The NSA surveillance programs have raised questions about the balance between privacy and national security. Much of the debate has focused on something called the FISA court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was this court that approved the NSA spying programs that have caused such a stir. This past week, a group of Democratic senators put out a plan to change how the court works. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico is one of those lawmakers. He told me that the problem with the court is that it's secret.
A lot of sports have all-star games: baseball, basketball, hockey - the best of the best facing off against each other. But football's all-star game, well, it's having a little bit of trouble. The Pro Bowl, as it's called, has struggled for audiences. So, this past week, the NFL and the player's union declared new rules which they hope will fix the problems. And it just so happens that NPR's Mike Pesca has some thoughts about all of this. Hey, Mike.
One hundred children were rescued in the recent three-day sting. Host Rachel Martin talks with Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigations division, about child sex trafficking the U.S.
Monday, the FBI announced the success of a three-day, multicity child sex trafficking operation. The seventh and largest of its kind, the raid recovered 106 teenagers and arrested 152 pimps. Aged 13 to 17, almost all of the young people found were girls.
Under a popular park in Washington, D.C., there is a 19th century burial ground that was once the largest African-American cemetery in the city. Advocates want to protect the park from further development and create space for a memorial. But how many other such burial grounds are in similar straits, and how have others solved the problem of co-existing with development and gentrification?
The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans traveling abroad this weekend, as well as to many embassies and consulates, that it has learned of the possibility of a terrorist attack. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic.
Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 leaked the top-secret Pentagon Papers detailing the history of U.S. policy in Vietnam, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday that unlike Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, he "did it the wrong way" by trying first to go through proper channels — a delay that he says cost thousands of lives.
On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.
"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Members of Congress are back in their home districts this morning at the start of a five-week summer recess. They left town with more of a whimper than a bang. They leave a whole lot of unfinished business. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent, Tamara Keith. Welcome.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with what the Congress did accomplish. There was student loan legislation. What else?
Employment Specialist Louis Holliday, right, helps an applicant file for unemployment at a Georgia Department of Labor career center last month in Atlanta. The jobless rate for African-Americans fell from 13.7 to 12.6 percent in July, but that's still twice the rate for whites.
The labor market continues its recovery; the economy added 162,000 jobs in July and pushed the unemployment rate to a 4.5-year low. After a string of bad news, things seem to be to turning around for African-American workers, too.
"The operative word is growth," says Bill Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers University.
In a musty, old row house in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Jim Bear is about to begin his radio show.
"Good afternoon, everybody," he says into the microphone. "You're listening to G-town Radio at GtownRadio.com. We are the sound from Germantown."
Right now G-town is just an Internet radio station. But if the folks at G-town Radio are successful, they'll soon be broadcasting their signal over low-power FM, a new class of non-commercial FM radio.
Greeley, Colo., has an image problem. Actually, it's more of an odor problem.
A meatpacking plant is on the northeast side of town, and when the wind blows just right, you can't miss the smell — a cross between a slaughterhouse, a cow farm with manure and other unidentified odors.
In fact, the city's website says back in the 1960s, folks joked that that odor was merely "the smell of money." One of the town's main industries was, and is, cattle.
Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 4:32 pm
As Congress heads off for its 2013 summer recess, who could blame a citizen for thinking that maybe the slogan above the House dais should be changed from "In God We Trust" to "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."
Experts in government like Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann have repeatedly warned that compromise, the lubricant that makes the U.S. system work, has been a missing ingredient in recent Congresses, especially in the House. And there were no signs Friday that anything will be different when Congress returns in September from its five-week break.
After Minnesota legalized gay marriage at midnight on Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak kept his City Hall open all night, performing one same-sex marriage ceremony after another. By the wee hours of the morning, he had officiated the weddings of 46 couples. He tells Melissa Block about the experience.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory sent out a plate of cookies to abortion law protesters who had gathered outside the governor's mansion on Tuesday. Audie Cornish speaks with Mary C. Curtis, who writes for the Washington Posts' blog She the People, about the incident and North Carolina politics.
In Boston Friday, former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger said he would not take the stand in his criminal trial and that his defense would rest. But before that happened, he railed at the judge and his defense team.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts received increased attention following the leaks about programs monitoring U.S. citizens. Some lawmakers are proposing changes to secret courts, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). He speaks with Melissa Block about the proposal.
U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world will be closed on Sunday and possible for longer. The State Department says it is taking the step "out of an abundance of caution" and wouldn't say if they are receiving direct threats. Members of Congress say there are concerns about an al-Qaida-linked attack. Last year, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in Benghazi, along with three other Americans. At that time, there were also violent protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and Tunisia.
The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.
The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant California an extension on an order issued by the justices more than two years ago for the state to release some 10,000 inmates from its overcrowded prisons.
The high court's original May 2011 ruling held that congested conditions in the California's 33 prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment as defined by the Eighth Amendment. The court gave the state two years to comply with an order to free the prisoners and alleviate the overcrowding.
Bick Boyte plops a 1-pound bullfrog in his aluminum canoe, still half alive. He resumes his kneeling position, perched upfront, on the hunt for a big bellower. Boyte hears the "wom, wom, wom" and knows frogs are within reach.
Boyte and Tommy Peebles have been "gigging" Tennessee ponds together since their daddies first taught them. Boyte now owns a truck dealership. Peebles is a real estate lawyer. But in the warm moonlight, they revert to their boyhoods. Peebles does the paddling.
Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 1:48 pm
The lighting in the NPR newsroom isn't doing me any favors. Maybe it's time to get some "work" done? Then again, cosmetic surgery makes people look only about three years younger and no more attractive, according to a study that tries to add some objectivity to a very subjective field of medicine.
The researchers took before and after photos of 49 people who underwent facial cosmetic surgery at a private practice in Toronto. The patients ranged in age from 42 to 73. Some had face-lifts and neck-lifts; others had brow-lifts or had their eyelids done.
In New York, a jury has found former Goldman Sachs securities trader liable on six of the seven fraud charges. This is being seen as a big win for the Securities and Exchange Commission, as NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports.
One day after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last December, Liza Long wrote a blog post urging the country to focus on treatment for the nation's mentally ill youth. In it, she shared the story of her own son, "Michael" (not his real name). "I live with a son who is mentally ill," she wrote for The Blue Review.