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It's All Politics
12:32 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Farm Bill Becomes Fodder In 'Fiscal Cliff' Wrangling

A customer shops for nectarines at a farmers market in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:58 am

Among the loose ends that lawmakers would like to tie up before the end of this lame-duck session is the farm bill, which is made up mostly of crop subsidies and food stamps.

The last farm bill expired in September. The Senate has passed a new one; the House has not. Farm-state lawmakers are urging leaders to include a farm bill as part of any budget deal to avert year-end tax increases and spending cuts.

But not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

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Shots - Health News
12:31 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Democrats Draw Line On Medicaid Cuts

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, speaks Tuesday as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., listen during a news conference on Capitol Hill calling for no reduction in the Medicare and Medicaid budgets as part of the year-end budget talks.
Joshua Roberts Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:15 am

At least in public, Republicans have been clear that they see the current budget negotiations as a chance to address what they see as the source of Washington's deficit problem: major entitlement programs.

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The Salt
12:05 am
Wed December 12, 2012

A Sign From Above? Needing New Roof, Monks Sell Rare Beer In U.S.

Beers made by Trappist monks at St. Sixtus Abbey's Westvleteren Brewery in Belgium are sought by connoisseurs. For the first time, the monks are exporting the beer overseas, including to the U.S.
Courtesy of Mark Lampert

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 5:39 am

The 12th day of the 12th month of 2012 is not a day of deliverance but of delivery for devout American fans of Westvleteren 12, brewed by the reclusive Belgian monks at St. Sixtus Abbey.

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NWPR Books
12:04 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Oprah's Book Club Turns Over A New Page

Oprah Winfrey's revamped book club uses her magazine and OWN cable network as platforms.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 2:58 am

Oprah Winfrey became a publishing powerhouse when she started her book club in 1996. Her picks went to the top of best-seller lists — and stayed there for weeks. But when Winfrey's daily talkfest went off the air, the book club ended as well.

Now she is reviving it: Winfrey has just announced her second pick for the Book Club 2.0: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a novel by first-time author Ayana Mathis about the Great Migration of African-Americans out of the rural South.

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The Record
10:00 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Ravi Shankar, Who Brought Eastern Music To Western Legends, Dies

Ravi Shankar circa 1960 in the U.K.
David Redfern Redferns

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 5:40 am

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Sweetness And Light
7:03 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

NHL Lockout Leaves Fans Out In The Cold

Mike Bolt, keeper of the Stanley Cup, takes it off the ice on Dec. 7, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The NHL lockout enters its 88th day on Wednesday.
Darryl Dyck AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 4:44 am

The entertainment industry seems to give us only three things: sex, Justin Bieber and boxing.

Justin Bieber aside, don't producers know almost nobody cares anymore about boxing? But here we have Clifford Odets' period piece, Golden Boy, back on Broadway, and — achtung! — a musical of Rocky mounted in Germany.

Plus the usual same-old, same-old treatments are floating around. Eminem wants to make a boxing movie. Really. Worse, there are actual plans to have Sylvester Stallone fight Robert DeNiro in a boxing film. OMG — I am perfectly serious.

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Asia
6:34 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

N. Korea Fires Long-Range Rocket

North Korea appears to have taken a step forward in its long-range missile program. The country has fired a long-range rocket in spite of warnings from the U.S. and the United Nations.

The Two-Way
3:16 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Boehner Sends 'Fiscal Cliff' Counteroffer To White House

Speaker John Boehner leaves his office Tuesday and walks to the House floor to deliver remarks about negotiations with President Obama on the fiscal cliff.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 3:33 pm

The back and forth over the "fiscal cliff" continues: House Speaker John Boehner sent a new counterproposal to the White House on Tuesday that, according to a spokesman for the speaker, aims to "achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs."

Tuesday's offer from Boehner follows his remarks on the House floor in which he called on President Obama to identify what spending cuts the White House will accept as part of a "balanced approach" toward a deal.

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It's All Politics
2:44 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

'Paris Hilton Tax' Vs. 'Death Tax': A Lesser-Known Fiscal Debate

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 6:34 pm

Ben Franklin famously observed that nothing is certain but death and taxes.

So far, Congress hasn't repealed the former, but the future of estate taxes — a largely overlooked piece of the "fiscal cliff" — remains uncertain as this year draws to a close.

Until now, most of the year-end tax debate has focused on the income tax, but another battle could be brewing over estate taxes.

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Middle East
2:14 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

U.S. Doctors Provide Supplies, Training To Syrians

Dr. Mazen Kewara, an American vascular surgeon, trains Syrian doctors during a workshop in Antakya,Turkey.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 6:34 pm

Syria's health care system is collapsing after 21 months of revolt. According to a new report by the World Health Organization, half of the country's public hospitals have been destroyed in the fighting.

Pharmacies are running out of medicine for even the most basic care. In rebel-controlled areas, field clinics and hospitals are overwhelmed. A group of Syrian-American doctors has stepped in to help, bringing in crucial supplies and providing training.

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