and Bess to the opera's original cast, which was entirely made up of African-American actors. "[In the original], every other word was N-word this, N-word that," says actor David Alan Grier. "[And] there's a very famous story: Al Jolson really wanted to play Porgy, in blackface."

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It's All Politics
10:00 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Voters Agree It's The Economy, But Split On Who Best To Fix Things

Don Meikle attends an April job fair in Portland, Ore. A new poll shows the economy remains the most important factor for Americans in deciding who to back for president, but with adults split over who would best lead the U.S. economy.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 11:21 am

President Obama and his expected Republican challenger are tied on the all-important question of who can best deal with the ailing economy, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Among registered voters, 47 percent said Obama and 47 percent said Mitt Romney when asked which candidate they trust to do a better job handling the economy.

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