Morning Edition

Weekdays from 5am to 9am

Waking up is hard to do, but it's easier with NPR's Morning Edition. Hosts Renée Montagne and Steve Inskeep bring the day's stories and news to radio listeners on the go. Steve and Renee interview newsmakers from politicians, to academics, to filmmakers, Morning Edition provides news in context, airs thoughtful ideas and commentary, and reviews important new music, books, and events in the arts. All with voices and sounds that invite you to experience the stories. Morning Edition is a world of ideas tailored to fit into your busy life.

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Business
5:04 am
Mon December 9, 2013

New York's Insurance Exchange Readies For Holiday Rush

Joey Cappuccitti, who works at a Maximus call center, talks with a person looking for help with New York's insurance exchange.
Fred Mogul

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:55 am

New York's health insurance marketplace has been running relatively smoothly, compared with healthcare.gov, the site the federal government is running for 36 states.

But that's a low bar, and even though about 50,000 New Yorkers had signed up in the first two months, almost every day still brings complaints and glitches. Donna Frescatore, the head of the New York State Of Health, says there are no serious patterns of trouble, just individual issues that the state and its contractors address one by one.

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Monkey See
4:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

After A Full Fall, A Few New TV Choices To Tide You Over

TNT's new period drama Mob City, from The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, is one of several shows and miniseries premiering this month.
Scott Garfield TNT

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:18 am

As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.

But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.

On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.

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NPR Story
4:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Other-Than-Honorable Discharge Burdens Like A Scarlet Letter

Reed Holway spent 13 months in Iraq. He says PTSD brought on a drinking problem when he returned to the States — and that eventually led to a bad-conduct discharge. Vets with "bad paper" have trouble getting any VA health benefits — even for PTSD.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 9:21 am

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.

None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."

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Music
4:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Remembering The Singing 'Mayor Of MacDougal Street'

Dave Van Ronk performs onstage in 1970 in New York.
Sherry Rayn Barnett Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:18 am

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
8:49 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Near Mandela's Soweto Home, A Gathering Of Mourners

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. This morning, in Soweto, South Africa, crowds continue to congregate around the family home of Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday. During the struggle against apartheid, Soweto became a symbol of the separation of the races, both physically and economically.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
8:06 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Songwriter Clegg On Mandela, South Africans' 'Bridge'

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ASIMBONANGA")

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.

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Africa
5:48 am
Fri December 6, 2013

For Much Of His Life, Mandela Was A Controversial Figure

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Nelson Mandela is universally admired today, but was a controversial figure for much of his life. To reconstruct what that controversy was about, we turn to Bill Keller. He's a New York Times columnist and former executive editor who once covered South Africa and wrote a youth biography of Mandela. He's on the line.

Mr. Keller, welcome back to the program.

BILL KELLER: Thank you. Nice to be here.

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Around the Nation
5:48 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Calif. Health Exchange Encourages 'Gift Of Health'

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:05 am
Fri December 6, 2013

L.A. Costco Misfiles Ron Burgundy Autobiography

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If Ron Burgundy says it, it's the truth.

MONTAGNE: Especially at Costco. Will Ferrell's "Anchorman" character is out with an autobiography, which wound up in the non-fiction aisle at a Los Angeles area store. The L.A. Times first noticed the misplacement of "Ron Burgundy: Let Me Off at the Top." This after Costco caused a stir last month when a store displayed the Bible in the fiction section.

INSKEEP: You stay classy, Costco.

Africa
3:16 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Why Music Played An Important Role In Mandela's Life

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ASIMBONANGA")

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.

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Africa
3:16 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Renee Montagne Reflects On Covering Mandela

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Listen if you would with us to this archival tape from Mandela's inauguration as president of South Africa in 1994. We're about to hear a reporter who was in the crowd for that event.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Sports
3:16 am
Fri December 6, 2013

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Won't Be Charged With Rape

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Tomorrow night, star quarterback Jameis Winston will lead the Florida State Seminoles against Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game. It's a big deal, mainly because Winston's participation was in doubt. Until yesterday. That's when a Florida prosecutor announced he would not charge Jameis Winston with a felony. A young woman had accused the player of rape after a sexual encounter a year ago. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Never has so much been said about something that didn't happen.

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Parallels
1:30 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Plan Calls For Syria's Chemical Arsenal To Be Destroyed At Sea

If a plan taking shape is finalized, the MV Cape Ray, managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will be turned into a floating chemical weapons disposal plant.
U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

The world wants Syria's chemical arsenal destroyed. But so far, no country has offered to do the dirty work on its soil. Over the past week, an alternative has gained ground: Carry out the destruction at sea. The plan taking shape is complicated and untested, but it just might work.

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StoryCorps
1:28 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Adrift In Frigid Water, Not Caring 'If You Live Or Die'

On a visit to StoryCorps in Ohio, Dennis Hale recounted his experience surviving a shipwreck on Lake Huron to his wife, Barbara.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 8:49 am

It was 1966, and a ship called the Daniel J. Morrell was making its last run of the season, hauling steel across Lake Huron. The crew was eager to head home for Christmas. But one night, caught in a severe storm, the ship broke apart and sank.

Only a few of the crew members made it to a life raft, and only one of them, watchman Dennis Hale, survived.

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Business
5:26 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Reviewers On Amazon Poke Fun At $40,000 TV

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Samsung is selling an HD television for $40,000. That price tag prompted the following customer reviews on Amazon.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

I was going to send my kids to college, but I had to do what was best for my family.

INSKEEP: Glad it has low energy costs, as I'm on a very tight budget.

MONTAGNE: I hesitated to buy, but I saw double-A batteries were free with the remote.

Europe
5:26 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Love At First Sound: A Romantic Story From World War II

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:15 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. This week a British couple celebrated their 70th anniversary, a romance sparked when he fell in love with her voice. It was World War II. The young RAF pilot was returning from a bombing mission over Germany when a lovely voice came over his cockpit radio guiding him down. Rushing up to the control tower he found a glamorous girl from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Months later Steve and Maureen Stevens married. Love at first sound. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:03 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap

Federal regulators are setting new rules for banks that offer deposit advances.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank.

A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances."

That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. 21 and put new restrictions on the loans.

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Food
2:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Make The Punch Bowl Your Holiday Party Centerpiece

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Even though Christmas and New Year are still a few weeks away, we're already well into holiday party season. And punch bowls are often the centerpieces of festive gatherings. For tips on how to make sure the punch bowl does its job as star libation attraction, writer Julia Reed. She's a columnist for Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine.

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Health
2:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

FDA Expected To Approve New, Gentler Cure For Hepatitis C

A colorized closeup of the hepatitis C virus.
James Cavallini Science Source

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:30 am

The Food and Drug Administration is expected any day now to approve the first in a new class of drugs that can cure the leading cause of liver failure and liver cancer.

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Parallels
1:17 am
Thu December 5, 2013

China's Military Buildup Reignites Worries In Asia, Beyond

Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning as it travels toward a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on Nov. 30.
China Stringer Network Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:18 am

China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.

Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.

Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:16 am
Thu December 5, 2013

HealthCare.gov Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:31 am

One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled HealthCare.gov website is that it can accommodate more people.

Federal officials said more than 1 million users logged in on Monday, and nearly that many on Tuesday.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:14 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Teens Who Feel Supported At Home And School Sleep Better

Solid friendships can help buffer life's stress.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 4:31 am

A teen's relationship — or lack of good relationship — with parents, pals or teachers may have a lot to do with why most kids aren't getting the nine to 10 hours of sleep that doctors recommend. The hormonal disruptions of puberty likely also play a role.

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Parallels
12:16 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Help-Wanted Ad Shows Depths Of Spain's Unemployment Problem

People line up outside a government unemployment office in Madrid on Oct. 5. Spain has an unemployment rate of 26 percent.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Having trouble wrapping your head around southern Europe's staggering unemployment problem?

Look no further than a single Ikea furniture store on Spain's Mediterranean coast.

The Swedish retailer plans to open a new megastore next summer near Valencia. On Monday, Ikea's Spanish website started taking applications for 400 jobs at the new store.

The company wasn't prepared for what came next.

Read more
Business
5:31 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Confirmation: Selfies Are Forces Of Evil

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For those who believes selfies are a force of evil, here's confirmation. Darth Vader just posted on Instagram a photo of his face - that is, his iconic black helmet - with the tag GPOM for Gratuitous Portrait Of Myself. The selfie launched the Star Wars Instagram account - a marketing effort by Disney - two full years before the next sequel. It's a pretty good shot, though we have to say a little on the dark side. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition)

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:39 pm

In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.

1. Categorical Eligibility

People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."

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Middle East
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Iran's Nuclear Deal Faces Big Test

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to visit Iran's heavy-water reactor in the city of Arak on Sunday as part of an international deal on the country's nuclear program.
Hamid Forutan EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:39 pm

The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.

A nuclear reactor and associated production plant in Arak are a special concern because plutonium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Under last month's accord, Iran promised to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Officials on both sides say they are committed to the nuclear deal, but keeping it on track will be a challenge.

Read more
Sports
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

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Author Interviews
1:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:06 am

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

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Sweetness And Light
1:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?

Fox sportscasters Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear during the 2005 Super Bowl pregame show in Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 10:39 am

The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.

"They've got to cut down on turnovers."

"They've got to convert more third-down situations."

And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like The View and The Talk, the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. And they dare do it all without a net, before a live audience.

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Parallels
1:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

There And Back Again: One Afghan's Journey To Find Home

An Afghan man rides a horse at sunset on Nadir Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan. Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape the Taliban-controlled country, only to return after 12 years living in England.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:28 pm

In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.

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