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Environment
4:47 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

In Arid West, Cheatgrass Turns Fires Into Infernos

The Constantina Fire burning in Long Valley, Calif., in 2010, very likely started in cheatgrass.
Courtesy of Nolan Preece

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:36 pm

Cheatgrass is about as Western as cowboy boots and sagebrush. It grows in yellowish clumps, about knee high to a horse, and likes arid land.

One thing cheatgrass does is burn — in fact, more easily than anyone realized. That's the conclusion from a new study that says cheatgrass is making Western wildfires worse.

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Economy
4:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

A Thin Line: Economic Growth Or Corporate Welfare?

In her series for The New York Times, reporter Louise Story says that the manufacturing sector — automakers, in particular — benefit the most from incentive packages.
Ricardo Azoury iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:59 am

In her new series for The New York Times called "The United States of Subsidies," investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put.

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Music Interviews
4:37 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

For One Day, NPR Gets A House Band: Los Straitjackets

Los Straitjackets' members rehearse in NPR's Studio 4A.
Christopher Parks NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:00 pm

We call them "buttons" and "deadrolls" — and, less cryptically, "breaks" — but most NPR listeners know them as the interstitial music spots that pepper NPR's newsmagazines. They add shading, mood, energy and other nonverbal context to our stories.

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Around the Nation
4:35 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Texas Twang Fixin' To Ride Off Into The Sunset

Lyndon Johnson, then the vice president-elect, with a prize-winning Hereford bull on his ranch near Johnson City, Texas, in 1960. Linguists say the twang that has long been synonymous with Texans is fading.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:25 pm

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It's All Politics
4:30 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Celebrities And The Senate: Would Ashley Judd Stand A Chance?

Ashley Judd acknowledges the crowd during a University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., in January.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:48 pm

Could an actress and political activist with no electoral experience give the Senate's top Republican a race in very red Kentucky?

It would be a long shot, say political experts, even though Ashley Judd has deep roots in the state, calling herself an "at least 8th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

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The Two-Way
4:24 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Jets' Coach Rex Ryan Sticks By His Man: Mark Sanchez Will Start Sunday

Quarterback Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets looks on near the end of the game against the New England Patriots Nov. 22.
Rich Schultz Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:57 pm

If there is one decision football fans have argued over intensely over the past few months is whether embattled Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez should be allowed to start another game.

During his previous outing, Rex Ryan, the team's coach, pulled him late in the third quarter, after the home crowd booed him mercilessly after a disasterous performance in which he completed 10 of 21 passes for 97 yards.

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The Picture Show
4:11 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

New NASA Images Show The Earth's Electric Light Show

Northern Africa
Suomi NPP Satellite NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:44 am

"The night is nowhere as dark as we might think."

That's the word from Mitch Goldberg, program scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Joint Polar Satellite System. Together with NASA, scientists have unveiled a new composite, cloud-free image of our planet at night.

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Middle East
3:59 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Israel, Christians Negotiate The Price Of Holy Water

Patriarch Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem (center), splashes holy water toward worshippers after the washing of the feet ceremony in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2009, during Easter celebrations. A crisis was narrowly averted recently when the church's $2.3 million water bill was waived.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:13 am

One of the holiest sites in Christendom has also been one of the most contested. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem lies on the site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified and buried.

Multiple Christian denominations share the church uneasily, and clerics sometimes come to blows over the most minor of disputes. The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox all have a presence in the church.

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Movies
3:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Revisiting, Reappraising Cimino's 'Heaven's Gate'

Jeff Bridges as John L. Bridges, Isabelle Huppert as Ella Watson and Kris Kristofferson as James Averill in the 1980 Western Heaven's Gate, a director's cut of which was released in November.
Criterion Collection

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:38 am

The director Francois Truffaut once remarked that it takes as much time and energy to make a bad movie as to make a good one. He was right, but I would add one thing: It takes extraordinary effort to make a truly memorable flop.

The best example is Heaven's Gate, the hugely expensive 1980 movie by Michael Cimino that is the most famous cinematic disaster of my lifetime. It's part of that film's legend that it not only took down a studio, United Artists, but was the nail in the coffin of Hollywood's auteur filmmaking of the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

As Two States Legalize Pot, Tommy Chong Isn't Nostalgic About The Old Days

Tommy Chong.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:11 pm

  • From 'All Things Considered': Tommy Chong talks with Audie Cornish

With Washington state set to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana just after midnight tonight, and Colorado set to decriminalize pot next month, All Things Considered today turned to "stoner" comic Tommy Chong to get his perspective.

Needless to say, the half Asian half of Cheech and Chong is very happy. He's planning to move to both states, Chong joked.

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