NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Obama Issues Year-End Commutations For Drug Crimes

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:28 pm

President Obama has commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of drug crimes, saying their terms were unusually harsh due to a system that treated crack cocaine as a more serious offense than powder cocaine.

The president also pardoned 13 others convicted of various other offenses.

The commutations come after the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which is aimed at reducing disparities in the way the law treats cocaine possession.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

New Mexico's High Court OKs Same-Sex Marriage

Gail Stockman, 60 (left), and Beth Black, 58, of Albuquerque, N.M., prepare to marry at a massive wedding in August, along with other same-sex couples.
Russell Contreras AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 6:22 pm

New Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that same-sex marriage is legal, validating initiatives in several counties allowing the practice in the absence of a specific state law.

The ruling on Thursday means that New Mexico joins 16 states and the District of Columbia in allowing gay marriage.

The Associated Press says:

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Shots - Health News
2:36 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

How To Make Sense Of Confusing, New Blood Pressure Advice

Some people with only slightly elevated blood pressure might be able to relax a bit, if they're doctors go along new treatment guidelines.
iStockphoto

If you're confused about the latest recommendations for treating high blood pressure, take heart. Doctors are confused, too.

On Wednesday, a panel of specialists called the Eighth Joint National Committee published guidelines saying that many people over 60 don't need to start taking medications to lower blood pressure until it's above 150/90 millimeters of mercury.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Jurors Hear Kate Middleton's Voicemails; Some From William

The Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton).
Facundo Arrizabalaga EPA/LANDOV

The hacking scandal in the U.K. has now gone really royal.

"Voicemails left for Kate Middleton by [then-boyfriend] Prince William were hacked by the News of the World, the phone-hacking trial has heard," the BBC writes. "In one message William used the pet name 'babykins.' "

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The Salt
1:36 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Geeky Gamers Feast Upon Settlers Of Catan Cookbook

The deconstructed, hexagonal salad nicoise: perfect for all your gourmand geek friends.
Courtesy of Chris-Rachel Oseland

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 10:15 am

We've discovered a text that could rank among the geekiest of all cookbooks. It's based on Settlers of Catan, that German civilization-building board game with the cult following.

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The Two-Way
12:44 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Methodist Minister Who Officiated At Gay Wedding Is Defrocked

Accompanied by his wife Brigitte, right, Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa., departs Thursday after meeting with officials at the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church in Norristown, Pa.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:02 pm

Leaders of the United Methodist Church have defrocked a Pennsylvania minister who officiated at the wedding of his son to another man, NPR's John Burnett tells our Newscast Desk.

John reports that:

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The Salt
12:33 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Hold The Cheese: Israelis Sway Domino's To Make Vegan Pizza

Watch out Crazy Cheese: Vegan pizza is coming.
Dan Lev Domino's

In the U.S., Big Pizza is locked in a battle that's as much a testament to gluttony as it is to food science: How much cheese can you possibly stuff inside of wheat dough?

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The Two-Way
11:56 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Michigan Man Will Stand Trial For Porch Shooting

Theodore Wafer, who will be tried for second-degree murder.
Paul Sancya AP

A case that put race relations in the spotlight once again — the shooting death of a 19-year-old African-American girl from Detroit on the porch of a white man's home in suburban Dearborn Heights — will be going to court.

The Detroit News writes that:

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Neighboring Crises In South Sudan, Central African Republic

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:39 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Michele Kelemen reports from the Central African Republic

There's disturbing news this morning from neighboring nations in Africa:

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Monkey See
9:46 am
Thu December 19, 2013

'Duck' And Cover: What, Exactly, Is The Point?

This 2012 photo released by A&E shows Phil Robertson (from left), Jase Robertson, Si Robertson and Willie Robertson from the A&E series Duck Dynasty.
Zach Dilgard AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:51 pm

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has been suspended from filming by A&E after telling writer Drew Magary, for a new profile in GQ, about some of the views he holds that don't make it to air. Specifically, he spoke about not only how homosexuality is a sin but how it would naturally "morph out from there" into, among other things, bestiality.

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Existing Home Sales Dip, But Prices Rise

A "sale pending" sign in front of a home in San Anselmo, Calif., earlier this year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 10:33 am

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: The day's second major economic indicator is another good news/bad news report.

The good news is that prices of existing homes continue to rise, the National Association of Realtors says.

"The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $196,300 in November, up 9.4 percent from November 2012," according to NAR.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:34 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Animal Rescues: An End-Of-Year Celebration

Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 3:09 pm

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The Two-Way
8:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Book News: Memoir Coming From Obama's Half-Brother

Mark Obama Ndesandjo. His half-brother is President Obama.
Vincent Yu AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:31 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:50 am
Thu December 19, 2013

'Duck Dynasty' Dad Doubles Down; Palin Defends Him

Four of the stars of Duck Dynasty, from left to right: Phil Robertson, Jase Robertson (Phil's son), Si Robertson (Phil's brother) and Willie Robertson (Phil's son).
Zach Dilgard AP

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 4:36 pm

Saying that his mission "is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together," Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson isn't backing away from the comments he's made about gays that have led A&E to suspend him from the popular show indefinitely.

Robertson, in a statement to Fox News' FOX411, goes on to say:

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