U.S. News

Education
1:32 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Phoenix Schools Under Fire For Program Linked To Scientology

Wooden classroom desks
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 7:37 am

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Education
1:31 am
Wed March 27, 2013

A Hot Topic: Climate Change Coming To Classrooms

For the first time, new nationwide science standards recommend teaching K-12 students about climate change.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:29 am

By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new nationwide science standards due out soon will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about the climatic shift taking place.

Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
5:49 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

DOMA Challenge Tests Federal Definition Of Marriage

A pro-gay-marriage protester stands in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the first of two days of oral arguments on challenges to laws that limit the definition of marriage to unions of a man and a woman.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 11:15 am

After weeks and months of public debate and speculation about the legal fate of same-sex marriage, the second round of arguments takes place at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
5:29 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

At Arguments, Supreme Court Takes Halting Steps Into Gay Marriage Issue

People file into the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the court's hearing on California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

At the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, the moment had finally arrived. After four years of litigation in the lower courts, the Supreme Court was hearing a challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. But minutes into oral arguments, it became clear that the justices may not give either side the clear-cut victory it wants.

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Politics
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Proposition 8 Case Has High Political Stakes For Both Parties

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

We'll learn what the court decides to do about DOMA and California's Proposition 8 sometime this summer. Its options vary widely. But no matter what the result, there will be political implications.

NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us to walk through some of them.

And, Mara, first, let's talk briefly about this really sea change in public opinion now in favor of same-sex marriage. Could the court reverse that tide in any way?

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Law
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

California's Proposition 8 Gets Its Day In The Supreme Court

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Inside the courtroom, the debate over California's gay marriage ban was joined with sharp questions and a splash of humor. But where will all lead is still unknown. As NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, expectations for a sweeping and decisive ruling may be overblown.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Chief Justice John Roberts set the tone in the opening moments. Almost immediately, he pressed the lawyer defending California's gay marriage ban on the most basic of points.

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Health
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Expanded Definition Of Disability Created Million Dollar Opportunity For Lawyers

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

All this week, we're reporting on a remarkable increase in the size of the country's disability programs. Fourteen million Americans now receive a monthly disability check from the government. The number has roughly doubled every 15 years. As we've reported, there are many, complicated reasons for the increase. There's also one, very simple one: Congress. In 1984, Congress changed the definition of disability. Lawmakers broadened it, and made it more vague.

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Law
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Supreme Court Likely To Duck Any Major Decision In Proposition 8 Case

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For some analysis now, we turn to Tom Goldstein, publisher and regular contributor to the website SCOTUSblog. He followed the arguments today and joins us in our studio. Welcome, Tom.

TOM GOLDSTEIN: Hi, there.

CORNISH: So we just heard right out of the gate, the justices are questioning whether the defenders of Proposition 8 even had the standing or authority to be there, to be in court. What did this signal to you?

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Law
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Other States Could Be Affected By Supreme Court's Proposition 8 Ruling

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, we're going to hear from one state that bans same-sex marriage and could be affected by the Supreme Court's ruling on today's case. In 2008, voters in Arizona approved an amendment to the state Constitution that, like California, defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Tom Horne is Arizona's attorney general, and he joins us now from Phoenix. Tom Horne, welcome to the program.

TOM HORNE: Well, I'm an NPR listener, so it's a great pleasure to be with you.

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Law
2:56 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

North Dakota Passes Nation's Toughest Abortion Laws

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

North Dakota now has the toughest abortion laws in the nation. That's after the state's governor, Jack Dalrymple, signed three bills into law today. One makes it a crime to perform abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, that would effectively ban nearly all abortions in the state and sets up a likely court challenge.

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The Salt
1:39 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Food Fraud Database Lets Us All Play Detective

Spices are common targets for food fraudsters.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 9:45 am

By now we know that not every food is what it seems.

Beef might be horse meat, and tuna might be much cheaper escolar. Extra virgin olive oil is often nothing of the kind.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Man Sentenced To 30 Months For Pointing Laser At Airplane

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 8:16 am

A man in California has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for pointing a laser at a small jet as it approached the runway at Burbank airport.

Adam Gardenhire, 19, of North Hollywood, was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in October to one count of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, according to The Pasadena Star-News.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
1:09 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO: Supreme Court Arguments On California Gay Marriage Ban

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 2:40 pm

The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments on California's voter-approved gay marriage ban, known as Proposition 8. Audio of Tuesday morning's arguments is available above and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.


CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We'll hear argument this morning in Case 12-144, Hollingsworth v. Perry. Mr. Cooper?

ORAL ARGUMENT OF CHARLES J. COOPER ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS

MR. COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

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Europe
7:57 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Amanda Knox May Face Retrial After Italian Court Ruling

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn to news this morning in Italy. In a surprise ruling, Italy's highest court has ordered a retrial of American Amanda Knox. She's the former exchange student who, along with her former boyfriend, was charged in the murder of her British roommate. Today's ruling overturned the 2011 acquittal of the two defendants after they spent four years in jail.

We're joined by NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on the line from Rome. Good morning, Sylvia.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

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Shots - Health News
1:27 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Arkansas Medicaid Expansion Attracts Other States' Interest

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe speaks at a rally promoting the expansion of Medicaid in the state in front of the Capitol in Little Rock on March 7.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 7:57 am

Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Spring Break Alert: 'Black' Henna Tattoos May Not Be Safe

Hairdresser Paramjit Kaur paints a traditional Indian henna design on a client's hand in Kent, Wash.
Ralph Radford AP

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 4:59 pm

A henna tattoo looks like a fun beach souvenir — until you break out in a rash and blisters.

The dyes used for the popular temporary tattoos aren't always natural or safe, the Food and Drug Administration warned today. "Black henna" used to make the intricate designs darker often doesn't come from a plant, but from a harsh chemical that causes allergic reactions.

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Law
3:12 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Supreme Court To Examine State Ban On Affirmative Action

A scene outside the Supreme Court on Monday, as the justices announced they would hear another case involving affirmative action in higher education. Many of those waiting in line at the court in a late-season snowfall were hoping to attend oral arguments on gay-marriage cases being heard Tuesday and Wednesday.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

As the national spotlight turns to the U.S. Supreme Court this week with two historic arguments on same-sex marriage, the court on Monday made headlines on another high-profile issue: affirmative action.

Just 10 years ago a narrow court majority upheld affirmative action programs in higher education in an opinion written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But ever since O'Connor retired and was replaced by the more conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court has been on a steady march to get rid of all race-conscious programs.

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Remembrances
3:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Journalist Anthony Lewis Credited With Reinventing Supreme Court Reporting

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Finally this hour, we remember an eminent journalist. Anthony Lewis was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He died today of heart and renal failure at age 85. As we hear from NPR's David Folkenflik, Lewis will be remembered for reinventing coverage of the Supreme Court and for his advocacy of civil rights and civil liberties as a New York Times columnist.

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Law
3:00 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Dozens Battle Cold Outside Supreme Court For Chance To Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For the lucky few who do get a seat in the court tomorrow, they'll be able to watch arguments about California's ban on same-sex marriage known as Proposition 8. On Wednesday, the subject is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. These are both historic cases. Even so, it's cold out there for all those people lined up outside. So what makes braving the wintery weather worth it?

NPR's Ailsa Chang spent some time today outside the Supreme Court.

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Around the Nation
2:43 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

In One Alabama County, Nearly 1 In 4 Working-Age Adults Is On Disability

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

In the past three decades, the number of Americans who get a monthly disability check from the federal government has skyrocketed. It's now up to 14 million people. That's due in part to our aging workforce. But in many pockets of the country, there's much more to the story. Factories and mills have closed and the U.S. economy has left behind millions of workers who now find themselves unfit or unqualified for the jobs that remain.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Mon March 25, 2013

President's Pen Establishes New National Monuments

Kayak at Sunset San Juan Islands.
Mark B. Gardner San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 11:53 am

President Obama on Monday designated five new national monuments, including one in Maryland dedicated to anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman and another setting aside Washington state's San Juan Islands.

"These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country," President Obama said in a statement. "By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come."

Here's a list of the new dedications:

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National Security
9:02 am
Mon March 25, 2013

As Qualified Men Dwindle, Military Looks For A Few Good Women

Army recruits perform exercises as part of a demonstration for tourists in front of the military-recruiting station in New York's Times Square.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

When the Pentagon said earlier this year that it would open ground combat jobs to women, it was cast in terms of giving women equal opportunities in the workplace — the military workplace.

But the move has practical considerations, too. The military needs qualified people to fill its ranks, and it's increasingly harder to find them among men.

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The Two-Way
4:32 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Spring Is Just A State Of Mind As Wintry Weather Wallops Much Of Nation

In St. Louis on Sunday the sliding — even without a sled — was good. The area got 6 to 12 inches of new snow over the weekend.
Bill Greenblatt UPI /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:49 am

The calendar says one thing, but the snow, slush and ice coating the nation from the Central Rockies through parts of the Midwest and on into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast say something else entirely.

Technically, it's spring.

In reality, winter still hasn't let go.

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Around the Nation
1:15 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Free Tax Help Protects Low-Income Filers From Pricey Loans

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:50 am

As this year's tax deadline approaches, hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans are relying on free services to help them with their returns.

Tax preparation fees — even a few hundred dollars — can be a burden for those living on the margins. And taxpayers desperate for cash can fall prey to high-cost loan offers that eat into their refunds

At the free tax-preparation site at the main library in Washington, D.C., about 30 taxpayers wait for help from volunteers.

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Law
1:15 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Supreme Court Hears 'Pay To Delay' Pharmaceutical Case

The Supreme Court takes up a case Monday about whether brand-name drug manufacturers can pay generic drug manufacturers to keep generics off the market.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 7:39 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case worth billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies and American consumers. The issue is whether brand-name drug manufacturers may pay generic drug manufacturers to keep generics off the market. These payments — a form of settlement in patent litigation — began to blossom about a decade ago when the courts, for the first time, appeared to bless them.

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History
3:01 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Marking Forgotten Slave Burial Sites, Online

Ben Harmon, Sandra Arnold's great-grandfather, was born a slave. He was buried on a former plantation in Tennessee and served as the inspiration for Arnold's project.
Courtesy of Sandra Arnold.

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 5:07 pm

It all started on a former plantation in Tennessee. That's where Sandra Arnold's great-grandfather, Ben Harmon, who was born a slave, is buried next to his wife, Ethel. Their final resting spots are clearly marked, gravestone and all, but next to them, Arnold noticed an entire area of unmarked slave graves. She wondered if they could be family, too.

Her research started on that plot, then expanded to the state of Tennessee. Eventually, Arnold learned that it wasn't uncommon to find unmarked slave burial places across the country.

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Business
3:01 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Goldman Sachs Hopes To Profit By Helping Troubled Teens

About half the juvenile offenders released from prison on Rikers Island in New York return within a year, New York City Department of Corrections Commissioner Dora Schriro says.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 5:07 pm

In the New York City prison system, the outlook for juvenile offenders is bleak. They're falling through the cracks, being arrested repeatedly, and being re-released onto the same streets only to be picked up again.

The criminal justice system is failing these 16- and 17-year-olds, says Dora Schriro, the commissioners of the city's Department of Corrections.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

100 Hours On The Supreme Court's Sidewalk: Camping Out For A Seat To History

More than two dozen people bundled up to camp out before the U.S. Supreme Court for a seat to watch oral arguments in a same-sex marriage case on Tuesday.
Elise Hu NPR

Overnight temperatures are dipping below freezing and the forecast calls for snow, but cold, boredom and discomfort haven't stopped more than 30 Supreme Court die-hards from camping out for a seat to history.

"I just really wanted to be part of this moment, so I had been planning to come down for months," said Darienn Powers, a college student who came to Washington from New York. "No matter what, it's worth it to be in there and really experience what's going on."

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The Salt
9:59 am
Sun March 24, 2013

Backyard Chickens: Cute, Trendy Spreaders Of Salmonella

Backyard chickens can be a great hobby. They can also spread disease.
iStockphoto.com

Backyard chickens have become a coveted suburban accessory, one that packages cuteness, convenience and local food production in one fluffy feathered package.

But animal husbandry can be a nasty business, a fact that's often glossed over by poultry partisans like Martha Stewart and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean.

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Sports
6:05 am
Sun March 24, 2013

On Scraping By And The Close-Game Science

In the NCAA men's basketball tournament Saturday, Marquette escaped with a 2-point win over Butler. What does it take to win a close game? Grit and determination? Luck? Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Mike Pesca, who was at the game.

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