As technical problems with the government's new health insurance marketplace slow the pace of sign-up, a variety of "fixes" have been proposed. But some of these would create their own challenges. In rough order from least to most disruptive, here are some of the ideas:
1) Fix the website on schedule This is everyone's favorite idea. The Obama administration says it hopes to have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for most users by the end of November, though it's not clear that target will be met.
The growing Syrian diaspora streaming out of a country being torn apart includes one of its most popular singers: Omar Souleyman. The musician combines songs of love and desire with driving techno beats, performed on a synthesizer.
Have you ever wanted to see a woolly mammoth skeleton? How about Amelia Earhart's flight suit (one worn before her fateful last flight, mind you)?
To see them in person, you can visit the Smithsonian's Natural History and Postal museums, respectively, in Washington, D.C. But now you can take a closer look — in 3-D — on the Smithsonian website, too. The institution has made 20 digitized objects from among its vast holdings available online to the public for viewing from every possible angle.
Woody Grant has white hair, a cranky disposition and a stubbornness that just won't quit. When we meet him, he's being stopped by a highway patrolman as he's walking down the shoulder of a Montana interstate. His son David picks him up at the police station, and it turns out Woody was on an 850-mile stroll to Nebraska, to collect the million dollars promised to him in a letter.
David points out gently that the letter is an ad for magazine subscriptions, but he's no sooner got the older man back to his house then he gets a call from his mom: Woody has hit the road again.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:12 pm
NSA officials are bracing for more surveillance disclosures from the documents taken by former contractor Edward Snowden — and they want to get out in front of the story.
In a recent speech, NSA Director Keith Alexander said Snowden may have taken as many as 200,000 NSA documents with him when he left his post in Hawaii. If so, the vast majority of them have yet to be released.
Intelligence officials tell NPR they believe Snowden's secrets fall into four categories:
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:46 pm
A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:49 pm
Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed legislation Wednesday making Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Abercrombie, who called a special session in August to address the issue, moved quickly after the state Senate passed the bill, 19-4, Tuesday. The House approved it by a 30-19 vote Friday. Gay and lesbian couples in Hawaii will be eligible for marriage licenses starting Dec. 2.
The U.S. Supreme Court, which has been somewhat hostile to unions in recent years, on Wednesday examined a key union organizing tool. At issue: neutrality agreements, under which employers pledge to remain neutral during union organizing campaigns, and in exchange, the union promises not to picket, boycott or strike.
The sentencing hearing of convicted mobster James Whitey Bulger began in federal court in Boston today. Bulger was convicted in August of taking part in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise going back to the 1970s. Sentencing takes place tomorrow, but no matter what jail time he gets, it's pretty clear that the 84-year-old Bulger will spend the rest of his life in prison.
As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, it is an anti-climactic end to a long, expensive trial that has left many frustrated by what it didn't accomplish.