5:10pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Salt

When The Formerly Rich Need Help Buying Food

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:27 pm

Food stamps aren't "stamps" anymore — they're debit cards. But they won't get you a trip to Hawaii.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The image of rich folks using food stamps to buy filet mignon is becoming the 21st-century version of the Reagan-era "Welfare Queen."

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5:01pm

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Iowa Gov. Discusses GOP Presidential Field

It's a big night in Iowa: The Republican presidential candidates are holding their final big debate prior to the Iowa caucuses, which take place on Jan. 3. Melissa Block talks with Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad about various candidates' strengths and weaknesses. In short, he says there's a lot of excitement, and he's reserving judgment on who the winner will be.

4:57pm

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Tracking An Order In Real-Life Santa's Workshops

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 8:23 pm

Javier Polendo, an employee at a largely automated Target.com fulfillment center in Tucson, Ariz., scans items to be shipped to online customers.
Ted Robbins NPR

There's a world of activity between the time online shoppers click the "place order" button and when a holiday package is delivered to their doorsteps. The National Retail Federation estimates that 38 percent of holiday purchases will be made online this year, which is keeping fulfillment centers large and small very busy.

Target.com runs five fulfillment centers. One of them, in Tucson, Ariz., stretches the length of 16 football fields.

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4:55pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Chemists Unveil Future Self-Cleaning Clothes

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:04 pm

In the future, cleaning your clothes could be as easy as hanging it in sunlight.
Rodrigo Buendia AFP/Getty Images

A group of chemists have presented what they say is self-cleaning fabric that could one day lead to jeans, shirts and other clothing that dissolves stains and kills bacteria when exposed to sunlight.

The scientists announced their findings in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, which is peer-reviewed and published by the American Chemical Society.

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4:44pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work

Changes In The Economy Leave Workers Scrambling

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 7:34 pm

A counselor (right) talks with a man about training programs at a nonprofit training and job placement center in Menlo Park, Calif. Seventy percent of the long-term unemployed and underemployed would like the government to offer more job training services, an NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found.
Paul Sakuma AP

If you're unemployed, it can be painfully clear when you don't have the right skills to land a good job.

With unemployment at 8.6 percent, upwards of 13 million Americans are without a job and looking for work. A recent NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll surveyed hundreds of long-term unemployed and underemployed people, asking whether they thought they had the skills required to find a job.

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4:43pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Rick Perry

Perry Tries To Ride Back Into Iowans' Hearts

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:10 pm

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry walks with former Marine officer Dan Moran during a campaign stop Wednesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Eric Gay AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to reclaim a place in the top tier of the Republican presidential field — and his campaign is betting a barnstorming bus tour of Iowa is the key to exceeding expectations in the state's Jan. 3 caucuses.

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4:41pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Education

Military Tuition Assistance Rules May Limit Options

Military advocates have warned that some schools see service men and women as walking dollar signs.
Dave Herriman iStockPhoto.com

Federal money for active duty students is particularly attractive to for-profit schools, which have been signing up members of the services in record numbers.

So, the Pentagon has developed new rules to ensure that service members are treated fairly when they use government money to attend college. Those rules are set to go into effect Jan. 1, but many of the nation's best-known schools say they cannot accept those requirements.

The dispute puts at risk millions of dollars in federal assistance.

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4:31pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Business and the Economy

Toyota's Near Term Goals

The President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky says the automaker could introduce 20 new products between now and the end of 20-13.   A great deal of the new technology centers on safety.  Toyota executive Wil James told Lexington Rotarians the Japanese automaker spends one million dollars per hour on research and development.  And much of the money is spent on safety improvements.  For example, James says they may be able to reduce drowsy driving accidents by installing eye monitors in the dashboards of some Toyota vehicles.

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4:25pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Election 2012

In Iowa, Obama's Campaign Team Rehearses For 2012

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:31 pm

President Obama speaks with small-business owners at Rausch's Cafe in Guttenberg, Iowa, during a three-day Midwest bus tour in August.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

President Obama doesn't have to worry about winning the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. He's almost sure to be the only Democrat in the first-in-the-nation contest. Yet that hasn't stopped the Obama campaign from organizing its own effort to get out the vote.

While Republican candidates have been hogging the Iowa spotlight, a small army of Obama volunteers has been busy behind the scenes. They've opened eight campaign offices around the state, hosted dozens of house parties, and logged tens of thousands of telephone calls.

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3:42pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Former French President Chirac Found Guilty Of Corruption

Former President French President Jacques Chirac was found guilty of misusing public funds while he was the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. Chirac will serve a two-year suspended sentence after a court found that he had architected a system in which political allies were handed municipals salaries for fake jobs. The scheme, said the court, cost Paris about $1.8 million.

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