From NPR News

Pages

Law
3:14 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Justices Return To Affirmative Action In Higher Ed

Students walk through the University of Texas, Austin, campus near the school's iconic tower on Sept. 27.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:48 am

The U.S. Supreme Court returns on Wednesday to the emotional issue of affirmative action in higher education. The court will once again hear oral arguments on the issue, this time in a case from the University of Texas.

Over the past 35 years, the court has twice ruled that race may be one of many factors in determining college admissions, as long as there are no racial quotas. Now, just nine years after its last decision, the justices seem poised to outright reverse or cut back on the previous rulings.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

It's Good To Root, Root, Root For The Home Team

Baltimore Orioles Nate McLouth (from left), J.J. Hardy, Robert Andino and Manny Machado high-five teammates after Game 2 of Major League Baseball's American League Division Series against the New York Yankees. Somewhere, commentator and Orioles fan Frank Deford is also giving high-fives.
Nick Wass AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 6:48 am

My first protocol on rooting in sports is that you should stick with the teams that you grew up with. I know we're a transient society, but that's just it: Continuing to cheer for your original hometown teams is one way of displaying the old-fashioned value of allegiance.

If you grew up in Cleveland, say, and moved somewhere Sun Belt-ish, I know how hard it is, but the measure of whether you are a good person is that you must remain loyal to the Browns and Indians and that team that LeBron James left behind.

Read more
It's All Politics
7:20 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney Shows His Soft Side; President Tightens His Pitch

Mitt Romney on a farm in Van Meter, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:56 pm

With 27 days until the general election, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was on an Iowa farm Tuesday where he did what he's done for months: criticized President Obama's economic policies, though his critique understandably had an agricultural slant.

Read more
Science
7:15 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Nobel In Physics: Your Tax Dollars At Work

In this combination of photos, American physicist David Wineland (left) speaks at a news conference in Boulder, Colo., and French physicist Serge Haroche speaks to the media in Paris after they were named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics.
Ed Andrieski, Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:45 am

You wouldn't be surprised to learn that a laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Commerce is working on more precise methods to measure stuff.

However, you might not expect it to be at the cutting edge of the mind-bending world of quantum physics. But on Tuesday, David Wineland became the fourth employee at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, a federal lab, to win a Nobel since 1997. Wineland learned he will share the Nobel Prize in physics with Frenchman Serge Haroche for work that's both esoteric and practical.

Read more
U.S.
6:19 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

At U. Of Texas, A Melting Pot Not Fully Blended

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that could determine the future of policies that include race as a factor in university admissions.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas, Austin.

Fisher sued the university, claiming she was denied admission because of her race. Her suit, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, could mean the end of admissions policies that take race into account.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:12 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

U.S. Government Sues Wells Fargo In Mortgage Case

Wells Fargo.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:24 pm

The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., today, saying the bank was reckless when it issued federally guaranteed mortgages.

Bloomberg reports:

Read more
Around the Nation
4:40 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Instead Of Surgery, Man Pedals Off The Pounds

Ernest Gagnon weighed 570 pounds before he decided to lose weight by taking up cyclocross racing. Forgoing surgery, Gagnon lost more than 200 pounds and recently competed in his first cyclocross race.
Courtesy of Ernest Gagnon

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:02 pm

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

Read more
NPR Story
4:40 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Supreme Court To Take Up Affirmative Action Case

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Fisher claimed she was denied admission to UT because of her race.

Read more
NPR Story
4:40 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Sandusky Sentenced To At Least 30 Years In Prison

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. And today, he was sentenced to at least 30 years in a state correctional facility.

Read more
The Salt
4:13 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Restaurant Discounts For Gastric Bypass Patients May Send Mixed Messages

People who have had gastric bypass surgery qualify for discounts at popular restaurants, including buffets.
coolmikeol Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:31 am

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans turn to stomach-shrinking bariatric procedures, hoping for extreme weight loss.

All of these reduced appetites might seem like bad news for the restaurant business, but surgeon-distributed food discount cards aim to make dining out cheaper and more practical for gastric bypass patients.

But is this kind of encouragement really a good idea?

Read more
It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Study: Unemployment Discussion Differs By Swing State

Job seekers line up to register at a Miami job fair in January. A new study shows that Florida voters discuss joblessness in ways quite different from those in Ohio and Virginia, two other presidential battleground states.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:21 pm

Dante Chinni is the director of Patchwork Nation, which uses demographic, voting and cultural data to study communities. It is part of the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Jefferson Institute, which teamed with NPR to examine what can be learned about different communities through online text analysis. The project had Knight Foundation funding.


Since the beginning of the Great Recession, unemployment has driven much of the national conversation, and with good reason.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:38 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Young 'Nones' Set To Transform The Political Landscape

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 4:50 pm

Culture warriors on the left and right would be wise to carefully examine a new survey from the Pew Research Center showing that a growing number of Americans are moving away from religious labels.

The study, titled "Nones" on the Rise, indicates that 1 in 5 Americans now identifies as "religiously unaffiliated," a group that includes those who say they have no particular religion, as well as atheists and agnostics.

Read more
Music Reviews
3:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Shemekia Copeland Embodies The Blues On '33 1/3'

Shemekia Copeland's new album is titled 33 1/3.
Sandrine Lee Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 3:25 pm

Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Mexican Official: Zeta Leader's Body Was Stolen From Funeral Home

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano in an undated photo.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:20 pm

A prosecutor from the Mexican state of Coahuila dropped a bombshell today: The body of Zeta founder and leader Heriberto "El Lazca" Lazcano was stolen from a funeral home.

This is big news because the Mexican government has on at least one other occasion claimed to have captured a big fish in the war on drugs only to have to walk it back, when questions arose.

Read more
Europe
2:58 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

German Catholics' Path To Heaven Comes With Taxes

Bavarian bishops walk in a procession to the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers near Bad Staffelstein, Germany, in May. A decree by the German bishops' conference warns that German Catholics who do not pay a state church tax will be denied sacraments.
Daniel Karmann EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:02 pm

Germany's bishops have a clear message for the country's 25 million Catholics: The road to heaven requires more than faith and good intentions; it requires tax payments, too.

Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don't pay the country's church tax, they'll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Marine General Expected To Be Next Commander In Afghanistan

Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Marines.mil

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce during a meeting of NATO defense leaders in Brussels Wednesday that Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford will be nominated to succeed Gen. John Allen as the top commander in Afghanistan, according to a defense official familiar with the decision.

Read more
U.S.
2:41 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Getting To Yes On Gay Marriage, One Voter At A Time

Rion Tucker is a canvasser for Equality Maine. The organization is working to get supporters to the polls on Election Day, to vote for a ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage.
Michael May for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 7:10 pm

Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.

Read more
Education
2:30 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Weighing Alternatives To Affirmative Action

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 9:47 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Tomorrow the Supreme Court revisits the decades-long debate on the use of affirmative action in college admissions. In the latest case, Fisher versus University of Texas at Austin, a white student argues that she was denied admission on account of her race.

Read more
Strange News
2:26 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Casting Hopes And Dreams To Sea In A Bottle

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Capt. Sean Bercaw has thrown hundreds of messages in bottles into the ocean, and received dozens of responses. It started when he was just a child.

"I was born into a family with this crazy dream of sailing around the world," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. At age 10, he and his family set off on a three-and-a-half-year voyage around the world. It was on that trip that he got the idea to put notes in bottles.

Read more
Health
2:23 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

When Prolonging Death Seems Worse Than Death

Rudyanto Wijaya iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:18 pm

Many of us think of death as the worst possible outcome for a terminally ill patient, but Judith Schwarz disagrees.

Schwarz, a patient supporter at the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, says prolonging death can be a far worse fate. For many patients, good palliative or hospice care can alleviate suffering, yet "a small but significant proportion of dying patients suffer intolerably," Schwarz writes.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
2:04 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

England Offering Free HIV Treatment For Visitors

Outsiders might be unfamiliar with the U.K.'s National Health Service, but Brits love it so much that they devoted part of opening ceremonies at the 2012 London Olympics to the NHS.
Courtesy of BBC One

We're just catching up with our U.K. reading list, so we're a bit late with this one. But it's worth noting that as of Oct. 1, England's National Health Service is providing treatment for HIV free of charge to visitors from overseas.

Read more
From Our Listeners
2:03 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Letters: Helping Kids Handle Grief

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 9:47 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Read more
Studio Sessions
2:03 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Maret Makes His Way On The Harmonica

On his self-titled debut, Gregoire Maret collaborates with Raul Midon, Marcus Miller and Cassandra Wilson.
Ingrid C. Hertfelder Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:23 am

Over the past decade, Swiss musician Gregoire Maret has redefined the role of the harmonica in modern jazz. After cutting his teeth as a sideman for some the biggest names in jazz, he's now taken center stage as a bandleader.

Here, Maret talks with NPR's Neal Conan about recording his self-titled debut album, building a following for the jazz harmonica and making the transition from sideman to headliner.


Interview Highlights

On how he got his start

Read more
It's All Politics
1:51 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Sesame Workshop To Obama Campaign: Leave Big Bird Out Of It

Sesame Workshop asked President Obama's campaign to stop running an ad featuring its Big Bird character.
Obama campaign ad

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 2:12 pm

In its attempt to turn the tables on Mitt Romney following the Republican presidential nominee's big win in the first presidential debate, President Obama's campaign has sought to enlist Big Bird.

The president has repeatedly reminded supporters at rallies that Romney, during the debate, specifically cited Big Bird when he promised to defund the Public Broadcasting Service to reduce federal deficits.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Record-Breaking Free Fall Attempt By Felix Baumgartner Aborted

Felix Baumgartner of Austria sits in his capsule during the preparations for the final manned flight of the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico, on Oct. 6.
Joerg Mitter AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:27 pm

Update at 1:46 p.m. ET. Aborted:

The free-fall record won't be broken today. After a few delays, strong winds caused the Red Bull Stratos team to call off Felix Baumgartner's attempt to break the speed of sound using only his body.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Taliban Say They Shot 14-Year-Old Pakistani Girl Who Exposed Their Cruelty

Malala Yousufzai on a stretcher as she was being taken to a hospital earlier today in Mingora, Pakistan.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:16 am

"Shooting attacks happen every day in Pakistan," as NPR's Philip Reeves reports from Islamabad.

But the shooting of a teenaged girl who became nationally known after she documented the Taliban's cruelty in Pakistan's Swat Valley has caused particular shock in that country, he tells our Newscast Desk.

The Pakistani Taliban are claiming their fighters carried out today's attack. According to Philip, "officials say Malala Yousufzai was outside her school when a gunman approached, and opened fire, injuring her and at least one other child."

Read more
The Two-Way
12:54 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

In Greece, Protests Greet Germany's Angela Merkel

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Greece on Tuesday.
Milos Bicanski Getty Images

As the BBC puts it, Greece felt like two different places today: On the one had you had an "amicable and symbolic" state visit by Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and on the other hand, you had tens of thousands of protesters gathered across Athens who weren't too happy to see her.

Read more
Commentary
12:32 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

One Debate, Two Very Different Conversations

President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finish their debate at the University of Denver on Oct. 3.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 2:13 pm

When you consider how carefully staged and planned the debates are and how long they've been around, it's remarkable how often candidates manage to screw them up. Sometimes they're undone by a simple gaffe or an ill-conceived bit of stagecraft, like Gerald Ford's slip-up about Soviet domination of eastern Europe in 1976, or Al Gore's histrionic sighing in 2000. Sometimes it's just a sign of a candidate having a bad day, like Ronald Reagan's woolly ramblings in the first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

VIDEO: Australia's Prime Minister Doesn't Hold Back As She Rips Opponent

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivering her verbal takedown of the opposition.
ABCNews (of Australia)

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 7:59 am

Read more
Education
12:02 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Florida, Microcosm of Nation's Schools

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll talk to a woman about the high price of friendship. Well, one friendship anyway. She cosigned a loan for a friend who was struggling. Now she is struggling with the consequences. We'll have more on that and we'll also tell you some things you might want to think about to protect your own credit score. That's in just a few minutes.

Read more

Pages