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Sweetness And Light
3:28 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Love Of Victory In The Time Of Steroids

The Straight Dope: The use of steroids and blood doping traces back at least into the 1970s.
Robert Byron iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 12:18 pm

There's a certain anniversary irony to the fact that Alex Rodriquez's illegal doping ban appeal hearing is taking place this week, for it was, essentially, a quarter-of-a-century ago that what we think of as the drug era in sports began.

And here A-Rod is now, 38 years old, his body in betrayal (perhaps from years of all the drugs), hitting .244, hearing boos, even at home at Yankee Stadium, yet pleading desperately for a lesser sentence at the price of suffering more embarrassing revelations — a figure of pity that no one does.

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All Tech Considered
3:27 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Tech Problems Plague First Day Of Health Exchange Rollout

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges on Tuesday.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:35 am

Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.

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Africa
3:27 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Did Kenyan Soldiers Loot Mall During Fight With Terrorists?

Bullet holes in the glass door of a shop in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:00 am

More than a week after Islamic militants stormed an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to set up a commission to look into lapses in intelligence and security. At least 67 people died in the four-day siege, which ended with dozens still unaccounted for.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Obamacare Day One: A Tale Of Two States

Onita Sanders (right), a certified application counselor at the Southeastern Virginia Health System, helps Virginia resident Brenda Harrell with health coverage options at Enrollfest in Hampton, Va., on Tuesday.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:39 am

In a call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on Tuesday, all the workers wore the same T-shirt: "Keep Calm And Go Live."

They were ready and waiting to take calls from consumers who could buy health insurance on California's new insurance marketplace for the first time. So the T-shirts urged calm, but the mood was ecstatic and emotional among the architects and key backers who gathered to flip the switch on the Golden State's exchange.

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The Salt
3:23 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Can Millet Take On Quinoa? First, It'll Need A Makeover

This millet field outside Nunn, Colo., is nearing harvest time, when the grain turns from green to a golden color.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:37 am

Walk through a health food store and you'll find amaranth, sorghum, quinoa — heritage grains that have been staples around the world for generations. Americans are just discovering them.

There's another age-old grain that grows right here on the Great Plains: millet.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Shutdown's Squeeze On Science And Health

This image was posted by NASA to the agency's official Instagram account.
NASA Getty Images

In addition to shutdowns of national parks (including Alcatraz Island and Yosemite) and the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, the mandatory furloughs are affecting a wide range of government science and health agencies. Here's a snapshot:

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It's All Politics
6:20 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Congressional Staff Pay Caught Up In Health Care Fight

Congressional staffers, as well as some in the executive branch, could end up getting hit with a large pay cut if a plan to cut a subsidy related to the Affordable Care Act moves forward.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:20 pm

The big fight among members of Congress over the Affordable Care Act could spell big pay cuts — as much as $12,000 — for their employees.

How is this possible? Congressional staffers are most likely wondering the same thing.

Look back to the drafting of the act four years ago. At the time, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley argued that if the health insurance exchanges were good enough for ordinary Americans, they should be good enough for members of Congress and their staff members. Democrats went along with his argument, and it was included in the law.

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The Two-Way
6:13 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutdown And Out: Waiting For The Train Home

Pat Barnes of Hanover, Md. waits for her train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Barnes is a federal employee and was sent home early in response to the shutdown.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 1:07 pm

Two extra midday commuter trains left D.C.'s Union Station this afternoon, shuttling federal employees deemed "nonessential" home to Virginia and Maryland.

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Author Interviews
6:10 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

'Thank You For Your Service' Follows America's Soldiers Home

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:58 pm

In the pages of David Finkel's new book, you'll meet a veteran who has recurring nightmares in which a fellow soldier asks, "Why didn't you save me?" You'll also meet a veteran who sees images of dead Iraqis floating in his bathtub, and another who tries to kill himself by biting through his right wrist — the only wrist he can raise to his mouth since his left side is paralyzed.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Scenes Of A Shutdown: A Synagogue Hosts Furloughed Workers

To lighten the mood, organizers provided Ping-Pong paddles decorated with head-shots of party leaders in Congress.
Christina Cauterucci NPR

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:51 pm

As more than 800,000 government employees were sent home this morning, the staff at Washington, D.C.'s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue opened "Shutdown Central," a gathering space for furloughed locals to work and play.

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Deceptive Cadence
5:59 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Chronicle Of A Death Foretold: New York City Opera Shuts Its Doors

The New York City Opera let its final curtain fall Saturday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a production of Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Stephanie Berger

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:16 pm

This morning the New York City Opera announced that it was declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations. Dubbed "The People's Opera" by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, the company was meant as an alternative to the richer Metropolitan Opera. It's the place where exciting young singers like Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo made their New York debuts and where innovative productions of new operas premiered.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Pope Francis Says The Court Is The 'Leprosy Of The Papacy'

Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with young people last month in Cagliari, Italy.
Franco Origlia Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:37 pm

Pope Francis is meeting on Tuesday with his closest advisors, a hand-picked lot of like-minded cardinals, to discuss the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Around the Nation
5:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

New Maryland Firearms Law Rides In On A Wave Of Gun Sales

A sign warns would-be buyers at the Annapolis Gun Show in Annapolis, Md., in September of the state's pending gun control law. The new law, which took effect Tuesday, bans the purchase of many types of assault rifles.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:05 pm

One of the strictest gun laws in the nation went into effect in Maryland on Tuesday. The new law bans assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and it makes Maryland one of only six states that require handgun purchasers to get fingerprinted and take gun safety courses.

Gun owners in the state aren't happy, and in recent weeks, they've been flocking to snap up firearms. On Monday, outside Fred's Sporting Goods in Waldorf, there was a huge crowd and a countdown sign advertising: "1 day left."

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Shots - Health News
5:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

In Florida, Insurer And Nonprofits Work On Enrollment

Nonprofits are looking to help people sign up for insurance coverage in Florida.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 7:05 pm

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders have worked to block the Affordable Care Act since it was first proposed.

As Tuesday's opening of enrollment approached, Florida's Health Department said it wouldn't allow navigators and others to use its offices to educate and counsel people on the new law.

But others are eager to help. "We're ready to serve our community," says Efraim Monzon, director of a Florida Blue retail center in Miami. "We've been ready since 2010 when we heard it was coming."

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Shots - Health News
5:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

First Step In Health Exchange Enrollment: Train The Helpers

Assisters get up to speed on how best to explain the new health coverage choices during training on Sept. 25 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 2:06 pm

Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.

The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.

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