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It's All Politics
5:24 am
Sat June 15, 2013

How Rock 'N' Roll Can Explain The U.S. Economy

Bruce Springsteen performs during halftime of the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., in 2009. In music, and increasingly in other industries, a relative handful of top performers take more and more of the spoils, says White House chief economist Alan Krueger.
Mark J. Terrill AP

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 8:10 pm

White House economic adviser Alan Krueger took some ribbing from his boss this week. President Obama noted that Krueger will soon be leaving Washington to go back to his old job, teaching economics at Princeton.

"And now that Alan has some free time, he can return to another burning passion of his: 'Rockanomics,' the economics of rock and roll," the president said. "This is something that Alan actually cares about."

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The Two-Way
2:22 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Moderate Wins Iran's Presidency In Rebuke To Hard-Line Clerics

Moderate presidential candidate, Hasan Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, flashes the victory sign as he leaves a polling station in Tehran on Friday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 6:54 pm

(This post was last updated at 3:45 p.m. ET)

Hasan Rowhani, the lone moderate in Iran's presidential elections, has secured victory and headed off a runoff vote in a symbolic rebuke to the country's hard-line Islamic clerics.

Rowhani, 64, won nearly 51 percent of the vote in a field of five other candidates, all but himself considered conservatives who were more or less in line with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rowhani's closest rival, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqher Qalibaf, came in a distant second, with less than 17 percent of the ballots.

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The Two-Way
7:44 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Report: Former Nazi SS Officer Living In Minnesota

A June 3, 1944, photo provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shows SS chief Heinrich Himmler (center) as he reviews troops of the Galician SS-Volunteer Infantry Division.
Uncredited AP

A 94-year-old man who allegedly was a top commander of a Nazi SS unit responsible for the massacre of civilians during World War II is reportedly living quietly in Minnesota, according to an exclusive report by The Associated Press.

The news agency says it obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act that show Michael Karkoc lied to officials in 1949 about his past in order to immigrate to the United States.

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The Two-Way
6:51 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

The Parking Spots That Cost More Than Half A Million Dollars

Parking spaces behind 298 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston are seen Friday. The two open spaces at right, front and back, were sold at auction for $560,000.
Michael Dwyer AP

As it turns out, prime urban parking can be almost as valuable as a single-family home. A Boston woman bought two parking spaces for $560,000 at auction Thursday, winning a tough bidding war that increased by the tens of thousands at each turn.

The buyer, Lisa Blumenthal, said the spots will be used for guests and workers, at the hefty price of $280,000 each — nearly 90 percent of the worth of the median sales price of a single-family home in Massachusetts.

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Shots - Health News
6:12 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Rule Would List All Chimps As Endangered, Even Lab Animals

Chimpanzee Toni celebrated his 50th birthday at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich on Nov. 22, 2011.
Sven Hoppe DPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 9:45 am

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new rule that would extend "endangered species" protections to chimpanzees held in captivity. Nearly half of all the chimps in the U.S. live in research facilities, and the regulation changes would make it more difficult to use these animals in medical experiments.

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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Archaeologists Discover Lost City In Cambodian Jungle

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 5:56 pm

Australian archaeologists using remote-sensing technology have uncovered an ancient city in Cambodia that has remained hidden for more than a millennium under dense jungle undergrowth.

The discovery of Mahendraparvata, a 1,200-year-old lost city that predates Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat temple complex by 350 years, was part of the Hindu-Buddhist Khmer Empire that ruled much of Southeast Asia from about 800 to 1400 A.D., during a time that coincided with Europe's Middle Ages.

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Business
5:28 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

Home values have been rising in recent months, but mortgage rates have taken a rapid turn upward as well. Some investors are worried that the housing recovery may stall if mortgage rates jump too quickly.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.

The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.

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Code Switch
5:23 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

11-Year-Old Keeps Singing In Face Of Hate

Sebastien de la Cruz gave an encore performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the NBA Finals game on Thursday.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 7:59 pm

It's not often an 11-year-old boy gets to sing the national anthem twice during the NBA Finals.

But, as our friends at The Two-Way reported, it's been a surprising week for Sebastien de la Cruz of San Antonio.

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NPR Story
4:44 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

White House Defends Timing Of Decision To Help Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

The White House will begin sending direct military aid to the Syrian opposition after concluding that the Syrian government has been using chemical weapons against rebel forces. For the past two years, President Obama has taken a cautious approach to the conflict and has been reluctant to intervene.

NPR Story
4:44 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

More Information Emerges About IRS Targeting Of Tea Party Groups

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

Selective leaks from Congressional staff interviews with IRS employees in Cincinnati have been dribbling out for weeks. The workers are at the center of questions regarding the use of "Tea Party" and "Patriot" labels for flagging tax exemptions applications for additional scrutiny.

It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Think Your Job's Hard? Try Being A Congressional Spy Watcher

Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky arrives in Chicago with President Obama in March.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 5:32 pm

As the controversy over the National Security Agency's phone and Internet data gathering reminds us, one of Congress' most challenging assignments is oversight of the nation's intelligence community.

Keeping tabs on the part of the federal government that constantly invokes national security to justify its opaqueness has its obvious difficulties and frustrations.

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The Two-Way
4:30 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

U.S. Navy Approves Use Of Lowercase Letters

Teletype operators relay U.S. military communications in North Africa during World War II.
AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:33 pm

A recent directive issued by the U.S. Navy was transmitted in the customary format, using all uppercase letters. Sailors, it said, are:

"AUTHORIZED TO USE STANDARD, MIXED-CASE CHARACTERS IN THE BODY OF NAVY ORGANIZATIONAL MESSAGES."

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Australian General's Frank Talk On Sexual Abuse Wins Fans

Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Australia's army chief, has simple advice for those who don't want women in the service: "Get out."
YouTube

The growing problem of sexual assaults in the U.S. military has led to arguments in Congress, where lawmakers disagree over how to confront the issue. Top military officers have also weighed in on the topic. But in Australia, where the military has its own sexual assault problem, the army chief has a simple solution: "Show moral courage and take a stand."

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Deceptive Cadence
3:23 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Playing Mozart — On Mozart's Violin

Violinist Amandine Beyer holds Mozart's own violin backstage at Boston's Jordan Hall on Monday.
Kathy Wittman Courtesy of the Boston Early Music Festival

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 1:21 pm

The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.

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Planet Money
3:15 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

When People Make Their Own Banks

Harlem funeral directors Tamara Bullock and Patricia Hamilton are going to spend their next savings-club payout on a sky-diving trip (unless Bullock can get out of it).
Marianne McCune NPR

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.

He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.

"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.

This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.

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