Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 12:34 pm
Syria's civil war is complicated, but at least there's a consensus among American policymakers: There are no good options.
So let's pretend you're the president and you need to decide what action, if any, the U.S. should take. The possibilities are endless, and plenty of unintended consequences are sure to follow.
To make your decision manageable, we're presenting four basic options. We realize they are not mutually exclusive, but you have to focus on something. You can make your choice at the bottom of this story.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with news of a couple of politicians exposed.
A video is now circulating of mayoral candidate Anthony Wiener engaged in an ugly shouting match yesterday in a Brooklyn bakery with a customer who, Wiener says, insulted his wife. Not available for viewing is South Carolina's Nikki Haley in her bathrobe, locked out of the governor's mansion. She was sending her kids off to school when the door snapped shut behind her. One Facebook comment: At least you had on a robe.
President Obama gestures during his joint news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Wednesday in Stockholm. The president said the credibility of the international community, Congress and America is on the line with the response to Syria.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 4:59 am
This won't be a standard party-line vote. Big factions within both parties remain skeptical about President Obama's plans to launch punitive airstrikes against Syria.
If the vote were held today, it might not pass. Obama and his allies — including top House leaders of both parties — have a big selling job yet to do to persuade a majority of members to authorize military action.
And while the United States works on that resolution, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is offering a different face to his people. The Syrian leader's Instagram account now includes images of his smiling first lady, Asma al-Assad. The account shows her helping out in a soup kitchen and also congratulating top-achieving students. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The topic of military intervention is Syria is expected to over shadow the Group of 20 summit going on in St. Petersburg, Russia. President Vladimir Putin hosts but there are no plans for him and President Obama to meet one on one, given the controversy over Syria and Russia's grant of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Congress is trying to fashion language that would restrict U.S. involvement in Syria from escalating. But lawmakers often find it uncomfortable to rein in the commander in chief once U.S. forces have been committed.
On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution authorizing President Obama to take military action against the Syrian regime. It goes to the full Senate over the objections of New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall. Steve Inskeep talks with Sen. Udall about his concerns over intervention in Syria.
The Senate immigration bill calls for tripling a controversial federal court program called Operation Streamline. The program takes people caught crossing the border illegally, gives them prison sentences, then deports them. It's hugely expensive — but does it work?
The California legislature passed a bill that would allow lawful permanent residents to sit on juries. Governor Jerry Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law. If he does, California will be the first state to allow non-citizens to perform jury duty.
Republican Rep. Austin Scott held a town hall meeting in Thomasville, Georgia, Wednesday. Among the topics that constituents were there to talk about: Syria. Scott told constituents he doesn't plan to support the resolution authorizing U.S. military strikes in Syria.
Companies that collect and sell information about you are usually pretty secretive about what they have on you. But one of the biggest data brokers is now letting consumers have a peek.
Yesterday, the Acxiom Corp. set up a website where people can look themselves up. It's called AboutTheData.com. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, some of the first people to try it were the data industry's critics.
NPR's business news starts with car sales accelerating.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that buyers picked up new vehicles at a pace not seen since before the recession. According to the paper, Americans bought 1.5 million vehicles last month - about 17 percent up from a year ago. Low interest rates and continued job growth were primary drivers. Automakers have added work shifts and production capacity to keep up with demand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
A big part of the challenge of enforcing President Obama's red line against Bashar al-Assad's regime on the use of chemical weapons is how the region will react. And as a possible strike on Syria looms, the mood among Arabs is something Shibley Telhami is following closely. He's a professor at the University of Maryland and his latest book is "The World Through Arab Eyes: Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Arab World."
Moscow is in the final days of a campaign for Sunday's mayoral election. The outcome isn't in doubt. The winner will be the Kremlin-backed incumbent Sergei Sobyanin. But his main challenger is running a Western-style campaign. Some say that campaign could change the way politics are played in Russia's biggest city.
The objective of an American strike on Syria appears to be evolving. Days ago, White House officials insisted their goal was to respond to the use of chemical weapons, not to intervene in Syria's civil war. But it's always been quietly understood that doing one thing could easily affect the other, and that has become more explicit in recent days.
For the first time in years, there's new leadership at the FBI. Attorney General Eric Holder conducted the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. While Jim Comey starts his job Thursday, he's been working to get ready for years — preparing for threats ranging from terrorist bombings to cyber attacks.
Tina Brown is back now for our regular series Word of Mouth, where she brings us her must-reads. Tina, of course, is the editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast." She's also the founder of the annual Women in the World Summit. Today, she has three reads on women whose lives were changed by kidnapping and captivity. And just a warning: This conversation does include adult topics and sensitive language. Tina, good morning.
In North Carolina, a fight is brewing over the homeless in the capital city of Raleigh. Elected leaders have asked charitable and religious groups to stop their long-standing tradition of feeding the homeless in a downtown park on weekends.
But advocates for the poor say the city is trying to push the homeless out of a neighborhood that business leaders want to spruce up.
'I Will Arrest You'
Almost every day, the Rev. Hugh Hollowell walks through Moore Square, a centuries-old city park in downtown Raleigh.
Goldkamp also keeps an index card file of choice words to integrate into his poem when he has trouble finding the right words.
Credit Erin Williams / STL Public Radio
A typewriter for the "What The Hell Is St. Louis Thinking?" project sits in the city's Central West End neighborhood. Poet Henry Goldkamp wants passers-by to stop and share their thoughts — without the luxury of a "delete" key.
Credit Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio
Goldkamp has been writing on-the-spot poetry for passersby for three years. He got the idea from performers in New Orleans' French Quarter while a student at Tulane University.
Typically, 21st century writers fall into two technical categories: Mac or PC. But poet Henry Goldkamp would much rather use a typewriter. He's the sole owner of a mobile poetry business, and for the past three years, he's spent his weekends traveling St. Louis, banging out short poems, on the spot, for anyone who stops by his table.
Daniel Woodrell's novel Winter's Bone -- a dark family saga set in the Ozarks — was adapted into a film in 2010. Woodrell returned to his hometown of West Plains, Mo., about 20 years ago and has been writing there ever since.
The Ozarks mountain town of West Plains, Mo., is the kind of town where a person can stand in his front yard and have a comfortable view of his past.
"My mom was actually born about 150 or 200 feet that way, and my grandfather's house is I guess 200 yards that way," says Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone, and most recently, The Maid's Version.
Chevrolets are lined up in a field near the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership in Pierce, Neb. Later this month, bidders will attend a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Credit Ryan Robertson / NET News
The owner of the dealership wouldn't sell trade-ins or the previous year's model once the new ones came out, keeping most of the old inventory outside. He closed his dealership in 1996 and is just now selling off his collection.
Credit Nati Harnik / AP
Auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink in front of a 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a 1958 Cameo pickup truck at the Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership.
Inside the Lambrecht Chevrolet Company in tiny Pierce, Neb., under layers of dirt, sit a dozen classic cars. A 1978 Chevrolet Indy Pace Car, black with racing stripes down the side. There's a '66 Bel Air sedan in a color called tropic turquoise, and a 1964 impala.
"If you wipe away the dirt, it's shiny underneath," says auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink. Even though this car is almost 50 years old, VanDerBrink says, it's still brand new.
Later this month Lambrecht's will auction more than 500 classic cars, many with fewer than 10 miles on the odometer.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 8:30 am
Here's the latest dispatch from our country's changing classrooms: Overall, there were half a million fewer students nationwide enrolled in colleges between 2011 and 2012, but the number of Latinos enrolled in college over the same period jumped by 447,000. The numbers come from a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 6:48 pm
Scientists have demonstrated the ability to scale-up an 'uncrackable' computer encryption system that utilizes quantum physics to ensure security.
The technique is based on information that is carried by photons, the basic particles of light. While it's been demonstrated on a small scale, the team headed by Andrew Shields and publishing in Nature says they've shown that up to 64 users can share a single photon detector, eliminating the need for each one to have such an (expensive) device.
With the launch of the major piece of the Affordable Care Act less than a month away, the Obama administration is escalating the public relations push with one of their most effective weapons – former President Bill Clinton, now known to many as explainer in chief.
A brain that trains can stay in the fast lane. That's the message of a study showing that playing a brain training video game for a month can rejuvenate the multitasking abilities of people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
"After training, they improved their multitasking beyond the level of 20-year-olds," says Adam Gazzaley, one of the study's authors and a brain scientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Hot summer days often mean air pollution warnings in big cities. But the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful. Cooking fumes from your stove are supposed to be captured by a hood over the range — but even some expensive models aren't that effective.
Jennifer Logue spends a lot of time thinking about what happens when she cooks. She's a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where she studies indoor air pollution.