NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner Spins Some Sweet Ol’ Tunes

Dec 2, 2016

Musician Kurt Wagner is the frontman for the Nashville music collective Lambchop and over the course of 12 albums, he’s drawn on everything from country to hip-hop, to create odd, lyrically rich music. With his new album, “Flotus,” he’s added beat-driven electronica into the mix. The Los Angeles Times describes it as, “something really magical.”

Thousands of veterans have suffered combat injures that left them infertile. For the first time, the VA will pay for treatments to help them have children.

Several companies, including Kellogg’s, Allstate, Nest and Warby Parker, announced Tuesday they would pull their advertisements from the right-wing site Breitbart — some claiming they did not even know their ads were appearing there.

The controversial website, formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, has drawn ire for publishing articles considered sympathetic to white nationalists. Breitbart denies that and responded in kind to the ad pulls, calling for a boycott of Kellogg’s.

Donald Trump kicked off his postelection "thank you tour" with a Thursday-night rally that sounded a lot like any of his campaign rallies. He said trade was dangerous, he warned about refugees, and his mention of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, prompted supporters to chant "lock her up."

As was the case at many times on the campaign trail, Trump's presentation of facts requires some fact-checking and context. Here's a look at the president-elect's Thursday-night speech.

"I lost more than 80 percent of my university friends," recalls Jagannath Lamichhane.

After silently struggling with depression for two decades, Lamichhane published an essay in Nepal Times about his mental illness. "I could have hid my problem — like millions of people around the world," he says, but "if we hide our mental health, it may remain a problem forever."

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

A sprawling health bill expected to pass the Senate, gain President Obama's signature and become law before the end of the year is a grab bag for industries, academic institutions and patient groups that spent oodles of time and money lobbying to advance their interests.

Who wins and who loses?

Here's the rundown of what's at stake in the 21st Century Cures Act:

Winners

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies

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Kai Ryssdal

Another key job in the Trump administration has been filled. Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis is the president-elect's pick for Secretary of Defense and the official announcement comes Monday.

It is unconventional to name a retired general officer to run the Pentagon for several reasons, some of which Erin Simpson lays out in a new piece at the commentary website War on the Rocks.

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Kai Ryssdal

There are some exciting new developments in the world of Snapchat — or rather, Snap Inc., their new name in a corporate re-branding undertaken by Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan. According to Khan, Snap Inc. accommodates the company's expansion beyond social media into camera technology at large.

In eastern Tennessee, officials say a wildfire that tore through resort towns in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains earlier this week killed at least 13 people and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures, according to local officials and the state emergency management agency.

The confirmed death toll in and around the tourist town of Gatlinburg in Sevier County has climbed steadily since the fire raced into town overnight on Monday.

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Mitchell Hartman

The November unemployment rate, at 4.6 percent, is low. But the jobs are still disappearing in some sectors. In manufacturing, for instance: down 4,000 jobs from October, continuing a long-term trend.

So what’s that mean for workers?

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Prologue

Dec 2, 2016

The first step in choosing a great book to read? Check the reviews. Guess classic novels like Moby Dick from their actual one-star Amazon reviews. Then, see if you can tell the difference between a Choose Your Own Adventure book and a Weekly World News headline in one of the very first This, That, or the Others written for the AMA stage.

Heard On Literary Favorites

Chapter One

Dec 2, 2016

There's nothing like retreating to your favorite secluded spot and indulging in a good book. Next best thing? Hearing Jonathan Coulton sing about other people who enjoy seclusion, too! Then, nonfiction books get the blockbuster movie trailer treatment. Finally, find the perfect reading snack with a mash-up game featuring book titles reimagined as foods.

Heard On Literary Favorites

Epilogue

Dec 2, 2016

On a scale of one to ten of how she's doing, these days Lauren Weedman is a solid eight. But the author of Miss Fortune: Fresh Perspectives on Having It All From Someone Who Is Not Okay hasn't always been this 'okay.' In fact, she revealed to host Ophira Eisenberg, "When I started writing the book, I was way less okay. It was very much embracing ... what a mess [I am]."

In a shocking upset, election officials say an opposition candidate has defeated Gambia's longtime leader in the country's presidential vote. This sets the stage for what could be the small West African country's first-ever peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from the U.K. in 1965.

Get ready for a higher-end cup of coffee

Dec 2, 2016
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Marielle Segarra

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is stepping out of daily operations at the coffee company to focus on the rollout of a new premium coffee brand, Starbucks Reserve. Schultz compared the effort to Ralph Lauren's launch of his high-end Purple label. But how has that brand done? And what lessons does Ralph Lauren have for Howard Schultz?

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Long and Short: Minimum wage and Gilmore Girls

Dec 2, 2016
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Lizzie O'Leary and Hayley Hershman

The Los Angeles Times' Natalie Kitroeff and CNN Money's Tanzina Vega play the long and short game this week. They discuss fair wages, the myth of bringing jobs back to the U.S. and the "Gilmore Girls" revival.

Click the above audio player to hear the full story. 

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Daisy Palacios

The way Americans thought about house and home completely transformed between 1945-1973. The post-war period in America ushered in a big spike in spending on domestic goods, like appliances and decor. Home ownership rates increased, too. In 1940, 43.6 percent of Americans owned their home. By 1960, 61.9 percent did. This made the "nesting" aspect of Christmas, including exterior and interior decoration, a new category for holiday shopping.

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Phoebe Unterman

Even though the Big Mac isn’t as relevant as it used to be, McDonald’s still sells plenty of them — 500 million Big Macs are sold per year in the U.S. alone and the iconic burger is available in almost 100 countries, according to The New York Times.

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Sam Beard

First it was Brexit. Then Donald Trump’s presidential election victory. Where will the next politico-economic bombshell fall? It could be in Italy over the weekend. On Sunday, Italians vote in a referendum on constitutional reform. And the result could — conceivably — produce turmoil in financial markets.

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JaeRan Kim

It’s December, and if you’re heading out to do some shopping right now, you’ll notice a few things. One, there will definitely be annoying holiday music playing. Two, pretty good deals on coats, if you can find them. Three, for a lot of the country, it doesn’t feel like December weather-wise. Warmer winters are shrinking the market for winter clothing — and for the shares of companies that make it.

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Unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 4.6 percent, last month — the lowest rate since 2007 — according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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