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American society has some serious issues. As Boston NPR affiliate station WBUR's Tom Ashbrook puts it on the latest episode of "On Point," our country's problems range "from a ruling oligarch corporate elite to looming environmental catastrophe to an alarming erosion of civil liberties." What's to be done?

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Social Security. The United Nations. Mandatory immunizations. Critical thinking. Implanting a radio chip in your body. It sounds like a pretty random list, but in reality these are all things Paul Begala found that Texas Republicans opposed when he read the state GOP's platform.

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Granted, the person making the points about NPR's virtues in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece is Steve Inskeep, who is himself a host of NPR's "Morning Edition." But he brings in some data about who's actually tuning in that might surprise longtime listeners as well as detractors.

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Somehow nobody asked the most obvious question: If NPR were truly slanted toward the liberal side, why would a phony tape of a private conversation be needed as proof?

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This week's discussion on "Left, Right & Center" begins with some thoughts on the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan before turning to the still-critical situation in Libya, Obama's strategy for dealing with soaring gas prices, and yet another scandal at NPR.

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Is NPR the next Acorn? The public radio powerhouse is apparently the latest target of conservative rabble-rousers such as James O'Keefe, the undercover right-winger whose Acorn sting spelled major trouble for that institution, and Wednesday, NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller took the fall.

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Republican Rep Eric Cantor was one of the GOP operatives behind this week's push to cut public funding to National Public Radio (this Juan Williams drama still has legs) because that would be a "common sense" move to (continued).

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Tavis Smiley is a tenured public broadcaster; Cornel West is a tenured professor at Princeton University. Together like Voltron, they form the new public radio show, "Smiley & West."

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