Economy
3:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 10:05 am

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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Parallels
3:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Rabbi Michel Serfaty (right), head of the Jewish-Muslim Alliance of France, stands next to a Muslim cleric, or imam, as they both hold signs wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan. The rabbi and the imam have also traded hats. Despite efforts by Serfaty's group, a record number of French Jews are expected to move to Israel this year.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 7:53 am

Jews are leaving France and moving to Israel in unprecedented numbers this year.

With the departures expected to surpass 5,000, France could pull ahead of the U.S. for Jewish emigration to Israel, known as aliya. Usually, making aliya is a cause for celebration. But in France this year, it's tinged with bitterness.

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Politics
3:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Strange Political Dustup Clouds Kansas Governor's Future

Paul Davis, third from left, the presumed Democratic nominee for Kansas governor, receives the endorsements of more than 100 current and former Republican politicians on July 15, 2014, in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 8:40 am

Kansas's Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is locked in an unexpectedly tough re-election battle for doing exactly what he said he would do — cut taxes.

Citing mounting evidence that those tax cuts are creating a budget crisis – not stimulating the Kansas economy as promised — some in the state's moderate Republican establishment recently did the unthinkable: endorse a Democrat for governor.

That's not only endangering Brownback's re-election hopes, it's also tarnishing his plans to turn one of the reddest of red states into a national model.

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Law
7:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Ariz. Governor Orders Review After Execution Lasts 2 Hours

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Politics
4:28 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

To Cope With Child Immigrants, Competing Plans Emerge From Congress

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with incoming Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., talks with reporters on Wednesday about House Republican plans to deal with the border crisis.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:36 pm

Divergent plans are now emerging from the House and Senate on how best to deal with the influx of unaccompanied children from Central America across the border.

Though both would offer the president less money than he asked for to deal with the crisis, a major battle has developed over whether to amend a 2008 law that makes it harder to speedily deport the children.

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition reception in Washington in June. On Wednesday, he appeared at a Senate rules committee hearing to oppose a campaign finance bill proposed by Democrats.
Yuri Gripas Reuters/Landov

Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. Or, if you want to be more formal: the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.

It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. Unlike almost all other players in an election campaign, 501(c)(4)s are not covered by the disclosure laws. Their donors are never publicly named.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Gets Chilly Reception In Senate

A bill that would require transparency by nonprofit groups related to federal elections met with united opposition from Republicans Wednesday, at the first Senate hearing on what its supporters call the Disclose Act.

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors. It was introduced last month, with 52 senators listed as its sponsors or co-sponsors (including the chamber's two independents).

NPR's Peter Overby reports:

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

Investigators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have discovered cases of organic fraud abroad as well as in the U.S. In 2013, 19 farmers or food companies were fined a total of $87 million for misusing the organic label.
Mark Andersen Rubberball/Corbi

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:36 pm

Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Obama Declares Emergency As Huge Fires Burn In Washington State

A burned-out car sits in front of a ruined house in this photo taken Sunday near Pateros, Wash. Large fires have destroyed hundreds of homes in the state this month.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:57 pm

Fires are still raging in Washington state, where officials hope rain might help them contain the large fires — but there's also a chance that heavy rainfall could trigger flooding and mudslides.

Fire crews have been battling several major fires in central and eastern Washington for the past two weeks. The blazes have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused wide power outages.

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The Salt
2:17 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Logan Kovach, 6, Matthew Kovach, 2, and Allyson Kovach, 5, eat a lunch distributed by the YMCA in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:49 pm

More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.

The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?

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