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Planet Money
3:47 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Episode 421: The Birth Of The Dollar Bill

Two-dollar note from a New York bank
Museum of the City of New York

Before the Civil War, there were 8,000 different kinds of money in the United States.

Banks printed their own paper money. And, unlike today, a $1 bill wasn't always worth $1. Sometimes people took the bills at face value. Sometimes they accepted them at a discount (a $1 bill might only be worth 90 cents, say.) Sometimes people rejected certain bills altogether.

On today's show, we figure out how this world worked. And explain how the Civil War — and the Union's need for money — changed everything.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

U.S. 'Ought To Respect' State Marijuana Laws, Sen. Leahy Says

Sen. Patrick Leahy is calling on the Justice Department to state its position on marijuana's legal status. Here, a man inspects a shirt depicting the U.S. flag made of marijuana symbols, at a medical marijuana show in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he's done waiting for answers about how the Justice Department will handle marijuana offenses in states that have legalized small amounts of the drug.

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Parallels
2:54 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

For Syrians, Life Goes On Despite Likelihood Of U.S. Action

U.N. chemical weapons experts on Monday visited people hospitalized by an apparent gas attack last week in suburban Damascus. Although residents of the capital city have grown accustomed to war over the past two years, they say they are concerned about a possible U.S. military strike.
Abo Alnour Alhaji Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:54 pm

The author is a Syrian citizen in Damascus who is not being further identified out of safety concerns.

Most residents of Damascus believe that a U.S. military strike is on the horizon, but few think it will have a dramatic impact on the course of a war that has already been raging for more than two years.

Those who follow the government line often speak about a U.S. conspiracy to overthrow the country's leader, Bashar Assad, as other Arab leaders have been toppled in recent years.

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All Tech Considered
2:54 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Facebook: U.S. Wanted Data On 20,000 Of Its Users This Year

Facebook has issued a report on government requests for its user data.
Flickr Scott Beale

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 7:22 pm

In its first "Global Government Requests Report," Facebook has released details on the number of requests it has gotten from government agents for user data.

Facebook reveals that governments around the globe have made 38,000 total requests for user data in the first half of 2013, and the U.S. dwarfs the rest of the world in requests. Up to June 30, the U.S. government asked Facebook for access to accounts of between 20,000 and 21,000 users, the company said.

Facebook has more than 1.1 billion users globally.

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Newport Folk Festival
2:48 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Sarah Jarosz, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2013

Sarah Jarosz performs at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.
Meagan Beauchemin NPR

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 10:47 am

Sarah Jarosz was still in high school when she signed her record deal, and she released her debut album (2009's Song Up In Her Head) shortly thereafter, but the versatile bluegrass star seemed to emerge fully formed. For one thing, the 22-year-old keeps her music sounding warmly pretty — and rooted in accessibly poppy folk — rather than focusing solely on her Grammy-nominated instrumental chops.

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All Tech Considered
2:38 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Weekly Innovation: A Mattress That Makes It Easier To Cuddle

The Cuddle Mattress is divided by a series of slats. Sleepers can wedge their arm in between these slats for better snuggling.
Courtesy of Cuddle Mattress

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 4:21 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

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The Two-Way
1:57 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Garage Where Woodward Met With 'Deep Throat' To Be Torn Down

A reporter (not Deep Throat) strikes a dramatic pose beside one of the columns inside the Arlington, Va., garage where Bob Woodward met with his secret source during the Watergate days.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

The real-life garage in Arlington, Va., where Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward met with his secret source "Deep Throat" as the Watergate scandal unfolded is likely to be demolished sometime in the next few years.

A local blog, ARLnow, writes that:

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Late Night TV Week On Fresh Air
1:53 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Conan's 'Uphill Climb' To Late-Night Throne

Conan O'Brien interviews Bruce Willis in a 2005 episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 1:57 pm

Conan O'Brien has probably had the most unusual career trajectory of any current late-night host. When he joined NBC's Late Night in 1993, replacing David Letterman, he had virtually no on-air experience. He did, however, have comedy-writing chops: O'Brien edited the humor magazine The Harvard Lampoon as a student, then wrote for Saturday Night Live and was a writer and producer for The Simpsons.

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Shots - Health News
12:46 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

More Stroke Patients Now Get Clot-Busting Drug

A brain scan followed by quick drug treatment in the right patients can stop a stroke in its tracks.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 12:14 pm

It's been a long and often controversial road, but U.S. doctors are finally embracing a drug that can halt strokes and prevent disabling brain damage.

An analysis of more than 1 million stroke patients shows that use of the 17-year-old drug, called alteplase (brand-name Activase), nearly doubled between 2003 and 2011.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Community Service For Former Bachmann Aide Accused Of Theft

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 12:12 pm

A one-time aide in the Washington office of Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann "will have a theft charge against him dropped if he completes 32 hours of community service over several months," The Associated Press writes.

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Twitter Education Feedback: Good Sentiments But...

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we conclude this special Twitter education special today we'll check in with editor Ammad Omar, who's been following our live forum on Twitter. Ammad, overall, how has the Twitter audience answered the question, is education the civil rights of our time? What have they had to say?

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Youth Wish List For Changing Education

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Reporter's Notebook On Education Challenges

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

More Than A Number? Educators On What Standardized Testing Means

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We are continuing our focus on education this hour. Later, we'll have a closer look at why some Memphis schools remain separated by race and class decades after a court ordered them to integrate. But first, we hear from educators. It's no secret that teaching is a rewarding job, but it's also a tough one. Some say it's getting tougher, what with crowded classrooms, troubled students and standardized tests.

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Sec. Of Education: Graduation Rates 'Nothing We Can Be Proud Of'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Today, we are talking about education just as students across the country are heading back to school and many are observing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. One of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement has always been access to quality education. Martin Luther King Jr. himself touted the issue, and many political leaders, including President Obama, have called it the civil rights issue of our time.

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U.S.
12:17 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play

Brooklyn Fisher rolls down the ramp on the playground named for her in Pocatello, Idaho. The playground was built using accessible features so children of all abilities could play alongside each other.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 6:31 pm

Remember running around the playground when you were a kid? Maybe hanging from the monkey bars or seeing who could swing the highest?

It wasn't just a mindless energy burn. Many have called play the work of childhood. Play teaches children how to make friends, make rules and navigate relationships.

But for kids whose disabilities keep them from using playgrounds, those opportunities can be lost.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Williams Sisters Win At U.S. Open, Move To Second Round

Venus Williams hits a forehand during her first-round win over Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium Monday.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Serena Williams dispatched Francesca Schiavone, 6-0, 6-1, in the first round of the U.S. Open Monday night, in a game played under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

With the win, Serena Williams, 31, joined her older sister Venus in the second round — only the second time this year that both players have advanced past the opening round of a Grand Slam event. That last happened in the Australian Open, seven months ago.

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Multimedia
11:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Find Accessible Playgrounds Near You

John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 12:48 pm

A community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. So far, we've identified more than 1,200. Help us find more at npr.org/playgrounds.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Shots - Health News
11:40 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Health Insurance Exchanges Prompt Consumers' Questions

Hey, we got some more questions about the health insurance exchanges.
iStockphoto.com

With the opening of online health insurance marketplaces a little over a month away, I've been receiving lots of questions about how they'll work.

Here's one that deals with the issue of getting the subsidy payments out quickly for consumers.

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Fresh Air Theme Week: Late Night TV
11:38 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Jay Leno: 'Tonight' Was About 'Trying To Get Johnny To Laugh'

Jay Leno delivers the opening monologue during the inauguration of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on May 25, 1992.
Craig Fujii AP

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 1:53 pm

In 1992, when Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he was already a familiar presence, having served as one of Carson's regular substitute hosts. Despite that experience, Leno's first few years on Tonight were rocky.

"When he started, when he was up against Letterman, Letterman beat him for the first couple of years," critic David Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "But once Leno came ahead, he was unstoppable. He never lost that audience."

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