Frigid temperatures are blasting the northeast and in the Rockaway section of Queens — one of the areas worst hit by Superstorm Sandy — some 8,200 homes and businesses remain without power and many also living without heat are improvising, often dangerously, to stay warm.
The share of the American work force that belongs to a labor union has hit a 97 year low. Today only 11.3 percent of workers hold a union membership. Labor expert Tony Carnevale of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce says the federal government has replaced the labor union for many American workers, in pushing for health and safety regulations, minimum wage legislation and equal pay.
President Obama has nominated former prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). White made her mark in high profile cases against terrorists and the mobster John Gotti. She would be the first prosecutor to head the SEC, and that could blunt criticisms that the administration hasn't been tough enough on Wall Street. But White also advised securities firms as a corporate lawyer after her stint as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Time now for a home-viewing recommendation from NPR movie critic Bob Mondello. A quiet recommendation — because Bob is touting the Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection, a 14-disc set of classic silent comedies.
Silent film had three great clowns. Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp is the one everyone remembers; all-American daredevil Harold Lloyd is the one who made the most money; and Buster Keaton was the genius.
South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela came of age during the 1970s, an era dominated by the violent student uprising in Soweto. From the start, his musical expression has been about love and hope for his country. His songs play as anthems of South Africa's rise from apartheid to democracy and have helped earn him the nickname "The Voice."
TransCanada already has begun construction on a southern section of the Keystone XL pipeline. Since it doesn't cross the U.S.-Canadian border, it doesn't require approval from the State Department and President Obama.
The future of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline is in the hands of the State Department. President Obama rejected a similar pipeline proposal last year, but now that Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved an alternative route through his state, the approval process is back on track.
After a long hiatus, the rock trio Dinosaur Jr. reunited in 2005. In September, the band released a new album, I Bet on Sky, which was widely praised for its explosive energy and characteristically bold integration of feedback and distortion. I Bet On Sky is the third record the group has released since its reunion, and it finds Dinosaur Jr. sounding just as vital and intense as it did when it first formed 28 years ago.
A New York City police academy graduation ceremony on Dec. 28, 2012, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the New York murder rate has hit an all-time low. While some point to the NYPD's policing tactics to explain the decline, others say economic and demographic shifts are also at work.
By most measures, New York City is safer than it's been in a half-century. The city recorded just 418 murders in 2012 — the lowest total since record keeping began in the early 1960s. But there's some debate about where to place the credit for that drop.
No part of New York saw a more dramatic decline in murders last year than the 61st Precinct in South Brooklyn. Two years ago, there were 14 murders in the precinct. Last year, it had only three.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 7:29 pm
To Mainers, cold-water shrimp pulled from the Gulf of Maine in midwinter by a shrinking fleet of fisherman are many things: fresh, sweet, delicious, affordable, precious.
"The absolute best thing about them is that they are almost exclusively ours," boasts Portland-based architect and Maine shrimp lover Ric Quesada. He revels in the fact that Maine shrimp don't travel well out of state. "You don't run errands with these in your car. They want to go right home and be eaten," he says.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:47 pm
When sickle cell patients arrive at emergency rooms, they often have difficulty getting proper treatment. Paula Tanabe, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, is working to change that.
Sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder most common among people of African descent, affects 100,000 Americans. It causes normally disk-shaped red blood cells to take the form of pointed crescents or sickles.
Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division train on a firing range in Fort Campbell, Ky., in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan. The Pentagon announced Thursday that women will no longer be banned from combat roles.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 3:06 pm
The Pentagon's announcement that it is lifting the ban on women in combat raises a host of questions that the military will have to address. Here's a few of them:
How many combat positions are there in the military?
As in all militaries, U.S. combat troops are a relatively small percentage of the overall force. The U.S. military has 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and women are barred from 237,000 positions, according to the Pentagon. The Pentagon will now be reviewing those positions, and many will be opened up to women.