From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Lynn Neary.
Warning to parents: The next story contains some seasonally sensitive information on the subject of Santa, so beware if there are any young ones nearby. As everyone knows, Santa sends helpers to malls all over the country around this time of year to find out what children want for Christmas, like these kids who visited one of Santa's mall proxies in Athens, Ohio, over the weekend.
New rules set to go into effect later this month could make it harder to stage demonstrations at Wisconsin's state capitol. The move comes after thousands gathered there earlier this year to protest a new law curbing the power of public employee unions. Governor Scott Walker has issued guidelines that limit the size of crowds both inside and outside the capitol building. Demonstrators would also be responsible for the costs of cleanup and police security.
At a hearing this morning, Colorado regulators will consider a new rule that would force oil and gas companies to disclose what chemicals they use when hydraulically fracturing wells. The industry uses these chemicals along with a mix of water and sand to “frack” wells deep beneath the earth. Nearby states like Wyoming and Texas recently put similar “mandatory disclosure” laws on the books and many oil and gas companies have recently come on board with Colorado's proposal. But some say the rule doesn’t go far enough.
As a boy in a tiny village in Mexico, I loved climbing up to the roof of my family's small home so I could study the stars and dream of becoming an astronaut. Then I discovered Kaliman, a comic-book hero who could unravel any mystery with his powers of telepathy, philosophy andscientific ability. He was fond of saying, "He who masters the mind, masters everything."
Military benefits for retirees cost the Pentagon more than $50 billion each year. Few in Washington are publicly in favor of cutting those entitlements, even though former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the cost was "eating the Defense Department alive." One former Navy commander, Bryan McGrath, tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin he'd be willing to pay more for his benefits.