This past week, the U.S. Air Force announced that a cheating scandal among nuclear launch officers had grown. Now, the military says, more than 90 missile launch officers have been involved with cheating on monthly proficiency exams. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with former Air Force officer Brian Weeden, who thinks the missileer culture needs to change.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
There is an oil rush in North Dakota right now. That state is pumping out 10 times the crude oil it did just 10 years ago. Fortunes are being made and once-sleepy towns are now bursting at the seams. This week, NPR is exploring how this oil-drilling boom is changing North Dakota.
NPR's Jeff Brady is one of the reporters working on the series, and he joins me. Jeff, why is this rush for oil happening in North Dakota?
Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 8:16 am
Punxsutawney Phil, the weather forecasting groundhog, will be rudely rustled from his winter slumber Sunday morning to answer the question of the day: shadow or no shadow? Six more weeks of winter or an early spring?
"Rule Britannia." But did you hear, did you hear? There's a football game tomorrow. Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: For the first time since the Bronze Age, or at least since 1995, two teams from the West are in the Super Bowl. Between beer and Cialis ads, football's best offense, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, goes up against football's best defense, Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.
Kansas Board of Education members look over language for a science textbook in 2007. The fight over the teaching of evolution has been particularly fierce in Texas, which because of its size influences many textbook publishers.
We now know that the government's spy agency is Hoovering up billions of bits of data from our phone calls and emails. But we don't really know how it's being used. Much of it apparently just sits in a giant top-secret storage facility in Utah. And that makes some people nervous, especially many foreigners on whom we're spying. Here's Guy Raz of NPR's TED Radio Hour.
GUY RAZ, BYLINE: Picture the largest Ikea you've ever been in. And now picture five of them.
Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 2:51 pm
Editor's Note: Code Switch is engaged in a month-long discussion and exploration of interracial and cross-cultural dating. Follow the conversation via the Twitter hashtag #xculturelove.
My first kiss was with an Albanian man I met in Venice, Italy; within hours, Jeta and I were telling each other, "Ti amo."I didn't mean it any more than I knew his last name (and I won't kid myself into thinking there was much sincerity on his end).
Sean Morey, then with the Arizona Cardinals, celebrates after blocking a punt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Morey, who suffers from post-concussion syndrome, retired from the NFL in 2010 on the advice of doctors.
Credit Stephen Dunn / Getty Images
Morey has devoted himself to learning about the science of concussions and trying to help other players who are suffering.
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
With Morey, the Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.
The home of Sean Morey bears the impressive signposts of his 10-year career in the NFL: a Vince Lombardi trophy for his Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. A hefty Super Bowl ring. A framed photograph showing Morey in midair, launching himself like a missile to block a punt. With that play in 2008, his Arizona Cardinals became the only team in NFL history to win a game in overtime with a blocked punt.
Ben Bernanke hands over the reins at the Federal Reserve to Janet Yellen on Friday. The Fed's vice chairwoman will be the first female ever to lead the nation's central bank. It's a position many view as the second most powerful in the country.
The world of central banking is largely a man's world. But Yellen has been undeterred by such barriers since she was in high school in Brooklyn. Charlie Saydah, a former classmate, says she was probably the smartest kid in the class. Yellen was "clearly smart, and she was smart among a lot of smart kids," he says.
Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 3:39 pm
On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' nets. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."
"The shrimp season [of 2013] was the worst ever in history here," says Howell Boone, a shrimp trawler in Darien, Ga."The jellyfish industry has been about the best thing that's happened to us."
In a letter released by his attorney, the Port Authority official who personally oversaw the George Washington Bridge lane closures is alleging that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the action. David Wildstein asserts that evidence exists that will contradict Christie's claims to ignorance about the motives behind the lane closures.
The lure of high-paying oil-related jobs in western North Dakota has drawn thousands of people to the region. Many find work, but some of those who don't find despair. There's a dramatic rise in homelessness and sky-high housing cost are partly to blame. This year's Arctic temperatures are causing a second migration to cities farther east.
The U.S. Department of State says Canada's production of tar sands crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be affected by the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal.
That assessment came Friday as part of a massive environmental review by the State Department — the analysis fills 11 volumes.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. In Afghanistan, the U.S. is in a political standoff with the government of President Hamid Karzai. At issue is what's called a bilateral security agreement that would govern U.S. troops if they stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. President Obama addressed the issue earlier this week in his State of the Union speech.
Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 4:30 pm
The New York Times reports that a former Port Authority official says "evidence exists" that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening.
The assertion contradicts earlier statements by Christie, who has said that he was "embarrassed and humiliated" when he found out that the lane closures were politically motivated instead of, as he'd been led to believe, part of a traffic study.
Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 3:32 pm
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating a suspicious white powder that was mailed to several New Jersey hotels near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl — but there were no reports of injuries and preliminary tests suggest the substance was cornstarch.
NPR's Margot Adler reports that the white powder was found in letters mailed to five New Jersey hotels. Another letter was sent to the Midtown Manhattan law office of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A worker in the mailroom at Giuliani's office opened the letter.
Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 6:46 am
As cities in the southern U.S. continue to recover from the ice and snow storm that brought life to a standstill in many places this week, stories are emerging about the incredible things some people did to help out others.
Workers inspect an area near storage tanks where a chemical leaked into the Elk River at Freedom Industries storage facility in Charleston, W.Va., on Jan. 13. It is still unclear exactly how much of the chemicals leaked into the area's water supply.
State officials in West Virginia say that in most areas, they can no longer detect any of the industrial chemical MCHM that spilled into the water supply recently. They say the water is safe for people to drink and use — including most pregnant women. But other public health specialists say they don't trust these assurances.
"I think there's no way to know what the safe levels of the chemicals are at this point," says Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the state's largest public health department. He's in charge of protecting 250,000 people whose water was affected by the spill.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a step today toward major changes at the nation's largest police force. De Blasio says the city will settle a long-running lawsuit against the New York Police Department's over its so-called Stop-and-Frisk tactics. A federal judge had ruled that the department civil rights of blacks and Latinos.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. In this part of the program, we're going to address a question that keeps bubbling up in news stories and commentary from the Middle East. It's a question President Obama addressed indirectly in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: In a world of complex threats, our security, our leadership, depends on all elements of our power, including strong and principled diplomacy.
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft atop rocket Falcon 9 lifts off from Cape Canaveral in Florida in May 2012. The launch made SpaceX the first commercial company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Credit Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images
Gilbert Salinas, executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, stands in the area where SpaceX might build its first commercial orbital launch site.