Steve Inskeep talks to William Dalrymple about his upcoming piece in The New York Times Magazine entitled: "How is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?" Dalrymple recently wrote the book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42.
The EPA's decision not to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15, had a big impact on a lot of businesses. For manufacturers of motorcycles, motor boats and outdoor power equipment, it was good news. But for gas station owners who invested in expensive blender pumps, the decision hurt.
The U.N. says it's gotten nearly $130 million from donor nations, about half the funds it requested just last week, to carryout the massive relief effort in the Philippines. Some four million people are homeless in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The World Food Programme is one of the many U.N. organizations responding to that disaster. We reached its director, Ertharin Cousin, in Delhi, after she spent several days in Tacloban, the hardest hit city in the Philippines.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has convened an assembly of tribal and religious leaders to debate a proposed security pact with the United States. The accord would allow some U.S. forces to remain in the country following the completion of NATO'S withdrawal at the end of 2014.
The fourth episode of the web-only series Alpha House goes live on Amazon Prime on Friday. The political comedy stars John Goodman and was created and written by Garry Trudeau of "Doonesbury" fame. It's about four Republican senators living in a house and is loosely based on a real Capitol Hill living arrangement.
On the evening of Nov. 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, walked through a wall of applause to take their place as honored guests in a Houston ballroom. They were making a brief stop at a formal dinner held by LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens — to show their appreciation for the Mexican-American votes that had helped the young president carry Texas in the 1960 election.
President Obama met with state insurance commissioners to discuss changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some commissioners are in a difficult spot because their states passed laws that prohibit policies that don't comply with the law. Now, the president says companies can keep offering non-compliant policies for another year if they want to.
Fort Dodge, Iowa, is not exactly what you'd think of as a hotbed of health care innovation. But the small town in the western part of the state is part of a Medicare pilot project that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care: providing better care at a lower cost.
And our Last Word In Business is, still the King. It's been over three decades since Elvis Presley left this earthly building. But his legacy lives on, and generates about $32 million a year in revenue.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And now, Elvis Presley Enterprises has a new owner. Authentic Brands Group, which already manages Marilyn Monroe's brand, will acquire rights to Elvis' photos, music, movie and TV appearances, although the price has not yet been disclosed.
The company owns seven daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. The company says the cuts will mostly affect the publishing side of the business — not editorial staff. The company says it's part of an ongoing effort to consolidate its business.
If you're going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner next week, you've probably already started gathering the traditional ingredients — but your ingredients are most likely very different from those that made up the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621. (Marshmallows with those sweet potatoes, anyone?)
This is the first in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.
Sharron Snyder and Othella Stanback, both seniors at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High, will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. This, their final year, was supposed to be memorable. Instead, these teenagers say they feel cheated.
"We're fed up with the budget cuts and everything. Like, this year, my school is like really overcrowded. We don't even have lockers because it's, like, too many students," Sharron says.
Paul Salopek has discovered that the best way to take in information, to be a journalist and a storyteller, is not flying around the world with the latest technology. It's by walking.
"There's something about moving across the surface of the earth at 3 miles per hour that feels really good," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
Salopek plans to walk 21,000 miles total — from Africa to the Middle East, across Asia, down through Alaska and all the way to Tierra del Fuego. He calls it the "Out of Eden Walk" because the idea is to follow the path of human migration.
As federal tech launches go, it's not just HealthCare.gov that didn't take off. A report from IT research firm the Standish Group finds that 94 percent of federal IT projects come in late, over budget or get scrapped completely.
President Obama focused on the issue of procuring technology for the federal government in a recent interview.
Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.
"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:49 am
(This post was updated at 10:30 a.m.)
James McBride won the prestigious National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday for his novel The Good Lord Bird about a young slave who joins the abolitionist John Brown in his anti-slavery mission. Also honored were George Packer, who won in the nonfiction category, Mary Szybist, for poetry, and Cynthia Kadohata, for young people's literature.
Bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists as alphanumeric strings online, is on the verge of getting into politics.
The Federal Election Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to allow bitcoin contributions to political action committees — even as skeptics say that bitcoins could undermine the disclosure standards of federal law.
Buried in the paltry enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act that were released last week was something that came as a surprise to many — the success states are having signing people up for the Medicaid program, which provides health care to low-income people.
For the third time this year, the Democrats who run the Senate are threatening to change that chamber's rules on the Republican minority's most potent weapon: the filibuster. They say the GOP's obstruction of President Obama's nominations leaves them no other choice.
Democrats say that this time, they're ready to pull the trigger on what's known as "the nuclear option." Doing so would amount to altering the rules not with the traditional two-thirds majority but a simple majority of 51.
Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.
In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.
Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.
A former president, a media mogul and a Cuban jazz trumpeter are among the 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday. That Cuban jazz trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, happened to be performing not too far away from NPR West, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, last Friday. So I went to pay him a visit during rehearsals.
NPR's Richard Harris has covered the U.N. climate talks since the first treaty was negotiated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. He's monitoring these new talks, and he joins us now to talk about this long-running argument over climate-related funding for the developing world. Richard, thanks for being here.
RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: My pleasure.
BLOCK: And we just heard Mr. Khan mention this goal of $100 billion in aid per year, starting in 2020. He thinks that's realistic. What does it look like from where you sit?
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 6:38 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry says he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have agreed on the text of a security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to stay on the ground in the South Asian country beyond 2014.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that after numerous phone calls, Kerry says he and Karzai reached terms for a "limited role" for U.S. troops that would be confined to training, equipping and assisting Afghan forces.