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Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House of Representatives for four turbulent and productive years.

From 1995 through 1998, Congress forced a government shutdown, overhauled the welfare system, balanced the budget for the first time in decades and impeached a president for the second time in history.

Gingrich was in the middle of those debates, fiery in his rhetoric, yet willing to compromise and work with a Democratic president.

The 104th Congress

(Post updated at 8:49 pm.)

Texas Gov. Rick Perry move over. You now have company in the brain-fade department after Herman Cain demonstrated a flamboyant confusion over his position on Libya Monday.

In a meeting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff members, a journalist asked the Republican presidential candidate a question that wasn't exactly one of those "gotcha" queries. Paraphrasing, the question was: Do you agree or not with what President Obama's Libya policy?

Today's show features live performances from some of our favorite World Cafe artists, straight from our 20th-anniversary celebration concerts.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET: Wal-Mart issued a statement Wednesday saying its request for partners to provide primary care services was "overwritten and incorrect." The firm is "not building a national, integrated low-cost primary health care platform," according to the statement by Dr. John Agwunobi, a senior vice president for health and wellness at the retailer.

Is time real, or is change just a kind of optical illusion resting on a deeper unchanging reality?

As finite creatures, with death hovering just out of our sight, the true nature of time haunts all our endeavors. Tomorrow, physicist Brian Greene tackles time's illusion in his Fabric of Reality PBS series. Science, however, is just one way we ask about the reality of time.

Mitt Romney was in Dubuque, IA Monday partly to demonstrate that he's really serious about competing in a state he has mostly been absent from.

That had been in doubt since he's only been to Iowa just five times compared with more than a score of visits by some of the other candidates.

While in Iowa where he visited a steel plant where a fabricated metal sign made by the plant's workers awaited him, Romney asked his audience to look ahead a year with him.

Used restaurant grease has become a hot item for thieves, who siphon it from barrels behind restaurants to sell on the booming biofuels market.

Late last month, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said it would pay local police target the alleys and parking lots where restaurants typically park their barrels of used grease.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a half-dozen years ago that preteen girls be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, two things happened.

A lot of parents and some conservative groups were jarred by the idea of immunizing young girls against a sexually transmitted virus. And uptake of the vaccine has been poor — only about a third of 13- to 17-year-old girls have gotten the full three-shot series.

Three-Minute Fiction is All Things Considered's creative writing contest where our listeners submit an original short story that can be read in about three minutes — 600 words — or less. After weeks of reading a couple thousand submissions, a judge picks a winning story. Over the last two years, contestants have submitted about 29,000 stories, and only six have won.

'Farmville' Makers Putting Stock In Virtual Goods

Nov 6, 2011

Zynga is a company that makes money by selling nothing. Or, to be fair, by selling imaginary things, like tractors that plow farms on Facebook.

A "virtual good" is the term of art for an industry that minted $9 billion last year alone. Zynga is America's first virtual goods company to file an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to go through before Thanksgiving and will test whether the company's modern day alchemy — turning virtual goods into real money — is a game-changer for the gaming industry.

The biggest-selling pop artist of the year has gone silent.

The British pop/soul singer Adele was forced to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour. Earlier this year, she suffered two vocal hemorrhages and will need to undergo surgery.

Singers are in a high-risk business. Many famous singers have needed similar treatment.

"Essentially, people who sing are vocal athletes," says Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Voice Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "So you can look at this as a not unusual scenario as an athlete getting an injury in that area."

Initial Agreement Reached In Greece Power-Sharing

Nov 6, 2011

The Greek president's office said Sunday the country's prime minister and the leader of the main opposition party reached an initial agreement on forming an interim government.

In a statement read on Greek media Sunday night, the office said Prime Minister George Papandreou will not head the interim government and that talks on details of who will form the new Cabinet will continue Monday.

Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, the two current front-runners in the Republican presidential race, spoke in Washington on Friday at a conference for the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

Their speeches came as a new Washington Post-ABC poll found they're running almost even among Republican voters. And on Friday, the two candidates underscored the differences in their appeal to activists.

A distinctive voice — and character — in television news has died. Andy Rooney was a signature essayist on the CBS news program 60 Minutes for decades. He was 92.

CBS said Rooney died Friday night in New York of complications following minor surgery last month. Just a month ago, he delivered his last regular essay on the CBS newsmagazine.

In the news business, time is marked by great events: the anniversaries of elections, wars, hit songs and the births and deaths of famous people.

But each of us also has a personal timeline by which we measure our life: the day we start our first job, fulfill a dream or glimpse history passing by, close enough to touch.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Legendary singer-songwriter and folk-rock pioneer T-Bone Burnett is known for his captivating solo material, but also for his role as a legendary producer of records by everyone from Roy Orbison to actor Jeff Bridges. In a new interview on World Cafe, Burnett sits down with host David Dye to reflect on some of his most famous projects.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: Americans are expected to spend nearly $7 billion on Halloween. If you're wondering exactly how, let's go to one street in Concord, New Hampshire, where families take the ghoulish holiday very seriously. New Hampshire Public Radio's Dan Gorenstein reports.

Throughout the month of October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Cafe and revisted some of the best and most memorable interviews of the past 20 years.

Overview of a three-part investigation

Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are being removed from their homes every year, sometimes under questionable circumstances. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is largely failing to place them according to the law. The vast majority of native kids in foster care in South Dakota are in nonnative homes or group homes, according to an NPR analysis of state records.

Ten years ago, on Oct. 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act.

Congress overwhelmingly passed the law only weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. It's designed to give the FBI more power to collect information in cases that involve national security.

But in the decade since then, civil liberties groups have raised concerns about whether the Patriot Act goes too far by scooping up too much data and violating people's rights to privacy.

Nicholas Merrill is one of the people sounding an alarm.

The U.S.-NATO mission in Libya was a "recipe for success in the future," President Obama said Tuesday on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

During a sober discussion that lasted several minutes, the president told Leno that he doesn't agree with critics who say the U.S. led from behind.

Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

With Moammar Gadhafi's timely demise, it's becoming harder and harder to argue that Barack Obama's foreign policy is a failure. Of course, this hasn't stopped the GOP's 2012 candidates for president from trying. They dislike Obama so much that they're even saying nice things about France instead.

'Nobody's Perfect'

Oct 26, 2011

A bad call by umpire Ron Kulpa at first base in game three of the World Series last week in Arlington — even though it turned out not to have a decisive impact on the game's outcome — has led to renewed controversy about the use of instant replay in baseball, as well as about the integrity of umpires.

From Alabama and Georgia north to the border with Canada, there are reports from all over the continental U.S. today about a fantastic show last night:

An intense geomagnetic storm that produced some of the best "Northern Lights" in recent memory, reports SpaceWeather.com.

Many folks are posting photos and videos. Here's one that the poster says was taken in Michigan.

Even after the flaws in his highly touted 9-9-9 tax plan have been relentlessly exposed and his confusing abortion stance noted, Herman Cain is still essentially tied with Mitt Romney in a new CBS/NY Times poll of Republican voters.

You read every day about the horrors of online life: stalking, harassing, the appearance of embarrassing photos that sink one's job prospects, or just the general fact that people can be real jerks when they don't have to go back and clean up after themselves.

This is not that kind of story.

Saying that it "reorders the way they do business in Washington by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform," Texas Gov. Rick Perry is this hour unveiling his "cut, balance and grow plan" on taxes.

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