Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:55 am
Richard Rodriguez begins his latest book, Darling, with an unfussy dedication to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Catholic women's group committed to helping the sick and destitute. This Baptism, if you will, is the first and surely the most straightforward indication within the book that Rodriguez intends to delve into his complex relationship with religion. The path that lies beyond that dedication is weird and wonderful, and readers will find that it's far from a direct route.
Amid the partial government shutdown, the Small Business Administration will continue only a few programs, including disaster relief loans. That's good news in Colorado, where nearly a thousand businesses were damaged or destroyed by recent flooding. Many more could see sales go down.
Grace Hood of member station KUNC traveled to the small town Lyons to understand the full scope of challenges facing small businesses.
Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.
"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."
All right. The partial government shutdown could take an especially painful toll on American veterans. The most serious consequences will not come unless the shutdown continues for weeks. Those consequences would include cutting off disability and education benefits. Politicians on both sides have scrambled to show their support for vets, but as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering.
NPR's business news begins with a reprieve for BP.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The energy company has won a partial victory after a U.S. appeals court halted some payments related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a big win for BP which had complained that the payout formula was too generous, and compensated people who were not harmed. Billions of dollars in claims were filed by businesses and individuals in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
For years, the small West African nation of Liberia was associated with violence, child soldiers, blood diamonds, 14 years of one of the world's most brutal civil wars. Now Liberia is celebrating a full decade of peace. Tamasin Ford brings us the story of one enterprising young woman there who's learning to operate in the new Liberia.
Top U.S. intelligence officials are now warning about the threat to security posed by the partial federal shutdown. It is now idling most of the civilian workforce in the intelligence community. This follows an earlier warning to Congress about limiting their ability to monitor phone and data traffic.
That plea began during a Senate hearing about possible changes to intelligence laws, as NPR's Larry Abramson reports.
From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.
The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.
The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "But the only way I can protect these places during this period is to shut them down."
Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.
"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.
As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights â€” but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the shutdown, through four votes in the Senate with not a single defection from the Democratic caucus, and once again after the meeting at the White House, Reid has rejected any of the changes in the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans have demanded as a condition for funding the federal government.
After more than two decades in city government, Bill Averill has a pretty impressive mental inventory of Milwaukee real estate. He started in the city assessor's office when he was 34, after leaving a private sector job that paid better but had no retirement benefits.
"That was one of the main reasons I went to work for the City of Milwaukee," he says. "And so I knew the pension at some time, way out in the future, would be a benefit to me."
It's not every day federal authorities get to bust a case like this. It involves millions of dollars, illicit drugs and a would-be assassin, all of which allegedly were bought and sold on the Internet, in a shadowy online marketplace known as the Silk Road. On Tuesday, federal authorities shut down that site and arrested 29-year-old Ross Ulbricht, the man they say is its mastermind.
Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish, with no end in sight. And that's in spite of talks at the White House late today. President Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner for over an hour Wednesday evening. The meeting failed to produce a deal that would end the federal government shutdown.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:52 am
Among the temporary casualties of the government shutdown, besides the paychecks of 800,000 workers, are all federally funded tourist attractions.
Sure, it's a bummer for those who planned vacations around the Smithsonian museums and galleries, national parks and national monuments (although barricades didn't stop some veterans at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Tuesday).
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:12 pm
Day 2 of the federal government shutdown found President Obama summoning congressional leaders to the White House to urge House Republicans to pass legislation to reopen agencies and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default by the U.S. (Nothing was resolved; here's the story.)
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 7:55 am
Prominent members of the legal community are pressuring the Obama administration to do more to ensure that poor criminal defendants have access to a lawyer, a situation that Attorney General Eric Holder has already likened to a national crisis.
After a breakup, raw feelings can set off a desire for revenge. Some jilted lovers have taken to posting intimate pictures of a former partner on the Internet. It's a phenomenon known as "revenge porn," and on Monday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law making it a crime.
The new law is a victory to Holly Jacobs, who was a victim of revenge porn. Jacobs went through what sounds like a typical boy-meets-girl story of falling in and out of love. The first year of the relationship, Jacobs and her partner lived in the same city, but she left to go to graduate school in Miami.
Best-selling author Tom Clancy has died. He was 66 years old. Beginning with the publication of his 1984 megahit The Hunt for Red October, Clancy wrote a string of blockbuster thrillers inspired by his fascination with military hardware and history.
Clancy didn't mince words when he talked to would-be writers. "If your objective is to write a book, get a computer and write the damn book," he told members of the military at a 2004 writing workshop. "Yes, you can do this if you try hard enough. It's a lot easier than you realize it is."
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:59 pm
There's nothing like a government shutdown to make people angry about government, or at least the politicians who are running things.
"The people we have in the Senate and the House of Representatives, I don't know who they're working for, but they're not working for us," says Larry Abernathy, an insurance broker in St. Louis. "I think both parties are useless."
It's a widely shared belief. People in this Midwestern city may be far removed from the back and forth of the budget debate that has paralyzed Washington, but the partial shutdown is very much on their minds.