Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:34 pm
This is the final report in a four-part series on adult education.
Low literacy rates for adults can have wide-ranging effects on those around them. They may rely more heavily on government services; their children may not get that extra hand with schoolwork; their families may not get sufficient financial support.
But for the millions of adults with low literacy, the ability to read, write and speak English might offer them the most important opportunity of all: a chance to emerge from the shadows and participate as equals in society.
A new billboard in the nation's capital is stirring some controversy. It tells jury members to forget the law and vote their conscience. It reads - "Jury duty? Know your rights. Good jurors nullify bad laws." And it's caught the attention of prosecutors, not surprisingly. The group behind the ads is called the Fully Informed Jury Association. It says jurors should acquit defendants if they disagree with the law, even if all evidence points towards a guilty verdict.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 1:28 pm
The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you're more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.
Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don't seem to do as well. We don't seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.
Small flickering oil lamps known as diyas are lighting up Indian homes in South Asian communities around the globe on Sunday as hundreds of millions of people observe Diwali.
Otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, it's a religious celebration of self-awareness and reflection. Diwali is a public holiday in a number of other nations, but it's not nearly so well-known in the U.S., where families must rely on themselves to keep the tradition alive.
You may have noticed that the cash register in your favorite bar or restaurant is really a computer. So anytime a bartender comps you a drink or a waiter voids a check on that touch-screen, all that information is captured.
Now, employers are starting to mine all that data and finding they can identify some common scams. And it's not just curbing theft. It's helping the bottom line in surprising ways.
Voters in Virginia and New Jersey go to the polls Tuesday to pick their next governor. NPR's Scott Horsley joins host Arun Rath from Northern Virginia, where President Obama just held a rally for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor.
For years, Newark, N.J., had the reputation of being a crime-ridden, low-income city. Former Mayor Cory Booker helped change that perception.
Thursday, the Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, and it's unclear what that means for the city's future.
While Booker brought attention — and funding — to Newark, he couldn't completely tackle the violence that has persisted for years. As mayoral candidates begin making their cases, crime is a common theme.
This week, the secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, testified before Congress about the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website. It was the latest attempt at damage control by the Obama administration since the site went live a month ago.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
SECRETARY KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: The website has never crashed. It is functional but at a very slow speed and very low reliability - and has continued to function.
Nearly 1,000 scheduled flights and 100,000 passengers were affected at Los Angeles International Airport, where a gunman on Friday killed a TSA agent and wounded others. On Saturday afternoon, a major terminal in one of the nation's busiest airports finally reopened, FBI agents continued their investigation, and thousands of passengers tried to catch their flights.
Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.
Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.
This week, the National Security Agency fought back against criticism of it's operations following leaks from former contractor Edward Snowden that have revealed some of the scale of the agency's surveillance of Americans and people overseas, including heads of state of U.S. allies. NPR's Larry Abramson has been covering the story and joins us. Larry, thanks so much for being with us.
LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi Scott.
SIMON: Bring us up to date. What happened this week that's pushed the scandal into the news again?
This is the third report in a four-part series on adult education.
Adults wanting to go back to school have the odds stacked against them. They juggle many responsibilities, there are long waitlists for classes and often there isn't a connection between what they learn in class and the skills they need to get a job.
Consumers shopping for coverage on the new health insurance exchanges have been focused on the lowest-cost options. But some shoppers are trying to determine which plans offer the widest array of doctors and hospitals — and are finding that can be trickier than it sounds.
John Batteiger applied for insurance coverage on the New York state exchange. But after he'd selected a plan, he had second thoughts: He'd forgotten to check if the plan he picked included a hospital near him.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:04 pm
The Affordable Care Act's early travails are yielding some lessons for future presidents and lawmakers. Here are three:
1) Presidents can't be too careful about making high-profile promises. President Obama dented his credibility significantly by repeatedly promising that the Affordable Care Act would allow Americans with insurance they liked to keep those policies.
A lone gunman opened fire Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, police say. Police fired on the alleged shooter, who is now in police custody. The attack left one TSA officer dead and at least seven people needing medical treatment (including the shooter), officials said. The shooting forced the evacuation of a terminal and more than 45 flights into and out of LAX have been cancelled.
And now the latest twist in the ongoing NSA story, this time in the form of a coffee mug. A satirical artist, Dan McCall, makes a living off creating political parodies and selling them on mugs and T-shirts and bumper stickers. And in response to the revelations of leaker Edward Snowden, McCall decided to put the NSA seal to good use with a few tweaks.
DAN MCCALL: I put peeping while you're sleeping on the logo, which is sort of an homage to a Snoopy Doggy Dogg song, which I thought was kind of funny.
Food stamp recipients will see a cut in their benefits starting Friday. For the hungry and unemployed, more cuts may be coming. That's a challenge for the affected families, but it could also be a drain on the broader economy.
An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:06 pm
A federal appeals court has sided with the owners of a fruit and vegetable distributor who challenged part of the 2010 health care law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Federal courts have split on the issue, which is the subject of dozens of similar cases.
According to the National Women's Law Center, "a total of 88 lawsuits have been filed" over the issue of contraceptive coverage. Of that number, 63 cases are still pending; the other 25 have been closed.