NPR News

Pages

NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Cooper Union Students Protest Threat To Free Tuition

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a student occupation is entering its third day in New York City. It's happening at Cooper Union. The school of art, architecture and engineering is famous for not charging undergraduates tuition.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, student protesters are unhappy about what they see as threats to that tradition.

Read more
NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Senate Fails To Ratify U.N. Treaty On Disabilities

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And amid that budget debate, a wall of Republican opposition to a new United Nations treaty kept it from being ratified in the Senate. The treaty is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people. And even though it was inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Republicans argue that it would harm U.S. sovereignty and even interfere with home schooling. Here's NPR's David Welna.

Read more
The Salt
2:36 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Milk Producers Peer Over The Dairy Cliff

Dairy farmer Bob Andrews feeds heifers in the same barn his grandfather used. He says today "the harder you work, the further you get behind."
David Sommerstein NCPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

There's more than one cliff drawing controversy this month. The federal farm bill is one of many items caught in congressional gridlock. The bill resets U.S. agriculture policy every four years, and most farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season. But there's one exception: dairy.

Read more
Education
2:35 am
Wed December 5, 2012

When The Art Of The Deal Includes Improv Training

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Some top-tier business schools are offering more than just finance and marketing these days: Duke, UCLA, MIT and Stanford are all teaching improv. Professors say these techniques help students increase collaboration, creativity and risk taking.

In an improvisational leadership class at MIT's Sloan School of Management, instructor Daena Giardella coaches a scene where a hospital administrator is firing surgeons after a horribly botched operation.

Giardella, who does professional improv, boils it down to a rule known as "yes, and."

Read more
It's All Politics
2:35 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Is A Recess Appointment Valid If The Senate Says It's Not Really Gone?

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

In a tug of war between President Obama and Congress, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Wednesday on the legality of Obama's controversial recess appointments.

The White House says it was forced to install three new members of the National Labor Relations Board in January because of inaction by Senate Republicans. But those lawmakers argue the Senate wasn't really in a recess at the time.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Navel-Gazing: Why Golf Should Embrace Belly Putters

Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
Hunter Martin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:20 pm

When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.

Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Crime On The Farm: Hay Thefts Soar As Drought Deepens

That's a valuable commodity: A hay bale at a farm in Eatonton, Ga., earlier this year.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Your crime fodder ... sorry, make that blotter ... news of the day.

From St. Louis:

Read more
Politics
6:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:34 am

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

Read more
Shots - Health News
5:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

Read more
Music Reviews
4:44 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:17 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
3:49 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:26 am

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

Read more
Books
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Fleeing North Korea Through 'Asia's Underground Railroad'

Though it is a capital offense to leave the country, more people attempt to flee North Korea each year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:21 pm

North Korea remains one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world.

Each year, though fleeing the country is a capital offense, a brave few attempt an escape to freedom using a secret network of safe houses and routes from North Korea to Southeast Asia.

In her book Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, writer Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the harrowing stories of North Korean defectors who attempt to escape from a place she calls "hell on Earth."

Read more
Politics
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Outgoing Political Mavericks Reflect On Careers

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 3:33 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. When the 112th Congress adjourns, some of the most vivid politicians of our times will leave the stage. We've already spoken with Democratic Representatives Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Today two political mavericks.

One ran for president of the United States, the other for vice president. Both at one time or another left their parties. Both left indelible marks on politics and on Washington, D.C.

Read more
From Our Listeners
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Letters: Dementia Crisis, Dolly Parton

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 3:33 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last Tuesday, during our discussion about parents with a physical or cognitive disability, we heard from Maribeth(ph) in Denver: My daughter and son-in-law are congenitally deaf, she wrote. Both are graduates of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and lived there when their first child was born, who was hearing and did not suffer from not hearing spoken word from her parents.

Read more
Author Interviews
1:40 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

'Inventing Wine': The History Of A Very Vintage Beverage

iStockphoto.com

Wine is our original alcoholic beverage. It dates back 8,000 years and, as Paul Lukacs writes in his new book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures, was originally valued more because it was believed to be of divine origin than for its taste. And that's a good thing, Lukacs tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, because early wine was not particularly good.

Read more
Television
1:06 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Boxes Of TV Fun, Old And New, For The Holidays

The new five-DVD, one-CD box set The Incredible Mel Brooks is crammed full with comedy gold — and includes Brooks and Carl Reiner (above) doing their iconic skit "The 2,000-Year-Old Man."
William Claxton Demont Photo Management, LLC

I'm biased, of course, because I'm a television critic — but to me, giving someone a gift of a TV show you yourself enjoyed tremendously is somehow very personal. You're giving something that you love, and that in many cases will occupy many hours, if not days, of their time. And during that time, they'll occasionally be reminded of you.

Read more
It's All Politics
8:58 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Obama Changes Tack With Congressional Republicans

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington on Monday. Since his re-election four weeks ago, Obama is showing signs of a new, more aggressive leadership style.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 12:37 pm

Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.

Read more
Animals
8:42 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Puppies May Help Students Ace Finals

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It's finals week for many college students. And to keep the blood pressure down, one Canadian university opened a puppy room for students. It's full of borrowed therapy dogs to cuddle. Therapy animals are a proven stress reliever. The students who organized the puppy room at Dalhousie University say the idea has gone viral. Come to think of it, sharing the puppy story on social media sites might itself be therapeutic. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
8:35 am
Tue December 4, 2012

French Mayor Introduces Rules On Politeness

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Next time you're in France be sure to mind your manners. The mayor of a small town near Paris has introduced new rules on politeness. Anyone who fails to say hello or thank you to staff at the town hall will be asked to leave. A recent poll did find that 60 percent of French list bad manners as their number one cause of stress, so maybe he's on to something. Well, excusez-moi and hello and thank you so much for listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Education
8:32 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Online Courses Force Changes To Higher Education

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There is a lot of speculation now about what issues - big and small - the Obama administration should tackle in its second term. Education is one thing on many of those lists, and in Washington yesterday, the talk was about one of the hottest trends in the field - something called MOOCS. MOOCS is short for Massive Open Online Courses; college courses, to be exact.

Read more
Business
6:55 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Pandora To Issue Earnings Report

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:14 pm

Internet radio service Pandora is being closely watched by investors. The company is set to announce its latest quarterly earnings Tuesday. Last week, the head of Pandora was in Washington to push for lower music royalties.

Europe
6:25 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Baby On The Way For Britain's Royals

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 7:38 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Around the Nation
4:11 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Manhattan Project Sites Part Of Proposed Park

The mushroom cloud of the first atomic explosion at Trinity test site in the southern New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:55 am

Congress is considering whether to turn three top-secret sites involved with creating the atomic bomb into one of the country's most unusual national parks.

The Manhattan Project — the U.S. program to design and build the first atomic bomb during World War II — largely took place at three sites: Los Alamos, N.M.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; and Hanford, Wash. On July 16, 1945, the first test of an atomic bomb took place at a site in the southern New Mexico desert. Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, Japan, were bombed less than a month after the test.

Read more
Your Money
4:07 am
Tue December 4, 2012

What's Next For The Daily Deal Business Model?

Despite their recent woes, "daily deal" companies Groupon and Living Social can be profitable, says analyst Arvind Bhatia.
NPR

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 8:22 am

Are the days of "daily deal" coupons about to expire? Shares of email coupon company Groupon are down nearly 80 percent since going public last year. And its smaller rival, Living Social, plans to lay off as many as 400 employees, after reporting a net loss of more than $560 million in the third quarter.

Those struggles have raised questions about the future of the daily deal strategy, and whether a company like Groupon can stay in business.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:50 am
Tue December 4, 2012

The (Huge And Rarely Discussed) Health Insurance Tax Break

The largest tax break in the federal code doesn't appear on the forms the average person fills out each year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:56 am

What's the largest tax break in the federal tax code?

If you said the mortgage interest deduction, you'd be wrong. The break for charitable giving? Nope. How about capital gains, or state and local taxes? No, and no.

Believe it or not, dollar for dollar, the most tax revenue the federal government forgoes every year is from not taxing the value of health insurance that employers provide their workers.

Read more
Europe
3:39 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Cat Fight In Rome: Beloved Shelter Faces Closure

A stray cat rests at the Torre Argentina ruins in Rome in October. Officials say a cat shelter that sits adjacent to the site must be shut down.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 10:23 am

Anyone who has visited Rome and its antique monuments has also seen their four-legged residents: the many stray cats that bask in the sun amid the ruins.

One site in central Rome is known as "cat forum," thanks to its adjacent cat shelter. But Italian archaeology officials have issued the Torre Argentina Cat Shelter Association an eviction notice, and feline lovers from around the world are bracing for a cat fight.

Read more
Middle East
3:33 am
Tue December 4, 2012

A Rebel Fighter Sees Islamic Law In Syria's Future

A Syrian rebel walks past the stairs of a bombed building in the Saif Al Duli district in Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 10. The vast majority of those fighting against President Bashar Assad's regime are ordinary Syrians and soldiers who have defected, but Islamist rebels are also present among the fighters.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 8:18 pm

It's about 9 o'clock in the morning, and already it's been a long day for Abu Anas. He has lost two men to a sniper serving the Syrian regime. Four more have been injured.

But Abu Anas walks with a striking calm through the bombed-out, ruined streets of Aleppo, a city that has been at war for months. He wears a black headband bearing Islam's holy creed: "There is no God but God. And Muhammad is his messenger."

Read more

Pages