U.S. News

Law
1:17 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Prisoner's Handwritten Petition Prompts Justices To Weigh Government Immunity

The U.S. Supreme Court
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court's landmark decision requiring the states to provide lawyers for poor people accused of committing crimes. Clarence Gideon, the defendant in that case, wrote his own petition to the high court in longhand, and Tuesday, the Supreme Court is hearing the case of another defendant who, in the longest of long shots, filed a handwritten petition from prison asking the justices for their help.

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Environment
1:14 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash

Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist for WLTX, in Columbia, S.C.
Brian Dressler Courtesy of WLTX

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:31 pm

When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don't know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.

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Education
1:04 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Cyberbullying Law Shields Teachers From Student Tormentors

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Ganging up on classmates online can get students suspended.

But sometimes teachers are the target of cyberbullying, and in North Carolina, educators have said enough is enough. State officials have now made it a crime to "intimidate or torment" teachers online.

Chip Douglas knew something was up with his 10th-grade English class. When he was teaching, sometimes he'd get a strange question and the kids would laugh. It started to make sense when he learned a student had created a fake Twitter account using his name.

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U.S.
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

What Happens When Someone Else Gets Your Tax Refund

Todd Macy, a banker from Marin County, Calif., was the victim of identity theft. Nearly a year after filing his return, he's still waiting for his federal tax refund.
Courtesy of Todd Macy

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:27 pm

If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.

The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.

Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.

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It's All Politics
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

How New Jersey's High-Flying Sen. Menendez Ran Into Turbulence

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, shown in June, has come under scrutiny before, but has never been charged.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 3:12 pm

These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.

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Environment
3:19 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Dr. J. William Hirzy, a chemistry professor at American Universiy, rests outside the rally route with a graph he uses to teach his students about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: "We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

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The Salt
2:28 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Farmer's Fight With Monsanto Reaches The Supreme Court

Vernon Hugh Bowman lives outside the small town of Sandborn, Ind.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:35 pm

This week, the Supreme Court will take up a classic David-and-Goliath case. On one side, there's a 75-year-old farmer in Indiana named Vernon Hugh Bowman; on the other, the agribusiness giant Monsanto.

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National Security
1:41 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Hints Of Progress After Investigation at Guantanamo Court

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:52 am

The most dramatic moment of the week's hearing at Guantanamo Bay's military commissions was when a one-legged man stood up and began to berate the judge.

The one-legged man, Walid bin Attash, is one of the defendants in the high-profile Sept. 11 case, and his complaint was a throwback to a time when the tribunal first opened.

He was upset because guards had taken the opportunity while he was in court to ransack his cell and take letters from his attorney. It had happened to three of the other Sept. 11 defendants as well.

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Shots - Health News
1:37 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Cancer Rehab Begins To Bridge A Gap To Reach Patients

STAR-certified physical therapist Jennifer Goyette works with cancer patients at South County Physical Therapy in Westborough, Mass.
Courtesy of Jennifer Goyette

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:42 am

It was her own experience with debilitating side effects after cancer treatment that led Dr. Julie Silver to realize that there is a huge gap in care that keeps cancer patients from getting the rehabilitation services that could help them.

Silver was 38 in 2003 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though she is a physician, she was shocked at the toll chemotherapy and radiation took on her body. Silver was dealing with extreme fatigue, weakness and pain.

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Shots - Health News
1:34 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Targeted Cancer Drugs Keep Myeloma Patients Up And Running

Don Wright runs at an indoor track at the Maplewood Community Center in North Saint Paul, Minn.
Ariana Lindquist for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 1:13 pm

Don Wright got diagnosed with multiple myeloma at what turned out to be the right time. It was 10 years ago, when he was 62.

That was at the beginning of a revolution in treating this once-fearsome blood cell cancer, which strikes around 20,000 Americans every year. The malignancy can literally eat holes in victims' bones, which can snap from the simple act of bending over to pick up a package.

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The Salt
1:28 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Growing Resistance, Oregon Hazelnuts Battle Blight

Oregon State University has been growing a variety of hazelnut trees over the years to develop blight-resistant breeds.
Rebecca McCluskey

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:42 am

Although Oregon is known for many exports — from timber to hipster irony — few people are aware that it's actually the country's leading source of hazelnuts.

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It's All Politics
10:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Outlines Plan To Give Illegal Immigrants Path To Citizenship

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., (second and third from left) announced plans to work on a bipartisan immigration proposal with their colleagues on Jan. 28 on Capitol Hill. They were also some of the first to respond to a leaked White House proposal.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The first details of an initial proposal by the White House to tackle the nation's immigration system include an eight-year path to legal residency for illegal immigrants.

A draft of the plan, which USA Today says was leaked to the newspaper by a White House official, proposes the creation of a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for those living here illegally.

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It's All Politics
9:27 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Warns Of Sequestration's Effects

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at the White House on Jan. 25.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:08 pm

The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Sun February 17, 2013

'Time And Casualties': Gen. Dempsey On Cost Of Sequester

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before a Senate panel in Washington last Tuesday on the looming cuts to the defense budget.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 10:28 am

It's been about a year and a half since Gen. Martin Dempsey left his job as chief of staff of the Army and became President Obama's top military adviser as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dempsey is now responsible for reshaping the U.S. military after 10 years of war, which means scaling the forces down. At the same time, he's fighting to stave off across-the-board cuts to the defense budget — the so called sequester — that could happen in a couple weeks if Congress fails to reach some kind of budget deal.

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U.S.
3:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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The Two-Way
3:09 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Winning The Battle Remotely: New Medal Awards Evolving Warfare

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces a new medal that recognizes combat contributions made far from the battlefield.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 4:13 am

  • NPR's Tom Bowman On Importance Of Medals
  • Predator Pilots Engage in Remote Control Combat

To get the newest military medal, you don't have to have been on the front lines. In fact, you could work very, very far from any combat.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday, would recognize drone operators and those engaged in cyberattacks who haven't put themselves in harm's way.

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Religion
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

From The Inner City: Leading A New Generation Of Muslim Americans

Nashashibi runs the Inner-City Muslim Action Network in Chicago.
Terrence Antonio James MCT /Landov

This summer on the South Side of Chicago, thousands are expected to gather for an outdoor festival sponsored by the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, or IMAN.

The festival, Takin' It to the Streets, attracts well-known musicians, like hip-hop artist Mos Def in 2010 and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco. The goal of the festival's organizers is to promote cooperation between the city's residents, regardless of their backgrounds.

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Business
3:03 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

High-Speed Rail Buzz Overpowers Daily Chug Of Freight Trains

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a grade crossing in Elmhurst, Ill.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 5:12 pm

From the steam engine to visions of a national high-speed rail system, railroads have made their mark on American culture.

In his first term, President Obama promised to create a national system of high-speed rail, though he was scarcely the first politician to have done so. The January 2010 stimulus bill allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, but Congress rejected federal funding for it.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, the president reiterated the goal of having passenger rail rise again.

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It's All Politics
9:52 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 9:59 am

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Nuclear Waste Seeping From Container In Hazardous Wash. State Facility

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash., in 2010.
Shannon Dininny AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 11:24 am

They thought they'd managed this problem a few years ago. But Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee got a disturbing call Friday from Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Nuclear waste is leaking out of a tank in one of the most contaminated nuclear waste sites in the U.S.

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Politics
5:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Hometown Visit, Obama Advocates 'Common Sense' Approach To Guns

President Obama speaks about strengthening the middle class and the nation's struggle with gun violence at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago on Friday.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

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StoryCorps
3:20 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier

Tracy Johnson and her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:20 pm

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson is an Iraq War veteran and an Army widow.

She is also one of the first gay spouses to lose a partner at war since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Tracy married her longtime partner, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. But eight months later, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan.

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Around the Nation
3:16 am
Sat February 16, 2013

The 'Baby Dolls' Of Mardi Gras A Fun Tradition With A Serious Side

The Baby Doll Ladies pose during Mardi Gras in New Orleans on Tuesday.
Skip Bolen Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:17 am

Just inside a room on the second floor of the Louisiana State Museum's Presbytere, there's a large baby doll dress, big enough for a woman to wear. And one did.

The costume and the baby bottle next to it belonged to 85-year-old Miriam Batiste Reed, who was known as a baby doll and one of the first women to parade in Mardi Gras. The bottle and the dress are part of a new exhibition, They Call Me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition.

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The Two-Way
2:50 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Coroner Says Dorner Died From Single Gunshot To Head

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 6:57 am

At a news conference Friday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon revealed new details about the final showdown with ex-cop Christopher Dorner that left one deputy dead and another seriously wounded.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:04 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

After Sandy, Not All Sand Dunes Are Created Equal

Daniel Riscoe, Jenna Hart, Anthony Chau and Caroline Lloyd (all students from the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.) carry donated Christmas trees across Island Beach.
Adam Cole NPR

When Superstorm Sandy hit Island Beach State Park — one of the last remnants of New Jersey's barrier island ecosystem — it flattened the dunes, pushing all that sand hundreds of feet inland.

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Shots - Health News
2:18 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Popular Workout Booster Draws Safety Scrutiny

Some sports supplements contain the ingredient DMAA. The FDA has warned that DMAA may not be safe.
iStockphoto.com

Richard Kessinger loves to hit the gym. But some days he needs a little something to get him pumped up for his weightlifting routine.

"You might be a little bit sore. You might be tired. You might have had too many beers the day before," says Kessinger, 23, of Arlington, Va. "So you might start putting up a set and you get a few reps in and you're like, 'I'm not feeling this. I can't keep going.' "

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It's All Politics
1:33 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

President's New Voting Commission Greeted With Skepticism

Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 6.
Edward Linsmier Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:18 pm

One of the more memorable moments in President Obama's State of the Union address this week was his introduction of an elderly woman sitting in the House gallery. The president said that Desiline Victor had to wait three hours last year to vote in North Miami.

"Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her," Obama said. "[Because] Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read, 'I Voted.' "

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Business
1:10 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

As Cruise Industry Grows, So Have Its Problems

Coast Guard patrols near the cruise ship Carnival Triumph in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. The Carnival Triumph lost propulsion power after an engine room fire a day earlier.
Jason Chambers AFP/Getty Images

It's been a rough voyage for the cruise-line industry in the past few years.

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Religion
12:55 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Korean Pastor Tackles Prejudice At Home

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It is Presidents Day, a day we celebrate the nation's presidents, and for many people it's a day off: a day to spend time with friends and family.

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Books
12:55 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Al Roker On Being 'The Jolly Fat Person'

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:03 am

This segment was originally broadcast on Jan. 28, 2013.

Al Roker, the veteran weatherman on NBC's Today show, endured years of indignities as an obese teenager and throughout his television career. Then, in 2002, he had bariatric surgery and lost more than 100 pounds. But deciding to have the procedure, which is potentially life-threatening, wasn't easy — and neither was keeping the weight off afterward.

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