Committe Chairman John Kerry , D-MA, speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Robert Beecroft to be ambassador to Iraq Sept. 19 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:19 pm
President Obama has yet to make known his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but plenty of Republicans have made theirs: John Kerry.
And that puts the Massachusetts senator and former Democratic presidential nominee in a bit of a bind. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he'd normally be one of the loudest voices defending U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice against GOP attacks that she mishandled her role in explaining an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. But she's the other top contender for the Cabinet post.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Now that President Obama's been re-elected, it's clear that at least the president won't try to repeal Obamacare. But with all the political mud-slinging about the Affordable Care Act, the details sort of got lost, didn't they? Do you actually know what the law does for you, and just as importantly what it doesn't do, what changes to your health care kick in on January 1, what major changes kick in in 2014 and thereafter?
Maisie Kate Miller regularly wore pigtails to her Massachusetts high school, but her hairstyle made her a target for a bully. Miller asked friends on Facebook to wear pigtails in solidarity. When word got out, she turned into a national anti-bullying crusader. Maisie Kate Miller talks about her "Pigtails 4 Peace" protest with host Michel Martin.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 8:54 am
There's a developing story this morning from Paulsboro, N.J., south and across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, where several railroad tank cars have derailed and fallen into a creek after a bridge collapse.
It's being reported that the cars were transporting vinyl chloride, which could ignite and would be highly irritating if breathed in. There are local reports of about 18 people being treated for breathing problems.
Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe, and four other Native Americans led a class-action land use lawsuit against the U.S. government. Cobell is shown here in 2009 with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar after an announcement on the settlement of the lawsuit. Cobell died last year.
Federal officials are working to send out $1,000 checks in the next few weeks to hundreds of thousands of Native Americans. The money stems from a settlement of the Cobell case, a landmark $3.4 billion settlement over mismanagement of federal lands held in trust for Native American people.
The case was brought by Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe, and four other Native Americans in 1996.
Back in 1984, Congress gave authorities the power to let people out of federal prison early, in extraordinary circumstances, like if inmates were gravely ill or dying. But a new report says the Federal Bureau of Prisons blocks all but a few inmates from taking advantage of "compassionate release."
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 5:22 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to make it a little harder for police to read people's old emails. It's something privacy groups and tech companies have wanted for years, but law enforcement groups are less pleased.
For more than 20 years, the Rev. Eric Williams has educated people about AIDS and helped those who suffer from the disease. But the focus of Williams' ministry isn't something he could have predicted back in 1991.
In those days, Williams was a young pastor who had only recently taken charge of his own church — Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. He had been ordained in 1988.
A new report finds the U.S. birth rate has dropped to its lowest level on record, led by a dramatic decline in births among immigrant women. The trend has been visible at La Clinica del Pueblo, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that holds a weekly neonatal clinic.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to make old emails a little more private on Thursday. The legislation also applies to old Facebook posts, Google documents and anything else you might be hiding online behind a password.
Scott Horsley talks to Melissa Block about who's in the top two percent of American taxpayers. That group would have their taxes raised if President Obama gets his way in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:02 pm
The popular website Intrade allows its users to bet on the odds of almost anything — like whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will get ousted by a certain date, or whether the movie Argo will win best picture at the Oscars.
This week, Ireland-based Intrade announced that U.S. users will have to unwind their bets and shut down their accounts by the end of the year. That's after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Intrade for operating an unregistered exchange.
The taste of Mock's tomatoes starts with the seed. He uses only organic varieties, including cherry and several heirloom varieties.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
There's a greenhouse boom around the country, thanks in part to the "buy local" movement. Paul Mock grows tomatoes, herbs and other veggies year-round in his Berkeley Springs, W.Va., greenhouse and sells to groceries and restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic.
Credit Allison Aubrey / NPR
"This is unprecedented, the level of opportunity," says Mock, whose business is booming.
It may sound like an oxymoron: a delicious local, winter tomato — especially if you happen to live in a cold climate.
But increasingly, farmers from West Virginia to Maine and through the Midwest are going indoors to produce tomatoes and other veggies in demand during the winter months. "There's a huge increase in greenhouse operations," Harry Klee of the University of Florida tells us.
Before Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton passes the reins to her successor, she's got a few loose ends to tie up. One of them is mapping out the U.S.'s continuing efforts to combat AIDS around the world.
So today she unveiled a "blueprint" for what she called an "AIDS-free generation."
Now Clinton isn't talking about ending the HIV pandemic altogether. Rather, she hopes to prevent most new infections from occurring in the first place and to stop HIV-positive people from developing AIDS.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan with a special broadcast today from the Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Today's show is part of a project called The National Conversation, a joint production of the Wilson Center and NPR.
The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
Yesterday, in the Bronx, Chris Veres took his grandfather to see Dr. Bob Murrow. He was worried about his grandfather's heart. Dr. Murrow talked to the family and ordered a cardiogram, which came back normal.
It was a pretty routine visit. But what happens next for the doctor — getting paid by Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for the elderly — is suddenly sort of a big deal.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
The multinational oil firm BP is being taken to account for the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, the Obama administration banned BP from any new contacts with the federal government, citing, quote, "a lack of business integrity" related to the spill - that after BP admitted criminal wrongdoing in its recent settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.
Keith Gresham, 65, lines up four medications he takes at his home in Detroit in 2011. The self-employed painter was without health insurance for about a decade and was happy to finally turn 65 last year so he could qualify for Medicare.
Whenever the discussion turns to saving money in Medicare, the idea of raising the eligibility age often comes up.
"I don't think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's This Week last Sunday. "Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67."
A worker inspects a huge target chamber at the National Ignition Facility in California, in 2001, where beams from 192 lasers are aimed at a pellet of fusion fuel in the hopes of creating nuclear fusion.
Credit Bloomberg / Getty Images
A hydrogen-filled target called a hohlraum is displayed inside the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California in 2009.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:18 pm
In Washington's latest game of chicken, President Obama is counting on voters who see things his way to give him the edge in his quest to get congressional Republicans to accept tax increases on the nation's wealthiest as part of any fiscal cliff deal.
To energize those voters, the president is ramping up a series of campaign-style events meant to educate the public about the stakes, as he sees them, of letting the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans expire if no agreement is reached by year's end.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:58 pm
Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.
Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.