U.S. News

National Security
1:59 am
Thu September 19, 2013

ACLU Posts Fed-Collected 'Suspicious' Activity Reports Online

In the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world. At a fusion center in Las Vegas, workers like Daniel Burns, a program coordinator, analyze suspicious activity reports. The ACLU on Thursday posted more than 1,800 of these reports that were gathered in central California.
Monica Lam Center for Investigative Reporting

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:29 pm

With all the talk of spying by the National Security Agency, it's easy to forget the government engages in off-line surveillance, too. In the last few years, the feds have expanded efforts to collect tips about people's behavior in the real world; they're called suspicious activity reports.

Hal Bergman, a freelance photographer in Los Angeles, has a fondness for industrial scenes, bridges, ports and refineries.

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It's All Politics
4:21 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Poll: Half Of Americans See Russia As 'Unfriendly' Or Worse

President Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Northern Ireland on June 17. A new Gallup poll says Americans are increasingly viewing both Putin and Russia less favorably.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:08 pm

During the 2012 presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney was mocked by President Obama during a debate for calling Russia — and not al-Qaida — the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" of the United States.

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Economy
4:12 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

The Fed's Surprising Decision: Should You Cheer Or Boo?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke arrives to speak at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The Fed cut its economic growth forecasts and said it would keep buying bonds in a bid to keep interest rates down.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

If you are trying to buy a home, you just got good news: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it is not going to try to drive up long-term interest rates just yet.

Stock investors are happy for you. They like cheap mortgages too because a robust housing market creates jobs. To celebrate, they bought more shares, sending the Dow Jones industrial average up 147.21 to an all-time high of 15,676.94.

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It's All Politics
3:02 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Bishop McNeil, who isn't a cleric despite his name, speaks to reporters Wednesday at a news conference to introduce the Freethought Equality Fund PAC.
Frank James NPR

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:13 pm

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

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Law
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Push To End Mandatory Minimums Makes Strange Bedfellows

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

On Capitol Hill today, a rare acknowledgement from lawmakers that they are partly to blame for the country's crowded prisons. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, opened a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this way.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: We must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long.

SIEGEL: Leahy wants to dial back the long prison sentences that Congress approved during the war on drugs and he's got some surprising allies.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Flood Damage Shuts Down An Entire Colo. Town

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

The rainstorms and flooding in Colorado over the past week have dealt an especially harsh blow to tiny Estes Park. Many of the roads were washed away, leaving the town that bills itself the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park essentially cut off from the rest of the state. Luke Runyon of member station KUNC reports the devastation leaves the town's tourist-dependent economy uncertain.

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Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Navy Yard Shooter's Mother Speaks Out As Inquiry Continues

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

Officials in Washington are answering hard questions today in the aftermath of Monday's mass shooting at a Naval office complex. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a review of access and security procedures to U.S. military bases. Hagel also said there were red flags about gunman Aaron Alexis that people somehow missed

NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Mental Health
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

After Attacks, Seattle Rethinks How To Treat Mentally Ill

Police officials stand next to a bullet-ridden Seattle Metro bus on Aug. 12. A man with a history of mental illness shot and wounded the driver, then died in a chaotic shootout with police.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

The Navy Yard massacre may renew concerns over the potential dangers of mentally ill people who don't get treatment. That issue is especially hot right now in Seattle, where the mayor has called untreated mental illness an "emergency."

Unstable In Seattle

Seattle's Pioneer Square is an uneasy mix of art galleries and skid road; it's gelato over here, and heroin over there. And then there's mental illness.

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It's All Politics
12:43 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Sen. Mitch McConnell's Newest Headache

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters following a Republican caucus at the Capitol Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:36 pm

As House Republican leaders acquiesce to their Tea Party faction and tie a government spending renewal to the defunding of Obamacare, don't look for much cheering from the Senate minority leader's office.

That's because what had largely been House Speaker John Boehner's problem now becomes Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's problem — at least for the next steps of this drama.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Judge: Boy In Tennessee Can Keep Name 'Messiah'

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:34 pm

A judge has ruled that a Tennessee woman can name her 8-month-old son "Messiah" — a decision that overturns a ruling last month that drew international attention to the boy.

In a paternity hearing in August, Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough brought a dispute over their son's surname. Martin had given her son the name Messiah Deshawn Martin, but McCullough wanted the boy to have his last name.

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The Two-Way
10:48 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Beanie Babies Creator To Pay $53 Million For Tax Evasion

Ty Warner, creator of Beanie Babies toys, attends the 2003 American International Toy Fair in a rare appearance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Beanie Babies toy line.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:31 pm

The man behind Beanie Babies, the toy animals that saw their heyday in the mid-1990s, has agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion for failing to report income held in Swiss bank accounts.

H. Ty Warner, 69, has been charged in U.S. District Court with felony tax evasion. The indictment alleges that in 1996, Warner traveled to Zurich to open an account with Union Bank of Switzerland with the intent to "evade and defeat" taxes on $3.1 million in foreign income.

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Beauty Shop
10:25 am
Wed September 18, 2013

What Does 'American' Beauty Look Like?

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Music
10:15 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Pitbull On Music From His Latino Side

Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Cuban-American rapper Pitbull shares some of his favorite songs for Tell Me More's regular 'In Your Ear' segment.

One of his favorite songs is Nuestro Dia (Ya Viene Llegando) by Willy Chirino. "It's all about the story, the struggle and the hustle that a lot of Cubans go through to enjoy the freedom, liberties and opportunities that the United States has to offer," says Pitbull. He's proud of Chirino, and says the song keeps him grounded.


Pitbull's Playlist

September by Earth, Wind & Fire

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U.S.
10:15 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Latinos 'Not Just A Chapter In U.S. History'

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:51 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear about the songs that keep Cuban-American rapper Pitbull grounded, that is when he's not cranking out his own chart-topping hits. First, though, we want to tell you about a new documentary series that takes a look at the long, some might say, overlooked, history of Hispanics in this country. It's called "Latino Americans."

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "LATINO AMERICANS")

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Shots - Health News
9:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Around The World, Gun Ownership And Firearms Deaths Go Together

Flags fly at half-staff Tuesday after the deadly shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 10:25 am

A study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

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Around the Nation
2:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Investigators Delve Into Aaron Alexis' Background

As the investigation into Monday's mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard progresses, authorities are learning more about the mental state of the gunman, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis. A recent police report indicates Alexis was hearing voices coming from walls. Meanwhile, work is resuming at the Navy Yard.

Race
2:27 am
Wed September 18, 2013

University Of Alabama Moves To Integrate Greek System

Judy Bonner, the University of Alabama's new president, when the school's championship football team visited the White House on April 19, 2012.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:48 pm

Students at the University of Alabama and community leaders are reacting to allegations that white sororities denied access to black women because of their race.

The student newspaper in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson White, ran a story that quotes sorority members who say they wanted to recruit at least two black candidates but the students' names were removed before members could vote on them.

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National Security
1:19 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Officials: Edward Snowden's Leaks Were Masked By Job Duties

Government officials tell NPR that Edward Snowden's job responsibilities allowed him to copy sensitive files unnoticed.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:58 am

More than three months after Edward Snowden revealed details of NSA secret surveillance activities, intelligence officials are still assessing the fallout from the former contractor's disclosures. But they already know how the leaks happened.

"We have an extremely good idea of exactly what data he got access to and how exactly he got access to it," says the NSA's chief technology officer, Lonny Anderson.

In interviews with NPR, two government officials shared that part of the Snowden story in one of the most detailed discussions of the episode to date.

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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Judge Orders New Trial In New Orleans Bridge Shooting Case

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:19 pm

A federal judge ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in connection to the shooting deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

The shootings gained national attention because they took place during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the judge ordered a new trial because of the "grotesque" misconduct of federal prosecutors. The paper adds:

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It's All Politics
4:53 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Dad, I'm 'A Massachusetts Liberal'

Campaign ad from Carl Sciortino, the Massachusetts Democrat running in the Oct. 15 House special election primary.
Campaign ad

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:04 pm

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Car Factories Turn Robots And Humans Into Co-Workers

A robot arm helps make engine components at a Volkswagen factory in Germany. For the first time, robots are working alongside humans without guards or other safety barriers between them.
Universal Robots

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 5:24 pm

Robots are working alongside humans on car production lines, taking what Technology Review calls "a huge step toward revolutionizing the role of robots" at car factories. Previously, robots had been seen as being too unsafe to place them shoulder-to-arm-joint with humans on the assembly line.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Alleged Navy Yard Shooter Got Clearances Despite Troubled Past

Police say Aaron Alexis, who was killed Monday, gunned down 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.
FBI Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:44 pm

A day after police say a 34-year-old civilian contractor and ex-Navy reservist killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, questions are being asked about how a man with a troubled service record and signs of mental instability had clearance to be on base.

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Around the Nation
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting Raises Question Of Security Adequacy

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

The investigation continues into the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. Authorities are trying to learn more about the shooter, Aaron Alexis. He received an honorable discharge from the Navy even after displaying a pattern of misconduct that included incidents involving guns. And members of Congress are asking whether security at the Navy Yard was adequate.

Code Switch
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

How Slavery Shaped America's Oldest And Most Elite Colleges

An early flier for an event at King's College --” which would later become Columbia University — included an advertisement for a slave auction.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:45 pm

A few years ago, Brown University commissioned a study of its own historical connection to the Atlantic slave trade. The report found that the Brown family — the wealthy Rhode Island merchants for whom the university was named — were "not major slave traders, but they were not strangers to the business either."

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U.S.
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

The Occupy Movement At 2: Many Voices, Many Messages

Demonstrators congregate near the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Numerous rallies and events were planned to mark the second anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which targets income inequality and financial greed.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:31 pm

By 10 a.m. Tuesday, several hundred people had already gathered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to mark the second anniversary of the movement known as Occupy Wall Street.

With many people coming and going, heading for actions like a McDonald's protest or a march on Washington Square Park, it was difficult to assess actual numbers. Much like Occupy itself, groups changed and reformed all morning.

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All Tech Considered
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Calculated To Win: Supercomputers Power America's Cup

Oracle Team USA heads to the waterfront after winning the ninth race of the America's Cup with a 47-second victory over Emirates Team New Zealand.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

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Around the Nation
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Judge Voids New Orleans Police Officers' Murder Convictions

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

An old wound reopened in New Orleans today. Five former police officers who were convicted of shooting unarmed civilians and of staging an elaborate cover-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have had their convictions overturned. Today, a federal judge ordered a new trial.

Eve Troeh, of member station WWNO in New Orleans, joins us now with more details. And Eve, first, refresh our memories. Walk us quickly through the basics of this case.

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Around the Nation
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Is The Latest Mass Shooting During Obama's Tenure

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We're going to focus now on yesterday's mass shooting here in Washington, but through the lens of the presidency. Massacres like that one have become remarkably commonplace during President Obama's time in office. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on how these events have shaped the president and his policies on guns.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: When President Obama spoke about yesterday's killing at Navy Yard, he described it as...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Yet another mass shooting.

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Around the Nation
3:18 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Memorials Held For Washington Navy Yard Shooting Victims

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:34 pm

The names of all of the victims of yesterday's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard have now been released. Twelve people, mostly civilian employees of the Navy, were killed when a gunman opened fire in an office building in the complex Monday morning. The shooter also died. Memorials for some of the victims were held across the city Tuesday.

It's All Politics
3:17 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

William Daley Has Left The Arena

William Daley, who was briefly President Obama's White House chief of staff, has long relished being the guy behind the guy who got elected. So his exit from the Illinois governor's race makes a certain kind of sense.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:45 pm

When William M. Daley — son and brother of famous Chicago mayors, former Obama White House chief of staff and all-around Democratic pooh-bah — was President Clinton's commerce secretary, he kept in his office a framed passage from Theodore Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" speech.

"It's not the critic who counts. ... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."

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