Early voting has begun in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. Voting booths were set up for early voting Thursday at the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa. Ahead of Wednesday's first presidential debate, an NPR poll finds President Obama with a 7-point lead nationally, but his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, is within striking distance.
The latest poll by NPR and its bipartisan polling team [pdf] shows President Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters nationally and a nearly identical lead of 6 points in the dozen battleground states where both campaigns are spending most of their time and money.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
The death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is now under investigation. Nicholas Ivie was on patrol in the desert along the Mexican border with Arizona yesterday when he was shot. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.
Some other news. Women who work for Wal-Mart - the world's largest retail chain - continue to make claims they get paid less and are not promoted as often as men. Current and former Wal-Mart employees have now filed a court case in Tennessee.
As Blake Farmer of member station WPLN reports.
BLAKE FARMER, BYLINE: Three women are named. Attorney Scott Tift says each has a first-hand account of discrimination.
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.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (front left) rides in a driverless car to a bill signing at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on Sept. 25.
Credit Eric Risberg / AP
California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill for driverless cars as state Sen. Alex Padilla (left) and Google co-founder Sergey Brin look on. The legislation opens the way for driverless cars in the state.
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.
Beer is processed at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo. The brewery has embraced sustainability, making efforts to produce some of its own energy.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
Jenn Vervier, the New Belgium Brewing Co.'s director of sustainability, says the brewery's energy-saving efforts include making ice at night, when it's colder.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
Wade Troxell is an associate professor of engineering at Colorado State University and a City Council member in Fort Collins, Colo. He's passionate about the technology and the policy behind renewable energy.
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.