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House

99% Invisible

162- Mystery House

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

According to legend, Sarah Winchester's friends advised the grieving widow to seek the services of a Boston spiritual medium named Adam Koombs. The story goes, Koombs put Mrs. Winchester in touch with her deceased husband—but William had bad news. -

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The Takeaway

Following The Money in The $4 Billion Midterms

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

With a price tag of nearly $4 billion, the 2014 midterm elections are the most expensive in American history. An investigative reporter follows the money trail. 

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World Weekly with Gideon Rachman

US mid-term elections and their longer term repercussions

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

US mid-term elections and their longer term repercussions

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On Being

Nadia Bolz-Weber — Seeing the Underside and Seeing God: Tattoos, Tradition, and Grace [remix]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

She’s the tattooed, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, a church where a chocolate fountain, a blessing of the bicycles, and serious liturgy come together.

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On Being

[Unedited] Nadia Bolz-Weber with Krista Tippett

Thursday, October 23, 2014

She’s the tattooed, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, a church where a chocolate fountain, a blessing of the bicycles, and serious liturgy come together.

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Soundcheck

Hugh Laurie: 'I Wanted To Be A Sitting-Down Guitarist'

Friday, June 20, 2014

The former star of the Fox TV drama House talks the blues, American accents and karaoke.

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Slate Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest: Live from Brooklyn Edition

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slate critics Stephen Metcalf, Julia Turner and Dana Stevens discuss the Nicole Holofcener film "Enough Said" and Brooklyn as a global brand, plus New York Times contributor Chris Suellentrop guests for a discussion of video games as art and Grand Theft A

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Monday Morning Politics: Sequestration Backlash

Monday, April 29, 2013

The sequestration cuts are being felt, and Congress is rolling back some of the bill they passed earlier this year. Nancy Cook, economic and fiscal policy correspondent for National Journal, talks about the latest news from Washington, including the congressional response to sequestration-induced flight delays.

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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

'The Artistic and the Beautiful': Frank Lloyd Wright's Wide-Ranging Views

Monday, February 25, 2013

WNYC

In 1957, two years before his death, Frank Lloyd Wright sat down with WNYC to discuss his design philosophy, exhibiting his trademark eloquence and blistering opinions. The year of this interview marks an explosion of commissions for Wright, who by then had been practicing architecture for 70 years.

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WNYC News

Battle Lines Drawn Over Sandy Relief Package

Monday, January 14, 2013

On Tuesday, the House is expected to take up a $50 billion dollar Sandy Relief package that is dividing the Republican caucus along regional lines.

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New Jersey News

Sandy Aid Debate Heats Up in the House

Monday, January 14, 2013

This weekend, in several towns hit hard by Sandy in both New York and New Jersey, residents turned out at impromptu "Walk A Mile In Our Shoes" rallies aimed at keeping pressure on Washington to pass the $50.7 billion dollar relief bill.

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The Takeaway

What's in Store for the 113th Congress

Friday, January 04, 2013

A new year, a new Congress, and the 113th Congress is the most diverse yet. Despite all the new faces, many early items of legislative business are old ones -- and ones which could come with old battles. Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich explains what's in store for the 113th Congress.

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The Takeaway

Paul Ryan Budget Creates Friction in Congressional Race

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Criticisms over the Paul Ryan budget's steep cuts to Medicare have made it a talking point for Democrats in tough Senate and House races across the country. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich took an in-depth look at the impact of the Paul Ryan budget on local races for a special airing Thursday night on PBS's NewsHour.

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World Weekly with Gideon Rachman

After the conventions: the race for the White House

Thursday, September 06, 2012

After the conventions: the race for the White House

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World Weekly with Gideon Rachman

A contentious running mate

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A contentious running mate

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Transportation Nation

Fed Transportation Conference Report: Not a Touchdown. More Like A Field Goal.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Now that the Transportation Bill conference committee has finally released a report (ongress has all of two days to pass it before the June 30th deadline on the current (ninth) extension. That’s not much time to fully analyze the entire 599-page Conference Report, but fortunately the committee provided a “brief” 91-page Joint Explanatory Statement.

It appears from first glance that the document is in almost every way a lukewarm compromise bill:

  • It covers two years, not six.
  • It lacks the most extreme provisions contemplated over the past months: Keystone pipeline approval, relaxing coal ash regulations, cutting mass transit spending from the Highway Trust Fund.
  • It includes reforms that enjoyed bipartisan support—program streamlining, accelerated environmental review.
  • It maintains current funding, adjusted for inflation, without indexing the gas tax or limiting spending to its revenue.

Spending on biking, walking, and beautification “transportation enhancements” remains, and half of those funds will be sent directly to metropolitan areas. That's a win for supporters. And half will be sent to the states, which are free to spend them on roads instead. That's a win for detractors.

Transportation For America, one of several organizations created around what many expected would be a transformative, next-generation transportation bill in 2009, made note earlier this week that the last major re-authorization had expired more than 1,000-days ago.

In the context of those last several years of gridlock, this conference report, by its mere existence, amounts to something of a breakthrough.

Something of a breakthrough. The conference report makes useful changes but fails to put the nation on the solid footing that transportation advocates of both parties have been yearning for.  For example, it doesn’t replace or significantly augment gas-tax funding. Nor does it create or even allow a visionary level of investment--public or private.

It’s better than another punt, but by no means a touchdown, for anyone. We’ll call it a field goal. A victory for minimal competence. Some conference report highlights:

  • Consolidates the number of highway programs by two-thirds, making more resources available directly to states and metropolitan areas.
  • Allows acceleration of environmental reviews while maintaining environmental protections.
  • Introduces performance measures to better focus spending on measurable outcomes such as reducing congestion, improving road and bridge conditions, and freight movement.
    Expands the TIFIA program to $1 Billion per year.
  • Creates a pilot program for transit-oriented development planning.
  • Increases (modestly) spending on public transportation in Appalachian region and on Indian reservations.

Key proposals that were not included:

  • NO Keystone oil pipeline approval, nor language to weaken restrictions on coal ash, as proposed by House Republicans.
  • NO permission for transit agencies to use federal capital funds for operating expenses during periods of high unemployment, as proposed by Senate Democrats.
  • NO funding reductions for states based on mileage leased to private concessionaires, as proposed by Senate Democrats.

Check back with us soon for more news and analysis.

Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.


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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: Congress Close to Deal on 18-Month Transportation Bill

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UPDATED WITH BARBARA BOXER'S STATEMENT  Congressional negotiators appear to be locking down an 18-month transportation bill-- just before current funding expires at the end of the week.

Final numbers on the developing deal are not yet available, and aides stress none of its provisions are final until the whole package is inked. But aides from both parties  confirmed key details for Transportation Nation, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent out an email indicating that it's basically a done deal.

“I am so glad that House Republicans met Democrats half way, as Senate Republicans did months ago," she wrote. “The bill is funded at current levels."

Politically-charged provisions forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and rolling back EPA rules on coal ash will not be included in the final deal, according to aides. That could make it more difficult for House GOP leaders to secure votes for a final deal from Republicans, who have voted several times in favor of the measures and in many cases insisted on its inclusion in the highway bill.

In a concession by Democrats, extra money for land and water conservation looks to be left out of the deal. There are likely to be further reductions to transportation "enhancement" requirements forcing states to spend a certain portion of their highway funds on bike paths and other non-road projects.

Boxer's email referenced an agreement on the enhancement requirements.  "For the first time, we send half of the funds for bike paths and pedestrian walkways directly to local entities," she wrote, "and we protect those funds while giving states more flexibility on their share."

Republicans appear to have scored a victory on the pace of environmental reviews for projects. While the original Senate bill limited reviews to 15 years, the deal afoot among conferees limits reviews to eight years, aides said. The final deal also appears to include extra money for rural schools and for Gulf Coast states ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Lawmakers and aides are rushing to ink the deal and file it in the House before midnight Wednesday. That would allow the House to pass the agreement Friday and still comply with House Republicans' three-day preview requirement before bills can reach the floor. The transportation deal is likely to get paired up with a separate deal preventing a student loan rate hike.

Senate aides say it is unlikely senators would remain in town Friday to stamp the deal with an official vote. That means senators would have to have broad agreement to approve it by unanimous consent some time after the House acts.

Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich

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Slate Culture Gabfest

Culture Gabfest: Curb Appeal Edition

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slate critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss the revelation that the reality show "House Hunters" is sometimes completely staged, Kathryn Bowers' new book about how humans and animals share many common diseases, and finally the vi

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Transportation Nation

Leaders to Negotiators: Make One Last Push on Transportation Bill

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Congressional leaders told negotiators involved in faltering transportation bill talks to bear down and make an agreement.

That was the message transmitted by lawmakers emerging from a meeting at Speaker John Boehner's Capitol offices on Tuesday afternoon. Chief GOP negotiator Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told lawmakers to "redouble our efforts" to try and reach an agreement by the end of this week.

Mica suggested negotiations are entering a final, critical stage. Other lawmakers have suggested that a six-month extension of current surface transportation policy will have to be drafted to prevent highway programs from shutting down June 30, when federal authority to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund expires.

"We're going to take it hour by hour," Mica said.

Mica said Boxer had offered new Senate proposals in the talks. But a House GOP leadership aide suggested Democrats have been unwilling to move far off of policy positions contained in the Senate bill, which passed in March with 74 votes.

Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich

 

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Transportation Nation

Negotiators Kick Off Highway Bill Conference; Boxer Warns "Failure Is Not An Option"

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user Crazy George)

Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate began their formal conference over surface transportation funding Tuesday, in a negotiation that could take up to a month and where tens of billions of dollars are at stake.

Lawmakers from both sides of the Capitol gathered in one of the Hill's largest hearings rooms to begin hashing out an agreement between the chambers. On the table: A two-year Senate bill worth $109 billion backed by a broad bipartisan vote, versus House demands to cut spending, reform federal projects, cut regulations and force approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

The extension governing highway funding expires June 30. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) the champion of the Senate bill and the conference committee chair, told lawmakers they'll need to reach agreement by early June in order to get an agreement written and passed in time.

It won't be easy. Several tries left House Republicans unable to agree amongst themselves on a multi-year transportation policy. Meanwhile, many House conservatives consider the Senate bill a non-starter, largely because of its funding levels.

Now House Republicans begin the the conference at a distinct disadvantage. House and Senate Democrats are strongly behind the Senate bill, as are many Senate Republicans. The White House has also strongly backed the Senate's bid. SenatorJames Inhofe (R-Okla) leaned on House conservatives to accept the Senate's bill, which he helped craft with Boxer.

"I have every expectation we are going to be able to do that which the majority of Americans want done," he said.

House Republicans hold a few cards and are making some demands of their own. They want the Senate's $109 billion price tag reduced and are pushing hard to force the White House to accept final construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. They have also laid down markers repealing pending EPA coal ash pollution regulations.

"Let's not just spend more money. Let's have some serious reforms," urged Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) the conference committee's vice-chair.

Boxer began the proceedings with a long list of lobbying and interest organizations that support the Senate bill, ranging from AAA and trucking groups to the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"If the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce can work together, then surely we can work together," she said, adding that "failure is not an option for us."

But the reality is that in the 112th Congress, failure is, in fact, an option. Leadership aides in the House and Senate predicted that the election-year talks would likely lead to an agreement rejected by House Republican rank-and-file members. That could force Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass any final agreement with the help of large numbers of Democrats. Failing that, Congress can do what it's done nine times since 2005 and simply pass another extension of current law to avoid a shutdown.

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