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Little Hope, Low Expectations, Lots Of Gloom: 'Fiscal Cliff' Talk Is Dreary

Yes, President Obama and congressional leaders are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. ET to discuss how to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

But, no, that isn't inspiring much talk this morning of a breakthrough before the midnight New Year's Eve deadline:

-- The meeting comes "with no sign of progress in resolving their differences over the federal budget and low expectations for a 'fiscal cliff' deal before Jan. 1," says Reuters.

-- According to Politico, "neither side is hopeful that there will be a breakthrough on taxes and spending before the new year, and top Republicans considered the Friday meeting to be more about optics than last-ditch horse-trading."

-- "Publicly, there was little sign of ... a thaw Thursday. Instead, a sense of gloom pervaded the Capitol," writes The Washington Post. "Each party stepped up its efforts to proactively deflect blame, insisting that the other must act first."

-- "No one holds out much hope the group can reach a deal to avert the fiscal cliff on Tuesday, but stranger things have happened," tweets CBS News' Mark Knoller.

On Morning Edition, NPR's David Welna said that Democrats want assurances from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans that they won't filibuster any last-minute deal if one is reached. McConnell, David reported, "says that all depends on Democrats coming up with a proposal that's acceptable to both parties."

Not every lawmaker is pessimistic. David said that despite all the gloom and doom talk, "some key Republicans sense a deal may be about to emerge." Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole put it this way on MSNBC: "To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there's so much manure around here, there's got to be a pony someplace."

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NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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