Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:40 pm
The natural gas fracking boom has sped up life in Towanda, Pa. There are positives and negatives to that fact — Towanda's unemployment rate stayed low throughout the recession, but its crime rate jumped, too. And now that natural gas prices have slowed down drilling, Towanda is wondering whether its boom is already turning into a bust.
The national dialogue on gun control has focused attention on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Federally-licensed gun dealers in all states are required to run a check through the system on any customer looking to purchase a gun. Critics, though, see a flaw in the program. While all states are asked to contribute information to the system — on their convicted criminals, drug abusers, mentally ill — they are not required to.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
We begin this hour with the end of President Obama's first term. He's got less than a week before next Monday's inauguration. This morning, he capped things off with an hour-long news conference in the White House East Room. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, most of the focus was on a rash of recent financial crises that Washington itself has created.
When it comes to supernutritious foods, the blueberry has long had a health halo floating over it.
Going back to Colonial times when Native Americans and English settlers ground up blueberries and added them to porridge, in both dried and fresh forms, there have been hints of health-promoting effects.
The war in Afghanistan may be winding down, but the toll on soldiers and Marines back home is not. The military has tallied suicides among active duty troops last year, and the number is at a record level. NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman joins us now. And, Tom, suicides were up again among troops in 2012?
Courtney Forbes, 21, stands with the tandem bicycle that she and her husband, Harly relied on for transportation before it was stolen last week. They plan to donate the bike, which has since been returned, to the Washington School for the Blind.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 11:24 am
A few weeks ago, a few of us headed over to the Supreme Court to retrieve a suitcase. It belonged to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and it contained, effectively, her family history in photographs. We sat in the kitchen in her chambers over her lunch break. She ate a bowl of soup and told us stories about the photos.
Fried chicken, mac and cheese, and sweet potato pie! Soul food has drawn Americans to the table for generations. But is the greasy goodness doing more harm than good? Byron Hurt tackles the question in his new documentary 'Soul Food Junkies.'
Now, we want to talk about a different kind of service. If you were in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, then you probably saw a sea of ladies wearing red and white - or rather crimson and cream. Those are the colors of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. The organization celebrated its centennial over the weekend.
It was founded by students at Howard University in 1913 and the group now has some 900 chapters all over the U.S. and in countries around the world, including Germany, Japan and Korea.
If you live in a college town, you might have noticed that campus coffee shops are still buzzing late into the evening.
And that makes sense. New survey data from the NPD group, which tracks trends in what Americans eat and drink, finds that 18- to 24-year-olds are turning to coffee, rather than caffeinated sodas, as their pick-me-up of choice.
Looming sequestration cuts of massive proportions, coupled with a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan are adding to the boiling partisanship over nominating Chuck Hegel as defense secretary. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that some of the biggest challenges for the Department of Defense come from inside U.S. borders.
A giant squid stars in this still image taken from the footage Edie Widder shot. It's the first-ever video of these giant squids, and it'll debut in a Discovery Channel documentary airing in late January.
Credit Discovery Channel
A giant squid is attracted to the "e-jellyfish," a bioluminescent lure invented by marine biologist Edie Widder.
For thousands of years, sailors have told stories of giant squids. In myth and cinema, the kraken was the most terrible of sea monsters. Now, it's been captured — on a soon-to-be-seen video.
Even after decades of searching, giant squids had only been seen in still photographs. Finally, in last July, scientists filmed the first video of a live giant squid swimming some 2,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
Edie Widder is the ocean researcher who shot the footage, which is slated to be released in a Discovery Channel documentary later this month.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 2:27 pm
The head of the National Rifle Association said Sunday that there's little appetite on Capitol Hill for a ban on assault weapons.
"When a president takes all the power of his office, if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions, you don't want to bet your house on the outcome. But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," NRA President David Keene said on CNN's State of the Union.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 5:39 am
Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Eugene Patterson died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer, a family spokeswoman tells The Associated Press. He was 89.
Patterson, editor of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution from 1960 to 1968, "helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, eloquently reminding the silent majority of its complicity in racist violence," the AP reports.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 6:54 am
He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.
Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':
President Obama spoke about Jeanne Manford in a speech he gave at the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009. Her son, Morty, was an important figure in New York City's gay community during the turbulent 1970s.
"Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford," he said. A police officer told her Morty had been arrested.
Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.
The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.
The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.
It was a long road to the Supreme Court. On the way, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faced a diabetes diagnosis, her father's death to alcoholism and her cousin's overdose. For Sotomayor, life began in the Bronx, in tenement housing in a community of Puerto Rican immigrants. She gave NPR exclusive access to a huge suitcase brimming with family photos and tells her story in this multimedia experience.
Since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a number of cities have launched gun-buyback programs, to try to reduce the number of firearms in circulation. This weekend, the police department in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is offering a gun buyback called Operation Safe Streets. It will give people who turn in weapons a $150 gift card, for a handgun; $200 for assault weapons. Santa Fe's chief of police is Raymond Rael.
If somebody turns in a gun, do they have to say where they got it?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Vice President Joe Biden met with factions in the gun debate this week, from the National Rifle Association to the families of the Virginia Tech shootings. On Tuesday, the vice president will present the recommendations of the task force on gun violence that he has been leading to President Obama. We're joined now by NPR's Brian Naylor who's been covering the gun debate in Washington D.C. Brian, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has concluded a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. The president met with senior administration officials, including a private meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama. Their discussions reportedly centered on the U.S. role in Afghanistan after 2014. That's when most of the U.S. and NATO troops are due to withdraw from the country. NPR's Jackie Northam has this report.
SIMON: Today and for the next month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is asking Floridians to tangle with the Burmese Python. They call it a harvest. Of course, that means that they want people to hunt pythons. How do you hunt pythons? Very carefully, I'm sure. They're huge constrictor snakes that can grow to be more than 20 feet long.
For many, the stakes and the scale of World War II are hard to fathom. It was a war fought around the world, against powerful, determined regimes in Europe and the Pacific; some 65 million people died. And as the number of people who have actual memories of the war dwindle — as of next year, there will be fewer than 1 million living veterans — the mission of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans becomes all the more urgent.
Among the donations that poured into the American Red Cross building after the earthquake in Haiti three years ago was a box of Frisbees. In a flood of well-intentioned but unneeded donations, this box stuck out to Meghan O'Hara, who oversees in-kind donations for the organization.
O'Hara says someone clearly wanted to help — the person mailed the box from Germany — but all she could think was, "Wow. That $60 or $70 could have been sent to so many different organizations to help out in so many different ways, and now we have a box of Frisbees."
A clerk prices cigarettes at Discount Smoke Shop in Ballwin, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
Credit Getty Images / Mario Tama
The Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all new tobacco products or any changes to existing brands, has not cleared any products since assuming that responsibility in 2009.
It's been only a few years since Congress granted the federal government the power to approve how tobacco products are made and sold in the U.S.
The Food and Drug Administration's new Center for Tobacco Products, established under a 2009 law that gives the agency jurisdiction over tobacco, must review all new cigarettes or smokeless tobacco, as well as any changes to existing brands.
But the agency has yet to clear any products under the new system, and some cigarette makers are frustrated by the backlog of applications.