U.S. News

The Two-Way
2:21 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Obama Taps San Antonio Mayor For Housing Post

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 2:30 pm

President Obama on Friday officially nominated San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to the post of secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a move that boosts the profile of a young Hispanic seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Castro would replace Shaun Donovan, who Obama wants to become the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. Donovan would take over OMB from outgoing budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who's expected to be confirmed shortly as the next health secretary.

The Associated Press says:

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Politics
2:19 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Obama Taps San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro For HUD Secretary

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is a rising star in the Democratic Party. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in 2012.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 4:04 pm

President Obama has been playing musical chairs with his Cabinet.

At the White House on Friday, Obama announced that he's chosen Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to be his new budget director. Donovan would replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who's taking over the Department of Health and Human Services.

That leaves a vacancy atop the housing department, which the president plans to fill with an outsider: Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio and a rising star in the Democratic Party.

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Education
2:19 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

At Pa. School, Teens Build Empathy By Confiding In A Crowd

Lavita, Sierra and Tyshierra are Freire Charter School students who stood up and told stories that made them vulnerable in front of their classmates. Lavita says now she feels "like anything is possible."
Kimberly Paynter WHYY

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 4:40 pm

Imagine this: a high school assembly where students share their deepest, most painful secrets — and instead of judgment from their peers, they get applause.

That's the approach Philadelphia's Freire Charter School has taken in its effort to prevent the next violent outburst or the next tragedy on campus. Instead of turning to guards or metal detectors, the school is making empathy part of its curriculum.

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The Salt
2:01 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

California's Drought Isn't Making Food Cost More. Here's Why

Farmworkers pull weeds from a field of lettuce near Gonzales, Calif. Salinas Valley farms like this one rely on wells, which haven't been affected much by the drought.
George Rose Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:48 pm

The entire state of California is in a severe drought. Farmers and farmworkers are hurting.

You might expect this to cause food shortages and higher prices across the country. After all, California grows 95 percent of America's broccoli, 81 percent of its carrots and 99 percent of the country's artichokes, almonds and walnuts, among other foods.

Yet there's been no sign of a big price shock. What gives?

Here are three explanations.

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Code Switch
1:42 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Congress To Award Highest Honor To Army's Only Latino Unit

Sgt. Carmelo C. Mathews (left) holds up a Puerto Rican flag riddled by enemy shellfire, as Pfc. Angel Perales (right) points to the protruding finger of Capt. Francisco Orobitg in Korea in 1952.
AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 4:11 pm

Congress passed a bill on Thursday to honor the U.S. Army's only segregated Latino unit with the Congressional Gold Medal. If the bill is signed into law by President Obama, the 65th Infantry Regiment of Puerto Rico, also known as the Borinqueneers, will join Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente as the only Hispanics to be awarded the highest civilian honor given by Congress.

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Barbershop
9:35 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Did Dallas Mavericks Owner Drop The Ball On Sterling Controversy?

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:18 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now, it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael with us from Cleveland, Arsalan Iftikhar, founder of themuslimguy.com, is with us from Chicago. In New York City, Kevin Williamson, roving correspondent at the National Review. And here in Washington, D.C., Paul Butler, law professor at Georgetown University. Take it away, Jimi.

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NPR Ed
8:54 am
Fri May 23, 2014

We Look Amazing In These Gowns

You will never look at a commencement gown the same way again.
Steve Cutts for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:03 am

Former Clinton and Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett knocked it out of the park last year at Pitzer College's commencement. We asked the brilliant animator Steve Cutts to bring part of his address to life in pictures. You will likely never look at a commencement gown the same way again.

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Shots - Health News
8:54 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Mental Illness Can Shorten Lives More Than Chain-Smoking

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 8:58 am

Mental disorders can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years, as much as or even more than smoking over 20 cigarettes a day, a study finds.

We know that smoking boosts the risk of cancer and heart disease, says Dr. Seena Fazel, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who led the study. But aside from the obvious fact that people with mental illnesses are more likely to commit suicide, it's not clear how mental disorders could be causing early deaths.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Tennessee Gov. OKs Allowing Electric Chair For Executions

A warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tenn., is shown in the prison's execution chamber in 1999. The electric chair is shown next to a lethal injection gurney.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:54 am

Tennessee's governor has signed a bill that would allow the state to use the electric chair if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

A spokesman for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam confirmed to The Associated Press that the legislation had been signed after passing the state Senate by a 23-3 vote and the House by a 68-13 margin.

The AP reports:

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It's All Politics
5:10 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., speaks during a May 2013 Senate Finance Committee hearing.
Charles Dharapak AP

If the judicial nomination of Michael Boggs gets derailed, at least one of Georgia's senators says it won't unravel a deal the two senators entered with the White House to select seven nominees for the federal bench in Georgia.

"The deal was we agreed on seven nominees for seven judicial appointments and asked for all of them to get a hearing at the same time, and that was the deal," said Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. "Everybody lived up to what they said."

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

U.S. Soccer Star Landon Donovan Fails To Make World Cup Cut

Landon Donovan practices with the U.S. Men's National Team in Stanford, Calif., last week. U.S. Soccer announced Thursday he had not made the roster for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Josh Edelson AFP/Getty Images

Landon Donovan, the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, will not be part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster in Brazil, U.S. Soccer says.

ESPN writes: "Donovan, 32, has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002. He has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade, but spoke in recent months about how his body is no longer what it had once been."

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It's All Politics
4:30 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Senate To NFL: Change The Redskins' Name

Both senators in Maryland — where the Washington Redskins play — signed on to a letter urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to get the team to change its name.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 5:01 pm

The United States Senate ratcheted up the pressure on owner Daniel Snyder on Thursday after a letter — signed by half the Senate — was sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to use his authority to get the Washington Redskins to change a team name that many consider racist.

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Shots - Health News
4:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Diabetes Raises Women's Risk Of Heart Disease More Than For Men

About 8 percent of Americans have diabetes.
iStockphoto

Diabetes increases a woman's risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke much more than it does for men, and scientists are trying to figure out why.

Women with diabetes were almost three times more likely to develop heart disease than women without the disease, a relative risk that's 44 percent higher than it is for men. That's despite the fact that men are more likely to have heart disease than women overall.

Since heart disease already is the number one killer of women, and the number of people with diabetes has been rising rapidly, this is not good news.

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The Salt
4:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

How Yelp Can Help Disease Detectives Track Food Poisoning

The Yelp app maps out restaurant locations in Manhattan.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Almost 50 million Americans get food poisoning every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. But only a tiny fraction of those cases get reported, making it tough to figure out where they came from.

But health officials recently discovered a trove of data that may help them discover outbreaks of foodborne illness and as well as the restaurants responsible for them, they write in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Senate Confirms Author Of Drone Memo To Federal Bench

This May 20, 2013, file photo shows Harvard Law Professor David Barron during a forum at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
Michael Dwyer AP

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm David Barron, whose judicial nomination had been threatened by his work shaping the Obama administration's drone policy.

The vote to seat Barron on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston was 53 to 45. Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined a unified Republican caucus in opposing the nomination.

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All Tech Considered
3:42 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Can Cop-Worn Cameras Restore Faith In New Orleans Police?

Lt. Travis St. Pierre, of the New Orleans Police Department, shows off a body-worn camera during a press conference in January.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 12:23 pm

Body-worn video cameras are quickly becoming standard-issue for American police, especially at departments in the process of reform. And in New Orleans, the troubled police department is now requiring almost all officers to wear the cameras.

The city's police department has a dark history of corruption, racism and brutality. The low point may have been the Danziger Bridge episode, after Hurricane Katrina, when police shot unarmed people, then covered up the crime.

These days, the department is trying to rebuild the public's trust — which is where the body cameras come in.

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It's All Politics
3:23 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Billionaire Environmentalist Targets 7 Statewide Races

Businessman Tom Steyer listens during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Clean Government in September 2013.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 5:59 pm

San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has already pledged at least $50 million to his superPAC, NextGen Climate, and now the superPAC's leaders are laying out a hardball strategy for the fall campaign.

The goal: tag seven Republican candidates as "science deniers" who are on the wrong side of the increasingly urgent climate change issue.

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Photography And Memory
3:18 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Overexposed? Camera Phones Could Be Washing Out Our Memories

Rebecca Woolf takes a lot of photos of her children for her blog, Girl's Gone Child, but says she tries to not let the camera get in the middle of a moment.
Courtesy of Rebecca Woolf

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:58 am

Los Angeles blogger Rebecca Woolf uses her blog, Girl's Gone Child, as a window into her family's life. Naturally, it includes oodles of pictures of her four children.

She says she's probably taken tens of thousands of photos since her oldest child was born. And she remembers the moment when it suddenly clicked — if you will — that she was too absorbed in digital documentation.

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Science
2:21 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

NOAA Predicts Relatively Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 4:46 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Optimism and hurricanes are not words we usually utter together, but the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1st, and today government forecasters offered some cautious optimism. They are expecting a relatively quiet year. Here's NPR's Jon Hamilton.

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Around the Nation
2:21 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Hardware Store Owner Retires, Donates Inventory To Charity

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 4:46 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, a landmark store is shutting its doors and doing something very interesting with its inventory. The store is Rudys True Value Hardware on East 71st Street. It's closing after 54 years. As for Rudy's inventory he's giving it to Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

And joining us now is Rudy Rosales, proprietor and, I'm told, local institution. Welcome to the program.

RUDY ROSALES: Thank you very much.

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The Impact of War
2:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Civilian Life Taught This Military Dog Some New Tricks

In this image from the June issue of National Geographic, Jose Armenta and his wife, Eliana, relax with their Boston terriers Oreo and Sassy, and Zenit, a German shepherd they adopted from the Marines.
Adam Ferguson National Geographic

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 2:59 pm

As a dog handler in the Marines, it was Jose Armenta's job to walk ahead of his platoon and search for roadside bombs with his dog, Zenit, a German shepherd trained for explosives detection and patrol. In 2011, while searching for IEDs planted by the Taliban in Afghanistan, a bomb they didn't detect exploded and Armenta was thrown 20 feet. He narrowly survived, but both his legs had to be amputated above the knee. Zenit was uninjured and redeployed with a new handler.

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NPR Ed
8:54 am
Thu May 22, 2014

'Mischievous Responders' Confound Research On Teens

Not all kids lie on research surveys. But enough teenagers make up answers that it can significantly skew the results.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 11:30 am

Teenagers face some serious issues: drugs, bullying, sexual violence, depression, gangs. They don't always like to talk about these things with adults.

One way that researchers and educators can get around that is to give teens a survey — a simple, anonymous questionnaire they can fill out by themselves without any grown-ups hovering over them. Hundreds of thousands of students take such surveys every year. School districts use them to gather data; so do the federal government, states and independent researchers.

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Law
1:31 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Albuquerque Police Face Federal Scrutiny, Local Outrage

Kenneth Ellis II and family members of people shot by Albuquerque police officers hold a news conference on May 8.
Juan Antonio Labreche AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:40 am

Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by police in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Albuquerque, N.M.

He is among the dozens of people local police have shot over the last four years, 25 of whom have died. The U.S. Department of Justice issued a scathing report in April saying Albuquerque police have a pattern of excessive force that violates the Constitution.

Investigations and policy changes are in the works, while families of those who have been shot argue more needs to be done.

Building Cases

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The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Supreme Court Halts Execution Of Missouri Inmate

Convicted murderer and rapist Russell Bucklew in a February photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 6:51 pm

The Supreme Court on Wednesday put off the execution of Russell Bucklew, a Missouri inmate who has maintained that his rare congenital medical condition would make the lethal injection procedure excessively painful.

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Law
5:23 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Invoking 'Castle Doctrine,' Mont. Man Pleads Not Guilty In Teen's Death

German student Diren Dede was fatally shot after he entered the garage of Markus Kaarma in Montana last month. Dede was on a one-year high school exchange program to the U.S.
Oliver Hardt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 pm

Montana resident Markus Kaarma pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murdering a German exchange student last month. Kaarma shot the 17-year-old while the student was trespassing in his garage. The case has attracted international scrutiny to the contentious debate over how far Americans may go when defending their homes.

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It's All Politics
5:07 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Pelosi Picks Democratic Team For Benghazi Panel

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the presence of Democrats will keep the House select committee on Benghazi "fair and open and balanced."
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 5:33 pm

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's decision to have Democrats participate on the House Benghazi select committee? A defensive move.

Some of her Democrats had urged Pelosi to boycott the committee. In their view, to take part would be to play into the hands of House Republicans who want to use the ninth investigation of the September 2012 attack in Libya, which left four Americans dead, to rally conservatives for the midterm elections.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Kidnapped California Woman, Missing Since 2004, Is Found Alive

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 5:31 pm

A woman in Southern California who was reportedly abducted a decade ago has been found alive, and her alleged kidnapper has been arrested, Santa Ana police say.

The unidentified victim was reported missing by her mother in 2004, when she was 15. Police say Isidro Garcia, 41, was taken into custody on Tuesday and booked on suspicion of kidnapping and rape.

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All Tech Considered
4:04 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

For Automakers, Internet-Connected Cars Are A Balancing Act

General Motors says its OnStar 4G LTE connection will allow cars to act as a mobile Internet hub.
General Motors

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 pm

The Internet is coming to your car. Later this year, General Motors will put Internet connectivity directly into its vehicles. It's the largest auto company to do so.

Of course, safety advocates have some concerns about more distractions for drivers.

The promise of technology is always the same one — that it's going to make our life easier. But anyone who's tried to make a hands-free call in the car knows that's not always true. A task as simple as asking your device to call your mom can be an exasperating experience.

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It's All Politics
3:25 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

In Kentucky, An Epic Senate Race Takes Shape

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from Kentucky, talks with recent college graduate Lee Fowler during a May 17 campaign stop.
Timothy D. Easley AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 1:01 pm

It says something about Kentucky's Republican Senate primary that its most memorable aspect wasn't some fiery debate exchange between Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger Matt Bevin, or any kind of clash like that. There was no debate.

Instead, it was a weird viral Web video from the Senate minority leader's campaign that featured him smiling in different contexts. Naturally it was one endlessly mocked by late-night comedians and parodied on the Web — it also led to the coining of a new word: "McConnelling."

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Politics
3:18 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

40 Years After Watergate, A Look Back At Nixon's Downfall

Washington Journal

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 11:43 am

Forty years ago, in mid-May 1974, Elizabeth Drew, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, wrote this in her journal: "Rumors went around the Capitol today that the President was resigning."

The Capitol, she observed was "noisy and edgy .. and in the hothouse atmosphere, the rumors burst into full bloom."

By August 1974 the president in question, Richard Nixon, would resign rather than face a Senate impeachment trial.

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