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This is a classic chain of events that never seems to go out of style in an election year.

First one of the presidential campaigns put out videos that it says are informational but critics say are attack ads. This time, it's President Obama's team and the target is Republican rival Mitt Romney. The point of the spots, such as this one, is to make the case that when Romney ran Bain Capital, some of the companies the investment firm took over ended up shedding jobs rather than creating them.

To be a parent is to be constantly reminded that almost everything you thought you were doing right for your children will one day turn out to be wrong.

The wisdom on whether your baby should be put to sleep on his back or stomach, whether fevers should be treated or left to run their course, seems to change every few years. Parents used to think nothing of letting their children bounce around like pingpong balls in the back of a car. Now, children are strapped in the back like astronauts waiting for blast off.

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The Facebook IPO hasn't just sent a jolt of excitement through Silicon Valley, there are many average individual investors who are also thrilled. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: All right. It's a little after 9:30 on Friday. The bell just rang on the NASDAQ, and I'm gonna check in with some regular investors. I'm gonna start with Nelly Sai-Palm. She's a student at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, and I'm going to give her a call.

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Chinese Activist Leaves Beijing For U.S.

May 19, 2012

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Chen Guangcheng, the blind, Chinese human rights lawyer, is on a plane headed for America right now, according to his friends and supporters. Chinese authorities gave Mr. Chen a passport today and drove him to an airport in Beijing. His departure caps a remarkable few weeks that included a daring escape from house arrest and high-stakes, diplomatic negotiations.

NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the story from Shanghai. Frank, thanks for being with us.

Failure To Launch: SpaceX Delays Mission

May 19, 2012

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A tall white rocket is still standing on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rocket belongs to a company called SpaceX, and it was supposed to blast-off this morning, send an unmanned capsule on a mission to the International Space Station - the first time a personal spacecraft will try to visit the station. But the launch attempt fizzled out this morning in the last seconds of the countdown.

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Katie Beckett has died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the age of 34. She was just 3 years old when her case changed health care law. NPR's Joseph Shapiro has more.

JOSEPH SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Katie Beckett died Friday morning in the same hospital where she'd once made history. In 1981, Katie Beckett was living at St. Luke's Methodist Hospital in Cedar Rapids. She was stuck there because of a clash between advancing medical technology and antiquated health care law.

The Steel Wheels: Americana, Made By Hand

May 10, 2012

The Harrisonburg, Va., band The Steel Wheels embraces a hand-hewn quality in its music, which is a collection of American sounds reaching from mountains to fields. The group's first album, Red Wing, showed more of the grain and rougher edges, but Lay Down, Lay Low has been buffed to a high polish. The new album is stronger in its use of the band's vocal talents, reminiscent of the four-part singing of the Mennonite communities where several of them once lived.

Hailing from Washington state, Brandi Carlile began her music career at the age of 8, when her musician mother brought her on stage to sing a Rosanne Cash song. From then on, music was her constant companion, as she taught herself to sing, play the piano and later the guitar. Her latest album, 2009's Give Up the Ghost (produced by Rick Rubin), featured a guest appearance by Elton John and helped earn Carlile the "Breakthrough" artist honor at Seattle's City Of Music Awards.

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