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Author Interviews
4:38 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

In A 'Dream,' Lincoln Checks In On State Of The Union

Roaring Book Press

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:48 am

With the country mired in a civil war, Abraham Lincoln had a lot on his mind, so it's not surprising that the 16th president experienced vivid, troubling dreams.

"He was haunted by his dreams," says author and illustrator Lane Smith. In one dream, Lincoln found himself aboard an indescribable vessel moving toward an indistinct shore, Smith tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "He had these dreams apparently several times before momentous events of the Civil War, and in fact he had it the night before he was assassinated."

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Economy
4:37 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Home Health Aides: In Demand, Yet Paid Little

Home health aide trainees Marisol Maldonaldo (center) and Nancy Brown (right), shown here with assistant instructor Miguelina Sosa, are studying to join one of the nation's fastest growing yet also worst paid sectors of the workforce.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 3:29 pm

The home care workforce — some 2.5 million strong — is one of the nation's fastest growing yet also worst paid. Turnover is high, and with a potential labor shortage looming as the baby boomers age, there are efforts to attract more people to the job.

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Louisiana To Soon Have State's First Black Chief Justice

Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson.
Louisiana Supreme Court AP

Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled today that Justice Bernette Johnson has the seniority that entitles her to become the panel's chief justice at the end of January, NPR's Debbie Elliott tells our Newscast Desk.

Johnson will be the first African-American to sit in the chief justice's seat. The state's first Supreme Court was created in 1812.

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Monkey See
4:23 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

'We Killed': Women In Comedy, From Stand-Ups To Sitcoms

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 5:09 pm

We Killed: The Rise Of Women In American Comedy is a sprawling oral history that grew out of a Marie Claire piece. It has the loose structure of most similar books (of which there are more and more), though the introduction unfortunately ties it to the tired "women aren't funny" assertions that apparently we're not through talking about yet.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Former Sen. George McGovern Enters Hospice; Was 1972 Democratic Nominee

Then-Sen. George McGovern in 1972, when he was running for president.
Keystone Getty Images

Former South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, the Democratic Party's 1972 presidential nominee, has moved into a hospice care facility in Sioux Falls, his family and friends tell The Associated Press and other news outlets.

The 90-year-old World War II veteran is "coming to the end of his life," his daughter, Ann McGovern, tells the AP.

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The Salt
3:14 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Here's The Scoop On Cat Poop Coffee

The baristas at Chinatown Coffee in Washington, D.C., were suspicious of the dark color of the beans, but pleased with the taste.
Claire O'Neill NPR

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:03 pm

I can't remember when I first heard about what I affectionately refer to as "cat poop coffee." But I do remember not believing it was real. I'm still having a hard time, to be honest.

But cat poop coffee — that is, civet coffee (or "kopi luwak," as pronounced in Indonesian) — is real, and really expensive. Like $60 for 4 ounces of beans — or in some boutique cafes, at least $10 a cup. That's a bargain compared to what it costs for elephant poop coffee; but I digress.

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Economy
3:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

6 Things Surnames Can Say About Social Mobility

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:31 pm

Using data on surnames dating back almost 1,000 years, economic historian Gregory Clark says he's found evidence that families rise and fall across generations at a much slower rate than anyone previously thought. And he says that rate remains constant across national boundaries and time periods.

Clark is writing a book about his research, and he says he's still working out some of his conclusions, but here are six possible takeaways from what he's found so far:

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Economy
3:00 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Movin' On Up? That May Depend On Your Last Name

New research suggests that success in life may be determined by ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The research finds that your chance of making it into the elite is the same in the United States as it is in South America, no matter when you were born.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:06 pm

Here is a question that social scientists have been pondering for years: How much of your success in life is tied to your parents, and how much do you control?

The academic term used for this is "social mobility." And a striking new finding from economic historian Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis claims your success in life may actually be determined by ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago. That means improving opportunities across generations might be a lot harder than anyone imagined.

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Music Reviews
2:53 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

K'Naan Brings Down Walls On 'Country, God Or The Girl'

K'Naan's new album is titled Country, God or the Girl.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:06 pm

The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.

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National Security
2:13 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Op-Ed: Maybe We Don't Need Military Academies

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

U.S. military academy like West Point are 19th century relics that infantilize their students, produce officers no better than those that emerge from ROTC and look increasingly outdated in comparison to their counterparts in other western democracies. That's all according to Bruce Fleming who's taught at the U.S. Naval Academy for the past 25 years. In a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fleming argues that these academies have lost sight of their goals, and he questions whether they should even exist anymore.

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