Lauren Hodges

Lauren Hodges is an associate producer for All Things Considered. She joined the show in 2018 after seven years in the NPR newsroom as a producer and editor. She doesn't mind that you used her pens, she just likes them a certain way and asks that you put them back the way you found them, thanks. Despite years working on interviews with notable politicians, public figures, and celebrities for NPR, Hodges completely lost her cool when she heard RuPaul's voice and was told to sit quietly in a corner during the rest of the interview. She promises to do better next time.

Updated at 4:02 p.m. ET

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced today to two years in prison for public corruption.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer said McDonnell must report to prison on Feb. 9. Spencer said he was moved by the support for the former governor, but "a price must be paid. Unlike Pontius Pilate, I can't wash my hands of it all. A meaningful sentence must be imposed."

Earlier, McDonnell addressed the court, asking that Spencer show him and his wife, Maureen, mercy.

The 114th Congress convenes on Jan. 6 and GOP leaders are preparing their to-do list for the new year, when they will control both chambers. The November elections were a victory for Senate and House Republicans and the change in Congressional leadership will mean a new legislative landscape for President Obama, who entered the White House with a Democratic majority behind him.

First on the list, according to incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will be the Keystone XL oil pipeline. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported Monday on the tone of that first legislative action.

Arizona hoped an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would prevent the state from having to grant driving permits to young undocumented immigrants, also known as "dreamers," who entered the country as children. A federal appeals court ruled in July of this year that Arizona must start issuing the licenses to dreamers, who under Obama administration policy are permitted to remain in the United States.

NPR's Nina Totenberg reported on the Supreme Court's Wednesday decision and the background of the legal dispute:

In what The Associated Press called a "final flurry of accomplishment" Tuesday night, lawmakers were able to push through a bill that extended a package of tax breaks, which had expired at the end of 2013, and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported the confirmations also marked a big accomplishment for the Obama administration.

Leaders on Capitol Hill are at odds regarding a report on CIA methods — including torture — used to extract information in the so-called war on terror.

Chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been fighting for the release of her 480-page executive summary of the report since April of this year, and it finally was scheduled for a reveal this week.

Congress returns for its final session of the year on Monday afternoon, and lawmakers have a big to-do list ahead before they can adjourn for the holidays.

The popular ride-service company Uber is in damage control mode after a senior vice president expressed interest in unveiling details about the private lives of journalists in retaliation for unflattering coverage of Uber's business practices.

Winterlike weather hit the West and Midwest, and it hit hard. Northern areas of Wisconsin saw up to 18 inches of snow, while central Michigan was left shoveling through more than 16 inches. The freeze is expected to hit the East Coast after some unseasonably warm weather there this week.

France and its beloved cuisine come with more than a few cliches: the butter, the frog legs, the snooty chef twirling a curled mustache. To outsiders, it's part of the French identity.

But anyone who regularly cooks French food (or has at least attempted it) knows it's rarely that simple or predictable. Yes, there's butter, but more striking is how much patience it requires. That's what Mimi Thorisson, writer of the popular French cooking blog Manger, says she's learned since making France and its food a part of her daily life.

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