10:20am

Wed January 4, 2012
Presidential Race

U.S. Politics: Hurrah For The Red, White And Screwy

Voters register to cast their ballots during Republican caucuses at a school in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

The American political system — as corny, eclectic, chaotic and screwed up as it is with its straw polls, caucuses, primaries and contested elections — somehow gets the job done time after time.

It's weird, really: In this country that celebrates unity and national spirit, a president is chosen via quirky, jerky state-by-state (sometimes precinct-by-precinct) methods. In this society that seeks perfection, the leader is selected in a painfully imperfect process.

But, to paraphrase the old saw: Our funky form of democracy may just be the least worst way to govern.

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10:18am

Wed January 4, 2012
Presidential Race

Iowa A Virtual Tie For Romney, Decisive For Bachmann

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum finished virtually even in Iowa's caucuses Tuesday, but after Rep. Michele Bachmann's sixth-place finish, she announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign. For more on the GOP race and the next contest — Tuesday's New Hampshire primary — Linda Wertheimer talks with NPR's Brian Naylor, who's in the city of Manchester.

10:15am

Wed January 4, 2012
The Two-Way

Bishop Resigns After He Acknowledges Fathering Two Children

San Gabriel Region Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala leads a mass in this file photo from 2005. Zavala resigned from the ministry in December, after revealing that he fathered two children.
David McNew Getty Images

A Catholic bishop in California has resigned his post after revealing in December that he has two children.

"The Vatican announced the bishop's resignation Jan. 4 in a one-line statement that cited church law on resignation for illness or other serious reasons," reports the Catholic News Service from Vatican City.

Pope Benedict reportedly accepted the resignation of Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, in December.

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10:10am

Wed January 4, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

In US, Hospital Round Trips More Common For Heart Attack Patients

In the U.S., hospitalized heart attack patients go home sooner than in other countries. They are more likely to return to the hospital within a month of being discharged.
iStockphoto.com

If a heart attack sends you to an American hospital, you'll probably go home after only two or three nights. That's faster than virtually anyplace else in the world.

But your chances of needing to go back into the hospital within the next month are also higher than they are for heart attack patients in 16 other countries. That's the finding from a Duke University-led study in this week's JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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10:06am

Wed January 4, 2012
The Salt

When 'Budget' Foods Start To Eat Away At The Wallet

Ground beef used to be a cheap, go-to dinner meat, but no longer.
iStockphoto.com

If the grocery bill hurts more now than it used to, you're not alone. The cost of staples like ground beef, chicken, eggs and potatoes has spiked over 10 percent in the past year, three times the cost of inflation overall.

Ironically, if you were trying to be thrifty by eating at home instead of eating out, you probably felt it most.

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10:01am

Wed January 4, 2012
Business

To Climb In U.S., Volkswagen Gets Less German

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:09 am

Jonathan Browning, president of Volkswagen Group of America, attends the U.S. unveiling of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, a new version of the iconic car. Volkswagen saw a 26.3 percent increase in U.S. sales in 2011, and has its sights on becoming the world's No. 1 carmaker.
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Last year was a very good year for the German automaker Volkswagen, but 2012 could be even better.

Sales for Volkswagen Group's brands — including Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini — increased by 20 percent in the U.S. last year. For the Volkswagen brand itself, sales rose 26.3 percent. And if things continue to go Volkswagen's way, it could become the No. 1 carmaker in the world.

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9:46am

Wed January 4, 2012
It's All Politics

After Bruising Loss In Iowa, Bachmann Bows Out

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 10:09 am

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, joined by husband Marcus (left) and family and friends, announces that she will end her campaign for president in West Des Moines on Wednesday.
Chris Carlson AP

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The conservative provocateur finished a disappointing sixth in Tuesday's caucuses in Iowa, with just 5 percent of the vote.

"Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice," Bachmann said at a mid-morning news conference in West Des Moines. "So I have decided to stand aside."

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9:40am

Wed January 4, 2012
It's All Politics

Gov. Perry: 'Here we come South Carolina!!!'

Though he said last night that he would go home to reassess his bid for the presidency — a signal that he might drop out of the race — this message just popped up on the personal Twitter page of Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

"And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!!"

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9:09am

Wed January 4, 2012
The Two-Way

Bucking GOP, Obama Will Recess Appoint Consumer Agency Chief

Richard Cordray testifies during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in September. His nomination to head the consumer watchdog agency was blocked by Senate Republicans.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama will use what's known as a recess appointment to name Richard Cordray the head of the country's new consumer watchdog agency.

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8:59am

Wed January 4, 2012
Television

Pamela Adlon: From 'Hill' Kid To 'Californication'

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 9:51 am

Pamela Adlon plays Marcy Runkle on Showtime's Californication. This season, her character is going through what she describes as a "sexual renaissance."
Jordin Althaus Showtime

When Pamela Adlon meets her daughters' middle-school-aged friends, she asks them nicely not to watch Californication, the show she's starred in for the past five seasons.

"I say, 'I'd appreciate if you don't watch my show and you don't Google me,' " she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

But Adlon, who plays the brash, unapologetic, sexually charged Marcy Runkle on the Showtime series, says she knows that's not going to stop anyone.

"I am not embarrassed," she says. "I know they Google me."

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