Faced with harsh criticism over its vast surveillance operation, the NSA and its allies are pushing back. They say their intelligence collection is being done in response to demands from the executive branch of the U.S. government and not on its own. The NSA says it is currently working on 36,000 pages of what it calls "requirements" — intel speak for intelligence assignments it gets from branches of the U.S. government.
Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:47 pm
More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.
Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.
When it comes to dating the rules aren't always black and white. And when you add race into the equation things can become even more complicated.
The online dating website "Are You Interested" analyzed over 2.4 million interactions on their site and found that Asian women are more likely to get a message from a man of any race—unless those men are Asian.
AYI also found that white men are pursued the most by women of all races—except black women, who are least likely to get a message from anyone.
The group Peace First is handing out $50,000 in prizes to young people who promote peace in their communities. Host Michel Martin speaks with Eric Dawson, the co-founder and president of Peace First, and recipient Babatunde Salaam.
It's the moment many victims of former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger have been waiting decades for: In federal court in Boston, relatives of those killed by Bulger will face the former gangster and describe their pain.
Bulger was convicted in August of taking part in 11 murders while running a massive criminal enterprise for decades. There is little suspense around Bulger's sentencing — even the minimum would be enough to send the 84-year-old away for the rest of his life.
To many victims, Wednesday's sentencing hearing is less about Bulger than it is about them.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:57 pm
In Washington this week, calls to fix the problem of people getting insurance cancellation notices are getting louder and coming from all sides. But turning back the clock on health insurance cancellations turns out to be a lot harder than it sounds.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:57 pm
After decades of cajoling Americans to know their cholesterol level and get it down as low as possible, the nation's leading heart specialists are changing course.
Cholesterol is still important. But new guidelines published Tuesday afternoon throw out the notion that a specific blood cholesterol level should automatically trigger treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Discouraged by the Republican candidate for governor's showing in the polls, GOP donors begin pouring money into the Virginia attorney general race. Now, that contest is showing a 117 vote margin with Democrat Mark Herring ahead, though there have been several lead changes as provisional ballots have been tallied.
Two large industries — agriculture and oil — are fighting a pitched battle over access to your car's fuel tank. Americans are buying less gasoline, but a federal law requires the country to include an increasing amount of corn-based ethanol in the country's fuel supply. Facing billions of dollars in lost sales, the oil industry wants the government to reverse course on ethanol.
An American Airlines jet passes the Washington Monument as it lands at Ronald Reagan National Airport. That's one of seven airports where American and US Airways must now make room for low-cost competitors under a settlement with the Justice Department.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:11 pm
If at first you don't succeed, try again.
That's the message from the White House on Tuesday, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking more than 275,000 people who tried and failed to sign up for health plans on the stalled HealthCare.gov website to give it another shot.
Timothy Massad is nominated to head the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. He would replace Gary Gensler, whose four-year tenure was marred by questions of his professional ties to Jon Corzine and the downfall of MF Global.
Democrat Al Franken, with his wife, Frannie, meets reporters and a small gathering of supporters at their house in Minneapolis on June 30, 2009, after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Democrat in the Senate race against Republican Norm Coleman.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:36 pm
The Virginia attorney general's race, which cut a relatively low profile heading into Election Day, now has a chance to end up as part of history.
With more than 2.2 million ballots cast and Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring leading Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain by a mere 117 votes, the election is shaping up as one of the closest statewide contests in decades.
With a recount looming, the winner isn't expected to be officially declared until December. But in the meantime, here's a look back at some of the closest statewide elections of the past five decades:
Larry Flynt doesn't want the man who shot him to die.
The pornography publisher was shot and paralyzed in 1978 by Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who objected to a photo spread of an African American man and a white woman published in Hustler magazine.
Franklin is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 20 for a 1977 murder committed outside a synagogue in a St. Louis suburb.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:02 pm
One World Trade Center — the skyscraper that now rises from the site of the Twin Towers, destroyed during the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11 — has been declared the tallest building in the U.S. by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Coming in at 1,776 feet tall, the World Trade Center beat out the Willis Tower in Chicago. At issue was whether a 408-foot needle that sits atop the New York building was an architectural top or a removable radio antenna. If it had been deemed an antenna, the honor would have gone to Chicago.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 4:46 pm
A man who served in the U.S. military and as a Texas police officer has been arrested near Monterrey, Mexico, where authorities say he led a kidnapping gang. The 32-year-old suspect is known by two names: Luis Ricardo Gonzalez Garcia and Javier Aguirre Cardenas, according to Mexican law enforcement officials. The 16-member gang is blamed for several violent crimes.
Officials say the suspect was traveling in a car in an upscale neighborhood on the edge of Monterrey last month when he was arrested. He was reportedly carrying a 9 mm handgun.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later today, in our parenting conversation and in honor of Native American Heritage Month, we want to take a closer look at research that suggests that the use of Native American imagery for sports and school mascots could actually be psychologically damaging to Native American children. We want to find out more about this later this hour.
Florida — especially South Florida — is very flat and very low, and in places like Miami Beach and Key West, buildings are just 3 feet above sea level. Scientists now say there may be a 3-foot rise in the world's oceans by the end of the century.
My parents moved away from Lincoln, Ill., two decades ago, when I was in college. I hardly ever get back there. But my mom still works in Lincoln, and it was to Lincoln I headed to meet her this fall, after returning to the U.S. from the Middle East.
It's not just people who go on trial these days. It's their brains.
More and more lawyers are arguing that some defendants deserve special consideration because they have brains that are immature or impaired, says Nita Farahany, a professor of law and philosophy at Duke University who has been studying the use of brain science in court.
Many Filipinos living in the United States are frantically trying to get in touch with loved ones in some of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon. California, with about a million Filipino immigrants, is the center for a large fundraising effort.
Los Angeles is home to one of the largest concentrations of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. Many across this city are glued to the local Asian TV stations' nightly news broadcasts. Some are turning their worry and stress into action, pounding the pavement to raise money for typhoon victims.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:21 pm
In a move that took many fans by surprise, the Atlanta Braves announced Monday that the team will move to the city's suburbs, where it will build a new stadium. The team's lease on Turner Field, the Braves' home since 1997, will expire in 2016.
The new stadium will be located "just outside Atlanta's city limits," reports Atlanta Daily World.
Georgia Public Broadcasting's Jane Hammond reports:
Last week, Coachella Valley High School came under fire for the name of its mascot — the Arab. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to the school, complaining about the way the mascot depicts people of Arab descent. The complaint made the school national news.
The phrase "Who Dat" is ubiquitous in New Orleans. A Texas-based company says it owns the rights to the phrase, and while homemade signs don't run afoul of its trademark, it says merchandise like T-shirts is another matter.
During pro football season, New Orleans becomes " 'Who Dat' Nation." Fans open New Orleans Saints games with the signature chant and use it to rattle the eardrums of opponents during play.
Since the Saints' Super Bowl win in 2010, the phrase has popped up everywhere, from T-shirts to business names. Even people who don't watch football call themselves "Who Dats." But a messy legal question keeps rearing its head here: Who owns "Who Dat"?