U.S. News

The Salt
3:43 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

All Hail The Asparagus Queen! How Ag Pageants Lure New Contestants

The 2011 Asparagus Queen, Megan Roskan, and runner-up Christine Merten wave to spectators during an Independence Day parade in Whitehall, Mich. With interests waning in agricultural pageants, organizers are relaxing the requirements to encourage more people to apply.
Courtesy of Phil Squattrito

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

Forget Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Think you've got what it takes to be the Asparagus Queen?

Mainstream beauty pageants still get tons of applicants every year (even after the dip in participation during the 2008 recession). The same can't be said for the rural festival pageant circuits, The Wall Street Journal's Lindsay Gellman tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:27 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

HPV Vaccine Doesn't Promote Riskier Sexual Behavior In Teens

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination at the University of Miami in 2011. The vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 2:00 pm

More than a few parents have worried that the HPV vaccine might encourage girls to be more sexually active.

But girls say that's not so, even if they think, wrongly, that the HPV vaccine protects them against other sexually transmitted diseases.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

'Time Is Short' On Debt Ceiling, Treasury Secretary Says

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

Warning that "simply delaying action on the debt limit can cause harm to our economy," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew repeated Monday that he believes Congress should act soon to raise that limit so the federal government avoids even looking like it might default on its debts.

Read more
Business
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Lots Of Little Credit Charges Add Up To One Big Scam

Many consumers don't check their credit card bills carefully — which makes it easy to miss fraudulent charges.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:29 pm

Would you notice an unexpected charge of $10 or less on your credit card statement? Lots of consumers don't — and scammers count on that, says Steve Barnas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in northern Illinois.

But Barnas says the Better Business Bureau is now hearing from consumers across the country about $9.84 credit charges for what look to be very innocuous purchases. But while they may seem legitimate, many are not.

Read more
Education
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Part-Time Professors Demand Higher Pay; Will Colleges Listen?

Maria Maisto is an adjunct professor at Cuyahoga Community College and president of the national support group New Faculty Majority.
Claudio Sanchez NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 6:14 pm

When you think about minimum-wage workers, college professors don't readily come to mind. But many say that's what they are these days.

Of all college instructors, 76 percent, or over 1 million, teach part time because institutions save a lot of money when they replace full-time, tenured faculty with itinerant teachers, better known as adjuncts.

Read more
Law
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Undermanned And Limited, Chemical Safety Board Confronts A Crisis

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

Transcript

BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: I'm Brian Naylor in Washington.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

In The Wake Of Spill, West Virginians Still Don't Trust Their Tap

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

It's been more than three weeks since thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical contaminated the drinking water of approximately 300,000 West Virginia residents. Dave Mistich, of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, reports that even though government officials now say it's safe to drink the water, not everyone trusts that advice.

It's All Politics
2:11 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Report Creates Political Headache For Obama

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will run through this field near Bradshaw, Neb.
NH AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 4:11 pm

Any expectation that a new State Department report would clarify the Keystone XL pipeline issue went up in smoke in recent days.

In the aftermath of a conclusion that downplayed the oil pipeline's potential effects on climate change, the issue has gotten even more politically complicated for the Obama White House. Environmentalists are ramping up their opposition to the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, while Republicans have intensified their push for approval. As for Democrats, well, that depends on their election prospects.

Read more
Music
9:04 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Langston Hughes Poetry Reimagined On Singer Leyla McCalla's New Album

Tim Duffy

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:23 pm

Leyla McCalla, formerly of The Carolina Chocolate Drops, had an ambitious idea for her solo debut as a musician. She wanted to take poems by Harlem Renaissance legend Langston Hughes and put them to song. But McCalla told Tell Me More's host Michel Martin that she wasn't overwhelmed by the challenge.

Read more
Television
8:54 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Seinfeld, Coca-Cola and Cheerios: Which Super Bowl Ads Scored?

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. So there wasn't much suspense on the field in last night's Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks blowing out the Denver Broncos. But for fans who sit through the football to watch the ads there was plenty of action. Here to tell us more about the commercial hits and misses is Eric Deggans. He's NPR's TV critic. Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:27 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

The CDC would be happy with these guys, who were playing in Birmingham, Ala., in July 2013. Teenage boys say basketball is their favorite activity.
Mark Almond AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:43 am

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:26 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Young Athletes Risk Back Injury By Playing Too Much

A West Coast team player kicks the ball during a match at the Adidas Challenges America's Youth Soccer Stars tournament in Venice, Calif.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:27 am

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:45 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Abortions Reportedly Drop To Lowest Rate Since 1970s

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:39 am

Abortions in the U.S. resumed their downward trend between 2008 and 2011, according to a new study. But its authors say the recent surge of state laws intended to restrict the procedure is likely not the reason.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:20 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

The Brutal Business Of Heroin Brings Wave Of Overdoses In Pa.

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 4:42 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Drug-related deaths are scarring families and communities across the country. The area around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been hit especially hard. Twenty-two people have died there in less than two weeks, the latest in a wave of heroin overdoses. Police in Western Pennsylvania are blaming the deaths on an especially potent form of the street drug. After testing, they determined the heroin had been mixed with a prescription painkiller known as Fentanyl.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:19 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Following Oil Boom In N. Dakota: A Cultural Blooming?

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:25 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

This week, NPR has been reporting on the effects of the fracking boom in the area known as the Bakken. Williston, North Dakota, offers a haven for a new working class. Tens of thousands of newcomers have flocked to the oil field over the past five years. The region is flush with high-paying, low-scaled work. It's bringing a lot of economic development, and some are hoping it can bring cultural development too. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce has the story.

Read more
The Edge
3:17 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

After Decade-Long Fight, Ski Jumper Lindsey Van Is 'Ready To Fly'

Lindsey Van at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships last year, in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Mike Hewitt Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 4:34 pm

For more than a decade, ski jumper Lindsey Van dreamed of making the U.S. Olympic team, but one thing held her back: Female ski jumpers weren't allowed to compete. Until this year.

This month, the 29-year-old from Park City, Utah, will be one of the athletes competing at the Olympics on the U.S. women's ski jumping team. For Van, that competition marks the end of a very long road.

"Honestly, I don't really have words for it," she said at a press conference announcing the team. "I'm just completely overwhelmed and happy to be representing my sport."

Read more
The Salt
2:10 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Marijuana-Laced Treats Leave Colorado Jonesing For Food-Safety Rules

Truffles are among the many foods infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — already for sale in Colorado.
Luke Runyon/KUNC/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 10:00 am

Where there's pot, there's pot brownies. But how do you make sure those high-inducing sweets are safe to eat?

Colorado regulators are wrestling with that question now that the state has legalized recreational marijuana. From sodas and truffles to granola bars and butter, food products infused with THC – the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high — are already for sale.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:25 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Poll: Support For High School Football, Despite Concussion Risks

Most Americans are aware that football carries a risk of concussions. An NPR poll found a large proportion of people believe safety improvements are needed for football to remain a high school sport.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 12:26 pm

Making sure that children are active often means getting them interested in sports. But parents have to weigh the health risks of those sports, including hits that can cause concussions.

Concussions are brain injuries. Most people, including kids, recover from a concussion. But concussions, particularly repeated ones, can lead to serious, lasting health problems.

Read more
The Salt
8:56 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Sap Discovery Could Turn Syrup-Making Upside Down

Buckets collect sap on maple trees in Vermont. A new discovery means that sap doesn't have to be collected from mature trees out in the wild.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 10:51 am

Last year researchers at the University of Vermont announced something that could change the way we think about Vermont — or at least how it produces its famous maple syrup.

The time-honored method calls for inserting a tap near the bottom of a tall, mature maple tree. At the end of February, the tree thaws, and voila: Sap starts flowing out the spigot at the bottom.

But in 2010, these researchers were testing ways to gather sap from mature trees when they noticed something unusual.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:08 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Christie's Office Blasts Latest Bridgegate Accusations

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie waves to guests as he attends the Super Bowl Hand-Off Ceremony in New York on Saturday.
Eduardo Munoz Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 10:17 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political team is going on the offensive against charges that he knew more than he admits about a plan to use lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta.

In an email to donors and journalists headlined "5 Things You Should Know about the Bombshell That's Not a Bombshell," on Saturday, political aides to the governor pushed back on accusations by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closures.

Read more
All Tech Considered
7:57 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Should Uber Be Responsible For Driver Recklessness?

The transportation app Uber matches ride-seekers with drivers. Drivers must keep checking their phones to catch customers, and critics say that may have dangerous consequences on the road. Is Uber responsible for the risk?
Lucy Nicholson Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:04 am

A man named Syed Muzaffar drove for Uber, the San Francisco-based company that makes money selling car rides. He lives in a suburb of San Francisco and on New Year's Eve, he says, he was in the city for the sole purpose of picking up partygoers who needed a ride.

His night ended early and tragically, around 8 p.m., when he turned a corner and hit a family in a crosswalk.

"The mother sustained facial fractures," says Police Sgt. Eric Mahoney, who is investigating the case. "The 4-year-old boy suffered abrasions on his face, and the 6-year-old girl was fatally injured."

Read more
Energy
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Oil Train Derailments Spur Calls For Safety Measures

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:24 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Sports
7:01 am
Sun February 2, 2014

Seahawks, Broncos Fans Mingle In D.C. Watering Hole

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 12:17 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In living rooms and sports bars across the country later today, football fans -and yes, just those of us who want to watch the budget commercial and dig into nachos - will sit down to watch the Super Bowl. In Denver and Seattle living rooms, there will be less casual viewing, of course, and that goes for anywhere else that fans of the Broncos and Seahawks gather.

Read more
Parallels
5:53 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Knox Case Could Put U.S. In An Extradition Quandary

Amanda Knox waits on the set of ABC's Good Morning America on Friday in New York. Knox said she will fight the reinstated guilty verdict against her and an ex-boyfriend in the 2007 slaying of a British roommate in Italy and vowed to "never go willingly" to face her fate in that country's judicial system.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:06 pm

This week, Amanda Knox was found guilty, again, by an Italian court.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Hospitalized

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, seen here in 2009, was hospitalized Saturday after feeling ill returning from a business trip.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley was hospitalized on Saturday after returning from a business trip in Arizona.

Reporter Nova Safo told our Newscast unit that the 71-year-old Daley was taken to an intensive care unit at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he is undergoing tests.

The Associated Press adds:

Read more
Sports
3:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Battles And Bashes: What's News In Sports

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:45 pm

From the NFL's ban on head-to-head hits, the change in the playoff structure and predictions for the Super Bowl, A. Martinez from member station KPCC joins NPR's Arun Rath to discuss the latest in sports news.

U.S.
3:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Air Force Proficiency Cheating: More Than Punishment Needed?

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 4:45 pm

This past week, the U.S. Air Force announced that a cheating scandal among nuclear launch officers had grown. Now, the military says, more than 90 missile launch officers have been involved with cheating on monthly proficiency exams. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with former Air Force officer Brian Weeden, who thinks the missileer culture needs to change.

Energy
3:17 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

How The U.S. Oil Boom Is Changing The Industry's Landscape

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:02 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

There is an oil rush in North Dakota right now. That state is pumping out 10 times the crude oil it did just 10 years ago. Fortunes are being made and once-sleepy towns are now bursting at the seams. This week, NPR is exploring how this oil-drilling boom is changing North Dakota.

NPR's Jeff Brady is one of the reporters working on the series, and he joins me. Jeff, why is this rush for oil happening in North Dakota?

Read more
Energy
1:25 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

'A Global Bathtub': Rethinking The U.S. Oil Export Ban

A pipeline carries oil at the federal Strategic Petroleum Reserve facility near Beaumont, Texas. U.S. oil companies are urging an end to a 1970s-era ban on oil exports.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 8:00 am

When oil supplies ran short and gasoline prices spiked four decades ago, angry drivers demanded relief. Congress responded in 1975 by banning most exports of U.S. crude oil.

Today, domestic oil production is booming, prompting U.S. energy companies to call for a resumption of exporting. Many economists agree.

But would that bring back the bad old days of shortages? Would you end up paying more at the pump?

Read more
The Two-Way
1:23 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Punxsutawney Phil Vs. The Farmers' Almanac: Whom Do You Trust?

Turns out that Phil's only 39 percent accurate, about the same as The Farmers' Almanac and its rival, The Old Farmer's Almanac.
Keith Srakocic AP

Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 8:16 am

Punxsutawney Phil, the weather forecasting groundhog, will be rudely rustled from his winter slumber Sunday morning to answer the question of the day: shadow or no shadow? Six more weeks of winter or an early spring?

Why this fascination with Phil? Well, scientifically speaking, long-range forecasting is at best a crapshoot.

Read more

Pages