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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

'A Fire I Can't Put Out': Texas State Fair's 'Big Tex' Destroyed By Blaze

Big Tex goes up in flames.
John McKibben via Twitter

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 6:21 pm

If you've ever been to the Dallas area during the State Fair of Texas, you no doubt have encountered Big Tex.

He's impossible to miss. He wears size 70 boots and a 75-gallon hat. His height comes in at a stunning 52 feet. He's an icon, his western shirt dusted off every year since 1952.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Saying Moderator Is Prettier Than CNN's Crowley Gets Candidate In Trouble

Democrat Richard Carmona, who is running for the Senate from Arizona.
Ross Franklin ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 3:11 pm

As Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois was courting controversy last night by saying during a debate that the "health of the mother" isn't a reason for an abortion anymore, out in Arizona a Democratic candidate for Senate was stepping in it by telling a male debate moderator that "you're prettier" than CNN's Candy Crowley.

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Music Reviews
12:55 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Gary Clark Jr.: A Raucous Blues Shout

Gary Clark Jr.'s Blak and Blu is an eclectic romp through the blues.
Frank Maddocks

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:49 pm

On his major-label debut Blak and Blu, you can hear the roar in Gary Clark Jr.'s blues guitar, and in his vocal throughout "Bright Lights." It's one of the few straight-up blues songs on what is essentially an introduction to one of the most highly praised young blues guitarists in recent times. While Clark comes out of a blues tradition, he's also a twentysomething who's taken in all of contemporary music.

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Shots - Health News
12:39 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Probiotics Need To Eat, Too

Did someone say prebiotics?
iStockphoto.com

Which comes first, the probiotics or the prebiotics?

Could prebiotics, the food for the good bacteria known as probiotics, have more benefits than a dose of the microbes, particularly for people with serious health problems like preemies?

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Planet Money
12:36 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Watch Our Fake Presidential Candidate's First Real Ad

The fake candidate.
Lam Vo NPR

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

The story so far: A panel of economists from across the political spectrum came up with a presidential platform they could all support. It was a platform that would doom any real candidate. So we created a fake one.

We tested out one of our key ideas — eliminating the mortgage-interest tax deduction — on a focus group. They hated it.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
12:28 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

It's All Politics, Oct. 18, 2012

AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:07 pm

  • Listen to the Roundup

Presidential debate No. 2 is in the books, and the consensus is that — unlike debate No. 1 — President Obama came prepared for battle. For all the talk about "binders full of women," and what was said when after the events in Benghazi, Libya, Obama and Mitt Romney both made their cases. Now, they prepare for the third and final debate on Monday. We also bid farewell to former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter.

Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for the latest political roundup.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Turkey Urges International Intervention In Syria

Syrian protesters shout slogans during an anti-regime demonstration in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday.
Tauseef Mustafa AFP/Getty Images

"How long can this situation continue? I mean in Bosnia, now we have Ban Ki-moon [the UN secretary general] apologizing 20 years after. Who will apologise for Syria in 20 years' time? How can we stay idle?"

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Author Interviews
12:21 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Baratunde Thurston Explains 'How To Be Black'

Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter." href="/post/baratunde-thurston-explains-how-be-black" class="noexit lightbox">
Baratunde Thurston is an American comedian and the digital director of The Onion. He co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. He is also a prolific tweeter.
Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 12:55 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 1, 2012. How to Be Black will be released in paperback on Oct. 30.

It's no coincidence that Baratunde Thurston's new memoir and satirical self-help book How to Be Black was slated for release on the first day of Black History Month.

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Twitter Blocks 'Offensive' Accounts In Germany, U.K.; Deletes Tweets In France

Twitter.com

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 12:08 pm

Earlier this year, Twitter announced a new device and a policy of weeding out and removing offensive content from its site if a foreign government requested it.

Thursday, the company tweeted that it's done so for the first time — blocking a neo-Nazi group's account in Germany. Today, Twitter withheld another account — this one in Britain, belonging to a right-wing member of the European Parliament who tweeted support for discrimination against gays. Government officials are investigating both cases.

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The Salt
12:03 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Sugar Beet Labor Battles Spill Out Onto The National Stage

Supporters of American Crystal Sugar Co. workers, who have been locked out of the company's sugar beet processing plants since 2011, rally in the North Dakota Capitol.
Dale Wetzel AP

It's not just nutritionists who have a problem with sugar these days, so does organized labor. The AFL-CIO is calling for a boycott of one the country's biggest sugar producers, the American Crystal Sugar Company, based in Moorhead, Minn.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Life Of The Mother: Never A Reason For Abortion, Congressman Says

Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) right, and challenger Tammy Duckworth, left, at a televised debate at WTTW Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:43 pm

During a televised debate Thursday on Chicago's WTTW, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) reiterated his opposition to abortion in any circumstance. It's similar to the Republican Party's national platform, which doesn't have any exceptions for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Walsh is taking it a step further — banning abortion to save the life of the mother.

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Election 2012
11:39 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Are Candidates Ignoring the Poor?

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 11:59 am

President Obama and Governor Romney have discussed the middle class a great deal during the debates, but the candidates haven't spent nearly as much time talking about the poor. To get a read on the state of poverty in America, host Michel Martin talks with Irwin Redlener, of the Children's Health Fund and Timothy Noah, a columnist for The New Republic.

Shots - Health News
11:33 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Tweet Chat: Chasing Down Polio, Eradication In Sight

Ado Ibrahim carries his son Aminu through a village in northern Nigeria. Aminu was paralyzed by polio in August.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:26 pm

Polio is on the ropes.

Thanks to vigorous efforts to eradicate the virus through vaccination, there are only three countries on the face of the earth where polio is still endemic.

Reported cases of the paralytic virus worldwide stand at 177 so far this year compared with 350,000 in the late 1980s.

Can polio be wiped out? The target is within sight.

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It's All Politics
11:32 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Redistricting In Maryland Imperils Longtime Congressional Republican

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., at a House Small Business Committee hearing on Sept. 21, 2011. After two decades in Congress, a redrawn district has put his re-election in question.
T.J. Kirkpatrick The Washington Times /Landov

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:38 pm

Democrats have an uphill battle to take control of the House of Representatives in November. But one bright spot for the party is in Maryland's 6th Congressional District.

State Democrats redrew the district's boundaries, and now it favors their party. That leaves 10-term Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in trouble.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Fri October 19, 2012

What The ...? Tom Hanks Drops 'F-Bomb' On 'Good Morning America'

TMZ.com was on the story quickly.
TMZ.com

If we were asked to list actors who would be likely to slip up and drop the "f-bomb" on live, national TV, we don't think Tom Hanks would have come to mind.

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Monkey See
10:52 am
Fri October 19, 2012

MTV's 'Underemployed': Heavy On Stereotypes, Still Light On Realistic Apartments

Diego Boneta, Sarah Habel, Michelle Ang, Inbar Lavi and Jared Kusnitz of MTV's Underemployed.
MTV

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:54 pm

"It was the best of times, it was the best of times," riffs aspiring writer Sophia in the opening of MTV's new dramedy, Underemployed, as she taps away on her laptop, narrating the lives of her recent-grad friends a la Carrie Bradshaw. It's the first cliché in a series full of them. It's also a sign of the ongoing fascination with the lives of twentysomethings trying and failing to do big things in big cities during a big recession. (Take it from me — it's not that great.)

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Movie Reviews
10:51 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'The Sessions': Sex, Comedy And Something More

Living most of his life in an iron lung forces Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) to see the world from a different point of view.
Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:53 pm

In 1983, Berkeley poet and journalist Mark O'Brien wrote an article about sexual surrogates — women and men trained to help people with disabilities learn to use their bodies to give themselves and others erotic pleasure.

For O'Brien, the subject wasn't academic. After a bout of childhood polio, he had spent much of his life in an iron lung. He could talk, and tap out words on a typewriter holding a stick in his mouth. He could feel things below the neck. But he couldn't move his muscles.

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The Picture Show
10:39 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Extreme Animal Portraits: Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Winners

Winner - Behavior: Cold-blooded Animals - A yacare caiman waits for fish to come within snapping reach in the shallow, murky waters of Brazil's Pantanal - the biggest wetland in the world. Caimans can grow to be three meters in length.
Luciano Candisani Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:18 pm

I admit it: As much as I love hard-hitting photojournalism, there is something about photos of animals that gets me every time. So when I found out that the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest was announcing its winners, I had to take a look.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:37 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Charles Darwin And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Aaron Birk

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 10:45 am

I guess everybody, even the smartest people who ever lived, have days when they feel dumb — really, really dumb. Oct. 1, 1861, was that kind of day for Charles Darwin.

In a letter to his friend Charles Lyell, Darwin says, "I am very poorly today," and then — and I want you to see this exactly as he wrote it, so you know this isn't a fake; it comes from the library of the American Philosophical Society, courtesy of their librarian Charles Greifenstein. Can you read it?

It says:

Whoah! You know the feeling, right?

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Sales Of Existing Homes Dipped In September, But Prices Rose

A "sold" sign in San Francisco in August.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

There was a 1.7 percent drop in sales of existing homes in September from August, the National Association of Realtors says.

But the median selling price compared to one year earlier was up for the seventh month in a row, leading NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun to say "we're experiencing a genuine recovery."

According to NAR:

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