NPR's business news starts with good news for automakers.
U.S. auto sales last month were the best they've been in four and a half years. That's according to numbers compiled by the research firm Auto Data. Experts give credit the boost in sales to cheap financing for car loans and growing consumer confidence. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In the run-up to the presidential election, Morning Edition visited communities in swing states — in fact, in swing counties — that are predictably unpredictable when it comes to voting. We wanted to hear from voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year.
A paradox of American health care is that hospitals are sometimes rewarded for doing things badly.
Patients who are discharged, for example, shouldn't have to come right back because they got worse after getting home. But if they do come back, hospitals benefit because they can fill an empty bed and bill for more care.
The federal government says, in fact, that Medicare alone pays $17.4 billion a year for unnecessary return visits.
Google's self-driving robotic cars have been on the roads in California for two years, but they have been operating in a legal limbo. These cars were not explicitly forbidden, but laws governing self-driving vehicles didn't exist.
The 007 theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.
In 1962, Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for the first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.
The presidential debates are expected to cover a wide range of topics, from the economy to foreign policy to health care. Wednesday night's debate will focus on domestic policy — and one topic that's likely to come up is energy.
It's a subject that is certainly on the minds of voters in Larimer County, Colo. Last week, in a rural area outside Fort Collins, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a campaign event in a warehouse at Walker Mowers, a family-owned manufacturer of lawn mowers and tractors.
In western Michigan, there aren't enough apples to pick because bad weather decimated 85 to 90 percent of the crop. But Washington state has the opposite problem — there's an abundance of apples, but not enough pickers.
This should be the happiest, busiest time of year in Washington apple orchards. But now — just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on — Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.
So, we found out that the National Football League is too big to fail. But not so big that it couldn't make a complete fool of itself and show to the world that its owners are stingy, greedy nincompoops.
Not so big that it couldn't make its commissioner, Roger Goodell, stand out in front, looking lost and small, so that their erstwhile tough-guy commander suddenly became an errand boy, losing respect and dignity that will be hard to regain the next time he needs it.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 8:23 pm
Civil rights groups are cheering the injunction placed on the Pennsylvania voter identification law, but their recent victories against state photo ID measures very likely won't last beyond Election Day.
Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant who witnessed former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy, has filed a lawsuit against Penn State University for defamation and misrepresentation.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:53 am
Should you take Vitamin D supplements to prevent colds and shorten the misery?
Like other theories about the benefits of vitamin D, it seems like a reasonably good idea. After all, some lab studies suggest vitamin D might enhance immunity. And as everybody knows, people are more prone to respiratory infections during winter, when they cover up and get less vitamin D-generating sunlight.
Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.
A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.
Certain truths about life in a neighborhood are readily apparent to people who live there, but less obvious to city and state officials. The Justice Mapping Center uses data to help bridge that gap with information about the prison system. By mapping the residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems, Eric Cadora and his colleagues have made vividly clear a concept they call "Million-Dollar Blocks." In some places more than a million dollars are being spent every year to incarcerate the residents of a single Census block. Audie Cornish talks with Eric Cadora.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:55 pm
You can believe this latest poll result if you'd like. Or not.
A survey released Tuesday that was conducted by Public Policy Polling asked people if they thought pollsters were rigging their results to show President Obama leading Mitt Romney (h/t Josh Voorhees at The Slatest).
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:00 pm
The 37-year-old search for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa will continue.
As Mark reported last week, the search for Hoffa turned to a driveway in Roseville, Mich. Police took "soil core" samples after they received a "credible" tip that someone was buried there right around the time Hoffa went missing.
Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.
"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."
Medicaid is already the nation's largest health insurance program in terms of number of people covered: It serves nearly 1 in 5 Americans. Yet at the same time it's putting increasing strain on the budgets of states, which pay about 40 percent of its costs.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 4:20 pm
There's always a lot of noise around a presidential campaign — minor flaps that suck up a lot of media attention but are forgotten by Election Day.
John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington University and a founder of the blog The Monkey Cage, says there's no need to worry about a lot of the ephemera that news coverage tends to focus on.
"I'm telling you, all the fun things don't matter," Sides says.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has lived a long life in just 65 years. An immigrant who grew up poor, he came to the United States to achieve his goals and succeed. As a bodybuilder, he took a quirky culture and helped turn it into an internationally recognized sport.
As an Austrian who could hardly speak English, Schwarzenegger somehow rose to fame in Hollywood, landing blockbuster roles and making millions. And once he conquered the silver screen, he became a politician who sought to apply his own life lessons to the public sphere.