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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

"It would be inexcusable for Congress not to further extend this middle-class tax cut for the rest of the year," Obama said after the Senate passed a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 8:53 pm

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

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Inside NPR.org
12:32 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Senate OKs Two More Months For Payroll Tax Cut

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

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Latin America
11:05 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Paroled U.S. Activist Says Peru Won't Let Her Leave

Paroled U.S. activist Lori Berenson said Saturday that she and her toddler son were not permitted to leave Peru despite being granted permission in court to spend the holidays in New York with her family.

"They didn't let me leave and they're putting out this version that I arrived late," she said in a brief phone conversation with The Associated Press, referring to media reports citing unnamed airport officials.

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Politics
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Congress Reaches Short-Term Compromise At 11th Hour

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Politics
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

A Freshman's Year In A Dysfunctional Congress

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We're going to go to a Republican member of the House, Congressman Bill Huizenga of Michigan. He represents the 2nd district in western Michigan. We check in with him from time to time throughout his first year in Congress. Congressman, welcome back.

REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUIZENGA: Hey. Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: Now, let me ask about - are these stop-gap measures just the new way of doing business in Congress, and does that just kick the can down the road a couple of months?

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Around the Nation
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Penn State Officials Face Trial In Sex Abuse Case

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Technology
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Top Gadgets And 'Best Innovations' Of The Year

Originally published on Sat December 17, 2011 9:24 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Popular Science magazine is out with its 100 best innovations issue. If you've got hard-to-please family members on your holiday shopping lists, maybe you want to consider something like an inflatable wetsuit for big-wave surfing. That's just one of the year's top gadgets. Tell us a little more about some of the noteworthy innovations, we have Mark Jannot in our New York studios. He's the editor-in-chief of Popular Science. Thanks for being with us.

MARK JANNOT: It's always fun, Scott.

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Performing Arts
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Grandma The Clown Is Leaving The Tent

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF CIRCUS MUSIC)

SIMON: When the bright lights beam under the Big Top of the Big Apple Circus, Grandma shuffles in. She's got a silver hair, a slow walk, a sly smile, and a purse so huge you think she might have New Jersey somewhere in there. I mean Grandma the Clown.

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From Our Listeners
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Your Letters: Laura Nyro; The Christmas Krampus

Lots of comments came in this week about host Scott Simon's remembrance of Laura Nyro. We also heard from several Krampus revelers, who celebrate the Christmas Krampus, a horned, mythical kind of dark sidekick to Santa Claus. Host Scott Simon reads listener reaction to last week's program.

Iraq
7:00 am
Sat December 17, 2011

Five Big Moments In The Iraq War

With the Iraq war officially over and the pullout of U.S. forces nearly complete, host Scott Simon talks with Tom Ricks, author of The Best Defense blog, and Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker about the most influential turning points of the war.

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