Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a rifle on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference earlier this year. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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It's All Politics

Meet The Newest American Running Mate: The Rifle

In Texas and elsewhere, guns are playing major roles this campaign season. Politicians have opened fire in ads, literally, and embraced the gun as a symbol of their conservative street cred.

Hawk House may be the face of hip-hop's evolution, and we're all the better for it. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Heavy Rotation

Heavy Rotation: Our Panel's 10 Favorite Songs Of The Year (So Far)

NPR Music asked public radio hosts to choose highlights from the first half of 2014. These are their picks. Stream songs by Hawk House, Jack White, The Orwells, Zara McFarlane and more.

This aerial photo shows Yarnell, Ariz., days after a fire claimed the lives of 19 members of an elite firefighting crew. Tom Tingle/AP hide caption

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Around the Nation

Dad Of Fallen Arizona Hotshot Hopes To Make Better Fire Shelters

The father of one of the 19 firefighters who died a year ago in the Yarnell Hill Fire wants to create shelters that better shield against direct flames.

Iraqis shop for food in preparation for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Baghdad on Saturday. Karim Kadim/AP hide caption

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For Iraqis, A Ramadan Filled With Fear And Uncertainty

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Eastynato Daniel Szabo
Kids' Dance Daniel Szabo

Juan de La Cruz operates a drilling rig that is probing for groundwater 2,500 feet beneath Fresno County. Sasha Khokha for NPR hide caption

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Drought Has Drillers Running After Shrinking California Water Supply

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This aerial photo shows Yarnell, Ariz., days after a fire claimed the lives of 19 members of an elite firefighting crew. Tom Tingle/AP hide caption

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Dad Of Fallen Arizona Hotshot Hopes To Make Better Fire Shelters

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The Stranger Rob Levit
My Empress Shall Not Weep Rob Levit
Marriage Gold Panda
Vanilla Minus Gold Panda

If you've noticed that kids seem to be better at figuring out these things, you're not alone. iStockphoto hide caption

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Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets

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Children At Midnight Shigeto
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Children At Midnight
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Full Circle
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Shigeto

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So So Lovely Shigeto
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So So Lovely
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Shigeto

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Scotland's offshore oil platforms in the North Sea generate significant wealth for the nation — especially for the Shetland Islands, where oil tanker traffic boosts the local economy. Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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In Shetland, Oil Shapes Debate Over Scottish Independence

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Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) Phil Collins
In The Air Tonight Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Buildings In a Dark City Bram Weijters
Dreams Burn Down Ride
Vapour Trail Ride
Canal Paradise Anamanaguchi
Echobo Anamanaguchi

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a rifle on stage at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference earlier this year. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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Meet The Newest American Running Mate: The Rifle

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As We Fight Ambrose Akinmusire
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As We Fight
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The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint
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Vartha Ambrose Akinmusire
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Spike Lee directed, wrote and starred in "Do the Right Thing." The landmark film prompted a national conversation about racial tension. Universal/The Kobal Collection hide caption

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'Do The Right Thing' Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

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Hawk House may be the face of hip-hop's evolution, and we're all the better for it. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Heavy Rotation: Our Panel's 10 Favorite Songs Of The Year (So Far)

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Chill Pill Hawk House
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Chill Pill
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A Handshake To The Brain
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Emkay Bonobo