4:00am

Thu December 22, 2011
Business

Ratings Drop For 'All-American Muslim'

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:27 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is ratings reality. Ratings for this week's episode of the reality TV show, "All-American Muslim," dropped to more than 30 percent from the previous week's ratings. The show had plenty of drama off-screen earlier this month when the home improvement retailer Lowe's admitted it pulled its ads on the show after pressure from a conservative Christian group.

Yesterday, Lowe's said it would not change its decision. Cable channel TLC has not yet said whether the show will get picked up for another season.

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1:26am

Thu December 22, 2011
Music

A Church, An Oratorio And An Enduring Tradition

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:17 am

The interior of the renowned Marienkirche church, where Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio is traditionally performed.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio was first performed in Leipzig on Christmas Day in 1734. In Germany, no matter what the economic and political times, it's the Christmas work. In the oldest functioning church in Berlin, the 13th-century Saint Mary's, performance of Bach's Christmas Oratorio is a fixed tradition.

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1:07am

Thu December 22, 2011
Holly-wood

Ralphie's Folks and Holiday Parenting

A good Christmas movie usually includes a miracle.  There was “The Miracle on 34th Street.” There were the ghosts who redeemed Ebenezer Scrooge.  And, in “A Christmas Story,” there are two miracles.  Ralphie gets his BB gun.   And, despite some mistakes, Ralphie’s parents have two happy and healthy kids. 

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Author Interviews

'The Dead Witness': Classic Victorian Crime Fiction

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:48 am

Michael Sims, editor of The Dead Witness, resurrects long-forgotten Victorian crime writing.
Dennis Wile

With his pipe, deerstalker hat and formidable "methods," Sherlock Holmes may be the most recognizable face of the Victorian mystery story. But how does he stack up against Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, who pioneered deductive reasoning? Or quicksilver Violet Strange, debutante by day, intrepid sleuth by night?

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Education

Texas Schools Grapple With Big Budget Cuts

What's known as Middle School No. 8 in Leander, Texas, was supposed to help relieve overcrowding in the rapidly growing community. But after significant statewide cuts to education, the district can't afford to open the school.
Marisa Penaloza NPR

School funding in Texas is in turmoil. State lawmakers slashed more than $4 billion from education this school year — one of the largest cuts in state history — and more than 12,000 teachers and support staff have been laid off.

Academic programs and transportation have been cut to the bone. Promising reforms are on hold or on the chopping block. Next year, the cuts could go even deeper.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Asia

U.S. And Pakistan Relations: From Bad To Worse

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 11:04 am

Relations between the U.S. military and the Pakistan military have become even more strained since American forces were involved in a shooting last month that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. Here, Pakistani soldiers march during a ceremony in September.
Arif Ali

In Pakistan, transit routes for NATO supply trucks heading to Afghanistan remain shut. The CIA drone missile program has gone quiet in Pakistan's tribal area. Pakistan's government has called for a re-negotiation of its troubled relationship with the U.S.

All of this is fallout from an attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month in which NATO fire from helicopter gunships killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

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12:01am

Thu December 22, 2011
Newt Gingrich

Gingrich's Catholic Journey Began With Third Wife

Any discussion of Newt Gingrich's journey to Catholicism begins with his wife.

"I have always been a very spiritual person," Callista Gingrich told the Christian Broadcasting Network this year. "I start each day with a prayer, and pray throughout the day, because I am grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon us."

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6:25pm

Wed December 21, 2011
It's All Politics

Staying In Shape On The Campaign Trail: Romney Drops A Few Pointers

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 4:09 pm

Romney eats a slice of pizza — this one with the cheese still on — at a campaign stop in Newport, N.H
Ari Shapiro NPR

Stumping in New Hampshire on Wednesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney revealed a bit about his strategies for staying in shape on the campaign trail.

"Hey, I heard you pull the cheese off your pizza to stay thin. Is that true?" asked a woman at Village Pizza in Newport, N.H., in the southwestern part of the state, where the Romney bus tour had made a stop.

"You know, on occasion, but on the campaign trail you need all the calories you can get," laughed Romney.

"And do you run three miles a day like they say?" she asked.

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6:14pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Report: Canada's Less Productive, Yet Gaining On U.S. Quality Of Life

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:09 pm

Canadians live it up, while Americans work. This is actually an October picture of Canada's national baseball team at the Pan American Games in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
Javier Galeano AP

According to Canada's statistics agency, Canadians are less productive than their U.S. counterparts, yet their standard of living gained 5 percent during the 14 year period they analyzed.

Now, the reasons for that argument are quite complex, but The Wall Street Journal boiled it down to a lesson Americans can take from their neighbors to the north: "Be less productive, live better."

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5:45pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Ditch This Massager, If It Shows Up Under The Christmas Tree

This massager could also strangle you, the Food and Drug Administration warns.
FDA

The ShoulderFlex massager looks harmless enough. But don't be fooled.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning people not to use the product because it could kill or injure them. There were reports of one person being strangled by the device and another near-death by strangulation, the FDA says.

Clothing, hair and jewelry can get tangled up in the device's rotating parts. And that's a recipe for trouble.

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