U.S. News

Education
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Teachers Unions Mobilize To Delay The Common Core

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

The nation's largest teachers union is calling for a delay in the adoption of the Common Core. That's the name of new math and language arts standards that are supposed to be in place next fall in 45 states. The 3 million-member National Education Association has been a strong supporter. But as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports, the NEA now says teachers and students haven't had enough time to prepare.

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Law
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Minority Aspirants To Federal Bench Are Hindered By Underrating

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. When a president taps someone to become a federal judge, the American Bar Association reviews and rates the nominee. That rating shapes whether the president's pick is confirmed by the Senate. Now, new analysis claims that the ABA ratings are biased. NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam reports.

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News
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Feeling The Fiscal Squeeze, EPA Seeks To Slim Down

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Environmental Protection Agency has a lot on its plate, now add to that budget concerns. The agency is hoping to trim its staff. Like a number of other government agencies, the EPA is offering buyouts to employees.

As NPR's Brian Naylor reports, it's all part of a shrinking federal workforce.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.
Eric Haynes/Governor Deval Patrick's Office

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

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Education
2:03 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Fed Up With Zero Tolerance In Schools, Advocates Push For Change

De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a fellow student at their middle school in Bryan, Texas. He was sent to the principal's office — and, later, adult criminal court.
Laura Isensee KUHF

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 10:08 am

In 2010, De'angelo Rollins got into a fight with a bully at his new middle school in Bryan, Texas. His mother, Marjorie Rollins Holman, says her shy son reported the bullying, but the teacher didn't stop it.

Then it came to blows.

"The boy ended up hitting my son in the face first," Holman says. "My son hit him back, and they got in a little scuffle."

That scuffle landed her then-12-year-old son in the principal's office — and in adult criminal court after the school police officer wrote the sixth-grader a ticket.

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Digital Life
10:54 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Do Tech Startups Need More Diversity?

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:56 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We've spent a lot of time lately talking about the technology business and why more women and minorities aren't more present in those fields and how to get more diversity into those fields. But let's say you're already there. Let's say you're one of the people who already has the interest and the background and not only that, you're ready to do your own thing. Where do you go from there?

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The Salt
10:28 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Nutrition Labels To Get Long-Overdue Tweaks

Nutrition labels will be getting a makeover this week to make it easier for consumers to understand the information.
Larry Crowne AP

If you're perplexed about how to make healthy choices when you're shopping for food, you're not alone. We've all puzzled over a food label that was confusing and hard to follow.

But some help may be on the way, as I reported on All Things Considered Tuesday.

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Shots - Health News
9:58 am
Wed February 26, 2014

One Last Journey For Organ Donors Speeds Transplants

Now Dr. Majilla Doyle's organ donors come to her.
Robert J. Boston Washington University School Of Medicine

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:26 am

If Dr. Majella Doyle is your surgeon, it means that something very bad or very good has just happened to you.

Doyle is a liver transplant specialist. For years that meant she had her bag packed, ready to fly or drive to wherever an organ donor lay on life support. That could easily mean eight hours of travel. And that was just the start.

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The Two-Way
5:07 am
Wed February 26, 2014

What A Rush! California Couple Finds Gold Coins Worth $10M

Thar's gold in them thar cans: One of the eight cans discovered by a California couple. They were stuffed with gold coins minted in the 1800s. The cache's estimated value: $10 million.
Kagin's Inc. AP

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:53 am

If you've ever dreamed about finding buried treasure, this story's for you:

A California couple who say they had walked by the same spot on their Sierra Nevada property many times over many years are an estimated $10 million or so richer after digging up eight rusty old cans containing 1,427 very valuable gold coins. It's thought to be the most valuable discovery of such coins in U.S. history.

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Parallels
1:37 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Gays And Lesbians Seeking Asylum In U.S. May Find A Hard Road

Activists protest Uganda's anti-gay legislation in Nairobi, Kenya, this month. LGBT status has been grounds for asylum in the U.S. since 1994, but winning refugee status can be difficult, particularly for people who are unable to obtain visas to the U.S. before applying.
Dai Kurokawa EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:43 am

Even through a long-distance line from Uganda, you can hear the fear and anxiety in the young man's voice. Nathan, 19, is gay. NPR is not using his surname because he fears arrest.

"Right now we are not safe," he says. "Because we are hearing some people say ... 'If we get you, we will kill you. If we get you, we'll do something bad to you.' "

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Religion
1:35 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Ardent Atheists Spread Their Reverence For Disbelief

The San Diego Coalition of Reason opened this booth in Balboa Park to support the atheist community and to evangelize nonbelief to religious people.
Claire Trageser NPR

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:20 am

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It's All Politics
5:49 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Obama And Boehner Relationship Anything But Solid

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner were all smiles at a rare White House meeting Tuesday. But their relationship has more often been marked by angry finger-pointing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

If more were actually getting done in Washington, there probably would be much less attention focused on how few times President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have met face-to-face, and on their "relationship."

But Congress is testing new lows in terms of legislative productivity, which leaves plenty of time for journalists to muse about the president-speaker relationship, such as it is, on the day of one of their rare meetings.

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It's All Politics
5:16 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Talking History: Black Senators Celebrate Their Legacy

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action in Oct. 2013.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:29 pm

Five current and former black senators appeared together Tuesday at an unprecedented event celebrating the legacy and contributions of the nine African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The event, held at the Library of Congress to mark Black History Month, was the brainchild of Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. The only Republican at the summit, Scott was joined by Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Sens. William "Mo" Cowan of Massachusetts as well as Roland Burris and Carol Moseley Braun, both of Illinois.

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

California's Drought: A Shocking Photo And Other Updates

Images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California, show the severity of the state's drought. The photo at left, taken on July 20, 2011, show the lake at 97 percent of total capacity and 130 percent of its historical average for that date. The photo at right shows the lake on Jan. 16, 2014, when it was at 17 percent of capacity and 35 percent of its historical average.
California Department of Water Resources

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 9:58 am

Farmers in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency last month, are facing hard choices as a drought threatens to ruin their crops. They must weigh the costs of paying for irrigation against the chance that their fields will never get enough water this season.

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All Tech Considered
3:22 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

ISO Romance: Dating Sites Help Older Singles

The fastest-growing part of the online dating market is people over 50, according the CEO of the Match Group.
Carmen Winant Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

With nearly 40 percent of Americans over 50 single and many looking for love online, dating sites are catering to this fast-growing market.

Vicki Cherco, 58, of Libertyville, Ill., uses one called OurTime.com. Her most recent date went well. "He was good-looking and funny and nice and thoughtful and paid for everything and asked for my phone number and said he'd like to call me again," she says.

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Law
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Amid Controversy, 'Right To Refuse' Bill Hits Governor's Desk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer is being pressured to veto a bill that would allow business owners in the state to deny service to gays and lesbians. To deny service, the business owner has to have sincerely held religious beliefs. That's the legislation's wording. It's become so controversial that even some lawmakers who voted for it are now regretting it.

NPR's Ted Robbins has more.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Equal rights.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: When do we want it?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Now.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

After More Than A Year, Obama And Boehner Sit Down Just To Talk

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

It's a sign of deeply partisan times when a Democratic president and a Republican House speaker make headlines just by sitting down and talking to each other. That's what happened today in a rare hour-long meeting that aides call constructive. How constructive is not exactly clear. And while the president and House speaker agreed to work together in areas where there's common ground, that appears to be very small territory.

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Law
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Same-Sex Parenting Goes On Trial In Detroit

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage goes on trial today in Detroit, and Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta is there. A lesbian couple wants to settle the doubts over same-sex parenting.

Law
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Supreme Court Opens Door To Easier Police Searches

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:15 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police may search a home without a warrant if one person who lives there consents, even if another occupant has previously objected. The 6-3 decision would seem to seriously undercut a 2006 high court ruling that barred warrantless searches of a home where the occupants disagreed on giving consent.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

For Those Unable To Talk, A Machine That Speaks Their Voice

Carl Moore, a former helicopter mechanic, was diagnosed with ALS 20 years ago. He has had unusual longevity for someone with ALS but expects someday to rely on his wheelchair and speech-generating device.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:26 am

It's hard to imagine a more devastating diagnosis than ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. For most people, it means their nervous system is going to deteriorate until their body is completely immobile. That also means they'll lose their ability to speak.

So Carl Moore of Kent, Wash., worked with a speech pathologist to record his own voice to use later — when he can no longer talk on his own.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

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Law
2:34 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Food Label Aims To Make Healthy Decisions Easier

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:01 pm

The Food and Drug Administration and the White House are expected to unveil a new food label this week. Changed just once since their adoption, these labels need to be less confusing, advocates say.

The Salt
1:34 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School

Michelle Obama eats lunch with school children at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., in 2012. The first lady unveiled new guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the marketing of junk food to kids during the school day.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:06 pm

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it's probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.

And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.

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Shots - Health News
11:54 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Overlooked Virus May Be Cause Of Paralyzing Disease In California

Sophia Jarvis, 4, of Berkeley, Calif., is one of the few children diagnosed with the polio-like disease, which left her arm paralyzed. She attended a press conference Monday at Stanford University with her dad, Jeff.
Martha Mendoza AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:26 am

Doctors in California are puzzled by an illness that has paralyzed at least five children and may have affected about 20 others.

Sick children had symptoms similar to polio. They lost muscle function in an arm or a leg over a few days.

So far, the children haven't responded to any treatments and the paralysis has been permanent, doctors from Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, said in statement Sunday.

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Shots - Health News
10:21 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Can A Doctor Really Demand An Extra $75 Upfront?

Insurers prohibit doctors from charging more than a copayment or other amount specified in your plan.
Douglas W Allen iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:25 pm

This week, I answer readers' questions about what doctors can ask for in advance and the nuances of switching insurance plans, both on and off the health exchanges.

Q. After signing up for a gold level plan on the health insurance marketplace, my physician, who is part of my plan, asked for $75 up front. My copayment is $25. His office also wants to keep a credit card on file. Is this legal?

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Law
9:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Do Religious Freedom Bills Discriminate Against LGBT?

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. You might have heard about controversial new legislation aimed at the LGBT community being debated in the U.S. and abroad. The specifics are different, but there are some similarities and connections. So we're going to talk about these issues today and tomorrow. And we start the program today talking about a controversial bill in Arizona. The so-called religious freedom bill would let business owners deny services to customers based on religious conviction.

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Parenting
9:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Paternity Leave: Why Men Don't Take It, But Should

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:45 am

New mothers usually take at least some time off after delivering a baby, but dads are less likely to take leave. Advocates are pushing more dads to take paternity leave, and employers to offer it.

Governing
9:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Who's Paying For Detroit's Recovery Plan?

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We've been following circumstances in Detroit for some time now as the city tries to figure out how to deal with its massive and mounting financial problems. Now there is a new plan to restructure the city's 18 billion dollars of debt, and this plan may have a lot to do with shaping the Detroit of the future. Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley is back with us to tell us more. Welcome back, Rochelle. Thanks so much for joining us once again.

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Code Switch
9:18 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Are Americans Tired Of 'Arrogant British' TV Personalities?

Piers Morgan poses for a portrait backstage during a 2011 press tour.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 1:24 pm

When the interviewer for BBC Radio finally reached me Monday to talk about the failure of Piers Morgan's 9 p.m. interview show on CNN, she basically had one question, asked many different ways.

Are Americans finally tired of arrogant British TV personalities?

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Shots - Health News
1:40 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Doctors' Offices Get Put On Hold Trying to Find Out Who's Insured

Filling out the forms is part of the ritual of going to the doctor. But with the Affordable Care Act, it's more complicated.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 12:56 pm

Sheila Lawless manages a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly — scheduling patients, collecting payments, keeping the lights on. Recently she added another duty — incorporating the trickle of patients with insurance plans purchased on the new Affordable Care Act exchanges.

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