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At a time when much of the country says it hates Washington D.C., politics, power brokers, spin doctors, and compromise — not to mention the press — the executive director of the American Press Institute has written a novel that combines all of those features into a thriller. Oh, there's the tiniest bit of sex, too.

It begins, like so many simpler books before it, with a party. And with a death.

But this is no simple party. It is a state dinner at the White House, hosted by Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln — a lavish, decadent state dinner thrown in 1862, as the meat grinder of the Civil War is just beginning to churn.

Beginning Friday, the New York branch of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian will host the exhibit Native Fashion Now, a traveling show from the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. It highlights a dazzling array of contemporary fashion made by dozens of Native American designers.

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

Feb 17, 2017

Organist, arranger, composer, teacher and singer Trudy Pitts (1932 – 2010) earned a reputation not only for her technical prowess, but also for her ability to convey a wide range of emotions through her playing. Her formal training was classical: She studied piano at Juilliard and Temple University, but came to jazz by way of the organ.

Living by the ocean might sound nice, but in the era of climate change, it's a risky proposition.

As sea levels rise, coastal residents are faced with tough choices: try to fortify their homes, move to higher ground or just pull up roots and leave.

Homeowners in Nahant, Mass., are grappling with these wrenching questions. The community lies on a rocky crescent moon of land in the Atlantic Ocean just north of Boston.

For its entire history, it has been at the mercy of the ocean.

Miffy the rabbit seems quite simple. Two black dots for eyes, a sideways X for a mouth, a body inked in gentle curves — the artistry of Dick Bruna's creation rests precisely in its apparent artlessness. And in the six decades since Miffy was first put to page, Bruna's venerable rabbit has earned the affection of young fans worldwide, the admiration of art critics and even an entire museum in her honor.

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Now, we're going to talk about something else that everyone interprets differently - food expiration dates.

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Growing up in the West Bank, Amjad Hasan has watched his leaders trying to negotiate a so-called two-state solution, or a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

"The talks seemed to go on and on," says the 22-year-old electrical engineering student, who studies at Birzeit University outside the Palestinian city of Ramallah. "And nothing happened."

The death knell, Hasan says, came after President Donald Trump hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington this week.

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At his White House news conference this week, President Trump painted a grim picture of the challenges facing the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess.

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These days, you're more likely to come across the concept of a Rorschach test in a cultural context than a clinical one. The actual psychological test — in which participants are asked to interpret 10 symmetric inkblot images — isn't as widely used as it once was. But metaphorically, Rorschach is still our go-to term when something elicits a variety of interpretations among different people.

Two decades ago only about 9 percent of children's books published in the U.S. were about people of color. Things have changed since then, but not by much.

On Wednesday, the Cooperative Children's Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Education School revealed that in 2016, it counted 427 books written or illustrated by people of color, and 736 books about people of color out of about 3,400 books it analyzed. That adds up to 22 percent of children's books.

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This is FRESH AIR. A new action movie shot in China by a Chinese director has a budget of $150 million and an American star. Film critic David Edelstein has this review.

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A news outlet publishes a story that a Republican politician dismisses as "fake news." Sounds familiar, right?

But in this case, there's a twist. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in Colorado is accusing state Sen. Ray Scott of defamation and threatening to sue. If filed, legal experts said it would be the first suit of its kind, potentially setting a legal definition for what is considered fake news and what is not.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized.

The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no.

A 1960s cult favorite is back: The Shaggs are going to be performing in June at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Big Little Lies, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a miniseries that begins with a murder scene, and investigation, in the close-knit oceanside town of Monterey. It's a seven-episode drama, and HBO made the first six available for preview. Even after watching all of them, I still don't know the identity of the murderer — or, for that matter, the victim. But that's on purpose.

Since going over capacity last week, the water level in the Oroville Dam has dropped, but it's still at a higher level for this time of year than the previous 16 years.

It's been a long week. Take a moment — or even a minute! — to watch something beautiful.

Celebrity Name Combos

Feb 17, 2017

Contestants must guess the phrase created by combining the last names of celebrities. For example, if we said, "When the star of City Slickers met Ricky Ricardo's wife, he used THIS to see their future," the answer would be "Crystal Ball" — mashing together the last names of Billy Crystal and Lucille Ball.

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This That Or The Other

Feb 17, 2017

In this week's edition of This That or the Other, poetry meets mystery meets...alt rock. Are these the titles of poems by Robert Frost, Nancy Drew books, or the name of alternative rock bands?

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A Bech-delicate Balance

Feb 17, 2017

How does a movie fulfil the Bechdel Test? If it has two women that have a conversation with each other about something other than a man – it passes! In this game, contestants guess the names of the surprising bro-y films that happen to pass the test.

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Roy Wood Jr.: Puzzle Banger After Banger

Feb 17, 2017

Comedian Roy Wood Jr.'s got his first big break doing prank phone calls on the radio. But unlike many pranksters, he often conducted these calls live on the air, which led to some problems. He even got suspended for one particular call, which he shared with host Ophira Eisenberg. "I called a cruise ship company and told them my Granddaddy left his wallet on a slave ship when he came from Africa...and I needed them to check lost and found." The call later went viral and can still be found on YouTube.

Ménage À Trois

Feb 17, 2017

They say two is company and three's a crowd, but these treasured trios prove that saying wrong. Contestants must guess the collective name given to a particular trio. For example, "Larry, Moe and Curly," are "The Three Stooges."

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