It was the Senate's turn Tuesday to grill the Internal Revenue Service, or more accurately, former agency officials, about its handling of the scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
In Moore, for the many people whose homes were destroyed, the top priorities are finding a place to stay, some clothes to wear, and food to eat. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has been talking with survivors in Moore, and he sent this story.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Jamie Martinez(ph) is a retired police officer who still does security work, and that's where he was when the tornado slammed into his neighborhood yesterday.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
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It has been an emotional 24 hours for the people of Moore, Oklahoma. Their city is now a federal disaster area, shattered by yesterday's deadly tornado. Meteorologists have confirmed that the tornado was a rare EF5, with winds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Entire neighborhoods are unrecognizable, trees splintered, houses gone.
Suzanne Sells lost her house to Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla., but she's still helping other people.
Sells is a special education English teacher at Moore High School. It was spared a direct hit, but like other schools in town, it was closed Tuesday. Still, she showed up to let in a student who needed access to heart medicine that had been locked away.
Robert Siegel speaks with John Farnen, executive director of strategic projects for Mercy Hospital Joplin, regarding lessons of the Joplin, Mo., tornado for rebuilding large structures like the Mercy Hospital Joplin.
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Imagine dialing 911 and the voice on the other hand says: Sorry. Due to budget cuts, no one can help you. Well, that's the reality for tens of thousands of people in rural Oregon. Many counties in the state have cut public safety budgets due to the loss of vital timber payments. That's money from the federal government paid to counties with large national forests - in other words, land that can't be taxed.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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The top executives of Apple faced tough questions today on Capitol Hill. They came at a hearing about Apple's alleged avoidance of billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes. Yesterday, Senate investigators released a study describing how the maker of the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers used subsidiaries based in Ireland to avoid income taxes on a big chunk of its global profits.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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The immigration bill that's working its way through the Senate gives the tech industry something it has long asked for: more visas for skilled workers from overseas. But the original bill also came with something the tech industry didn't like: rules to keep those foreign workers from taking the jobs of Americans. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, key senators agreed to loosen those rules.
Monday's tornado tore through parts of Oklahoma City at 200 miles per hour and killed at least 24 people. Many more are missing orinjured. Guest host Jennifer Ludden talks to KOSU reporter Michael Cross and to meteorologist Paul Douglas about why it's so hard to track tornadoes.
Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the blood alcohol content threshold for drunken driving from .08 to .05. The NTSB argues this could save millions of lives each year, but critics beg to differ. Some say lack of enforcement is the problem. Others point to our casual attitude about drinking and driving. Meanwhile, lowering the threshold could have implications for law enforcement, bartenders, maybe your dinner party.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. We'd like to start today by mentioning that, as you would imagine, NPR is continuing to follow developments concerning that deadly tornado that struck Oklahoma yesterday. We hope you will stay tuned to your public radio station or check our website, npr.org, for the latest updates.
And let's return now to our top story, that devastating tornado that struck south of Oklahoma City yesterday. President Obama spoke just moments ago at the White House. He offered words of comfort to the people of Moore, Oklahoma.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: What they can be certain of is that Americans from every corner of this country will be right there with them, opening our homes, our hearts to those in need, because we're a nation that stands with our fellow citizens.
Before Monday's tornado hit, Barbara Garcia says, she had a gameplan. In the event of an emergency, the Moore, Okla., resident would gather up her little dog and retreat to a bathroom to wait out the storm. But after Monday's powerful twister blew through her neighborhood, Garcia tells CBS News, she couldn't find her dog.
Aid groups are mobilizing relief efforts to help victims of the storm. Here, Candice Lopez, left, and Stephanie Davis help clean debris from Thelma Cox's mobile home near Shawnee, Okla., after it was destroyed Monday.
Residents of Moore, Okla., are searching for survivors and coming to terms with a massive tornado that left dozens of people dead and injured more than 200 others Monday afternoon. As aid and recovery groups search for victims and try to reunite loved ones, they're also seeking donations and coordinating housing:
David Rainey, a former BP vice president during the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, leaves federal court after being arraigned on obstruction of a federal investigation in New Orleans on Nov. 28, 2012. A federal judge Monday dismissed the charge that Rainey obstructed a congressional investigation into the 2010 spill.
A federal judge in Louisiana has thrown out the central criminal charge against a former BP executive because prosecutors failed to prove he knew about a pending congressional investigation into oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico three years ago. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt also ruled that a Democratic House member who inquired about the oil flow rate was acting as head of a subcommittee, not a full congressional committee, as required under the federal Obstruction of Justice statute.
ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
Document prep technician Carol Sine (left) and tracer Debra Barrett process firearm transaction documents at the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) processes firearm transaction documents from firearms dealers no longer in business, no matter the condition of the documents, such as this fire-and-water damaged ledger at their National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.
Boeing's 787 jetliners are returning to the skies. Four months ago, the entire fleet was grounded following serious battery problems on two jets, but the batteries have now been redesigned. Planes have been retrofitted, and airlines are beginning to put them back into service. Today, United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier flying the 787, put two of them back into service. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
For the first time in nearly five decades, the president of Myanmar paid a visit to the White House. Thein Sein has overseen some dramatic changes in his country, long a pariah on the world stage. And the Obama administration has been trying to encourage those reforms by easing sanctions. President Obama himself went to Myanmar, also known as Burma, last year. But as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, there is still a lot of work to do.
Melissa Block talks to teacher Shelly Hoisington. Hoisington teaches fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade at McCormick Elementary School — a one-room school in Troy, Mont. Hoisington recently convinced Gov. Steve Bullock to speak at the graduation ceremony for the five students in eighth grade.
For the first time in years, the Obama administration appears to be focused on shuttering the Guantanamo Bay prison and – at a minimum — has redoubled its efforts to reduce the number of people held there.
The key, officials familiar with the administration's thinking say, may lie with 56 Yemeni detainees, a group of men who have been at the island facility for more than a decade though U.S. officials cleared them for transfer years ago.
"If we can send the Yemenis home," one official said, "that could get the ball rolling."
When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Population in America's big cities is surging, and more people are choosing to live alone. But where? As the demand for housing rises, some renters are opting to downsize their belongings and move to smaller spaces - much smaller. Imagine a single room no larger than many American closets and a community kitchen shared with multiple residents.