NPR Story
3:57 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Resolution For Payroll Tax Extension May Be Near

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:57 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

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Media
3:53 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

'PolitiFact' Faces Criticism From Liberals

Fact-checking sites like PolitiFact referee assertions by politicians, public figures and pundits. The fact-checking movement has been gaining momentum — and fans. But PolitiFact has come under fire after announcing its "Lie of the Year": a claim by some Democrats and liberals about a House Republican plan to change Medicare.

The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Reports: House Will Vote On 2-Month Payroll Tax Cut Extension

The Associated Press and Reuters are reporting that House Republicans have relented and will vote on a two-month extension of the payroll tax. On Tuesday, the House had voted to move the bill into conference, but the Senate had already left town.

What resulted was another Washington showdown with Senate Democrats — who passed the bill in rare bi-partisan fashion — refusing to negotiate further and House Republicans insisting that a year-long extension was the only way to go.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:12 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Medicare Can't Rescue Congress On Fix For Doctors' Pay

Wendell Franks iStockphoto.com

Here we go again.

With official Washington trapped in partisan gridlock, doctors who treat Medicare patients are once again facing the prospect of a big cut in pay that almost no one supports.

And this time Medicare officials say they won't be hold onto the bills for longer than the usual 10-day processing time to wait for Congress to act. A 27 percent cut is set to take effect Jan. 1, unless Congress stops it.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Future Dim For 100-Watt Bulb, Despite Congress' Stall

The trillion-dollar budget bill that Congress passed last weekend includes plenty of non-spending provisions tucked into it. One of these so-called riders is aimed at saving the 100-watt incandescent light bulb.

But the move is more about politics than light.

Strictly speaking, the issue is this: Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy. So under federal law, they're being slowly phased out. The first to go, starting on New Year's Day, is the 100-watt bulb.

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Business
2:42 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

'Twas The Busiest Week All Year For Shipping

Bill Ferguson, a courier for FedEx, loads his truck at a sorting facility in Chicago on Dec. 12 — the company's busiest day in its history.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:36 pm

This week marks the busiest time of the year for shipping services like UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service. The post office handled 600 million cards and letters alone on Tuesday, and UPS says it is delivering 300 packages per second, on average.

At one FedEx facility in Washington, D.C., the logistics of last-minute shipping are on full display.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

NORAD's Santa Tracker Switches On Saturday

They'll see him when he's flying.
NORAD

Assuming his elves haven't come up with some sort of stealth technology to cloak his movements, it's almost time again for children of all ages (who have access to computers or smart phones, that is) to follow the jolly guy's travels via the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracker.

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It's All Politics
2:31 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

In New Hampshire, Romney Aims For Common Touch, With Mixed Results

Romney pumped his own gas at a stop on his bus tour.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 3:10 pm

As he continued his bus tour on Thursday, Mitt Romney may have been hoping to connect with regular folks. At a service station in Randolph, N.H., he pumped the gas himself.

But voters weren't necessarily buying his 'just folks' demeanor. When he joked with a woman at the service station about buying a classic car her family owns, she asked, "$10,000?" — an echo of his unfortunate bet with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a recent debate.

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The Two-Way
2:22 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Bradley Manning's Hearing In WikiLeaks Case Concludes

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, left, is escorted from a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on Thursday.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 2:27 pm

The military hearing to decide whether Pfc. Bradley Manning, 24, will face a court-martial has come to an end in Fort Meade, Md. As the AP reports, during the hearing a military prosecutor argued that Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, had "defied the nation's trust" by allegedly leaking 700,000 documents, including tens of thousands of classified diplomatic cables, to the website WikiLeaks.

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Asia
2:05 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Pentagon: U.S., Pakistan Share Blame In Shooting

Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking Thursday, said U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes that contributed to the Nov. 26 shooting that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan.
Luis M. Alvarez AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 6:36 pm

The U.S. military said Thursday that U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes in a U.S. helicopter attack that killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Pentagon released the findings of its investigation that said a lack of trust, miscommunication and faulty map information all contributed to the shooting.

"For the loss of life and lack of coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses, we express our deepest regret," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

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