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3:09 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

'Redeployment' Explores Iraq War's Physical And Psychic Costs

In his short story collection, former Marine Phil Klay takes his experience in Iraq and clarifies it, lucidly tracing the moral, political and psychological curlicues of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Wednesday, he won the National Book Award for fiction for the collection.

This review originally aired March 26, 2014.

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Politics
3:09 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Sen. Mitch McConnell's Political Life, Examined, In 'The Cynic'

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will take over as Senate majority leader in the new term in January.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 4:35 pm

When Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) first entered politics in the 1960s, he started out as moderate — pro-abortion rights, pro-union, in support of the civil rights movement. With time, McConnell shifted to the right as the Republican Party shifted.

"I was just really startled by this when I started looking into it," Alec MacGillis tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I knew that he had started out as somewhat more moderate — but I didn't realize just how moderate he really was."

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Monkey See
3:01 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Mike Nichols: Remembering The Ellipses After The Story Ends

Mike Nichols, seen here in 2013, died Wednesday at 83.
Dario Cantatore AP

[At the top of this post, you'll find a discussion from me and my Pop Culture Happy Hour colleague Stephen Thompson about Mike Nichols and his work. Stephen tells a great family story about the impact of Nichols' comedy — give it a listen.]

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Iraq War Vet Wins National Book Award For Fiction

After serving as a U.S. Marine in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, Phil Kay came home and turned the experience into fiction. (philklay.com)

Iraq War veteran Phil Klay has won the National Book Award for fiction. The judges described the short stories in Klay’s collection “Redeployment” as brutal, piercing and sometimes darkly funny.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

With Several Dead, Buffalo Struggles With Massive Snowfall

Drew Ahmed makes his way through nearly five feet of snow on November 19, 2014 in the Lakeview neighborhood of Buffalo, New York. The record-setting Lake effect snowstorm dumped up to six feet of snow in less than 24 hours closing a one hundred mile section of The New York State Thruway as well as other major roads around Buffalo. (John Normile/Getty Images)

Another 2 to 3 feet of snow is expected to fall in the Buffalo area today. This comes in addition to the 5 feet already on the ground in some areas of western New York.

The extreme snowfall and plunging temperatures have left several people dead.

The National Guard is working to clear the roads, but as snow continues to pile up, Erie County officials are warning residents and businesses of potential roof collapses and forecasts of warm weather that could mean flooding.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

With Open Enrollment Underway, Colorado Targets Uninsured

Lee Trujillo, a certified health coverage guide for Connect for Health Colorado in Leadville, discusses health insurance options with William and Helen Gallegos. (John Daley/CPR)

Obamacare 2.0 is underway with another round of open enrollments that continues until the middle of February. Colorado is one state that’s seen a decline in the number of uninsured since the federal Affordable Care Act went into effect nearly a year ago.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, John Daley of Colorado Public Radio explains that the push is on to sign up even more people.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

The Man Behind 'Mockingjay'

Director Francis Lawrence attends the premiere of Lionsgate's 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1' on November 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:56 pm

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″ opens in movie theaters around the country beginning tonight. It’s the third in the series of films based on Suzanne Collins’ best-selling dystopian novels for young adults.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to director Francis Lawrence about the rewards and challenges of bringing such beloved books to the screen.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Republicans Push Back On Immigration, As Activists Push White House To Go Farther

The White House is seen at dusk in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama on Thursday is expected to announce steps he will take to shield up to 5 million immigrants illegally in the United States from deportation. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

President Obama is expected announce his executive actions on immigration with an address to the nation tonight, but immigration attorneys say they are already getting a flood of calls from people who are in the U.S. illegally, to see if the will qualify for some legal status under the president’s plan

That plan is expected to offer provisional legal status for up to 5 million out of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Irbil On Edge After Suicide Attack

Iraqi firefighters work at the site where a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle in the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Irbil on November 19, 2014 killing four people. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Kurdish capital in northern Iraq is bracing for more violence, after a suicide car bombing killed at least six people yesterday. The Kurds are leading the fight against ISIS in the region after the Sunni-led militant group took control of large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria earlier this year. This was the first attack in the city.

Mitchell Prothero, Iraq bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young from Irbil with details.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Are We Making Pop Music More Bland?

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic argues that today's data-driven record industry is making pop music more repetitive. (Image via The Atlantic)

It used to be that executives decided on a pop song and had it played on the radio to familiarize people with it, but now the process is more data driven — record executives look at data about what songs people like online and make decisions about who to sign and what to play based on that.

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic says the process is making pop music much more bland because people like to hear music that sounds familiar.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

NBA's First Openly Gay Player Retires

Jason Collins speaks with the media before a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center on November 19, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:37 pm

NBA player Jason Collins became a household name last spring when he penned an essay in Sports Illustrated announcing that he was gay. Collins not only became the first openly gay player in the NBA, but also the first openly gay man in the four major American sports.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Anger, Protests Grow Over Mexico's 43 Missing Students

A students takes part in a protest by students of the Ayotzinapa school and parents of the 43 missing students in Acapulco on November 19, 2014. A caravan of students and relatives of the missing students, feared to have been massacred, came to Acapulco as part of its journey to the Mexican capital to end November 20. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

Today is a day of protest across Mexico, and in other cities around the world, for the 43 university students missing for nearly two months.

In Mexico, the protests and the anger have been growing for days over the government’s handling of the disappearance and presumed murder of the 43 students. The protesters’ rallying cry: “Ya me canse” or “ya me canse del miedo” — I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough fear.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Legendary Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

Director Mike Nichols presents the 'Lacoste Career Achievment award for Film' onstage at the 7th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 4:05 pm

Note: The audio in this story incorrectly identified the actor in a scene from “The Birdcage.” It was Luca Tommassini, not Hank Azaria. We apologize the error.

One of the most honored and successful directors in entertainment has died. Mike Nichols, director of “The Odd Couple” on Broadway, “The Graduate” on film and “Angels in America” on TV, died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 83. He once said his life as the ultimate showbiz insider came from lessons learned while growing up as an outsider.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

FIFA To Review World Cup Corruption Report

FIFA President Joseph Blatter is flanked by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov (right) and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani on Dec. 2, 2010, in Zurich, Switzerland, after the announcement that Russia will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022.
Michael Probst AP

Soccer's governing body said today it will further review the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, reopening for scrutiny the mechanism by which Russia and Qatar were awarded the tournaments.

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The Two-Way
1:46 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

So What Is An 'Executive Action' Anyway?

In July, President Obama signs the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace executive order, requiring prospective federal contractors to disclose labor law violations.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 8:50 pm

You can read here about President Obama's executive action on immigration. Or here, a story about his executive order.

Although commonly conflated in the media, the two terms aren't exactly interchangeable.

In short ...

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