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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Five Big Moments In The Iraq War

With the Iraq war officially over and the pullout of U.S. forces nearly complete, host Scott Simon talks with Tom Ricks, author of The Best Defense blog, and Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker about the most influential turning points of the war.

Commentary
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Phones In Hand, Busy Mourners Miss The Story

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Gadgets, like cell phone cameras and digital tablets, can turn almost anybody into some kind of amateur journalist. But writer Gwen Thompkins wonders when the amateurs will realize that what the professionals already know - recording an event often stops people from experiencing what's right in front of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE TALKING)

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Food
6:54 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Coquito: A Tropical Twist On The Holiday Classic

Coquito is eggnog, Puerto Rican style, enriched by a delicious addition: a dollop of coconut.
iStockphoto.com

Coquito, an eggnog made with rum and coconut, is as integral to a Puerto Rican Christmas as presents under the tree.

In New York on Saturday, 12 coquito makers are battling to be this year's Coquito Masters champion. It's the 10th year of the contest. Trolleys will take fans to different locations in Spanish Harlem to sample coquito and vote for their favorite drinks in blind taste tests.

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Simon Says
6:36 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens And The Delight Of Defying Labels

It may be telling that Christopher Hitchens should die in this season. I don't mean the holiday season but a contentious season in Congress and on the campaign trail, with politicians jabbing fingers and accusing each other of inconsistency.

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Music News
2:47 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence Of 'Mr. Guitar'

Chet Atkins at RCA's Studio B in the 1960s.
Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame

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Music Interviews
2:00 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Cam Penner Spins Road Stories On 'Gypsy Summer'

Cam Penner's latest album is Gypsy Summer.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 6:35 pm

When your grandfather is a bootlegger and your family runs an illegal small-town roadhouse, you must have a lot of stories to tell. Cam Penner does, and he tells them in his music. The Canadian singer-songwriter's latest album is titled Gypsy Summer.

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Europe
12:48 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Thousands Protest Alleged Election Fraud In Russia

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:56 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in cities across Russia today to protest alleged vote-rigging in recent parliamentary elections. Protests reportedly took place in more than 50 cities, but the largest by far was in Moscow. Reporter Peter van Dyk is in Moscow and joins us. Peter, thanks so much for being with us.

PETER VAN DYK, BYLINE: Thank you.

SIMON: You were in the crowds. What were they like?

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Simon Says
9:09 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Laura Nyro's Lasting, Eclectic Musical Legacy

Laura Nyro performs at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Most of the names announced for induction to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this week are familiar: Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The name Laura Nyro may need some explaining.

She was the daughter of a New York jazz trumpeter, who took her along to his gigs. She sold her first song, And When I Die, to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000 when she was just a teenager; left New York's School of Music and Art; and became a star at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 20.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Your Letters: Traffic Signs And Front Runners

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

Last week, we spoke with artist John Morse. He creates traffic warning signs complete with haikus for the New York City Transportation Department.

JOHN MORSE: (Reading) Cyclist writes screenplay. Plot features bike lane drama. How pedestrian.

SIMON: Michael Haslam, in Bellows Falls, Vermont, asks: Is there a potential downside to the New York City haiku signs for pedestrians and bicyclists? Crossing street downtown, signs catch attention, enthrall; fatal distraction.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Will The EU's All-Nighter Save The Euro?

European Union leaders completed a marathon of treaty negotiations overnight to address the continent's debt crisis. Host Scott Simon checks in with NPR's Philip Reeves about how this new plan will impact Europe.

Election 2012
7:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

How Religious Conservatives Shape The GOP Race

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While Newt Gingrich may not have universal appeal among Tea Party voters, he seems to be drawing wide support from a key Republican constituency, Christian conservatives. The religious right has significant influence in many early voting states, including Iowa, which has its caucuses coming up on January 3rd.

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Author Interviews
4:58 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Desai's 'Disappearance': Three Tales Of Art And Time

Novelist Anita Desai is a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also written Journey to Ithaca, Village by the Sea and Clear Light of Day.
Jerry Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.

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Music Interviews
3:12 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Classical Contemporaries Perform With A Ghost

Cellist Zuill Bailey and soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian reanimate the late composer Manuel de Falla on The Spanish Masters.
Dario Acosta Photography / Lisa Marie Mazzucco

What's it like to perform with a ghost?

"There was no pianist breathing or cueing me," cellist Zuill Bailey says. "The good news is that he was very consistent." Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian adds, "It's absolutely true — it takes a little bit of adjusting."

Bailey and Bayrakdarian are talking about their accompanist: the late — very late — Manuel de Falla, who died in 1946. With the help of new recording technology, the two have performed de Falla's Seven Popular Spanish Songs for a new release, The Spanish Masters.

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Music Interviews
2:59 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

A Jazz Pianist Gets His Big Break — At Age 85

Boyd Lee Dunlop was discovered in a Buffalo nursing home, wrestling music from a dilapidated piano. His debut album is called Boyd's Blues.
Brendan Bannon

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:56 pm

Back in the 1930s, Boyd Lee Dunlop taught himself to play music on a broken piano left out on the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. Only half the keys worked.

He also taught his little brother Frank to play the drums while they were growing up. Frankie Dunlop went on to record with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, among other jazz greats. Boyd Lee Dunlop went to work in the steel mills and rail yards of Buffalo, occasionally playing piano at local clubs.

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NPR Story
2:18 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Cain Leaves Presidential Race

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Herman Cain is appearing before his supporters in Georgia now, and NPR's Don Gonyea is going to join us. He's speaking but, in fact, he hasn't reached what we would call the hard news lead to announce whether he's staying in the race for the Republican nomination for president, or getting out. Don, are you there?

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NPR Story
1:51 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Herman Cain Decides Campaign's Future

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And we're going to end with some breaking news today. Moments ago, Herman Cain announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Here is what Mr. Cain said moments ago; his wife, Gloria, standing behind him outside of his Georgia campaign headquarters.

HERMAN CAIN: Today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD GROANING)

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