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3:14 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Housing Market Watchers Edgy As Mortgage Rates Keep Climbing

Home values have been rising in recent months, but mortgage rates have taken a rapid turn upward as well. Some investors are worried that the housing recovery may stall if mortgage rates jump too quickly.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Mortgage rates have seen a relatively sharp rise this month. The average 30-year fixed-rate loan hit 4 percent earlier in June — a big jump from the record lows of recent years. Some investors are now concerned that the housing recovery could be stifled if rates continue to rise quickly.

The Federal Reserve has two main missions: to maximize employment and minimize inflation. Right now, there are few, if any, signs that prices for goods are spiking, and the job market is still crawling out of its long, deep slump.

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It's All Politics
3:04 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Think Your Job's Hard? Try Being A Congressional Spy Watcher

Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky arrives in Chicago with President Obama in March.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 3:32 pm

As the controversy over the National Security Agency's phone and Internet data gathering reminds us, one of Congress' most challenging assignments is oversight of the nation's intelligence community.

Keeping tabs on the part of the federal government that constantly invokes national security to justify its opaqueness has its obvious difficulties and frustrations.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

U.S. Navy Approves Use Of Lowercase Letters

Teletype operators relay U.S. military communications in North Africa during World War II.
AP

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:33 pm

A recent directive issued by the U.S. Navy was transmitted in the customary format, using all uppercase letters. Sailors, it said, are:

"AUTHORIZED TO USE STANDARD, MIXED-CASE CHARACTERS IN THE BODY OF NAVY ORGANIZATIONAL MESSAGES."

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Australian General's Frank Talk On Sexual Abuse Wins Fans

Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Australia's army chief, has simple advice for those who don't want women in the service: "Get out."
YouTube

The growing problem of sexual assaults in the U.S. military has led to arguments in Congress, where lawmakers disagree over how to confront the issue. Top military officers have also weighed in on the topic. But in Australia, where the military has its own sexual assault problem, the army chief has a simple solution: "Show moral courage and take a stand."

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Deceptive Cadence
1:51 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Playing Mozart — On Mozart's Violin

Violinist Amandine Beyer holds Mozart's own violin backstage at Boston's Jordan Hall on Monday.
Kathy Wittman Courtesy of the Boston Early Music Festival

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:21 am

The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.

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The Salt
1:03 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

New Blood Sparks Identity Crisis For Fraternal Group Of Farmers

"A œGift for the Grangers" was a recruitment poster for the National Grange printed in 1873. Grange membership around this period was estimated by some to be as high as 2 million. Today it'™s less than 200,000.
National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.

In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed "Green Granges," which work together to advance the issues they care about.

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Planet Money
12:51 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

When People Make Their Own Banks

Harlem funeral directors Tamara Bullock and Patricia Hamilton are going to spend their next savings-club payout on a sky-diving trip (unless Bullock can get out of it).
Marianne McCune NPR

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.

He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.

"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.

This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.

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Shots - Health News
12:50 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Doctors To Vote On Whether Cheerleading Is A Sport

University of Louisville cheerleaders hurled into the air during the first half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game against Wichita State in April.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 5:43 am

This weekend the American Medical Association will kick off its annual exercise in medical democracy.

The group's House of Delegates will meet in Chicago to vote on resolutions that range from a demand that private insurers pay doctors at least as much as Medicare does to a call for federal legislation affirming the right of doctors to talk about gun safety with patients.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Fri June 14, 2013

U.N. Chief Opposes U.S. Military Support For Syrian Rebels

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:58 am

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that he opposes the U.S. decision to provide Syrian rebels with military support.

"The United Nations, and in particular I, have been making it consistently clear that providing arms to either side would not address this current situation," Ban told reporters during a briefing. "There is no such military solution."

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The Salt
11:24 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Nudging Detroit: Program Doubles Food Stamp Bucks In Grocery Stores

A customer in the produce section at Metro Foodland, one of the Detroit grocery stores participating in a healthy food incentive program for people with SNAP benefits. The store will add a section of specially marked local produce as part of the program.
Courtesy of the Fair Food Network

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 12:35 pm

In recent years, programs that double the value of food stamp dollars spent at farmers markets have generated a lot of attention. The basic idea: Spend, say, $10 in food stamps and get an extra $10 credit for purchases at the market.

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