Fred Butler has done many things in his 106 years, from serving in two military theaters of World War II to helping raise five children. But he had never gone to high school, or earned a diploma — the result of leaving school after the eighth grade to work full-time in a print shop to help support his family.
As Secretary of State John Kerry wraps up his first official trip overseas, he's walking a fine line on Syria. Kerry says the Obama administration has been stepping up assistance to rebels who are trying to topple the Syrian regime. But the U.S. is also worried about how all of this will play out. NPR's Michele Kelemen spoke with the secretary of State today in Doha, Qatar, and he said he's taking this one step at a time.
Some members of Congress have put aside partisan sparring in defense of a legendary fighter. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Harry Reid are among those calling for a posthumous pardon for the heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Johnson became the first black man to win that title back in 1908. His next win in 1910 sparked race riots and his relationships with white women added to the controversy.
Here's actor Samuel L. Jackson as Johnson in the 2005 Ken Burns documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness."
If Nov. 7 brought pangs of withdrawal from the end of the presidential race — good news!
The next one has already started.
Witness last week's dust-up over the American Conservative Union's failure to invite New Jersey's Chris Christie, one of the most popular Republican governors in the country, to its annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And if that flew under the radar, this week's book tour launch by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has removed all doubt that the countdown to Iowa has begun.
The Masters Tournament is still a month away, but the green jackets that grace the winners' shoulders are already in the news, thanks to a lawsuit over a proposed auction of a former champion's jacket.
On one side is tournament host Augusta National Golf Club, which says the jacket, won by Art Wall Jr. in 1959, was stolen; on the other is Florida doctor Stephen Pyles and Heritage Auctions of Texas, who insist the jacket was obtained legally and can thus be sold to the highest bidder.
Hikers walk on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park in California. The National Park Service has to cut $134 million from sites around the country, including Yosemite, due to the lack of a budget deal in Congress.
Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.
Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.
Throwback Brewery in New Hampshire is one of almost 20 New England breweries using malts from Massachusetts' micro-malt house Vally Malt.
Credit Courtesy of Throwback Brewery
Valley Malt, in Hadley, Mass., works with 25 farmers growing six different types of grain in the Northeast.
Credit Courtesy of Valley Malt
North Carolina farmers Buddy Hoffner (left) and son Chris have been growing barley for Riverbend Malt House in Asheville since 2010. Riverbend then processes the grain into malt for use by local breweries.
Brent Manning is a maltster on a mission. The co-founder of Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, N.C., wants people to be able to taste local grains in North Carolina's beers, just as vino aficionados can identify the provenance of fine wines.
"In the wine industry ... they will tell you that the No. 1 Syrah grape grows on this hillside over here because it's a bit rockier," Manning explains. "It's that very same connection to the soil and the underlying geology that creates these nuances in flavors."
Federal officials warned Tuesday that an especially dangerous group of superbugs has become a significant health problem in hospitals throughout the United States.
These germs, known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, have become much more common in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the risk they pose to health is becoming evident.
Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:03 am
Get some earplugs and a case of your favorite caffeinated beverage ready: The annual sensory-overload-joy-fest known as South by Southwest is almost here. Bob Boilen, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and I, along with a small army of other NPR Music peeps, will be there next week for the whole thing. Whether you'll be in Austin for the festival, or watching and listening on our website, we hope you'll join us for these events:
A North Korean (right) and a South Korean soldier facing each other at the Panmunjom truce village in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 30 miles north of Seoul. (2011 file photo.)
While diplomats move ahead at the United Nations on a package of new sanctions aimed at North Korea in another effort to convince that Stalinist state to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, there's also this news:
During a long, fiery speech, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro said the country had expelled American diplomat David del Monaco because of what Maduro said was his work trying to "destabilize the country."
"Mr. David del Monaco has 24 hours to pick up his bags and leave the country," Maduro said in the televised speech.
Federal spending on seniors already far outpaces that devoted to children. Last year, overall spending on children dropped for the first time in 30 years. The sequester, which expressly protects programs for the elderly, will exacerbate that difference.
Credit Anne de Haas / iStockphoto.com
Credit The Urban Institute
The nonprofit group Next Generation took out this full-page ad in <em>The Washington Post</em> on Sunday, arguing that "America made a choice to help lift seniors out of poverty. We need to do the same for our kids."
For years, federal programs for seniors and those that help kids have been on a collision course.
Now, given the automatic spending cuts taking place under sequestration, the moment for real competition may have arrived.
While Medicare and Social Security will come through the sequester mostly unscathed, a broad swath of programs targeted toward children — Head Start, education, nutrition assistance, child welfare — stand to lose hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 12:25 pm
Three people are in custody Tuesday in California, accused of commandeering an 82-foot luxury sailboat in Sausalito, partying through the night, and then running the yacht aground in the pounding surf off the beach at Pacifica.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 10:32 am
Americans are all for government efforts to get them to eat more healthfully, as long as they don't feel like they're being bullied into it. That's what people said in a new survey about government efforts to influence how we eat, like New York City's ban on supersized sodas.
In the past decade, state and federal governments have launched dozens of new laws and programs to promote healthful eating and exercise. They've put a lot of effort into measuring what works, but surprisingly little effort into finding out what the people at the receiving end think.
Washington State Rep. <a href="http://houserepublicans.wa.gov/ed-orcutt/">Ed Orcutt</a> has apologized for saying "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," after an email with a bike shop owner sparked criticism. Here, a cyclist rides in Seattle last year.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:19 am
Days after angering cyclists with his contention that people who ride bikes don't help pay for roads — and stating that "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for his words, and any confusion they created.
The high lonesome sound of Ashley Monroe's Tennessee voice in "Like a Rose" serves as a clear signal that she's working within a tradition that extends back well beyond her twentysomething years on Earth. One of Monroe's collaborators in that song was Guy Clark, a seventysomething Texas country veteran who's often too tough-guy romantic for his own good.
As a music journalist from the North Country, I'd be a fool to pass up the opportunity to head down Austin, Texas, each March for the South by Southwest Music Conference. It provides those of us on the ice-whipped prairie a respite from our endless winter season, not to mention a chance to binge on the best burgeoning artists before they make their way around the country on tour. It's become something of a requisite for many of the musicians, writers, photographers and fans from my hometown.
An iceberg in or just outside the Ilulissat fjord, which likely calved from Jakobshavn Isbrae, the fastest glacier in western Greenland, in May 2012. Polar ice sheets are now melting three times faster than in the 1990s.
Credit Ian Joughin / AP
A graphic excerpted from <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/02/27/1214212110.full.pdf+html">the original PNAS study</a>.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:22 am
Climate change will make commercial shipping possible from North America to Russia or Asia over the North Pole by the middle of the century, a new study says.
Two researchers at the University of California ran seven different climate models simulating two classes of vessels to see if they could make a relatively ice-free passage through the Arctic Ocean. In each case, the sea routes are sufficiently clear after 2049, they say.
If Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has his way, Detroit will become the sixth and largest city there to come under state control. But steering a city out of crisis can be a tricky task. Host Michel Martin speaks with Jerome Vaughn, of WDET, and Robert Bobb, a former emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, about the situation.
Skipping $4 lattes will save you some money — but buying into bogus financial advice won't. Finance journalist, Helaine Olen says many of the so-called 'financial experts' are selling you advice to make themselves rich. She discusses her book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry with host Michel Martin.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:36 am
Are you a "mega-commuter"?
That's a term used by the U.S. Census Bureau to describe people who commute at least 90 minutes and 50 miles to work. Nearly 600,000 Americans spend that much time in vehicles, carpool lanes, and trains and buses each day, according to the bureau.
This interactive map, created by WNYC, shows commute times, by ZIP code, across the country. Zoom into your area to see how your commute compares:
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. This is the part of the program where we usually check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and parenting advice. Today, though, we decided on a very different conversation about choosing not to be a parent.