U.S. News

The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Sat September 28, 2013

Report On Arizona Hotshots' Deaths Finds A Communications Gap

A map shows the movements of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew as they fought the Yarnell Hill fire in late June.
Arizona State Forestry Division

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:40 pm

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It's All Politics
1:04 pm
Sat September 28, 2013

My Governor Can Beat Up Your Governor (Or Thinks He Can)

In friendlier times, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in a 2011 panel discussion in Washington, D.C. At the time, O'Malley was chairman of the Democratic Governors Association; Perry was chairman of the Republican Governors Association. Now they're in a spat over Perry's efforts to lure Maryland businesses to Texas.
Alex Brandon AP

Rick Perry wants your business.

The Republican governor has been turning up in other states, touting the wonders of Texas and promising business owners they'll find lower taxes and more manageable regulation there.

"It does help get the word out to business leaders that may be frustrated," says David Carney, a longtime consultant to Perry. "Going in person can get literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of free media coverage."

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Sat September 28, 2013

House Ties Government Funding To One-Year Obamacare Delay

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol on Saturday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 6:52 am

Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET Sunday

The House voted early Sunday to tie government funding to a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare, sending the dispute back to the Senate, where it is certain to get a frosty reception. The House measure also repeals the Affordable Care Act's tax on medical devices.

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The Two-Way
7:26 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Women's Health Groups Sue Texas Over Its New Abortion Law

Women's health clinics have sued the state of Texas over its new abortion law, which they say will close more than a third of abortion providers in the state. Here, advocates for and against the bill are seen outside the Texas Capitol in Austin in July.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:08 am

More than a dozen women's health care clinics have filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas, seeking to revoke parts of a controversial health law that puts new restrictions on clinics that provide abortions.

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Law
5:58 am
Sat September 28, 2013

BP Oil Spill Trial To Begin Second Phase

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 9:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.

SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.

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It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: Obama Says 'Gears Of Our Economy' At Risk

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:25 pm

Friday's highlights:

As expected, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed its own version of a short-term spending bill. It's the version the House approved last week, minus language that would defund Obamacare. That effectively tossed the ball back to the Republican-controlled House.

And President Obama warned House Republicans to avoid the twin disruptions of a government shutdown (at midnight Monday) and a debt default (in mid-October).

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Shutdown Politics, Bill Clinton-Style

President Clinton shakes hands with House Speaker Newt Gingrich prior to giving his State of the Union address in January 1996.
Denis Paquin AP

If the government shuts down on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be temporarily forced out of their jobs — and we will almost certainly begin to hear a few of their stories soon after.

On NPR's Tell Me More Friday, Ron Elving, NPR's senior Washington editor, reminded us of a Social Security Administration worker, Richard Dean, who was laid off during the 1995-96 government shutdown and thrust into the forefront of the budget debate by President Bill Clinton.

What made his story unique?

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Ex-U.S. Army Sniper Instructor Nabbed In Thai 'Hit Squad' Sting

Joseph Manuel Hunter (center) is escorted by Thai police commandos to Police Aviation Division after being arrested, in Bangkok on Thursday.
Sakchai Lalit Associated Press

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:53 pm

Two former U.S. Army sergeants are among those facing charges in connection with an alleged international hit squad after their extradition from Thailand in a case the prosecuting U.S. attorney says reads like a Tom Clancy novel.

Joseph Manuel Hunter, 48, nicknamed "Rambo," was arrested by Thai authorities after a sting operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, along with Timothy Vamvakias and at least three others on the resort island of Phuket on Thursday.

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Economy
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Is The Fed Chair Succession Too Politicized?

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. There was once a time when naming a new Federal Reserve chairman was a non-event. Well, not this time. The competition between supporters for former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and the current vice chairman of the Fed, Janet Yellen has been a highly public affair.

As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there's concern that the high profile discussion could politicize the Fed succession in a way that could ultimately hurt the economy.

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Around the Nation
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Report To Detail What Led To Deaths Of 19 Ariz. Firefighters

In Arizona, the state Forestry Division will release its official report Saturday regarding the the Yarnell Hill fire, where 19 elite firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were killed. The deaths shook firefighters across the country. They and others hope the report addresses problems they see in current firefighting policies.

Your Money
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Nixed Flood Insurance Subsidy Drowns Coastal Home Values

In Florida, Louisiana, New York and other coastal states, many homeowners are in shock at new flood insurance rates that are rapidly approaching. After Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy left the National Flood Insurance Program $24 billion in the red, Congress revamped the program--phasing out subsidies. One group especially upset are new homeowners--people who bought a property and are now seeing their flood insurance costs skyrocket, making the property no longer affordable.

Politics
3:17 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

States Face Language Barriers To Health Exchange Sign Up

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

For millions of uninsured people, Tuesday is a big day. That's when they can start signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. But for people who speak little or no English, it may be a difficult process. Illinois, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, is working to make sure that language is not a barrier to enroll in. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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All Tech Considered
2:01 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Record Label Picks Copyright Fight — With The Wrong Guy

Law professor Lawrence Lessig, shown here in 2009, is suing an Australian record label for threatening to sue him over an alleged YouTube copyright violation.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:32 pm

An Australian record label may have picked a fight with the wrong guy. The label sent a standard takedown notice threatening to sue after YouTube computers spotted its music in a video.

It turns out that video was posted by one of the most famous copyright attorneys in the world, and Lawrence Lessig is suing back.

Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor, has lectured around the world about how copyright law needs to adapt to the Internet age. In his lecture, he shows examples of people who have used the Internet to "share their culture and remix other people's creations."

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All Tech Considered
12:58 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Online Comments, iPad Hacks And The ACC

What to do about trolls in comments sections? It's part of a big conversation in tech this week.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:12 pm

It's time for your NPR All Tech Week in Review! Here's a rundown, in case you missed any of the technology and culture coverage on the airwaves and around the interwebs this week.

ICYMI

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All Tech Considered
12:09 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Phantom Phone Vibrations: So Common They've Changed Our Brains?

Phantom Vibration Syndrome: That phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating when it's not.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Phantom vibration — that phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating but it's not — has been around only since the mobile age. And five years ago, when its wider existence became recognized, news organizations, including ours, covered the "syndrome" as a sign of the digital encroachment in our lives. Today, it's so common that researchers have devoted studies to it.

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It's All Politics
10:04 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Women Donors Helped Fuel Obama Campaign

Supporters look on as President Obama speaks about the choice facing women in the upcoming election at an October 2012 campaign event.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama was more dependent on female campaign contributors in 2012 than any presidential candidate in recent history.

According to a new report from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, female donors accounted for more than 44 percent of Obama's campaign contributions, the most for any White House hopeful since at least 1988.

The GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, received just 28 percent of his campaign cash from women.

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All Tech Considered
8:30 am
Fri September 27, 2013

This Law Wants To Save Teens' Reputations, But Probably Won't

California State Sen. Darrell Steinberg applauded the governor for signing the legislation, saying that it gives minors "common sense protections" online.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:02 pm

Starting in 2015, social networking sites must allow minors in California to delete their posts, according to a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this week.

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Research News
1:06 am
Fri September 27, 2013

How Recycling Bias Affects What You Toss Where

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:07 am

During an experiment, marketing professor Remi Trudel noticed a pattern in what his volunteers were recycling versus throwing in the garbage. He then went through his colleagues' trash and recycling bins at Boston University for more data.

He found the same pattern, says NPR's Shankar Vedantam: "Whole sheets of paper typically went in the recycling, but paper fragments went in the trash."

Same type of paper, different shapes, different bins.

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StoryCorps
1:03 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Dad To Son: 'I Was Not Going To Let You Drop'

Josh Lampert started having psychotic episodes in college. He's now 32, and he sat down with his father, Chuck, to remember what that struggle was like for both of them.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:41 am

Josh Lampert started having psychotic episodes in college, when he was 19 and living in Seattle.

"My diagnosis was psychotic depression," he told his father, Chuck, during a visit to StoryCorps. "You can hallucinate sounds and smells and tastes. And my mistake was doing drugs, because sometimes the line got blurred of what is real and what isn't. Other people seemed like they had so much — social relationships and girlfriends, and I was just trying to function."

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All Tech Considered
1:02 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Students Find Ways To Hack School-Issued iPads Within A Week

Customers test out iPad minis on display in Los Angeles. Students who received free iPads from the Los Angeles Unified School District in a deal with Apple are finding ways to use them for more than just classwork.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:53 am

Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. The rollout is in the first of three phases, and ultimately, the goal is to distribute more than 600,000 devices.

But less than a week after getting their iPads, almost 200 of the districts' high school students found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use.

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It's All Politics
4:44 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

What The House Wants: A Debt Ceiling Preview

The government shutdown battle is just the beginning — next comes a fight over the nation's debt ceiling.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:53 pm

The showdown over a possible government shutdown is still going on, but already some Republicans are thinking about the next big battle on the horizon — the debt ceiling.

On Thursday, the House GOP's wish list of demands in return for raising the government's debt limit went public.

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U.S.
3:55 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Fresno Officials Dismantle Homeless Encampments

A former encampment. Fresno officials have dismantled three shantytowns.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:19 pm

Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.

In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.

Underneath Highway 180

Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.

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It's All Politics
3:54 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Tea Party Strains GOP's Ties To Big Business

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks at a Sept. 10 Capitol Hill rally against Obamacare.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:10 pm

Is the GOP still the "party of business"?

With the party's long-standing and ongoing push for lower taxes and fewer regulations — both in Washington and in state legislatures — Republicans can reasonably make that claim.

Yet some of the congressional Republican rhetoric in the battle over a continuing resolution, the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare makes it clear that there's a significant amount of tension between the party and the business community.

Much of the strong language comes from the Tea Party and its friends on Capitol Hill.

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Around the Nation
3:51 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Putting Good Deeds In Headlines May Not Be So Good

Glen James holds a special citation while facing reporters with Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis during a news conference at police headquarters on Sept. 16.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:19 pm

An online collection has raised more than $145,000 for a man who stumbled onto a pile of money and turned it over to police.

Glen James' story of a good deed is just one of many making headlines. It may not be exactly brand new, but public interest does seem to be piqued these days by ordinary folks making what are seen as extraordinary ethical decisions.

Some, however, question if airing this kind of "good" news is actually good.

A Series Of Good Deeds

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The Salt
3:51 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Doctors Say Changes In Wheat Do Not Explain Rise Of Celiac Disease

About 40 years ago wheat breeders introduced new varieties of wheat that helped farmers increase their grain yields. But scientists say those varieties aren't linked to the rise in celiac disease.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 10:09 am

Wheat has been getting a bad rap lately.

Many folks are experimenting with the gluten-free diet, and a best-selling book called Wheat Belly has helped drive a lot of the interest.

"Wheat is the most destructive thing you could put on your plate, no question," says William Davis, a cardiologist in Milwaukee, Wis., who authored the book.

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It's All Politics
3:44 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Republican Tactics Slow Down Obamacare Prep

An online course for Affordable Care Act "navigators" in Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:23 pm

As Republicans try to figure out how to defund President Obama's health care law, some members of the party are attacking Obamacare on other fronts, too.

One House committee is investigating groups that were contracted to educate people about how to enroll, and the tactics are slowing down preparation for the rollout of the health care exchanges scheduled next Tuesday.

Investigating The "Navigators"

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Education
3:44 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Student Loan Changes Squeeze Historically Black Colleges

Students and alumni line up at Howard University in Washington, D.C., before August's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Nathaniel Grann The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 4:46 pm

Stricter lending guidelines for federal school loans have made it harder to borrow money for college. Changes made in 2011 to the PLUS loan program especially have hurt historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, over the past few years.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Outside The Senate, DeMint Appears More Powerful Than Ever

Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation, says he has more influence now than he did as a senator.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:12 pm

Congress has been getting most of the attention during this latest round of budget brinksmanship. But some of the biggest players in the debate have been outside conservative groups with close ties to Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Perhaps the most influential voice is also a soft-spoken one. It belongs to former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Study: Effectiveness Of U.S. Drone Strikes Doubtful

Pakistani tribal villagers hold a rally in the capital, Islamabad, in 2010 to condemn U.S. drone attacks on their villages.
B.K. Bangash Associated Press

U.S. drone strikes carried out in Pakistan appear to have little impact on insurgent violence in neighboring Afghanistan, according to a new meta-study published by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College.

But the study also finds that strikes carried out by unmanned aerial vehicles cause fewer civilian casualties than other kinds of combat and that those deaths don't appear to be linked to further violence against U.S. forces and allies.

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Education
2:49 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

College Board 'Concerned' About Low SAT Scores

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:19 pm

The College Board, sponsor of the SAT, says latest scores show that roughly 6 in 10 college-bound high school students who took the test were so lacking in their reading, writing and math skills, they were unprepared for college-level work.

The College Board is calling for big changes to better prepare students for college and career.

Stagnant Scores

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