U.S. News

It's All Politics
2:29 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Some Democrats Back Same-Sex Amendment To Immigration Bill

Some Democrats want to amend the immigration bill before the Senate to allow foreign-born same-sex spouses of Americans to qualify for green cards.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:00 pm

The immigration overhaul bill before the Senate would provide, among other things, more visas for migrant farm workers and high-tech workers, and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

One thing it would not provide is help for same-sex couples in which one partner is an American and one foreign-born. For heterosexual couples, a foreign-born spouse automatically qualifies for a green card and many of the benefits of citizenship. Not so with gay and lesbian couples.

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Pentagon: China's Government Hacked U.S. Networks

The 12-story building outside Shanghai that is alleged to be the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army's hacking group.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:53 pm

The Pentagon has for the first time fingered Beijing directly for cyberattacks against both U.S. government networks and commercial computers, calling the practice a "serious concern."

The new report says numerous U.S. diplomatic, economic and defense industry networks were hacked in 2012 at the direction of China's government and its military.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports: "In previous reports, the Pentagon has linked computer attacks to China, but not its government."

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Radio Diaries
11:08 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Teenage Diaries Revisited: A Gay Teen's Family, 'Evolved'

Amanda as a teenager (left). She now lives in Manhattan and works as a massage therapist.
Radio Diaries (left), David Gilkey/NPR

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 8:19 am

Name: Amanda Brand

Hometown: Queens, N.Y.

Current city: New York, N.Y.

Occupation: Massage therapist

Then:

"My mother's always yelling at me, 'How are you supposed to find a man?'... I tell her, I'm like, 'I'm not interested in men.' "

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The Two-Way
8:20 am
Mon May 6, 2013

U.S. Courts More Lenient With Offshore Cheats, Analysis Finds

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting bit of analysis today: U.S. courts tend to hand out more lenient punishments to those who hide money offshore to cheat on their taxes than they do to more mundane tax evaders.

The Journal relies on Internal Revenue Service statistics and "data compiled by former U.S. Justice Department lawyer Jack Townsend."

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The Salt
8:18 am
Mon May 6, 2013

No More Fakelore: Revealing The Real Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine

The Dutch Haven restaurant and gift shop in Ronks, Pa. Color postcard, circa 1955.
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Press

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 11:58 am

News flash: Whoopie pies are not indigenous Pennsylvania Dutch food, no matter what the tourist traps say. Nor are the seafood bisque, chili, roast beef and other dishes crowding the steam tables at tourist restaurants in Lancaster County, Pa.

Instead, how about some gumbis, a casserole of shredded cabbage, meat, dried fruit and onions? Or some gribble, bits of toasted pasta akin to couscous? Or some schnitz-un-gnepp: stewed dried apples, ham hocks and dumplings?

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Joy Turns To Tragedy As Bride And 4 Others Die In Limo Fire

San Mateo County firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers investigate the scene of a limousine fire in which five women died Saturday.
Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune MCT /Landov

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 11:39 am

This is one of the weekend's saddest stories.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused a horrific fire inside a limousine late Saturday night on the San Mateo Bridge over San Francisco Bay. A new bride and four of her friends — all women — died as they tried to escape. Four other women, who had also been celebrating Neriza Fojas' recent marriage, managed to escape. So did the driver.

As The San Francisco Chronicle says:

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Boston-Area Cemeteries Say No To Burying Bombing Suspect

Tamerlan Tsarnaev in April 2009.
Barcroft Media Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 6:47 am

  • From the NPR Newcast: WBUR's Deborah Becker reports (with introduction from Jean Cochran)

Officials in Cambridge, Mass., have urged the family of deceased Boston Marathon bombings suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev not to ask that he be buried in a city-owned cemetery. Meanwhile, at least four private cemeteries in the area have already turned down such a request.

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National Security
3:44 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

The Hidden Cost Of The Drone Program

A model of a drone is hoisted in the air at a protest of the U.S. military's use of drones during a demonstration on April 3 in New York.
Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:02 pm

A faint light has begun to shine in recent weeks on the secretive U.S. program of drone strikes and targeted killings.

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Solar-Powered Airplane Completes First Leg Of U.S. Flight

The Solar Impulse takes off from Moffett Field NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., Friday, as a team member rides an electric bike alongside the plane.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The Solar Impulse, an airplane traveling across the United States using only solar power, is in Phoenix today, after reaching Arizona from California Saturday. It took the plane about 20 hours to travel from Mountain View, Calif., near San Francisco.

The aircraft is capable of flying at night as well as in daytime; the plane had about 75 percent of its battery power remaining when it landed in Arizona.

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Interviews
3:03 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

The Price Glenn Burke Paid For Coming Out

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 5:20 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THING CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Kelly McEvers.

This past week, Jason Collins became the first athlete who's active in major American team sports to announce that he's gay. His story reminded us of the story of Glenn Burke. Burke was an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s when his teammates discovered he was gay.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Springs Fire May Be Fully Contained Monday, Officials Say

Elite U.S. Forest Service Hotshot firefighters walk the blackened edge of the Springs Fire near Camarillo, California. Citing favorable weather, officials say the fire could be contained Monday.
David McNew Getty Images

Firefighting officials in California are optimistic that they can get more of the Springs Fire under control Sunday, as for the second day cooler temperatures and higher humidity are expected to help their cause. The fire could be entirely contained by Monday, they say.

"Firefighters made progress overnight," member station KPCC reported this morning. "The Springs Fire is holding fast at 28,000 acres."

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Soccer Referee Dies, One Week After Being Felled By Punch

Soccer referee Ricardo Portillo died Saturday, after being struck by a player. Here, Portfillo, is seen holding a soccer ball, in a photo held by his brother-in-law, Jose Lopez, Thursday.
Rick Bowmer AP

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:11 am

A soccer referee who was punched by a player after calling a foul on him during a recreational soccer game in Utah died Saturday night, a week after he was hit once in the face. The suspect, who received a yellow card penalty from referee Ricardo Portillo, was arrested Monday and remains incarcerated, officials say.

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U.S.
3:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Jumping Hurdles, Making The Grade For A Foreign Worker Visa

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:03 am

Planet Money's Zoe Chace reports that the immigration overhaul bill proposes doubling the number of skilled-worker visas available to companies that want to hire foreign workers. But the application process is a challenge in itself. (This piece initially aired May 2, 2013, on Morning Edition.)

Politics
3:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

Congress Heads Back To Debt Talks, Immigration

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 4:38 am

Lawmakers return to Congress on Monday, following a week's hiatus. Host Rachel Martin checks in with NPR congressional correspondent David Welna about what's on their agenda for the upcoming session. Internet sales tax, paying creditors, immigration, Benghazi hearing, Syria, Guantanamo

U.S.
3:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

What Visa Changes Say About U.S. Immigration Priorities

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:03 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

The U.S. Senate is poised to weigh in on a bipartisan bill that would overhaul this country's immigration system. The bill calls for more border security and a pathway to citizenship for the country's undocumented immigrants. But there are some easy to overlook changes in the bill that would affect the lives of would-be American immigrants, people like this.

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Around the Nation
3:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

A Splash Of 'Urban Ocean' On A Southern California Cruise

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., exposes guests to the "urban ocean" in the country's biggest shipping terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 4:41 pm

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., sounds like a picturesque summer outing. But the Urban Ocean boat cruise highlights the juxtaposition of a powerful port with a fragile ecosystem: You're just as likely to see trash as you are to see marine life.

In front of the aquarium, school kids are running around, eager to go inside and pet the sharks and see the penguins. There's also a marina, where a small passenger boat called the Cristina shoves off from sunny Shoreline Aquatic Park.

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Around the Nation
2:52 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Times Square's Naked Cowboy Wrangles Some Co-Workers

The original Naked Cowboy, Robert Burck (second from right), shows off with new naked cowfolk, from left, Karen Munos, Titus Gandy, Alejandra Quinones and Patricia Burck in New York's Times Square.
Margot Adler NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 8:21 am

In the bustle and craziness of New York's Times Square on a busy afternoon or night, you will see scores of costumed figures: Batman, Elmo, the Statue of Liberty.

But for more than a dozen years, arguably the most original of these is the Naked Cowboy. His fame has now spawned a franchise, with eight different cowboys and cowgirls.

Almost anytime you go to Times Square, you will see the original Naked Cowboy in a white cowboy hat, white boots and white underwear briefs, with the words "Naked Cowboy" written across his butt. That's all he's wearing.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Kentucky Derby: Rain-Soaked Track Awaits A New Champion

Joel Rosario rides Orb during the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday in Louisville, Ky. The odds-on favorite won the race.
Morry Gash AP

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 5:01 pm

Update at 6:45 p.m. Orb Takes Derby Title:

Favored heavily 5-1 prior to the race, Orb has taken the title of the 139th Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The win gives Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his first victory in the race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.

"It's like living a dream," Orb's jockey, Joel Rosario, told NBC after the race, calling it "a perfect trip."

The other top finishers were Golden Soul in second, Revolutionary in third and Normandy Invasion in fourth place.

Orb ran the 1 1/4 mile race in 2:02.89.

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The Two-Way
6:44 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Shifts In Weather And Strategy Help Slow Springs Wildfire

Standing on a rooftop, a man looks at the Springs fire's approaching flames in California Friday. The wildfire, reportedly, 20 percent contained, might be weakened by high humidity and cooler temperatures Saturday.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 10:11 am

Firefighters in Southern California are welcoming the latest weather forecast, as lower temperatures and higher humidity could help them control the Camarillo Springs Fire. But the wildfire along the coast remains formidable: It has reportedly burned at least 43 square miles of land and property, nearly doubling in size Friday.

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Children's Health
4:02 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Bulletproof Whiteboards And The Marketing Of School Safety

This type of bulletproof whiteboard, produced by the Maryland company Hardwire, has been purchased by a Minnesota school district.
Hardwire, LLC

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 6:58 pm

A recent news item out of Minnesota caught our eye: "Bulletproof Whiteboards Unveiled at Rocori Schools."

Bulletproof what? Where?

That would be whiteboards, at the small central Minnesota Rocori School District, which will spend upward of $25,000 for the protective devices produced by a company better known for its military armor products.

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History
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

WWII Prisoner Of War Created A Code, Uncracked Until Now

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 6:22 am

Sixty years ago, John Pryor, a British prisoner of war in a German camp wrote about 80 letters home. Under his prosaic descriptions of camp life were coded messages asking for supplies and detailing German military secrets. Host Scott Simon talks with Stephen Pryor, his son, who worked with researchers at the University of Plymouth to finally crack his late father's code.

Economy
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

More Jobs, But Wait: They May Not Pay Much

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April. That exceeded the expectations of economists. It also drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low, 7.5 percent. Unfortunately, the biggest gains were in lower-paying fields like hospitality and temp agencies. And as the school year comes to a close and young people start looking, the question is will there be enough work for them. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

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Economy
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Fewer Jobs, Persistent Racial Disparity

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And that racial disparity in the unemployment numbers isn't just among younger workers. The overall unemployment rate of African-Americans is 13.2 percent. That is almost twice that of white Americans. Among Hispanics, it's 9 percent. Yesterday, we spoke with Darrick Hamilton, associate professor of economics at the New School in New York. He studies racial economic inequality and we asked him to try to explain any reasons behind the two-to-one gap in joblessness between blacks and whites.

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Sports
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Sports: From Basketballs To Racing Horses

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon and I've wait all week to say it's time for sports.

Basketball playoffs, two teams come back from a three-game deficit just not far enough. In baseball, Angels in the outfield but rarely on the bases. How much money do they have to spend to get a few hits? And some national concerns that have nothing to do with congress. Howard Bryant, columnist for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine joins us. Morning Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?

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U.S.
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Boston Investigation Unpacks Brothers' Pre-Bombing Moves

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 9:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Law enforcement officials are getting a better idea of what may have transpired on the days leading up to the last month's Boston Marathon bombings, specifically where the two suspects, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, might have assembled their homemade bombs and whether anybody else was involved.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has been following this story and joins us. Dina, thanks for being with us.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: You're welcome.

SIMON: Worthy discovery?

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U.S.
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

At NRA Convention, Dueling Narratives Displayed With Guns

An ammunition display at the NRA's annual convention in Houston on Friday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 10:50 am

The National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention in Houston this weekend. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend for speeches and demos and acres of guns, ammo and camo.

The NRA is coming off of a major victory: the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate. While the talk in the convention hall is about keeping up the fight and staying true to the Constitution, a small protest against gun violence is being held outside.

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Sports
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

Confessions Of A Kentucky Derby Gate-Crasher

Stephen Johnstone and his niece, Sarah, crashed the Kentucky Derby celebration together in 2008.
Courtesy of Stephen Johnstone

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 11:21 am

On Saturday night, 150,000 people will pack Louisville's Churchill Downs to watch the Kentucky Derby. But only a few will celebrate the victory from the winner's circle.

Stephen Johnstone has experienced that celebration many times. He's been in the winner's circle with the winning families, jockeys and governors — but not once was he invited.

Johnstone is a retired gate-crasher. The first time he crashed the Kentucky Derby was in 1963. Johnstone and several college friends slipped underneath a fence at Churchill Downs.

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Code Switch
2:49 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

A Black Jockey At The Kentucky Derby, Once Again

Kevin Krigger rides Goldencents during a six-furlong workout at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., in January.
Benoit Photo AP

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 4:41 am

The Kentucky Derby's 139th running is this weekend, and it will feature a sight that's been a rarity in the race for much of the past century — an African-American jockey.

"Everything that comes with the Derby right now for me is not the same as the majority of the other riders, or any other riders, because I'm the only African-American rider in the race," Kevin Krigger says.

Krigger was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but he's been racing in California. He's the first African-American jockey to ride in the Derby in more than a decade.

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NPR News Investigations
2:03 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Justice In The Segregated South: A New Look At An Old Killing

When John Queen died in August 1965 in front of the Ice House (the building between the Standard Oil station and The Dollar Store), rules of racial inferiority were so entrenched in Fayette, Miss., that black residents felt they couldn't complain. But just four months later things changed and black residents marched on Dec. 24 as part of their boycott against white-owned businesses.
Jack Thornell AP

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 4:41 am

This story contains language that some may find offensive.

In the segregated South in 1965, John Queen was about as insignificant as a man could be. He was black, elderly and paralyzed. His legs had been crushed when as a boy he fell off a roof. For the rest of his life, he pulled himself around with his hands.

In Fayette, Miss., he would shine shoes on Main Street for a few coins. People called him "Crippled Johnny" or "Shoe-Shine Johnny."

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Economy
1:54 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Stock Market Rallies On Better-Than-Expected Jobs Report

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 6:28 pm

The stock market rallied on Friday after a better-than-expected jobs report. The Labor Department said employers added 165,000 jobs to payrolls in April. The unemployment rate ticked down to 7.5 percent.

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