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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
2:03 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use.
Wikipedia

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.

For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.

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NPR Story
7:04 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Country Music Legend Ray Price Dies At 87

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Country music singer and songwriter Ray Price died Monday at the age of 87 at his ranch in Texas. Price was a Grammy Award Winner and who had more than 100 country hits in his decades-long career. A 1996 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, he was credited with pioneering a shuffle beat and walking bass line that became standard in Texas dance halls.

Code Switch
5:15 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

It's Called 'Africa.' Of Course It's About Race, Right?

Steve Lukather, vocalist and guitarist, is Toto's frontman.
Courtesy of Toto

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 7:26 am

The email arrived with the kind of snarky tone reserved for a moment when the author is sure he — and it's usually a he — thinks he's hoisted you with your own petard.

A bit of back story: Last week, I tweeted a question wondering why CBS This Morning used a clip of Toto's hit song "Africa" under a montage of photos from Nelson Mandela's funeral. The tweet went viral, sparking stories on several websites and agreement from a co-founder of the band.

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The Two-Way
5:15 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Pastor Says He Will Minister To Gays Even If He's Defrocked

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist clergyman convicted of breaking church law for officiating at his son's same-sex wedding, enters a news conference at the Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia on Monday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:06 pm

A Methodist minister in Pennsylvania who was suspended after defying church authorities by presiding over his gay son's wedding has vowed to continue his work as a clergyman even if he is defrocked.

NPR's John Burnett reports that the Rev. Frank Schaefer was convicted in a church trial last month of violating the Methodist Book of Discipline — which opposes gay marriage — and given a 30-day suspension.

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It's All Politics
5:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

New Year Likely To Ring In Old Debt Ceiling Fight

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (right), accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, takes reporters' questions during a Dec. 11 news conference.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:00 pm

At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.

The good news is that the budget agreement, overwhelmingly passed by the House last week in a bipartisan vote, is likely to be approved by the Senate this week. That takes another costly government shutdown off the table.

The bad news? Another debt ceiling fight, with all the attendant risks of a U.S. government default, appears to be right around the corner.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Coroner: Colo. High School Shooter Died Of Gunshot Wound To Head

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:01 pm

The student who opened fire at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., last week, died of a single gunshot wound to the head, the county coroner said Monday.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan

The Pere Marquette 1225 rolls into view in Owosso, Mich. It's been a local favorite for decades and especially gained popularity after inspiring the look and sounds of the train in a 2004 film.
James DeVleeschouwer Jr. Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:12 pm

Every sight and sound of the magical Christmas train in the 2004 film The Polar Express is based on a real-life steam locomotive. The Pere Marquette 1225 has its own Christmas story to tell — and it involves a very close call with the scrapyard.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

General Motors CEO: In The Bailout, Fair Is Fair

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks at the National Press Club on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made a case Monday for how losing should feel like winning — at least for U.S. taxpayers who lost more than $10 billion in a GM bailout.

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All Tech Considered
4:03 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Here Are The Tech Execs Meeting With President Obama Tuesday

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo Inc., is on the RSVP list for a White House meeting on HealthCare.gov tomorrow. She's seen here headed to a previous White House meeting in 2012.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 8:59 am

Tech giants aren't on the best terms with the Obama administration lately, with the NSA's surveillance revelations getting more widespread by the day. But a lot of big tech names have agreed to visit the White House for a chat.

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All Tech Considered
4:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Is Silicon Valley Automating Our Obsolescence?

One of several robots at the University of California, San Francisco's hospital pharmacy helps manage and track its drug inventory.
Leland Kim/University of California, San Francisco

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:58 pm

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

Silicon Valley has created mind-boggling amounts of wealth. Entire industries have been invented here. Smartphones, search engines, cloud computing and cars that drive themselves are designed here.

Billionaires are minted annually, but inequality is rising rapidly.

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