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Planet Money
2:31 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls From Congressmen

"You spend most of your time dodging calls." - Jimmy Williams, former lobbyist
Courtesy of Jimmy Williams

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 9:36 am

This story is part of our series on money in politics.

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

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All Tech Considered
2:30 am
Thu April 19, 2012

To Read All Those Web Privacy Policies, Just Take A Month Off Work

Many Web users have little idea about how, or when, they're being tracked. In this 2011 photo, Max Schrems of Austria sits with 1,222 pages about his activities on Facebook — the company gave him the file after he requested it under European law.
Ronald Zak AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:08 am

Internet surfers have long worried that they have insufficient control over their online privacy — despite the privacy policies many people agree to when they visit websites or use online services.

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U.S.
2:29 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Few Answers In Abuse Probes At Homes For Disabled

A memorial to Van Ingraham at his brother Larry Ingraham's home in San Diego. Van Ingraham died after an injury at Fairview Developmental Center in 2007.
Nadia Borowski Scott

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 4:08 am

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.

Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.

Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.

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Music Interviews
6:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."
Harper Smith

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:41 am

Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.

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It's All Politics
5:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 6:37 pm

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

3 Secret Service Agents Will Leave Agency Over Prostitution Scandal

Three agents accused of cavorting with prostitutes during a trip to Cartagena as part of the "advance" team working on President Obama's trip to Colombia are leaving the agency.

The AP reports:

"Of the three workers forced out in the scandal, one is a supervisor who was allowed to retire. Another is a supervisor who has been designated for removal for cause, which requires that the employee be given 30 days' notice and a chance to respond with the help of a lawyer; and a third employee, not a supervisor, has quit.

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Mitt Romney
5:11 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

With Eye On November, Romney To Expand Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks with a staffer on the night of the Florida primary in January. Now that he's pivoting away from the primaries to the general election, Romney is expected to quadruple his staff soon.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Now that he's all but certain to be the Republican challenging President Obama in November, Mitt Romney has begun to expand his operations. In the past week, he's named a top aide to head his vice presidential selection team, and his paid staff is expected to soon quadruple in size.

With the president's campaign well-staffed and spread across the map, it's become a game of catch-up for Romney.

There are Republican primary contests in five important states next Tuesday, but with Rick Santorum's departure from the race, they've gotten little attention.

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Three Books...
5:00 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books To Jazz Your Writing

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:49 am

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

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It's All Politics
4:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Most Small Businesses Don't Quite Fit The Political Picture

Angela Caragan's A Cupcake Co. offers gourmet cupcakes for special events. Like more than 20 million other small-business owners in the U.S., she has no employees.
Courtesy of Angela Caragan

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:28 pm

The House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a GOP measure to cut taxes on small businesses.

Now, the mental image most of us have of a small business is probably something like this: a handful of employees, a shop, maybe a restaurant or a little tech firm.

It turns out the reality of the nation's 28 million small businesses is, in many cases, quite different.

House Republicans say their tax cut would help millions of small businesses.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Back To The Future: Seattle's Space Needle Turns 50

The Seattle Space Needle's 50th anniversary is Saturday. Though the top of the Needle has been off-white for years, it's being painted its original color, "galaxy gold," for the anniversary.
Dan Callister Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:45 pm

Seattle's Space Needle turns 50 on Saturday. Originally built as a tourist attraction for the city's 1962 World's Fair, the structure was meant to evoke the future. Now the future is here, and the Needle has become the city's favorite antique.

Peter Steinbrueck traces the tower's lineage to an abstract sculpture that sits in his office. Steinbrueck is an architect and former City Council member, and the sculpture used to belong to his father, Victor, also an architect.

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