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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

White House chief of staff John Kelly — a retired Marine general whose own son died in Afghanistan — appeared at the White House press briefing on Thursday, attempting to quell the controversy around a phone call President Trump made to a grieving military widow.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

A bipartisan coalition of 24 senators — 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats — has signed on to health care legislation to prop up the individual insurance market and keep premiums down. With the expected support of all Senate Democrats, it could have the votes to pass the chamber. But questions remain over when it might actually get a vote, as well as whether President Trump and House Republicans would bring the bill over the finish line.

As someone who lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder, novelist John Green sometimes feels like his mind is spiraling uncontrollably.

"It starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to have," Green says. "It's like there's an invasive weed that just spreads out of control."

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

A Syrian general known for his fight against ISIS — and accused in the death of veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin, who died in shelling in 2012 — is reported to have died Wednesday on the battlefield in Syria's northeastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Brig. Gen. Issam Zahreddine, 56, one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's best-known field commanders, died after the vehicle he was traveling in hit a land mine close to a front line where he was fighting ISIS, according to media outlets closely aligned with the Syrian regime.

José Ortíz and Ethan Leder had never met, but they quickly came up with an unconventional plan to help Puerto Rico.

Ortíz and Leder's personalities are similar: both are high energy, do-er types. "It's all about doing stuff" says Leder. "Not just talk," adds Ortíz.

When Hurricane Maria hit, Ortíz, a 47-year-old flooring business owner, says his "brain was completely obsessed with it." He was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and was 11 when his family moved to the Washington, D.C. area. "I was just trying to get in touch with anyone in Puerto Rico to offer help."

You might say George W. Bush wants to make America great again.

In remarks Thursday, he criticized the kind of politics, sentiment and populism that led to President Trump's rise and election — though he never named Trump explicitly.

Hysteria. Panic.

Those were words reporters were using on this day 30 years ago to describe the stock market crash, now remembered as Black Monday.

Oct. 19, 1987, brought the single biggest one-day percentage drop in history — and yes, that includes the 1929 crash that presaged the coming of the Great Depression.

On that frightening Monday three decades ago, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 508 points — more than 22 percent — to just over 1,700.

The state of Vermont has one year to prepare for something it has never had: a Target store. After years of pleading from some residents and anti-big-box sentiment from others, the retail giant says it will finally open a store in South Burlington in 2018.

The news prompted a "Breaking News" banner on the local paper's website. As they're saying over at Vermont Public Radio: "This is not a drill."

In response, Adam Maxwell wrote on the VPR Facebook page: "Welcome to 1995, Vermont!"

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