Sun August 7, 2011

After Years Of Research, Confederate Daughter Arises

Originally published on Sun August 7, 2011 9:01 pm

Mattie Clyburn Rice is the second black "Real Daughter" to be recognized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization that was once exclusively for whites
Jessica Jones

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. It's of particular importance to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization for female descendants of Confederate soldiers.

The group includes 23 elderly women who are the last living daughters of those who served. One of them is black.

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Sun August 7, 2011

Fighting Decline, Micronesia Creates Shark Sanctuary

Micronesian islands have declared vast areas of the Pacific Ocean to be a sanctuary for sharks. It's the latest move in a trend to create zones where sharks can live undisturbed.

These top predators are in serious decline around the world because they are being over-fished. Mostly, they are caught to feed an insatiable appetite for shark-fin soup in Asia.

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Sun August 7, 2011

American Pride Takes A Hit With S&P's Downgrade

For generations, the United States and its debt — sold in the form of U.S. Treasuries — have been synonymous with safety. Now, though, the nation's sterling credit is tarnished. The ratings agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded the U.S. from AAA to AA-plus, one notch down. The downgrade has raised big questions about what this will mean for investors and for the nation as a whole.

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Sun August 7, 2011

Dinosaur Hall Roars To Life In Los Angeles

At the center of the new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is a display on T. rexes' growth and eating habits.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

At the new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, visitors are greeted with the simulated sound of a dinosaur's roar. Some 300 dinosaur specimens are on display. It's also a hands-on show, with interactive games where kids can become paleontologists. The centerpiece of the revamped exhibit are three Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, including the youngest known T. rex fossil in the world.

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Sat August 6, 2011

Gov. Perry Tries To Keep Focus On God, Not Politics

It could have been a typical service at any megachurch in the South, with a tight band, a great choir, big-screen projection, and a large congregation swaying and praying. But the speaker who drew the biggest response at the prayer rally in Houston on Saturday was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, looking resplendent in a red tie and his much-envied mane of dark hair.

The often combative Republican governor did not attack his nemesis, Barack Obama, who Perry often accuses of overreaching and whom he may try to defeat at the polls next year.

In fact, Perry prayed for him.

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Sat August 6, 2011

Mexico To The Rescue In America's 'Venom Belt'

Centruroides sculpturatus, or bark scorpion, is the only scorpion species that is dangerous to humans. It lives mainly in Arizona but has turned up in New Mexico and southern Nevada.
Monica Ortiz Uribe NPR

Toxicologists refer to the American Southwest as the "Venom Belt" for its many venomous spiders, snakes and scorpions. In fact, doctors estimate there are about 250 severe scorpion stings a year in this country.

Most of those stung are children in Arizona, but the U.S. ran out of its own supply of scorpion antivenom nearly a decade ago. Mexican doctors, however, have been treating stings from venomous creatures for years, and what they've learned may now save American lives.

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Sat August 6, 2011
Movie Interviews

'Stand By Me': A Love Letter To Childhood Innocence

The quintessential coming-of-age film Stand By Me celebrates it's 25th anniversary this year. The movie was released in the summer of 1986 and tells the story of four twelve-year-old boys in a small town in Oregon and the Labor Day weekend that changed their lives forever.

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Sat August 6, 2011

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors and is a professor of economics at Boston University.
Courtesy of Boston University

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

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Sat August 6, 2011
Music Interviews

The Strange Alchemy Of Fool's Gold

Fool's Gold founding members Luke Top (second from left) and Lewis Pesacov (center) discuss the changes they've made on the band's latest album, Leave No Trace.
Courtesy of the artist

On its debut album, the L.A. band Fool's Gold presented an unusual marriage of influences, pairing African melodies with Hebrew lyrics. The record won over legions of fans and caught the attention of critics, who described it with words like "beguiling" and "joyous."

Fool's Gold's newest album is called Leave No Trace, and there's little trace left of Hebrew on it — the lyrics are mostly in English. In a conversation with NPR's David Greene, vocalist Luke Top and guitarist Lewis Pesacov, the band's two founding members, explain the new direction.

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Sat August 6, 2011

Bitterness All Around After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Republicans and Democrats quickly doled out blame to each other and China weighed in angrily after the first-ever downgrade in America's sterling credit rating — an expected but unsettling move that further clouds prospects for the recovery of the fragile U.S. economy.

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