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Stories for February 19, 2013

Reminders Flood In: Athletes Are People, Not Heroes

Feb. 19
Frank Deford / NPR
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These have certainly been dispiriting times for those who admire athletes, who proclaim that sports build character. The horrendous shooting by Oscar Pistorius is of course, in a category mercifully unapproached since the O.J. Simpson case, but the Whole Earth Catalog of recent examples of athletic character-building is certainly noteworthy.

Legislative Analyst Recommends State-Based Medi-Cal Expansion

Feb. 19
Pauline Bartolone, Capital Public Radio
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A non-partisan legislative report suggests expanding California's Medicaid program under the federal health law would make good sense in terms of finance and policy.

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Parks Department Audit

Feb. 19
Amy Quinton, Capital Public Radio
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The new Director of California State Parks says he’s committed to transparency and will follow the recommendations of audits of the department.

Bill Proposes "Zero Tolerance" Policy for Drugged Driving

Feb. 19
Ben Adler, Capital Public Radio
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A California lawmaker wants to create a "zero tolerance" law for driving under the influence of drugs. Critics say it may have unintended consequences.

State Patches Hole In Nutrition Funding Left By Fiscal Cliff Deal

Feb. 19
By Megan Burks
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Local anti-obesity programs faced significant cuts following January's fiscal cliff deal, but the state has found money to keep them afloat.

American Masters: Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother Of Rock & Roll

Feb. 19
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American Masters: Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother Of Rock & Roll  Tease photo

Discover the life, music and influence of the African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973). During the 1940s-60s, she introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of rock ’n’ roll, inspiring some of its greatest stars, including Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Tharpe may not be a household name today, but the flamboyant superstar, with her spectacular playing on the newly electrified guitar, played a pivotal role in the creation of rock ’n’ roll.

San Diego School Board Hears Details Of First Pink Slip-Free Budget

Feb. 19
By Kyla Calvert
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San Diego Unified trustees will hear details of the district's budget planning at their Tuesday night meeting.

How The Sequester Could Affect Health Care

Feb. 19
Julie Rovner / NPR
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It's looking increasingly likely that $85 billion of automatic federal budget cuts known as a sequester will come to pass if Congress doesn't act by March 1.

UC San Diego Researcher Would Help Lead Obama's Brain Activity Map Project

Feb. 19
By Claire Trageser
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A local researcher from UC San Diego would be one of the leaders of the Brain Activity Map project proposed by President Obama.

San Diego Businesses Could Recoup Millions In Credit Card Swipe Fees

Feb. 19
Amanda Guerrero
1 Comment

Businesses that were charged fees for credit card transactions may be able to get some of their money back as part of a $6 billion swipe fee settlement with Visa and MasterCard.

California Warden Shoots, Kills Mountain Lion

Feb. 19
AP / Associated Press
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COLFAX, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities plan to perform a necropsy on a mountain lion that was shot and killed by a California Fish and Wildlife warden in Placer County over the weekend.

Supreme Court Takes Case That Could Puncture A Key Campaign Cash Limit

Feb. 19
Peter Overby / NPR
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Barely three years after the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United ruling, which liberated corporations to spend freely in elections, the justices say they'll take up another campaign-finance case - this time aiming at one of the limits on the "hard money" that goes directly to candidates and party committees.

Analyst Says California Should Expand Medicaid

Feb. 19
AP / Associated Press
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The benefits of expanding health care for California's poor under the Affordable Care Act far outweigh the costs to the state, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.

Whose Sequester Is It Anyway?

Feb. 19
Frank James / NPR
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By now, it's widely accepted that indiscriminate spending cuts in defense and domestic programs due to start March 1 are likely to occur due to the failure of President Obama and the Republican-led House to reach an agreement to avoid the budgetary cleaver.

Drones, Military Bases Are New Firefighting Tools

Feb. 19
By Tom Fudge
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The latest trends in firefighting got an airing at the Firehouse World Convention in San Diego.

End Of Winter Drives Nation's Gas Prices Uphill

Feb. 19
Jeff Brady / NPR
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If you've been behind the wheel recently, you already know gasoline prices are up.

Cold War Bunker Network Repurposed For 21st Century Threats

Feb. 19
Julie Rose / NPR
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There's an underground bunker at a radio station in Charlotte, N.C., where time has stopped. Built decades ago to provide safety and vital communications in the event of a nuclear attack, it's now a perfectly preserved relic of Cold War fear that's gained new relevance.

Why One Mom Put Her Seven-Year-Old On A Diet

Feb. 19
NPR Staff / NPR
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Over the past few years, there's been a spotlight on the growing number of overweight and obese children in America. Today, more parents are paying close attention to what their kids eat, and how often they exercise. While many parents might balk at the idea of putting a seven-year-old on a diet, that's what Dara-Lynn Weiss did. NPR's Michel Martin talks with Weiss about the ordeal, which she recalls in her new memoir, The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.

Makers: Women Who Make America

Feb. 19
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Makers: Women Who Make America  Tease photo

Review the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years through one of the most sweeping social revolutions in our country’s history, in pursuit of their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity and personal autonomy. The film is built from first-person, intimate accounts of women who experienced this time of change, including movement leaders such as author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton; opponents such as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly; celebrities including media leader Oprah Winfrey and journalist Katie Couric; political figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; business leaders such as Linda Alvarado, president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, Inc.

Officials Say Student Made Threats Against Classmates At Pershing Middle School

Feb. 19
CHANNEL 10 NEWS
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School officials said there will be increased police presence at Pershing Middle School in San Carlos after a student reportedly made threats against classmates.

Meet The Marines' Newest Mascot - Bulldog Puppy 'Chesty'

Feb. 19
By Beth Ford Roth
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The Marine Corps has chosen a 9-week-old pedigree English bulldog to be its newest mascot.

San Diegans Invited To Give Input On Statewide Rail

Feb. 19
Midday Edition
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The future of California's rail system is coming to San Diego. Transportation officials are holding an open house for San Diegans to review and give their input on the statewide rail plan, which includes improvements to the rail system and readies it for high-speed rail.

Acclaimed Poet Billy Collins "X-Rays" Poems For San Diego Students

Feb. 19
Midday Edition
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Poet Billy Collins is the headline speaker at this year's Point Loma Nazarene University's Writers Symposium By-The-Sea.

Group Aims To Restore Civililty To San Diego's Civic Dialogue

Feb. 19
Midday Edition
Evening Edition
6 Comments
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The 2nd Annual Conference On Restoring Civility to Civic Dialogue gets underway Wednesday at USD.

A Chinese Army Outpost That's Tucked Into Modern Shanghai

Feb. 19
Frank Langfitt / NPR
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Some people in Shanghai - especially the foreigners -- think the city's new Pudong section of town is dull, without character and profoundly unfashionable.

Gen. John Allen, Recent Top Commander In Afghanistan, Is Retiring

Feb. 19
Mark Memmott / NPR
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Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, who led U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until earlier this month and had been on track to be the top NATO commander in Europe, is retiring from the military.

Gen. John Allen To Retire (Video)

Feb. 19
By Beth Ford Roth
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The White House announced today that President Obama has accepted the request of Gen. John Allen to retire. The general cites his wife's serious health issues as the reason for his retirement.

Artificial Blood Platelets Could Save Lives Of Troops Injured In Combat

Feb. 19
By Beth Ford Roth
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Scientists are working on developing artificial blood platelets that could give troops the ability to treat their own wounds in combat.

At Least Four Dead, Including Gunman, After Southern California Shootings

Feb. 19
NPR
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"A chaotic 25-minute shooting spree" across Southern California's Orange County Tuesday morning "left a trail of dead and injured victims before the shooter killed himself," KPCC reports.

New Petition Takes On Drone Medal Controversy

Feb. 19
By Beth Ford Roth
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A new military medal that honors drone pilots and ranks above a Bronze Star has raised the ire of many combat veterans. A new online petition urges the White House to demote the medal.

Several Dead In Southern California Shooting Spree

Feb. 19
AP / Associated Press
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TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) -- A chaotic 25-minute shooting spree through Orange County early Tuesday left a trail of dead and injured victims before the shooter stopped and killed himself, police said.

Obama To Press GOP On Averting Sequester

Feb. 19
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Facing yet another fiscal deadline, President Barack Obama is urging congressional Republicans to accept more tax revenue in order to avert looming, across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect in less than two weeks.

Newtown Shooter May Have Taken Cues From Norway Massacre

Feb. 19
Scott Neuman / NPR
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Investigators trying to piece together a motive in December's killings in Newtown, Conn., believe that 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza may have been inspired by a similar 2011 massacre in Norway.

San Diegans Make 'Em Laugh With Laughter Yoga Practice

Feb. 19
By Claire Trageser
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Laughter Yoga participants get together and laugh at nothing. They practice laughter for its health benefits, stress reduction, and even say it can treat serious mental illnesses.

Prisoner's Handwritten Petition Prompts Justices To Weigh Government Immunity

Feb. 19
Nina Totenberg / NPR
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court's landmark decision requiring the states to provide lawyers for poor people accused of committing crimes. Clarence Gideon, the defendant in that case, wrote his own petition to the high court in longhand, and Tuesday, the Supreme Court is hearing the case of another defendant who, in the longest of long shots, filed a handwritten petition from prison asking the justices for their help.

Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash

Feb. 19
Jennifer Ludden / NPR
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When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weather caster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

Cyber-Bulling Law Shields Teachers From Student Tormentors

Feb. 19
Lisa Miller / NPR
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Ganging up on classmates online can get students suspended.

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It's Time To Go Electronic

Feb. 19
Brian Naylor / NPR
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Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

As 3-D Printing Become More Accessible, Copyright Questions Arise

Feb. 19
Steve Henn / NPR
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Many believe 3-D printing could help spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. -- even President Obama highlighted this technology in his State of the Union address last week.