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3:02 am
Thu May 30, 2013

How A Trip To Costco Can Work As An Investment Strategy

A recent trip to Costco cost NPR's Uri Berliner $303.53. The haul included razor blades, cans of soup and tuna fish, laundry detergent, heartburn relief medicine and dog treats. As an investment, it will pay off if he uses what he bought — and if the price tag for the same items is higher if he returns in a year.
Mary-Elizabeth Berliner

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 8:19 am

NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
3:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Breathing Easier: How Houston Is Working To Clean Up Its Air

The Houston Ship Channel is home to a wide range of heavy industry, including chemical processing plants and petrochemical refineries.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:18 pm

The Houston area produces about a quarter of the nation's gasoline, and about a third of the plastics that are in our cars, cupboards and just about everywhere else. So it is no surprise that this heavily industrial area has a problem with air pollution. But in the past decade, Houston's air has improved dramatically.

How that happened is a tale of good science, new technology and a Texas law that prompted companies along the Houston Ship Channel to disclose their emissions.

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U.S.
7:00 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Soldier Accused Of Killing Afghan Civilians To Plead Guilty

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The American soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan last year plans to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. Lawyers say Staff Sergeant Robert Bales will plead guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder next week and that his sentencing trial will be held in September.

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Around the Nation
7:00 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Sing-Spelling At The National Bee

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There is no shortage of wonders on display at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, under way this week outside Washington, D.C. Students are easily spooling off words such as wiesenboden and machicotage. But even the Scripps Bee judges were flummoxed when 7th grader Katie Danis made this request today.

KATIE DANIS: Would you mind if I were to, like, sing the letters, it would help me. I could do that.

BLOCK: The judges conferred, and said OK. So here's Katie Danis, sing-spelling stabilimeter.

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The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Police Say Ricin-Laced Letters Sent To New York Mayor Bloomberg

New York Mayor Bloomberg speaks out for gun reform at a March news conference in New York.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:11 am

Police in New York say preliminary tests of two threatening letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of ricin.

The anonymous letters, both addressed to Bloomberg, were opened Friday in New York at the city's mail facility and Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the nonprofit started by Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, according to authorities.

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The Two-Way
6:23 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Former Justice Official In Line To Be Named FBI Chief

Former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on May 15, 2007. NPR has learned that Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:25 am

NPR has learned that former Justice Department official James B. Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director, according to two sources familiar with the search.

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It's All Politics
5:59 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Why Obama Wants To Change The Key Law In The Terrorism Fight

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on May 23.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Almost all of the federal government's actions against terrorism — from drone strikes to the prison at Guantanamo Bay — are authorized by a single law: the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress passed it just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, President Obama says he wants to revise the law, and ultimately repeal it.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Bachmann's Legacy: A Trailblazer, For Better And For Worse

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks during the Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:55 pm

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Wednesday that she won't seek a fifth term unleashed a torrent of tweets and blog posts on the left lampooning the short-lived 2012 presidential candidate.

Yet the response — her retirement effectively dominated the news cycle — provided a glimpse of Bachmann's impact on Washington.

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Health
5:58 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

'Soda Mouth' Can Look A Lot Like 'Meth Mouth'

A dental researcher says he's concerned that excessive soda consumption is leading to severe erosion of teeth.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:23 pm

Drink enough soda and your teeth could deteriorate so much that they look like the teeth of a methamphetamine or crack addict.

That's one of the messages of a case study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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It's All Politics
5:50 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The 10 Biggest Tax Breaks (And How Much They Cost)

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:01 pm

The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.

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All Tech Considered
5:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Fixing Your Online Reputation: There's An Industry For That

What a potential employer finds when researching an applicant online can make or break a job opportunity.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 7:21 am

This year, nearly 1.7 million students will graduate from college. Many of them are engaged in a new ritual of the digital age: cleaning up and polishing their online profiles. The demand is so great an entire industry has sprung up to help.

According to numerous surveys, the vast majority of hiring managers routinely Google potential job candidates. And what they see on that first page of search results matters — a lot. Just ask Pete Kistler, who was a college junior when he started applying to a bunch of computer software firms, looking for a summer job.

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Shots - Health News
5:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Health Law Spared Young Adults From High Hospital Bills

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Researchers at the RAND Corporation set out to find some hard data on one aspect of the health law: Does having medical insurance protect young adults from the financial ruin that often comes with a major injury or illness?

The quick answer: Yep.

Since September 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed young adults to remain on their parents' medical insurance until they turn 26, and 3.1 million young people have taken advantage of the new rule.

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NPR Story
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For Tuskegee Airman George Porter, Failure Was Not An Option

George Porter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007. Porter joined the armed forces in 1942 and served as a crew chief, squadron inspector and flight engineer with the Army Air Forces and the Air Force.
Paul Kitagaki Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.

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It's All Politics
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Public Employee Unions Take Issue With Immigration Overhaul

Chris Crane, president of the union that represents deportation agents, officers and employees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in April. Crane has been a vocal opponent of the proposed immigration overhaul.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

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NPR Story
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Study: Obamacare Already Benefiting Young Adults

It's been more than two years since the Affordable Care Act began to take effect. The biggest changes won't start until next year, when coverage will be extended to tens of millions of people But a new study released Wednesday from the RAND corporation shows the law is already having a significant positive impact on one group of Americans — young adults.

Reporter's Notebook
5:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Midcentury Furniture + Grandkid Nostalgia = Modern Trend

NPR's Andrea Hsu paid $75 for her midcentury modern table and chairs, shown here in a 1963 Drexel Declaration catalog. She quickly realized it was a steal.
Courtesy Drexel Heritage

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:18 pm

Open a design magazine or turn on a home decorating show these days, and it's clear: Midcentury modern is hot. It first showed up in the 1950s and '60s — think low-slung sofas, egg-shaped chairs and the set of Mad Men. My first midcentury modern find was a dining set I bought on Craigslist for $75. There was something about the clean lines and gentle curves of the wooden chairs that got me.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Prosecutor: Radical Islam Motivated Attack On French Soldier

A 2009 photo of the La Defense shopping mall, west of Paris, where Saturday's stabbing attack took place.
Jacques Brinon AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:12 pm

Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.

Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.

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Shots - Health News
5:08 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Disinfect All ICU Patients To Reduce 'Superbug' Infections

To fight antibiotic-resistant staph germs like these, a study suggests disinfecting the skin of all intensive care patients.
Janice Carr CDC

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:41 pm

Hospitals can sharply reduce the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria in their intensive care units by decontaminating all patients rather than screening them and focusing only on those found to be infected already, researchers reported Wednesday.

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Code Switch
5:05 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race

How do you respond to questions about your culture or race?
Ariel Skelley Corbis

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:58 am

Since Code Switch launched, friends and people on Twitter have been sharing examples of questions they've been asked about their race or culture that they've found interesting, awkward or just plain offensive.

We were intrigued when we saw this question posted on AskReddit: "What's one question you've been dying to ask another race but never do because of the impending 'THAT'S RACIST' aftermath?"

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Parallels
4:28 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

In China, Customer Service And Efficiency Begin To Blossom

A couple waits for a high-speed train in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao. Modern infrastructure and the expanding private sector have greatly increased efficiency and customer service in many parts of Chinese life.
Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 7:56 pm

China's infamous bureaucracy has bedeviled people for ages, but in recent years, daily life in some major Chinese cities has become far more efficient.

For instance, when I worked in Beijing in the 1990s, many reporters had drivers. It wasn't because they didn't drive, but because they needed someone to deal with China's crippling bureaucracy.

I had a man named Old Zhao, who would drive around for days to pay our office bills at various government utility offices. Zhao would sit in line for hours, often only to be abused by functionaries.

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