This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro, in Washington. Just one week into January, you may be noticing the effects of people's New Year's resolutions. For example, there may be no spots on the treadmill at your gym; no kale on the supermarket shelves. Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions and this hour, we'll explore what we've learned in the last year about how some people keep fit, and why others have a hard time dropping pounds.
Now, this week, the American Dialect Society announced its word of 2012, and the winner comes from Twitter. The word is hashtag. The symbol for a hashtag looks like the pound sign on your phone. Five years ago, Twitter introduced it as a way to organize tweets and sort through trends. Now, hashtags are everywhere. Movie trailers use them to promote the latest blockbuster, shirts and hats sport the hashtag #YOLO for you only live once. Hashtags even pop up in conversations with friends like hashtag #eyeroll.
Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.
This month marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The document declares that all those held as slaves within any state, or part of a state, in rebellion "shall be then, thenceforward and forever free."
Historian Bruce Levine explores the destruction of the old South and the reunified country that emerged from the Civil War in his new book, The Fall of the House of Dixie. He says one result of the document was a flood of black men from the South into the Union Army.
Finally, what we've been waiting for. Let's bring back our winners to play the Ask Me One More final round. From Name that Candy Bar, Sarah Sheppard.
EISENBERG: It's All Squeak to Me, Stephen Kendall. Time to Turn off the TV, Dan Moren. Street Music, Steve Spinoglio. Celebrity Secret Words, Margaret Maloney. All right, Noah, how are we going to wrap this show up?
The end of football is in sight, so what to do with that couch? What about another classic rivalry? An old fashioned spy versus spy Cold War drama?
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE AMERICANS")
MATTHEW RHYS: (as Phillip) Super secret spies living next door. They look like us, they speak better English than we do. According to Misha, they're not allowed to say a single word in Russian once they get here. I mean, come on. Someone's been reading too many spy novels. Talking figment of the imagination.
It's hard to tell whether the ongoing conflict in Eastern Congo is a battle between rival ethnic groups or a fight for resources. There are so many militant groups in Eastern Congo with so many shifting alliances and demands. But a tiny ethnic minority in Congo has been at the center of this conflict for the past 20 years. NPR's Gregory Warner tells their story from the Eastern Congoli city of Goma.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, good afternoon, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Good afternoon.
OBAMA: Welcome to the White House.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
At a news conference earlier this week, President Obama tried to put pressure on Republicans and federal budget negotiations. The president said he would not accept spending cuts from Republicans without some tax increases. Then he used a phrase that raised a few eyebrows.
In Pakistan, there's a cafe called the Second Floor. It's listed in a local Karachi social blog as one of the coolest cafes in town. Since it opened its doors five years ago, it's become a haven in a city more known for its violence than its civil discourse. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston paid a visit.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: The artwork on the front stoop of the Second Floor Cafe in Karachi says it all.
SABEEN MAHMUD: I wanted something right at the entrance...
About a month ago, Declan Procaccini's 10-year-old son woke him early in the morning in a fright.
"He came into my bedroom and said, 'Dad, I had a horrible, horrible dream!' " Procaccini says. "He was really shaken up. I said, 'Tell me about it,' and he told me he'd had a dream that a teenager came into his classroom at his school and shot all the kids in front of him."
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
General Norman Schwarzkopf has died. The military leader who earned the nickname Stormin' Norman was 78 years old. He became a household name in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
Joining us now is NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman. And, Tom, to begin, tell us a little bit about his background. How did Schwarzkopf rise through the ranks?
The publishing industry has been in flux for years. First chain stores, then Amazon, then e-books — many forces have combined to create dramatic change in the traditional publishing model.
Mike Shatzkin is the founder and CEO of the publishing industry consulting firm Idea Logical. He says one of the biggest changes happening in publishing right now is the planned merger of two of the biggest players in the field, Penguin and Random House — with whispers of further mergers to come.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Each December, we try to catch up on a few of the important books we missed earlier in the year. "How to Be Black," by Baratunde Thurston is our choice for today; part memoir, part commentary on what it's like to be black in the U.S. right now.
So I'm wondering, how often have you actually counted your chickens before they'd hatched, or maybe thrown up a single stone and then hit two birds, not to mention having one of those critters in your hand that was worth two of them in the bush. Cliches are very often denounced as the most over-used and contemptible phrases in the English language.