U.S. News

Politics
3:32 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Republicans Push Back On Obama's D.C. Court Nominees

President Obama nominates Robert Wilkins, Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard to fill the remaining vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 4.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:07 pm

If President Obama has his way, he will get to fill three more of the 11 slots on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the country. Obama already has filled one vacancy with Sri Srinivasan, who was confirmed back in May.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved another nominee for the D.C. Circuit, law professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard.

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Shots - Health News
3:07 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Boston Hospitals Share Lessons From Marathon Bombing

A Boston police officer wheels an injured boy down Boylston Street as medical workers carry an injured runner after the Boston Marathon bombing in April.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 8:10 am

Boston hospitals say that overall they did well in their response to the bombings because, as crazy as it sounds, they got lucky on April 15.

Dr. Richard Wolfe, chief of emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says hospitals were fortunate with both the location and timing of the bombs that stunned the city.

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It's All Politics
3:03 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz Has House Republicans Seeing Red

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, in August.
Justin Hayworth AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:40 pm

House Republicans, meet Sen. Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, House Republicans.

Given the surprise expressed by some House members at the Texas senator's approach to the defunding of Obamacare, perhaps an introduction was in order.

A few dozen House members Wednesday morning successfully coerced a reluctant Speaker John Boehner into tying the Obamacare language to a must-pass government funding bill. This came after weeks of television ads featuring Cruz and fellow Senate Republican Mike Lee advocating exactly that plan, regardless of the consequences.

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Politics
2:48 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

House To Vote On Slashing $40 Billion From Food Stamps

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:07 pm

The House today is voting on a plan pushed its Tea Party wing to slash $40 billion from food stamps. That's twice as much as the original House farm bill contemplated, and eight times as much as the Senate bill.

Politics
1:00 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Navy Yard Tragedy Unnerves Mass Shooting Survivors

A small group holds a candlelight vigil Monday on Washington's Freedom Plaza to remember the victims of the D.C. Navy Yard shooting.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:12 pm

They never quite get over it.

Whenever there's a mass shooting, a tragedy that occurs with depressing frequency, survivors of earlier events have their own memories brought back vividly and horribly.

Kristina Anderson, one of dozens of people who was shot at Virginia Tech in 2007, now works across the river from Washington, D.C. When the news of the Navy Yard shootings there broke on Monday, her day melted into tears.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

FBI Chief: Gunman Was 'Wandering Around Looking For People To Shoot'

FBI Director James Comey is pictured earlier this month during his swearing-in ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:11 am

New FBI Director Jim Comey said the man who went on a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday was "wandering around looking for people to shoot" and had no apparent rhyme or reason for killing 12 people.

In his first remarks to reporters since taking office this month, Comey said the gunman, Aaron Alexis, ran out of ammunition for his legally purchased, sawed-off shotgun, exhausting a supply in his cargo pants pocket, and then began using a Beretta wrestled from a guard he had shot.

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Clicking The 'Like' Button Is Protected Speech, Court Rules

A videographer shoots the side of Facebook's Like Button logo displayed at the entrance of the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:52 pm

Clicking the "Like" button on Facebook is tantamount to other forms of protected speech, a federal court decided on Wednesday. That is, clicking Like is protected by the First Amendment as a form of assembly or association.

Bloomberg reports:

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The Salt
12:10 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

'Mountain Dew Mouth' Is Destroying Appalachia's Teeth, Critics Say

Appalachia has a distinct culture of sipping soda constantly throughout the day. "Here in West Virginia, you see people carrying around bottles of Mountain Dew all the time — even at a public health conference," says public health researcher Dana Singer.
Jin Lee Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 9:50 am

Obesity. Diabetes. By now, we've all heard of the health risks posed by drinking too much soda.

But over in Appalachia, the region that stretches roughly from southern New York state to Alabama, the fight against soda is targeting an altogether different concern: rotted teeth.

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Author Interviews
12:06 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Years After Historic Ruling, Execution Still A 'Random' Justice

Execution witness Don Reid stands in the death chamber of the Texas State Penitentiary on July 31, 1972, where he officially watched 189 men die in the heavy oak electric chair. The Supreme Court struck down capital punishment on June 29 of that year.
AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:44 pm

In the mid-1970s, Arkansas' electric chair was being used by the prison barber to cut hair, and the execution chamber in New Hampshire was being used to store vegetables. That's because in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked the nation by striking down Georgia's death penalty law, effectively ending executions in the United States. But the decision provoked a strong backlash among those who favored the death penalty, and within four years the high court reversed course and issued a set of rulings that would permit the resumption of executions.

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Shots - Health News
10:02 am
Thu September 19, 2013

A Hospital Tells Police Where Fights Happen, And Crime Drops

An ambulance makes its way through revelers in Cardiff city center in Wales in 2010. New measures in the city have reduced injuries caused by violence.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:25 pm

On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what's coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.

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The Two-Way
5:38 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Navy Yard Shootings: Thursday's Headlines

Flowers, flags and a child's drawing at a makeshift memorial outside the Washington Navy Yard, where a gunman killed 12 people on Monday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:56 am

Picking up the story from where we last left it, here are some of Thursday's headlines about Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, in which 12 victims and gunman Aaron Alexis died:

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National Security
1:59 am
Thu September 19, 2013

ACLU Posts Fed-Collected 'Suspicious' Activity Reports Online

In the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world. At a fusion center in Las Vegas, workers like Daniel Burns, a program coordinator, analyze suspicious activity reports. The ACLU on Thursday posted more than 1,800 of these reports that were gathered in central California.
Monica Lam Center for Investigative Reporting

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:29 pm

With all the talk of spying by the National Security Agency, it's easy to forget the government engages in off-line surveillance, too. In the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world; they're called suspicious activity reports.

Hal Bergman, a freelance photographer in Los Angeles, has a fondness for industrial scenes, bridges, ports and refineries.

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It's All Politics
4:21 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Poll: Half Of Americans See Russia As 'Unfriendly' Or Worse

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Northern Ireland on June 17. A new Gallup poll says Americans are increasingly viewing both Putin and Russia less favorably.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:08 pm

During the 2012 presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney was mocked by President Obama during a debate for calling Russia — and not al-Qaida — the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the United States.

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Economy
4:12 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Fed's Surprising Decision: Should You Cheer Or Boo?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives to speak at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Fed cut its economic growth forecasts and said it would keep buying bonds in a bid to keep interest rates down.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

If you are trying to buy a home, you just got good news: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it is not going to try to drive up long-term interest rates just yet.

Stock investors are happy for you. They like cheap mortgages too because a robust housing market creates jobs. To celebrate, they bought more shares, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 147.21 to an all-time high of 15,676.94.

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It's All Politics
3:02 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Bishop McNeil, who isn't a cleric despite his name, speaks to reporters Wednesday at a news conference to introduce the Freethought Equality Fund PAC.
Frank James NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:13 pm

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

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Law
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Push To End Mandatory Minimums Makes Strange Bedfellows

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

On Capitol Hill today, a rare acknowledgement from lawmakers that they are partly to blame for the country's crowded prisons. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, opened a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this way.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: We must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long.

SIEGEL: Leahy wants to dial back the long prison sentences that Congress approved during the war on drugs and he's got some surprising allies.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Flood Damage Shuts Down An Entire Colo. Town

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

The rainstorms and flooding in Colorado over the past week have dealt an especially harsh blow to tiny Estes Park. Many of the roads were washed away, leaving the town that bills itself the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park essentially cut off from the rest of the state. Luke Runyon of member station KUNC reports the devastation leaves the town's tourist-dependent economy uncertain.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Navy Yard Shooter's Mother Speaks Out As Inquiry Continues

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Officials in Washington are answering hard questions today in the aftermath of Monday's mass shooting at a Naval office complex. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a review of access and security procedures to U.S. military bases. Hagel also said there were red flags about gunman Aaron Alexis that people somehow missed

NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Mental Health
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

After Attacks, Seattle Rethinks How To Treat Mentally Ill

Police officials stand next to a bullet-ridden Seattle Metro bus on Aug. 12. A man with a history of mental illness shot and wounded the driver, then died in a chaotic shootout with police.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

The Navy Yard massacre may renew concerns over the potential dangers of mentally ill people who don't get treatment. That issue is especially hot right now in Seattle, where the mayor has called untreated mental illness an "emergency."

Unstable In Seattle

Seattle's Pioneer Square is an uneasy mix of art galleries and skid road; it's gelato over here, and heroin over there. And then there's mental illness.

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It's All Politics
12:43 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Sen. Mitch McConnell's Newest Headache

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters following a Republican caucus at the Capitol Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:36 pm

As House Republican leaders acquiesce to their Tea Party faction and tie a government spending renewal to the defunding of Obamacare, don't look for much cheering from the Senate minority leader's office.

That's because what had largely been House Speaker John Boehner's problem now becomes Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's problem — at least for the next steps of this drama.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Judge: Boy In Tennessee Can Keep Name 'Messiah'

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:34 pm

A judge has ruled that a Tennessee woman can name her 8-month-old son "Messiah" — a decision that overturns a ruling last month that drew international attention to the boy.

In a paternity hearing in August, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough brought a dispute over their son's surname. Martin had given her son the name Messiah Deshawn Martin, but McCullough wanted the boy to have his last name.

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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Beanie Babies Creator To Pay $53 Million For Tax Evasion

Ty Warner, creator of Beanie Babies toys, attends the 2003 American International Toy Fair in a rare appearance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Beanie Babies toy line.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:31 pm

The man behind Beanie Babies, the toy animals that saw their heyday in the mid-1990s, has agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion for failing to report income held in Swiss bank accounts.

H. Ty Warner, 69, has been charged in U.S. District Court with felony tax evasion. The indictment alleges that in 1996, Warner traveled to Zurich to open an account with Union Bank of Switzerland with the intent to "evade and defeat" taxes on $3.1 million in foreign income.

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Beauty Shop
10:25 am
Wed September 18, 2013

What Does 'American' Beauty Look Like?

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Music
10:15 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Pitbull On Music From His Latino Side

Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Cuban-American rapper Pitbull shares some of his favorite songs for Tell Me More's regular 'In Your Ear' segment.

One of his favorite songs is Nuestro Dia (Ya Viene Llegando) by Willy Chirino. "It's all about the story, the struggle and the hustle that a lot of Cubans go through to enjoy the freedom, liberties and opportunities that the United States has to offer," says Pitbull. He's proud of Chirino, and says the song keeps him grounded.


Pitbull's Playlist

September by Earth, Wind & Fire

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U.S.
10:15 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Latinos 'Not Just A Chapter In U.S. History'

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear about the songs that keep Cuban-American rapper Pitbull grounded, that is when he's not cranking out his own chart-topping hits. First, though, we want to tell you about a new documentary series that takes a look at the long, some might say, overlooked, history of Hispanics in this country. It's called "Latino Americans."

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "LATINO AMERICANS")

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Shots - Health News
9:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Around The World, Gun Ownership And Firearms Deaths Go Together

Flags fly at half-staff Tuesday after the deadly shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:25 am

A study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

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Around the Nation
2:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Investigators Delve Into Aaron Alexis' Background

As the investigation into Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard progresses, authorities are learning more about the mental state of the gunman, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. A recent police report indicates Alexis was hearing voices coming from walls. Meanwhile, work is resuming at the Navy Yard.

Race
2:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

University Of Alabama Moves To Integrate Greek System

Judy Bonner, the University of Alabama's new president, when the school's championship football team visited the White House on April 19, 2012.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:48 pm

Students at the University of Alabama and community leaders are reacting to allegations that white sororities denied access to black women because of their race.

The student newspaper in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson White, ran a story that quotes sorority members who say they wanted to recruit at least two black candidates but the students' names were removed before members could vote on them.

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National Security
1:19 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Officials: Edward Snowden's Leaks Were Masked By Job Duties

Government officials tell NPR that Edward Snowden's job responsibilities allowed him to copy sensitive files unnoticed.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:58 am

More than three months after Edward Snowden revealed details of NSA secret surveillance activities, intelligence officials are still assessing the fallout from the former contractor's disclosures. But they already know how the leaks happened.

"We have an extremely good idea of exactly what data he got access to and how exactly he got access to it," says the NSA's chief technology officer, Lonny Anderson.

In interviews with NPR, two government officials shared that part of the Snowden story in one of the most detailed discussions of the episode to date.

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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Judge Orders New Trial In New Orleans Bridge Shooting Case

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:19 pm

A federal judge ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in connection to the shooting deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

The shootings gained national attention because they took place during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the judge ordered a new trial because of the "grotesque" misconduct of federal prosecutors. The paper adds:

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