U.S. News

The Impact of War
3:02 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Afghanistan Vet Who Criticized Superiors Awarded Medal Of Honor

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:12 pm

President Obama presented the Medal of Honor Tuesday to Army Capt. William Swenson. Swenson is being cited for his actions during a 2009 battle in Afghanistan, when he risked his life to try to save others. It's taken years for him to be recognized, however. He criticized higher-ups after the battle, which cost the lives of five Americans. Swenson's nomination for the Medal was said to be lost at one point. He is the sixth living recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor a member of the military can receive.

Law
3:02 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Supreme Court Skeptical Of Affirmative Action Arguments

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:31 pm

A clear majority of the U.S. Supreme Court sounded ready on Tuesday to uphold a Michigan referendum banning affirmative action in higher education. But the justices were less clear about whether they want to reverse a 40-year-old doctrine that bars changing the political process to disadvantage racial minorities.

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The Salt
1:30 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Among The Shutdown Victims: The White House Kitchen Garden

Basil, tomatoes, peppers and lettuces grow in garden beds on the South Lawn of the White House. According to the site Obama Foodorama, the government shutdown has had a dramatic effect on the garden.
Eddie Gehman Kohan ObamaFoodorama.com

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:18 pm

The government shutdown has forced a lot of hard-working people into idleness. That includes most of the staff that tends the famed White House kitchen garden, according to Obama Foodorama.

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U.S.
1:30 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

What Happens If Congress Can't Make A Deal On The Debt?

A biker rides past the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Lawmakers are negotiating over plans to raise the federal debt ceiling amid warnings that the government soon won't be able to pay its debts in full.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:10 pm

If you don't pay your electric bill on time, you'll probably get charged a buck or two in interest. As long as you pay off the balance in a reasonable amount of time, your lights will stay on.

So why is it such a big deal that the Treasury Department may soon be unable to pay all of its bills on time?

U.S. Treasury securities are used as both currency and collateral for countless financial transactions around the world. Think dozens per minute.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Obama Awards Medal Of Honor To Afghan War Vet

President Obama gives former U.S. Army Capt. William Swenson the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:21 pm

Saying "America is grateful for you," President Obama awarded the nation's highest military honor on Tuesday to former Army Capt. William Swenson.

The Medal of Honor is the first given to an Army officer since the Vietnam War. President Obama said Swenson braved seven hours of continuous fighting, putting his life in danger multiple times to help fallen and wounded service members, as well as his Afghan partners.

NPR's Scott Horsley filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Obama called Swenson 'a remarkable role model for all of us.'

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Shots - Health News
11:06 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Random Bedtimes Breed Bad Behavior In Kids

Play now, pay later: consistency matters when it comes to kids and sleep.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 11:06 am

Parents learn the hard way that late bedtimes make for cranky kids the next day. But inconsistent bedtimes may have a greater effect on children's behavior, a study says.

Kids who didn't go to bed on a regular schedule had more behavior problems at home and at school. When those children were put to bed at the same time each night, their behavior improved.

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Parenting
9:57 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Dodge Ball: Causing Harm Or Teaching Resilience?

A New York school has taken soccer balls, footballs β€” and maybe even the fun β€” out of recess. Officials say hard balls are a safety concern, but critics say they're being too cautious. Tell Me More's parenting roundtable weighs in.

The Salt
8:38 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Farm Families Pick Massive Corn Harvest As Prices Shrink

Curt Friesen is a fourth-generation farmer in central Nebraska.
Grant Gerlock for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 12:39 pm

Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.

Everyone in the family has a job to do.

"Like my dad β€” he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."

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U.S.
3:17 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Astronauts Use Twitter During Shutdown To Update Space Fans

Two NASA astronauts are on the International Space Station. While the agency is largely shuttered during the government shutdown, Karen Nyberg and Mike Hopkins are using Twitter to update earth-bound fans on what they're doing.

Around the Nation
12:51 am
Tue October 15, 2013

One Roof, Many Generations: Redefining The Single-Family Home

Three generations live under this roof: (from left) 19-year-old Jamie Dusseault, grandmother Jacque Ruggles, mother Marci Dusseault and 22-year-old Chelsie Dusseault.
Peter O'Dowd KJZZ

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 8:12 am

New homes are back in a big way β€” literally. This summer, a typical new house in Phoenix was more than 20 percent larger than a resale home as builders across the country added more space to accommodate post-recession lifestyles.

Take Jacque Ruggles' family, for example. Four women from three generations live under one roof.

"I'm the matriarch," Ruggles says. "I'm grandma."

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Education
12:49 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Silicon Valley Trailer Park Residents Fight To Stay

Palo Alto middle school student Jennifer Munoz Tello (right) stands outside her family's trailer in Palo Alto with her mother, Sandra, and 2-year-old sister, Cynthia.
Eric Westervelt NPR

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 9:37 am

Sunny Palo Alto, Calif., is awash in multimillion-dollar homes, luxury Tesla electric cars and other financial fruits from a digital revolution the city helped spark. The Silicon Valley city is home to Stanford University, at least eight billionaires, and one mobile home park.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Millions Of Miles From Shutdown, Mars Rovers Keep Working

A photo composed of nearly 900 images taken by the rover Curiosity shows a section of Gale Crater near the equator of Mars. The rovers are continuing to work through the U.S. government shutdown.
NASA AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:55 am

The budget negotiations in Washington are not front-page news on Mars. There, millions of miles away, NASA's rovers continue to operate, taking photographs and collecting data as they prepare for the coming Martian winter.

NPR's Joe Palca has this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Today Is The Last Day For The 'International Herald Tribune'

An image showing the final front page of The International Herald Tribune, published Monday Oct. 14. The newspaper will becomeΓ‚ The International New York TimesΓ‚ Tuesday.
New York Times

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 10:49 pm

Monday marks the last day of newsstand sales of the International Herald Tribune, the newspaper that was once instrumental in keeping American expatriates up to date on their homeland. On Tuesday, the paper will bear a new name: The International New York Times.

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Around the Nation
2:51 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

On Montana Reservation, A Mixed Reception For Bisons' Return

A herd of 34 bison, pure of any cattle genes, have been introduced from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana.
Dan Boyce Montana Public Radio

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:19 pm

A red pickup rolls into a 1,000-acre pasture of dry grassland on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana. Mark Azure, director of the reservation's fish and wildlife department, is out looking for buffalo when he spots about two dozen of the furry beasts gathering around a watering hole.

The animals are "grazing, wallowing, drinking, checking us out," Azure explains. He says the tribes have been working to see these bison here for years.

"This is their home, this is where they came from," he says.

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The Two-Way
1:39 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Al-Qaida Suspect Captured In Libya Will Be Tried In New York

Abu Anas al-Libi, a suspected leader of al-Qaida who was seized by U.S. special forces during a raid in Libya earlier this month, is now on American soil and will face trial in New York on charges related to 1998 bombing attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa, a U.S. official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

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U.S.
12:21 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

A Night At The Rock: Former Alcatraz Inmate Journeys Back

Bill Baker returned to Alcatraz for the first time since he was an inmate there more than 50 years ago.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:19 pm

For 29 years, Alcatraz β€” the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco β€” housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.

Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.

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The Two-Way
9:37 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Collectible Art At Street Prices: Banksy Sells Pieces For $60

An image from a video posted by Banksy shows a man representing the artist staffing a sidewalk stall featuring signed works for $60. Banksy says he only made $420 Saturday, with one customer negotiating a 2-for-1 discount.
Banksy NY YouTube

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 9:53 am

New Yorkers who love a good bargain missed a golden opportunity Saturday, when the artist and provocateur Banksy, whose sly graffiti art adorns collectors' walls, opened a sidewalk kiosk in Central Park to sell his work for $60 apiece.

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Code Switch
8:15 am
Mon October 14, 2013

How Columbus Sailed Into U.S. History, Thanks To Italians

Though he sailed in 1492, Christopher Columbus was not widely known among Americans until the mid-1700s.
Spencer Arnold Getty Images

It's been 521 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue/in fourteen hundred and ninety-two." Since then, there have been thousands of parades, speeches and statues commemorating Columbus, along with a critical rethinking of his life and legacy.

But the question remains, how did a man who never set foot on North America get a federal holiday in his name? While Columbus did arrive in the "New World" when he cast anchor in the Bahamas, he never made it to the United States.

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Shots - Health News
1:22 am
Mon October 14, 2013

So What's The Real Deadline For Obamacare Sign-Up?

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 11:06 am

The health exchanges are now open, though some have a lot of glitches. You still have lots of questions about how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family.

And we have answers. In our ongoing series, we're addressing questions you've asked about the sign-up process.

With people having so much trouble logging onto the websites to get coverage, some are wondering how soon they have to sign up for coverage to avoid the potential penalties.

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The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays
1:20 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Holding Onto The Other Half Of 'Mixed-Race'

Wilma Stordahl with her sons (from left) Kevin, Kazon and Kenneth at Kazon's high school graduation. "We think of Norwegians as being tall and blond and blue-eyed," Stordahl says. "My sons are tall β€” but they're not blond and blue-eyed."
Courtesy of Wilma Stordahl

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 10:14 am

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

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Shots - Health News
1:19 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin

With osteoarthritis, knees become swollen and stiff, and cartilage can degenerate.
Ted Kinsman Science Source

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 7:18 am

If you're among the estimated 27 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, then perhaps you've tried the nutritional supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. They've been marketed for joint health for about 20 years, and sales are still brisk. But do they help?

Some horses might say yes. The supplements were first tried in horses, and there's some evidence that the supplements might improve joint function for them.

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Business
3:53 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

15 Years Later, Where Did All The Cigarette Money Go?

So far, the tobacco industry has paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of a settlement. While smoking is down among young people and even adults in some areas, it's still unclear where much of that money has gone.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 10:12 am

Fifteen years after tobacco companies agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines in what is still the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, it's unclear how state governments are using much of that money.

So far tobacco companies have paid more than $100 billion to state governments as part of the 25-year, $246 billion settlement.

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Animals
3:53 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Birds Of A Feather Spy Together

AFP/ Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:12 pm

The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.

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Business
3:19 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Shortage Of Workers Hampers Chili Harvest In New Mexico

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:12 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Let's talk chili peppers. It's harvest time in New Mexico where the iconic crop has been grown for centuries. New Mexico still produces more chili peppers than any other American state. But production in the U.S. is a fraction of what's produced in India and China, countries with large pools of labor.

NPR's Ted Robbins reports that farmers in New Mexico could increase their harvest if they had the people to do it.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Sequester Emerges Anew In Senate Shutdown Debate

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), left, seen here speaking with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) in an elevator Sunday, says that undoing the sequester cuts is "one of the sticking points" in budget talks. Congress is struggling to find a solution to end the government shutdown, now in its thirteenth day.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:15 pm

The federal government shutdown is in its 13th day, with little sign of a budget deal that could win the approval of both houses of Congress, as well as the White House. The debate now includes efforts to avoid a default if the government's debt limit isn't raised by Thursday.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Barriers Breached At World War II Memorial On Mall

A crowd gathers at the World War II Memorial to call for reopening national memorials closed by the government shutdown. The rally drew support from military veterans, Tea Party activists and Republicans.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 1:52 pm

A crowd of demonstrators converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday morning, protesting the government shutdown that has included blocking full access to monuments in Washington.

The "Million Vet March," protest was organized by groups including the Brats for Veterans Advocacy, which called on military veterans and others to march against the barricading of the memorial, which its website calls "a despicable act of cowardice."

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The Two-Way
8:09 am
Sun October 13, 2013

U.S. Olympic Committee Adds Sexual Orientation To Anti-Discrimination Rules

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 2:29 pm

Months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, where controversy surrounds a law that targets homosexuality, the U.S. Olympic Committee adds protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation to its policies.

"The fact that we do not think it is our role to advocate for a change in the Russian law does not mean that we support the law, and we do not," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.

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Economy
3:07 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

How Washington Looks From A Global Financial Perspective

Zanny Minton Beddoes, the economics editor for The Economist, argues that the stalled budget negotiations and the government shutdown have already harmed U.S. standing in the world. She explains her position to host Arun Rath.

U.S.
3:07 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Little Progress As Both Sides Call For Movement

There are five days left until the government hits the deadline on raising the debt limit, and the government is still in shutdown mode. Host Arun Rath talks to NPR's David Welna about maneuvers on Capitol Hill Saturday that produced little apparent progress.

The Two-Way
2:25 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

North Dakota's Delay In Reporting Oil Spill Raises Questions

Cleanup went on Friday at the site of an oil pipeline leak and spill north of Tioga, N.D. Officials took nearly two weeks to tell the public about the break in a Tesoro Corp. pipeline.
Kevin Cederstrom AP

The handling of an oil spill in North Dakota is raising questions, after a state agency waited to tell the public it had taken place. A wheat farmer was the first to recognize the spill had happened; it became public knowledge nearly two weeks later.

Here's how the AP describes the spill's discovery:

"Farmer Steve Jensen says he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.'s underground pipeline, the oil was 'spewing and bubbling 6 inches high,' he said in a telephone interview Thursday."

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