This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan with a special broadcast today from the Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Today's show is part of a project called The National Conversation, a joint production of the Wilson Center and NPR.
The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
The multinational oil firm BP is being taken to account for the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, the Obama administration banned BP from any new contacts with the federal government, citing, quote, "a lack of business integrity" related to the spill - that after BP admitted criminal wrongdoing in its recent settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Yesterday, in the Bronx, Chris Veres took his grandfather to see Dr. Bob Murrow. He was worried about his grandfather's heart. Dr. Murrow talked to the family and ordered a cardiogram, which came back normal.
It was a pretty routine visit. But what happens next for the doctor — getting paid by Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for the elderly — is suddenly sort of a big deal.
Whenever the discussion turns to saving money in Medicare, the idea of raising the eligibility age often comes up.
"I don't think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's This Week last Sunday. "Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67."
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:18 pm
In Washington's latest game of chicken, President Obama is counting on voters who see things his way to give him the edge in his quest to get congressional Republicans to accept tax increases on the nation's wealthiest as part of any fiscal cliff deal.
To energize those voters, the president is ramping up a series of campaign-style events meant to educate the public about the stakes, as he sees them, of letting the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans expire if no agreement is reached by year's end.
Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.
Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.
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.
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.