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Arts + Life
4:14 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Broadway's Profit-Turning, Crowd-Pleasing Christmas Story

Jordan Gelber plays Buddy the Elf in Elf on Broadway. The limited-run production may not turn a profit immediately, but producers have a multipronged strategy for making money.
Joan Marcus The Hartman Group

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:37 pm

The Christmas season is when retailers make the bulk of their profits, Hollywood blockbusters rake it in, and Broadway theaters are filled to capacity. In recent seasons, Broadway has even staged special limited-run holiday musicals — among them, adaptations of A Christmas Story and Elf — to take advantage of the hordes of tourists in New York looking for entertainment. But with production costs so high, how can these shows make their money back? The answer, it turns out, is complicated.

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Arts + Life
4:03 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

The Life Of Christmas Trees, Before The Merriment

Ripshin Mountain, Carter County, Tenn., 2011
Courtesy of John Lusk Hathaway

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:03 am

While many are putting the final touches on their decorated Christmas trees across the country this week, photographer John Lusk Hathaway is more concerned about the trees before they were chopped down.

Hathaway, who has a background in science, always thought it was strange to see trees growing in such rigid patterns, as opposed to the natural way they grow in forests.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Darwin The 'IKEA Monkey' Can't Go Home For Christmas, Judge Rules

Darwin, when he was on the lam at IKEA.
ABC News

(Now, for something completely different.)

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Health
3:49 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Killer's DNA Won't Explain His Crime

A person's DNA can say a lot about a person, but not why someone has committed a horrific crime like mass murder.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Connecticut's chief medical examiner, Wayne Carver, has raised the possibility of requesting genetic tests on Adam Lanza, the man responsible for the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Carver hasn't said precisely what he may want geneticists to look for, but scientists who study the links between genes and violence say those tests won't reveal much about why Lanza did what he did.

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Music
3:41 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Top 10 Metal Albums Of 2012

Asphyx.
Dario Dumancic Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:34 am

As we hurl ourselves ungracefully into the digital swill, we're finding different ways to be heavy at a rate faster than Mick Barr shreds guitar strings. Boundaries broken, banjos and black metal living in sin, cats and dogs singing King Diamond together ... is this progress? If this year has taught me anything, it's not that genre matters less because our share-happy Internet's a flesh-eating black hole, it's that genre doesn't mean a damn thing unless it hurts so good.

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Health
3:16 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Dismissed Case Raises Questions On Shaken Baby Diagnosis

Jennie and Kristian Aspelin pose in a pumpkin patch with their children two weeks before three-month-old Johan died.
Courtesy of the Aspelin family

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 3:27 pm

When San Francisco prosecutors dismissed charges against Kristian Aspelin in early December, it became just the latest case to raise questions about how shaken baby syndrome is diagnosed. Aspelin, who was accused of causing the death of his infant son, had one thing in his favor: He had enough money to pay for medical experts who cast doubt on the prosecution's theory.

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National Security
1:51 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

John Kerry Already A Familiar Face To World Leaders

U.S. Sen. John Kerry (left), who was nominated Friday to be secretary of state, is shown shaking hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during a trip to Pakistan last year.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

Long before President Obama nominated John Kerry as the country's top diplomat, the Massachusetts senator was seen as a secretary of state in waiting.

He has been chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has frequently jetted off to Afghanistan and Pakistan whenever the Obama administration needed him.

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News
1:27 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner's Power Outage Dimming Obama's Options As Well

House Speaker John Boehner speaks at a press conference Friday on Capitol Hill.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:53 pm

The most important measure of power on Capitol Hill can be summed up with a question: "Do you have the votes?"

For House Speaker John Boehner, the answer once again appears to be "no." In a move that's hard to view as anything short of humiliating for the speaker, Boehner had to shelve his own "Plan B" fiscal-cliff-avoidance proposal Thursday evening after it became clear he couldn't get enough fellow Republicans to support it.

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Sen. Daniel Inouye Remembered As Quiet Inspiration

Sen. Daniel Inouye "embodied the spirit of aloha," President Obama said.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:10 am

At a service for the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye at the Washington National Cathedral on Friday, President Obama said if it weren't for the example of the long-serving Hawaii Democrat, he might not have gone into public service.

Inouye "hinted to me what might be possible in my own life," Obama told the crowd, which included Vice President Joe Biden and other friends and former Senate colleagues.

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Remembrances
12:14 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Remembering Von Freeman, Lol Coxhill And Sean Bergin

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Jazz lost many great saxophonists in 2012, including David S. Ware, John Tchicai, Byard Lancaster, Faruq Z. Bey, Hal McKusick and Red Holloway.

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Governing
11:27 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Gun Control: What Would Mayors Do?

In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., mayors are a key part of the debate over the country's gun laws. Host Michel Martin speaks with two leaders who frequently encounter issues of gun violence and gun ownership; Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Sylvester James and former Cincinnati Mayor Kenneth Blackwell.

Politics
11:16 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Sen. Kerry Gets Obama's Nod For Secretary Of State

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. This afternoon, President Obama is set to nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as the nation's next secretary of state. Kerry would replace Hillary Clinton, who's planning to leave that post after four years as the president's globe-trotting emissary. Joining us to talk about the move is NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley; and NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen, who's here in the studio with me.

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News
10:49 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Only 'A Good Guy With A Gun' Can Stop School Shootings, NRA Says

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre at this morning's news conference in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 2:08 pm

(We retopped this post at 11:35 a.m. ET.)

Saying that last week's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., could have been prevented or stopped if there had been armed, trained security personnel on site, officials of the National Rifle Association on Friday called for Congress to appropriate funds to put police officers in every American school.

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Politics
10:48 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner Answers Questions About Withdrawing 'Plan B'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Action last night in the U.S. House of Representatives suggests just how hard it could be to pass a solution to the tax increases and spending cuts due at the end of the year.

INSKEEP: House Speaker John Boehner has yet to reach a deal with President Obama so he sought to put his own plan before the House last night.

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama Taps Sen. Kerry For Secretary Of State

President Obama and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the White House this afternoon.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 4:02 pm

  • President Obama nominates Sen. Kerry

President Obama announced this afternoon that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to be his next secretary of state.

Kerry's long experience in the Senate (he was first elected in 1984) and especially in foreign affairs (he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee) mean the senator's "not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said.

We followed the short appearance at the White House by the president and Kerry and posted some highlights.

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Television
10:17 am
Fri December 21, 2012

HBO's 'Enlightened' Take On Modern Meditation

Laura Dern and series creator Mike White, shown together on the set of Enlightened, first worked together on White's 2007 film Year of the Dog.

Prashant Gupta HBO

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 2:00 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on October 10, 2011.

Can people really change? That's the question Laura Dern and Mike White ask in their HBO series Enlightened, the second season of which begins Jan. 13. The show features Dern as Amy Jellicoe, an ambitious executive who has a nervous breakdown at her workplace. She goes to a rehabilitation center in Hawaii, where she experiences an awakening.

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Boehner: 'We'll Continue To Work' On Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 10:14 am

On this morning after he couldn't get fellow Republicans to support his "Plan B" for avoiding the year end "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner took some questions from reporters.

We listened in and posted updates. Hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions:

-- Update at 10:12 a.m. ET. House Will Come Back "If We're Needed":

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U.S.
9:41 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Moment Of Silence To Remember Newtown Victims

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is raining in Newtown, Connecticut, where people observed a moment of silence seven days to the minute after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. NPR's Kirk Siegler is in Newtown; he's on the line. And Kirk, what do you see this morning?

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News
9:12 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The NRA Isn't The Only Opponent Of Gun Control

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 1:20 pm

Entering into the discussion about how to respond to last week's school shootings in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association on Friday called for putting "qualified armed security" in all schools.

It's a message that echoes calls from some state lawmakers and other gun groups that haven't been as silent as the NRA over the past week.

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Shots - Health News
9:03 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Phew! You Survived The Mayan Apocalypse. Now What?

Photographer David Blackwell and his wife prepared for the apocalypse. Cats and cat food? Check. Toilet paper? Check. Exploding volcanoes and hurtling asteroids? Not so much.
David Blackwell Flickr

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:45 am

Good morning! If you can read this, then we offer our congratulations on surviving the Mayan Apocalypse!

You've evidently made it through the initial cataclysm caused by the collision of Earth with an unknown comet, a massive solar storm, a burst of radiation from the center of the galaxy, the mysterious Planet X (aka Nibiru), or some other catastrophe that scientists assured us wouldn't happen.

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