Heller McAlpin is a New York-based critic who reviews books regularly for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.

1:54pm

Thu February 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Voter ID Backer, Opponent Agree On One Point: Voter Rolls Are A Mess

There are few people further apart on the issue of new voter photo ID requirements than Laura Murphy and Hans von Spakovsky.

She's director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. He's with the Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department official under George W. Bush.

So when the two went head-to-head Thursday on the issue at the National Press Club in Washington DC, there were a few sparks.

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1:44pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Presidential Race

For Loyalists, Is It Ron Paul Or Nothing?

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 2:31 pm

Fans of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul show their support outside the Mesa Arts Center before Wednesday night's Republican debate in Mesa, Ariz.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Benom Plumb, a 31-year-old music industry executive from Nashville, thinks the country is on the wrong path, and that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can turn things around.

As for the other Republicans, Plumb doesn't mince words: Mitt Romney? Too slick. Rick Santorum? Too religious. Newt Gingrich? Untrustworthy. "They are all liars and cheaters, if you ask me," he says.

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1:42pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Planet Money

How Mitt Romney's Firm Transformed A Struggling Company, In 5 Steps

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 10:19 am

iStockphoto.com

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

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1:42pm

Thu February 23, 2012
World

For War Reporters, The Risks Of Going Solo

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 3:26 pm

Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin often traveled by herself to the front lines of conflicts to interview civilians trapped by war. Colvin, who was killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, is shown here in Cairo in an undated photo.
Ivor Prickett AP

War correspondents have always been at the short end of the actuarial tables. Life insurance salesmen do not pester them. No war is safe, and no correspondent is bulletproof.

But the rules of the game have been changing, and the recent deaths in Syria of two prominent correspondents, Anthony Shadid of The New York Times and Marie Colvin, an American working for Britain's Sunday Times, show how this line of work has grown even riskier.

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1:40pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Guy Walks Into A Denny's, Cooks A Burger, Gets Arrested

Denny's was the scene. Fraud is among the alleged crimes. A burger may have been cooked.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

This alleged crime in Madison, Wis., is odd enough — or funny enough, depending on your point of view — to begin with.

It seems that 52-year-old James B. Summers went into a local Denny's restaurant Tuesday afternoon and said he was the new general manager. This was a surprise to the folks working there.

Summers, though, insisted that he was indeed the new boss. And he seemed to be familiar with the kitchen — he grabbed a soft drink and cooked up a cheeseburger and fries.

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1:35pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Closing Time: Postal Service May Cut 35,000 Jobs

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 2:50 am

The exterior of a Burlingame, Calif. U.S. Postal Service mailing processing center that has been approved for full consolidation.
Paul Sakuma AP

Facing a financial crisis, the United States Postal Service announced that 223 processing facilities have been "found feasible for consolidation, all or in part." Of the 264 processing facilities studied, only 35 are set to remain open.

The closings could result in the loss of 35,000 jobs. USPS has posted a full list of the facilities — which process and sort mail on its way to being delivered — on its website.

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1:25pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Disease Sleuths Surf For Outbreaks Online

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 6:44 am

Adam Cole NPR

Most folks who wake up feeling crummy will sit down with a computer or smartphone before they sit down with a doctor.

They might search the Web for remedies or tweet about their symptoms. And that's why scientists who track disease are turning to the Internet for early warning signs of epidemics.

"Surveillance is one of the cornerstones of public health," says Philip Polgreen, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa. "It all depends on having not only accurate data, but timely data."

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1:21pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Race

African-American Museum Has Its Groundbreaking

On Wednesday, President Obama and a number of special guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is expected to open in 2015.

12:30pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

West Virginia Report On Mine Disaster Points To State's Shortcomings

At an April 25, 2010, service in Beckley, W. Va., for the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion, helmets — placed on crosses — were lined up in their honor.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

West Virginia's Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has issued what is now the fourth investigative report on the April, 2010, Upper Big Branch mine explosion. It largely agrees with the earlier reviews, but in language that's tepid in comparison.

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