The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.
Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
We may have avoided the fiscal cliff for the moment, but most Americans will still feel a dip in their take home pay this year. That's because payroll taxes that fund Social Security were not on the negotiating table this week in Congress. They are resetting back up to where they were at the end of 2010. It's an increase of two percentage points.
Less than six months after a lone gunman shot up a theater at the Century Aurora 16 theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and injuring at least 58, the movie house is slated to reopen. Several family members of victims, after being invited to participate in reopening events, wrote a letter to Cinemark, owner of the theater, expressing their shock as the company's lack of sensitivity. Audie Cornish speaks with reporter Ryan Parker who has followed these events for the Denver Post.
A Kansas man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple is now being pressed by the state to pay child support. Robert Siegel talks to Tim Hrenchir of the Topeka Capital-Journal, about the case. He has been covering it for the newspaper.
The Federal Trade Commission has closed its long-running antitrust investigation of Google. The search giant avoided any financial penalties, and the FTC's move is widely seen as a victory for Google. NPR's Steve Henn has been following the story and joins us now to fill us in on the details. And, Steve, this investigation has been going on for years. And now that it's over, I mean, how big a victory is it really for Google?
The retro way to get the attention of the White House was to write an op-ed in a high profile newspaper, lobby Congress, or maybe even stage a march on Washington. Today all you need to do is click a few buttons. In 2011 the White House created a petitioning website called "We the People." Petitions that gather 25,000 or more signatures within 30 days receive an administration response. After more than a year in operation, Audie Cornish checks in with Jim Snider, a Harvard fellow who studies democratic reform in the information age, about the site's effectiveness.
Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are increasing nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Los Angeles and New York City have the highest rates of those deaths.
In Los Angeles, where the car is the major mode of transportation, hit and runs involving pedestrians occur almost daily. But these crimes can be the most difficult for law enforcement to investigate and solve.
Holidays are typically a festive time, with breaks from the routine, meals with loved ones, maybe even some gifts. But for many families across the U.S., the season comes with intense stress: Roughly 1 in 5 families with children are not getting enough food.
For some, free or reduced-price school meals have become a major source of basic nutrition. When schools close for the holidays, many of those families struggle to fill the gap.
This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 6:26 am
The Hardy family goes back generations in a tiny neighborhood called Gerritsen Beach at the southern end of Brooklyn. For them, Superstorm Sandy has created something like an extended family reunion.
Their 2 1/2 bedroom house is currently just barely livable. They removed a fallen tree, replaced drywall, fixed the electricity and heat, and threw down rugs to keep the dust and mold from overwhelming them until they do the work the house really needs.
The Hardy family is more closely knit than a lot of people could stand.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:40 am
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been discharged from New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was admitted Sunday for treatment of a blood clot that followed a concussion she suffered after fainting. Clinton has reportedly been taking blood thinning agents to help the clot dissolve.
"She's eager to get back to the office," according to a statement from Philippe Reines, deputy assistant Secretary of State, announcing Clinton's discharge.
That squabble over aid related to Hurricane Sandy comes at a critical time for House Speaker John Boehner. Tomorrow, Congress is sworn in on Capitol Hill. And in the House, majority Republicans will decide if Boehner keeps his post.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:43 am
Update at 7:35 a.m ET, Jan. 3. Signed By Autopen:
As many had expected he would, the president did sign the fiscal cliff agreement with an autopen. The bill was back in Washington, D.C., while Obama was in Hawaii on vacation. So, it was signed by an autopen machine that produces a copy of the president's signature. As we outlined earlier, this has been done before.
Our original post — "How Will President Obama Sign The Fiscal Cliff Bill?"
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
A $60 billion federal aid package for states affected by Hurricane Sandy is moving forward, but it hasn't been an easy political process. There's been hot debate about it within the Republican Party. Last night, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives declined to vote on an aid package, and that infuriated lawmakers across New York and New Jersey.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act is 157 pages long. It's not all about avoiding impending tax hikes. Some of it has to do with tax benefits for ceiling fans and tuna canneries. NPR's Ari Shapiro is here to explain.
And Ari, in spending bills, little weird provisions like this might be called pork-barrel spending or projects. Are we looking at a kind of earmark?
If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that's what it used to do.
In a mile-long building on the edge of Fort Worth, Texas, an assembly line is taking shape to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lockheed Martin, which got the contract to build the jet back in 2001, is slowly cranking up production. It's hard to keep a plane current, when it takes so many years to develop.
But Lockheed's Kevin McCormack says the F-35 is designed to change as technology evolves.
Vicki Yohe may look like a country western singer with her blond hair and blue eyes. But she's an urban gospel star. Yohe's latest album is titled, I'm at Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience. For Tell Me More's In Your Ear series, Yohe shares the songs that lift her up in tough times.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee sitting in for Michel Martin, who is under the weather. Coming up, you either loved him or hated him, but if you ever saw him perform, you certainly remember him and his catchphrase - dyn-o-mite - from the classic sitcom "Good Times." We'll talk to comedian Jimmie J.J. Walker later in the program.
After years on the drawing boards and in testing labs, a new fighter plane is entering the U.S. arsenal. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to help the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines replace their fleet of aging aircraft.
But this plane has become the most expensive military procurement program in history. While critics continue to carp about the cost, the plane is now in the skies, and the military says it's the lynchpin for future defense strategies.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am
The budget compromise bill that is meant to allow the U.S. government to avoid higher tax rates and austere budget cuts has tax rates as its central issue, with discussions about more spending cuts, and the federal debt limit, put off until the coming weeks.
Right now in Pasadena, the floats in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade are the homestretch. The Rose Parade is a long-established national tradition, of course, watched every year by hundreds of thousands across the country. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison covered the event many times and wrote today: Its huge cultural shadow has been as much about what you didn't see on display as what you did.
For the 150th birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation, the National Archives is displaying the original document for members of the public to visit. A'Lelia Bundles, chair and president of the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Archives, viewed the Proclamation Sunday; she discusses what the document did — and did not do — for slaves.