U.S. News

Around the Nation
5:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Drought Causes Ripple Effect Along Mighty Mississippi River

International ships call at the busy Port of New Orleans. It's a major shipping convergence point on the Mississippi River. Ships come upriver from the Gulf of Mexico with imports from abroad, and barges come downriver, bringing U.S. goods for export.
Debbie Elliott NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:30 pm

The persistent drought is raising questions about how the Mississippi River is managed — both upstream and down.

While cargo traffic upriver has gotten lots of attention, the drought is creating a different set of problems downriver at the mouth of the Mississippi, where saltwater has encroached.

An old-fashioned staff river gauge behind the New Orleans district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows the Mississippi is running just shy of 6 feet above sea level at the river bend.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:25 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Sand After Sandy: Scientists Map Sea Floor For Sediment

Highly detailed sonar systems aboard the research vessel Pritchard gave researchers a clear view of the sediment on the seafloor off Long Island.
Courtesy of John Goff University Of Texas

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Congress has now agreed to give some $60 billion to states damaged by Hurricane Sandy. A lot will go to Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas. Besides damages to homes and businesses, its system of protective barrier islands and beaches were partially washed away.

Scientists are trying to find out where that sand and sediment went, and whether it can be used to rebuild Long Island's defenses.

In January. On a boat in Long Island Bay.

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National Security
2:28 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Departure Of Guantanamo Head Means Detention Center May Not Close Anytime Soon

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For the past four years, Ambassador Daniel Fried has been working hard to keep a promise President Obama made on his first day in office: to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The detention center is still open, but now it's Fried's office that is closing. NPR's Ari Shapiro has the story.

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Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

President Obama Renews Push For Immigration Reform, Praises Bipartisan Plan

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today, President Obama renewed his push for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws. He told an audience in Las Vegas that it's time to finally deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are living in the shadows now. The president's speech comes one day after a bipartisan group of senators outlined their own plan for immigration reform.

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Law
2:26 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

'E-Verify' Background Check Program A Likely Part Of Any Immigration Reform

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And the borders are not the only focus of immigration enforcement. More and more businesses are using a system called E-Verify to check whether employees are legally authorized to work in the U.S. Both President Obama and the bipartisan working group of senators want to expand that, to make electronic verification mandatory nationwide.

For more on E-Verify, I spoke with Muzaffar Chishti. He's with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute and he told us E-Verify has come a long way.

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Around the Nation
2:26 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Illegal Immigration Into U.S. Slows At Border Crossings

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

President Obama was in Las Vegas today, making the case for one of his key campaign issues.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The time has come.

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Education
2:21 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Union Backs 'Bar Exam' For Teachers

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, says a bar exam for K-12 teachers would test a person's knowledge based on the subject he or she was hired to teach.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 12:29 pm

The system for preparing and licensing teachers in the U.S. is in such disarray that the American Federation of Teachers is proposing a "bar exam" similar to the one lawyers have to pass before they can practice.

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The Impact of War
11:56 am
Tue January 29, 2013

War And Foreign Policy Through The Eyes Of Vietnam Veterans

During the Vietnam War, more than 58,000 Americans died, as well as more than 2 million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 1:25 pm

Sen. John Kerry was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate to become the next secretary of state. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel awaits his turn before the Senate Armed Services Committee to become secretary of defense.

Both men are decorated Vietnam War veterans, and their critics and supporters point to their experiences in Vietnam as essential to their qualifications.

Hagel volunteered to serve in Vietnam and was wounded twice. Kerry commanded a swift boat in the Mekong Delta, and on his return home, he angrily threw away his decorations to protest the war.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Those 'Hygienic' Toilet Seats At O'Hare May Not Be So Clean

A concourse at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

If you have to go while at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, then you need to know this:

"Motorized 'hygienic seats' that a controversial new janitorial contractor installed recently at O'Hare Airport are not very hygienic after all," the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

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Parenting
10:13 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Social Media: OMG! Do Parents Get It?

From tablets and iPhones to Twitter and Instagram, technology is changing the way children interact with the world. Host Michel Martin talks with a roundtable of parents about encouraging digital exploration, while keeping kids safe.

Education
10:08 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Topping College Graduate Rates, Is It Worth It?

President Obama wants the nation to produce 8 million more college graduates by the year 2020. But can it be done, and how much would it cost? Host Michel Martin puts those questions to Anthony Carnevale, Director and Research Professor of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The Salt
10:02 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Why Chicken Wings Dominate Super Bowl Snack Time

Blame sports bars for the chicken wing boom, especially on Super Bowl Sunday.
jeffreyw Flickr.com

Take a look at this remarkable graph — is it the stock market? Home sales?

Nope. Click on the blue box in the lower right-hand corner and you'll see that the blue line tracks the number of chicken wings that Americans bought at grocery stores over the last year. See that mighty surge of wing-buying in early February? Apparently, you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings — millions and millions of chicken wings.

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Technology
9:59 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Finding Learning Tools In Digital Footprints

Nkomo Morris, a teacher at Brooklyn's Art and Media High School, works on her classroom computer in New York.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 10:10 am

Throughout Tell Me More's series, "Social Me," Rey Junco shares the research he's done as a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society into how how young people interact online.

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The Salt
8:33 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Raw Beef Kibbeh Blamed In Salmonella Outbreak. Is Steak Tartare Next?

A traditional steak tartare with egg, onion and capers.
iStockphoto.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is amplifying recommendations it's made for years: Don't eat raw or undercooked ground beef. And the call may take on new significance in the wake of reports released last week about a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella in which nearly half the victims reported eating a raw ground beef dish at the same restaurant.

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Law
2:03 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Armed 'Good Guys' And The Realities Of Facing A Gunman

The NRA and some concealed-carry activists say the best defense against gun violence is armed "good guys." Here, a man fires his pistol at an indoor range in Aurora, Colo., last summer.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 6:18 pm

As the nation ponders how to stop the next mass shooting, the gun rights movement offers a straight-forward formula, laid out famously by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said last month, as his group responded to the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

One Man's Story

In Washington state, one such "good guy" — a private citizen who drew his gun in defense of others — paid a heavy price.

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Around the Nation
3:16 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Unbridled Kentuckians Decide It's Time For A Kick-Ass New Slogan

Whit Hiler (left) and Griffin VanMeter are spearheading the campaign to change Kentucky's slogan from Unbridled Spirit to Kentucky Kicks Ass.
KentuckyForKentucky

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Kentucky is known for horse racing, bourbon and college basketball. And if a couple of creative advertising professionals have any say in the matter, the Bluegrass State will be world renowned for something else.

They want the state to replace its current slogan, Unbridled Spirit, with a new one — Kentucky Kicks Ass.

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Law
3:16 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Immigration Reform Plan Gets Mixed Reviews Across Country

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The debate in Washington over immigration reform is underway. Today, a bipartisan group of senators released a framework for sweeping changes to the nation's immigration laws. President Obama is scheduled to unveil his own plan in Nevada tomorrow. The Senate outline includes, among other things, a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants now living in the U.S. illegally. It also calls for stricter border security and employment verification.

As NPR's Debbie Elliott reports, the plan is already getting mixed reviews.

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National Security
3:15 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Pentagon To Dramatically Expand 'Cyber Warrior' Force

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

And we begin this hour with talk of America's cybersecurity and All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: The U.S. military is facing the prospect of serious budget cuts in the coming months, but one area is set to grow. Defense officials say they are planning a huge increase in its force of cyber warriors.

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Environment
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

The Silver Lining In Drought: 5 Upsides To Rain-Free Weather

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Drought is mostly seen as a bad thing — and for good reason. It dries up crops, destroys landscaping and stops ships from moving. But even the lack of rain clouds has a bright side.

Good For Grapes

Last summer it seemed like all Midwestern farmers were upset over the lack of rain. But not all of them were; those growing grapes were embracing the drought.

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Around the Nation
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

New Gold Rush Has Little Luster For Some In The Golden State

Miner Steve Ator cleans a drill bit inside the Lincoln Project Mine, in Sutter Creek, Calif.
Lauren Sommer KQED

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Gold mines are reopening in California, some dating all the way back to the Gold Rush. Soaring gold prices are drawing mining companies back into the Sierra Nevada foothills. But some communities fear the effect on local environments.

Dan Boitano, a fifth-generation miner, has been working as a tour guide in the Golden State's historic gold country. His family has been around since the Gold Rush.

Up until a few years ago, he was still guiding tours for visitors.

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National Security
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

New Threat Emerges At Intersection Of Terrorism, Syndicated Crime

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This month's hostage taking at a natural gas plant in Algeria shows how international terrorism is evolving. Groups such as al-Qaida have long been motivated by radical ideology. What's happening now in North Africa is a little different. For groups there, there's also a financial motive.

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports on the dangerous intersection of terrorism and syndicated crime.

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History
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Dillingham Commission's Ranking Of Immigrant Groups Affected U.S. Policy For Decades

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

As momentum grows for immigration reform, Audie Cornish takes a look back in time at another moment when the country was grappling with its immigrant population. In the early 1900s, the Dillingham Commission was mandated by Congress to undertake a massive study of immigrants. We take a look at the 1911 report with Senate Associate Historian Betty Koed. Its conclusions led the country to prioritize certain immigrants over others. We explore how those findings still reverberate today with Richard Alba, a professor of sociology who has spent decades studying the immigrant experience.

Around the Nation
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Bipartisan Immigration Reform Plan 'A Major Breakthrough'

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

A bipartisan group of eight senators unveiled a plan to overhaul the nation's immigration laws on Monday.

Education
3:09 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Lockdowns The Norm For Schools With Frequent Threats

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 11:42 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Long before the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, school administrators and teachers across the country had been thinking hard about how to respond to danger on campus. Lockdowns are one technique that school safety experts say have become more common since the Columbine shooting in 1999. Robyn Gee spent two years as a teacher in San Francisco before becoming a reporter for Youth Radio. We asked her to look into how lockdowns are being used in the Bay Area.

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Afghanistan
2:00 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Women In Combat: What Do Troops In Afghanistan Think?

U.S. troops in Afghanistan appear to have mixed feelings about the decision lifting the ban on women in combat positions. Some women already operate in combat zones. Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley is shown here with her Marine Corps team in Musa Qala, Afghanistan, in November 2010.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 6:17 pm

The new U.S. military policy on women serving in combat roles was crafted in Washington, but it will play out in places like Afghanistan.

And sitting outside at the military base at the Kabul airport, male and female troops offered their thoughts on what the new policy might mean.

"I wasn't completely surprised with it. It's not anything we haven't discussed before," said Capt. Monica Paden, a military intelligence officer from San Diego. "We have been slowly being integrated into combat arms and into units in support roles."

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Digital Life
10:22 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Can Online Anonymity Be A Good Thing?

Mariah Arostigue (left) and Noah Reyes, 11th-graders, chat as they work on their homework in a pre-calculus class at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, Calif.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 10:08 am

Tell Me More's "Social Me" series looks at how young people interact online — with a focus on online identities, privacy issues and breakthroughs in Internet-based learning.

Throughout the series, Rey Junco shares his research as a faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He tells NPR's Michel Martin that there's more to online identities than the constant cycle of headlines about cyberbullying, "slut-shaming" and "catfishing."

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National Security
10:11 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Rep. Duckworth: About Time For Women In Combat

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:55 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up in the program we will have the first of a series of conversations we're having this week about how young people are using social media. We're calling the series Social Me and that will be later in the program.

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Sun January 27, 2013

A Doctor's Kindness Gives Homeless Inventor A Second Chance

Mike Williams (left) was homeless and broke in Sacramento, Calif., when he met Dr. Jong Chen. Now the two men are working together to develop a portable housing pod for the homeless.
Courtesy of Mike Williams

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 4:34 pm

In California in the early 1980s, a cracked tooth sent Mike Williams to the dentist's office.

When Williams asked to see the tooth, the dentist said he had a mirror but that there was no camera or anything to show people the insides of their mouths. So, Williams invented one: the first intraoral camera.

His invention was a big success, and it led to other medical technology ventures that made him millions of dollars. Williams' career as an inventor and entrepreneur took off, but it wouldn't last.

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The Two-Way
8:38 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Gun-Control Advocates Should Listen More, Obama Says

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, talks at the White House on Jan. 16 about proposals to reduce gun violence. Obama has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and is pushing other policies in the wake of the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Charles Dharapak AP

President Obama said that those support gun control should "do a little more listening" to differing viewpoints in the debate over firearms in the U.S.

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U.S.
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Ending Combat Ban More Change In Thinking Than In Reality

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 8:00 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

It was an announcement that made history.

SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: If they can do the job, if they can meet the standards...

MARTIN: Something that will change the U.S. military in a fundamental way.

PANETTA: If they can meet, you know, the qualifications that are involved here, there is no reason why they shouldn't have a chance.

MARTIN: Women can now officially serve in combat. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made the announcement last week.

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