10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Iraq

No U.S. Troops, But An Army Of Contractors In Iraq

As many as 5,000 private security contractors will be protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy compound (above) and several consulates will have about 15,000 workers, making it the largest diplomatic operation abroad.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

The U.S. troops have left Iraq, and U.S. diplomats will now be the face of America in a country that remains extremely volatile.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, along with several consulates, will have some 15,000 workers, making it the largest U.S. diplomatic operation abroad. Those diplomats will be protected by a private army consisting of as many as 5,000 security contractors who will carry assault weapons and fly armed helicopters.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Around the Nation

Historic Ford Plant Site Likely A Tough Sell

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

Ford employees assemble parts for Ranger pickup trucks. The last Ranger rolled off the line weeks ago as the plant prepares to close.
Jennifer Simonson for NPR

The Ford Motor Co. recently closed its historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant on a scenic river bluff in St. Paul, Minn. In better times, the parcel of land might have made condo developers drool, but in today's real estate market, redevelopment of the old factory could be a long way off.

The industrial architect Albert Kahn was particularly skilled at making factories blend into their surroundings. The 2-million-square-foot plant has a classical stone facade that flows along the Mississippi River bluff. The red tile roof of its hydroelectric plant glows in the sunlight.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Presidential Race

Early Florida Primary Could Sow Confusion, Not Clout

A woman votes in the Jan. 29, 2008, Florida primary in Miami Shores.
Marc Serota Getty Images

Four years ago, Florida played a key role choosing the Republican presidential nominee with a crucial early primary in violation of party rules. Next month, Florida Republicans are poised to do it again β€” once again breaking rules with an early primary. Only this time, their decision could confuse the race, rather than clarify it.

To understand why political parties set rules for presidential primaries, and why states break those rules, it's helpful to appreciate what it means for the campaigns to descend on a small state like Iowa or New Hampshire.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

In Vermont, Gravel And Road Business Is Up

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 7:53 am

Chris Carl, foreman of the Shelburne Limestone Corp. quarry in South Wallingford, says Vermont's weather woes helped to more than double the quarry's business.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

Federal, state and local spending on roadways is down nearly 6 percent. That's made it a tough year for many in the road-building business β€” but not in Vermont. There, pavers, excavators and other companies have had one of their busiest years ever, thanks to a storm named Irene.

For the past several months, Steve Wilk and Doug Casella have spent a lot of time in and out of their pickup trucks, checking on their road crews. For a business meeting, they just pull off onto the rocky shoulder to talk about new guardrails and blacktop for a job they're working on.

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Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.

Morris grew up in rural Kansas listening to KHCC, spun records at KJHK throughout college at the University of Kansas, and cut his teeth in journalism as an intern for Kansas Public Radio, in the Kansas statehouse.

2:15pm

Mon December 26, 2011
News

With 'Occupy' Protests, Police Aimed For Restraint

This fall American police were confronted with something they hadn't seen in 40 years: prolonged, simultaneous political protests across the country. In most cities, police showed restraint. But there have been exceptions β€” sometimes involving copious amounts of pepper spray. Those flashpoints have become a cause for concern.

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2:00pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Economy

What's Holding Back One 'Job Creator'? Not Taxes

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 7:53 am

"We've got the space, we have equipment, we've got the cash, we've got the customers, we have the product," says Tim O'Keeffe, owner of G.L. Huyett. "We have everything we need β€” except the people."
Frank Morris KCUR

There aren't many people on the broad Kansas prairie, but there is industry.

At G.L. Huyett, boxy machines jammed into a big metal building grind steel into heavy transmission parts.

"We're a supplier of last resort," says Tim O'Keeffe, who owns the company. If you have disruptions in the supply chain and someone can't meet a shipping time, he says, G.L. Huyett can step in.

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1:31pm

Mon December 26, 2011
The Record

It Was A Good Year For Swag

Lil B.
Courtesy of the artist.

2011 was a good year for the word "swag". Not trinkets, or party favors, not an acronym for Stuff We All Get, "swag" comes from swagger. This year a term that hip-hop artists have been using for nearly a decade enjoyed a moment in the spotlight.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

1:00pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Election 2012

In Iowa, All Eyes On Republican Hopefuls

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 2:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

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1:00pm

Mon December 26, 2011
NPR Story

Hospitals Move To Curb Elective Early Deliveries

More hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country are saying no to elective deliveries of babies before 39 weeks unless medically necessary. Doctors cite increased health risks associated with early deliveries, not costs β€” though Texas' Medicaid program has stopped paying for such births.

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