Ted is a theoretical physicist facing a slew of resolutely concrete problems. His son is racing headlong into puberty. His daughter's prodigious intellect causes her to stand out at school — the very last thing the girl wants. His elderly father-in-law isn't remembering much, these days, save for the fact that he hates Ted's guts. His wife is sick and getting sicker, just as his employer, a prominent think tank, threatens to fire him for lack of productivity. To keep his job, and its health care coverage, Ted needs an idea.
And support is growing in Congress for a bill that to allow military prosecutors to decide whether or not to try serious military crimes, including sexual assault. That would take the decision out of the hands of commanders, commanders who are in a position of overseeing the careers of both the victims and the accused. NPR's Ailsa Chang reports that two Republican senators and possible presidential hopefuls in 2016 are joining forces with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Democrats had been preparing to change Senate rules on filibusters to push through President Obama's nominations to executive branch positions. Republicans agreed to allow votes on five nominations, and Democrats agreed to replace two particularly contentious names with others.
Five years after the start of the financial crisis, the U.S. banking industry continues to earn strong profits. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs became the latest big bank to report better than expected earnings. But rising interest rates mean a riskier environment for banks.
The company had spent millions of dollars supporting the independent group. The National Scrabble Association played a support role for the Scrabble community for more than 25 years. It worked with Merriam-Webster to create an official dictionary, and it refereed tournaments. Hasbro is now taking over those duties.
Greece's two largest unions held a general strike and anti-austerity demonstrations on Tuesday. Now, the country's parliament will debate and vote on deep civil service cuts. Greece must downsize the public sector in order for it to keep getting international bailout loans.
It's semi-annual testimony time for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Sounds dry but lots of people will be hanging on his every word these next two days. Markets have been on a wild ride since Bernanke delivered a news conference last month. In that speech he laid out plans to scale back the Fed's bond-buying program.
There's been excitement on Wall Street about a turnaround at Yahoo since Marissa Mayer became head of the company last year. Mayer has completed high profile acquisitions and sought to improve worker morale. Second quarter revenues missed expectations as Yahoo struggled to corral advertising dollars.
A federal judge has refused to stop the force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay inmates on a hunger strike. David Greene talks to Carol Rosenberg, of the Miami Herald, who's just returned from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where she's been reporting on the prisoners' hunger strike.
As Zimbabwe prepares for hotly contested elections later this month, there's pressure on politicians to avoid violence and follow through on promises. One group making sure the country's leaders do what they promised is the group Zimbabwe Poets for Human Rights.
Attorney General Eric Holder says it is time to take a hard look at so-called Stand Your Ground laws. These are laws that allow people to use deadly force to defend themselves, if they believe they're under attack. Holder delivered that call to action yesterday in a speech to the NAACP in Orlando, Fla., a short distance away from where unarmed, black teen Trayvon Martin was shot and killed last year. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
Sickle cell anemia may not be as well-known as, say, malaria, tuberculosis or AIDS. But every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with this inherited blood disorder. And the numbers are expected to climb.
The number of sickle cell anemia cases is expected to increase about 30 percent globally by 2050, scientists said Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease is most common, will be the hardest hit.
Credit Natalie Behring / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Wheat grows in a test field at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Some scientists believe that there's a chance that genetically modified wheat found in one farmer's field in May is still in the seed supply.
Credit Courtesy of Muungano Support Trust and Jason Corburn, UC Berkeley
The Mathare Valley, shown here in an aerial map, is one of the largest and oldest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Residents are using hand-held GPS devices to map the area, which comprises 13 villages and is home to nearly 200,000 people.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
Isaac Mutisya, whom everyone knows as Kaka, points out the spot in Mathare where he was born. The more he maps his slum through the lens of his GPS, the more he feels the outside world is finally looking back.
Credit Courtesy of Muungano Support Trust and Jason Corburn, UC Berkeley
The residents of Nairobi's informal settlements live in unsafe, overcrowded and often unsanitary housing and lack access to basic services such as sanitation, water and electricity.
Credit Gregory Warner / NPR
Slum mapper Emily Wangari stands outside a communal toilet in the Kiamutisya settlement of Mathare. This settlement has only four toilets for 4,000 residents. By mapping the problems, she hopes to pressure authorities to bring in more necessary services.
This year marks the centennial of America's first transcontinental road: the Lincoln Highway. You might have driven on the highway and not even known it, since it stretches from New York to California, passing through states like Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado, and carrying different state route numbers along the way.
Erik Gjermundsen of Fredrikstad Norway is checking off another item from his bucket list.
"I've been in the U.S. many times and I have always wanted to drive coast-to-coast," Gjermundsen says. "You have to do something in the summer and this was different."
Sixties pop artist Tom Wesselmann liked women, and saluted them on his canvases — or, sometimes, just parts of them: perfect glossy red mouths with lips parted to reveal pink tongues; nipples, even on the oranges he paints. These are just a few of the images that might make you blush in a Wesselmann retrospective now on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
"I don't think you could ask for a more literal interpretation of the objectification of parts of the female body," says curator Sarah Eckhardt.
Not only does such a thing exist, but after Barbie, it's the best-selling doll in the world. The dolls of Monster High are bone-thin beauties all related to famous monsters. They come with books and Web episodes that follow their stories in that place where everyone feels like a freak — in high school.
New York Yankees' great Mariano Rivera, pitching in his final All-Star game, was honored by fans at the home of the crosstown Mets, then pitched a perfect eighth inning to help the American League to a 3-0 victory over the National League in Tuesday's All-Star game.
The win means the team representing the American League will host this year's World Series.
Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 12:29 pm
I'm a mad scientist in the kitchen. My inventions for new culinary techniques that will revolutionize the way we eat usually happen in the middle of the night during a bout of insomnia. I stumble downstairs the next morning in a sleep-deprived daze, and a quick Internet search reveals that I'm far from the first person to have invented the cookery method, and hundreds of recipes already exist.
In 1961 the American League schedule was lengthened by eight games to 162, and it was about this time that summer that the commissioner –– of whom it was once written, "An empty cab drove up to the curb and Ford Frick got out" –– declared that even if some player broke Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs, it would not count if he needed more games than Ruth had had.
So, when Roger Maris hit his 61st in the last game of the longer season, the distinction did not displace Ruth in the record books but was merely listed along with The Babe's lesser number.
The writer and humorist David Rakoff died last year at the age of 47 of cancer. He left behind his final work: a brief novel in verse with the long title "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish." It was published today, and Alan Cheuse has this review.
Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 10:55 am
Liz Cheney, the elder of former Vice President Dick Cheney's two daughters, a former State Department official and a conservative commentator who's often on Fox, is going to challenge Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi in next year's Republican primary.
According to The Associated Press, Cheney, 46, confirmed what had been wide speculation about her plans on Tuesday — not long after the 69-year-old Enzi said that he will seek a fourth term.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, at a news conference Tuesday with Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas (right) and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul and Cruz have endorsed Gillibrand's bill regarding sexual assault in the military.
On most recent days, nothing that wasn't bitterly partisan has seemed possible in the nation's capital.
On Tuesday, the city got its exception.
Republican Tea Party Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas stood with liberal Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, endorsing her bill that would dramatically change how military sexual assault cases are reported and prosecuted.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The Senate went to the brink of the so-called nuclear option but then, today, dialed it back. Senators struck a last minute deal in their fight over President Obama's nominations. Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid had threatened a rules change. It would've stripped the Republican minority of their ability to filibuster executive branch nominations. The deal reached this morning diffuses that threat, at least for now.
To learn more about these living wage bills throughout the country, we're joined by David Neumark. For years, he studied the effects of living wage laws, and he directs the Center for Economics and Public Policy at the University of California at Irvine. Welcome to the program.
DAVID NEUMARK: Thanks for having me.
CORNISH: So, first, some context. How does the living wage differ from what we're all more familiar with, the minimum wage?