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The tradition of setting aside a day to honor the nation’s war dead started after the Civil War. It was called Decoration Day then and on the first one in 1868 people decorated the graves of the Union and Confederate dead at Arlington National Cemetery. Cemeteries across the country are decorated just like that today as we mark Memorial Day 2014.

Economist Thomas Piketty is defending his book today, from charges that he got his math on rising inequality wrong.

Piketty’s nearly 600-page book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” has been the most hotly debated book this spring over its key conclusion: “The central contradiction of capitalism” is that it leads to the concentration of wealth in the hands of those already rich.

In a memorable episode of “Seinfeld,” Kramer and Newman fill up Newman’s mail truck with bottles and cans collected in New York and head for Michigan — where the return deposit is a nickel higher.

Well, unlike Michigan, Arizona doesn’t have a return deposit for containers — but that doesn’t mean its bottles and cans aren’t worth something, somewhere.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, KJZZ’s Alexandra Olgin reports.

Elliot Rodger's parents were rushing to stop him from hurting anyone Friday night when they heard news of a shooting and feared their son was involved. They had driven to Santa Barbara after seeing an alarming video in which he promised a deadly "revenge against humanity."

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This interview was originally broadcast on March 3, 2014.

When America entered World War II, some of Hollywood's most celebrated directors enlisted and risked their lives. But they weren't fighting — they were filming combat.

A list that was meant to help journalists report on President Obama's trip to Afghanistan on Sunday has instead created an awkward and potentially damaging situation. That's because it mistakenly included the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul, the agency's top official there.

Sick of doing the laundry? The latest hot Silicon Valley startup, Washio — the subject of a new profile in New York Magazine — lets you press a button on your phone and someone will come and pick up your laundry, or your dry cleaning.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Don't we all know people who walk around like they own the room? Nobody's shocked when their name shows up in lights. And then there's the superstar who's unexpected.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE UNEXPECTED")

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we turn to Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality. On this program we often talk about the intersection of faith and politics. My next guest is a trailblazer in both of those areas. When he was first elected to Congress in 2006, Keith Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress, as well as the first person of color elected to represent Minnesota in the national legislator.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We are continuing our special coverage for Memorial Day with encore conversations. And we talk now about the sacrifices that military families make. Military service these days can come with long and repeated deployments and frequent moves, not to mention the emotional toll of sending a spouse or a parent into dangerous conflicts.

Conrad Gregor sent a special thank you to his parents for making a five-hour drive to see him play baseball this weekend: He launched a home run that led his team to a comeback win — and his father caught the baseball after it soared over the right-field wall.

We're not only obsessed with what we eat. We're now obsessed with what our pets eat. They make us healthier and happier, so who can blame us for wanting the best?

While the pet food industry has started adding salmon, vegetables and other ingredients humans favor to its products, the store-bought stuff just doesn't make the cut anymore for some owners. They're skipping the pet food aisle altogether in favor of cooking up big batches of Fido's meals.

Ukraine's projected new president Petro Poroshenko welcomed his victory Monday by pledging to speed up operations to quell pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. New violence erupted in the region today, as an air strike was carried out on militants near the Donetsk airport.

For decades, British students have grown up reading the American classics To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Crucible. Now, if students want to read those books, it will be on their own time. Harper Lee, John Steinbeck and Arthur Miller are out — perhaps replaced by the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and George Eliot.

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