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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5:12pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Salt

A Christmas Pudding In The Mail Carries A Taste Of Home

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 8:35 am

The pudding's dark glossy dome is flamed with brandy and carried to the table before the shimmering blue aura dies away.
Chris Elwell iStockphoto.com

Any day now it will arrive stamped by the Royal Mail: a truly homemade Christmas pudding from my family in England.

My mother always made Christmas puddings. And before moving to the U.S., I would make two or three puddings every November, too. Now it's my sister and brother-in-law who keep up the tradition. They use a mid-Victorian recipe handed down to my brother-in-law's father by his mother, the former Miss Mortlock. She was a Quaker so these are teetotal puddings.

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5:06pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Faith and Values

Hanukkah Celebration in Central Kentucky

There are religious traditions which, carry the same meaning each year, but still undergo some evolution.  For example, a central Kentucky Rabbi has noticed several changes in the way Hanukkah is celebrated.  Hanukkah, or the festival of lights, runs until December 28th .  The eight day religious holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem at the time of the second century Maccabean revolt. It’s not unusual to see attendance at Christian churches grow this time of year.   And, Rabbi Moshe Smolkin of Ohavay Zion temple says a similar trend is often seen in synagogues.

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4:58pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Russian Billionaire Buys Daughter $88M New York Pad

15 Central Park West.
Google Street View

The New York Post simply called it "the best Christmas present ever."

And would you disagree? Dmitry Rybolovlev just bought his 22-year-old daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva a 6,744-sq-ft penthouse overlooking New York's Central Park. The price tag? $88 million.

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