Rhode Island had one of the most underfunded pension systems in the country until last week. That's when an overwhelming majority of state lawmakers passed big changes, mostly affecting future retirees. Now those lawmakers are facing angry unions, which are preparing for a legal fight. As Catherine Welch of Rhode Island Public Radio reports, the unions are also hinting at a political battle against those who supported the plan.
This week in New York Magazine, two writers from different political parties each critiqued their own side. On Thursday, we heard from conservative David Frum, who argues Republicans lost touch with reality. In the same issue, liberal writer Jonathan Chait also uses the word "fantasy" in describing liberals. He tells Steve Inskeep liberals have become unreasonable.
In Afghanistan, a media boom followed the ouster of the Taliban in 2001, but there have been problems. Watchdog groups report hundreds of cases of violence and intimidation against journalists, including murder. Afghan reporters have learned which topics are off-limits, and they take great care to avoid offending the country's powerful. NPR's Ahmad Shafi reports from Kabul.
NPR's Business News starts with rising computer prices. A component used to make computers has become more expensive. The reason why, is around the world in Southeast Asia. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
It wasn't long ago that Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's rise to the top of the Republican field of presidential candidates was called "meteoric." In August, she won the Iowa straw poll. Now, she's polling in the single digits.
But Bachmann is plowing ahead with her campaign and this week she came out with a memoir, Core of Conviction. In it, she writes about her 28 children — five biological and 23 foster kids. She spent much of the 1990s as a stay-at-home mom.
Sometimes in the life of a reporter, you meet a person so extraordinary, so interesting, that you want to share that experience with others. Such is the case with Albie Sachs, whom I met while on vacation in South Africa.
Sachs has led a remarkable life, moving from freedom fighter to founding father.
At NPR, we know a thing or two about promotional merchandise. After all, we invented the Nina Totin' Bag and the Carl Kasell Autograph Pillow. So, on this Black Friday, White House correspondent Scott Horsley presents the NPR guide to campaign swag.
Scientists in California think they've figure out why flies like beer. That may sound a bit trivial, but in fact it could lead to new ways of combating plant and animal pests.
That flies like beer is well known. "The attraction of flies to beer was first reported in the early 1920s," says Anupama Dahanukar. She's part of an inter-disciplinary program involving neuroscience and entomology at the University of California, Riverside. She's been studying how flies recognize chemicals, so answering the question of why flies like beer is actually quite relevant to her research.
Egypt's military rulers rejected protester demands for them to step down immediately and said Thursday they would start the first round of parliamentary elections on time next week, despite serious unrest in Cairo and other cities.
The ruling military council insisted it is not the same as the old regime it replaced, but the generals appear to be on much the same path that doomed Hosni Mubarak nine months ago, responding to the current crisis by delivering speeches seen as arrogant, mixing concessions with threats and using brutal force.
Do the police need a warrant to read your email? Believe it or not, two decades into the Internet age, the answer to that question is still "maybe." It depends on how old the email is, where you keep it — and it even depends on whom you ask.
Some big-name tech companies are now asking Congress to step in and clarify Americans' online privacy rights.
If you do run afoul of the law and you happen to be one of the millions of people who use Gmail then cops will likely be directing their inquiries to the legal department at Google, in Mountain View, Calif.
Originally published on Fri November 25, 2011 1:58 am
A new poll that gauges Americans' views of the Mormon faith served up difficult news for the nation's highest profile member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
As the European debt crisis drags on, one question being asked is what will happen to Italy. The new government of Prime Minister Mario Monti is struggling to convince the financial markets that the country has a plan to pay its debts. Among other things, Monti says he will do something about Italy's long tradition of tax evasion, which is considered somewhat of a national sport.
Of all the economic downturns of the past few years, the tiny European nation of Latvia may have suffered as much as any place. Incomes fell and families suffered as the government implemented harsh austerity measures.
Now, the citizens of this former Soviet republic seem more open to what was once unthinkable: backing a social democratic party that's pro-Russian.
For a lot of the people in Joplin, Mo., this Thanksgiving is going to be one more to endure than to celebrate. But new dreams are slowly taking root in the rocky soil here.
While the losses from last May's tornado have been terrible, they've left a lot of people here more grateful to be alive than they were last Thanksgiving. Some residents are deeply grateful for what the storm didn't take, and even for what it gave them.
It's been an All Things Considered Thanksgiving tradition since 1991— a Bailey White original short story. Over the years, White's stories have included tales about a rose queen, a telephone man, an ostrich farmer and a wife exacting revenge. This year, White presents "Call It Even." It's about a shy painter who moves from Florida to Vermont and wants to feel like he fits in — so he raises a dozen turkeys.
The son or daughter who can't get away. A nephew who is serving in Afghanistan. Perhaps, the favorite aunt who passed away. Guest host John Donvan talks with listeners about the people missing from their Thanksgiving table, and how they remember absent family and friends.
What goes on the dining table has never mattered as much to our lives as what goes on around it, says Adam Gopnik, a staff writer for The New Yorker. Guest host John Donvan talks with Gopnik about his new book, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food.
They battle international villains. And "when it comes to giving away their hearts, they'll risk everything." That's according to "SEAL of my Dreams, a short story collection by 18 romance novelists, celebrating Navy SEALS. Story titles include "SEALed with A Kiss," "SEALed by Fate" — you get the idea. Proceeds from the book will fund medical research for wounded veterans.
Facing a financial crisis that threatens Europe, Italy's lower house of parliament got down to important business. They passed a rule to save themselves from themselves. Photographers use long lenses to capture lawmakers making rude gestures, passing notes — or voting for absent colleagues, a practice that has been called "playing the piano," as they press several buttons at once. So, lawmakers have banned photographers from taking "personal images."
Originally published on Thu November 24, 2011 5:12 pm
Nation-building has gone out of style.
The U.S. effort in Afghanistan has lasted a decade, and it's been nearly as long in Iraq. Now, there's little appetite in American political circles for large-scale attempts to build up the economies or political institutions of other countries.
Most U.S. troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year. And the Obama administration has been careful not to take on responsibility for rebuilding Libya after the NATO bombing campaign that helped drive Moammar Gadhafi from power.