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It's All Politics
12:29 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Outspoken Alan Grayson Gets Another Chance In Congress

After losing his bid for re-election in 2010, Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida is back in Congress after winning a safer district.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:24 am

Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.

After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."

His national stature didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.

'The People United'

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Science
12:28 am
Fri January 4, 2013

From Canada To Latin America, The Christmas Bird Count Is On

From left, bird-watchers John Williamson, Donna Quinn, Bruce Hill and Frances Raskin try to spot as many different species as possible during this season's bird count in Loudoun County, Va.
Veronique LaCapra NPR

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 5:46 am

Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Kansas Presses Sperm Donor To Pay Child Support

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:36 pm

A Kansas man's decision to donate sperm to help a lesbian couple conceive a child in 2009 has landed him in a complicated legal case, as a state agency is now pursuing him for child support payments. William Marotta, 46, is asking a judge to dismiss the case, which has grabbed national attention.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

You Can't See It, But You'll Be A Different Person In 10 Years

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 8:06 am

No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.

That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.

Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.

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Energy
2:29 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Wind Industry Secures Tax Credit, But Damage May Be Done

Wind turbines dwarf a church near Wilson, Kan. Although Congress voted to extend a wind energy tax credit, the temporary uncertainty dealt a blow to the industry.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.

Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.

Growing Uncertainty

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Movies
1:52 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

E-Vote Hiccups Delay Oscar Balloting

Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers prepare ballots for last year's Oscars mailing. Glitches in a new online voting system have prompted organizers to push back this year's balloting deadline.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

Voting for this year's Oscar nominations was supposed to have closed today — but it's been bumped a day, in the wake of complaints about the new online voting system put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Hollywood Reporter analyst Scott Feinberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the system was supposed to make life easier for academy members.

"Going to e-voting would allow voters to vote from anywhere in the world, if they're on vacation or whatever during the holidays, and just make the process itself more streamlined and efficient."

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Shots - Health News
1:39 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Utah And 6 Other States Get Feds' OK To Run Insurance Exchanges

Utah got the go-ahead to run its own insurance exchange, but the federal blessing may not last.
iStockphoto.com

In a surprise, the Obama administration said Thursday that it has given Utah a conditional OK to run its own health insurance marketplace.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has resisted making major changes to the state's existing marketplace, which was built before passage of the federal health law and is geared to small business.

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The Two-Way
1:15 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

DNA Links Bloody Handkerchief To French King's Execution

Scientists have established the authenticity of a cloth dipped in the blood of France's King Louis XVI. A memorial depicts the executed king and Queen Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Denis, near Paris.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:28 pm

In France, a team of scientists says that a piece of cloth that was reputedly dipped in the blood of Louis XVI is genuine. Louis XVI was executed 220 years ago this month, during the French Revolution.

The handkerchief had been stored for years in an ornately decorated gourd, as Tia Ghose writes at Live Science.

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U.S.
12:55 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Hit-And-Run Deaths Increase, But Culprits Hard To Capture

Officers Carol Mitchell and John Hill investigate the death of a disabled teen who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in Los Angeles.
Gloria Hillard for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are increasing nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Los Angeles and New York City have the highest rates of those deaths.

In Los Angeles, where the car is the major mode of transportation, hit and runs involving pedestrians occur almost daily. But these crimes can be the most difficult for law enforcement to investigate and solve.

People Don't Want To Get Involved

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U.S.
12:49 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

For Many Kids, Winter Break Means Hungry Holidays

Tamara Burney's kindergartners eat lunch in the Hillview Elementary cafeteria in Jefferson County, Ala.
Dan Carsen WBHM

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

Holidays are typically a festive time, with breaks from the routine, meals with loved ones, maybe even some gifts. But for many families across the U.S., the season comes with intense stress: Roughly 1 in 5 families with children are not getting enough food.

For some, free or reduced-price school meals have become a major source of basic nutrition. When schools close for the holidays, many of those families struggle to fill the gap.

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The Salt
12:48 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Drought Puts The Squeeze On Already Struggling Fish Farms

Catfish swim in a tub outside the Osage Catfisheries office.
Kristofor Husted KBIA News

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.

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U.S.
12:20 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

The Phantom Tax That Made The Deficit Look Better

The alternative minimum tax created a "useful fiction," as one analyst says, by appearing to shrink budget deficits.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

As Americans continue to sort out the contents of the fiscal cliff legislative package passed by Congress Tuesday, they are finding elements they like and some they hate.

There's one exception. Everyone is glad Congress finally found a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.

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Shots - Health News
12:00 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Pap Tests For Cervical Cancer Often Are Wasted

Cells gathered during a Pap test. Those on the left are normal, and those on the right are infected with human papillomavirus.
Ed Uthman Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 8:10 am

When it comes to testing women for cervical cancer, the nation sure could be doing a better job.

Too many women who don't need them are getting regular Pap tests. Other women who could benefit from the tests aren't getting them, often those are women without health insurance.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Transocean To Pay $1.4 Billion In Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

The Transocean Discoverer Enterprise drill ship collects oil from the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil well as workers try to stem the flow of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, June 12, 2010.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 3:10 pm

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig where 11 men died in April 2010, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties to resolve Justice Department allegations over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

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The Salt
11:35 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Hold That Mini-Burger: Restaurants Forecast Food For 2013

Sliders. We're over them, the National Restaurant Association says.
Bob Ingelhart iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:42 am

Still ordering gazpacho and sliders at your favorite restaurant? Not pre-screening restaurant menus before you make a reservation? Well, hop in the DeLorean and set the chronometer to 2013: You're really behind the times.

Technology is in and bacon-flavored chocolate is out, says a recent survey of 1,800 chefs across the nation.

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Africa
11:16 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Northern Mali: A Violent Islamist Stronghold

A Malian troop member checks bushes after a military raid in the Wagoudou forest.
Serge Daniel AFP/Getty Images

This past spring, Islamic extremists allied with al-Qaida took control of northern Mali after a coup destabilized the country. Adam Nossiter, the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, has been reporting on the Islamist takeover in the north — but has had to do so by telephone. The kidnapping threat for reporters covering the conflict is virtually 100 percent, he says.

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Law
10:59 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Op-Ed: The Constitution Is Just 'A Poetic Piece Of Parchment'

Law professor Mike Seidman argues that it's time to reexamine the role of the Constitution.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 8:01 am

One of the cornerstones of American democracy is the pledge that every federal officer takes to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

In a piece in The New York Times, Georgetown law professor Mike Seidman argues that our reliance on the document has created a divisive and dysfunctional political system.

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Television
10:58 am
Thu January 3, 2013

'Downton' Returns With Aristocratic Class And Clash

Social changes, romantic intrigues and financial crises grip the English country estate in the third season of Downton Abbey, starting Sunday on PBS. Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Cora's wealthy American mother, Martha Levinson.
Nick Briggs Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for Masterpiece

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 11:16 am

Downton Abbey, the drama series about the residents and servants at a grand estate in early 20th-century England, has done for PBS what the commercial broadcast networks couldn't achieve last year. It generated a hit show — one with an audience that increased over its run and left fans hungry for more. And that's a lot of hunger because when the second season was televised here in the states, it averaged 7 million viewers, more than most TV shows on any network, cable or broadcast.

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National Security
10:55 am
Thu January 3, 2013

The F-35 Fighter Jet: The Cost And Controversy

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

If plans go ahead, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be the workhorse of the Air Force, Navy and Marines for decades to come. The F-35 boasts a sleek profile that makes it nearly invisible to radar, and it's scheduled to replace as many as 10 planes that are currently in service, including the venerable F-16. Lieutenant Colonel Todd LaFortune is among the first to make the transition.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

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Author Interviews
10:55 am
Thu January 3, 2013

From Puberty To Pop Culture: What It Means 'To Be A Woman'

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Every year, we look back at some of the books we missed the previous year. Today, "How to be a Woman." British columnist and critic Caitlin Moran describes that process through her own experiences - the embarrassing moments of puberty; and the perils of fashion, career, marriage, childbirth; and along the way, explores what it means to be a feminist today - and does it all with a rare sense of humor.

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