3:33am

Mon December 31, 2012
Politics

After Fruitless Weekend, Congress Still Seeks Fiscal Deal

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, leaves the Senate chamber to caucus in the Capitol on Sunday.
Molly Riley AFP/Getty Images

It is almost unimaginable that both the House and Senate would be in session on a Sunday evening on the penultimate day of the year. And yet, they both were, with lawmakers hoping it was not merely a big waste of time and effort.

A bipartisan push by Senate leaders over the weekend has so far failed to forge a deal to spare American wage earners from tax hikes and shield government programs from drastic cutbacks.

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3:32am

Mon December 31, 2012
Planet Money

The Fiscal Cliff: A Love Story

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

America, if you're scared by all the talk you've been hearing about the fiscal cliff, take heart: There are reasons for people across the political spectrum to love the cliff.

There's a lot for liberals to like in the fiscal cliff, says Matthew Yglesias, who writes wonky articles about economics for Slate.

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3:31am

Mon December 31, 2012
Books

Listen Up! Audiobooks For Every Taste

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

iStockphoto.com
  • Hear an excerpt of 'Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power'

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the holiday rush — too swamped, even, to spend an afternoon reading those books you got for Christmas, we have some recommendations for you — but these are audiobooks, so you can listen while you multitask.

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3:30am

Mon December 31, 2012
Shots - Health News

Research Moratoriums And Recipes For Superbugs: Bird Flu In 2012

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., use eggs to see if the Asian strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus has entered the U.S. in this photo from 2006.
Andy Manis AP

For scientists who study a dangerous form of bird flu, 2012 is ending as it began — with uncertainty about what the future holds for their research, but a hope that some contentious issues will soon be resolved.

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3:29am

Mon December 31, 2012
Environment

A Busy And Head-Scratching 2012 Hurricane Season

Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 5:46 am

This satellite image from Oct. 28 shows Hurricane Sandy in the Atlantic Ocean before making landfall.
NASA via Getty Images

Superstorm Sandy is what most people will remember from the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. But Sandy was just one of 10 hurricanes this year — a hurricane season that was both busy and strange.

Late summer is when the hurricane season usually gets busy. But Greg Jenkins, a professor of atmospheric science at Howard University, says this year was different.

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3:29am

Mon December 31, 2012
The Salt

Cheap Bubbly Or Expensive Sparkling Wine? Look To The Bubbles For Clues

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:03 am

The bubbles in champagne tickle the tongue and transfer wonderful aromas to the nose.
iStockphoto.com

There's nothing like the distinctive "pop" of the uncorking of a bottle of bubbly to create a sense of celebration. Whether it's Dom Perignon or a $10 sparkling wine, bubbles add pizazz.

Sparkling-wine lovers sometimes point to the glittering streams of tiny bubbles as an important attribute. Why? Well, tiny bubbles are a sign of age, explains French chemist Gerard Liger-Belair, author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne.

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5:55pm

Sun December 30, 2012
Book Reviews

Author Ben Fountain's Book Picks For 2013

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:33 pm

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the short story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara." href="/post/author-ben-fountains-book-picks-2013" class="noexit lightbox">
Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the short story collection Brief Encounters With Che Guevara.
Thorne Anderson

Last spring, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with author Ben Fountain just as he released his widely acclaimed first novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Later in the year, it was nominated for the National Book Award.

We asked Fountain to share with us what he's looking forward to in the book world next year. He says he's read about 25 books for release in 2013 and tells host Jacki Lyden, "The state of American fiction is really strong, at least from where I'm standing."

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5:32pm

Sun December 30, 2012
Environment

2013: A Tipping Year For Climate Change?

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Cracks form in the bed of a dried lake in Waterloo, Neb. The drought withered crops and dried out lakes across the nation's midsection in 2012.
Nati Harnik AP

This year's extreme weather was one for the record books; 2012 is slated to be the hottest summer on record.

The worst drought in 50 years struck the South and Midwest, devastating the U.S. agriculture industry. Deadly floods and superstorms paralyzed the northeast and other parts of the country.

While the public is in shock by extreme weather events that have taken place, environmentalist Bill McKibben and other members of the science community say it is a result of climate change.

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5:05pm

Sun December 30, 2012
Politics

A Look Foward: Immigration Reform In 2013

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:39 pm

Arizona DREAM Act Coalition staff members, other advocacy group representatives and young immigrants line up in Phoenix last August for guidance about the federal program called Deferred Action, that would help illegal immigrants avoid deportation.
Ross D. Franklin AP

This year we saw a great divide in the nation on the issue of immigration reform.

Much of the concern surrounds the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country — the majority of whom are from Mexico and Latin American countries, and about 10 percent from Asia.

President Obama won office again with 71 percent of the Latino vote. He has called pledge to reform current immigration law.

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5:00pm

Sun December 30, 2012
NPR Story

'Fiscal Cliff' Talks Temporarily Stall

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

Time is quickly running out for Congress to strike a deal blocking automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in within the New Year. Despite the presence of Vice President Joe Biden at the White House and a flurry of proposals passed back and forth today between Senate Republicans and Democrats, things seem to have reached an impasse this afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that nothing will happen this evening.

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