Members of the House and Senate sit and listen and often applaud the presidential State of the Union, but when it's done many members crowd the microphones in Statuary Hall to oppose the chief executive's vision.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
President Obama delivered his State of the Union speech with enthusiasm last night. Facing a Congress that has often frustrated him, as well as sagging poll numbers, the president offered a list of proposals Congress could pass, and a series of plans he could enact alone if they don't.
Surprise: People across the South are digging out this morning. Weather forecasters knew there would be snow, but missed their calculations on where and how much, which is how Principal Ken Jarnagin ended up sheltering about 800 students for the night at Spain Park High School in Hoover, Alabama.
KEN JARNAGIN: We decided to put all the males in the gyms. So we asked the coaches to roll out wrestling mats. And we spread the girls all throughout the academic wing.
The House on Wednesday passed a new five-year compromise farm bill. The bill now moves to the Senate for a vote.
The farm bill — the result of a two-year-long legislative saga — remains massive. The bill contains about $500 billion in funding, most of which is pegged to the food stamp program, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The Super Bowl is just four days away in New York.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Actually, New Jersey.
INSKEEP: The teams have arrived at their New York hotels.
MONTAGNE: In New Jersey.
INSKEEP: The game itself will be played at New York's MetLife Stadium.
MONTAGNE: In New Jersey.
INSKEEP: Local towns have been hoping for an economic boost from hosting the big game. But as NPR's Joel Rose reports, some officials in New Jersey complain that tourism dollars seem to be flowing instead to New York City.
As we start this next story, let's remember that college football is big business, TV contracts, million dollar coaching salaries, game day revenues and more. Everybody profits except the players who may get treated like royalty and get all sorts of benefits on campus, but technically, are not supposed to be paid. So are they students or are they employees risking their health and the service of a big business?
Some other news now. One if the longest-term inmates of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has had a parole hearing yesterday. He's a man from Yemen, allegedly a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden. Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald was among the reporters allowed to see a portion of parole hearing on a video screen.
CAROL ROSENBERG: We saw Abdul Malik Wahab al Rahabi, a man who arrived on the day that Guantanamo Prison opened, sitting at a table while his advocates made an argument that he should be allowed to someday go home.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Snow and ice sweeping through the South caused an epic traffic jam yesterday around Atlanta. One couple stuck on the freeway found themselves in a different kind of jam. Their unborn baby wouldn't wait to get to the hospital. So the father and a local police officer helped deliver the baby girl right there in the middle of afternoon rush hour. Mother and baby ultimately made it to the hospital, and yes, they are doing fine. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Scientists have reconstructed the genetic code of a strain of bacteria that caused one of the most deadly pandemics in history nearly 1,500 years ago.
They did it by finding the skeletons of people killed by the plague and extracting DNA from traces of blood inside their teeth.
This plague struck in the year 541, under the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, so it's usually called the Justinian plague. The emperor actually got sick himself but recovered. He was one of the lucky ones.
Football fandom simply overwhelms all other sports in America, growing not just merely super, but superior, from high school right on up to this Sunday's quasi-religious festival — which celebrates our adoration of the sportas much as the sport itself.
On a frigid afternoon, Jack Burke is coaching young skiers in a field in Saranac Lake, N.Y. His son Tim — who shoots and skis as part of the U.S. biathlon team — got his start training here. Now, Tim is off to Sochi to compete, but Jack and his whole family are staying home, missing the games for the first time since Tim's first Olympics in 2006.
"The uncertainty certainly did weigh into it," says Jack. "The cost was substantial, and costs seemed to be changing weekly."
A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.
On a Sunday at dusk, Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder train is jampacked, filled with people heading to their jobs in North Dakota towns like Minot, Williston and Watford City.
After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday as he focused on themes that are central to his second-term agenda. The changes he proposed in his annual State of the Union speech were relatively modest, but flashes of ambition showed in his promise to move forward, with or without Congress, to address issues of income inequality.
Here's what President Obama proposed on the policy front:
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 7:23 am
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking female Republican in the U.S. House, occupied a coveted spot Tuesday night: She delivered the televised rebuttal to the president's State of the Union.
Yet the Washington congresswoman and mother of three young children didn't have the spotlight to herself. She faced competition from within the ranks of her own party, a stark reflection of the divisions that have riven the GOP.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 5:23 am
Researchers say they have exhumed the remains of 55 people at Florida's Dozier School for Boys, a notorious reform school that closed in 2011. The total found by University of South Florida researchers represents 24 more bodies than official records say should be there.
It may just be a marketing stunt. It might be a general nose-thumbing at all the people who freak out over the fact that winter is occurring... as it does every year. But Las Vegas is not hiding the fact that it could break its record high temperature for late January this week.
Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 9:26 pm
East Timor, a small Pacific nation, will be represented at the Winter Olympics for the first time in history next month, when skier Yohan Goutt Goncalves, whose father is French and whose mother is Timorese, competes in the slalom ski race.
But before he could be sent to Sochi, Goncalves, 19, first had to take the unusual step of creating his country's national skiing federation, as Agence France-Presse reports.
Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 1:37 pm
It would have been hard to find a happier man than Erick Munoz on that Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.
With a healthy and delightful son toddling around the house, and his beautiful and successful wife pregnant with their second child, the fire department paramedic had everything in life that's really important. So it must have been with a feeling of disbelief and horror that Munoz knelt across the nearly lifeless body of his wife, Marlise, on the kitchen floor at 2 a.m., his fingers linking across her heart, arms pumping away in vain.
Another priority of the president's that's likely to come up tonight is an immigration overhaul. The Senate last year passed a comprehensive bipartisan bill that promise eventual citizenship for millions currently in the country without legal status. While House leaders don't appear ready to go that far, they do seem ready to start a conversation.