U.S. News

Music News
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Coming Up: Detroit Symphony Returns From The Brink

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Just a few years ago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra was in bad shape. An auditor predicted they'd be shuttered in months.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: His famous line was we had no business being in business.

SIMON: Tomorrow on WEEKEND EDITION, how after a financial crisis, a bitter contract dispute, and a musicians' strike, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra still plays on. This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Brothel Beckons To GOP: Hold Your Convention In Las Vegas

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:28 am

Vegas is bidding to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Besides plenty of hotel rooms, there's another perk to offer.

Shots - Health News
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Reaching The Young And Uninsured On A Texas Campus

Nobody plans to wind up in the emergency room, but costly accidents happen — even to healthy young people.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:55 am

At lunchtime on the North Harris campus of Houston's Lone Star Community College, students stream through the lobby of the student services center, plugged into their headphones or rushing to class.

Many walk right past a small information table about the Affordable Care Act.

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Simon Says
3:24 am
Sat March 8, 2014

'Unproductive Anxiety' And The Solo Act Of Essay Writing

The essay portion of the SAT exam will become optional in 2016, the College Board announced this week.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

"If you are squeamish
Don't prod the
beach rubble."

Those wise words from Sappho, the Greek woman lyric poet born around 610 B.C. came to mind this week when the College Board announced it will make the essay on the SAT exam optional.

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Education
3:23 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What The U.S. Can Learn From Finland, Where School Starts At Age 7

President Barack Obama sits with students during a tour of a Pre-K classroom at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C., this week.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don't start school until age 7.

Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments.

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

CPAC's Conservative-Libertarian Split Could Be Hard To Bridge

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

If any two issues illustrate how difficult it could be for the part of the Republican Party represented by the social and national security conservatives to bridge their differences with libertarians, same-sex marriage and National Security Agency intelligence are good candidates

Discussions at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference got testy Friday, when libertarians defended positions out of synch with the more traditional stances that have defined the Republican Party for decades.

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The Edge
3:06 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge

Andy Soule, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Four years ago, he won America's first medal — Olympic or Paralympic — in the biathlon event.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:39 pm

Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.

Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.

"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. He speeds along the course by hauling himself with ski poles.

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Around the Nation
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Meet The Spellers Who Broke The Bee

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Here's a twist: A spelling bee that ends in a tie. Well, that's just what happened in Kansas City two weeks ago, but only one person can win. So the two spellers will battle it out once more tomorrow morning. Maria Carter of member station KCUR has the story.

JORDAN HOFFMAN: Spell madeleine.

SOPHIA HOFFMAN: Madeleine. Definition, please?

MARIA CARTER, BYLINE: That's 11-year-old Sophia Hoffman, a wisp of a girl with blonde hair. She's studying today with her older sister, Jordan.

HOFFMAN: It's a French pastry.

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NPR News Investigations
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

U.S. Grave Science Marked By Risk Aversion And Bureaucracy

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:02 am

In part two of a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica, we look at the agency charged with bringing home and identifying the 83,000 American war dead. It's stymied by an extreme aversion to risk. See the

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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News
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Border Patrol Revises Its Rulebook For Use Of Deadly Force

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol wants agents to limit their use of deadly force. The Border Patrol says agents have killed 10 people since 2010, while the ACLU says that number is 27. NPR's Ted Robbins reports on a directive issued today that outlines new guidance for the use of force against rock throwers and vehicles.

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Commentary
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Week In Politics: Ukraine And CPAC

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We're joined now by our Friday political observers, columnist E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution. Hey there, E.J.

E.J. DIONNE: Hey, good to be with you.

CORNISH: And Reihan Salam, a columnist for the National Review and Reuters. Hi, Reihan.

REIHAN SALAM: Hi, Audie.

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Economy
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

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The Two-Way
2:01 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Border Patrol To Limit Use Of Deadly Force Against Rock Throwers

A Border Patrol agent looks to the north near where the border wall ends as it separates Tijuana, Mexico, left, and San Diego.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:17 pm

U.S. Border Patrol announced on Friday that it is changing its policy on using deadly force against moving vehicles and people who throw rocks.

The agency's chief, Michael J. Fisher, sent a memorandum to employees in which he said the policy is designed to help agents avoid dangerous situations.

This is an about-face for the agency.

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Code Switch
12:50 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

A Native American Tribe Hopes Digital Currency Boosts Its Sovereignty

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:35 pm

There's a lot of talk about virtual currencies lately — how they work, economic implications and whether they're safe. But now a Native American tribe is using a bitcoin-like currency to help strengthen its sovereignty.

In South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota Nation has become the first Native American tribe to launch its own form of virtual currency. Payu Harris, its creator, calls it mazacoin.

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It's All Politics
11:43 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Republicans Point To Reid As A Symbol Of What's Wrong In D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., faces reporters at the Capitol after bipartisan Senate opposition blocked swift confirmation for President Barack Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights division on March 5.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:28 pm

Conservatives can't stand Harry Reid.

The Senate majority leader is under steady attack from Republicans for calling the Koch brothers, billionaire funders of conservative causes, "un-American." His Senate colleagues across the aisle criticize his stewardship in unusually sharp terms.

Recognizing a rich vein, New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie took on the Nevada Democrat on Thursday during his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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Shots - Health News
10:05 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Solutions For Sexual Aggression Against Women In Bars

What is it about bars that brings out bad behavior?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 12:20 pm

Our post on sexual harassment in bars sure struck a nerve.

Earlier this week we covered a study from the University of Toronto that found that men who were sexually aggressive in bars weren't necessarily drunk, and that their actions usually weren't the result of miscommunication.

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Economy
10:05 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Spring is a big season for buying and selling homes, but the housing market has a lot of hurdles ahead. NPR's Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax talks about them and the latest job numbers.

StoryCorps
1:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

A Homeless Teen Finds Solace In A Teacher And A Recording

Celeste Davis-Carr, a high school English teacher in Chicago, learned her student Aaron was homeless from a recording for the StoryCorpsU program.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.

"I felt ... like a big load was let off," Aaron explains. (NPR has withheld Aaron's last name, at the request of his foster care agency, to protect his privacy.) "I don't know what made me say it, but I'm like, 'Let me just be honest and just get it out.' "

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The Edge
1:15 am
Fri March 7, 2014

From War In The Desert To 'Murder Ball On Ice'

Former Marine Josh Sweeney lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2009. He's competing with the U.S. Men's Sled Hockey team at the Paralympics in Sochi.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:18 am

It might not exactly be doctor's orders, but it made perfect sense to Josh Sweeney.

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It's All Politics
5:24 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

3 Lessons From Obama's Failed Justice Department Nomination

The specter of failure is often enough to get the White House and Senate leaders to punt on a nomination. But not in the case of Debo Adegbile.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:13 am

Now that the smoke has cleared from Debo Adegbile's failed nomination Wednesday to head the Justice Department's civil rights division, there are some lessons to draw from that Democratic debacle.

Why was it a disaster? Seven Democrats defected from their party to vote against Obama's nominee. The nomination had been opposed by police groups because of Adegbile's indirect role in the appeals process for Mumia Abu Jamal, a death-row inmate convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

Here are three things we learned from the vote.

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It's All Politics
4:55 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Top Conservative Event Opens With Big Names, Red Meat And Fun

CPAC attendees vote Thursday in the event's annual presidential straw poll.
Liz Halloran NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:25 am

Star Wars storm troopers in full regalia protesting "oppressive economic policies."

A smiling, larger-than life Sarah Palin touting her latest cable television show, Amazing America.

Uncle Sam on stilts. Quadrennial pretend presidential candidate Donald Trump. A slew of legitimate White House hopefuls.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Grocery Chains Safeway And Albertson's Announce Merger Deal

Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has offered to buy Safeway, Inc., the nation's second-largest grocery chain, for a reported $9.4 billion. Cerberus plans to merge Safeway with another grocer, Albertson's.

"Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers' diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends," Safeway CEO Robert Edwards said in a statement. "We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization."

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History
3:23 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

How Bad Directions (And A Sandwich) Started World War I

This illustration from an Italian newspaper depicts Gavrilo Princip killing Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1914.
Achille Beltrame Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:41 pm

This is part of an All Things Considered series that imagines a counterfactual history of World War I.

World War I began 100 years ago this summer. It's a centennial that goes beyond mere remembrance; the consequences of that conflict are making headlines to this day.

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News
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Senate Blocks Military Sexual Assault Reforms

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:01 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

After months of anticipation, the Senate has rejected a proposal to fundamentally change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York needed 60 votes for a bill that would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, final say over which sexual assault cases to prosecute. The legislation got 55 votes today.

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Strange News
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Talk About A Misdemeanor: The City Law Against Annoying Behavior

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Grand Rapids City Attorney Catherine Mish talks to Audie Cornish about an outdated city code that states, "No person shall willfully annoy another person."

Politics
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

As CPAC Opens, GOP Stars Take Turns At The Podium

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of conservative activists, routinely attracts big names in the Republican party — and this year's no different. It starts Thursday.

News
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Texas Abortion Restrictions Shutter Two More Clinics

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 5:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.

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NPR News Investigations
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Dated Methods Mean Slow Return For Fallen Soldiers — Or None At All

Elyse Butler for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 8:20 am

The agency charged with bringing home and identifying American war dead is slow, inefficient and stymied by outdated methods, according to a joint investigation by NPR and ProPublica.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Business
2:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

In Pennsylvania, Gas Company Complaints Grab Statewide Attention

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:42 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pennsylvania landowners say one of the nation's biggest natural gas companies has cheated them out of gas royalties. The company is Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy. It's faced similar accusations and lawsuits in about half-a-dozen other states.

As Marie Cusic, of member station WITF reports, Pennsylvania's governor wants to take a harder look at the allegations.

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The Salt
11:31 am
Thu March 6, 2014

How Yosemite Keeps Its Bears' Paws Off Campers' Hamburgers

Researcher Jack Hopkins used barbed-wire snares to collect hair samples from bears in Yosemite. Analysis of isotope ratios in hair samples showed how much of the bears' diets came from human food.
Courtesy of Jack Hopkins

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:33 pm

One of the great joys of camping out in a national park is chowing down by the fire. But campers aren't the only ones drawn to burgers and s'mores roasting over an open flame, beneath a mass of twinkling stars.

Those rich aromas can also prove irresistible to the local critters. From bears to foxes to coyotes, biologists have documented wildlife getting irrevocably hooked on our food and food waste. And for good reason: Our food is way more calorie-rich — and thus, better for making babies — than the standard black bear fare of insects and leaves.

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