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Music Reviews
7:07 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Chico Mann: Plastic Keys, Blinking Lights And Burbling Beats

On his new album, Magical Thinking, Chico Mann uses a host of electronic playthings to craft West African, Latin and 1980s "boogie" rhythms.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:34 am

Marcos Garcia took his alter ego Chico Mann not from the 1970s TV series Chico and the Man but from a bit of dialogue in the early-'80s hip-hop film Wild Style. For years, Garcia was best-known as one of the members of the New York Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas. But one day, he began tinkering with his daughter's Casio keyboard, and since then he's only built on his arsenal of electronic playthings.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Book News: Penguin, Random House Complete Publishing Mega-Merger

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Books
7:05 am
Mon July 1, 2013

In 'Sisterland,' Familial Fissures And A Pair Of Psychic Twins

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:34 am

Curtis Sittenfeld is the Ed Norton of the literary world. Popular but intellectual, accessible but mysterious and, above all — a perspective chameleon with an uncanny ability to enter the minds of callow prep school outcasts and devotedly compromising first ladies alike. With Sisterland, she takes this mind-entering business to a literal level. The story of a pair of adult psychic twin sisters in St. Louis, it would have been an obvious choice for Sittenfeld to tell her story in the form of dueling narration.

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U.S.
7:03 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Being Postmaster General Isn't What It Used To Be

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, in 2011, appears before a Senate committee looking into the Postal Service's economic troubles.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 4:34 am

The job of postmaster general was once one of the country's most politically powerful. It is also one of the oldest; a version of the position existed before the Declaration of Independence.

But today, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe finds himself continually caught in the political crossfire. Donahoe is tangling with unions and members of Congress over how to manage the Postal Service's future — as it faces huge losses, dwindling mail volume and ballooning costs.

It may seem strange now, but Donahoe was originally drawn to postal work by the money.

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The Salt
6:49 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 2:59 pm

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Black Bear Roams In D.C., Days After Red Panda's Jaunt

A black bear was captured in northwest Washington, D.C., Wednesday, two days after Rusty the red panda escaped from the National Zoo into a nearby area.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:42 pm

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The Two-Way
6:47 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Justice Kennedy At Center Of Gay Rights Decisions For A Decade

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has now written two landmark gay rights decisions.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 3:06 pm

Ten years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas "Homosexual Conduct" law that criminalized some sexual acts.

Today, on the anniversary of that decision, the high court overturned a federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

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Music Interviews
6:45 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Gospel Legend Mavis Staples Comes 'Full Circle'

Mavis Staples has been performing for more than six decades. One True Vine is her second album-length collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.
Zoran Orlic Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 6:14 pm

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Parallels
6:44 am
Mon July 1, 2013

The U.S. Wants Snowden. Why Won't The World Cooperate?

Journalists show passengers arriving at Russia's Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday an image of Edward Snowden.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 7:53 pm

China appeared perfectly happy to let Edward Snowden slip away despite a U.S. request for his arrest. Russia appears to enjoy thumbing its nose at Washington as Snowden cools his heels at a Moscow airport. Ecuador is toying with the notion of granting him asylum.

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The Protojournalist
6:44 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Weird Public Library Stuff: Check It Out

Olivia, a 5-year-old Angolan colobus monkey, at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 11:04 am

Sure, at certain public libraries around the country you can check out ebooks and audiobooks and DVDs and iPads and Nooks and Kindles. Paintings to hang on your walls at home? Yep. Bridal magazines? Yep, those too. You can also check out a bunch of strange stuff, including:

1) A fishing pole from the Erie County Public Library in Erie, Pa.

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