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Author Interviews
2:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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Music News
2:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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Poetry
2:24 am
Sat September 28, 2013

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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It's All Politics
12:44 am
Sat September 28, 2013

In Washington's Fiscal Tango, Obama's Lacking A Dance Partner

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Largo, Md. In the latest fiscal fight with Republicans, the president is lacking a partner to make a deal with — or even to vilify.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Top White House aides constantly refer to a "civil war" in the Republican Party.

They sometimes use the phrase with near delight, reveling in the tensions that threaten to pull apart the GOP. But for President Obama, the divided opposition creates a major problem: He has neither a partner to cut a deal with nor a high-profile adversary to vilify.

That situation stands in stark contrast to previous fiscal standoffs.

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Politics
12:43 am
Sat September 28, 2013

With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, center, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, express frustration on Friday after the Senate passed a bill to fund the government, but stripped it of language crafted by House Republicans to defund Obamacare.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 12:21 pm

As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.

Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: Obama Says 'Gears Of Our Economy' At Risk

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:25 pm

Friday's highlights:

As expected, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed its own version of a short-term spending bill. It's the version the House approved last week, minus language that would defund Obamacare. That effectively tossed the ball back to the Republican-controlled House.

And President Obama warned House Republicans to avoid the twin disruptions of a government shutdown (at midnight Monday) and a debt default (in mid-October).

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The Two-Way
3:11 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

U.N. Ambassador: U.S. Got What It Sought With Syria Resolution

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:31 pm

In an interview with All Things Considered's Robert Siegel, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says the U.S. got what it sought in a U.N. draft resolution that calls for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons or face "consequences."

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It's All Politics
3:07 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Shutdown Politics, Bill Clinton-Style

President Clinton shakes hands with House Speaker Newt Gingrich prior to giving his State of the Union address in January 1996.
Denis Paquin AP

If the government shuts down on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be temporarily forced out of their jobs — and we will almost certainly begin to hear a few of their stories soon after.

On NPR's Tell Me More Friday, Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor, reminded us of a Social Security Administration worker, Richard Dean, who was laid off during the 1995-96 government shutdown and thrust into the forefront of the budget debate by President Bill Clinton.

What made his story unique?

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Ex-U.S. Army Sniper Instructor Nabbed In Thai 'Hit Squad' Sting

Joseph Manuel Hunter (center) is escorted by Thai police commandos to Police Aviation Division after being arrested, in Bangkok on Thursday.
Sakchai Lalit Associated Press

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:53 pm

Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Exhibit Illuminates Three Generations Of Wyeths

Jamie Wyeth, The Headlands of Monhegan Island, Maine, 2007, Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 inches. Wyeth Collection, ©Jamie Wyeth
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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

The Economic Impact Of A Government Shutdown

We’ve been hearing this week about the federal budget crisis in Washington. So far, the focus has been on members of Congress and their political battles.

But if Congress can’t agree on a way to fund government when the new fiscal year begins on Tuesday, then the spotlight could shift over to the economic bystanders.

Those are the innocent workers and business owners who stand to lose from any disruption in government.

NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax joins us to talk about the potential economic impact of a government shutdown.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Senate OKs Budget Bill, But Fight Not Over

Update 2:08 p.m.: The Democratic-run Senate has approved legislation aimed at preventing a Tuesday federal shutdown.

Friday’s vote was 54-44.

But it remains unclear whether the Senate and the Republican-run House will be able to complete a compromise bill in time to get it to President Barack Obama for his signature before the government has to close.

That is because House GOP leaders are still struggling to figure out how they can win enough votes from conservatives to push a new version of the legislation through their chamber.

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Shots - Health News
1:50 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Why Brain Surgeons Want Help From A Maggot-Like Robot

University of Maryland's Jaydev Desai shows off a prototype of a robot that he and colleagues are developing to minimize harm to patients during brain surgery.
John T. Consoli University of Maryland

Brain surgery is a dicey business. Even the most experienced surgeons can damage healthy tissue while trying to root out tumors deep inside the brain.

Researchers from the University of Maryland are working on a solution, and it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. They're developing a tiny, maggot-like robot that can crawl into brains and zap tumors from within.

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NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Cuban Athletes Can Finally Go Pro (Outside Of Cuba)

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:17 pm

For the first time in over 50 years, Cuba is letting its athletes sign professional contracts in other countries. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks to Robert Siegel about the historic announcement.

NPR Story
1:24 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 2:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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