Patty Gold may be the loudest spectator at the bottom of the half-pipe, with her cheers, gasps and the yelling of her children's names. She mostly stands perfectly still with her hands clasped to her face, waiting for scores, safe landings, and possibly medals.
Saying that his state must take steps to plan for prolonged water shortages, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over an extended drought Friday. California faces "water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history," according to the governor's office.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:16 pm
A controversial North Carolina law requiring women who want to have an abortion to undergo an ultrasound scan is illegal, according to a federal judge's ruling issued Friday. The state's law required that the women have a medical professional tell them what the image depicts. It also said the women should "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child."
The U.S. Supreme Court is delving into the technology-versus-privacy debate, agreeing to hear two cases that test whether police making an arrest may search cellphones without a warrant.
The court's announcement Friday that it would take the cases came just hours after President Obama outlined his proposals to address government retention of citizen phone data as part of his speech outlining reforms at the National Security Agency.
If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama's NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix.
Whether from strong NSA supporters or agency critics, the reactions sounded similar: Congress intends to do much of the steering in the drive to overhaul the NSA's gathering of certain non-public information, especially consumer phone records, in the nation's counterterrorism efforts.
Even so, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of politics in some of the reaction.
President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill into law Friday afternoon, enacting more than 1,500 pages of legislation that received broad support in the House and Senate earlier this week. The expansive bill ensures the U.S. government won't face a potential shutdown until at least October.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. In New Orleans, a court decision threatens to bankrupt the public school system. A state appeals court ruled that the school board for Orleans Parrish wrongly terminated some 7,000 teachers and other school employees after Hurricane Katrina. They're to be awarded two to three years back pay.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown has signed an emergency drought declaration, saying his state is seeing the driest weather in about a century. This is California's third consecutive dry year with no appreciable rain in sight. As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, cities and counties across the state are taking drastic measures.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut shares his reaction to President Obama's proposed reforms of the National Security Agency. Blumenthal has pushed for reforms of the courts established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Lawmakers are promising new efforts to restore jobless benefits for long-term unemployed, but it may take a while - 1.4 million people who've been out of work long term saw their benefits disappear three weeks ago. Congress failed to agree on funding to renew them. NPR's Tovia Smith visited with a few people who are without work in Boston.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:40 pm
Freedom Industries, the West Virginia company that's been blamed for a chemical spill that left around 300,000 people without water for days, has filed for bankruptcy. The chemical used in cleaning coal leaked into the Elk River and into the public water system.
American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.
Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.
Cecilia Abadie, the motorist who was cited for allegedly speeding — and driving while wearing Google Glass — has won her day in court, after a San Diego traffic commissioner ruled there was no proof Abadie had the device's screen on while she drove.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 5:44 pm
A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill has gained Senate approval, allowing Congress to send a wide-ranging bill to President Obama for his signature. The massive bill will prevent any gaps in government funding as well as take some of the sting out of automatic spending cuts.
Megan Yurko is small, but she's a big name in barrel racing. And the 16-year-old is on track to be crowned the world's top cowgirl barrel racer at the upcoming International Professional Rodeo Association's finals in Oklahoma City.
Just under 4-foot-10, Megan depends on her 1,200-pound filly Beea in a sport where the fastest rider around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern wins.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 6:09 pm
Russell Johnson, the actor whose job it was to be the voice of reason and calm on an island of shipwrecked ninnies, has died at age 89, according to reports. Johnson's role as the Professor on the 1960s comedy Gilligan's Island endeared him to audiences who watched him build radios and generators from things like coconuts and palm branches.
Johnson reportedly died of natural causes today at his home in Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Tracy Barnes just secured a spot on the U.S. Olympic team heading to Sochi — but almost immediately, she decided to give it up.
She surrendered her spot to her twin, Lanny. The 31-year-old sisters compete in biathlon, the sport that combines cross-country skiing and shooting. Both competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, and Lanny competed in 2010 as well.
Lanny fell ill during selection races in Italy this past weekend, and she finished sixth, dashing her hopes of qualifying. Only the top five make the Olympic team; Tracy qualified at fifth place.
In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.
"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Water officials in West Virginia are gradually lifting do not use orders for customers, after last week's chemical spill into the Elk River. But late yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control advised pregnant women not to drink the tap water still, out of an abundance of caution.
President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a meeting with college presidents and organizations involved in raising the number of low-income students who pursue a college degree. No more than half of low income high school graduates apply to college right after graduation, compared to 82 percent for high-income students. The administration says it's intent on closing that gap.
As recently as 2011, the National Security Agency was collecting almost 200 million text messages each day, according to a new story by The Guardian that cites documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The texts were used to develop financial and location data, the newspaper says.
A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.
For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.
If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.