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11:01 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Hard Day's Delight: A School Of Rock, At The Office

Music educator Ivan Trevino (right) leads band practice for M5 Networks employees in Rochester, N.Y., who will play against other branches in a battle of the bands. The telecom company says it wants its employees to learn new things (and stay happy).
Zack Seward for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 6:38 am

It's 4 o'clock on a Thursday, and instead of sitting in front of computer screens, a group of software engineers and customer service reps from M5 Networks is in the middle of band practice.

M5 is a telecom company based in New York City that offers Internet phone services. But it offers something else for its employees: At the Rochester, N.Y., office of M5, workers are gearing up for a companywide battle of the bands against other branches.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:01 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Texas Asks Feds To Delay Health Insurance Rebate Plan

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 4:03 pm

Starting in 2012, health insurance plans in Texas — and most of the rest of the country — may have to cough up millions of dollars in rebates to customers.

The rebates will come from health plans that spend too much on administrative costs instead of medical care. The change is part of the national health overhaul law, the Affordable Care Act.

But state officials in Texas and 16 other states have asked to push back the requirement for a few years.

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Law
11:01 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Supreme Court To Consider FCC Indecency Case

Singer Cher accepts a lifetime achievement award at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during the Billboard Music Awards show in 2002. Her use of an obscenity in her acceptance speech led the FCC to fine broadcaster Fox.
Joe Cavaretta AP

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 4:58 pm

Dirty words return to the usually staid Supreme Court Tuesday. For a second time in three years, the justices are hearing arguments about a Federal Communications Commission regulation adopted during the Bush administration that allows the agency to punish broadcasters with stiff fines for the fleeting use of vulgar language.

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It's All Politics
11:01 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Rivals Attack Romney's Record At Bain Capital

Mitt Romney, when he headed Bain Capital.
David L. Ryan Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 10:49 pm

The central argument of Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is that he understands how the economy works — thanks to his business background — in a way that President Obama does not.

Democrats have been challenging the former Massachusetts governor's claim that the private equity firm he founded helped to create more than 100,000 jobs. Now, some of Romney's Republican rivals are raising questions of their own.

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Music Interviews
7:52 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

What Makes Newton-John Get 'Physical' At The Gym

Olivia Newton-John on the cover of Physical.
Courtesy of the artist

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The Two-Way
7:00 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

News From CES: Some Ford Vehicles Will Give Drivers Voice Control Of NPR's App

A Ford dashboard as it would look when connected to the NPR News app.
Ford Motor Company

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The Two-Way
5:43 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Career-Long Reds Shortstop Barry Larkin Elected To Cooperstown

Barry Larkin, who spent his entire career as a Cincinnati Reds shortstop, has been elected into the baseball Hall of Fame. He became the 48th hall of famer to play his entire career with one club.

Larkin received the vote of 86 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in his third year on the ballott. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.

The Hall reports:

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The Salt
5:29 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

The Forgotten, Fascinating Saga Of Crisco

It has been a long strange trip.
Tony Dejak ASSOCIATED PRESS

Our friends over at Planet Money produced a delightful podcast last Friday called "Who Killed Lard?" They finger a corporate perp: Proctor and Gamble's brilliant marketing campaign for the original Crisco, an alternative to lard that went on sale in 1911. "It's all vegetable! It's digestible!," it proclaimed.

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The Two-Way
5:02 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

IRS Revives Amnesty Program For Offshore Tax Cheats

The Internal Revenue Service is brining back an amnesty program for Americans who have stashed money in offshore accounts in order to dodge taxes. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced the program's renewal on Monday, saying the tax dodgers would have to pay back taxes and penalties but would not face any criminal charges.

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

A TV That Watches You? Must Be Time For The Consumer Electronics Show

Lenovo's first television set that uses Google's operating system.
Lenovo

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 4:28 pm

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Picture A Struggle: LSU And Alabama's Defenses Seen Deciding BCS Title

Not Giving An Inch: You can expect to see lots of close contact in Monday's BCS national title game. Here, Eric Reid of the LSU Tigers defends against Michael Williams of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

The consensus among college football's fans and analysts seems to be that tonight's BCS championship game between No. 2 Alabama and No. 1 LSU will be a defensive struggle, similar to the touchdown-free game the two teams played on Nov. 5, when LSU won in overtime, 9-6.

"These are the two top defenses in the country," NPR's Tom Goldman told David Greene on today's Morning Edition. "Alabama allows under 9 points a game; LSU is right behind, allowing only 10.5 points a game."

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Shots - Health Blog
4:10 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Weak Economy Curbs U.S. Health Spending

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 7:47 am

No, it's not quite going down. But health care spending in 2010 rose at the second-slowest rate in the last half-century.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that total health spending in the U.S. increased by 3.9 percent in 2010, just a notch above the slowest rate since the government started keeping track — 3.8 percent in 2009.

Overall, the U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, or $8,402 per person. That's 17.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

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Jon Huntsman
3:43 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Huntsman's Long-Shot Bet: A Surprise In N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman campaigns from the counter at the Bean Towne Coffee House & Cafe in Hampstead, N.H., on Jan. 8. Polls show Huntsman gaining on front-runner Mitt Romney ahead of Tuesday's primary.
Matthew Cavanaugh Getty Images

Of the six major Republican candidates still in the race, five have either led or flirted with leading the polls. The exception is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Huntsman bypassed Iowa's Jan. 3 primary in order to focus on the competition in New Hampshire, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

NPR's Robert Siegel caught up with Huntsman on Sunday at the Bean Towne Coffee House & Cafe in Hampstead, N.H.

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Digital Life
3:31 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Seeking Female Founders In The Tech Startup Scene

The founders of startup accelerator Women Innovate Mobile (clockwise from top right: Deborah Jackson, Kelly Hoey and Veronika Sonsev) aim to boost the profile of tech companies founded by women.
Lisa Tanner Courtesy Women Innovate Mobile

More often than not, when we hear about hot tech companies, all the founders are male (see: Google, Facebook, Twitter and Zynga). But in an effort to change that profile, a new funding source is targeting companies founded by women.

Kelly Hoey thinks a lot of investors may be missing some good business opportunities because they aren't coming from someone who looks like the next Mark Zuckerberg.

"You're looking for a white guy in a hoodie, and that next visionary is ... going to be wearing a skirt and a great pair of shoes," she says. "They're going to look different."

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Shots - Health Blog
3:21 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Diabetes' Economic Toll Goes Far Beyond Medical Bills

Sergey Lavrentev iStockphoto.com

By now most people have probably heard the dire predictions about how much the growing prevalence of diabetes will cost the U.S. health system in the coming years and decades.

But a new study from researchers at Yale suggests that the disease, which currently affects nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population, could have significant nonmedical costs to society as well.

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