It's All Politics
8:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Taking Nothing For Granted, Romney Launches N.H. Bus Tour

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after his campaign speech in Bedford, N.H. on Dec. 20.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:06 am

All eyes are on Iowa this week, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is far away — on a campaign bus tour in must-win New Hampshire.

As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on Wednesday's Morning Edition, somehow there are still New Hampshire voters who remain undecided about Romney — despite the fact that he's practically camped out in their living rooms for the last four years.

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The Two-Way
7:40 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Accused Of Sexually Abusing Children Decades Ago, Sportswriter Retires

July 23, 2011: Sportswriter Bill Conlin speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 7:44 am

Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter for 46 years and this year's winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's award for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing," retired Tuesday after three women and a man came forward to accuse him of molesting them in the 1970s when they were between the ages of 7 and 12.

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The Two-Way
7:00 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Mood In North Korean Capital Is 'Subdued But Calm,' U.K. Diplomat Says

This image taken today from North Korean TV footage shows people mourning for Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang.
AFP/Getty Images

While North Koreans in Pyongyang are "in a state of mourning and ... paying their respects at landmarks across the city," the overall mood is "subdued but calm" as people there react to Saturday's death of leader Kim Jong Il and the likelihood that his son Kim Jong Un is now in charge, according to one of Britain's diplomats in the capital city.

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It's All Politics
4:01 am
Wed December 21, 2011

In A Year Of Partisan Brawls, Congress Goes One More Round

President Obama speaks in the White House's Brady Briefing Room on Tuesday. Behind the president, a ticking clock counts down the time until taxes will go up if Congress can't reach an extension deal on payroll tax cuts.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:35 am

In a year of deadlines and political fights, Congress is closing with one last partisan brawl. At stake are billions of dollars in tax breaks and unemployment benefits for millions of Americans set to expire Jan. 1.

Just in case you've been out buying presents, working or not watching C-SPAN with bated breath, what happened Tuesday was that the House — specifically Republicans in the House — rejected a bill that had broad bipartisan support in the Senate.

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Joseph Shapiro is a NPR News Investigations correspondent.

In this role, Shapiro takes on long-term reporting projects and covers breaking news stories for NPR's news shows.

Shapiro's major investigative stories include his reports on the failure of colleges and universities to punish for on-campus sexual assaults; the inadequacy of civil rights laws designed to get the elderly and people with disabilities out of nursing homes, and the little-known profits involved in the production of medical products from donated human cadavers.

Violence At California's Psychiatric Hospitals
11:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

How Do You Hold Mentally Ill Offenders Accountable?

In California, prison inmates who have committed serious crimes and have been diagnosed with a major mental illness can be forced to serve their parole in a state hospital. At Atascadero State Hospital, shown above in this 1999 photo, there are more than 600 such patients. "As a group," says the hospital's director, "the mentally disordered offenders are the most aggressive."
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:35 am

Part of an ongoing series

Mental health and law enforcement officials in California are trying to find ways to hold violent psychiatric patients accountable without punishing people for being sick. It's a response to escalating violence in the state's mental hospitals, where thousands of assaults occur annually. Only a tiny fraction of them, however, result in criminal charges.

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Law
11:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Calls For More Reporting Of Suspected Child Abuse

Students stand outside Penn State's Old Main building, protesting the handling of a child abuse scandal involving retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:35 am

The revelations about alleged child sex abuse by a former Penn State football coach have caused policymakers to propose new measures to broaden who is required to report suspected abuse.

Each state already has laws that require some combination of doctors, teachers, day care providers and others who work with children to report suspected abuse. If they don't, they could face fines, the loss of a license, and, in some states, possibly jail time.

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Middle East
11:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

White House Faces Tough Choice On Iran Sanctions

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 9:35 am

Let Iran off the hook or undermine the global economy? Slap sanctions on an Iranian energy company or provide Europe with an alternative to Russian gas? Washington policymaking is especially difficult when the aims conflict, and few cases illustrate that principle more clearly than the challenge of finding a way to punish Iran without hurting someone else.

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History
11:01 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

A 'Happy Burden': Reflections On The Medal Of Honor

In February 1945, Hershel Williams was sent to Iwo Jima with a flamethrower unit. All but 17 of the 279 members of his company had been killed or wounded a week and a half later.
Nick Del Calzo Courtesy Artisan Books

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. It is the highest military decoration in the United States, reflecting great service and sacrifice. Of the more than 3,400 recipients, fewer than 85 are still living.

Among them is Hershel Williams, who served as a Marine corporal in World War II. He says that on the day he received the honor — Oct. 5, 1945 — he had no concept of it.

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