NPR's business news starts with oil prices hovering around $99 a barrel. Oil has gone up sharply since last month, partly because of signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. Also because of tensions in some oil producing regions, which could affect supplies. Still, the debt crisis in Europe is holding prices below that psychologically important $100 a barrel mark. Benchmark crude was trading in Asia this morning at about $98.90. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared before a House oversight subcommittee Thursday to defend his agency's decision to lend $500 million in federal money to Solyndra, a company that made solar panels and is now bankrupt. The company is the subject of numerous federal investigations.
Newt Gingrich served as speaker of the House of Representatives for four turbulent and productive years.
From 1995 through 1998, Congress forced a government shutdown, overhauled the welfare system, balanced the budget for the first time in decades and impeached a president for the second time in history.
Gingrich was in the middle of those debates, fiery in his rhetoric, yet willing to compromise and work with a Democratic president.
With Wednesday's deadline looming, the congressional supercommittee still seems far from an agreement, causing concern that failure could send financial markets into a spiral.
The bipartisan panel, charged with finding budget cuts or new revenues to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, is a child of the summer's debt-ceiling debate. It was an escape hatch for Congress and the president when they couldn't reach agreement on big deficit-reduction measures. That game of chicken helped to send the stock market sliding.
In Israel, tensions are rising between Jews and Palestinian Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites have been vandalized by militant Jews who left graffiti such as "Death to Arabs."
Locals blame activists from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
At a recent demonstration on a street corner in the central Israeli town of Jaffa, protesters chant in both Hebrew and Arabic. The crowd is made up of Jews and Palestinians angry over the attacks, which have rocked their community.
All families have Thanksgiving traditions, and longtime NPR listeners know that Susan Stamberg is always willing to divulge her own. Every year since 1972, Stamberg has shared her mother-in-law's now famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. Stamberg says the relish β a shocking pink, like Pepto-Bismol β sounds terrible, but tastes terrific.
When Sarah Littman took her son, Joshua, to college this fall, it was hard.
"I thought I was gonna cry the whole way back from college," she says during a visit to StoryCorps in New York City. "But I managed to make it until I got home. And then I walked upstairs and I saw your door shut and I just lost it."
Writer-director Alexander Payne is either the American cinema's most acerbic humanist or its most empathetic jerk. Whichever it is, the protagonists of the novels he adapts are outsiders who pay an emotional price for their sense of superiority.
Payne's The Descendants is his first film to be told from the perspective of a person of privilege, but real-estate lawyer Matt King (George Clooney) is the ultimate outsider: a stranger to his family and his lifelong home, Hawaii.
HPV causes about 275,000 cervical cancer deaths each year, and 88 percent of those deaths occur in developing countries. GAVI says the vaccine is critical for women and girls living in these areas because they don't have access to screenings for cervical cancer.
From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama arrived in Indonesia today, the latest stop in a 10 day trip across the Pacific. He's used the trip to send a message that the U.S. is shifting its attention to the Asia Pacific region, both for economic and security reasons. That includes the announcement yesterday that the U.S. will deploy 2,500 Marines to Australia.
Imagine someone asking you what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner weeks ago. Most of us would do a fair to miserable job of recalling that. But it's exactly the information that investigators need to sleuth out the source of an outbreak of Salmonella or E. coli, as German officials learned the hard way this summer.
The congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee must agree before Thanksgiving to slice more than $1 trillion from projected deficits, or that money will be cut automatically from future budgets.
The fundamental divide between the panel's six Democrats and six Republicans has been over whether tax revenues should come into play. And with less than a week to go before the deadline, some Republicans are considering new tax revenue. But even the hint of compromise on that issue is dividing Republicans on Capitol Hill.
When you ask a lot of the Occupiers questions about their ideal government, they tell you then want an "organic" government or a "true democracy." Something a lot like what they created at Zuccotti Park, they say.
That's probably why there's been so much press coverage about the confusion of the movement's message. But, walking around and talking to many of the protesters today, it's obvious that it's a movement that has brought together a lot of people with very different ideologies.
When Barron Lerner was writing his book on the history of drunk driving in America β and efforts to control it β he carried out an experiment at home that involved a bottle of vodka, a shot glass and a Breathalyzer. He was the guinea pig.
"I was trying to figure out just how drunk you had to be in order to not drive safely," says Lerner, a professor of medicine and public health at Columbia University, who wrote One for the Road. He decided to drink and test his levels β but he didn't actually get into a car.
Germany is reeling from revelations this week that a small neo-Nazi group carried out a deadly, decade-long crime wave. Authorities blame the underground cell for the murders of nine immigrants and a policewoman, a string of bank robberies and a bombing. Two suspects are dead and two others are in custody.
The identity of the suspects came as a shock to many in a country that has worked hard to overcome the stain of Nazism. Now, the focus is on the apparent shortcomings of Germany's domestic security services.
Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 5:00 pm
The hotel lobby in Franklin, Tenn., has an ultra-urban loft-esque feel β exposed air ducts, austere furniture and fixtures, music videos projected onto a flat panel. Everywhere there is lava-lampish aqua and amber lighting.
Sale racks near the front desk display chargers for iPods and BlackBerrys and a variety of snacks, including Cocoa Puffs and Red Bulls. Every room features a media box for digital video and music.
Three years ago, when he was only a few days old, Sammi was left in an abandoned building in Ethiopia, where police found him. In 2009, he was adopted and brought to his new home in Arlington, Va., by Brian and Regan Franklin.
Now that the Franklins are ready to adopt another child, Ethiopia β which has been one of the few African countries to allow adoptions by foreigners β is making it tougher.
Melissa Block checks back in with Jason Potteiger with the Occupy Boston movement. The recent college graduate was unemployed when we first talked to him last month. Now he's got a job, but he continues to work with the movement on various projects.
The STOCK Act, a bill that would ban members of Congress from trading stock based on nonpublic information they get because they're lawmakers, has 61 co-sponsors and counting. And after years of languishing with only one hearing, the measure is getting one in the House Financial Services Committee.
What's remarkable about this is that the STOCK Act had just nine co-sponsors last week. What changed? The CBS news magazine 60 Minutes did a story about congressional insider trading.
Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 2:00 pm
Californians who oppose same-sex marriage just won a procedural victory in court.
The state's Supreme Court ruled this hour that opponents of same-sex marriage who successfully pushed the Proposition 8 law that bans such unions in the state may defend the initiative in court. The court's opinion is here.
Since Cirque du Soleil was founded in 1984, it has grown from a troupe of street performers in Montreal to a billion-dollar entertainment industry with over 5,000 employees from over 40 countries. Quidam is one of the company's 22 shows. It's the story of a girl searching for the meaning of life.
Boarding a flight with kids can be a nightmare for everyone. And as airlines cut back on amenities and pack cabins, flying as a family has grown more and more difficult. Michelle Higgins, the New York Times' Practical Traveler, compiled a list of family-friendly airlines and flying tips.
Emily Rapp and her husband eagerly anticipated their baby's birth. But when their son Ronan was nine-months-old, he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. All of their plans suddenly felt inconsequential and they refocused their lives on being fierce, loyal and loving "dragon parents."
Rock music on FM radio faces more competition than ever. With iPods, satellite radio and online streaming, many companies have given up on rock music to boost ratings and revenue.
But former Q101 Chicago DJ Christine Pawlak argues that there will always be an important role for rock on the radio, played by DJs rooted in their communities, not voice-tracked elsewhere and piped in.