KTEP - El Paso, Texas

U.S. News

After Betsy DeVos' Senate confirmation hearing yesterday — all three hours and change — we know a little more about Donald Trump's pick to be the next education secretary.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, DeVos faced questions on a range of issues, from private school vouchers and charter school oversight to guns in schools.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Rarely have U.S. Supreme Court arguments been more schizophrenic than they were on Wednesday.

The justices were hearing a challenge to the 1946 trademark law barring the federal registration of trademarks that "disparage" groups and individuals. The challenge was brought by an Asian-American rock group called, "The Slants."

The band members acknowledge that the name they picked for their group is seen as offensive and racist by many Asian-Americans, but they say they are seeking to reclaim the term and make it something positive.

The first results from a major project to measure the reliability of cancer research have highlighted a big problem: Labs trying to repeat published experiments often can't.

That's not to say that the original studies are wrong. But the results of a review published Thursday, in the open-access journal eLife, are a sobering reminder that science often fails at one of its most basic requirements — an experiment in one lab ought to be reproducible in another one.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Cold and flu season means plenty of parents are trying to figure out whether their kid is too sick to go to child care or school.

On Wednesday, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., goes before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in his first grilling since he was nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. This isn't an official confirmation hearing. That comes Jan. 24, before the Senate Finance Committee. But with outspoken senators such as Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on the HELP committee, Price is certain to face tough questions.

Here are five things to look out for:

Obamacare

In a flood of clemency orders before he leaves office, President Obama commuted the sentences of 209 people and pardoned 64 others on Tuesday. The vast majority of offenders had been convicted of drug-related crimes. Two were involved in cases about leaks of government material. And two were cultural stars of past decades who had run afoul of the IRS.

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the U.S. Department of Interior, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., says he does not believe climate change is a hoax and promises to bring a Teddy Roosevelt-style approach to managing federal public lands.

Zinke made the comments at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday. The congressman and decorated former Navy SEAL commander faced about four hours of questioning.

All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.

A partial repeal of Obamacare could leave 18 million people who have insurance today with no coverage one year later, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The report estimates that 32 million people would lose their insurance over 10 years.

In one of his last moves in office, President Obama has commuted the 35-year prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army private who leaked a massive trove of military secrets to WikiLeaks.

The former intelligence analyst's prison sentence has been shortened to expire on May 17, 2017, according to a statement from the White House.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

As the presidency of Barack Obama comes to an end, we're taking stock - and so is he.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

The education philosophy of Betsy DeVos boils down to one word: choice. The billionaire has used her money to support the expansion of public charter schools and private school vouchers.

For more than three hours on Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Education Department handled tough questions on school choice, charters and the future of the nation's schools from the Senate committee that handles education.

In her opening remarks, DeVos made clear she doesn't think traditional public schools are a good fit for every child.

Donald Trump loves superlatives: words like "biggest," "best" and "greatest" pepper many of his statements, whether at a microphone or on Twitter. But a recent poll lends him another, less attractive superlative: the lowest favorability rating of any incoming president in at least 40 years.

For all their differences, when Donald Trump takes the oath of office to succeed Barack Obama on Friday, one small but symbolic similarity will be on display. Trump will place his hand on the Bible that President Lincoln used at his first inauguration, the same one President Obama used at both of his swearing in ceremonies.

The Lincoln Bible was purchased for the 1861 inauguration by Supreme Court Clerk William Thomas Carroll.

Several times a month, you can find a doctor in the aisles of Ralph's market in Huntington Beach, Calif., wearing a white coat and helping people learn about food. On one recent day, this doctor was Daniel Nadeau, wandering the cereal aisle with Allison Scott, giving her some ideas on how to feed kids who studiously avoid anything that tastes healthy.

"Have you thought about trying smoothies in the morning?" he asks her. "The frozen blueberries and raspberries are a little cheaper, and berries are really good for the brain."

Copyright 2017 WOSU Public Media. To see more, visit WOSU Public Media.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There hasn't been a more controversial pick for secretary of education, arguably, in recent memory than Donald Trump's choice of Betsy DeVos. The Senate confirmation hearings for the billionaire Republican fundraiser and activist from Michigan start today.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The last person to leave footprints on the moon has died. NASA reported that Gene Cernan died Monday at the age of 82, surrounded by his family.

Gene Cernan flew in space three times, including twice to the moon. Cernan was big, brash and gregarious. And if he hadn't been lucky, he could have missed his chance to walk on the moon.

It was the first day of school for Dan Lear's three kids. In a scramble to get his boys to class on time, the Seattle lawyer wound up parking in a space he probably should have avoided.

"There was a fire hydrant, but the curb wasn't painted and the fire hydrant was painted a kind of a funny color. And so I thought, and maybe it was wishful thinking, but I thought I would be OK to park there," he says.

Sure enough, Lear returned to a ticket.

Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, has been arrested on federal charges.

Salman is charged with "Aiding and Abetting by providing material support to a terrorist and Obstruction of Justice," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement.

On June 12, 2016, 49 people died when Mateen opened fire at Pulse in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He was killed in a firefight with police.

The U.S. has released 10 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the Arab nation of Oman, reducing the detainee population to 45 in the waning days of the Obama administration.

The freed prisoners were not identified by name or nationality, though the Oman News Agency, citing the country's Foreign Ministry, reported that the 10 had arrived in the country on Monday for "temporary residence."

President-elect Donald Trump said he's finishing a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a proposal that would provide "insurance for everybody," according to a report by The Washington Post.

European leaders are expressing alarm after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said the EU is "basically a vehicle for Germany" and reiterated his view that NATO is "obsolete."

Speaking about the EU, Trump said "people want their own identity," and therefore "I believe others will leave." He has previously applauded the U.K.'s decision last year to depart from the 28-nation bloc and repeated that sentiment, saying that "I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing."

Ernest Peterson has spent his entire adult life in Washington, D.C. — almost all of it in Shaw, a neighborhood of colorful row houses and tree-lined side streets about 2 miles from the White House. In Shaw, Peterson bought his first house and started a business. And, for 20 years, on the Saturday before Labor Day, he organized a community picnic at the elementary school near his house. Over the years, friends and neighbors moved away or got locked up. He lost touch with many of them.

Pages