U.S. News

Shots - Health News
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

First Step In Health Exchange Enrollment: Train The Helpers

Assisters get up to speed on how best to explain the new health coverage choices during training on Sept. 25 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 12:06 pm

Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.

The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Takes A Toll Across D.C.

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

New Maryland Firearms Law Rides In On A Wave Of Gun Sales

A sign warns would-be buyers at the Annapolis Gun Show in Annapolis, Md., in September of the state's pending gun control law. The new law, which took effect Tuesday, bans the purchase of many types of assault rifles.
Andrew Harnik The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:05 pm

One of the strictest gun laws in the nation went into effect in Maryland on Tuesday. The new law bans assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and it makes Maryland one of only six states that require handgun purchasers to get fingerprinted and take gun safety courses.

Gun owners in the state aren't happy, and in recent weeks, they've been flocking to snap up firearms. On Monday, outside Fred's Sporting Goods in Waldorf, there was a huge crowd and a countdown sign advertising: "1 day left."

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Youth Radio
2:26 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Puberty Is Coming Earlier, But That Doesn't Mean Sex Ed Is

A growing number of children are entering puberty at younger ages — sometimes as young as 6 or 7. But in many schools, sex education classes don't begin before the fifth grade.
Cuneyt Hizal iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 3:54 pm

For kids growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a standard introduction to puberty at many schools: an educational play called Nightmare on Puberty Street.

It's a fictional play, and in it, character Natalie raps about how quickly her body is growing — and how her classmates call her names.

"I didn't pick how my body would grow, and I don't feel normal, 'cause I'm not in control."

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The Salt
2:11 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Program Feeding Women And Infants In Lurch

At a farmers market in Washington, D.C., recipients of federal food assistance like the WIC program can use vouchers to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 3:23 pm

Among those affected by the chaos of the government shutdown are 9 million low-income women and children who may be worrying where next week's meal is going to come from.

They rely on the government for food assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC.

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Code Switch
2:03 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

A Rapid Shift For Jews Away From Religion, But Not Jewishness

Are Jews becoming less religious because they're marrying non-Jews or are they marrying non-Jews because they're becoming less religious? It's hard to say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:49 am

A big survey by the Pew Center is out today on Jewish life in America, and it shows a stark shift away from religious belief and toward cultural identification.

Nine in 10 American Jews born before World War II identify themselves as Jewish by religion, but nearly a third of Jewish millennials — that is, people born after 1980 — identify as having no religion at all.

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The Two-Way
2:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

How The Shutdown Is Affecting The Military

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:52 pm

Larry Abramson, who covers national security for NPR, sent us this missive, about how the shutdown of the federal government is affecting the Pentagon:

If you are a soldier, sailor, airman or marine, you will be paid during a shutdown. But only half of civilian defense workers are supposed to show up for work, and the rest do not get paid.

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All Tech Considered
1:48 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Agency Websites Shut Down With The Government

The message users will get when they try to go to Census.gov during the shutdown.
Census.gov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 2:50 pm

If you or your child has a school report due tomorrow, the Census Bureau site will not be available to help. Census.gov and its affiliates, like American FactFinder and online surveys, are offline as part of the federal government's shutdown. The same goes for the Federal Trade Commission's site, the Agriculture Department's USDA.gov and the Library of Congress' site, which can also be a rich resource of reference information.

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It's All Politics
1:16 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

No Talks Underway To Resolve Shutdown

A sign announces the closing of the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:53 pm

If you're wondering how long the shutdown will last, well, don't hold your breath.

As of this writing, there are no indications that talks are underway — or even in the offing.

Indeed, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected House legislation Tuesday morning calling for a House-Senate conference to try to settle the disagreement behind the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.

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Food
12:20 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

300 Sandwiches: The Secret To Boyfriend's Heart?

"Weekend Productivity" Mozzarella and Homemade Pesto BLT
Courtesy of Stephanie Smith

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:56 pm

What makes a guy put a ring on it? New York Post reporter Stephanie Smith hopes 300 sandwiches will be her answer.

It all started after one particularly tasty turkey sandwich she made for her boyfriend. Smith says that the sandwich was so good, he said, "You're, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring."

So Smith got cookin' and is sharing her journey of food and love through her blog, 300sandwiches.com. It features a daily gourmet sandwich recipe.

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Shots - Health News
12:04 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Connecticut's Insurance Website Struggles At Opening

The online health exchange in Connecticut got off to a bumpy start Tuesday.
iStockphoto.com

Today is the day the uninsured can sign up for insurance on Connecticut's new health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act. But technical glitches have hampered the rollout.

Kevin Counihan is pretty good at managing expectations. He's the head of Access Health CT, the agency that runs the state's new health insurance marketplace.

He's got his eyes on 2016 and beyond. By then, he says, we'll be able to judge whether the health care overhaul has succeeded.

So, for him, Oct. 1 may be exciting, but it's not all that telling.

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Food
10:33 am
Tue October 1, 2013

300 Sandwiches The Secret To Boyfriend's Heart?

New York Post reporter Stephanie Smith sparked a firestorm online when she wrote about her plan to make her boyfriend 300 sandwiches - in exchange for an engagement ring. Host Michel Martin talks to Smith about her project, and the reaction to it.

Parenting
10:33 am
Tue October 1, 2013

When Teen Parties Go Viral

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:56 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Law
10:33 am
Tue October 1, 2013

DOJ Voting Lawsuit: Absurd Or Critical?

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:56 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. My thanks to Celeste Headlee for sitting in for me on short notice. So today, the country woke up to the shutdown of the federal government. We've been hearing from you about how this is affecting you and your budgets and your families. We'll hear what you've been telling us and we'll hear from two of the business reporters we turn to often to find out what they're hearing about the long and short-term impact on the country. That's in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
5:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Two Arrests So Far In Bikers' Shocking Attack Of NYC Driver

The moment of the attack on Sunday, after dozens of motorcyclists chased and surrounded an SUV. They then smashed its windows and beat the driver.
YouTube.com

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 9:41 am

Update at 6:42 p.m. ET. Second Rider Turns Himself In:

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Afghanistan
4:26 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Marine Generals Forced To Retire A Year After Taliban Attack

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:35 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Marine Corps has forced two of its top officers to retire. It is rare for commanders to be punished for a failure in combat, but that's the case here. The two commanders - both two-star generals - are being forced out because of an attack that happened on their watch in Afghanistan. It took place a year ago at a sprawling base called Camp Bastion. Two Americans died.

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The Two-Way
3:09 am
Tue October 1, 2013

After Shutdown, A Familiar Feeling At The White House

Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama in the Oval Office on Monday for NPR's Morning Edition.
Pete Souza The White House

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 9:17 am

President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.

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Shots - Health News
1:23 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Lessons For The Obamacare Rollout, Courtesy Of Massachusetts

Then-Gov. Mitt Romney signs the Massachusetts health care bill in Boston on April 12, 2006.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 7:23 am

Today marks a milestone on the nation's long march toward universal health coverage: the launch of online marketplaces, called exchanges, designed to help people find insurance they can afford.

It's an idea pioneered by Massachusetts seven years ago. People here call their program a success, and say the state's exchange was an indispensable factor.

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The Two-Way
10:22 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Shutdown Begins After Congress Fails In Spending Compromise

Members of the House of Representatives enter the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Congress failed to reach a budget agreement by the midnight deadline triggering a partial shutdown of the government.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:04 am

House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not reach agreement by the midnight deadline on a spending bill to keep the government operating, triggering an immediate shutdown of nonessential services and the furlough of nonessential personnel potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.

Updated at 1:40 a.m. ET, House Speaker Boehner's Comments:

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It's All Politics
5:30 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: A Closure Appears Inevitable

As the sun started its descent behind the U.S. Capitol building on Monday, it seemed virtually certain to rise on a partially shuttered federal government.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Monday's Highlights:

Only hours before a partial shutdown of the federal government would take effect, House Republicans still hadn't arrived at a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats were willing to approve to keep government workers on the job. A closure appeared inevitable.

On Monday afternoon, Senate Democrats rejected a stopgap spending bill passed by the House over the weekend because it contained anti-Obamacare measures that Democrats found objectionable.

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It's All Politics
5:26 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

The Shutdown: A Guide To What Would And Wouldn't Close

If Congress does not reach a budget agreement and the government shuts down, the U.S. Postal Service is one agency expected to remain in operation.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 6:05 pm

With House Republicans and Senate Democrats still miles apart on a budget deal, the federal government appears headed for a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

Here's a quick breakdown of what government agencies and programs would and would not remain operational in the event of a shutdown:

What Stays Open

  • The Postal Service would continue to deliver mail on its regular schedule.
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All Tech Considered
3:47 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

FAA May Stop Making You Power Off Those Electronics

An expert FAA advisory committee has recommended that airline passengers be allowed to use most personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet.
Leonardo Patrizi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

It's news many airline passengers have waited to hear: The Federal Aviation Administration may allow smartphones, tablets and other personal electronic devices to be used throughout an entire flight — including takeoff and landing.

Frequent flier Barbara Reilly, a health care consultant from Atlanta, is like many airline passengers: She boards her flights with a laptop, an iPad and a cellphone, and "I used them all ... continuously, until the very moment I had to turn them off. And the second I could turn them back on, they were all back on," she says.

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Shots - Health News
3:17 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

A Doctor's 9 Predictions About The 'Obamacare Era'

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 3:25 pm

Debate is raging about Obamacare, and not just in Washington. Out here in Oklahoma we're grappling with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Patients. Employers. Hospitals. Doctors. Insurers. All of us.

Here then are one doctor's predictions about what we will see in the short and medium term for what I see as the unfolding Obamacare era — the biggest domestic health expansion since the enactment of Medicare in 1965.

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Around the Nation
2:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Hiking Trail From Mexico To Canada More Popular Than Ever

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the nation's iconic hiking routes. It stretches more than 2,600 miles between Mexico and Canada and this year a record number of people are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact, as many as 500 are expected to finish the entire trek. From member station KPLU in Seattle, Bellamy Pailthorp reports on how the experience is changing as more people do it.

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It's All Politics
2:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Here's Something Congress Can Agree On: Helium

Party On: Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
Alexandre Ayre Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 3:03 pm

With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.

The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.

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Code Switch
12:15 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Tracing The Story Of 'Lynch Mob'

It's estimated that 4,743 Americans were lynched between 1882 and 1968. A large majority of those victims were black.
Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 2:11 pm

Robert Benmosche, the CEO of insurance giant AIG, was widely criticized last week after comparing reactions to the bonuses his company's employees received in 2009 to a lynch mob.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Diesel Rebate Fraud: Truck-Stop Company Says It Is Repaying Millions

Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Pilot Flying J, discusses accusations of rebate fraud, in April. Today, Haslam said that an audit found problems with only a small number of the company's customers' accounts.
Wade Payne AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:20 pm

Months after federal agents raided its Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters over charges that it withheld millions in diesel fuel rebates from customers at its truck stops, Pilot Flying J says it is paying the companies that were cheated.

From Nashville, Blake Farmer of member station WPLN filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Law
11:19 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage: N.J. Judge Says Separate Is Unequal

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:37 pm

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

And now, let's return to the ongoing debate about gay marriage. On Friday, a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled that the state's system of civil unions is invalid. She says New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to marry. The judge said denying gay couples the right to marry violates the Supreme Court's ruling back in June that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. The state is expected to appeal, of course, but this ruling could be the tip of the iceberg nation-wide anyway.

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The Two-Way
10:42 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Man Accused Of Siphoning Millions From Fake Veterans' Charity

The defendant known as Bobby Thompson listens to court proceedings in Cleveland on Monday.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:59 pm

An ex-military intelligence officer who prosecutors say siphoned millions from a bogus charity for U.S. Navy veterans is going on trial in Ohio.

The 67-year-old defendant calls himself Bobby Thompson, but authorities say his real name is John Donald Cody. He was arrested last year in Portland, Ore., after two years on the run, and is charged with masterminding a $100 million multistate fraud using a charity called United States Veterans Association, based in Tampa, Fla.

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Shots - Health News
7:58 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Vaccine Refusals Fueled California's Whooping Cough Epidemic

A student gets vaccinated against pertussis at a Los Angeles middle school in 2012. The state required that students be immunized to halt an epidemic of whooping cough.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:22 am

When the whooping cough vaccine was invented in the 1940s, doctors thought they had finally licked the illness, which is especially dangerous for babies. But then it came roaring back.

In 2010, a whooping cough outbreak in California sickened 9,120 people, more than in any year since 1947. Ten infants died; babies are too young to be vaccinated.

Public health officials suspected that the increased numbers of parents who refused to vaccinate their children played a role, but they couldn't be sure.

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