Good morning. I'm Renée Montagne. Burglary is a big problem in Oakland, California. So Mayor Jean Quan opened the door to some harsh criticism when her weekly newsletter of community events advertised a lock-picking class. Learn the art for only $40. Some residents were unhinged, but organizers say the course is for hobbyists, not criminals. The mayor appologised, but the advertising seems to have worked - the class was sold out. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 12:38 pm
For a city that thrives on huge controversies and breathtaking tremors, perhaps last week's mini-squabble over whether or not to invite Chris Christie to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) later this month is not what you would call a big deal. But the decision — not to invite him — says something about the conservative movement ... and what defines a conservative.
President Obama is expected to nominate Gina McCarthy, currently assistant administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency, to head the agency on Monday. The nomination requires a Senate confirmation.
President Obama plans to announce three Cabinet-level nominations Monday, including a new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, who could be on the hot seat in the looming battle over global warming.
Gina McCarthy, currently an assistant administrator in the wing of the EPA that regulates air pollution, is the president's pick to head the EPA.
A woman in Spokane, Washington stepped out of the shower and into a moment of terror. Her 14-month-old boy was bouncing on the bed. He bounced out a half-open second-story window. She dove after the boy, smashed through the window, grabbed his foot as he was tumbling down the porch roof and lowered the kid safely to his grandma, who was smoking on the porch.
The mom then crashed into a bush. She's scraped up. The baby is fine.
We are often urged to buy local, but when people say that, we're usually thinking about food. Now it seems you can aim for local furniture and local building materials. Matt Sepic of Minnesota Public Radio reports on the Minneapolis business that makes everything from hardwood flooring to picture frames from trees cut just down the block.
The housing market is recovering in much of the country, not so much in Idaho. Home prices dropped by 46 percent in the Boise area during the financial crises. Forty-six percent. Today's business bottom line takes us to the home of a family that rode out the crash and are still waiting for better times. Here's Molly Messick of Boise State Public Radio.
President Obama ordered across-the-board federal spending cuts on Friday night. The $85 billion in cuts are spread across much of the government. The president and many Republicans have called the cuts unwise. But Congress passed them and the president signed them in 2011, and in recent days, they did not agree on a plan to revise or replace them.
We turn to David Wessel to find out what happens now. He is economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. David, welcome back.
Residents of Detroit are absorbing the message sent by Michigan's governor. Rick Snyder swept aside the city's elected officials. He's using his power to appoint an emergency manager to take over city finances. Residents are deeply divided about this move, as we hear from Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody had a comment in regards to the lighting problem?
The College of Cardinals is holding its first official meetings at the Vatican on Monday. The top agenda item is choosing which day to start the closed-door conclave that will elect the new pope. With no clear front-runner, the conclave outcome is unpredictable.
The papal resignation has put the cardinals in an unprecedented situation in modern history.
"The real mood is of shock and disappointment — this resignation desacralized the figure of the pope," says Massimo Franco, author of several books about the Vatican. He says a pope cannot be treated like a company CEO.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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President Obama spent part of the weekend reaching out to members of Congress. He's still looking for some alternative to the budget cuts that he ordered on Friday. A federal law required the automatic spending cuts and they went into effect, despite widespread agreement that the manner of the cuts was not very bright.
Kenya votes for a new president today for the first time in five years. It's an important election, in part because the country is still haunted by the ethnic violence that bloodied the last presidential election in 2007. More than 1,200 people were killed and the violence only ended after the international community stepped in. NPR's Gregory Warner is out visiting polling stations and talking to people in Nairobi. He joins us to talk about the election. Good morning, Greg.
A Palestinian laborer works at the site of a residential construction project funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Mar. 21, 2012.
Credit Larry Abramson / NPR
Waji el Jebaley and his daughter stand in front of their newly constructed home in Rafah, a town at the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, on Feb. 20.
The streets of Gaza are busy, but they are also crumbling.
Since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Israel has maintained tight limits on shipments of anything that could be used for military purposes. That includes basic building materials that could be used for bunkers and rocket launching sites.
Ask businessman Ali Abdel Aal what's the toughest thing for him to find, and he'll tell you "cement and gravel."
If you're a parent, you've probably heard remarks like this during dinner: "I don't like milk! My toast is burnt! I hate vegetables! I took a bite already! What's for dessert?" It can be daunting trying to ensure a healthy diet for our children. So it's no wonder parents often resort to dinner time rules.
About 69 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, and more than four in five people say they are worried about obesity as a public health problem.
But a recent poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed a curious schism in our national attitudes toward obesity: Only one in five kids had a parent who feared the boy or girl would grow up to be overweight as an adult.
Tax day is looming and taxpayers are scrambling to gather receipts, W-2 forms and other documents. For many, gone are the days of paper ledger books and calculators, now that there's software to figure out how much they owe.
If they can block the Keystone XL pipeline, they can keep Canada from developing more of its dirty tar sands oil. It takes a lot of energy to get it out of the ground and turn it into gasoline, so it has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional oil.
Scientists believe a little girl born with HIV has been cured of the infection.
She's the first child and only the second person in the world known to have been cured since the virus touched off a global pandemic nearly 32 years ago.
Doctors aren't releasing the child's name, but we know she was born in Mississippi and is now 2 1/2 years old — and healthy. Scientists presented details of the case Sunday at a scientific conference in Atlanta.
Students at Westlake High School in Waldorf, Md., participate in an interactive digital conversation with historian Kenneth C. Davis about late 19th and early 20th century American history on Thursday. The school uses a state of the art "telepresence center" for students to connect with experts all over the world.
The hallways at Westlake High School in Maryland are just like thousands of other school hallways around the country: kids milling around, laughing and chatting on their way to class.
On a recent morning, about 30 kids took their seats in a classroom that initially seems like any other. The major difference here is that instead of a chalkboard and a lectern at the head of the class, there are two enormous flat-panel screens and thin, white microphones hanging in four rows across the ceiling.
Bright lights are part of a city's ecosystem. Think of Times Square or the Las Vegas Strip or right outside your bedroom window.
Electric lighting is ubiquitous in most urban and suburban neighborhoods. It's something most people take for granted, but appreciate, since it feels like well-lit streets keep us safer. But what if all this wattage is actually causing harm?
"We're getting brighter and brighter and brighter," warns Paul Bogard, author of the upcoming book, End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.
Margaret Bonds, who died in 1972, is perhaps near the top of the very short list of African-American female composers. Thanks to her partnerships with Langston Hughes and soprano Leontyne Price and others, she's remembered in some circles as an important figure in American composition. But, mostly, she's been forgotten.
"It's amazing that people don't know who she was, although she was quite well known in her time," says Louise Toppin, an opera singer and a voice professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.