U.S. News

It's All Politics
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Immigration Proves A 'Rubik's Cube' For Many Republicans

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol on April 10.
Allison Shelley Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

While an immigration overhaul has drawn support from church groups, business, labor and even former opponents, there's still deep opposition — mostly centered in the Republican Party.

The last time a president tried to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul was in 2007, and George W. Bush's fellow Republicans in Congress killed his bill. Republican strategist Kevin Madden says a lot has changed since then — including the way the Republican Party is dealing with its own internal divisions.

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Education
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

More Than 50 Years Of Putting Kids' Creativity To The Test

E. Paul Torrance, shown here in the mid-'80s, spent most of his career studying and encouraging students' creativity.
Courtesy University of Georgia

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:30 pm

This is the second in a three-part series about the intersection of education and the arts.

Let's start with a question from a standardized test: "How would the world be different if we all had a third eye in the back of our heads?"

It's not a typical standardized question, but as part of the Next Generation Creativity Survey, it's used to help measure creativity a bit like an IQ test measures intelligence. And it's not the only creativity test out there.

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Law
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Senate Rejects Compromise On Expanded Background Checks

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

The Senate has rejected a compromise background checks language pushed by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey. It could mean the end of gun control legislation in Congress, at least for a while. Ailsa Chang joins Robert Siegel from the Capitol with the latest.

Religion
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Evangelicals Become Unlikely Supporters Of Immigration Reform

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel. And there was a big moment in the United States Senate today. It was barely morning, the wee hours, around 2:00 a.m. An immigration reform bill was filed, more than 800 pages of legislation. It would tighten security along the borders, expand worker visas and offer a 13-year path to citizenship to people who live in this country illegally.

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Around the Nation
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Letters To Mississippi Senator, Obama Show Signs Of Ricin

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And Tovia mentioned a different kind of attack, one that's the subject of a widening investigation here in Washington, D.C. A second letter thought to contain the poison ricin has been sent for further testing. That one was addressed to the White House. We heard yesterday about one addressed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker. Also today two Senate office buildings were locked down as the Capitol police investigated suspicious packages.

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Law
3:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Supreme Court Curbs Lawsuits Over Foreign Abuses

Nigerian widow Esther Kiobel, a plaintiff in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, cries as she speaks outside the Supreme Court in October 2012.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 6:37 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to human-rights advocates Wednesday, in a case that was closely watched globally by human-rights groups and foreign governments.

The court limited the reach of a 224-year-old federal law that in recent decades has been used to hold foreign corporations and individuals accountable in U.S. courts for human-rights abuses abroad.

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Around the Nation
3:03 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

U.S. Budget Cuts Hit Maine's Acadia National Park

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:03 pm

Acadia National Park draws thousands of visitors every year and contributed $186 million to the state's economy in 2011 alone. But under sequestration cuts, the park is closing roads for an additional month and cutting back staff and programming, leaving area business owners nervous about the 2013 summer season.

The Two-Way
3:02 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks For Gun Sales

President Obama makes a statement on gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and family members of Newtown, Conn., shooting victims look on at the White House Rose Garden.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:36 pm

A bipartisan compromise that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases has been rejected by the Senate.

The defeat of the measure by a 54-46 vote — six votes shy of the number needed to clear the Senate — marks a major setback for gun-control advocates, many of whom had hoped that Congress would act to curb gun violence in the wake of December's Newtown elementary school massacre, where 20 students and six adults were killed.

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Around the Nation
12:15 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

'The Hell Of American Day Care': Expensive And 'Mediocre'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:49 pm

In his cover story for the April 29 issue of The New Republic, "The Hell of American Day Care," Jonathan Cohn writes that "trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things a parent has to do — and in the U.S., it's harder still, because American day care is a mess. And about 40 percent of children under 5 spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent."

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U.S.
10:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

What Boston Means To America

Faneuil Hall, in downtown Boston, was built in the 1740s.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:20 pm

As a city, Boston is at the crux of this country's past, present and future.

This was brought home on April 15 — Tax Day, Patriots Day, Marathon Day — when two deadly bombs exploded on historic Boylston Street near the finish line of the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.

The tragic blasts occurred so close to the Boston Public Library that the building — home to the personal book collection of Founding Father John Adams — is included in the crime scene.

The bombs struck at the very heart of the heart of America.

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The Two-Way
4:55 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Explosions: Wednesday's Developments

Flowers, flags and balloons at a memorial in Boston near the site of Monday's explosions.
Wang Lei Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 5:50 am

(Note at 7:50 a.m. ET, April 18: We've begun a new post to track Thursday's developments.)

Investigators made progress Wednesday, as they tried to determine who planted two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, leaving three people dead and injuring about 180.

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Mental Health
3:15 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Boston Blasts Remind Us Of Fragility Of Life

Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial to marathon bombing victims Wednesday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:33 pm

From the first explosion in Boston on Monday to the second, just 15 seconds elapsed. And in those 15 seconds, three people were mortally wounded, including an 8-year-old boy. The number of injured topped 100, and for those of us watching, it was a profound reminder of a reality we'd prefer to ignore.

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Animals
12:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Lionfish, like this one spotted in the Bahamas, are a nonnative predatory fish that can decimate native fish populations.
Cammy Clark MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 11:45 am

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

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Sweetness And Light
12:55 am
Wed April 17, 2013

The Pitch For More No. 42s

Jackie Robinson during spring training at Vero Beach, Fla., in March 1956. It would be Robinson's 10th and last year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:46 pm

Yet another movie about Jackie Robinson arrived as baseball held its annual commemorative celebration of No. 42, but officials of the game are fretting over the fact that only 8 1/2 percent of current major leaguers are black.

Given that African-Americans only constitute about 13 percent of the U.S. population, and that rarely do we have any industry or school system or community population that correlates exactly to the whole country's racial or ethnic makeup, baseball's somewhat smaller black cohort hardly seems like an issue to agonize over.

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The Two-Way
5:22 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Maine Court Sets $25,000 Bail For 'North Pond Hermit'

Christopher Knight, 47, has been charged with stealing food and other items from a camp in Rome, Maine. Knight's years of living in isolation earned him the nickname of the North Pond Hermit.
Kennebec County Sheriff's Office AP

Christopher Knight, whose 27 years of living in near-total isolation in Maine's wilderness made him an object of fascination after he was arrested for stealing food and supplies, appeared by video for a court hearing Tuesday, when a Kennebec County judge set his bail at $25,000 cash.

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Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

50 Years Later, King's Birmingham 'Letter' Still Resonates

Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail."
Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 11:12 pm

It's been five decades since Martin Luther King Jr., began writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," a response to eight white Alabama clergymen who criticized King and worried the civil rights campaign would cause violence. They called King an "extremist" and told blacks they should be patient.

But the time for waiting was over. Birmingham was the perfect place to take a stand.

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It's All Politics
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

How Congress Quietly Overhauled Its Insider-Trading Law

Vice President Biden and members of Congress watch as President Obama signs the STOCK Act on April 4, 2012. A year later, Congress moved to undo large portions of the law without fanfare.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast.

That's what happened when Congress moved to undo large parts of a popular law known as the STOCK Act last week.

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Around the Nation
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Changes Help San Diego Homeless, But Long Road Remains Ahead

Wanda Rayborn, 63, was homeless for nine years and was living under a tree in downtown San Diego two years ago. She now lives in a newly renovated efficiency apartment — part of an initiative to help get homeless people off the streets.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 1:05 pm

Two years ago, we reported on an ambitious campaign to end homelessness in downtown San Diego, a city with one of the largest homeless populations in the nation. The effort involved an unprecedented coalition of business leaders, community groups and government agencies.

At the time, some advocates for the homeless — after years of seeing other, failed efforts to get people off city streets — were skeptical that the campaign would amount to much.

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Education
3:46 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Creative Classes: An Artful Approach To Improving Performance

Jionni Anderson is a third grader at Savoy Elementary School. Anderson raises her hand to answer a question in Mr. Scott's keyboard class.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:31 pm

This is the first in a three-part series about the intersection of education and the arts.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Security Expert: Investigators Seek Bomber's 'Signature'

Boston firefighters talk with FBI agents and a crime scene photographer Tuesday at the scene of the Boston Marathon explosions.
Charles Krupa AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:03 am

As investigators combed through evidence in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, seeking both motive and perpetrator, we turned Tuesday to a security expert for guidance on how the investigation may be unfolding.

Bryan Cunningham, a former CIA officer, assistant U.S. attorney and deputy legal adviser for the National Security Council, served in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He is now a senior adviser at the consulting firm the Chertoff Group, co-founded by former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.

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It's All Politics
2:49 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Background Check Battle: More Prosecution Or More Checks?

Vice President Joe Biden, holds a background check form last week in Washington, as he calls on Congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 11:54 am

One argument that some gun rights groups make against expanding background checks is that the federal government isn't doing a good enough job now of enforcing the law already on the books.

They point out that only a tiny fraction of people caught trying to buy a gun illegally are ever prosecuted.

But gun control supporters say that argument totally misses the point of background checks.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

American Airlines Grounds All Flights Due To Computer Glitch

American Airlines flights were grounded for two hours on Tuesday due to a glitch in the reservation system, the airline says.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 2:54 pm

A computer glitch in the reservations system at American Airlines caused all of the carrier's flights to be grounded for at least two hours on Tuesday.

"American's reservation and booking tool, Sabre is offline," American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told Reuters in an email. "We're working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports that the outage was announced about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

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Shots - Health News
2:04 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Quality Conundrum: Complications Boost Hospital Profits

If he messes up, should the hospital profit?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:35 pm

Hospitals can make much more money when surgery goes wrong than in cases that go without a hitch.

And that presents a problem for patients. The financial incentives don't favor better care.

"The magnitude of the numbers was eye-popping," says Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an author of the study, which was just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It was much larger than we expected."

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The Salt
1:59 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Low-Sodium Food Labels Woo, And Confuse, Consumers

Nutrition fact labels are good but confusing, consumers say.
iStockphoto.com

The general consensus is that food labels that advertise lower sodium are a good way to help people make more healthful choices. But after that, what we think those labels mean gets a bit fuzzy, according to a new study.

Nutrition researchers were wondering just how we interpret the various sodium-related claims slapped on food packages: claims like "low in sodium" but also how a food product will reducing the risk of disease like hypertension, or "help lower blood pressure."

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The Two-Way
1:55 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Vatican Reaffirms Plan To Scrutinize U.S. Nuns

Nuns worship following a Mass for the election of a new pope at St. Patrick's Cathedral in February.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Pope Francis' doctrinal chief has reaffirmed the Vatican's intention to overhaul the largest organization of U.S. nuns, dashing the hopes of some that the newly installed pontiff would take a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor.

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Around the Nation
1:00 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Boston Globe Columnist: 'A Little Bit Of Freedom Taken Away'

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We are so saddened and outraged by the bombings yesterday at the Boston Marathon - we're going to start the show, today, with a brief call to Dan Shaughnessy, a Boston Globe sports columnist who's covered many of the Boston Marathons. He's been named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year eight times and seven times has been voted one of America's top 10 sports columnists by AP sports editors.

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History
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

'Letter From Birmingham Jail' 50 Years Later

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from Birmingham jail. Dr. King penned this letter as a response to white clergymen who called his campaign of non-violent protests, quote, "unwise and untimely," unquote, and had urged him not to intervene in Alabama's segregationist policies.

Here is a clip of Dr. King reading part of the letter that he wrote in response.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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News
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Former Terror Expert: 'Very Confident' Case Will Be Solved

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to start the program today by talking about the bombings that shook Boston yesterday afternoon. Today, civic leaders are trying to find out what happened, but also to help their citizens heal. Here's Boston's mayor, Thomas Menino, at a press conference this morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Religion
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Faith Community Comforts Bostonians

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Joining us now is the Right Reverend Gayle Harris. She is suffragan bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Massachusetts. Welcome to you. Thank you so much for joining us.

REVEREND GAYLE HARRIS: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: How are you seeing faith communities across the city and the state react to this?

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Around the Nation
10:25 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Single Moms Make It Work

In this week's segment on parenting, host Michel Martin talks to three single moms to find out what they've learned by raising children alone. Martin is joined by Lori Gottlieb who wrote about single parenting for Working Mother magazine, Stacia Brown, blogger at Beyond Baby Mamas, and regular 'Moms' contributor Aracely Panameno.

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