Robert Siegel

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A jury has sentenced Nidal Hasan to the death penalty for a shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and 31 others injured.

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I'm Robert Siegel and we begin this hour in California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, not far from Yosemite National Park. That's where fire crews are starting to make some progress in their fight against the massive Rim Fire that's been burning for nine days now. It has scorched nearly 150,000 acres. Relatively few structures have been lost so far, but thousands of people remain under evacuation orders.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. One criticism of baseball is that it's too prone to long stretches of inaction, players sitting around not doing much. Well, if that's what baseball is, then Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been Mr. Baseball this season. He's been on the disabled list, but he claims he's healthy enough to play. His team begs to differ. Here to talk about the confusion is NPR's Mike Pesca, who joins us from New York. Hi, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

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For some context now on the future of the Common Core and why Georgia's decision is important, we're joined by NPR education reporter Cory Turner. Hi, Cory.

CORY TURNER, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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House lawmakers will have their first chance today to vote on the government's phone surveillance program, since news of it was leaked by Edward Snowden. The House is considering an amendment that would limit the authority of the National Security Agency. It's an amendment the White House and top intelligence officials have urged lawmakers to vote down.

For more, we're joined from the Capitol by Tamara Keith. Hi, Tamara.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

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In Congress this week, there's a lot of action related to the federal budget. Today, the Senate approved a measure known as the continuing resolution. It would avoid a shutdown, keeping government operations funded through September. The House is expected to sign off on the same measure quickly. Also this week, both the House and Senate are expected to pass budget resolutions.

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A $60 billion federal aid package for states affected by Hurricane Sandy is moving forward, but it hasn't been an easy political process. There's been hot debate about it within the Republican Party. Last night, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives declined to vote on an aid package, and that infuriated lawmakers across New York and New Jersey.

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Many residents of Newtown are gathered this evening at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church for a prayer vigil. NPR's Quil Lawrence is outside the church and he joins us now. And, Quil, what's going on inside the church this evening?

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And we turn now to NPR's Robert Smith. He has been outside the home of Adam Lanza's mother on the outskirts of Newtown, Connecticut. And, Robert, has the home also been a crime scene today?

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North Korea appears to have taken a step forward in its long-range missile program. The country has fired a long-range rocket in spite of warnings from the U.S. and the United Nations.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking $30 billion in federal disaster aid to help the state recover from Superstorm Sandy. Robert Siegel talks to Joel Rose.

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And I'm Robert Siegel.

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I'm Robert Siegel.

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And now, to NPR's Joel Rose, who's been traveling around the Jersey Shore today. Hi, Joel.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

SIEGEL: Let's begin by your telling us where you've been and what you've seen.

Two moderate Republicans — former congressmen Mike Castle of Delaware and Tom Davis of Virginia — wonder whether that wing of their party can survive. In years past the party had a component referred to as "Rockefeller Republicans" — named after former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. The group tended to work well with middle of the road Democrats.

There's great enthusiasm at the GOP convention — but not for the man presumed to be the nominee. Ron Paul supporters held a huge rally and party, and showed mostly indifference toward Mitt Romney.

Violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo believe that classical music should be fun. That's why they subvert it whenever they appear on stage.

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