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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

How New Jersey's High-Flying Sen. Menendez Ran Into Turbulence

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, shown in June, has come under scrutiny before, but has never been charged.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:12 pm

These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.

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U.S.
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:27 pm

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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Middle East
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Newly Displaced Syrians Head For Turkish Border

Syrian people wait at a customs gate at the Turkey-Syria border near Reyhanli, Turkey, last week. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing central Syria, heading to southern Turkey.
Gaia Anderson AP

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 8:01 pm

A new surge of Syrian refugees is swamping humanitarian aid agencies in southern Turkey, where official refugee camps are full.

But the newcomers may be just the tip of the iceberg. In central Syria, civilians under attack by combat jets, tanks and artillery have fled towns and villages north of the city of Hama, and thousands are on the move.

"What they do now, they burn everything ahead of them. They bomb this area with everything they've got," says Hossan Hamadah, a Syrian-American from Texas.

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Around the Nation
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Maker's Mark Reverses Course On Lower Alcohol Content

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

An update now to a story we reported last week, a story about a dramatic change in the lives of whiskey drinkers. Well, some of them at least - the ones who drink Maker's Mark bourbon, because Maker's Mark cut its alcohol content, watered it down from 90-proof to just 84. They said it was because they had to meet bigger demand.

JERRY RODGERS: People just went bananas.

BLOCK: This is Jerry Rodgers, who knows his Maker's.

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Remembrances
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Longtime Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies At 80

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Sen. Mike Johanns Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:39 pm

Mike Johanns, the Republican senator from Nebraska, announced Monday that he won't seek another term in the Senate.

Here's more from the Omaha World-Herald:

"Johanns said it was time to 'close this chapter' in his life. He noted that he and his wife, Stephanie, have spent 32 years in public life and that they want to spend more time with family.

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Europe
1:58 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Greece's Economic Crisis Reveals Fault Lines In The Media

People read newspaper headlines in Athens. In 2009, there were 39 national dailies, 23 national Sunday papers, 14 national weekly papers and dozens of TV and radio stations for a population of 11 million.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:05 pm

Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.

Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
1:50 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Disabled Residents Displaced By Superstorm Sandy Back At Home

Jagdesh Trivedi believes his green card and Social Security card were stolen, along with more than $200 and two pairs of shoes.
Fred Mogul WNYC

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:01 pm

When Superstorm Sandy crashed ashore in October, thousands of residents of nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult homes evacuated to various facilities, many of them overcrowded and ill-prepared for the influx.

The evacuees have slowly trickled back to those homes that can be repaired.

One group recently returned to an adult home for the mentally ill and physically disabled in Queens, but many residents weren't happy with what awaited them.

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Poetry
11:53 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco: 'I Finally Felt Like I Was Home'

Richard Blanco reads his poem "One Today" during President Obama's second inaugural, on Jan. 21.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:40 pm

"I just got the phone call one day," is how poet Richard Blanco describes to Fresh Air's Terry Gross how he learned he had been selected to write and read the inaugural poem for President Obama's second swearing-in on Jan. 21.

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Arts & Life
9:09 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Can You Learn To Like Music You Hate?

Harmony — it's in the ear of the beholder, Australian researchers say.
iStock

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:23 pm

You hear some music you hate. That's fair. We all do on occasion. But can you learn to love — or at least not loathe — that music? Can you intentionally transform the visceral response you have to certain pieces and styles, or does that happen at some more incalculable, subtle level?

Researchers at Australia's University of Melbourne say that the more dissonance (which they describe as "perceived roughness, harshness, unpleasantness, or difficulty in listening to the sound") that we hear in music, the less we enjoy said music. Seems obvious enough, right?

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Arts & Life
9:08 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Jailhouse Bach

Pablo Helguera

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 10:53 am

Got an idea for a classical cartoon or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist working with sculpture, drawing, photography and performance. His new book is Helguera's Artunes. You can see more of his work at Artworld Salon and on his own site.

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The Salt
9:03 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Fake Food George Washington Could've Sunk His Fake Teeth Into

Stargazy Pie, a cornish dish named for the way the fish heads poke through the crust towards the sky.
Courtesy of Sandy Levins

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:02 pm

If you want to see what George Washington might have munched on, then Sandy Levins is your gal. All the foods she whips up look scrumptious, but if you sneak a bite, you'll get a mouthful of plaster or clay.

Levins is one of a handful of frequently overlooked artisans who craft the replica meals you see in the kitchens and dining rooms of historic houses and museums. Adding faux food to a historical site can help visitors connect to the past, she tells The Salt.

"It's something everyone immediately identifies with, because everyone eats," she says.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Book News: Amazon Fires German Security Firm After Claims Of Intimidation

Books in an Amazon warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, Germany.
Jens-Ulrich Koch AFP/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Around the Nation
6:34 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Maker's Mark Really Misses The Mark

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. The makers of Maker's Mark really missed the mark when they went public with a plan to water down the very popular bourbon. Last week, Maker's Mark announced it was going from 90 proof to 84 proof, to stretch supplies in the face of a steep rise in global demand. Loyal customers did not dilute their anger on Twitter. And after a rocky few days, the brand reversed itself yesterday. Cheers. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
6:27 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Obama Plays Golf With Tiger Woods

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer.

President Obama is spending the holiday at a private golf resort in Florida. Yesterday, he played 27 holes with Tiger Woods. Reporters were not allowed to watch. The White House Correspondents Association expressed extreme frustration. The White House says this is consistent with other golf outings; something the White House Press Corps can discuss at the Holiday Inn, eight miles away.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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