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Is A Fresh Start In Washington Possible?

Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Mara Liasson about whether the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans can find some common ground and overcome the political gridlock that characterized much of the president's first term.

House GOP Backs Off Debt Ceiling Demands

House Republicans held their annual retreat this week in Williamsburg, Va., to figure out their next steps. They dropped a demand to have spending cuts for ever dollar the debt ceiling is raised, at least for the next three months. GOP lawmakers are now pinning their hopes for deficit reduction on other looming budget battles.

Trend In Second Inaugural Addresses: They're Not Very Good

President Obama will deliver his second inaugural address from Monday. Baylor University Professor Martin Medhurst tells host Scott Simon that many second inaugural addresses don't live up to the promise of the first. But there is at least one shining exception.

Turning The 'Day Of Service' Into A Longer Commitment

Hundreds of thousands of people are participating in volunteer activities nationwide in honor of President Obama's second inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. But with budgets tightening and volunteerism stagnant, nonprofits hope they'll get a more permanent boost.

How Urban Violence Fits Into Gun-Control Policy

The shootings in Newtown, Conn., ignited calls for gun control, but violence continues in many inner-cities, usually with far less attention. Host Scott Simon talks with David M. Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at the John Jay College in New York about how to address inner-city gun violence.

12 Half-Truths We Live With

The truth about koalas (and athletes) shows what we already know: Not everything is what it seems to be. There are some fictions we are wiling to accept as fact.

Newtown Debates The Future Of Sandy Hook School

Since the shootings in December, Sandy Hook students have started attending school elsewhere. Now, the Connecticut town is trying to figure out what should be done with the site of the shootings: a memorial, a new school or something else?