The cleanup continues across the Midwest, where dozens of tornadoes struck on Sunday. The Illinois town of Washington appears to have been hardest hit. The mayor says as many as 500 homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado that cut a path about an eighth of a mile wide from one side of the town to the other.
President Abraham Lincoln stood on a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago and declared "a new birth of freedom" for the nation.
That same year, an African-American man named Lewis Henry Bailey experienced his own rebirth. At age 21, Bailey was freed from slavery in Texas. His journey began in Virginia, where he was sold as a child in a slave jail.
Imagine your city council telling the police department how many people it had to keep in jail each night.
That's effectively what Congress has told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a policy known as the "detention bed mandate." The mandate calls for filling 34,000 beds in some 250 facilities across the country, per day, with immigrant detainees.
In Colorado, farmers are scrambling to recover from September's historic floods — floods that decimated miles of roadways, cut off entire towns and sent rivers and creeks into areas they'd never been before.
Like Tim Foster's immaculate front yard.
"It was beautiful," he says. "I had four large blue spruces. We had hundred-year-old cottonwoods all along the bank. We had our irrigation and our pumps. It was just gorgeous."
The controversy over the National Security Agency's surveillance programs has exposed a problem in the oversight of those programs: The development of the relevant technology has outpaced the laws and policies that govern its use.
New details of the incident from the Mine Safety and Health Administration were released Monday. The agency says in a statement that "preliminary information" indicates "that a miner entered an area of the mine where an explosive had been previously detonated."
America's traditional phone system is not as dependable as it used to be. Just last month, the Federal Communications Commission told phone companies to start collecting stats on calls that fail to complete. According to one estimate, as many as 1 in 5 incoming long-distance calls simply doesn't connect.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The debate over same-sex marriage is at a furious boil right now inside one famous political family. Liz and Mary Cheney, the daughters of former Vice President Dick Cheney, find themselves on opposite sides of the issue. Mary is gay and married. Liz, her older sister, is running for Senate in Wyoming and she has said she opposes same-sex marriage.
She was asked about that yesterday on Fox News Sunday.
Ordering a pizza may soon get easier in the U.S. — at least if the company iStrategyLabs has anything to do with it. The company's working on a device they call Pie Pal that allows you to order pizza with the push of a button.
Many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking advantage of the post 9/11 GI bill to pay for higher education. They often end up at large state schools or for-profit, online universities.
Gloria Hillard reports that a scholarship program in California is opening the doors for veterans who may be better suited for smaller and more expensive private liberal arts colleges.
GLORIA HILLARD, BYLINE: Cory Bloor is giving me a tour of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
The digital currency Bitcoin is becoming more prevalent, both for benign purchases and as a way for criminals to conduct illicit transactions. Bitcoins have been used on underground websites to facilitate sales of narcotics and child pornography. But even those most concerned about criminal activity agree that the emerging digital currency has arrived and can have beneficial uses.
Princeton University is trying to stop an outbreak of an unusual form of bacterial meningitis, which has already struck seven students. Princeton's trustees decided Monday to start offering students a vaccine that the federal government has approved specifically to help protect students.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:37 am
Taking birth control pills may increase a woman's risk of eye disease later in life, a study finds, because they may reduce protective levels of estrogen.
Doctors have long known that cells in the eye have estrogen receptors. But in the past few years they've started looking into whether the changes in a woman's estrogen levels as she goes through life could affect her risk of glaucoma.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, when actor Hill Harper got a letter from a young man in prison, he wrote him back thinking that would be the end of it, but it wasn't - not by a long shot. Their correspondence lasted years and it's now the basis of Hill Harper's latest book "Letters to an Incarcerated Brother." And he'll tell us about it in just a few minutes.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll tell you about the late night talk show called "Totally Biased." Never heard of it? That might be why it was canceled. But we'll also hear why so many critics are up in arms that it was canceled. That's later this hour.
Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.
"I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains."
In the course of a long and eventful life, author Doris Lessing was many things.
She was a mother — and a self-described "house mother" for a procession of starving artists, writers and political refugees. She was a refugee herself, from bourgeois respectability in 1940s Rhodesia. She was a campaigner against racism, a lover, an ardent communist, and a serial rescuer of cats.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:22 am
As I walk to the door of my patient's house on a dirt road outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., I step gingerly. Mrs. Edgars says that she killed a rattlesnake in her flower bed last year.
She is at the door, expecting my visit. Mr. Edgars sits on the couch, unable to recall that I am his doctor, or even that I am a doctor. But he is happy to see me nonetheless.
We chat a moment, then we move on to Mr. Edgars' arthritis. Early on in his dementia he wandered the woods. His wife was afraid he would get lost and die, although the family agreed that this was how he would want it.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 2:20 pm
When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.
And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.
Larry Flynt is not one to shy away from speaking his mind. As the publisher of the adult magazine Hustler, he's long been a polarizing figure. He's been in and out of court for decades, fighting for the right to publish freely.
During one of those legal battles 35 years ago, Flynt was shot and paralyzed by a gunman on the steps of a Georgia courthouse.
Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 10:57 am
Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.
Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.
"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.