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All Tech Considered
4:52 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Holiday Innovation: Tweet At Your Christmas Tree To Light It Up

Maker and Make magazine contributor Jeff Highsmith created this miniature Twitter-connected LED Christmas tree last year as part of the CheerLights project.
Courtesy of Jeff Highsmith

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:22 pm

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Politics
4:03 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

'Living Wage' Effort Eclipsed By Minimum-Pay Battles

Wheelchair attendant Erick Conley (left) assists an elderly passenger at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. The small city recently raised the minimum wage to $15 for many airport jobs.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 4:08 pm

The close of 2013 has been marked by a vigorous national debate over income inequality, the plight of low-wage workers in America and the effect of boosting mandatory minimum wages.

The debate was magnified when Wal-Mart got unwanted attention for a store-based holiday food drive for its own needy workers, and when President Obama announced his support for legislation that would raise the national minimum hourly wage of $7.25 for the first time since 2007.

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The Two-Way
3:59 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

First-Class Postage Rate Will Rise To 49 Cents Next Month

A customer places first-class stamps on envelopes at a U.S. Post Office in San Jose, Calif. It'll cost another 3 cents to send a first-class letter starting on Jan. 26.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 6:56 pm

You'll soon need some 3-cent stamps to go with those 46-cent ones.

Regulators on Tuesday authorized the increase, and beginning Jan. 26, it'll cost 49 cents to send a first-class letter. Bulk rate mail, periodicals and package service rates will go up 6 percent, The Associated Press says.

Regulators rejected a request to make the price hike permanent and say instead that it will last no longer than two years, by which time the U.S. Postal Service should have recouped $2.8 billion in losses.

The AP says:

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It's All Politics
3:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Amid Declining Popularity, The Tea Party Prepares To Fight

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) greets supporters during a tea party rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in June. Paul was a rising star in the tea party movement this year, filibustering a CIA nomination in March.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:02 pm

It's easy to forget that the tea party movement is still less than 5 years old. Its successes include the 2010 midterm elections, when it helped the GOP win back the U.S. House.

It was once again a noisy and resurgent player in American politics in 2013. But that doesn't mean it was a year of victories: The movement's campaign to repeal Obamacare failed, and public approval hit near-record lows after the tea party forced a partial government shutdown. Even tea party events aren't as large as they once were.

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Health
3:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Vet Finds PTSD Relief With Pot, Though The Law Creates Hurdles

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 9:33 am

Ryan Begin hasn't always been the life-loving pot smoker he is today. Back in 2005, the sergeant nearly lost half his arm to an IED while serving in Iraq and was sent home for reconstructive surgery. Upon his return to Belfast, Maine, Begin was plagued by physical pain and outbursts of aggression. He was prescribed a cocktail of drugs as his treatment.

"They took the soul out of me. All that stuff, it drained my soul, it blackened my soul," Begin says.

Begin's mother, Anna, noticed the prescription drugs seemed to exacerbate his post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

With Schisms In Both Parties, Midterms Will Offer Key Test

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

So the Republicans have their divide and though, in recent years, Democrats have appeared more united, they have their own schisms. These internal party politics will factor heavily in the elections of 2014. And in close elections, the party that manages its internal politics most successfully has an advantage at the polls. NPR's Mara Liasson joins us now. Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hello, Robert.

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Around the Nation
3:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Late Christmas Tree May Not Be A Beauty, But It's A Tradition

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For a lot of families, Christmas tree tradition spark household debate. For instance, tinsel or beads; white lights or multicolored; star or angel on top. And for some people, it's not how to decorate the tree. It is when to put it up, early or late, late being now, Christmas Eve. NPR's Martin Kaste falls into that last category.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Yes, I belong to that small and shrinking tribe. We're the ones lurking in the Christmas tree lots at the last possible moment. You guys shutting down already?

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Around the Nation
3:35 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In New Hampshire, Christmas Lights Help Welcome New Immigrants

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Decking a house in thousands of lights is one way to spread holiday spirit. It can also serve as an education in American culture. Ibby Caputo, of member station WGBH, took a tour of Christmas lights in Manchester, New Hampshire. She went with a group of global refugees.

IBBY CAPUTO, BYLINE: On a chilly winter evening, Amadou Hamady ushers people from all over the world onto a school bus.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUS)

AMADOU HAMADY: Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

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The Two-Way
2:46 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Teen Daughter Of New NYC Mayor Admits Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 6:28 am

The teenage daughter of New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio released a video on Tuesday discussing her struggle with clinical depression and substance abuse.

In the nearly five-minute video, Chiara de Blasio acknowledges that she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, but says she's now clean after being treated at an outpatient center.

"Getting sober is always a positive thing," she says, encouraging others in her situation to also get help.

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Shots - Health News
2:40 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Could Pot Help Veterans With PTSD? Brain Scientists Say Maybe

There's data to support the notion that pot, or a drug based on its active ingredient, could help ease the fears of PTSD.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 10:50 am

Veterans who smoke marijuana to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder may be onto something. There's growing evidence that pot can affect brain circuits involved in PTSD.

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