The share of the American work force that belongs to a labor union has hit a 97 year low. Today only 11.3 percent of workers hold a union membership. Labor expert Tony Carnevale of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce says the federal government has replaced the labor union for many American workers, in pushing for health and safety regulations, minimum wage legislation and equal pay.
President Obama has nominated former prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). White made her mark in high profile cases against terrorists and the mobster John Gotti. She would be the first prosecutor to head the SEC, and that could blunt criticisms that the administration hasn't been tough enough on Wall Street. But White also advised securities firms as a corporate lawyer after her stint as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Senate leaders have reached an agreement to limit filibusters in the new Congress, especially as they relate to presidential nominations. But they stopped short of requiring senators to hold the floor in person and in real time, as the classic filibuster required.
Melissa Block talks to Col. Ellen Haring about the announcement of the end to the ban on women in combat. Haring is one of two women in the Army Reserves who filed a lawsuit last year against the Department of Defense seeking to reverse the ban.
Twitter on Thursday launched the video app Vine, which allows users to shoot brief videos and directly tweet them. The social media company acquired the video-sharing startup last fall, according to All Things D.
By most measures, New York City is safer than it's been in a half-century. The city recorded just 418 murders in 2012 — the lowest total since record keeping began in the early 1960s. But there's some debate about where to place the credit for that drop.
No part of New York saw a more dramatic decline in murders last year than the 61st Precinct in South Brooklyn. Two years ago, there were 14 murders in the precinct. Last year, it had only three.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:29 pm
To Mainers, cold-water shrimp pulled from the Gulf of Maine in midwinter by a shrinking fleet of fisherman are many things: fresh, sweet, delicious, affordable, precious.
"The absolute best thing about them is that they are almost exclusively ours," boasts Portland-based architect and Maine shrimp lover Ric Quesada. He revels in the fact that Maine shrimp don't travel well out of state. "You don't run errands with these in your car. They want to go right home and be eaten," he says.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later this hour, we'll talk about women in combat. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today that the Pentagon will lift the military ban on women serving in combat roles. So we want to hear from women in the Armed Forces. What changes now?
We didn't have a chance on Monday to get to our opinion page, so now a special Thursday edition of the opinion page. This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision. In a recent piece for The New York Times, that newspaper's former Supreme Court correspondent, Linda Greenhouse, wrote that the ruling that legalized abortion across the entire country was much more about the rights of doctors than the rights of women.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I have some thoughts about that strange story involving Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o and the girlfriend who actually didn't exist. It's my Can I Just Tell You essay and it's in just a few minutes.
Finally, I have a word about Manti Te'o, the star Notre Dame linebacker, Heisman trophy runner up, who says he was the victim of an ugly hoax where someone — probably a male friend of his — created an online identity of a young women, with whom Te'o says he fell in love, although he never met her.
On a momentous Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
We're expecting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to make an announcement today. From now on, women will formally be allowed to serve in ground combat.
INSKEEP: To sense just how dramatic this change is, consider how many other milestones the military passed before reaching this one. The move for women comes 65 years after the Armed Forces ended racial segregation.
And now for some reaction to that decision, we turn to Anne Coughlin. She's a professor at the University of Virginia Law School, and her research inspired a lawsuit brought by two women in the Army Reserve seeking to reverse that ban. The suit argues the ban is unconstitutional. Anne Coughlin, welcome to the program.
ANNE COUGHLIN: Thank you so much, Melissa. I'm happy to be here.
BLOCK: And first, your thoughts when you heard this decision from Secretary Panetta today.
One week after Federal Aviation Administration officials grounded Boeing's newest jet, the world's entire 787 Dreamliner fleet remains parked. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Tuesday he couldn't speculate on when a review of the plane would be complete.
Investigators in the U.S. and Japan remain perplexed as to why batteries on two planes suffered serious failures. Now Boeing, its flagship jet and the certification process for the 787 are under intense scrutiny.
On Capitol Hill today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was both emotional and angry. Testifying before a Senate committee, she spoke passionately about the attack last September that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. She said she's taking seriously the recommendations of her review panel to better protect U.S. diplomats around the world.
But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Clinton insisted the U.S. can't retreat, especially from a region now in so much turmoil.
Sen. Rand Paul asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday if she knew that the State Department sent three comedians on a tour of India. We talk to one of the comedians about what it's like to be a political football.
Joining us now is the Senate Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the leadership, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Welcome to the program once again.
SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Good to be with you.
SIEGEL: You and other Senate Democratic leaders seem to regard the House deferring action on the debt ceiling as an olive branch. Meanwhile, House Democrats like George Miller say they're tied to a three-month leash. What's the good part of this deal that House Democrats don't get?
When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.
Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:56 am
Choosing hospice care is never an easy decision. It's an admission that the end is near, that there will be no cure.
But even after a family has opted for this end-of-life care, some still face an unexpected hurdle: Twelve percent of hospices nationwide refuse to accept patients who don't have a caregiver at home to look after them, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 hospice providers published in Health Affairs.
A few years ago, a doctor started prescribing Michael Israel painkillers for bad cramps in his gut. Israel had been struggling with Crohn's disease, a chronic digestive disorder, since he was a teenager.
"So he was prescribed, you know, Lortab, or Vicodin or whatever. You know, they would flip-flop it from one to another," says Avi Israel, Michael's father.
Then one day, Michael confessed that something was wrong.
President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.
Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Thousands of activists on both sides of the issue are holding rallies marking the day at state capitals across the country.
In the decades since the decision, abortion has been one of the most debated and legislated issues in the nation. And state legislatures, which are increasingly passing laws restricting abortion, have become the debate's key battlegrounds.