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3:55 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

The Long Road To GM's Ignition Switch Recall

Chevy Cobalts on the assembly line in Ohio in 2008. Documents show General Motors was aware of problems with the car's ignition switch years before, but failed to act.
Ron Schwane AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

The new head of General Motors, Mary Barra, goes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to begin two days of testimony.

It's the first time she'll be questioned about a safety defect that's been linked to at least 13 deaths and has sparked a 2.6 million-vehicle recall.

At issue for the Detroit CEO is a classic question: What did GM know about the problems with ignition switch problems in its cars, and when did the company know it?

And just as important for GM and government regulators is the follow-up question: Why did no one act sooner?

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

D.C. Mayor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Some Marijuana Use

Marijuana plants in Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vince Gray signed a bill, today, that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

As we reported, the D.C. city council voted to join 16 other states in decriminalizing some use last month.

What makes D.C. interesting is that any laws passed by the local government must be reviewed by Congress and this particular bill pits local laws against federal statutes, which make any marijuana possession illegal.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

British Drugmaker Funds Research On Chronic Disease In Africa

Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, says that better control of infectious diseases in Africa is allowing chronic diseases to come to the surface.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 1:31 pm

One of the world's largest drugmakers says it will invest more than $200 million in Africa over the next five years in a push for better treatment of noncommunicable diseases there.

GlaxoSmithKline said the funding would be focused on sub-Saharan Africa, where the company already employs about 1,500 people and operates three factories. The money would go toward building five more factories and funding of research and development focused on the region.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

How Your Face Shows Happy Disgust

Can you name the 10 emotions conveyed above? The first six are basic emotions. The last four are complex emotions that combine two of the basic ones. (Check at the bottom for the answers.)
Courtesy of Aleix M. Martinez

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 1:31 pm

We smile when we're happy. But how does a face strike the proper look to show, say, happy surprise? Or happy disgust, like when you're laughing at a really gross joke?

A new report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that we instinctively mix and match actions from the six basic emotions to stitch together more subtle expressions.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

WATCH: For The First Time, An Ump's On-Field Call Is Overturned

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers singles in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during Opening Day.
Mike McGinnis Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:23 am

A big first happened in today's opening day game in Milwaukee.

The Atlanta Braves were playing the Brewers when Ryan Braun hit a slow rolling grounder to third base. Braun was called safe at first, but the Braves challenged the call and instant replay found the ump was wrong.

The play marks the first time an umpire's on-the-field call has been overturned during baseball's brand-new extended replay era. Previously, only home run calls could be challenged by replay. Courtesy of MLB.com, here's the video:

We'll let sports writer Wes Hodiewicz make the jokes:

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Business
3:08 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Timeline: A History Of GM's Ignition Switch Defect

Consulting materials engineer Mark Hood shows the ignition assembly that has a faulty ignition switch (black piece at left), in the mechanical testing laboratory at McSwain Engineering Inc. in Pensacola, Fla. The firm helped to conduct the engineering investigations and failure analysis that resulted in the GM recall.
Michael Spooneybarger Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:31 am

In February, General Motors issued sweeping recalls for several models suspected of having a faulty switch that automatically turns the car's engine off and prevents air bags from deploying — while the car is in motion. More than 2.6 million cars have been recalled so far.

At the core of the problem is a part in the vehicle's ignition switch that is 1.6 millimeters less "springy" than it should be. Because this part produces weaker tension, ignition keys in the cars may turn off the engine if shaken just the right way.

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Sports
2:52 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Greyhound Racing May Be Headed For The Finish Line

Greyhound racing has been on a downward trend for decades.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

On a weekday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Casino near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., most guests are inside at the relatively new card tables and slot machines. Outside, at the 5 p.m. post time, only about a dozen people are in the grandstand.

This is what they're waiting for: The handlers lead out the greyhounds. The dogs are loaded into their starting boxes. Then eight greyhounds run in the first of 18 races.

Greyhound racing, a sport in decline, is still hanging on, mostly in Florida. But a bill gathering steam in the Legislature may hasten its demise.

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Politics
2:42 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

A Rising GOP Star In Oklahoma Aims For The U.S. Senate

T.W. Shannon speaks before a joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate in Oklahoma City on Feb. 3.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:53 pm

The announcement by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that he is resigning his seat at the end of the year has set up a spirited battle among Oklahoma Republicans to replace him.

Leading the pack are Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. At age 36, Shannon is an up-and-coming star in the GOP, and if elected he would become the third African-American in the Senate — two of them Republicans.

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News
2:37 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Is The Latest Climate Report Too Much Of A Downer?

According to a new report, unless more is done to combat climate change, extreme weather like the drought now gripping California will only grow more common.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Reading through the latest report from the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it's hard not to feel despondent about the state of the world.

The report's colorful charts and tables tell of droughts and fires; depleted fisheries and strained cropland; a world in which heat-related disease is on the rise and freshwater is growing scarce.

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News
2:13 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hoping To Slim POW-MIA Bureaucracy, Hagel Makes One Out Of Two

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the creation of a new defense agency charged with merging the multiple divisions currently responsible for finding and identifying the more than 80,000 members missing from past conflicts. A five-month investigation by NPR and the independent news agency ProPublica had found the U.S. recovery effort to be slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
2:12 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Take It From A Local: The Tale Of How Turkey, Texas, Got Its Name

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) I saw miles and miles of Texas...

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When I open up a map here in Texas, I'm drawn to the colorful names of Texas towns.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) I've saw miles and miles of Texas, gonna live here till I die.

BLOCK: You'll find place names that evoke the wild west. Point Blank, Texas, Gun Barrel City, Cut and Shoot, names that make you wonder about the stories behind them. Jot Them Down, Ding Dong and Nameless, Texas.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
2:07 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

QUIZ: The Strange Town Names Of Texas

Kermit — located near the Texas/New Mexico border — was named after President Theodore Roosevelt's son.
Matthew Rutledge Flickr

Texas is full of rich, colorful town names — and many have great stories behind them. Melissa Block is highlighting some of them this week for Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas. Test your know-how with our quiz.

News
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Cause For Hope And Frustration In the Shadow Of ACA Deadline

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block this week at our member station KBRA in Dallas.

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Race
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

The Saga Of The Civil Rights Act, An Idea Whose Time Came 50 Years Ago

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block, hosting this week from member station KERA in Dallas.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel in Washington.

Fifty years ago this summer, the president of the United States signed a landmark bill in to law. The president was Lyndon Johnson. The bill became the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

In The Midst Of A Boom, Dallas Outgrows Some Old Notions

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. And Melissa Block is not in our Washington, D.C. studio with me today.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's right, Robert. All this week I'm co-hosting from member station KERA in Dallas. And by just about every measure, Texas is booming. Jobs, population, GDP, they are all up, and they've been up for years to levels other states would envy, but big growth has big consequences - for schools, for communities and the environment.

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News
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

International Ruling Puts Stop To Japan's 'Scientific' Whaling

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Whale lovers scored a major victory today. For almost two decades, Japanese whalers have been killing whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The Japanese government claimed it was all for scientific, not commercial, purposes. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports that today, an international court rejected that claim and said the whaling must stop.

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Health
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

As Soldiers Return, Who Is Caring For The Caregivers?

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We've heard a lot in the last few years about caring for returning veterans. We don't hear so much about the people who take care of them. A major study released today says more than a million Americans - mostly spouses and parents - are military caregivers. They get by without much government support, and they're suffering some serious consequences. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.

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National Security
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Discipline Promised For The Dozens Of Cheating Missileers

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The Air Force did something stunning last week. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced that nine officers had been fired over the cheating scandal at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The nine had not themselves cheated on proficiency tests. The Air Force had investigated 100 officers for that and 79 will face some form of discipline as a result. The officers were held accountable for an organizational culture in which the cheating occurred.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James joins us from the Pentagon now. Welcome.

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Around the Nation
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Washington Landslide Takes A Grim — And Fluctuating — Toll

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

It's been nine days since the devastating mudslide in the tiny community of Oso, Washington, and it's now apparent that the death toll will not be nearly so high as it once been feared. The loss is still terrible. State officials that 21 people are confirmed dead, dozens are listed as missing. But last week, more than 170 people were reported unaccounted for.

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Around the Nation
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

South Dallas 40: Below The River, A Population Left To Decay

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Well, I wanted to check out that shiny new city that he was talking about. I'm outside now at Klyde Warren Park. It's in downtown Dallas, about five acres of beautiful urban green space right in the heart of the city, opened about a year and a half ago, and it's built over an eight lane freeway. I see it right there, ducking under this park.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: You wouldn't have found it here 20 years ago.

BLOCK: And that's a familiar voice, NPR's Dallas correspondent Wade Goodwyn. Hey, Wade.

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Shots - Health News
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Orthotic Brace Takes Soldiers From Limping To Leaping

Soldiers participate in physical therapy while using a prosthetic brace called the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO), which allows them to use and strengthen severely injured legs.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 1:31 pm

A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.

Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.

McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.

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Sports
2:04 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Freshmen Wildcats Step Easily Into Storied Tradition

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It is the last day of March, but there's still another weekend of March Madness to come. Four teams gather in Dallas this weekend for the Final Four. If you go strictly by seeding, the University of Kentucky is the longest shot to win the men's college basketball title. In fact, though, the eighth-seeded Wildcats suddenly are a very hot favorite after yesterday's thrilling win over Michigan in the Elite Eight.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Hobie Alter, A Legend In Surfing And Sailing, Dies At 80

Hobie Alter, an innovator whose ideas brought surfing and sailing to wide audiences, died this weekend. Here, one of his Hobie Cat sailboats is seen sailing past North Head in Sydney, Australia.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:08 pm

Hobie Alter, whose innovations helped thousands of people go surfing and sailing, died in California on Saturday at age 80. In the 1950s, Alter helped perfect a foam-core surfboard that revolutionized the sport. A decade later, his iconic Hobie Cat catamaran design opened the world of sailing to a wider audience.

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Author Interviews
1:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Son Of A Secret Smuggler Digs Up The Truth About His Dad

Marijuana plants grow at a farm near Medellin. Tony Dokoupil's father made hundreds of thousands of dollars smuggling marijuana into the U.S. from Colombia.
Raul Arboleda AFP/Getty Images

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

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Music Reviews
1:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Fight Sound With Sound: Grateful Dead's Arena Combat

Dave's Picks Volume 9 features a 1974 Grateful Dead concert played in Montana.
Courtesy of the artist

The same week that Neil Young introduced his Pono music player designed to spark a huge boost in audio fidelity, I listened for the first time to a recording of a Grateful Dead concert I attended almost 40 years ago. And I realized that passions about good-sounding music go through cycles. Today, the lo-fi medium is MP3s through earbuds.

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All Songs Considered
1:12 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Question Of The Week: Which Recent Album Will Hold Up The Best?

James Blake has a sound that draws on the past, but also points to the future. His most recent album is called Overgrown.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 5:04 pm

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Feds Will Require Rearview Cameras On Vehicles In 2018

The 2009 Ford Flex vehicle showing the rear-camera view.
Andy Cross Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:39 pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all new vehicles — from small subcompacts to commercial vans — to have "rear visibility technology" beginning in May 2018.

The new rule essentially mandates that all vehicles be equipped with a rearview camera.

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The Salt
12:49 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Waffle Taco From Taco Bell

Taco and waffle go together even better than Terry Gross and Gene Simmons.
NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 12:05 pm

For most people, the morning goes like this: Wake up, take a shower and wait six hours in painful agony until it's an appropriate time to eat Taco Bell.

But, finally, times have changed: Taco Bell has introduced a breakfast menu. The centerpiece is unquestionably The Waffle Taco.

Peter: I was driving in after picking them up, and I was terrified of getting in a fatal car crash. "Local radio host found dead next to bag of four Taco Bell Waffle Tacos."

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Glitches Return To HealthCare.Gov As Enrollment Clock Expires

HealthCare.gov has more last-minute shoppers than it can handle.
HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 1:29 pm

The last day of sign-ups for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website is turning out to have a lot in common with the first: lots of computer problems.

But there are some big differences, too. Back in October the not-ready-for-prime-time website was only able to enroll six people on its first day.

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Book News & Features
12:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

We Read The Year's Best New Sci-Fi — So You Don't Have To

The 2014 Campbellian Anthology is a free download.

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 2:17 pm

The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados — but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.

During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.

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