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The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Liberal SuperPAC Under Fire For Tweets About McConnell's 'Chinese' Wife

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife Elaine Chao at last summer's Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Mike Thelier UPI /Landov

From NPR member station WFPL:

"A Democratic group is under sharp criticism for controversial online messages about Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's wife.

"For months, the liberal superPAC Progress Kentucky has attacked McConnell and held demonstrations at his offices and home.

"Recently, the group turned its attention to McConnell's wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, with a focus on her race.

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The Two-Way
3:10 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Pastagate: Quebec Agency Criticized For Targeting Foreign Words On Menus

In Quebec, a restaurant's use of the word "pasta" on its menu sparked a government agency into action. Officials who enforce rules that guard French as the official language now say "exotic" words can be allowed in some cases.
Timothy Hiatt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 6:15 pm

A government agency in Quebec, Canada, has come under intense criticism after attempting to get pasta stricken from a restaurant's menu. The move had nothing to do with the food: Officials said Italian words such as pasta, calamari, and antipasto should be replaced with French words to conform with the law.

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Arts + Life
3:05 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Historical Vocab: When We Get It Wrong, Does It Matter?

Linguist Geoff Nunberg finds that in the film Lincoln, screenwriter Tony Kushner oscillates between old and modern meanings of "equality."
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Has there ever been an age that was so grudging about suspending its disbelief? The groundlings at the Globe Theatre didn't giggle when Shakespeare had a clock chime in Julius Caesar. The Victorians didn't take Dickens to task for having the characters in A Tale of Two Cities ride the Dover mail coach 10 years before it was established. But Shakespeare and Dickens weren't writing in the age of the Internet, when every historical detail is scrutinized for chronological correctness, and when no "Gotcha!" remains unposted for long.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

John Kerry To German Students: Americans Have 'Right To Be Stupid'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Sean Gallup Getty Images

In his first foreign trip as Secretary of State, John Kerry defended America's civil liberties during his talk with German students.

Kerry said that the United States' tradition of freedom of speech — even if it includes offensive speech — is a virtue.

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Music
2:45 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Richard Thompson On World Cafe @ 8PM Tonight On WCBE!

Richard Thompson.
Pamela Littky Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 1, 2013 5:08 pm

Richard Thompson started playing in "The British Byrds," Fairport Convention, when he was only 17.

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It's All Politics
2:08 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Obama's Sequester Gamble: What If Nobody Notices?

President Obama speaks about the sequester on Feb. 19.
Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama has for weeks warned congressional Republicans and the American public of the dangers facing the nation from the sequester budget cuts.

Failing to reach a deal between the White House and Congress by Friday could lead to some young children being dropped from Head Start, the FBI furloughing agents and fewer food inspectors, according to the president.

If the cuts unleash these and other harms, like longer lines at airports, Congress and voters won't be able to say they weren't warned.

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It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

GOP Sending Mixed Signals On Sequester

The various Republican messaging machines may want to consider getting on the same page regarding the March 1 sequestration deadline.

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All Tech Considered
1:47 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Among Oscars Fanfare, Visual Effects Industry Faces Difficult Times

Bill Westenhofer, winner of best visual effects for Life of Pi, said backstage that the business model of the visual effects industry needs to change.
Vince Bucci AP

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:37 pm

In a business where effects-laden movies helped Hollywood make a record-setting $10.8 billion last year, many of the studios that create those effects are barely staying afloat.

Visual effects have been a part of the movie industry ever since Georges Melies went on his famous Trip to the Moon in 1902. These days, VFX studios do everything from putting a tiger in a lifeboat on an ocean voyage to choreographing the destruction of a New York City being defended by Earth's mightiest heroes.

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Health
1:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 12:46 pm

Dealing Coke to customers called "heavy users." Selling to teens in an attempt to hook them for life. Scientifically tweaking ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize consumer bliss.

In his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss goes inside the world of processed and packaged foods.

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Health
1:02 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Women To See Higher Prices For Long-Term Care Insurance

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:24 am

The country's largest long-term care insurer is making it tougher for people — especially women — to buy its policy.

Genworth Financial has announced that starting this spring it will begin taking gender into account when setting premiums on new policies. The reason: Women account for two out of every three dollars spent on claims, says Thomas Topinka, a company spokesman.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Along Party Lines, Senate Confirms Chuck Hagel As The Next Secretary Of Defense

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has been nominated to be the next secretary of defense.
Ron Sachs DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:17 pm

Update at 5:10 p.m. ET. Hagel Confirmed:

After an unprecedented filibuster by Republicans, the nomination of Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense prevailed, Tuesday afternoon.

With a vote of 58 to 41, the Senate acted mostly along party lines to confirm Hagel.

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Around the Nation
12:26 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Trayvon Came Back For George, Says Brother

The shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin one year ago became an international story, and raised difficult questions about race and justice. Host Michel Martin continues her conversation with Robert Zimmerman Jr., the brother of accused killer George Zimmerman, about how his family views the case and the public reaction.

Parenting
12:22 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Bullying And Psychiatric Illness Linked

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice.

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The Two-Way
12:21 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Daytona 500 Ratings Hit 5-Year High; Viewership Spikes In Cities

This year's edition of the Daytona 500 posted its strongest TV ratings since 2008, thanks to a buildup of attention drawn by Danica Patrick's history-making pole position and a horrendous crash during a race at the track Saturday. Viewership peaked late in the race, when Patrick dropped from third position to finish eighth behind winner Jimmie Johnson.

The biggest percentage gains in viewership seem to have come in big cities.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

FDIC Says In 2012, Banks Posted Second-Best Earnings On Record

Martin Gruenberg, Acting Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), testifies during a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 19, 2012.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Profits for U.S. banks skyrocketed in 2012, a report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. finds today.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. banks made $141.3 billion in net income last year. That is the "second-best earnings on record." The best year was 2006, when banks reported $145.2 billion in earnings.

The AP explains:

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It's All Politics
11:04 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Force Behind Race-Law Rollback Efforts Talks Voting Rights Case

Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, at his home in South Thomaston, Maine, on Nov. 9.
Joel Page Reuters /Landov

Edward Blum isn't a lawyer, and he doesn't play one on TV.

But he has been the driving force behind two race-related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, including one that justices will hear Wednesday that seeks to roll back a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The other, Fisher v. University of Texas, which challenges the use of race and ethnicity in public college and university admissions policies, was heard by the court in October and awaits its decision.

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Donations Pour In For Homeless Man Who Returned Ring He Got By Mistake

Billy Ray Harris.
GiveForward.com/billyray

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 11:48 am

Nearly $152,000 has been donated online to help Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man in Kansas City who returned an engagement ring to the woman who accidentally left it in a cup he uses to collect change.

Here's his good news story:

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The Two-Way
10:27 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Home Sales, Consumer Confidence And Bernanke All On Positive Side

Today's economic indicators all point up:

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Shots - Health News
10:10 am
Tue February 26, 2013

U.S. Doctors Head Overseas To Train, Not Just Treat

Partnerships instead of short-term help: Jean Jumeau Batsch, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is collaborating with Dr. Ambereen Sleemi, from New York City, to build a training program for Haitian OB-GYNs.
Courtesy of Dr. Ambereen Sleemi.

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:39 pm

A few months ago, we told you about a Peace Corps initiative that sends doctors and nurses abroad to teach and train local health workers — a sort of Peace Corps for Doctors.

They're not alone: Lots of health care professionals are now traveling abroad to help countries build better health care systems instead of simply giving on-the-spot medical care or dealing with emergencies.

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The Two-Way
9:28 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Winter Weary Central Plains States Getting Walloped Again

While severe winter weather has caused problems for many in the Great Plains, it has also provided some opportunities for fun. On Monday, Simon Mourning (front) and Chance Cain went sliding in Wichita, Kansas.
Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle MCT /Landov

"Another blizzard bore down on the nation's midsection early Tuesday after lashing the Texas Panhandle with hurricane-force winds, closing highways and cutting power to thousands in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas," The Associated Press writes. It adds that "at least two people were killed in the storm, and Midwesterners still digging out from last week's deep snowpack braced for more."

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