The Madeleine Brand Show for December 17, 2010

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Congress passed the polarizing $801 billion extension of Bush-era tax cuts (which also brought $57 million in extended unemployment insurance) and the Senate may vote on a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Senior Editor at Politico David Mark fills us on last minute action on the Hill before the new Congress is sworn in January 5.
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Al Qaeda at odds with jihadis: a West Point report

Not all jihadis are the same. A new report from West Point explores how Al Qaeda discourages fighters from traveling to Afghanistan or Iraq, and often kills other Muslims, much to the dismay of similar organizations. Is Al Qaeda a dominant movement? And what motivates home grown terrorists? Brian Fishman joins us from the New America Foundation.
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Weird LA: Hollywood's most sought after rocks

Not many staples of the silver screen can boast over 100 years in the film business. But one famous rock formation in Agua Dulce California has been working in the movies since 1905. It's been in hundreds of pictures, playing everything from a distant planet to a pre-historic town. Reporter Sanden Totten has more on this Hollywood legend.
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Stop using so much water: Colorado River washing away

It's already over-allocated, and the overwhelming scientific consensus is that the Colorado River is going to become more depleted in the decades to come. With a booming population, the river may no longer be able to provide water to the Western states that rely on it. Plus, increased snow melt has caused dust storms, which further accelerate snow melt. That causes plants to sprout earlier, taking up water through their roots. Alex Chadwick reports from a conference in Las Vegas on the consequences of desert development.

Madoff investors may soon see cash returned

A remarkable development in the Bernie Madoff story. The estate of Jeffery Picower has agreed to provide at least $7 billion in a settlement that will provide restitution for people who were swindled by Madoff. Steve Proffitt is here with the story.
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Is Henry Kissinger a self-hating Jew?

Former secretary of state for Presidents Nixon and Ford and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Henry Kissinger, is the son of two German Jews who immigrated to New York in the shadow of World War II. But comments out this week, caught on tape in 1973, suggest he was indifferent to Jewish suffering under the Soviet regime. Is Kissinger anti-Semitic? Jeremi Suri, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and author of Henry Kissinger and the American Century shares his insight.
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John Boehner can't stop crying (and Jimmy Fallon won't let him forget it), Florida gets the nation's first gold-dispensing ATM, and Larry King hosts the final episode of Larry King Live. Luke Burbank is here with his weekly awesome/not awesome ratings.
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