LaHood: Hard to Gauge President's Stance on Blagojevich Commutation

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) said it’s hard to tell which way the president is leaning after he again mused about commuting the sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday.

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The Reason Why Hundreds Of Books Were Removed From An Illinois Prison Library

Lance Pittman arrived at the Danville Correctional Center on Jan. 10 with multiple boxes of books, and bound printouts of articles and book chapters. Pittman coordinates a college in prison program called the Education Justice Project , which offers University of Illinois classes to a select group of men at the Danville prison.

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Months Of Flooding On Mississippi River Marooned Midwest Trade

A standard river barge can hold about the same amount as 60 semitrucks. In early June, 642 of them had floated to a standstill near American Commercial Barge Line's office outside Cairo, Ill. "That's just me. That's not the other fleets in the area," said Mark Glaab, facility manager there. "That's just ACBL." Businesses and farmers around the Midwest rely on cheap river deliveries to make money on a global scale. High water this summer stranded barges for nearly three months on the upper...

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The water off the coast of the Riviera Maya was warmer than I expected, but far murkier. Endless pieces of seaweed, floating on and just below the surface, wrapped themselves like wet masking tape around my flippers and mask as I examined the second-largest reef in the world.

"It's the sargassum," my divemaster from Tulaka Diving told me resignedly. "It's coming over from Brazil, and getting worse every year."

Updated at 6:32 a.m. ET

A suicide bomber killed at least 63 people and wounded 182 in an explosion at a packed wedding hall Saturday night in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to the country's interior ministry.

An Afghan government spokesperson said the bomber detonated inside the wedding reception, where more than 1,000 guests had gathered to celebrate a marriage.

"Everybody was running," a waiter at the hall, Sayed Agha Shah, told Reuters.
"Several of our waiters were killed and wounded."

Marium, an orphaned dugong cared for by biologists in southern Thailand, had what it takes to win over the internet; few could resist pictures and videos of the button-eyed mammal being fed sea grass and bottled milk and even cuddling her caregivers, all while seeming to wear a satisfied smile.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Barbershop: Jay-Z Partners With NFL

15 hours ago

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The shooting of six police officers in Philadelphia earlier this week has provoked the region's top federal prosecutor to take swipes at the city's district attorney.

Earlier this month, Margie Reckard, 63, was gunned down along with 21 others in the El Paso, Texas, massacre that authorities believe was driven by racial hatred. Two weeks later, strangers amassed by the hundreds to honor Reckard and surround her widower, Antonio Basco.

Sound Montage From Queen Mother's Funeral

18 hours ago

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Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Colson Whitehead On The True Story Of Abuse And Injustice Behind 'Nickel Boys: Whitehead's new novel is based on a notorious Florida reform school where boys were beaten and sexually abused. "If there's one place like this, there are many," he says.

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