Laura Sullivan http://wkar.org en Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare http://wkar.org/post/insurance-fake-identities-latest-skirmish-over-obamacare House Republicans went on the attack Wednesday over what they say is the latest bungling of the Affordable Care Act: fake identities used to get insurance.<p>Undercover investigators were able to get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance from the government's website 11 out of the 18 times they tried, according to a preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office.<p>Republicans on the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee say fraud and abuse will be rampant and may already be.<p>Democrats question all the fuss.<p>For one thing, they argue applicants don't get Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:06:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 57161 at http://wkar.org Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare Senate Re-Authorizes Government's Role In Terrorism Insurance http://wkar.org/post/senate-re-authorizes-governments-role-terrorism-insurance Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Today the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize a bill first passed after 9/11. It allows the government to act as a financial backstop in the event of a large terrorist attack. Supporters say it's crucial for anyone trying to build a shopping mall or skyscraper. But as NPR's Laura Sullivan reports, the bill may run into trouble in the house.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: In the days and months after the September 11th terrorist attacks - after the human toll had been calculated, the scope of the financial devastation became clear. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:27:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 56870 at http://wkar.org Lawmakers Unearth Failures To Investigate Campus Sex Crimes http://wkar.org/post/lawmakers-unearth-failures-investigate-campus-sex-crimes Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>U.S. colleges are failing to investigate sex crimes on their campuses. That's the conclusion of a new national survey commissioned by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. The survey is part of an effort by several senators to reduce sexual assaults in college and change a culture where only 5 percent of victims report the crime. NPR's Laura Sullivan reports from the capital.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Senator Claire McCaskill and other senators have been studying the high rate of sexual abuse on college campuses across the country. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:11:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 56447 at http://wkar.org Lawmakers' Step Back Toward Disclosure Driven By Optics http://wkar.org/post/lawmakers-step-back-toward-disclosure-driven-optics Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>The House Ethics Committee is undoing a recent change it made to lawmakers' annual financial disclosure forms. The committee had deleted a line asking what free trips members have taken in the previous year. These trips are usually paid for by companies or private interest groups. Members justified the change this week, saying that the information was redundant. But they've now decided to reverse course and put the question back. Joining us from the Capitol to explain this is NPR's Laura Sullivan. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:09:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 56184 at http://wkar.org VA Bill Was An Easy Sell, But Some Senators Still Feel Sticker Shock http://wkar.org/post/va-bill-was-easy-sell-some-senators-still-feel-sticker-shock Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>No politician wants to be seen voting against veterans. A recent bill to increase veterans' benefits and overhaul much of the VA sailed through the Senate, and now the House is working on a compromise to get it to the president. Despite to the momentum, one thing caught lawmakers in both parties by surprise this week - the bill's cost. NPR's Laura Sullivan reports.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: The VA bill was an easy sell. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 55542 at http://wkar.org From The Border To The Hill, Influx Of Immigrant Kids Draws Concern http://wkar.org/post/border-hill-influx-immigrant-kids-draws-concern Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>The issue of immigration has heated up in recent weeks - not just in Eric Cantor's campaign but also along the border. There is a flood of unaccompanied immigrant children attempting to cross into the United States. The numbers have skyrocketed since last year - swamping Boarder Patrol facilities. The White House says the children are fleeing rising violence in their Central American home countries. For their part, Republicans are eager to attack the administration's immigration policies. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 20:18:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 55058 at http://wkar.org The Executioner's Lament http://wkar.org/post/executioners-lament In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.<p>The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Thu, 08 May 2014 09:15:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 53358 at http://wkar.org The Executioner's Lament Enforcing Prison Rape Elimination Standards Proves Tricky http://wkar.org/post/enforcing-prison-rape-elimination-standards-proves-tricky On a recent day at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, inmates in jumpsuits peek out of their cells to see three men with clipboards walk into the housing unit. These men are auditors doing a practice inspection. They're here to see if the facility complies with a federal law called the <a href="http://ojp.gov/programs/prisonrapeelimination.htm" target="_blank">Prison Rape Elimination Act</a>, or PREA.<p>Auditors Steven Cubello and Howard Ray start at a line of phones. There's no sign with the toll-free hotline that inmates can use to report an assault. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:16:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 51598 at http://wkar.org Enforcing Prison Rape Elimination Standards Proves Tricky Lawmakers Seek To Lay Roadblock To Powerful Painkiller http://wkar.org/post/lawmakers-seek-lay-roadblock-powerful-painkiller Sen. Joe Manchin is introducing a bill to force the Food and Drug Administration to ban potent new painkiller Zohydro, backed by a bipartisan effort to get the FDA to remove its approval of the drug. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 50669 at http://wkar.org Government's Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions http://wkar.org/post/governments-empty-buildings-are-costing-taxpayers-billions On a street corner in downtown Washington, D.C., David Wise is opening a century-old iron gate in front of an old, boarded-up brick building.<p>Wise is an investigator for the Government Accountability Office, the government's watchdog group. His mission is to figure out <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-645" target="_blank">why the government owns so many buildings</a>, like this one, that it doesn't use.<p>The 132-year-old brick structure is sitting on prime real estate six blocks from the White House. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 50563 at http://wkar.org Government's Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions Missouri Execution Stalled Over Lethal Drugs In Short Supply http://wkar.org/post/missouri-execution-stalled-over-lethal-drugs-short-supply A few years ago, Missouri, like other states, was having trouble finding lethal execution drugs. Europe was balking, and U.S. drug manufacturers didn't want a part of it.<p>So Missouri turned to a place called a compounding pharmacy to make up the needed drugs based on the ingredients. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:54:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 49556 at http://wkar.org To Rent Or Buy? For The Federal Government, It's Complicated http://wkar.org/post/rent-or-buy-federal-government-its-complicated The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been in the hot seat in recent weeks for mishandling the leases for some of its office space. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:37:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 49252 at http://wkar.org Spike In Heroin Use Can Be Traced To Prescription Pads http://wkar.org/post/spike-heroin-use-can-be-traced-prescription-pads The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought attention to a grim reality of drug abuse in America — most notably with the increasing use of heroin.<p>Hoffman was found dead in his apartment on Sunday, and New York police are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose. Hoffman struggled with drug addiction throughout his career.<p>This is not the first time heroin use has skyrocketed in the United States. In the 1970s and '80s, the drug took hold in urban centers. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 23:12:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 48912 at http://wkar.org Spike In Heroin Use Can Be Traced To Prescription Pads Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA http://wkar.org/post/exonerations-rise-and-not-just-because-dna 2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.<p>At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.<p>And it's no longer just DNA evidence that's driving exonerations, <a href="http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations_in_2013_Report.pdf" target="_blank">the registry's report</a> finds. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:46:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 48861 at http://wkar.org Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents http://wkar.org/post/long-dirty-word-gentrification-may-be-losing-its-stigma Bobby Foster Jr. can often be found reading the paper on a wooden bench outside Murry's grocery store on the corner of Sixth and H streets northeast in Washington, D.C.<p>"The sun shines over here this time of day," says Foster, a retired cook. "It's always good when the sun shines."<p>Murry's has been an anchor in this neighborhood for decades — during the crack wars of the 1980s and the urban blight that followed, when most other businesses packed up and left. Foster has been somewhat of an anchor, too. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:43:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 48262 at http://wkar.org Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents Mentally Ill Are Often Locked Up In Jails That Can't Help http://wkar.org/post/mentally-ill-inmates-often-locked-jails-cant-help Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart walks the halls of his jail every day. With 10,000 inmates, this place is a small city — except a third of the people here are mentally ill.<p>Dart has created some of the most innovative programs in the country to handle mentally ill inmates, hiring doctors and psychologists, and training staff. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:37:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 48207 at http://wkar.org Mentally Ill Are Often Locked Up In Jails That Can't Help Police, Banks Help Undocumented Workers Shake 'Walking ATM' Label http://wkar.org/post/police-banks-help-undocumented-workers-shake-walking-atm-label On a recent Friday evening in Langley Park, Md., police officer Juan Damian drives his patrol car past fast food restaurants, discount stores and Hispanic groceries.<p>Damian estimates that at least two-thirds of the people here are undocumented, and that has made it a magnet for robberies over the years. Gangs know undocumented day workers are especially lucrative targets, he says. Their pockets are often stuffed with a day's or even a week's worth of wages. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 08:27:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 48181 at http://wkar.org Police, Banks Help Undocumented Workers Shake 'Walking ATM' Label A Night At The Rock: Former Alcatraz Inmate Journeys Back http://wkar.org/post/night-rock-former-alcatraz-inmate-journeys-back For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.<p>Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.<p>Baker, who was born in Kentucky during the Great Depression, has spent a lot of his life in and out of federal prison. Mon, 14 Oct 2013 18:21:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 43754 at http://wkar.org A Night At The Rock: Former Alcatraz Inmate Journeys Back Older Suspect Described As Controlling, Manipulative http://wkar.org/post/older-suspect-described-controlling-manipulative Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>Big cheers in Watertown, Massachusetts, tonight and this tweet from the Boston Police Department, captured with three exclamation points, the hunt is over, the search is done, the terror is over, and justice has won, suspect in custody. We've been gathering a lot of information all day on the bombing suspects' backgrounds. Sat, 20 Apr 2013 00:34:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 34574 at http://wkar.org Without Reviews, Inmates Can Get Lost In U.S. Prison System http://wkar.org/post/without-reviews-inmates-can-get-lost-us-prison-system Every year 10 million people funnel in and out of America's jails and prisons. And every year some of them get lost. Recently there have been two high-profile cases of such inmates — one who got out years too early, and one who stayed years too long. Both had disastrous consequences.<p>In January, Evan Ebel walked out of a Colorado prison four years too early. Two months later, he allegedly rang the doorbell of Tom Clements, the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, shot him in the chest and killed him. Fri, 05 Apr 2013 08:09:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 33815 at http://wkar.org Without Reviews, Inmates Can Get Lost In U.S. Prison System Tribal Coalition Report Finds South Dakota 'Willfully' Violated Child Welfare Law http://wkar.org/post/tribal-coalition-report-finds-south-dakota-willfully-violated-child-welfare-law South Dakota's foster care system "systematically violated the spirit and the letter" of a law meant to protect Native American children, a coalition of tribal directors from the state's nine Sioux tribes said in a report released Thursday night. Fri, 30 Nov 2012 23:24:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 27698 at http://wkar.org Fans Restore Luke Skywalker's Boyhood Home http://wkar.org/post/fans-save-luke-skywalkers-tunisia-home Mark Dermul is a serious <em>Star Wars</em> fan. He was just 7 years old in 1977 when the original movie hit the theaters. As soon as the huge Star Destroyer flew across the opening scene, he was hooked.<p>"It hasn't left me," he says. At 42, Dermul now guides tours throughout North Africa, visiting sites that were featured in the blockbuster films.<p>On one 2010 trip back to planet Tatooine — OK, Tunisia — he and his tour group noticed that Luke Skywalker's boyhood home was decaying. Sun, 01 Jul 2012 17:50:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 19882 at http://wkar.org Fans Restore Luke Skywalker's Boyhood Home 50 Years Later, Mystery Of Alcatraz Escape Endures http://wkar.org/post/50-years-later-mystery-alcatraz-escape-endures-0 Fifty years ago three men set out into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay in a raft made out of raincoats. It was one of the most daring prison escapes in U.S. Tue, 12 Jun 2012 11:35:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 18788 at http://wkar.org 50 Years Later, Mystery Of Alcatraz Escape Endures 50 Years Later, Mystery Of Alcatraz Escape Endures http://wkar.org/post/50-years-later-mystery-alcatraz-escape-endures The legend of the escape from Alcatraz has always held that Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin would return for the 50th anniversary of their famed 1962 prison breakout. Tuesday was that anniversary. And while the men, who would now be in their 80s, haven't been heard from in half a century, family members went to the island for the first time to wait — along with U.S. Marshals — just in case. Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:53:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 18782 at http://wkar.org Return To Alcatraz: Will A Legend End After 50 Years? http://wkar.org/post/return-alcatraz-will-legend-end-after-50-years Fifty years ago, three men set out into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay in a raft made out of raincoats. It was one of the most daring prison escapes in U.S. Sun, 10 Jun 2012 10:02:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 18710 at http://wkar.org Return To Alcatraz: Will A Legend End After 50 Years? Unlikely Advocates For Teen Killers: Victims' Families http://wkar.org/post/unlikely-advocates-teen-killers-victims-families The Supreme Court heard arguments this week about the fate of 2,500 offenders who were sentenced as teenagers to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Seventy-nine of them were 13 or 14 when they committed their crimes.<p>Many prosecutors and family members of victims spoke out about the need to keep the sentences in place.<p>But in a small building cafeteria, just a few blocks from the Supreme Court, a different group of family members quietly came together. Sat, 24 Mar 2012 20:11:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 14667 at http://wkar.org Unlikely Advocates For Teen Killers: Victims' Families ICE Opens Immigrant Detention Center In Rural Texas http://wkar.org/post/ice-opens-immigrant-detention-center-rural-texas Just off the side of the road in rural southern Texas is a large beige building that looks a lot like a prison. Fences and tall walls mark the outside. Inside, the doors slam and people sit in control booths at the end of long concrete hallways.<p>But just a little farther into the facility, the door opens to a courtyard in the center of the complex, and there, things begin to change. There's a soccer field, a pavilion and a gymnasium. There's also a walk-up pharmacy and commissary. Wed, 14 Mar 2012 04:01:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 14071 at http://wkar.org ICE Opens Immigrant Detention Center In Rural Texas Death Sentences Drop To Historic Lows In 2011 http://wkar.org/post/death-sentences-drop-historic-lows Death sentences dropped dramatically this year, marking the first time in more than three decades that judges and juries sent fewer than 100 people to death row, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.<p>Just 78 offenders were handed capital sentences, and only 43 inmates were executed — almost half as many as 10 years ago.<p><strong>American Reaction</strong><p>Just three months ago, in early September, the Republican presidential debate made headlines when the audience erupted into applause when moderator Brian Williams noted Texas had executed 234 people in rece Thu, 15 Dec 2011 05:01:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 2830 at http://wkar.org Death Sentences Drop To Historic Lows In 2011 Native Survivors Of Foster Care Return Home http://wkar.org/post/native-survivors-foster-care-return-home <em>Part 3 of a</em> <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families">three-part investigation</a><p>Dwayne Stenstrom is a professor of American history. His office is lined with towers of obscure books and poetry on the walls. Thu, 27 Oct 2011 09:00:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 315 at http://wkar.org Native Survivors Of Foster Care Return Home Tribes Question Foster Group's Power And Influence http://wkar.org/post/tribes-question-foster-groups-power-and-influence <em>Part two of a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families">three-part investigation</a></em><p>On a small crest deep in South Dakota's Black Hills, a dozen children jumped on sleds and floated across the snow. Wed, 26 Oct 2011 16:32:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 296 at http://wkar.org Tribes Question Foster Group's Power And Influence