NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
9:25 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Must-Cry Video? Watch WestJet Airline's 'Christmas Miracle'

One of the happy passengers who arrived in Calgary to find a present from Santa, thanks to WestJet Airlines.
WestJet

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:13 am

Some Scrooges will say, "Bah humbug, it's just a public relations stunt."

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Monkey See
9:21 am
Thu December 12, 2013

I'm Your Lawyer, Mr. Grinch

The Grinch puts a scare into his dog, Max, in the 1966 CBS special How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
CBS/Photofest

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:58 pm

To: Mr. Grinch
From: Who Who & Who
Re: Possible defamation claim

Thank you for visiting our offices to explore the possibility of a defamation claim regarding statements recently made about you.

Potentially defamatory statements

We will first take some of the statements you mention in turn to explain their possible relevance to a successful claim.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch

Under the laws of defamation in effect in Whoville, this would most likely be considered a statement of opinion and not actionable.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Book News: Americans Love Their Public Libraries (But Will It Matter?)

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:10 am

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

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Big Jump In Jobless Claims Blamed On Seasonal Factors

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:18 am

Data such as the weekly figures on jobless claims are supposed to be "seasonally adjusted" to account for temporary factors that aren't really connected to the underlying strength or weakness of the economy.

But Thursday morning's report seems to underscore how hard it can be to make such adjustments.

According to the Employment and Training Administration, there were 368,000 first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week — far above the 300,000 applications the week before.

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The Two-Way
8:03 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Mandela Sign Language Interpreter Says He Had Schizophrenic Episode

Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, appeared alongside President Obama and other world leaders during Tuesday's memorial for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. Many in the deaf community are outraged over Jantjie's sign language interpretation.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:13 am

The sign language interpreter widely criticized as a "fake" for his performance at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in South Africa says he suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage, a South African newspaper reported Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:48 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Baseball Plans To Ban Home Plate Collisions; Good Idea?

Pete Rose of the National League barreled into American League catcher Ray Fosse at the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. It's one of the most famous home plate collisions in Major League Baseball history.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:34 am

It's one of baseball's "most traditional and most violent plays," as NPR's Tom Goldman says.

Starting as soon as next season, though, Major League Baseball will move to ban intentional collisions at home plate involving runners trying to score and catchers trying to tag them out.

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The Two-Way
6:43 am
Thu December 12, 2013

It's 'Not Great,' But Budget Deal Is Expected To Pass In The House

Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 6:44 pm

The House is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan deal that would set spending levels for the next two years, replace many of the indiscriminate "sequester" budget cuts and, in theory at least, take off the table one of the most partisan of the many partisan issues that have contributed to the gridlock in Washington.

NPR's Tamara Keith tells our Newscast desk that passage is expected but not certain. She adds that:

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Health Care
6:42 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Tagging Along On A Wisconsin Man's Odyssey To Buy Insurance

Doug Normington is 58, self-employed, and has diabetes.
Courtesy of Doug Normington

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:47 pm

Enrollment is picking up in new health insurance marketplaces. But the 365,000 who've signed up as of November 30 is a fraction of just one high-visibility group – those whose previous insurance has been cancelled because it didn't meet Affordable Care Act standards.

They're people like Doug Normington, a 58-year-old self-employed videographer in Madison, Wis., who has struggled to buy new insurance since late October.

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Shots - Health News
5:22 am
Thu December 12, 2013

High Insurance Rates Anger Some Ski-Country Coloradans

Early December brought a foot of fresh powder to the resorts of Vail, Colo., but some residents are still steaming.
Zach Mahone, Beaver Creek Resort AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:36 pm

Some of the biggest ski resorts anywhere lie in U.S. Rep. Jared Polis' Colorado district, dotting the peaks of Summit and Eagle counties, about a hundred miles west of Denver. The area has a high rate of uninsured people and also, it turns out, health plans that are much more expensive than similar plans in surrounding regions. So expensive that Polis, a Democrat, has asked the federal government to exempt some of his constituents from the requirement to buy health insurance.

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The Two-Way
7:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

NASA: Trouble With Space Station Cooling System Is No Emergency

Commander Oleg Kotov (left) and Sergey Ryanzansky, preparing for a spacewalk aboard the ISS on Nov. 9.
NASA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:37 pm

One of two cooling systems aboard the International Space Station is experiencing problems, but there's no imminent danger to the crew of six, NPR's Joe Palca reports.

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The Two-Way
7:31 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Scientists Map Vast Reserves Of Freshwater Under The Seabed

Scientists published the first global survey of the known undersea freshwater reserves. Water is relatively cheap now, but the reserves could be valuable if it becomes scarcer in the future.
Olivier Morin AFP/Getty Images

Not all the water in the sea is seawater.

Scientists think there are vast reserves of fresh groundwater buried under the oceans — a potentially valuable resource for coastal cities that need freshwater.

A recent report in Nature estimates the amount of fresh groundwater around the world at about 120,000 cubic miles — that's 100 times more than all the groundwater that has been pumped up from wells since the 1900s. The reserves are scattered across coastal regions around the world.

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The Two-Way
7:13 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Miami-Area Police Chief Resigns Amid Charges Of Racial Profiling

The Quick Stop convenience store in Miami Gardens, Fla., was equipped with video cameras that recorded many questionable encounters and arrests by the police. The city's police chief resigned Wednesday.
Lynne Sladky AP

The police chief of Miami Gardens is resigning, weeks after allegations arose that his officers stopped and searched customers of a convenience store as a matter of routine. Charges of racial profiling and civil rights abuses were bolstered by videos that showed police frisking and arresting people.

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The Two-Way
6:22 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Extended Unemployment Benefits On Track To Expire Dec. 28

A prospective job seeker gets information at a job resource fair for military veterans in Van Nuys, Calif., on Oct. 24.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:38 pm

Unless Congress acts very quickly, some 1.3 million workers will lose their extended jobless benefits on Dec. 28.

Democrats were scrambling late Wednesday to link an extension of benefits to a budget deal that is expected to get a vote as soon as Thursday. But if the effort fails, they will come back at it in 2014.

"We're going to push here after the first of the year for an extension of emergency unemployment insurance when the Senate convenes after the new year," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

FBI Agents Support Bipartisan Spending Deal

James Comey in the White House Rose Garden as President Obama nominates him for the top FBI post on June 21.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:04 pm

FBI agents across the country have been among the most vocal opponents of the spending cuts triggered by sequestration, warning about everything from having to abandon surveillance work to a lack of gas money.

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