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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a new documentary follows a harrowing day in an Oakland, California emergency room, where the policy questions about health care play out in real life. We talk with the director of "The Waiting Room." That's in just a few minutes.

This weekend, a 10-mile stretch of heavily trafficked Interstate 405 in Los Angeles will be shut down for two days to demolish part of the Mulholland Drive bridge. Officials and residents are hoping for a repeat performance of a similar closure last year — known as Carmageddon — when much-hyped traffic woes never materialized.

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This week, a federal appeals court said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cannot be held liable for the catastrophic flooding that took place in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports on a setback for hundreds of homeowners who sued.

When you go into a restaurant, you probably give some thought to whether you're ordering a small, regular or large sandwich.

That makes sense.With widening waistlines across the land, many of us want to make a health-conscious choice. But are we really getting a small portion when we order a small sandwich?

Well, that depends.

University of Michigan marketing professor Aradhna Krishna has studied how labels impact how much we eat. In one experiment, she gave people cookies that were labeled either medium or large, and then measured how much they ate.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not halt the execution of Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster, as it did three times in 2011. Foster, 48, has maintained he is innocent in the 2002 shooting death of Nyaneur Pal, 30.

"I didn't do it," Foster told the AP recently from death row. "And if it means I'm going to the gurney and the taking of my life, so be it."

The tight U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is getting feistier. Republican Sen. Scott Brown is going on the offensive, running his first attack ad against his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.

Yet going negative is risky, thanks to a pledge between the two candidates to keep out third-party attack ads.

A Brown TV ad that began airing Monday attacks Warren on an old issue in this race — how Warren identified herself as Native American during her academic career.

One presidential candidate talked about slavery, the other of freedom.

And the speeches President Obama and Mitt Romney gave at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Tuesday were as different as the men themselves.

Cooks and servers, scientists and sales reps — those are some of the workers who say they do better after drinking coffee, according to a new study. Nurses, journalists, teachers, and business executives also said they're more effective at work if they have coffee, in a survey commissioned by Dunkin Donuts and CareerBuilder.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

In New York City, there's an annual ritual that coincides with the U.N. General Assembly meeting: protests. This year is no exception as Stan Alcorn reports from outside the U.N. building.

STAN ALCORN, BYLINE: Stefan Williams of Australia didn't expect the U.N. General Assembly.

STEFAN WILLIAMS: We didn't actually know that the U.N. was on, which is probably pretty silly.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

The presidential campaigns converged on New York City today. Mitt Romney and President Obama were both in town to talk foreign policy. The president addressed the annual meeting of the United Nations, and both candidates spoke at a gathering for the Clinton Global Initiative. As NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson reports, the Clinton event brought a welcome reprieve from the usual partisan wrangling.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. In recent years, the housing sector has faked out economists, inspiring premature optimism. But this year, housing experts say things are different. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports the housing sector that brought the economy down is now showing real signs of stability, even growth.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

The Army is going to field test new body armor designed specifically for women soldiers, better proportioned to fit the female form. The soldiers have been trying out the new design at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and will be taking the vests with them to Afghanistan when they deploy later this year.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. President Obama made an impassioned plea for understanding today, on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.

As states work to comply with the federal health care law, many are designing their insurance exchanges, where people will be able to shop for coverage.

But just the word "exchange" sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.

Peter Lee directs California's Health Benefit Exchange. It's up for a new name, and Lee says they want it to sound fresh, dynamic and innovative.

It started as trash talk between two contributors to a national security blog. They decided to host a drone smackdown to see if one guy's machine could take down another.

Unarmed drones, of course. The kind you can put together with a toy-store model and $200 in modifications. But the game turned out to have some serious undertones.

First, a word about the location. For a moment last week, the whole drone smackdown was up in the air.

A few years ago, your best chance of tasting mead might have been at a Renaissance Fair. We're going to wager the enduring memory is of overpowering sweetness and little desire for a second glass.

Is it 2008 all over again?

Late Friday, Trader Joe's announced a voluntary recall of its Salted Valencia Peanut Butter because it may have been contaminated with a rare strain of salmonella that's been making people sick.

From breakfast to bedtime, college sophomore Julia-Scott Dawson and her mother, Robin Dawson, exchange a flurry of texts that include I love you's, inside jokes and casual chitchat.

"We talk every day," Dawson says.

"Every day," echoes her mother.

Julia-Scott Dawson is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, which is just a 15-minute drive from where her parents live. Every week, she shares a Sunday meal with her family and grabs morning coffee with her parents when they can.

"I just love the time I spend with them," Dawson says.

It's taken as a given that American voters in 2012 aren't as concerned about foreign policy as they are the domestic economy.

It's also accepted as true that on matters of foreign policy, President Obama has an advantage over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lacks significant firsthand foreign policy experience.

But Romney has made it a point lately to show that he's not ceding foreign policy and national security to Obama.

Tuesday marks six weeks until Election Day, but registered voters in two dozen states are already able to cast a ballot for president, with more states to allow early voting in the coming weeks.

In the 2000 presidential election, early voting accounted for 15 percent of the total ballots cast. By 2008, that doubled to 30 percent, according to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University. It's expected to be on the rise again this year.

The election is not over, we are told time and time again, and it's not. There are still some 40-plus days to go, there are still debates to be had. It's true that Mitt Romney trails President Obama in most key battleground states, but the margins are in single digits. And, lest we forget, it's not that presidential candidates down in the polls haven't come from behind to win in the past.

Starting today, New York commuters are passing controversial new ads equating radical Muslims with "savages."

New York's Metro Transit Authority posted the ads in 10 subway stations today after a losing a legal battle with the pro-Israel group the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

You know that ad campaign for pork, the one that called it "the other white meat?" There's a fascinating behind-the-scenes story about that slogan, revealed in a new lawsuit that was just filed this morning by the Humane Society of the United States.

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So six weeks to go before Election Day, but in-person early voting has already started in a handful of states. Many others will begin soon, and more and more of us are choosing to vote early. In Colorado, for example, where we just heard from Ari Shapiro, nearly 80 percent of votes were cast early in the 2008 presidential election.

Michael McDonald tracks these trends with the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

MICHAEL MCDONALD: Oh, thank you for having me.

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Aung San Suu Kyi is on her first trip to the U.S. in decades. After years under house arrest, she is now a member of parliament in Myanmar, also known as Burma. So far, she's collected honors and drawn crowds in the places you might expect: New York City, Washington, D.C. But tomorrow, she heads to a smaller community in the Midwest. Sean Bueter, of member station WBOI, explains where she's going and why.

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There was another exercise in Washington last week that involved Iran, the U.S. and the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program. The Brookings Institution staged a war game. No real weapons were used, but teams playing the roles of U.S. and Iranian policymakers were presented with a hypothetical but not very far-fetched scenario, and the results were not encouraging. Kenneth Pollack is a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and he ran this exercise and joins us. Good to see you again.

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We Googled the phrase: It's difficult to replace. And auto-complete suggested a couple things people clearly find difficult to replace: a radiator, a garbage disposal, a catalytic converter. Well, how about an NFL official? For three weeks now, NFL games have been officiated by replacement refs, due to a labor dispute, and things have been getting ugly.

For more, we're joined by NPR's Mike Pesca. Hi, Mike.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hi.

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As anger over an anti-Muslim film continues to reverberate in the Middle East, a new controversial statement has emerged here in the U.S. It is an ad in New York City subway stations, which equates jihad with savagery. The ad was funded by a conservative activist who is no stranger to controversy.

Here's NPR's Joel Rose.

Report: Boy Scouts Concealed Abuse

Sep 24, 2012

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll take a look at the big winners from last night's Emmy Awards, but first, we want to turn to a much more serious topic and this would be a good time to say this conversation may not be appropriate for some listeners.

The income gap is receiving much attention lately as more Americans are isolating themselves around "people like us."

More accurately, they surround themselves with people who earn similar incomes, and it is now fueling a rise in residential segregation. One recent study suggests the income gap might be greater today than even during colonial times – even when you account for slavery.

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