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U.S.
4:41 am
Thu November 21, 2013

In Tornado-Ravaged Illinois 'War Zone,' Veterans Find A Mission

Washington, Ill., sits in ruins as the sun rises Monday, a day after a severe tornado tore through the community.
Zbigniew Bzdak MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:10 pm

Lots of people in and around Washington, Ill., are referring to the areas devastated by Sunday's tornado as looking like a war zone.

David Casler is among them.

"Right here, right now, if you look around this street, this is a war zone, only no one's shooting at us," he says.

Casler knows the difference. He served as a Marine in Iraq in 2004 and was subsequently hit by a roadside bomb while working there as a security contractor, suffering a brain injury.

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Afghanistan
3:55 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Hamid Karzai Lives In A 'World Of Paranoia And Conspiracy'

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

Business
3:53 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Oil Industry And Others Cheer EPA's Ethanol Proposal

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

World
3:51 am
Thu November 21, 2013

World Food Program Responds To Philippine Disaster

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

Good morning.

ERTHARIN COUSIN: Good morning.

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Economy
3:47 am
Thu November 21, 2013

2014 Greece Budget To Contain No Austerity Measures

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Greek parliament is considering a new budget today, and it does not include the wage cuts and tax hikes requested by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Those institutions loaned Greece billions in bailout and are demanding more austerity. But Greeks say they've suffered enough economic pain and warned that more could provoke unrest.

Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

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Afghanistan
3:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Afghans Debate Future U.S. Military Presence

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

Politics
3:39 am
Thu November 21, 2013

'Alpha House' Latest Show To Be Based In Nation's Capital

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

Politics
3:38 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Mexican-American Vets Ignited Kennedy's Latino Support

President John F. Kennedy speaks to Mexican-American activists at a LULAC gala in Houston's Rice Hotel on Nov. 21, 1963, the day before he was assassinated.
Alexander Arroyos AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 7:12 am

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.

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Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama, State Insurance Commissioners Talk Policy Extensions

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

Health Care
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Medicare Project May Provide Better Care Less Expensively

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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.

Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Elvis Presley Enterprises Sold To Authentic Brands

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Tribune Media Company To Lay Off 700 Employees

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:10 am

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.

Remembrances
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Winner Of 2 Nobel Prizes, Fred Sanger Dies At 95

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

Nobel Prize winning biochemist Fred Sanger has died. He was 95. Sanger, who won two Nobel Prizes, pioneered research into the human genome. Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne have this remembrance.

Music Interviews
1:26 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The Orchestral Recipe, From The Pilgrims To Today

Food and music mingle in Pieter Claesz's Still Life with Musical Instruments (1623).
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

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?)

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Education
1:25 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kids Pay The Price In Fight Over Fixing Philadelphia Schools

Third-grader Kassim West last July at Walter G. Smith Elementary School, one of more than 20 Philadelphia public schools that closed at the end of the school year.
Matt Stanley for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:58 am

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.

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The Picture Show
1:24 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Around The World In ... A Lot Of Steps

Paul Salopek and his guide walk into the desert, on day 19 of the "Out of Eden walk" in the Afar region of Northeast Ethiopia. The walk with take about 7 years total.
Paul Salopek National Geographic

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:51 am

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.

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All Tech Considered
1:23 am
Thu November 21, 2013

How HealthCare.gov Is Giving A Once-Obscure Bill A Boost

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. (right) reacts to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., at a May hearing. The two are co-authors of a federal IT reform bill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:42 am

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.

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The Salt
1:22 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use

TK
Dan Charles/ NPR

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 1:34 pm

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."

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The Two-Way
12:57 am
Thu November 21, 2013

'Good Lord Bird,' 'The Unwinding' Win National Book Awards

Author James McBride won the 2013 National Book Award for fiction for The Good Lord Bird, about the journey of a young slave in the 1850s.
Victoria Will AP

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.

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It's All Politics
4:57 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

What A Bitcoin Political Debut Could Mean For Transparency

Bitcoins have gone from an Internet oddity to much more. The FEC is now considering allowing the virtual currency to fund some political campaigns.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:28 pm

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.

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Shots - Health News
4:57 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Medicaid Enrollment Is Brisk Despite HealthCare.gov Troubles

Low-income adults formerly had few options for free health care. Leah Sessor had her blood pressure taken on April 14, 2012, during a free clinic at a racetrack in Bristol, Tenn.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:16 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

With Nominees Stalled, Democrats Reprise Filibuster Threat

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left) with Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley on Capitol Hill in July. Both senators favor curtailing the minority's right to filibuster judicial nominees.
Jose Luis Magana Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:11 pm

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.

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All Tech Considered
2:34 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Video Game Creators Are Using Apps To Teach Empathy

A screenshot of the iPad game If, which aims to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 7:06 am

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.

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Music Interviews
2:34 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

For Dev Hynes, Every Sound Is A Color

Cupid Deluxe is Dev Hynes' new album under the name Blood Orange.
Stacey Mark Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 4:57 pm

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Code Switch
2:34 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Arturo Sandoval: Free To Blow His Trumpet The Way He Wants

Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Wednesday.
Shereen Marisol Meraji NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 7:43 am

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.

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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

At Climate Meeting, Tensions Rise Between Rich And Poor Nations

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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?

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Parallels
2:27 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

A Chronic Problem In Disaster Zones: No Fuel

Filipino men stand in line to fill containers with gas in Tacloban, Philippines, on Sunday. The area experienced widespread gas shortages in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 5:00 pm

In the wake of any natural disaster, there are almost always shortages of fuel. Even in the United States, gas stations shut down during blackouts because there's no electricity to run their pumps.

It was no different in the Philippines, where practically no fuel was available after Typhoon Haiyan struck. Aid agencies said the lack of gasoline was a major impediment to relief efforts.

One small American nonprofit called the Fuel Relief Fund is trying to change that.

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The Two-Way
2:05 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

U.S., Afghanistan Reach Tentative Security Pact

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.

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It's All Politics
1:06 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Can Congressman Trey Radel Survive A Drug Bust?

Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel, R-Fla., at a Capitol news conference on July 9.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 1:55 pm

After pleading guilty Wednesday to cocaine possession, Florida Rep. Henry "Trey" Radel's political future is unclear.

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

City Of Vancouver Shows Doorknobs The Exit

In Vancouver, doorknobs are out, levers are in.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 7:10 pm

The doorknob is dead. At least in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A recent revision in the city's building code, designed to improve accessibility, shows the door to the venerable knob, replacing it with the hipper and easier-to-use lever.

The Vancouver Sun reports:

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