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Updated and revised at 4:26 pm ET:

The death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at the hands of extremists there became the latest fodder in the 2012 presidential race early Wednesday.

Republican Mitt Romney used the incident to continue his campaign's attacks on President Obama's approach to foreign policy.

Is The Black Middle Class Disappearing?

Sep 12, 2012

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We've been talking a lot about the economy in the past couple of weeks. The issue was at the forefront of the two political conventions that just ended and put a further exclamation point on the debate over whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would be the best person to address the issue.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, he is the biographer of Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois and Jackie Robinson, and now Arnold Rampersad is the winner of a prestigious lifetime achievement award for his body of work. We'll speak with this legendary writer in just a few minutes.

This year's presidential debates have no Latino moderators on the slate. So one network is taking matters into its own hands. Univision's Jorge Ramos is set to moderate discussions with each of the major party presidential candidates. He tells host Michel Martin it's time for the Commission on Presidential Debates to move into the 21st century.

Most Americans knew nothing about Innocence of Muslims. That's the film that has set the Muslim world on fire, causing protests in Egypt and Libya that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

If you didn't know that a Big Mac has 550 calories, or the Southwest Chicken Salad has 290, those numbers will be hard to miss the next time you visit McDonald's.

That's because the fast-food giant announced today that it will begin posting calories on its menu boards right above customers heads in the restaurant, and at the drive-thru starting next week.

How Cheap Can Lipitor Get? Try Free

Sep 12, 2012

Since cholesterol-fighter Lipitor went generic late last year, the price has plunged.

You can pick up atorvastatin, the generic version of Lipitor, starting at about 50 cents a pill, if you buy a month's supply at Costco. A year ago, the brand-name version went for $3.50 and up per dose. And the brand-name pills still cost around $4.28 at Costco.

Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a very special diplomat. He made a career of going to difficult places and insisting that he witness tumultuous events firsthand.

Some well-funded pro-Mitt Romney superPACs and other advocacy groups are pulling their TV ad dollars in Pennsylvania and Michigan and are doubling down on efforts in what they consider to be more crucial swing states — such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.

Those are states where President Obama has also been spending considerable time campaigning lately, but where he's facing a barrage of attack ads from his Republican rival and the conservative superPACs, such as American Crossroads, and nonprofit advocacy groups, like Americans for Prosperity.

President Obama has joked that he should appoint former President Bill Clinton to a new post: "Secretary of Explaining Stuff."

That's basically the role Clinton played at the Democratic National Convention in telling Americans why — in his view — they should give Obama another four years in office.

Now Clinton is on the campaign trail in the key battleground state of Florida. He's in Orlando today after stumping for Obama in Miami on Tuesday.

As a strike by Chicago's schoolteachers enters a third day, the president of their union says negotiators are still "miles apart" from an agreement to get 350,000 students back in the classroom, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The talks were set to resume Wednesday morning, but Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said there had been only "centimeters" of progress and that the union and city were still "kilometers apart."

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

United States ambassadors do not always have a close connection to the countries where they serve. Sometimes, the ambassadors are friends of an American president. Sometimes, they're career diplomats who have posted to many countries over the years.

The death toll from two factory fires in Pakistan has reached 314, most of them killed by suffocation when they were unable to escape the buildings, officials said Wednesday.

The fires in a shoe factory in Lahore and a garment factory in the southern port city of Karachi, broke out Tuesday night. The Karachi fire killed at least 289 people, while the other 25 deaths were reported at the Lahore factory.

There will be a lot of questions about the iPhone 5 before its release Wednesday. Less popular among them: Why do we care so much?

Update at 7:02 p.m. ET. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other staff members were killed in an attack against the American consulate in Benghazi, last night. The attack happened over an American-produced film that criticized the prophet Muhammad.

Here's the latest on the story:

-- Quoting U.S. officials, the AP reports that the Pentagon is moving two warships toward the Libyan coast. CNN is also reporting the move.

-- The remains of all four Americans killed in Libya have been recovered.

Military commanders, government officials and members of Congress have long wrangled over which weapon systems are needed. Now, there's an argument over what computer software should be provided to soldiers in Afghanistan. It's a defense dispute for the digital age.

In recent years, the ability to analyze data has become almost as important to U.S. war-fighters as the guns they use.

Thinking of going to a nice restaurant? Before you decide, you probably go online and read reviews of the place from other customers (or you listen to these actors read them to you). Online reviews of restaurants, travel deals, apps and just about anything you want to buy have become a powerful driver of consumer behavior. Unsurprisingly, they have also created a powerful incentive to cheat.

The United States' southern border bristles with technology and manpower designed to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Since 1986, the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircraft, detention centers and agents.

But even as federal budgets shrink and illegal immigration ebbs, experts say that there's no end in sight for the growth of the border-industrial complex.

A Growing Investment On The Border

Hi! Are you a gambler? Do you like to bet football? Then this is your lucky day, for if you'll just stay tuned, I'm gonna offer you a free money-back guarantee: how you, too, can pick an NFL winner. Just don't turn that dial, and listen to this important message.

Stephen Tobolowsky Hearts NPR

Sep 11, 2012

Stephen Tobolowsky loves NPR, but that's not the only story he has to tell.

Best known for his work on screen (remember Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day, anyone?), the actor has penned a new memoir, The Dangerous Animals Club, set for release later this month.

Tobolowsky chatted with Weekend Edition Saturday Host Scott Simon about the book, which he describes as a personal collection of essays and short stories covering everything from his Texas upbringing to his calling as a storyteller.

Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.

Russia has been facing troubling demographics ever since the Soviet breakup two decades ago. The population has contracted by several million people over this period. The birth rate is low. Life expectancy for men is still less than 65 years.

And there is also a sense that many educated, talented people are leaving the country.

To take one example, the world of science lit up in July, when a billionaire Internet investor named Yuri Milner announced nine prizes for some of the world's most innovative thinkers in physics.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Students in many schools across the country will notice something new as classes' resume. Clifton High School in New Jersey, Garnet Valley High School in Pennsylvania, Ottumwa High School in Iowa, just three of the many schools that installed security cameras in hallways, classrooms, cafeterias, in buses and gymnasiums.

This interview was originally broadcast on June 5, 2012.

Guitar legend Buddy Guy has been called the bridge between the blues and rock 'n' roll, as well as one of the most influential blues musicians in the world. Guitar icons like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others use words like "legend," "master" and "greatest of all time" to describe him.

Behind The Lens With Obama's 'First Cameraman'

Sep 2, 2012

Many presidents have had official White House photographers, but Arun Chaudhary claims the honor of being the first official White House videographer. He has written a book about his journey from disheveled film professor to his four years in the almost constant company of the president. First Cameraman is an often funny, generally admiring account of the life and times of candidate Barack Obama — and then President Obama — and the sleepless nights and adventure-filled days of the man trying to record it all.

This interview was originally broadcast on May 22, 2012. David Alan Grier plays Sporting Life in the opera Porgy and Bess, which closes on Broadway next month. Porgy and Bess won two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

The narrator of Maria Semple's newest book, Where'd You Go, Bernadette, is 15-year-old Bee Fox. She's a nice kid, a good musician and a great student. In fact, she's such a great student that her parents have promised her anything she wants — and she chooses a family trip to Antarctica.

This fall, voters in Oregon and Washington will decide whether to legalize marijuana. Washington’s Initiative 502 would allow pot to be sold in state-licensed stores. So would Oregon’s Measure 80. But it would go one step further: The Oregon ballot measure would allow people to grow their own marijuana. In both campaigns, there's no shortage of claims about the drug. Chris Lehman has been fact-checking two of those claims. Today, he takes on this question: Is marijuana a safer drug than alcohol?

To Paul Stanford, this isn't really a question.

When comedian Mike Birbiglia opened his one-man show Sleepwalk With Me in 2008 at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York, he didn't anticipate that it would become material for a popular piece on This American Life and a New York Times best-seller. He especially didn't think it would turn into a feature film.

Birbigilia had never made a film before. And he was initially hesitant to make one about his dangerous sleepwalking condition, because he wanted to distance himself from the topic he had been immersed in for more than four years.

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