Both The Washington Post andThe New York Times have stories today that highlight the fact that members of the United States Congress are increasingly wealthier than their constituents and they're also getting richer at a faster rate than even their fellow private-industry rich folks.
The U.S. troops are gone from Iraq. But there are still a few thousand Iraqis, especially interpreters, who worked with the U.S. military and are desperately waiting for American visas β a process that takes years.
Many of these Iraqis were branded as traitors by hard-line Iraqi groups. They have often been targeted by militias in recent years, and they fear that will continue even though the American forces have left.
As 2011 winds down, Morning Edition is looking at music we missed over the past 12 months. Gregory Douglass is a pianist and guitarist from a small town in Vermont who blends electronic pop with folk and rock. At 31, he has already recorded eight albums, most of them released on a label he founded.
Douglass creates the sort of textured sound that you'd think comes from a big-budget studio, but he's on his own. His fans pre-order his albums before they're recorded, which helps pay his production costs. His latest is titled Lucid.
Let the buses roll. A week before Iowa caucus-goers start the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were starting cross-state bus tours on Tuesday (although Gingrich's would be an abbreviated tour, The Des Moines Register reported.)
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
This year, the federal government gave billions of dollars of stimulus money to medical providers to help speed up their use of electronic health records. The idea is for doctors to coordinate care better so that patients can see their charts online, and to allow clinics to grade their doctors.
Oregon is ahead of the curve. Sixty-five percent of clinicians have electronic medical records, compared to about 45 percent nationwide.
Last week, a couple of weeks after Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy suffered a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit, the National Football League announced a new policy on concussions. McCoy was sent back in after sitting out two plays. And after the game, he experienced symptoms of a concussion and he hasn't played since.
North Korea is holding a state funeral today for its late leader Kim Jong Il. The funeral caps days of official mourning since Kim's death of a heart attack on December 17th. The most prominent figure in the proceedings, other than Kim himself, is his third son and heir apparent Kim Jong Un, thought to be in his late-20s. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul, South Korea, where he's been reporting on these events. And Anthony, what's happening at the funeral?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
And it's time now for your letters. Yesterday, we told you about more and more hospitals in Massachusetts saying no to early deliveries. If the desired date falls before the 39th week of pregnancy and there's no medical reason to induce labor or have a C-section, doctors say it's not worth the risk.
Arab League monitors visited the central city of Homs, an opposition stronghold, besieged and under bombardment by the Syrian army until the monitors showed up. Syrian army armor was withdrawn from the city streets ahead of the visit, but activists say they expect a resumption of the army offensive as soon as the monitors leave. They also complain that they have not been allowed to meet with the Arab League team.
For late December, it was a warm and wet day in much of the Northeast today with temperatures in some areas topping 40 degrees. If you hate shoveling snow or paying big heating bills, that's good news, but for people who love winter sports and for thousands of businesses that rely on snow for winter tourism, this month's October-like weather has been painful.
North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports from New York's Adirondack Mountains.
When the internet kills a big box retailer, Gordon Brothers is the undertaker.
"They're stuck with selling the things that are inside the box," says bankruptcy lawyer Steve Jakubowski.
Gordon Brothers specializes in retail liquidations. When a store dies, they put on a suit, greet the guests and sell them whatever remains. And that means everything β not just books and clothing and DVDs, but shelves, lighting fixtures, even the chairs.
Brazil is now the world's sixth biggest economy overtaking the U.K., according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. As the Financial Times puts it, it's another milestone that's part of a larger trend where emerging economies outpace developed ones. China, they report, overtook Japan earlier this year.
Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 10:41 am
Congressional approval ratings are on the rocks, hovering in or near single digits for the first time since pollsters started measuring them. But just how bad is the current congressional stalemate?
Thomas Mann, senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, is working on a book about Congress with a title that provides a succinct answer: It's Even Worse Than It Looks.
In modern history, Mann says, "there have been battles, delays, brinkmanship β but nothing quite like this."
Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin started the Juilliard guitar program. Her new album, Guitar Passions, features collaborations between Isbin β who studied with Andres Segovia, among others β and artists with very unclassical careers: jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan, rock singer Nancy Wilson of the band Heart, soprano saxophonist Paul Winter and several others.
A week after Christmas, many Americans are no doubt trying to figure out how to use the high-tech gadgets they got as gifts. This can be especially challenging for seniors. But a number of programs across the country are finding just the right experts to help usher older adults into the digital age.
For Pamela Norr, of Bend, Oregon, the light bulb went off as she, yet again, was trying to help her own elder parents with a tech problem. To whom did she turn?
Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 1:43 pm
India's anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, 74, has begun another three-day fast in Mumbai just as Parliament begins debate on a bill that would create an office with the authority to investigate corruption.
The funeral for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is set for Wednesday in Pyongyang, and it's something of a cliche to say β as basically every story today does β that details about what will happen are largely a mystery.
While pantomime performances of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are traditional English holiday entertainment fare, there's a new hit in town. Londoners are flocking to Matilda the Musical, a souped-up version of Roald Dahl's well-known children's novel, playing in London's West End.
The production by The Royal Shakespeare Company has been proclaimed the best British musical in years. But despite most of the cast being under 16, this show is certainly not just for kids.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. No nuclear power plants have been built in this country since the accident at Three Mile Island more than 30 years ago. The old reactors continue to provide 20 percent of our electrical power, but many of them will start to come offline in the next 10 years or so.
For decades, the great Marian McPartland illuminated public-radio airwaves with her duets and conversations as the host of PIANO JAZZ. Since 1979, she spoke and played with established artists like Herbie Hancock, Alice Coltrane, Carla Bley and - of course - Dr. Billy Taylor. Next week, a new kind of PIANO JAZZ launches on NPR. The show will feature young talents who shine through their energy, innovation and artistry.
On an October night in 1859, 21 men staged a takeover of a national armory in tiny Harpers Ferry, Va. Though unsuccessful, the raid drew the nation's attention to its electrifying leader, a man named John Brown β and helped set the nation on the path to war.
Brown went on to become perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in American history. The devout Calvinist and abolitionist is remembered as a traitor and terrorist by some, and a hero by others.
Arab League observers arrived in Syria Monday, prompting a tentative calm between anti-government protestors and security forces. But many Syrians are skeptical that the monitors can permanently quell the unrest.
If you've ever lamented the time and effort it takes to brew or procure a cup of coffee, this might perk you up. "Breathable Energy. Anytime. Anyplace."
That's the campaign slogan for AeroShot, a plastic inhaler, roughly the size of a lipstick tube, filled with a powdery, calorie-free mix of caffeine, B vitamins, and citrus flavors. It's slated to hit stores in January, just in time for the New Year.
But some aren't so sure selling caffeine in pocket-sized tubes β and marketing it to young people β is a great idea.
This month, consumer confidence jumped to its highest level since April, a sign that the U.S. economy is starting to mend. But the housing market isn't going along yet with this cheerier mood: Home prices were down 3.4 percent for the year as of October, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The death toll in Syria keeps mounting, as do the calls for the ouster of President Bashar Assad. But in dealing with Assad, should the international community threaten him with prosecution at the International Criminal Court or offer him a comfortable exile?
That question is being widely debated, and came up several times earlier this year with the ouster of other Arab autocrats. Last month, a United Nations commission found that Syrian security forces loyal to Assad had killed hundreds of children and perpetrated other "crimes against humanity."
Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:09 am
As you know, numbers can often be looked at several ways.
There's the headline that "dozens of Kmart, Sears stores to close" and the topline news that "between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores" are going to be shut down as the retailer looks to trim costs and move ahead after it endured a pretty poor holiday shopping season.