All Things Considered for Friday, December 13, 2013

The House adjourned for the holidays Thursday night after passing a two-year budget agreement. But despite pressure from President Obama and congressional Democrats, the deal did not include an extension of the long-term unemployment benefit program that aids 1.3 million Americans.
Audie Cornish speaks with regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and Reihan Salam, a columnist for National Review and Reuters, about the week's political news. They'll discuss the bipartisan budget deal, Speaker of the House John Boehner's harsh words for some conservatives and what the week's political headlines mean for the executive branch going forward.

Poem: Nelson Mandela, 'An Ordinary Man'

South African spoken word artist Thabiso Mohare performs under the name Afurakan. He shares a poem he wrote about Nelson Mandela.
Bob Mondello takes a look at two holiday crowd-pleasers: the latest iteration of a fantasy involving hobbits: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the true-life story of the creation of a 1960s fantasy involving a flying nanny, Saving Mr. Banks.

If You Drank Like James Bond, You'd Be Shaken, Too

A painstaking analysis of 14 James Bond novels by some British doctors reveals that the international spy consumed six or more drinks a day, on average. He also went on benders that would have made his driving stunts downright suicidal.
Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, the mother of one young victim says she's managed to achieve something that many would find impossible: forgiveness. Scarlet Lewis describes how she and her older son JT have learned to live with the loss of 7-year-old Jesse in a new book, which is named after a message Jesse scrawled on a family chalkboard before he died: Nurturing Healing Love. The importance of forgiveness was reinforced for the Lewis family by a connection with an unlikely source: orphans of the Rwandan genocide.
One year after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the issue of gun violence continues to resonate around the country. In some communities, like the Castlemont neighborhood in Oakland, Calif., some young people try to cope with the threat of daily violence by simply trying to tune it out.
Police say the gunman was a student who killed himself at Arapahoe High School near Littleton, Colo., the site of the 1999 Columbine massacre.
Twitter on Thursday changed its blocking policy, then changed it back. Users were outraged that the initial switch allowed stalkers and abusers open access to their posts. Some say the incident shows that Twitter isn't listening to women and cyberbullying victims on the site.
We've been talking all this week with writers from NPR Music about their picks for the best albums of 2013. Audie Cornish hears from NPR Music writer and editor Otis Hart about their list of 100 favorite songs of 2013.

Mandela's Home Town Prepares For Thousands Of Visitors

Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest Sunday in his rural homestead of Qunu, which leaves this modest region to cope with the influx of thousands wishing to pay their last respects.

South Africans Reflect On Mandela's 'Rainbow Nation'

Equality for all South Africans, regardless of race or color, was at the core of the struggle against apartheid. Nineteen years after Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black president in the country's first democratic elections, what is the status of race relations?

Beyonce's New Album Is Entertainment's October Surprise

The sudden release of Beyonce's new album felt like a gift, but it was also a remarkably deft orchestration of the recording industry at the tail end of 2013.
Ann Cavoukian, privacy commissioner for Ontario, Canada, says the tech industry has the power to make products that protect users' personal information. The trick, she says, is to think about privacy while creating a new app or service, not after.

U.S. Reassesses Relationship With Rebel Groups In Syria

In Syria, the moderate rebel groups supported by the United States have largely been marginalized, as more radical Islamists have moved to the fore. The new developments are forcing the U.S. to reassess its options and to consider reaching out to Islamist groups from whom it had previously kept its distance. The new criterion for U.S. support may simply be a willingness to oppose al-Qaida in Syria.
A blockbuster video game director is working on a game where you don't shoot back. It puts the player inside the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and it's a financial and personal risk to the game makers.
"Pick me!" That's what Boeing is hearing this week from the Carolinas, Missouri, California and about a dozen other places. They're submitting bids to build Boeing's new 777X airplanes and get thousands of new jobs in the process.
NPR's Melissa Block talks with music critic Tom Moon about three recently released live recordings, all from around 1970, that each capture an artist at a distinct point of change in his career.
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