There's a long-held assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. As the number of women in Congress has increased, however, so has the partisanship and gridlock. So does a woman's touch actually help on Capitol Hill?
There's a lot of academic research that supports the idea that women are better at building bipartisan coalitions. Studies have found that women in Congress not only sponsor more bills but also collect more co-sponsors for those bills.
In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.
The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state medical examiner at the time, who proposed using three drugs, based loosely on anesthesia procedures at the time: one drug to knock out the inmates, one to relax or paralyze them, and a final drug that would stop their hearts.
Daniel Smith's house is barely standing after a tornado in Arkansas late last month killed 16 people. The EF4 tornado ripped a gash through the rural communities of Mayflower and Vilonia. Homes were wiped clean to their slabs, businesses shredded beyond recognition.
Wednesday, President Obama went to see the damage for himself, and to meet with residents like Smith. It's a task that he and many presidents before him have had to do far too often.
Syrian rebels were retreating from the besieged city of Homs on Wednesday, surrendering the "capital of the revolution" to President Bashar Assad under a cease-fire that gave them safe passage to other insurgent-held areas of the country.
The governor of Homs, Talal al-Barazi, was quoted by the state news agency Sana as saying some 2,000 people would be evacuated. Local activists said the first 600 to leave were wounded fighters and civilians.
House Republicans on Wednesday voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for repeatedly refusing to answer questions about her alleged involvement in targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The vote was 231 to 187, with all Republicans voting in favor of the measure and all but a few Democrats voting against it.
When I was growing up, my aunt used to stack dozens of magazines high on a side table at the top of her stairs. It was an accidental library of black magazines — lots of Ebony and Essence, the stray Black Enterprise here and there, but especially the digest-sized Jet. When I was at that age where kids want to consume every written word, I would blow through those old issues of Jet by the pile. That's probably the only real way to "read" Jet, since every article seemed to be shorter than 300 words. It was black news, bite-size.
If the students at Stanford University believe they sent the coal industry a strong message this week, they should think again. The school's decision to eliminate coal from its portfolio did not send shock waves through the industry. In fact, representatives say it will have no financial impact on the industry at all. Nor will it curb the growing demand around the world for coal-generated electricity.
Chinese ships trying to deploy an oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea have reportedly rammed Vietnamese vessels in recent days, as the Philippines says it's seized a Chinese fishing boat and its crew of 11 for poaching endangered sea turtles.
North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.
When the SS Central America sank in 1857, it took down tons of gold with it — enough gold that the shipwreck contributed to a financial panic. And when the wreck was found, decades of legal battles ensued over rights to the recovered treasure. Gary Kinder, author of Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, tells the fraught tale of shipwreck and reclaimed gold.
And I'm Melissa Block. An era in magazine history is closing. Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co., or JPC, says "Jet" magazine is going digital. Some 700,000 subscribers will no longer see a print edition. It's with the exception of one special print issue a year. "Jet" has been a weekly staple in many African American communities for more than six decades.
NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates, from our Code Switch team, has this report.
Larry McMurtry may well be the only Academy Award winner who used some of the precious moments of his acceptance speech to thank booksellers: "From the humblest paperback exchange to the masters of the great bookshops of the world, all are contributors to the survival of the culture of the book, a wonderful culture which we musn't lose," he told the audience in 2006 as he accepted the Oscar for his screenplay for Brokeback Mountain — which was based on a short story.
Nigeria is offering a $300,000 reward for anyone who can find the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram. The U.S. is also pitching in with hostage negotiators and intelligence experts. President Obama says the U.S. will do everything it can to provide assistance to Nigeria.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Now, the moribund Middle East peace process. People who follow that decades-long U.S. diplomatic effort, remember a moment in 1990. A frustrated U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, fed up with the intransigence of Palestinians and Israelis made this memorable declaration to in testimony to Congress.
Now to the conflict in Ukraine. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin made some conciliatory sounding statements. He called on the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone their planned referendum on autonomy. That vote is currently scheduled for Sunday. Putin also said that Russian troops had withdrawn from the Ukrainian border and that Russia is ready for more talks on ways to resolve the crisis.
There's a development today in Syria's civil war. Syrian rebels surrendered control of an important piece of ground, the city of Homs. That's been the heart of uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hundreds of rebel fighters abandoned the city's central district. They left in rickety green buses, escorted by the United Nations. The rebels had been under siege and were running out of ammunition and food.
For more on the story, we're joined by NPR's Alice Fordham. She's in Beirut.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with the head of the department of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki. I sat down with him at his office today. The secretary is at the center of a roiling controversy over medical care for former service men and women and he's facing calls for his resignation.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki tells NPR that he's determined to get to the bottom of allegations that veterans may have died at a Phoenix VA hospital while waiting for care.
The accusations of extended delays in providing health care at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system surfaced last month. The facility reportedly kept two lists of veterans waiting for care, one it shared with Washington and another, secret list of wait times that sometimes lasted more than a year.
At the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February, one couldn't help but notice the striking new grand piano on the main stage, emblazoned with the name SHADD. When the many accomplished pianists that weekend sat down to strike those keys, it was equally easy to spot their delight in the instrument.
That piano was the product of a trailblazer in his field. The Shadd in question is jazz drummer Warren Shadd, the first African-American piano manufacturer. That makes him the first large-scale commercial African-American instrument manufacturer, period.
Older people face higher risks in surgery, but not all 85-year-olds are alike. One may celebrate his birthday skydiving, like former president George H.W. Bush, while another may be unable to stand without help.
Since half of all surgery in the United States is performed on people 65 and older, figuring out an individual's risk is key. Measuring frailty beforehand more accurately predicts who will do well after surgery, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.