President Obama walks onstage Dec. 22 to urge members of Congress to vote on a short-term compromise that extended the payroll tax cut. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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After A Year of Struggles, Obama Finds His Footing
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House Speaker John Boehner, surrounded by Republican House members, speaks during a news conference in Washington in December. The House initially rejected a plan to extend a tax cut for two months to buy time for talks on a full-year renewal. It later compromised — a rare event in 2011. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

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This Year In Congress: Much Drama, Little To Show
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Time After Time Sylvain Luc & Bireli Lagrene
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They Follow You Siouxsie Sioux
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Hesham Abdul Ghani and his wife, Oras Touma, came to Michigan to escape religious persecution. Jacki Lyden/NPR hide caption

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Iraqi Refugees Struggle For Peace In America
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Hawâna Le Trio Joubran
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Midwestern manufacturers are bouncing back — revenues are up at Chicago White Metal Casting for the second year in a row. And the company is hiring, but mainly specialists, such as die-cast machinists and the people with the skills to fix those machines. Niala Boodhoo/WBEZ hide caption

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Midwest Learns To Manufacture More With Less
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Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones is a dazzling traveling exhibition celebrating centuries of hats Catwalking.com hide caption

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Milliner's Ode To Hats Topped With Timelessness
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Greg Seider's version of a French 75 is a cocktail with gin, lemon juice and agave topped with prosecco or champagne. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Try A Champagne Cocktail For A Sparkling New Year
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Auld Lang Syne Billy Vaughn
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Robin's Nest Duke Robillard & Herb Ellis
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President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and members of his National Security team receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House. A classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. Pete Souza/White House hide caption

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Obama's Grade In Foreign Policy 2011: 'Incomplete'
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River Geoffrey Oryema
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Into the Spin Dessa
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Newt Gingrich wipes away a tear while speaking about his deceased mother Friday in Des Moines, Iowa. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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For Gingrich, A Week Of Attacks And Falling In Polls
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Bang the Drum All Day Todd Rundgren & Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
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I.C.E. Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
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A long, hot drought decimated the peanut crop this year, pushing the price of peanut butter up by more than a third. Ric Feld/AP hide caption

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Peanut Prices Make A Go-To Snack More Expensive
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The two "eyes" on the Anybot are actually a camera and a laser. The camera "sees," the laser points, and the person on the screen controls it all. Anybots.com hide caption

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No Excuses: Robots Put You In Two Places At Once
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Revolting Children Matilda
Set a Place for Me Guy Davis
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