A couple generations ago, when older Americans retired they could rely on pension plans to support them. Then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many companies switched their retirement plans over to 401(k) accounts. The security of workers' retirement savings suddenly became subject to the vagaries of the stock market.
As the death toll in Syria climbed over the past two years, many critics charge that President Obama has not done enough to aid the opposition. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, former Ambassador Christopher Hill argues that the administration has made a serious mistake, but, quote, "The real shortcoming of the administration's policy on Syria has not been an unwillingness to engage militarily, but the ill-advised decision in August 2011 to preclude the possibility of a diplomatic resolution involving all sides."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Thirty million dollars is a lot of money, but how do you divide it among the families of the three people killed, the dozens maimed, the hundreds who spent time in the hospital, the thousands who witnessed the blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last month?
Update at 5:38 p.m. ET. One More IRS Official To Leave
Another official is out at the embattled agency.
The Associated Press reports that Joseph Grant, commissioner of the IRS' tax exempt and government entities division, will retire June 3. The division scrutinized Tea Party groups when the applied for tax-exempt status.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Obama Names New IRS Acting Chief
A study published online recently in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives documented slightly elevated levels of arsenic in samples of chicken purchased at grocery stores in 10 cities in the U.S.
So how did trace amounts of this toxin end up in supermarket poultry?
Perhaps you've noticed a toddler's sagging swim diaper and wondered if it's really keeping the poop out of your neighborhood pool.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the answer for you: no.
Last summer, researchers at the federal public health agency collected 161 filter samples from public swimming pools in the Atlanta area. More than half of those samples, 58 percent, were contaminated with E. coli.
That, the CDC reported today, "signifies that swimmers introduced fecal matter into pool water."
Woody Herman, who would have turned 100 on Thursday, bloomed early and late — and then later still. He turned pro by age 9, singing and dancing in movie theaters on summer vacation. He'd perform one song deemed too risqué for radio when he recorded it decades later: "My Gee Gee From the Fiji Isles."
It really only hit yesterday: It's the end of The Office.
After nine seasons, Dunder Mifflin is going dark Thursday night, with an hour-long retrospective at 8:00 and a 75-minute episode at 9:00 that may or may not feature a cameo from Steve Carell. There have been denials of an appearance from him that could be read as emphatic or tiptoeing, depending on whether you focus on the obvious implications of those denials or the technicalities that might allow for wiggle room.
Police in Albuquerque, N.M., are interviewing a man they say is a "person of interest" in the abduction of a five-year-old girl. After the girl was taken Wednesday evening, her mother chased down and rammed the car she had been in; a suspect fled on foot. Authorities say the girl is safe; she was pushed out of the car shortly after being taken.
Update at 3:30 p.m. ET. 'Person Of Interest' Found:
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program family members of both the suspects in the Cleveland kidnappings and the Boston Marathon bombings have denounced them. And that made us wonder about the family members of other people who have been accused of horrible acts. So we reached out to two of them - the daughter of a serial killer and the brother of the Unibomber will both be with us in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program we will speak with writer and scholar Mark Anthony Neal about his new book, "Looking For Leroy." It's about how black men on stage, screen and on the radio shape and reshape how we think about black men in everyday life. That's in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to spend the last few minutes today talking about some new ideas about race and ethnicity in this country. In a few minutes, we'll hear about a new book that examines how pop culture figures like Jay-Z and Denzel Washington play with and possibly change our ideas about what it means to be a black man in America.
Before I tell you about J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film, with its youngish new Starship Enterprise crew, let me say that just because I've seen every episode of the original StarTrek and of The Next Generation, and most of the spinoff series, and every movie, I'm not a Trekkie — meaning someone who goes to conventions or speaks Klingon or greets people with a Vulcan salute.
Thursday morning, the Boston Symphony Orchestra announced that conductor Andris Nelsons is being appointed as its music director. The selection puts an end to the uncertainty that has cast a long shadow over the celebrated orchestra in recent years.
David Beckham, who starred for Manchester United, Real Madrid and England's national team before heading to the United States and Paris, is retiring. The news was confirmed Thursday by England's Football Association.
The midfielder played his first game for Manchester United in 1992 and eventually rose to become captain of England's international team for more than 50 games, including several World Cup tournaments. He appeared in 115 matches for the squad.
Billionaire investment legend Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has had its credit rating lowered from AA+ to AA by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
In a statement, S&P says that even though Berkshire Hathaway has an "excellent business profile," the lower credit rating "better reflects our view of BRK's dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income." (S&P's statement is posted on its website, but you have to register to view it.)
Rutgers University officials are welcoming the arrival of new athletic director Julie Hermann as the beginning of a new era, as the school seeks to rebound from the turmoil that recently engulfed its athletics department.
In a message written on a wall of the boat where he was found hiding, Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was motivated by anger over the Afghan and Iraq wars, sources familiar with what was found have told CBS News correspondent John Miller.
-- There were 360,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up 32,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says. At 360,000, the pace was the fastest since the last week of March. But it remained well below the 400,000-and-higher rate that lasted from mid-2008 into 2011.
"The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis," the BBC reports. "Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said anyone using social media sites — and especially Twitter — 'has lost this world and his afterlife.' "
That's how the New Orleans Police Department spread the word on Facebook early Thursday that its officers had "arrested 19-year-old Akein Scott in connection with the shooting of 19 people on Mother's Day."
Early casualty reports indicate that a powerful suicide car bombing Thursday in Kabul killed at least seven Afghan civilians, four foreign civilian contractors who were working for international forces and two members of the international military force.
Dozens more people were reportedly injured by the blast in Afghanistan's capital city.
"A massive emergency response" is underway in North Texas, where tornadoes blew through Wednesday night, The Dallas Morning News says. A twister that hit Granbury, about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, left at least six people dead, more than 100 injured and even more homeless, The Associated Press adds.