The state of Michigan is taking over its largest city's finances. Washington, D.C., attorney Kevyn Orr's job is to reverse a death spiral in Detroit, brought on by an eroding tax base, and years of unwise financial decisions — like promising generous retiree benefits with money that wasn't there, and a pension financing deal that backfired in a big way. Now, massive debt service that threatens the city's ability to provide even a modicum of services.
Now to Connecticut, where there is new information today about the young man behind the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Warrants were made public today, detailing items found in the home where Adam Lanza lived, in his car, and in the school. Reporter Jeff Cohen joins us from member station WNPR in Hartford. And Jeff, to start, does this give us a better picture of what was going on in Adam Lanza's life before he committed these murders?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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All this week, we've been talking about the growth in our nation's disability programs. We have explored some of the reasons for that growth: an aging workforce, off-shoring of jobs, the recession and a growing skills gap. As a result, millions of American workers are turning to disability.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy, officials in many New Jersey coastal communities have been reporting more flooding than usual. The National Weather Service confirms the state is experiencing an above average number of winter storms. But locals complain the high water isn't just coming more often and with greater intensity, it's coming regardless of rainfall.
In Washington State, radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is leaking from underground containment tanks. The site contains the leftovers from plutonium production, some from World War II, most from the Cold War. And it turns out the federal budget sequester is slowing the cleanup.
From Richland, Washington, Anna King of the Northwest News Network has that story.
A police car is posted outside the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia, on Jan. 20, 2011. Dr. Kermit Gosnell, accused of murder, performed abortions in the clinic.
An undated photo of Gosnell released by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office. Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the Women's Medical Society, was charged with murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies.
A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.
When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:06 am
Deadly microbes like salmonella and E. coli can lurk on the surface of spinach, lettuce and other fresh foods. But many more benign microbes also flourish there, living lives of quiet obscurity, much like the tiny Whos in Dr. Seuss' Whoville. Until now.
Scientists at the University of Colorado have taken what may be the first broad inventory of the microbes that live on strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes and eight other popular fresh foods.
It turns out the invisible communities living on our food vary greatly, depending on the type and whether it's conventional or organic.
Finally, the pictures of people camping out in the cold outside the Supreme Court, so they could get in to hear the oral arguments on marriage equality, brought back memories for me.
You might not believe this, but on this very day in 1979 my buddy Dave and I walked into the court after having done the same thing — although I confess we weren't as smart about it as the people were this week. We had nothing — no tent, no tarp — just our notebooks and some hot tea we bought at the train station.
Die-hard fans of Georgetown, Gonzaga and other colleges are feeling down in the dumps after their favored teams lost early in the NCAA basketball tournament. But when do the March Madness blues go too far? Host Michel Martin discusses the psychology of sports fanaticism with professor Don Forsyth of the University of Richmond.
We want to turn, now, to a current effort to address a decades-old tragedy. In 1948, a U.S. Immigration Service plane carrying undocumented immigrants from California to Mexico, crashed. All 32 people onboard were killed. But while news accounts listed the names of the four people in the flight crew, the 28 undocumented victims were just listed as Mexican deportees.
The Louisville Cardinals are among the teams dominating at this year's men's Division 1 NCAA basketball tournament, which resumes Thursday night. The team credits harassing, active defense for its wins.
But there's something else at work, too: deflections. The team puts a lot of stock in them, though deflections aren't an officially tracked statistic.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging whether the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) means the federal government can deny marriage benefits to same sex couples in states that allow gay marriage. Same-sex couples had reason to be optimistic afterward. Assuming the court can overcome procedural concerns, it looked as if a majority of justices was ready to strike down DOMA.
We continue our series now on a dangerous and illegal practice that kills, on average, 16 people in the U.S. each year. It's called Walking Down the Grain. Employers at farms and grain elevators send untrained and ill-equipped workers into bins to break up wet or clustered grain. In the last four decades, more than 660 people have died because of the quicksand effect of grain.
But preventing these deaths is relatively simple, as NPR's Howard Berkes reports from inside a massive grain bin in Homestead, Iowa.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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What should government do for the country's most vulnerable citizens, for people who just aren't making it? It's a fundamental question. And as we've been reporting this week, America's disability programs have become, in part, a default answer. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with changes we made to our social safety net back in the mid-1990s.
Now, we're going to take a few minutes to listen to some of today's examination of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court. The court usually doesn't provide such speedy access to audio, so this is a rare opportunity to hear the arguments on the same day they happened.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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In a second day of historic arguments on gay marriage, the Supreme Court wrestled with DOMA today. The Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law and it affects the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs, everything from Social Security and family leave to the estate tax.
For some analysis of today's arguments, we turn again to Tom Goldstein. He's publisher and regular contributor to the website SCOTUSblog. Tom, good to have you back.
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Thank you so much.
CORNISH: All right. So this time around, I had a little bit more trouble following along. And at the beginning of the arguments there was this issue of jurisdiction which got very technical. What's the upshot of this question?
When we heard a few weeks ago that Illinois was considering banning lion meat, our first thought was, who's eating lion meat? And why Illinois?
Turns out, lion meat has been gaining traction among adventurous foodies who argue that the meat can be an ethical alternative to factory-farmed animals — if the meat comes from American-raised circus and zoo animals that were sent to the slaughterhouse in their old age.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 2:25 pm
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal benefits for and recognition of same-sex marriages.
Audio of the arguments is available above, and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 12-307, United States v. Windsor, and we will begin with the jurisdictional discussion. Ms. Jackson?
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:07 pm
Jared Loughner, the gunman responsible for the 2011 rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, acted erratically in the days leading to the shooting but was quiet and otherwise polite with officers after his arrest, according to newly released documents.
Details from the investigation were made clear Wednesday after the Pima County Sheriff's Department released 2,700 pages of documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act.
The high school rape case in Steubenville, Ohio raised uncomfortable questions about how young people learn about their sexual rights and responsibilities. Host Michel Martin talks about the real sex education teens should be getting, with author Laura Sessions Stepp, attorney B.J. Bernstein, and youth mentor Malik Washington.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 11:31 am
Allergy shots have long been one of the best available treatments for hay fever, other allergies, and asthma, but they're a pain. In Europe, people have a more pleasant alternative: drops put under the tongue.
That treatment, called sublingual immunotherapy, hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but more and more patients in the U.S. are asking for it.
By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place.
Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap.
A pro-gay-marriage protester stands in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the first of two days of oral arguments on challenges to laws that limit the definition of marriage to unions of a man and a woman.
At the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the moment had finally arrived. After four years of litigation in the lower courts, the Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. But minutes into oral arguments, it became clear that the justices may not give either side the clear-cut victory it wants.