In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.
Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.
NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often, NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing the constitutionality of buffer zones at abortion clinics.
Fourteen years ago, the court upheld Colorado's 8-foot "floating" buffer zones around individuals to protect patients and staff entering and exiting these clinics. Since then, buffer zones have prevented demonstrators from closely approaching patients and staff without permission.
But the issue is back before a different and more conservative Supreme Court.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:01 am
When I was growing up and my mom would make pancakes and bacon, I'd layer bacon pieces in between pancakes, then drown the stack with maple syrup to create a towering, sticky mess. The rest of my family would daintily eat their bacon from one plate and their pancakes from another, preventing the joyous union of salty and sweet.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:01 pm
Reports of white smoke from a battery compartment have temporarily grounded a Boeing 787 in Japan, nearly a year after all the new airliners were grounded owing to a problem with batteries overheating. Today's incident happened on an airliner at Tokyo's Narita Airport that had no passengers aboard.
It was during a preflight checkout that a mechanic saw smoke emerging from the underside of a Japan Airlines 787, according to Japan's NHK TV News
The IRS is getting a special $200,000 earmark in the 2014 spending bill now moving through Congress.
But it's not because the agency is suddenly in the good graces of lawmakers.
The new funds are earmarked for "intensive training" in the Exempt Organizations division – the office that pulled the IRS into its worst scandal in years. Last spring, Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner apologized for the division's targeting of tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exemptions as 501c4 social welfare organizations.
Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:13 pm
Regular order. That phrase refers to Congress conducting business in a methodical way, like it used to back before "dysfunctional" came to seem an official and permanent part of Congress' name.
When the House and Senate appropriations committee chairs announced late Monday evening that they had agreed on how to allocate the $1.012 trillion in federal spending, it was yet another step on the path to regular order that Congress forced itself to return to after years of regular disorder, best symbolized by last year's partial government shutdown.
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:08 am
Knee-deep already in collective scrutiny of its painful World War II history, Germany wades in up to its own neck with a viscerally unsparing drama — originally a TV miniseries — set to screen in two parts in selected U.S. theaters.
Generation War tracks five jaunty young childhood friends as they prepare to scatter from a Berlin bar in 1941 to do their bit for the Thousand Year Reich. With Kristallnacht fresh in memory and Stalingrad looming, you'd think even these frisky young things might know better than to expect to reunite unscathed for Christmas.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, engulfed in scandal over the politically motivated closing of bridge access lanes and questions about how he spent federal Hurricane Sandy aid, pledged Tuesday to "cooperate with all appropriate inquiries."
In his annual State of the State speech from the State Capitol in Trenton, the two-term Republican governor made quick work of the George Washington Bridge controversy, which hopelessly snarled traffic in the city of Fort Lee for days. The circumstances surrounding the episode have clouded the prospects of a potential presidential bid in 2016.
The Senate is still struggling to find a way to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work for 26 weeks or more. Majority leader Harry Reid agreed to bring up five Democratic and five Republican amendments in hopes to winning enough Republicans over to get to the 60 votes needed for passage.
Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was back in the spotlight today. The annual State of the State speech came at an awkward moment for Christie. The Republican governor had not spoken publicly since apologizing last week for politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. Christie acknowledged the unfolding scandal at the start of his speech.
Members of a special panel of advisers assembled by President Obama are testifying on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In December, the panel recommended changes to the way that the National Security Administration conducts surveillance.
The House of Representatives bought a little time today. It approved three additional days of funding for the federal government, which would otherwise run out of money tomorrow. It's just the latest sign that, unlike last fall, most lawmakers seem genuinely eager to avoid a government shutdown. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a huge catchall spending bill, known as the omnibus.
The mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says the company behind the chemical spill that essentially shut down his city for days was run by "a small of group of renegades," who in his opinion knew there were problems with the tanks that leaked dangerous chemicals into the city's water supply.
"I'm not even sure they cared what happened to the public," Danny Jones told Melissa Block on Tuesday's edition of All Things Considered.
Jones said he knows some of the people in charge of Freedom Industries and he considers them "to be a little edgy."
The Arab Spring that brought those changes to Egypt began in Tunisia, exactly three years ago today. Tunisians overthrew their dictator, prompting a wave of uprisings across the region. But three years on, lawmakers are still struggling to ratify a new constitution and lay the foundations of their country's future. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Tunis and sent this report.
The U.S. and Afghanistan are locked in a standoff over a security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. That's when the NATO mission there ends. Analysts say part of the reason the two countries can't close the deal is because they just don't understand each other.
Last week, we were shivering in depths of the polar vortex. Now another sign that Mother Nature is in charge. This time it's California, where right now it should be rainy season. Instead, there's growing alarm over a persistent lack of rain. The state is suffering its third consecutive dry year.
And as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, there are calls for the governor to officially declare a drought.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court struck down Federal Communications Commission rules that would prevent Internet service providers from restricting usage on their networks and charging companies and users more for faster service. Critics say that this will create a two-tiered Internet that will favor those who can pay.
After a slow start, the Affordable Care Act is now attracting customers at a healthier pace. The government said yesterday that 2.2 million people have signed up for health insurance under the state and federal exchanges. But there's a serious red flag. A disproportionate number of new enrollees are middle aged or older.
Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli on what that means for the program and for insurers.
An active conversation — and a hefty dose of outrage — is swirling on social media about the proper boundaries between public and private when it comes to illness and death. Lisa Adams, a stage 4 cancer patient, has been tweeting her experiences with the disease. Writers Bill and Emma Keller have derided her tweets as akin to "deathbed selfies." Melissa Block talks with Meaghan O'Rourke about how we treat dying in the digital age.
Schools that do random drug testing say it helps students say no to illegal drugs, while critics say it's an invasion of privacy. But feeling good about school may affect students' drug use more than the threat of testing.
A survey of high school students found that the possibility that they might face drug testing didn't really discourage students from alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. But students who thought their school had a positive environment were less apt to try cigarettes and pot.