Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:30 pm
The GOP's roughing up of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, thought to be President Obama's top pick for his second-term secretary of state, brings to mind the last time the Senate rejected a commander in chief's choice for that most crucial position.
It was some six decades ago, and after bitter and tumultuous hearings — think allegations of communism and homosexuality, as well as a high-profile suicide — that senators dumped the president's nominee by a vote of 74-24.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 6:26 am
Update at 12:25 p.m. ET: Since we first posted, the jackpot's been increased to $550 million from $500 million when the day began, so we've changed that figure below. That doesn't do anything to change the odds of winning.
A security guard walks along the edge of the reflecting pool, past the field of 168 empty chairs, at the Oklahoma City National Memorial in Oklahoma City.
Credit Sue Ogrocki / AP
The Oklahoma City National Memorial sits on the site of the 1995 bombing. Some affected by the blast say they've been denied help from an assistance fund, even as millions of fund dollars remain unspent.
It has been almost two decades since a truck bomb blew apart the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. Almost immediately, donations poured in from around the world to help the community recover.
Today, millions of dollars remain in a private fund to assist victims and surviving family members. But some affected by the blast say that even with all that money available, they've been denied help.
We turn now to Confetti-gate. A student watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City found confetti dropping on him and his friends. That's to be expected. But then he took a closer look and saw on those strips of shredded paper Social Security numbers, names of police officers, license plates, even the route of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's motorcade.
The Miami Herald's old headquarters on Biscayne Bay have been sold to a developer who wants to tear it down. Historic preservationists are working to stop the demolition, saying the hulking, boxy building is a prime example of Miami modernism architecture from the 50's and 60's. Demolition proponents — which include some prominent architects — say it's a clumsy building with no sense of style and not a "MiMo" design worth saving.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit to eliminate remaining barriers to women in combat. The military has been opening more jobs to women, but they are still barred from being assigned to combat missions even though many continue to face fire in Afghanistan.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with talk of immigration reform. Dealing with the estimated 12 million immigrants now in the U.S. illegally has long been a priority, primarily of Democrats. Three weeks ago, Latinos voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. As NPR's David Welna reports, Senate Republicans weighed in today, unveiling legislation that would give some undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.
Of the 50 million Hispanics in the U.S., nearly two-thirds are of Mexican origin. The second largest group - accounting for about 9 percent - are the nearly five million Puerto Ricans who live in the 50 states and the District of Columbia - that is, not on the island of Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. The island has been a U.S. territory since the Spanish-American War.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, touted as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with a small group of Republican Senate critics. They are unhappy with comments Rice made on TV shortly after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the ambassador and three others died. They say she incorrectly characterized the violence as a response to an anti-Islam video. After the closed-door meeting, the senators said they were more troubled than ever, and one promised to block her potential nomination.
With money coming in more slowly than the financial aid given out, schools say they are nearing the breaking point, and even the most selective elite universities are rethinking their generosity.
"It just became clear that if we continue to give more and more aid, the numbers don't add up," says Raynard Kington, head of Grinnell College. Thanks to longtime former board member Warren Buffett, Grinnell has an endowment bigger than most schools dream of. For years, that's enabled Grinnell to admit students on a need-blind basis — and then give them as much aid as they need.
The way some doctors see it, asking patients whether they own a gun is no more politically loaded than any other health-related question they ask.
So when a Florida law that prohibited them from discussing gun ownership with patients passed last year, they moved to fight it. A federal judge issued a permanent injunction blocking enforcement of the law in July.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 8:23 am
Some people are allergic to peanuts, others to shellfish, fruits, or wheat. But this rare allergy is a carnivore's worst nightmare: A tick bite that can cause a case of itchy red hives every time you eat meat. Yup, get bit by one of these buggers and you may be saying farewell to your filet Mignon.
For some people around the country, this is no nightmare, it's a reality – and it may be coming to your neck of the woods.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms and dads in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice and, on this program, we've tapped into that national conversation around work-life issues.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, just in time for the holidays, some big box stores want to help customers finance those shopping sprees, but will financial products from big retailers be a hit or a miss for consumers? We'll speak with our business reporter who's looked at this. That's just ahead in our Money Coach conversation.
Baltimore has thousands of abandoned houses. It also has one of the nation's most comprehensive programs to clean them up. It focuses on selling houses in neighborhoods near key employers and other attractions, and demolishes buildings in less viable areas of the city. But the plan requires government officials to make some hard choices about which neighborhoods are worth saving.
Most people try to avoid ticks. But not Tom Mather.
The University of Rhode Island researcher goes out of his way to find them.
He looks for deer ticks — poppy seed-sized skin burrowers — in the woods of southern Rhode Island. These are the teeny-tiny carriers of Lyme disease, an illness that can lead to symptoms ranging from nasty rashes to memory loss.
Intrade, the prediction website that accepted bids on, among other things, the result of the presidential election, is shutting its operations to U.S. customers. The move came Monday just hours after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused the Ireland-based company of violating the agency's ban on off-exchange options trading.
Here's more from Intrade's news release announcing the move:
A Burmese python coils around the arm of a hunter during a news conference in 2010 in the Florida Everglades. New research suggests that the pythons won't spread through the American Southeast, as previously believed.
There are several exotic snake species that have become a problem in the Everglades. But for wildlife managers, the biggest headache is the Burmese python.
Earlier this year, researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey captured the largest Burmese python yet in Everglades National Park. Three USGS staffers had to wrestle the snake out of a plastic crate to measure it. The snake was a 17-foot-7-inch female carrying 87 eggs.
Wildlife managers are working to get a handle on the problem of exotic snakes in South Florida; but the snakes have already made a big impact.
Rosa Maria Ramirez lost most of her belongings in the storm and is moving out of her damaged house on Staten Island. Because she's undocumented, she doesn't qualify for federal financial disaster assistance.
The living room was muddy and foul when 16-year-old Prisma revisited her family's apartment days after Superstorm Sandy washed through it last month. The furniture was tarnished, and most of the family's belongings were scattered and in ruins. The home was uninhabitable.
"Everything was completely in a different place," Prisma says. "It was really nasty."
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 8:00 am
A handful of congressional Republicans after finishing their Thanksgiving dinners decided to give anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist the brushoff, saying they wouldn't abide by his "no new taxes" pledge as they work on a budget deal.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after a pretrial hearing in June. Manning is charged with aiding the enemy by giving hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables and war logs to the secret-sharing website WikiLeaks.
The young Army private accused of passing diplomatic cables and war reports to the website WikiLeaks has made an unusual offer: Bradley Manning says he'll plead guilty to minor charges in the case. But he rejects the idea that he ever acted as a spy or helped America's enemies.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case that asks the justices to define who is a "supervisor" when the issue is harassment in the workplace. The definition is important because employers are automatically liable for damages in most cases in which a supervisor harasses a subordinate.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Sandy was one of the biggest hurricanes ever to hit the Atlantic Coast. It may also turn out to be the most expensive. Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would seek a staggering $42 billion in federal aid to rebuild. This comes after New Jersey's governor said the storm would cause his state nearly $30 billion. NPR's Joel Rose has the latest on Sandy's steep price tag.
Cyber Monday saw a big retail push following a Black Friday that expanded into Thanksgiving Day. The big question now is whether all the early shopping will boost total holiday sales or just push them up earlier on the calendar.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 6:49 am
For merchants, the stars are lining up — at least so far.
Online shopping jumped more than 28 percent on Cyber Monday compared with a year ago, according to IBM Benchmark. And the National Retail Federation says Thanksgiving weekend spending shot up to $59.1 billion, nearly 13 percent more than last year's $52 billion.