OK. So in the words of that political scientist in Peter's piece, wealthy donors like Tom Steyer are putting a pistol to someone's head, forcing their pet issues on candidates. Steyer himself sees things very differently. He quit his hedge fund with $1.5 billion and now in his view he's fighting as hard as he can with money and passion to do something very noble - save the planet. When he sat down to speak with us he said his goal is to use his money to limit carbon emissions.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. Some of America's richest political activists are pouring money into new SuperPACs as they seek to influence the issues in upcoming Senate and House races. Billionaires including Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and Fred Eychaner used SuperPACs to support their favored presidential candidates in 2012.
And British smokers might be thinking of combing a rocky beach near East Devon this morning. That's where a shipping container carrying 14 tons of tobacco cigarettes washed ashore yesterday. Our last word in business is: soggy cigs.
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The container is thought to be one of many lost from a cargo ship on Valentine's Day. More than 500 containers fell into the ocean after the ship was battered by 30-foot waves during a fierce storm.
[This piece contains information about the plot of Downton Abbey, up to and including Sunday night's fourth-season finale.]
Another season of Downton Abbey has come to a close, and once again, Lady Edith is unlucky. Unlucky in love, unlucky in life. She's unluckier than Bates, and he went to jail for something he didn't do, for what certainly felt like a really, really long time. She's unluckier than Matthew, and he's quite deceased.
The Lodo Wellness Center in Denver has been selling medical marijuana for several years. But since Jan. 1, when marijuana in Colorado officially moved from underground to behind the counter, the center has also been selling legal, recreational pot.
A majority of Americans now say they support full legalization, and the trend is spreading to other states.
Meanwhile, the public health community is warning of a potential safety problem: more people driving while stoned. But health officials and law enforcement don't yet have the data or the tools to address the concern.
The last big games of the Olympics, including the gold medal hockey game and four-man bobsled, concluded Sunday. After the closing ceremony, thousands headed for Sochi's tiny airport. NPR's Robert Smith provides a roundup of highlights.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West . I'm Arun Rath.
Ukraine is continuing to transform before our eyes. A new interim president has been named, and he's given parliament 48 hours to agree on an interim government. Pro-western protesters continue to fill Independence Square in Kiev, though it has remained peaceful since Friday. Some clashes have been reported, however, in the pro-Russian eastern part of the country.
In 1911, explorer and British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott had big plans. He intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, that holy grail of exploration, and claim the distinction for the British Empire.
Two years after the Justice Department rewrote the official definition of rape, reports of rape have increased in most cities. Under the old definition, however, the number of rapes between 2012 and 2013 were down.
There are thousands of saints recognized by the Catholic Church. But canonization, the process of declaring a person a saint, requires a long, rigorous and expensive process. Just outside Buffalo in Lackawanna, New York, Our Lady of Victory Basilica is midway through that process for Father Nelson Baker. Father Baker was ordained in 1876 and spent nearly his entire ministry at that church where he developed a small orphanage and a school.
The Afghan Taliban said it was cutting off talks with Washington to trade long-time captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five of the prisoners held at Guantanamo.
The Associated Press says it's received via email "a terse Pashto language statement" from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid blaming the "current complex political situation in the country" for suspending the discussions.
The AP says a U.S. official confirms that the talks have been suspended.
Leah Vincent was born into the Yeshivish community, an ultra-Orthodox sect of Judaism, in Pittsburgh.
"Yeshivish Judaism life is defined by religious law," Vincent tells NPR's Arun Rath. "We keep extra-strict laws of kosher, observe the Sabbath every week, maintain a separation of the sexes and a degree of isolation from the outside world."
When she was 16, she was caught exchanging letters with a male friend. Contact with men is forbidden in her sect, and she was cast out from her community.
Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:42 am
This post was last updated at 1:40 p.m. ET.
The torch has officially been passed. The 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are over with all the drama in the competition and not over safety and security during the 17 days of the events, as many had feared.
Outdoor fireworks rattled Sochi's Fisht Stadium as the Olympic flame was set to be extinguished Sunday. Winners and losers in the international competition now will have to look east to South Korea to test their Olympic mettle in the contest for medals four years from now, in 2018.
Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 1:59 pm
Jason Munkel and his father Bill are 39 years apart in age, but since last year, they've been sitting down together to play Call of Duty: Ghosts almost every night.
They also broadcast their gameplay to more than 120,000 followers, who watch the father-son duo pursue and shoot enemies on the screen, and talk to them during the game. Sometimes they do this for six to seven hours a day, and their audience has grown dramatically in just one year, though not all watch every day.
Book fans can be pretty picky about how Hollywood treats their favorite reads. And Hollywood can sometimes disappoint. Marc Helprin's "Winter's Tale" has been a favorite of readers since it was published in 1983. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has a review of how well it works as a movie.
New York made sweeping changes this week to the way prisons use solitary confinement.
The deal, signed by a federal judge on Wednesday, was prompted by a federal lawsuit filed by critics who say thousands of inmates — some of them pregnant or mentally ill — are being held for months and even years in isolation, often for minor infractions.
Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:26 am
An apparent grenade attack on an anti-government protest in Thailand's capital has killed at least two people and wounded nearly two dozen others, as unrest in the country continues amid a push by opposition forces to topple the elected prime minister.
NPR's Michael Sullivan reports:
"The blast occurred near Central World shopping mall in the heart of [Bangkok] and at least three children are among those most seriously injured, according to the government-run Erawan Medical Center.