5:20pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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5:00pm

Tue December 4, 2012
The Two-Way

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:34 am

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

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4:44pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Music Reviews

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

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4:36pm

Tue December 4, 2012
It's All Politics

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

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4:22pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Business

Netflix Gets Disney Movies Ahead Of Pay TV Channels

A promotional image for the Netflix Just for Kids portal. The new deal announced with Disney is the first time that one of Hollywood's major studios has sold the coveted rights to Netflix Inc. instead of a premium TV network.
Netflix

Netflix's video subscription service has trumped pay-TV channels and grabbed the rights to show Disney movies shortly after they finish their runs in theaters.

The multiyear licensing agreement announced Tuesday represents a breakthrough for Netflix as it tries to add more recent movies to a popular service that streams video over high-speed Internet connections.

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4:17pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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3:49pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:26 am

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

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3:13pm

Tue December 4, 2012
The Salt

A Hidden Hanukkah Tale Of A Woman, An Army And Some Killer Cheese

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:11 am

This Hanukkah lamp, made in Italy in the 19th century, depicts Judith holding a sword in one hand and the severed head of Holofernes in the other.
The Jewish Museum, New York / Art Resource, NY

At Hanukkah, many Jewish families celebrate with foods such as latkes and donuts that are fried in oil. The tradition honors the story of the miracle that occurred when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days inside a temple under siege by the enemy .

Some Jews also eat dishes like kugel, cheesecake or rugelah that all share one ingredient — cheese. But how did cheese make it onto the holiday menu?

It starts (as many of these tales do) with a woman. This woman was Judith.

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2:59pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Reveals Gaps In Vaccination

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:55 am

A child is inoculated with the polio vaccine at a traffic checkpoint just outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Roadside vaccinations help health workers reach children in mobile populations.
Jackie Northam NPR

Pakistan has made a lot of progress this year in wiping out polio. There are signs that one type of poliovirus is gone and transmission of other strains seems to be slowing.

But a recent outbreak of polio there has health officials concerned about the overall effectiveness of the effort to eliminate polio in that country.

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2:58pm

Tue December 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama And Boehner Call It Negotiation; The Rest Of Us Are Permitted To Laugh

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 1:29 pm

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner meet in the White House on July 23, 2011. At that time, they were discussing how to avert a debt default. The talks ultimately led to the deal that now brings us aspects of the so-called fiscal cliff.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

If you're tempted to throw back your head and guffaw when you hear the word "negotiation" linked with "Congress" and "fiscal cliff," please, don't hesitate.

Because what you're seeing play out publicly between congressional Republicans and Democrats and the White House bears little resemblance to negotiation.

"The game that's being played is the same game that's been played over the past few years — brinksmanship, and hard positional bargaining," says William Ury, who knows negotiation when he sees it.

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