Morning Edition for Sunday, December 22, 2013

Obama Fails To Accomplish Ambitious Agenda In 2013

President Obama has had a dramatic trajectory this year. He started 2013 fresh off a hard-fought electoral victory, going into a second term with a lot of goals. He ends the year with many of his priorities stalled and his poll numbers at all-time lows.

Is Healthcare.gov Ready For Last-Minute Shoppers?

For millions of Americans, Dec. 23 is the last day to sign up for individual health plans to be assured of coverage Jan 1. That's the case in all 36 states that use the federal website healthcare-dot-gov.

So Long Candlestick Park, And Thanks For All The Fog

Monday is the last game at Candlestick Park for the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL team is moving, and the park, famous for its windy and foggy weather, is being demolished after this football season. It leaves behind more than 50 years of memories.

Weird Stories Make The News In 2013

Here's an example of off-beat stories from United Press International: Germany dropped the longest word in its language. Maker's Mark had plans to lower the alcohol content in its whiskey. And a Canadian dentist bought John Lennon's tooth at auction, hoping to use it to clone the Beatle.

High Numbers Of Casualties Tell The Story In Iraq

We're using numbers to highlight some of the stories of 2013. We look now at the situation in Iraq and the number is 6,639. Steve Inkseep talks to William Dunlop of Agence France-Presse, which has been compiling numbers of those killed and wounded in Iraq.
States screen newborns for rare genetic disorders, but increasingly those disorders don't have simple cures, if they have any cure at all. Sometimes the diagnosis isn't clear cut, either. That leaves some parents not knowing the fate of their child.

Apple Signs Deal With China Mobile

China and Apple have announced a deal to bring the iPhone to the world's biggest wireless network. The agreement gives Apple access to China Mobile's 700 million plus customers. It's a big boost for Apple, which has lagged behind Samsung and local brands in the Chinese market.

Could Big Batteries Be Big Business In California?

Unless the erratic bursts of energy generated on a windy or sunny day can be stored and later measured out in an even way, these renewable sources of power can't be counted on to stabilize the electrical grid. Several battery-making startups hope to help — and reduce electric bills.
You might think underwear maker Hanes would be worried about competition from Jockey or Fruit of the Loom. In fact, Hanes seems far more concerned about being confused with chickpea dip. The American manufacturer has threatened to sue a Canadian company, Hanes Hummus, for trademark violation.
President Obama and his family are vacationing in Hawaii and Congress is in recess until early next year. As members left town, it was in a less contentious mood than in the last several years. But next year brings challenges that are likely to test whatever good will is now in the air.
TV ads and websites are all well and good, but Colorado is finding that face-to-face help from a live person is often the best way to reach the uninsured and sign them up for a health plan. Still, it isn't easy, and takes time and money.
Target is trying to get back in good graces with its customers after a massive data breach affecting some 40 million credit and debit account holders. The giant retail chain offered its customers a 10 percent discount over the weekend as an act of atonement, but business was said to be down anyway.
The creation of America's central bank includes a bunch of bankers locked in a private library and a secret trip to a place called Jekyll Island.

Most Books At N.Y. High School Are Digital

Many schools are adding computer tablets and cutting back on books. Archbishop Stepinac High School is doing without them almost entirely. The only exception: books on religion.
There have been more political developments in Russia. A jailed member of the protest band Pussy Riot was freed from prison on Monday. Another band member is expected to be released soon. Over the weekend, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was freed from prison.
In these last several days of 2013, Morning Edition is having conversations about the future. Steve Inskeep talks to Vanessa Cardenas, vice president of Progress 2050, a project of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, about election demographics.

Grab Some Tea And Binge View British TV Dramas

British dramas, mostly from BBC America, have become gold mines of binge viewing for American TV fans seeking a deep dive into compelling series. Gillian Anderson's The Fall, David Tennant's Broadchurch and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock are just a few of the series which offer hours of escape.

David Sedaris Reads From His 'Santaland Diaries'

It's tradition! Writer and humorist David Sedaris reflects on his short tenure as Crumpet the Elf at Macy's. Sedaris first read the "Santaland Diaries" on Morning Edition in 1992 — and instantly, a classic was born.
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