Health Care
4:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

How Fraud Flourishes Unchecked In Medicare's Drug Plan

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:47 pm

With just a handful of prescriptions to his name, psychiatrist Ernest Bagner III was barely a blip in Medicare's vast drug program in 2009.

But the next year he churned them out at a furious rate — not just psychiatric drugs, but expensive pills for asthma, cholesterol, heartburn and blood clots.

By the end of 2010, Medicare had paid $3.8 million for Bagner's drugs — one of the highest tallies in the country. He added another $2.6 million the following year, records analyzed by ProPublica show.

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Media
3:57 am
Fri December 20, 2013

We Say Goodbye To Some NPR Colleagues

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And there's more than a touch of sadness for us in this next story. We're saying good-bye to two of NPR's finest voices.

(SOUNDBITE OF NPR NEWS)

JEAN COCHRAN, BYLINE: From NPR News in Washington, I'm Jean Cochran.

PAUL BROWN, BYLINE: I'm Paul Brown, NPR News, Washington.

GREENE: For years now Paul and Jean have brought you the first draft of history.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now we have news - it's the last day for both.

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Music
3:55 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Have Yourself A Sullen Little Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Less than a week before Christmas, holly-jolly holiday music abounds — and if you're not feeling holly or jolly, it can be a little hard to take. For NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Morning Edition producer Travis Larchuk, the holidays often mean searching for alternatives: In Thompson's case, it means diversions into melancholy, while Larchuk often seeks something cutting or sarcastic or hyperrealistic to cut through the treacle.

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Politics
3:48 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Budget Bill Scales Back Military Pensions In 2015

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Leaders of the Pentagon got something they really wanted in a congressional budget deal. They are restraining future pensions paid to American troops. Cutting veterans benefits is never popular, but on this program last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said benefits are getting so costly, it's hard to keep troops ready for war.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

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NPR Story
3:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Hershey Buys Chinese Chocolate Company For $584 Million

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Nothing like a story about pizza to make you hungry. And then we bring you this, our last word in business, which is: Shanghai Golden Monkey. That's the Chinese candy maker that Hershey bought yesterday for almost $600 million.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Hershey is not monkeying around. It may hold the largest share of the U.S. chocolate market, but only a small share of candy sales overseas.

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NPR Story
3:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

'Duck Dynasty' Attracts Christian Conservatives

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Fans of "Duck Dynasty" know this. It is a popular reality TV show about a family that found success selling products to hunters. Well, now the patriarch of the family has been suspended indefinitely from the show; this is after he made remarks about homosexuality to GQ magazine. The show is a huge hit for the A&E cable channel, spawning a multimillion dollar industry of related products and books. NPR's Lynn Neary has this look at the family and where they might be headed.

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NPR Story
3:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Minister Defrocked Over Officiating Gay Wedding Will Appeal

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 2:12 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. On Thursday the United Methodist Church defrocked a Pennsylvania pastor who's presided at the wedding of his gay son. That wedding was back in 2007. The pastor is appealing the decision in his church trial, which has become a parable for the divisions in a church with more than eight million members across the United States. From member-station WHYY in Philadelphia, Emma Jacobs reports.

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NPR Story
3:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Russian Amnesty Decision Made Before Start Of Winter Olympics

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Russia has been drawing criticism for its handling of gay rights as that country prepares to host the Winter Olympics. A recent Russian law criminalizes what it calls gay propaganda. It's so broadly written, many gay people fear they could face charges for just living their lives. This week, Russia addressed some human rights issues. It granted amnesty for thousands of prisoners, including two women in the band Pussy Riot.

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The Salt
2:35 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Deep Dish Or Thin Crust? Even Chicagoans Can't Agree

A server dishes up a slice of deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria in Chicago. The 1-1/2-inch thick legendary pie, loaded with sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni and onions, was invented in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart recently ranted against Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

"Let me explain something. Deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza — it's not pizza," said Stewart, calling it "tomato soup in a bread bowl. ... I don't know whether to eat it, or throw a coin in it and make a wish."

Some upset Chicagoans made their own wishes — which can't be repeated here.

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StoryCorps
2:34 am
Fri December 20, 2013

A Home-Cooked Dinner That's More Than A Meal

Willie Davis with his friend Yelitza Castro in Pineville, N.C.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:13 am

Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.

Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.

"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.

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