U.S. News

It's All Politics
1:36 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes First Senate Hurdle

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., at a 2011 news conference on Capitol Hill. On Monday, Heller announced his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:59 pm

Update at 6:47 p.m. Senate Passes Bill:

With a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to move forward on legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The vote Monday opens the floor to debate on the bill and the Senate is expected to schedule a full vote by week's end.

Our original post continues:

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Education
10:21 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Adding Up The Cost Of Low Literacy Among Adults

Matthew Burke graduated from high school even though he was reading at about the third-grade level. He got a job as a welder but found his lack of reading skills held him back.
Kavitha Cardoza WAMU

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.

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Law
10:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Jury Nullification: Acquitting Based On Principle

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 12:57 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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.

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Shots - Health News
1:45 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

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.

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Shots - Health News
1:16 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues

Say hello to your microbiome, Rob Stein. Our intrepid correspondent decided to get his gut bacteria analyzed. Now he's wondering if he needs to eat more garlic and onions.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 1:28 pm

After spending months working on a series of stories about the trillions of friendly microbes that live in and on our bodies, I decided it might be interesting to explore my own microbiome.

So I pulled out my credit card and paid the $99 needed to sign up for the American Gut Project, one of a couple of "citizen science" or crowdsourced microbiome projects.

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Around the Nation
3:07 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Far From Diwali's Lights, The Warm Glow Of Home

Little oil lamps mark Diwali celebrations in Allahabad, India, far away from American homes.
Sanjay Kanojia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:42 am

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.

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U.S.
3:07 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

How Employees Act While Under Surveillance

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:20 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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.

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Politics
3:07 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Unusual Results Anticipated For Governors' Races

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.

Around the Nation
3:07 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

Newark Considers What Life Will Be Like After Cory Booker

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, formerly mayor of Newark, N.J., arrives in the Old Senate Chamber on Thursday for an oath-of-office ceremony.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:22 am

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.

'Now A City Of Hope'

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It's All Politics
9:01 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Va. Governor's Race: Nationally Significant Or Just Nasty?

Virginia gubernatorial candidates Democrat Terry McAuliffe (left) and Republican Ken Cuccinelli.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 8:30 am

Virginians go to the polls Tuesday to pick the man they dislike the least to be their new governor: long-time Clinton moneyman Terry McAuliffe or hardline Tea Party conservative Ken Cuccinelli.

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Law
5:11 am
Sun November 3, 2013

N.Y. Stop-And-Frisk Reforms On Hold For New Year, New Mayor

New York police officers walk through a Brooklyn housing development in August.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:45 pm

In New York City, the country's largest police force has been involved in a high-profile legal battle over its stop-and-frisk policy.

Few policies of outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been as controversial as stop-and-frisk, the tactic New York police use to stop people on the streets without a search warrant.

The police department says it's been vital in catching criminals and reducing the city's crime rate.

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Around the Nation
2:30 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Run For Coroner, No Medical Training Necessary

In St. Lawrence County, N.Y., the position of coroner is still elected.
Sarah Harris NCPR

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 10:18 am

It's a windy Thursday afternoon in Ogdensburg, part of a sprawling rural county in northern New York.

The choir at the Episcopal Church is practicing, and Eric Warner is behind the piano. He's a former funeral director, an organist and a stay-at-home dad who raises Clydesdale horses.

He's hoping to become one of St. Lawrence County's four elected coroners — there are two open seats this year — and he's running as a Democrat.

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The Salt
2:23 am
Sun November 3, 2013

5 Things You Might Not Have Known About God And Beer

Beer and Hymns is an event at the annual Greenbelt Festival in London. Since 1974, Greenbelt has brought people together to explore faith, arts and justice issues.
Drew McLellan Courtesy of Greenbelt

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 10:35 am

On Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR's John Burnett describes how some churches are trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community around craft beer.

This is actually nothing new. For centuries, beer has brought people together to worship God. And God has inspired people to make beer. We've selected a few of the best examples:

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Shots - Health News
2:22 am
Sun November 3, 2013

Minnesota Reaches Out To Uninsured Latinos, Wherever They Are

Health workers know places like Karina Cardoso's beauty salon in St. Paul, Minn., are prime places share information about the state's new health insurance options.
Elizabeth Stawicki for NPR

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 10:18 am

Minnesota's new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure, has been open for about a month, but getting the word out to hard-to-reach populations is just ramping up.

Outreach efforts have been slow to start due to delays in training navigators and finalizing MNsure's contracts with organizations who provide one-on-one help.

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Health
3:49 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin

The amount of prescription painkillers sold to pharmacies, hospitals and doctors' offices quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:26 am

Abuse of prescription painkillers is a "growing, deadly epidemic," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Oct. 24, the Food and Drug Administration recommended putting new restrictions on hydrocodone, sold as Vicodin and other brand names.

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Politics
3:49 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

How Is White House Handling HealthCare.gov Debacle?

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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.

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Around the Nation
3:49 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

Aftermath At The Airport: LAX Tries To Turn Back To Business

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.

Shots - Health News
2:38 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

Adding To Insurance Confusion, Outside Groups Try To Cash In

"Obamacare Enrollment Teams" give presentations on health insurance options and the Affordable Care Act, but are not actually affiliated with the government.
Lynn Hatter WFSU

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 4:51 am

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.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Obama Ratings Sink As Trustworthiness Comes Into Question

President Obama walks off stage after speaking at the "SelectUSA Investment Summit" on Thursday. A poll released the same day found that the president's job approval rating had reached an all time low.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 1:15 pm

Barack Obama has been subjected to as many personal attacks as any modern president.

Terrorist. Traitor. Hater of America. Secret Muslim.

Unusually for a politician, however, the one thing he hasn't been called much is a liar, except by his most adamant critics.

That's all changed now. Obama is being widely called out for having claimed, repeatedly, that under the Affordable Care Act, people who liked their health insurance plans could keep them.

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NPR Story
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

A Controversial Week For The NSA

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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?

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Education
3:42 am
Sat November 2, 2013

How To Turn Adult Education Into Careers, Quickly

C.J. Forza, a student in the I-BEST program in Washington state, repairs a car for class at Shoreline Community College.
Kavitha Cardoza WAMU

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:34 pm

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.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 am
Sat November 2, 2013

So You Found An Exchange Plan. But Can You Find A Provider?

New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City is considered in-network for relatively few of the health plans offered in the state marketplace.
Glen Argov Landov

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 4:51 am

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.

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It's All Politics
5:24 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

3 Lessons For Future Presidents From Obamacare's Ills

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday in Boston.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

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.

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U.S.
4:20 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Pentagon Pushes States On Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

The Pentagon extended military benefits to same-sex spouses this summer, but some states have been resisting. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called that resistance "wrong" on Thursday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has directed the National Guard Bureau to resolve a dispute that is making it difficult for same-sex couples to receive military benefits.

The Pentagon started to recognize same-sex marriages soon after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. But some states are resisting.

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Around the Nation
3:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Gunman Opens Fire At Los Angeles International Airport

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

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.

National Security
3:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

The NSA Doesn't Think Your Joke Mug Is Funny

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Economy
3:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Reduced Foodstamps Payouts Could Hurt The Economy

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

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.

Around the Nation
3:51 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

An East L.A. Football Rivalry, Unchanged For 79 Years

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:49 pm

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.

The Salt
3:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Kraft Dims Artificial Orange Glow Of Its Mac And Cheese

Some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will no longer be so ... orange.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:35 pm

One of the iconic foods of American childhood is becoming a bit less startlingly orange.

Kraft Foods plans to remove artificial food coloring from mac and cheese products that are marketed for children, starting early next year.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Appeals Court Sides With Employers On Covering Birth Control

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.

NPR's Julie Rovner reports for our Newscast unit:

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