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5:49pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Books

Enough Is Enough: 3 Books About Going Too Far

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.

Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.

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5:33pm

Thu February 23, 2012

5:27pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Monsanto Reaches Settlement On Agent Orange Class-Action Suit

A proposed settlement has been reached in a big class-action lawsuit against Monsanto. The case is connected to the company's production of the controversial herbicide "Agent Orange," the defoliant the military sprayed over Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

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5:13pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Forces Tightening Grip On Parts Of Homs

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

Flames rise from a house, the result of Syrian government shelling, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria, on Wednesday, in this image provided by citizen journalists to the Local Coordination Committees.
Local Coordination Committees in Syria AP

The Syrian army has cut off all escape routes from a rebel-held neighborhood in Homs, the city that has seen the most intense fighting in recent days, according to opposition activists.

Syrian tanks were seen moving closer to the Baba Amr neighborhood Thursday, as efforts continued to negotiate a cease-fire to evacuate the wounded, including two Western journalists.

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5:01pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Performing Arts

For One Man, The Sword Is Mightier Than The Pen

Suzanne Gangi removes a six-inch nail from her husband Tony's nose.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Tony Gangi gave up a successful career in publishing in order to impale himself.

With his wife Suzanne's permission, he went from having a secure 9 to 5 job to following his dream of wowing audiences by doing shock-worthy things to his own body.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what I'm about to do is a 4,000-year-old art and it's known as sword swallowing," Gangi, also known as The Amazing Human Head, tells a crowd at a Salem, Mass., performance. "Oh no!" a child in the audience exclaims.

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4:42pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Around the Nation

Blue Angels Bring Winter Thrill To California Town

The Blue Angels practice above El Centro, Calif., last week.
Courtesy of Ted Gallinat

Fifteen miles from the border of Mexico, the city of El Centro in California's Imperial Valley has something most hard luck small towns don't: the Blue Angels.

For 45 years, the city has been the winter training home of the Navy's flight demonstration squadron. The "Blues," as the locals call them, have been an enduring source of pride for the desert community.

The "hay bales" is a dusty crop field a stone's throw from the runways of El Centro's Naval Air Facility. Lisa Gallinat has been watching the Blue Angels from here ever since she was a kid.

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4:39pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Law Student Makes Case For Contraceptive Coverage

Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University, testifies Thursday about contraceptives and insurance coverage during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Congress is in recess this week, but that didn't stop House Democrats from holding a hearing to take testimony from a Georgetown law student who was barred from testifying in last week's hearing about President Obama's policy on contraceptives, health insurance and religiously affiliated organizations.

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4:38pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Technology

California Industries Spar Over Internet Piracy

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

Supporters of the website The Pirate Bay, one of the world's top illegal file-sharing websites, demonstrate in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009.
Fredrik Persson AFP/Getty Images

There's a civil war going on in California. It's the north vs. the south — Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley. And much like that other American Civil War, there are two different economic worldviews at stake. One of the highest-profile battles was fought last month, when large Internet sites like Wikipedia staged an online blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress.

The north won that battle, and for now, the legislation is on hold. But the war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over how to deal with intellectual property is far from over.

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4:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Salt

Why Astronauts Crave Tabasco Sauce

Astronauts may have a particular affinity for Tabasco sauce in space because their sense of smell and taste is distorted.
John Rose NPR

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce.

In fact, they may start craving foods they didn't necessarily like on Earth.

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3:54pm

Thu February 23, 2012
It's All Politics

Voter ID Backer, Opponent Agree On One Point: Voter Rolls Are A Mess

There are few people further apart on the issue of new voter photo ID requirements than Laura Murphy and Hans von Spakovsky.

She's director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. He's with the Heritage Foundation and a former Justice Department official under George W. Bush.

So when the two went head-to-head Thursday on the issue at the National Press Club in Washington DC, there were a few sparks.

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3:44pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Presidential Race

For Loyalists, Is It Ron Paul Or Nothing?

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 4:31 pm

Fans of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul show their support outside the Mesa Arts Center before Wednesday night's Republican debate in Mesa, Ariz.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Benom Plumb, a 31-year-old music industry executive from Nashville, thinks the country is on the wrong path, and that Ron Paul is the only candidate who can turn things around.

As for the other Republicans, Plumb doesn't mince words: Mitt Romney? Too slick. Rick Santorum? Too religious. Newt Gingrich? Untrustworthy. "They are all liars and cheaters, if you ask me," he says.

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3:42pm

Thu February 23, 2012
World

For War Reporters, The Risks Of Going Solo

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 5:26 pm

Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin often traveled by herself to the front lines of conflicts to interview civilians trapped by war. Colvin, who was killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs, is shown here in Cairo in an undated photo.
Ivor Prickett AP

War correspondents have always been at the short end of the actuarial tables. Life insurance salesmen do not pester them. No war is safe, and no correspondent is bulletproof.

But the rules of the game have been changing, and the recent deaths in Syria of two prominent correspondents, Anthony Shadid of The New York Times and Marie Colvin, an American working for Britain's Sunday Times, show how this line of work has grown even riskier.

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3:42pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Planet Money

How Mitt Romney's Firm Transformed A Struggling Company, In 5 Steps

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:19 pm

iStockphoto.com

Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.

How A Private-Equity Firm Turns A Company Around

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3:40pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Guy Walks Into A Denny's, Cooks A Burger, Gets Arrested

Denny's was the scene. Fraud is among the alleged crimes. A burger may have been cooked.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

This alleged crime in Madison, Wis., is odd enough — or funny enough, depending on your point of view — to begin with.

It seems that 52-year-old James B. Summers went into a local Denny's restaurant Tuesday afternoon and said he was the new general manager. This was a surprise to the folks working there.

Summers, though, insisted that he was indeed the new boss. And he seemed to be familiar with the kitchen — he grabbed a soft drink and cooked up a cheeseburger and fries.

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3:35pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Closing Time: Postal Service May Cut 35,000 Jobs

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:50 am

The exterior of a Burlingame, Calif. U.S. Postal Service mailing processing center that has been approved for full consolidation.
Paul Sakuma AP

Facing a financial crisis, the United States Postal Service announced that 223 processing facilities have been "found feasible for consolidation, all or in part." Of the 264 processing facilities studied, only 35 are set to remain open.

The closings could result in the loss of 35,000 jobs. USPS has posted a full list of the facilities — which process and sort mail on its way to being delivered — on its website.

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3:21pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Race

African-American Museum Has Its Groundbreaking

On Wednesday, President Obama and a number of special guests celebrated the groundbreaking for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is expected to open in 2015.

2:30pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

West Virginia Report On Mine Disaster Points To State's Shortcomings

At an April 25, 2010, service in Beckley, W. Va., for the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion, helmets — placed on crosses — were lined up in their honor.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

West Virginia's Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has issued what is now the fourth investigative report on the April, 2010, Upper Big Branch mine explosion. It largely agrees with the earlier reviews, but in language that's tepid in comparison.

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2:28pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

Bradley Manning Defers His Plea In WikiLeaks Case

The Army private accused of leaking a huge cache of classified information to the website WikiLeaks deferred his plea, today.

In an arraignment before a military judge at Fort Meade in Maryland, Bradley Manning also put off a decision on whether to be tried by military jury or military judge.

The AP reports:

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2:13pm

Thu February 23, 2012
It's All Politics

In South Carolina, New Report Finds No Evidence Of "Dead" Voters

The South Carolina State Election Commission has just released its initial review of allegations from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that more than 950 deceased voters appeared to have ballots cast in their names after they died. And no surprise, the commission found that of the 207 cases reviewed, there was no evidence in 197 of them that fraudulent votes had been cast. The commission said that records in the other 10 cases were "insufficient to make a determination."

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1:55pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Oscar's Top Documentaries

Wenders Creates 3D Tribute To Choreographer 'Pina'

Director Wim Wenders spent a year working with 3-D experts in preparation for the film.
Donata Wenders

Director Wim Wenders created the 3-D documentary "Pina," in tribute to German choreographer Pina Bausch. When the two met over 20 years ago, they started planning a film that would capture her unique style of modern dance. Bausch died of lunch cancer just days before filming started.

1:36pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

LAPD Chief Says Illegal Immigrants Should Get Driver's Licenses

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Nick Ut AP

Whether undocumented immigrants are granted driver's licenses has been one of those mainstay questions in the country.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck jumped firmly into the debate, arguing that immigrants in the country illegally should be given some kind driver's permit.

Beck argued that it was a matter of public safety.

The AP reports:

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1:01pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Business

Obama's Corporate Tax Cut Plan Faces Uphill Battle

Boeing employees work on a plane engine at the company's factory in Everett, Wash. The Obama administration's corporate tax cut proposal would offer even deeper cuts for U.S. manufacturers like Boeing.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

President Obama's plan to overhaul the nation's corporate tax system would sharply cut the taxes that U.S. companies pay. But it would also eliminate many of the loopholes that help them pare down what they owe.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the proposal unveiled Wednesday should appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, by doing what both sides "say is important to do ... which is lower the rate, broaden the base [and] eliminate the underbrush of unnecessary subsidies and loopholes and special provisions that complicate the tax code."

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1:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Religion

The Dialogue Around Gay Marriage In Black Churches

A bill that could legalize same-sex marriage has cleared the Maryland House and is expected to pass in the Senate. A majority of black clergy in the state argue that same-sex marriage conflicts with the teachings of the Bible, but some pastors have spoken out in support of the bill.

1:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Movies

When Hollywood Turns The Camera On Itself

Two movies about movies — The Artist and Hugo — are up for the 2012 Academy Award for best picture. Hollywood has a unique way of making films that depict life in Tinseltown. Film buff Murray Horwitz discusses Hollywood films that deal with the glitz, glamor and harsh realities of Hollywood.

1:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Economy

The Long, Winding Road Back From Unemployment

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 2:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. A little more than a year ago, NPR started to follow six people in St. Louis who started 2011 out of work. Among them, Casaundra Bronner, who joins us now on the phone. Casaundra Bronner, nice to have you on TALK OF THE NATION.

CASAUNDRA BRONNER: Hi. Thank you very much.

CONAN: And you're speaking with us from work?

BRONNER: Yes.

CONAN: Congratulations. How long have you had a job?

BRONNER: I believe it was March of 2011. March of last year.

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12:58pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Salt

Raw Milk Movement Takes Hits From Courts, Health Officials

John Clark pours raw milk into a glass at Applecheek Farm in Hyde Park, Vt.
Toby Talbot ASSOCIATED PRESS

It has been a bit of a sour week for drinkers of raw milk.

Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a federal court had granted it a permanent injunction to keep a Pennsylvania raw milk maker from distributing across state lines to raw milk buying clubs. The decision was the latest in an escalating battle between the federal government and producers and consumers of raw milk.

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12:44pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

NBA Phenom Lin Leaves Teammate's Couch For High-Rise Condo

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 12:47 pm

Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
Chris Trotman Getty Images

Jeremy Lin has yet one more thing to celebrate today: After his meteoric rise from benchwarmer to superstar, the 23-year-old now has a Manhattan condo to call his own.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Lin signed a contract to rent a condo on the 38th floor of the W New York Downtown Hotel.

The Journal adds:

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12:30pm

Thu February 23, 2012
The Two-Way

From War Correspondents In Libya, A Toast To Fallen Comrades In Syria

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 1:45 pm

Journalist Marie Colvin (second from left) poses with Libyan rebels in Misrata on June 4, 2011. She was killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday. Later that day in Tripoli, fellow war correspondents gathered to remember her.
Zohra Bensemra Reuters/Landov

We arrived nearly an hour late, our taxi drivers lost in the potholed, half-flooded streets of Tripoli. Our Libyan host, who would never have fathomed an on-time start anyway, invited us upstairs, where he had managed to arrange an impressive array of hors d'oeuvres and beverages on such short notice.

People arrived in groups of three or four at a time. Everyone knew almost everyone else. They hugged each other as if it could be their last time, struggled to hold back the tears, occasionally finding a way to evince a smile from each other.

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12:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Election 2012

Santorum Takes Center Stage At Latest Debate

GOP hopefuls sparred again during Wednesday night's debate in Arizona. It was the final debate before the Michigan and Arizona primaries next week and Super Tuesday on March 6. Host Michel Martin discusses the latest election developments with GOP strategist Ron Christie and Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America.

12:00pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Education

Are Graduate Degrees Worth The Cost?

Many workers are considering whether a masters or doctorate degree will provide a competitive edge. Host Michel Martin explores the costs and benefits of getting one. She talks with Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. He was recently profiled in The Washington Post Magazine.

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