You didn't have to be a boxing fan in the '70s to know the name Joe Frazier and to know that he'll forever be linked to Muhammad Ali.
Smokin' Joe was, as The Associated Press reminds us, the first man to beat Ali, "knocking him down and taking a decision in the so-called Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971. He would go on to lose two more fights to Ali, including the epic 'Thrilla in Manila.' "
There's been a huge increase in the wealth gap between older Americans and those just entering adulthood, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center.
According to Pew's study:
In 2009, "households headed by adults ages 65 and older ... had 47 times as much net wealth as the typical household headed by someone" under 35 years of age. Pew says that "back in 1984, this had been a less lopsided 10-to-1 ratio."
Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 1:18 pm
The alleged sexual abuse of children by a former assistant coach on the Penn State University football team was allowed to continue for at least a decade because of "a culture that did nothing to stop it" at the school, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan just told reporters in Harrisburg.
April 2010: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveils a sample of the third generation centrifuge for uranium enrichment during a ceremony in Tehran on April 9, 2010. Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
"Intelligence provided to U.N. nuclear officials shows that Iran's government has mastered the critical steps needed to build a nuclear weapon, receiving assistance from foreign scientists to overcome key technical hurdles," The Washington Post reports this morning.
This week's column was intended to focus on a primer for tomorrow's (Nov. 7) off-year elections. The election preview is below. But I wanted to get something out of the way first.
There still seems to be an idea out there that somehow Vice President Joe Biden is going to leave the 2012 Democratic ticket — by his own choice or otherwise — and be replaced by Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state who has long said she will depart the Cabinet after President Obama's first term.
The system Congress set up 21 years ago to clean up toxic air pollution still leaves many communities exposed to risky concentrations of benzene, formaldehyde, mercury and many other hazardous chemicals.
The Continental Carbon plant sits on the southern outskirts of Ponca City, Okla. Residents blamed the plant, which produces a black dust known as carbon black, for polluting their city.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
A biker rides through downtown Ponca City, Okla. After 726 complaints and close to $20 million in settled lawsuits against Continental Carbon, there are very few reports of black dust tainting the town.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Karen Howe's driveway is all that remains of her former home. Continental Carbon bought her home and many others, and tore them down after a settlement was reached.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Karen Howe lived in a neighborhood next to Continental Carbon, where she says her daughter couldn't play outside because the carbon black aggravated her allergies.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Jesse Beck, the environmental manager for the Ponca tribe, helped with the tribe's lawsuit against Continental Carbon.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Dan Jones, a Ponca tribal official, went with the union to Taiwan during their fight against Continental Carbon over the pollution that was covering their town.
Karen Howe couldn't believe her luck. As a single mom working a minimum-wage job and living with two kids in a crowded one-bedroom apartment in Ponca City, Okla., she was desperate for a three-bedroom house and a lawn.
Howe, a member of the Ponca tribe, was offered tribal housing in a small, tree-lined subdivision of 11 homes on the southern, rural edge of the city.
TransCanada plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska's Sandhills region shown here in Mills, Neb. State legislators have introduced bills barring pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas like the Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer.
Thousands of demonstrators ringed the White House on Sunday afternoon,demanding that President Obama deny permission for a proposed pipeline to carry crude oil from the tar sands of Canada to refineries in Texas.
Business and labor groups support the Keystone XL project; many environmentalists oppose it. But deliberations in Nebraska may play a decisive role.
Congress' so-called deficit reduction "supercommittee" is down to the final weeks of deliberations in its efforts to come up with $1.2 trillion in budget savings. And one proposal that keeps cropping up is the idea of raising the eligibility age for Medicare.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney became just the latest to propose it in his speech to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation on Friday.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a half-dozen years ago that preteen girls be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, two things happened.
A lot of parents and some conservative groups were jarred by the idea of immunizing young girls against a sexually transmitted virus. And uptake of the vaccine has been poor — only about a third of 13- to 17-year-old girls have gotten the full three-shot series.
The United States Supreme Court steps into a test of the president's foreign policy powers on Monday. It is a test that combines the Middle East conflict with the dueling roles of Congress and the executive branch, plus an added dash of interest over presidential signing statements. At issue in the case is whether Congress can force the executive branch to list Israel as the birthplace for United States citizens born in Jerusalem.
Voters in San Francisco will use a system called ranked-choice voting, or instant runoff, to elect a mayor on Tuesday.
The city is one of many around the country, including Portland, Maine, and Telluride, Colo., using the system, which allows voters to rank their favorite candidates; the winner is determined using a complicated mathematical formula. Ranked-choice voting, which eliminates the need for primary elections, will be put to the test in San Francisco where 16 candidates are on the ballot.
Officer Huy Nguyen shows a video camera worn by some officers in Oakland, Calif. Oakland and dozens of other police departments across the country are equipping officers with tiny body cameras to record anything from a traffic stop to a violent crime in progress.
Credit Jeff Chiu / AP
Heidi Traverso, director of business development at Vievu in Seattle, holds the company's pager-sized video camera, designed to be worn on a police officer's uniform. The officer activates the camera by sliding open the protective cover. It can record for up to four hours.
The next time you talk to a police officer, you might find yourself staring into a lens. Companies such as Taser and Vievu are making small, durable cameras designed to be worn on police officer's uniforms. The idea is to capture video from the officer's point of view, for use as evidence against suspects, as well as to help monitor officers' behavior toward the public.
Zynga is a company that makes money by selling nothing. Or, to be fair, by selling imaginary things, like tractors that plow farms on Facebook.
A "virtual good" is the term of art for an industry that minted $9 billion last year alone. Zynga is America's first virtual goods company to file an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to go through before Thanksgiving and will test whether the company's modern day alchemy — turning virtual goods into real money — is a game-changer for the gaming industry.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. A political update now, but not about the 2012 presidential race. This Tuesday is election day in some places around the country, so we've invited in NPR's political junkie Ken Rudin to fill us in on who and what's on the ballot, and what the results may say about 2012. Good morning, Ken.
KEN RUDIN: Hi Audie.
CORNISH: So let's start with the two races for governor. Where are they, and what do we need to know about them?
AUDIE CORNISH, host: As this week's Eurozone crisis has unfolded, it seems every hour brings an unexpected twist. But if there's one thing certain about the drama, it's this: everyone in Baltimore's historic Greektown is watching. WYPR's Sarah Richards files this report.
After a week of political turmoil in Greece that threatened the fate of the eurozone, Prime Minister George Papandreou is deadlocked with his major opposition rival in trying to form a coalition government to restore market confidence in the debt-laden nation.
The increasingly unpopular prime minister has not yet announced his promised resignation, keeping the political world on tenterhooks.
Papandreou insists a national unity government would provide broad parliamentary consensus for a crucial $179 billion bailout deal and partial write-off of Greece's debt mountain.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
We posed a question to our listeners on Facebook recently: Are you a parent who is worried your adult children won't have the same chance at a middle-class life as you did? Or are you the child of middle-class parents, and find you're not able to match your parents' lifestyle?
AUDIE CORNISH, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. Organizers say more than 5,000 people signed up online for a protest today at the White House. At issue is the Keystone XL Pipeline, which is proposed as a way to take oil from Alberta, Canada 1,700 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Environmental groups are asking President Obama to kill the project, but labor unions argue the construction would create badly needed jobs. Joining us to talk about the pipeline controversy is NPR's science correspondent, Richard Harris. Richard, welcome.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: Is it still possible to move up the economic ladder in the U.S.? Has the American dream become just that - a dream? As we found out from our social media callout, those questions are on the minds of many families like the Spoerners.
If your U.S. senator or representative is on the super committee, expect your local airwaves to be peppered with oil industry ads in coming weeks. The basic message: Higher taxes on oil companies don't make financial sense.
The super committee in Congress is racing to find places to cut more than a trillion dollars out of the nation's deficit by Thanksgiving. The oil industry fears that ending its tax breaks may be one way the super committee will decide to raise revenue. That's spurred Big Oil's lobbying machine to work overtime.
AUDIE CORNISH, host: Nicaraguans go to the polls today and are expected to reelect President Daniel Ortega, who is running in spite of a constitutional ban on presidents serving consecutive terms. Ortega, a Marxist icon of the 1980s, has become a polarizing figure in the Central American nation. NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)
JASON BEAUBIEN: Martha Alicia Alvado loves Daniel Ortega. After all, it's because of him that she has her own house.
For nearly 40 years, voters in Maine have been able to walk into a polling place or town hall on Election Day and register to vote. But the Republican-controlled legislature this year decided to remove the option, citing the stress on municipal clerks and concerns about the potential for voter fraud.
Angry Democrats responded by launching a people's veto campaign, and come Election Day this Tuesday, voters will consider whether to restore same-day registration.
Taylor Howell told Vasquez High's football coach that if he wasn't blind he sure would love to play football. The coach told him he'd have to come up with a better excuse than that. The sophomore now plays center on the junior varsity team.
Credit Gloria Hillard for NPR
Taylor's teammates look out for him and give him cues on the field.
It's afternoon practice for the junior varsity football team at Vasquez High in Acton, Calif. A high desert wind somersaults a discarded paper plate across the line of scrimmage just before it becomes a pile of white jerseys and purple helmets.
"You were offsides," the coach yells after blowing his whistle.
The players dust themselves off and line up for the next play. At center, is Taylor, a lean 15-year-old. His quarterback, Bryan McCauley, is a few yards behind him in shotgun formation.