One hundred and forty years ago this month, a German immigrant named Levi Strauss patented the first pair of jeans ever made. During the California gold rush, Strauss traveled across the country to set up a West Coast branch of his family's dry goods business. That business changed forever when Strauss got a letter from a tailor named Jacob Davis.
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
Climate change is a stark reality in America's northernmost state. Nearly 90 percent of native Alaskan villages are on the coast, where dramatic erosion and floods have become a part of daily life.
Perched on the Ninglick River on the west coast of the state, the tiny town of Newtok may be the state's most vulnerable village. About 350 people live there, nearly all of them Yupik Eskimos. But the Ninglick is rapidly rising due to ice melt, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the highest point in the town — a school — could be underwater by 2017.
It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.
The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.
In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."
"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
Six years ago, the FBI took on a challenge: To review what it called cold-case killings from the civil rights era. The investigation into 112 cases from the 1950s and 1960s is winding down, and civil rights activists are weighing the FBI's efforts.
The review comes with word this week of the death of a man who'd been named, by a newspaper investigation, as a possible suspect in one notorious case.
A University of New Hampshire professor announced this week he's come close to solving a centuries-old problem proving something called the twin prime conjecture. We asked our math guy - Keith Devlin, of Stanford University - to join us, as he does now from their studios. Keith, thanks very much for being with us.
KEITH DEVLIN: Thanks, Scott. Nice to be with you again.
The Cleveland story. The escape of three women who were kidnapped and held captive for 10 years has attracted notice around the world. Of course, it's also an all-consuming local story. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer provided continuous coverage along with in-depth profiles of the three women, the neighborhood where they were held captive, and the man who allegedly kidnapped them.
You can legally drink and drive in the United States, but there's a limit. In every state, drivers can't get behind the wheel if their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, but the National Transportation Safety Board wants the states to lower the legal limit to .05 or even lower. Now, that would bring the United States into agreement with much of the rest of the world.
Two Metro-North Railroad trains have collided on a stretch of track near Fairfield, Conn., causing a "major derailment" and "preliminary reports of injuries," according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
[Update at 8:55 p.m. ET: The Associated Press quotes Connecticut officials as saying about 50 people have been hurt, four of them seriously.]
When the American Psychiatric Association releases its new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-- DSM-5 -- this weekend, lots of journalists and commentators will refer to it as "psychiatry's bible."
That's a term that makes the manual's authors and other mental experts cringe.
Gerry Leone was the district attorney for Middlesex County in Massachusetts when three people were murdered in a house in the Boston suburb of Waltham. He told reporters that police suspected the assailants and the victims knew each other.
An unsolved triple murder in the Boston suburbs is getting a closer look in the wake of the marathon bombings. One of the victims may have been a friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. That's prompting authorities to revisit the 2011 case.
The murders took place in Waltham, Mass. On Sept. 12, 2011, police responded to a house in the leafy suburb a few miles west of Boston.
President Obama's commencement speeches seem to be his real State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
But last year, he reminded Air Force Academy graduates that they were the first class in nearly a decade to graduate with "no Americans fighting in Iraq."
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
Throughout all his graduation speeches, Obama sounds themes of shared responsibility, as when he told University of Michigan students in 2010 that "government is us."
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama's commencement speeches often seem more about the big-picture state of the union than do his State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
President Obama checks to see if it's still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Thursday.
President Obama's first term was free from the kind of scandal that consumes every ounce of political oxygen in Washington. Now, in light of a trio of controversies, his supporters find themselves in the uncomfortable and unaccustomed position of having to defend some hard-to-defend events.
Democrats have offered up a range of responses. They view the issues — Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press — as separate issues that shouldn't be lumped together.
The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Credit Raveendran / AFP/Getty Images
In this photograph from 2009, children play in front of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. Twenty-five years prior, in 1984, it was the site of a deadly gas leak that killed thousands of people.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
The West Fertilizer Co., shown from the air, lies in ruins after an explosion that killed 15 people, injured more than 150 and damaged houses and buildings for blocks in every direction.
You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."
The Justice Department has been scrutinized this week for secretly obtaining phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors while investigating the disclosure of a CIA operation to thwart a terrorist attack. Steve Inskeep talks to Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment lawyer, about how the Constitution and the law treat press freedom.
Known or suspected terrorists who cooperated with federal investigators in at least six major terrorism investigations over two decades were granted protection under the federal witness protection program –- and two of them temporarily could not be found by federal authorities, according to a report from the Justice Department's inspector general.
On the same day House Republicans scheduled their latest symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, as part of their full-court press against the law they also took to Twitter to say, in three words, why they oppose the legislation.
Authorities in Idaho have arrested an Uzbekistan national on federal terrorism charges, the Justice Department announced Thursday evening.
Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested in Boise on Wednesday, prosecutors say. He is being charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
You've heard of the 800-pound gorilla in the room that everyone ignores? Well, here's an 800-pound alligator that's getting some attention.
The 14-foot beast, the heaviest ever recorded in Texas, was bagged by a Houston-area high school student last week at a wildlife management area near Choke Canyon State Park, about 90 miles south of San Antonio.
Braxton Bielski, 18, is credited with the kill. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials, the gator could be 30 to 50 years old.
Officials at the Department of Justice didn't share crucial information on some terrorist suspects in the federal witness protection program with the agency that maintains the "no fly" list, allowing an unknown number of them to board commercial flights, a new report says.