U.S. News

The Two-Way
9:34 am
Fri May 31, 2013

2 Years Added To Expected Life Of Medicare Trust Fund

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 7:23 pm

"The trust fund that finances Medicare's hospital insurance coverage will remain solvent until 2026, two years beyond what was projected in last year's report," the program's trustees reported Friday.

In a statement, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services gives some of the credit to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

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U.S.
6:34 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Spelling Bee Winner Conquers 'German Curse'

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 3:37 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. A 13-year-old from Queens won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last night. He correctly spelled a Yiddish word of German origin meaning dumpling.

(SOUNDBITE OF SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE)

ARVIND MAHANKALI: Knaidel. K-N-A-I-D-E-L. Knaidel.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You are correct.

Shots - Health News
1:22 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Proton Beam Therapy Sparks Hospital Arms Race

A construction worker paints walls at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center in Baltimore. Each of the center's five rooms will contain a massive piece of equipment that will rotate around a cancer patient to deliver a special kind of radiation.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 8:41 am

When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.

Hospitals are still racing to offer expensive new technology — even when it hasn't been proved to work better than cheaper approaches. Case in point: proton beam therapy, a high-tech radiation treatment for cancer.

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The Salt
1:20 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Michigan Tracks Cattle From Birth To Plate

Whenever a steer or cow leaves a farm in Michigan or goes to a slaughterhouse, it passes by a tag reader, and its ID number goes to a central computer that keeps track of every animal's location.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 8:54 am

When you pick up a cut of beef at the store, would you like to know that animal's life history? The technology to do this does exist — at least in Michigan, where the state requires all cattle to carry electronic ear tags. It's the only state that requires such tags.

Michigan's cattle-tracking system was forced on farmers because of a crisis. Fifteen years ago, cattle in part of the state started catching tuberculosis from wild deer.

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StoryCorps
12:20 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Cherishing The Gift Of Friendship Through A Cancer Bout

Peter Obetz (left) and Jeff Jarrett met in 1998 and are still close friends. Peter was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer in 2004. He was declared cancer-free in 2009. They visited StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 6:34 am

In 2004, Peter Obetz was in the middle of a divorce when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

"Food would get stuck down my throat, and it got worse and worse, so I met with my doctor. I had a tumor on my esophagus wall," says Peter, 48, during a visit to StoryCorps in Kansas City, Mo.

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The Two-Way
5:19 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

TSA: No More Graphic, Full-Body Airport Scans

A U.S. Transportation Security Administration employee demonstrates the less intrusive Automated Target Recognition software in 2011.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:40 pm

The Transportation Security Administration has told Congress that it's finished retrofitting airport scanners to blunt a widely criticized technology that shows graphic detail of a passenger's body as he or she goes through security checkpoints.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

War Zone Visit A McCain Trademark

In this photo provided by Mouaz Moustafa and the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Sen. John McCain, accompanied by Moustafa (right) visits rebels in Syria on Monday. McCain, who slipped into the country for a surprise visit, favors providing arms to rebel forces in Syria.
Mouaz Moustafa AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:02 pm

There are risks aplenty for a U.S. lawmaker who makes a surprise visit to a war zone, as Sen. John McCain recently did when he crossed the border from Turkey into Syria.

The perils to life and limb go without saying. But there are also other risks: trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys; or being victimized by disinformation from unfriendly Middle Eastern interests.

While McCain got out unscathed from Syria, where he visited rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, he may have had less success navigating the other risks.

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U.S.
3:47 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Will Ill. Legalize Gay Marriage Before Legislature Adjourns?

Activists rally in support of gay marriage on March 25 in Chicago. The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that will legalize same-sex marriage, but it has stalled in the state House.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:04 pm

The clock is ticking for those who hope Illinois will become the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its spring session Friday night, and the marriage equality bill still has not been called for a vote in the state House, where supporters are struggling to round up the 60 votes necessary to pass it.

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Shots - Health News
3:30 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Administration Touts Competition In Insurance Exchanges

The Obama administration is countering criticism that the new health insurance exchanges will be lacking in competition, though it's doing so a bit quietly.

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

No, Frosted Mini-Wheats Won't Make Your Kids Smarter

YouTube

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:23 pm

  • Hear Robert Siegel's Interview With Attorney Tim Blood

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All Tech Considered
3:00 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Online College Courses Get A Big Boost, But Doubts Persist

The University of Tennessee became one of 10 state university systems teaming up with Coursera, a for-profit tech company.
Flickr Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:01 pm

From New Mexico to New York, 10 state university systems have announced they are joining the ranks of elite institutions embracing the massive open online course, or MOOC, system.

On Thursday, they unveiled a landmark partnership with Coursera, a for-profit tech company with 3.5 million registered students. It's the biggest effort to catapult degree-granting institutions into the world of global education.

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It's All Politics
2:46 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

The Survivor: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Outlasts Political, Legal Trouble

Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," is best-known for aggressively enforcing immigration laws.
Laura Segall Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:52 am

Update at 7:12 p.m. ET Recall Fails

The Associated Press reports that organizers of a petition to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio fell short of Thursday's deadline to collect 335,000 signatures.

Our original post:

Once again, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is at the center of political and legal controversies. Once again, it appears he will survive.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

U.S. Shot Putter Awarded Gold, Years After 2004 Olympics

Adam Nelson (left), has been awarded the gold medal in the men's shot put, after original winner Yuriy Bilonoh of Ukraine was found to have violated doping rules.
Nick Laham Getty Images

U.S. shot putter Adam Nelson has been awarded a gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics, after his rival at those games, Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine, was stripped of the victory last December for violating doping rules. The International Association of Athletics Federations and the International Olympic Committee made the change official Thursday.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Father Of Chechen Killed In Florida Says His Son Was Executed

Abdul-Baki Todashev, father of Ibragim Todashev, shows pictures he says are of his son's bullet-riddled body, at a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.
Andrey Smirnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 3:18 pm

The father of the Chechen immigrant who was killed in Florida during an FBI interrogation over his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says his son was killed execution-style.

At a news conference in Moscow, Abdul-Baki Todashev showed reporters 16 photos he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue.

"I want justice. I want an investigation," Todashev said. "They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you."

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The Two-Way
1:04 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Four Men In A Small Boat Face The Northwest Passage

A European Space Agency photo of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic. The McClure Strait is the most direct route of the Northwest Passage and has been fully open since early August 2007.
AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 1:23 pm

Only a few years ago, even large commercial vessels wouldn't take on the ice-bound Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific via the Canadian north — but climate change has changed all that.

Now, a group of hearty adventurers hopes to be the first to row the 1,900-mile route this summer.

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Shots - Health News
12:57 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Joblessness Shortens Life Expectancy For White Women

Unemployment can be a health hazard.
unknown iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 2:39 pm

At a time when many people live longer, it's been a mystery why white women without a high school diploma have been dying increasingly earlier those with more education.

A study in the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior tries to understand this growing mortality gap, and finds two key factors: smoking — already well known as detrimental to life expectancy — and, more surprising, unemployment.

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Shots - Health News
10:56 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Immigrants Subsidize, Rather Than Drain, Medicare

Patients wait in line at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle in San Juan, Texas, in September 2012 file photo. A study released on Wednesday finds that immigrants, particularly noncitizens, heavily subsidize Medicare, and that policies that restrict immigration may deplete Medicare's financial resources.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 6:42 am

As Congress mulls changing America's border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare's finances.

Immigrants contribute tens of billions of dollars a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services.

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Economy
9:53 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Serving The Beef For Low Pay: Fast Food Workers Fed Up

Fast food workers have been going on strikes in major cities nationwide. They're demanding higher wages, but some critics are asking why they should have it their way. Host Michel Martin hears from both sides of the debate.

Technology
9:53 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Is The Midwest More Hateful Than Other Regions?

Twitter is a way for people to send short messages about almost everything — from what they ate for breakfast, to their political opinions. But it's also a space where people are voicing racist and homophobic points of view. A new study from Humbolt State University looks at just where some of that hate speech is coming from.

News
8:16 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Even Terrorists Have To Fill Out Expense Reports

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 10:30 am

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Code Switch
7:10 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Arab-Americans: A 'Growing' Community, But By How Much?

Arab-Americans join in a traditional dance during the sixth annual Arab-American Heritage Festival in Brooklyn in 2011.
Robert Nickelsberg Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 7:53 am

One-and-a-half million Americans today claim Arab ancestry, according to a new Census Bureau report.

That's less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population.

Still, Maryam Asi, a demographer at the Census Bureau who co-wrote the report, says the Arab-American community is "growing," with a 76 percent increase since 1990 and 25 percent increase since 2000.

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
1:01 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Breathing Easier: How Houston Is Working To Clean Up Its Air

The Houston Ship Channel is home to a wide range of heavy industry, including chemical processing plants and petrochemical refineries.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 10:18 am

The Houston area produces about a quarter of the nation's gasoline, and about a third of the plastics that are in our cars, cupboards and just about everywhere else. So it is no surprise that this heavily industrial area has a problem with air pollution. But in the past decade, Houston's air has improved dramatically.

How that happened is a tale of good science, new technology and a Texas law that prompted companies along the Houston Ship Channel to disclose their emissions.

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The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Police Say Ricin-Laced Letters Sent To New York Mayor Bloomberg

New York Mayor Bloomberg speaks out for gun reform at a March news conference in New York.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:11 am

Police in New York say preliminary tests of two threatening letters sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg contained traces of ricin.

The anonymous letters, both addressed to Bloomberg, were opened Friday in New York at the city's mail facility and Sunday in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the nonprofit started by Bloomberg, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, according to authorities.

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U.S.
4:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Soldier Accused Of Killing Afghan Civilians To Plead Guilty

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The American soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in Afghanistan last year plans to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty. Lawyers say Staff Sergeant Robert Bales will plead guilty to 16 counts of premeditated murder next week and that his sentencing trial will be held in September.

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The Two-Way
4:23 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Former Justice Official In Line To Be Named FBI Chief

Former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington on May 15, 2007. NPR has learned that Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 4:25 am

NPR has learned that former Justice Department official James B. Comey is in line to become President Obama's choice as the next FBI director, according to two sources familiar with the search.

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Around the Nation
4:22 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Sing-Spelling At The National Bee

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

There is no shortage of wonders on display at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, under way this week outside Washington, D.C. Students are easily spooling off words such as wiesenboden and machicotage. But even the Scripps Bee judges were flummoxed when 7th grader Katie Danis made this request today.

KATIE DANIS: Would you mind if I were to, like, sing the letters, it would help me. I could do that.

BLOCK: The judges conferred, and said OK. So here's Katie Danis, sing-spelling stabilimeter.

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Bachmann's Legacy: A Trailblazer, For Better And For Worse

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks during the Family Research Council Action Values Voter Summit in Washington.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:55 pm

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's announcement Wednesday that she won't seek a fifth term unleashed a torrent of tweets and blog posts on the left lampooning the short-lived 2012 presidential candidate.

Yet the response — her retirement effectively dominated the news cycle — provided a glimpse of Bachmann's impact on Washington.

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It's All Politics
3:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Why Obama Wants To Change The Key Law In The Terrorism Fight

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., on May 23.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Almost all of the federal government's actions against terrorism — from drone strikes to the prison at Guantanamo Bay — are authorized by a single law: the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress passed it just after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, President Obama says he wants to revise the law, and ultimately repeal it.

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Remembering American Heroes Of WWII
3:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

For Tuskegee Airman George Porter, Failure Was Not An Option

George Porter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, at his home in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007. Porter joined the armed forces in 1942 and served as a crew chief, squadron inspector and flight engineer with the Army Air Forces and the Air Force.
Paul Kitagaki Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who died this year.

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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The 10 Biggest Tax Breaks (And How Much They Cost)

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:01 pm

The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.

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