Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.
From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.
The government shutdown grinds on with no immediate relief in sight.
President Obama says he's willing to talk with Republican lawmakers about adjustments to the health care law and other issues, but only after they re-open the government and lift the threat of a federal default.
"I'm happy to negotiate with you on anything. I don't think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom. But you don't negotiate by putting a gun to the other person's head," Obama says.
Experts in negotiation say the president's stance may be justified, but it's also risky.
This week on the program, we've been talking to and about prodigies: children with extraordinary abilities far beyond their age. Yesterday, we talked about how hard it is to find the right balance, encouraging these kids without setting expectations too high, something that can hurt them later as adults. This is largely up to their parents, who face some incredibly difficult choices. And today we'll hear from two parents: the mother of a teenage computer wonder and the father of a pint-sized tennis phenom.
The partial shutdown of the federal government involves real lives, people out of work and also politics, the blame game. It's a wide-ranging story that forces news outlets to confront a familiar question. How do you present the story, remain even-handed and explain accurately what's happening? Here's NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV NEWS BROADCASTS)
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: A lot of headlines and coverage has sounded something like this.
And all of that happened yesterday in what has been a charged week at the Capitol. Republicans in the House stuck to their demands to defund the Affordable Care Act and parts of the government remain shut down.
Across the U.S., many part-time workers have joined the millions shopping for coverage in the new health care marketplace. Some are uninsured. Others are being pushed into the new exchanges because their employers — companies that include Trader Joe's and Home Depot — decided to drop coverage for part-timers.
And today's last word in business: beer and a shot of vegan?
Munich's Oktoberfest - the Bavarian festival of beer - ends on Sunday. It normally brings in over $1 billion and draws some six million visitors to the German city.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Lots of bratwurst and chicken and of course beer get consumed. This year, festival goers have been treated to something else, thanks to the Lorenz Huckett(ph), a 21-year-old cook who took time from working in the kitchen of his father's festival tent to talk to us.
Twitter gave potential investors the first peek at its financials as the company heads toward its initial public offering. Twitter plans to raise $1 billion in its IPO and will trade under the ticker symbol TWTR. While Twitter has quickly transformed the way people communicate and comment on events, it has yet to establish itself as a business.
One of pro basketball's most colorful figures is not on the court, but he's now in court. Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, defended himself yesterday on civil charges of insider trading.
From member station KERA in Dallas, BJ Austin reports.
NPR's business news begins with no new jobs report.
The Labor Department says it's not releasing the September employment report today as scheduled. The jobs report is almost always released on the first Friday of the month. Not this time. That's thanks to the shutdown, which is in its fourth day.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:04 pm
Congress: On Day 3 of the shutdown, a Washington made tense by partisan acrimony was put even more on edge by a bizarre incident. A woman who drove erratically near the White House and then the U.S. Capitol, causing the legislative complex to be locked down, ended up dead after a high-speed chase that left a Capitol Hill police officer injured.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Twitter is revealing more details about its planned initial public offering. Late this afternoon, the company announced its intention to raise a billion dollars by selling stock, and revealed detailed information about its finances for the first time. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn to discuss this peek behind the Twitter curtain. Hey there, Steve.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:02 pm
Preston Bates considers the budget stalemate a good return on investment.
Bates is executive director of Liberty for All, a libertarian-leaning superPAC that last year spent more than $3 million helping to elect Republican congressmen such as Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan.
Those two are among the core group of House members refusing to support any deal that would reopen the government without delaying, defunding or destroying the Affordable Care Act, the health care law also known as Obamacare.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:34 am
Many online journals are ready to publish bad research in exchange for a credit card number.
That's the conclusion of an elaborate sting carried out by Science, a leading mainline journal. The result should trouble doctors, patients, policymakers and anyone who has a stake in the integrity of science (and who doesn't?).
The business model of these "predatory publishers" is a scientific version of those phishes from Nigerians who want help transferring a few million dollars into your bank account.
The Greek lawmaker who leads the neo-fascist Golden Dawn Party is behind bars, awaiting trial for allegedly running a criminal organization. Nikolaos Michaloliakos' views are racist and anti-Semitic, and he's been blamed for inciting violence, especially against immigrants.
He says he's not a criminal and is being persecuted for his beliefs.
But will shutting down the party shut down its support?
Look closely at just about any can of tuna sold in the U.S. and you'll find a tiny stamp. Now for more than 20 years, that stamp has certified that no dolphins were harmed or killed when the tuna was caught. For nearly that long, Mexico and the U.S. have been fighting over that label. Mexico says it's made great strides protecting dolphins and that the U.S. now unfairly blocks Mexican tuna from its markets.
Almost 300 Sandy victims are still living in hotel rooms on the taxpayers' dime — but not for long. City officials say the program is expensive, and it's time for those remaining Sandy evacuees to move out.
This week, the displaced families living in hotels got a letter from New York City officials telling them they will not pay for those rooms after Friday.
This was the message they sent back on Wednesday: Heck no, we won't go!
At a press conference outside City Hall, several dozen evacuees protested for more time.
As we reported Tuesday, the government shutdown is pushing the nation's food safety system to its limits.
For instance, there is normally a team of eight people overseeing the critical foodborne illness tracking database PulseNet. This team identifies clusters of sickness linked to potentially dangerous strains of pathogens such as E. coli or salmonella.
There are just about 30 days — and 30 nights — left in South Florida's rainy season. That will not deter a monumental building task being attempted by a group of people near Miami.
The Hidden Ark project was originally planned for a 5-acre spot just outside Hialeah, Fla., not far from the Everglades. In the spring, builders worked to create a one-tenth of a full-scale Noah's ark — imagine a 150-foot-long bathtub made of wood.
As Democrats and Republicans continue to blame each other for being unwilling to negotiate, a small group of House conservatives have driven the debate in Washington. Even though polls show the public is not happy about the government shutdown, conservative media outlets have provided plenty of support for Republicans on Capitol Hill. And they've rallied their community through TV, the radio and social media. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.
For now, though, we turn to the other big story of the day, and that's the government shutdown. We're in day three, and there's little sign of a compromise at this point. Republicans insist they're willing to negotiate on a spending bill to fund the government. Democrats say a short-term spending bill is no place to negotiate the new health care law.
Now we're going to sort through the various interpretations of what is or isn't going on to resolve the government shutdown with NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Hi there, Ailsa.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Hi there.
CORNISH: So we heard the congresswoman mention these various bills the House is pushing to fund different popular departments of the government. But at the same time, Senate Democrats are saying no to a partial government reopening. So how are they justifying that position?