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Economy
3:25 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Record Low Interest Rates Raise Inflation Concerns

The Federal Reserve plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2014, and some critics are concerned about the risk of inflation and the message it sends about the economy.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

The goal of the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is to juice the economic recovery. The low rates should make it easier for people to borrow money, which they'll hopefully spend; the increased demand for goods and services is then supposed to translate into more hiring.

That's what the Fed is banking on. It hopes low interest rates will help with its mandate of achieving maximum employment, but it also has another mandate: to keep prices stable.

"In many cases, those two conflict," says economist Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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Sweetness And Light
3:23 am
Wed February 29, 2012

100 Points, One Game: A Basketball Record Turns 50

Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors poses in the dressing room after he scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knickerbockers on March 2, 1962.
Paul Vathis AP

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

Dave Zinkoff — or simply "The Zink" — was perhaps the most distinctive public address announcer in sports when, years ago, he called games in Philadelphia, especially for the city's NBA teams. Just his declaring that there were two minutes left in the quarter made you feel that, never mind that quarter, doomsday was but 120 seconds away.

But nothing The Zink cried out was so resounding as when Wilt Chamberlain would make an emphatic slam.

"Dipper dunk!" he would holler.

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All Tech Considered
12:01 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Nailing Down The Appeal Of Pinterest

A visit to the Pinterest home page reveals images of what some say are stereotypically female interests, from women's fashions to recipes.
Pinterest

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

To the list of weird-sounding hybrid words of the digital age, like Googling and tweeting, we can now add "pinning." As in Pinterest. It's sort of an online scrapbook or bulletin board, and it's one of the fastest-growing websites in history.

Last month, more than 10 million unique visitors signed on to Pinterest. But some of them, like Billy Winburn, are still trying to get the hang of it. At an office in Alexandria, Va., Jennifer Folsom, who works a few desks away, is walking him through the process.

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Europe
12:01 am
Wed February 29, 2012

For Leap Day Only, A Rare Newspaper Goes To Print

A man reads a copy of the satirical newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur (The Sapper's Candle), published every leap day, in a Parisian cafe on Feb. 29, 2008. The paper's tagline is "without reproach."
Patrick Hertzog AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:02 am

At newsstands across France on Wednesday, readers will delight to a humorous broadsheet published every four years on leap day.

At news shops in Paris and around France, readers look forward to their copy of La Bougie du Sapeur every Feb. 29. Published since 1980, the satirical journal is now in its ninth edition. Its title, which translates as "sapper's candle," is taken from an old French comic-book figure who was born on that fateful last day of February.

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Mitt Romney
6:01 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Michigan Primary A Test Of Romney's Family Legacy

A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a vintage campaign poster of Romney's father, George Romney, in Albion, Mich.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:59 am

Michigan and Arizona hold presidential primaries Tuesday, and in Michigan, where Mitt Romney was born, the race has been as hard-fought as anywhere in the country.

For Romney, the campaign there has been personal. He often evokes the Michigan of his youth, when his father, George, ran American Motors and went on to become a very popular three-term governor.

But does that family legacy mean anything today?

If you were to go to a Romney event in Detroit or Kalamazoo or Traverse City, you'd be almost guaranteed to hear some Romney family history.

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Opinion
12:01 am
Tue February 28, 2012

The New Indian Pariahs: Vegetarians

An Indian butcher chops meat at a mutton market in Mumbai. Indians are consuming more meat than ever before, despite a tradition of vegetarianism.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 5:08 am

India has been home to vegetarians for centuries. Many Hindus and most Buddhists do not eat meat, but commentator Sandip Roy says in today's India, meat is what's for dinner.

When my friend Lakshmi, a lifelong vegetarian, went to America as a student more than 20 years ago she knew she was in for a hard time. Vegetarian dorm food meant a lot of cheese pizza, french fries, pasta and if she was lucky, grilled vegetables.

After 10 years in San Francisco's vegetarian mecca, when she returned to live in India a few years ago, she had an unexpected identity crisis.

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Law
12:01 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Human Rights Victims Seek Remedy At High Court

Charles Wiwa fled Nigeria in 1996 following a crackdown on protests against Shell's oil operations in the Niger Delta. Now a resident of Chicago, Wiwa and other natives of the oil-rich Ogoni region are suing Shell for human rights violations.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Human rights are front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in two cases testing how American law intersects with international law. At issue in both cases is whether foreign nationals in the United States can sue corporations or other entities in U.S. courts for alleged violations of human rights.

The case that has corporate teeth chattering is a lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell Oil, which is accused of aiding and abetting the Nigerian government in committing atrocities in the 1990s.

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The Two-Way
4:48 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

In Kentucky, 2015 Derby Winner Could Arrive Any Day Now

This picture has stayed in Noah Adams' mind.
Dr. Kim Sprayberry Hagyard Equine Medical Institute

The horse that wins the Kentucky Derby in 2015 may come into the world tonight in the Bluegrass State.

From January into June, about 8,000 registered thoroughbred colts and fillies will be born in Kentucky. As 3-year-olds, a few may be Triple Crown contenders.

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Middle East
5:02 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Clinton: How Do We Help Syrians Defend Themselves?

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 8:17 pm

Just a few days ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Tunis, Tunisia, meeting her counterparts from dozens of countries and issuing an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar Assad to silence his guns and allow in humanitarian aid.

While in Morocco, before flying home to Washington, D.C., Clinton talked to NPR's Michele Kelemen.

Syrian tanks continue to batter homes, and no aid is getting in. So what are allies of the Syrian people to do?

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Race
3:26 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Through Video, Lakota Students Reject Stereotypes

Feather Rae Colombe (from left) appeared in the Lakota student video More Than That. Kim Bos is a video technology teacher who helped produce the video. Student John Whirlwind Soldier directed the video.
Jim Kent

Unhappy with portrayals of Native Americans in mainstream media, a group of students from South Dakota's Rosebud Sioux Reservation created a video to show that their community is about more than alcoholism, broken homes and crime.

The students are visiting Washington, D.C., on Monday to lobby Congress for increased funding for schools on reservations.

Filmed in black and white, the student-produced video More Than That takes viewers through the hallways, classrooms and gymnasium of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation's county high school.

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Author Interviews
3:24 am
Mon February 27, 2012

How You Can Harness 'The Power Of Habit'

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 6:52 am

The 19th century psychologist William James observed, "All our life ... is but a mass of habits."

Ad men in the 20th century took this aphorism to heart. It wasn't enough to simply sell a product; the goal was to hook consumers and keep them coming back.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Study Suggests Way To Create New Eggs In Women

Alvaro Heinzen iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:15 pm

For decades, scientists have thought that one of the big differences between men and women is that men can make children all their lives because men never stop making sperm. But scientific dogma said women aren't so lucky when it comes to their eggs.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

New Methods Could Speed Up Repair Of Injured Nerves

Pinwheels like these are often used to test nerve responses.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 11:07 am

When a nerve is injured, it's often hard to get it to regrow fast enough to restore function.

But now researchers say they can speed up that process, so that damaged nerves can be healed in days instead of months — at least in rats.

The scientists say they've developed a technique that reconnects the severed ends of a nerve, allowing it to begin carrying messages again very quickly. Usually, severed nerves must regrow from the point of injury — a process that can take months, if it ever happens.

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says valuing space exploration "transforms the culture into one that values science and technology."
AP

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 12:02 pm

After decades of global dominance, America's space shuttle program ended last summer while countries like Russia, China and India continue to advance their programs. But astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of the new book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, says America's space program is at a critical moment. He thinks it's time for America to invest heavily in space exploration and research.

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Europe
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Portuguese Seeking Opportunities In Former Colonies

Protesters against government austerity measures march in front of the Finance Ministry in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month. The country's debt crisis has prompted Portuguese workers to look to their country's former colonies for jobs.
Patricia de Melo Moreira AFP/Getty Images

Portugal is burdened with such big debts that some are calling it "the next Greece." Unemployment is soaring, and the debt continues to rise, despite draconian austerity measures.

But Portugal has something Greece doesn't have: former colonies, rich in natural resources and in need of labor, both skilled and unskilled. And in a type of role reversal, some Portuguese are now traveling to those places in hopes of improving their lives.

Antonio Valerio, who is studying pharmaceutical science at a university, is among those who see no future in Portugal.

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Middle East
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

With President Leaving, Yemen Steps Into A New Era

A Yemeni man shows his ink-stained thumb after he voted in the presidential election in Yemen's capital on Feb. 21. The one-candidate election ends President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year hard-line rule.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Yemen has become the latest Arab country to depose its dictator.

On Monday, the country's longtime president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is set to hand power to his vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, as part of an agreement reached late last year. The agreement was backed by the U.S., Europe and Yemen's powerful Gulf Arab neighbors. It was ratified by more than 60 percent of Yemen's voters earlier this week.

Now, the real work begins.

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Media
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

With Sale, Phila. Reporters Fear Loss Of Integrity

The publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News has been accused of interfering with coverage of the newspapers' pending sale.
Joseph Kaczmarek AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:50 am

Philadelphia's financially troubled newspapers — the jointly owned Inquirer and Daily News — may be sold for the fourth time in six years. Circulation and advertising are down. A new set of layoffs has been announced, and the papers' newsrooms are about to be combined with the news site Philly.com.

But reporters and editors there are outraged by something else: the actions of their own publisher to influence their coverage of the company's sale.

Read more
StoryCorps
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Man Gives U.S. Vets Two Things: Haircuts, And Hope

The barber shop run by Anthony Bravo Esparza — whom everyone knows as "Dreamer" — is a fixture at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System's West Los Angeles Campus.
Paula Berger

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 11:49 am

To help U.S. troops ease back into civilian life, veteran Anthony Bravo Esparza offers them a haircut, and a safe and friendly place to hang out. Esparza — known to his friends as "Dreamer" — sees it as a way to help former soldiers find their way.

Dreamer's barbershop is easy to find; it's set up inside a trailer in the parking lot of the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Read more
Television
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

For Asians And Latinos, Stereotypes Persist In Sitcoms

Han Lee (Matthew Moy), owner of the Brooklyn diner where Max (Kat Dennings, left) and Caroline (Beth Behrs, right) work, joins the two women as they count their earnings on 2 Broke Girls.
Cliff Lipson CBS

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:50 am

I was flipping around TV channels one evening, and I noticed something amazing. There was a glorious absence of black actors playing maids, sassy, streetwise pimps or bug-eyed buffoons.

And then I saw Han Lee.

On CBS' hit comedy 2 Broke Girls, he owns the diner in Brooklyn where the show's sassy heroines just happen to work. He's a walking bundle of stereotypes: Broken English. Socially awkward. Mostly asexual. His heavy accent is always good for a laugh or two.

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Hollywood Jobs
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

The Extraordinary, Ordinary Life Of Alexander Payne

Alexander Payne's The Descendants has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editor and Best Actor. Payne co-wrote and directed the film, which stars George Clooney as an indifferent dad struggling to raise two daughters.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

Alexander Payne watches a movie every day — or tries to, anyway. Lately, the writer and director of The Descendants has been busy going to nomination and awards dinners, in advance of Sunday's Oscar night — when the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay prizes could be his.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri February 24, 2012

A Revival In American Manufacturing, Led By Brooklyn Foodies

Every week, Robert Stout of Kings County Jerky slices meat by hand.
Adam Lerner adamlerner.net

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 10:56 am

One day Chris Woehrle decided to finally leave his corporate job and pursue his dream: to become an artisanal food craftsman. And so, every day at home, he'd basically pickle stuff.

"I had a refrigerator full of plastic food buckets that were full of pickles and kimchee and sauerkraut and harissa and salsa and ketchup and mustard and, you know, any kind of craft food you could make," Woehrle says.

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Something Wild
12:00 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Give a Hoot

Barred owls, New Hampshire's most common owl species, also have the most familiar courtship and territorial song—usually translated as, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?"   It can be heard all year, day or night, but really revs up as owl breeding season begins in late winter.  Owls are early nesters.

Wildlife produce their young when their primary food resource is most abundant.  Mice, rabbit and squirrel populations are exploding when owl hatchlings on a continual growth spurt require frequent feeding.

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Religion
10:41 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

How To Properly Dispose Of Sacred Texts

On Feb. 21 outside Bagram Airfield, Afghan demonstrators show copies of Qurans allegedly set on fire by U.S. soldiers at a NATO airbase outside Kabul.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:24 pm

The Quran is considered to be the speech of God to humankind — word for word — explains Imam Johari Abdul-Malik.

"The traditional way of disposing of used or damaged copies of the text of the Quran is by burning it," he says.

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The Two-Way
3:35 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Closing Time: Postal Service May Cut 35,000 Jobs

The exterior of a Burlingame, Calif. U.S. Postal Service mailing processing center that has been approved for full consolidation.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:50 am

Facing a financial crisis, the United States Postal Service announced that 223 processing facilities have been "found feasible for consolidation, all or in part." Of the 264 processing facilities studied, only 35 are set to remain open.

The closings could result in the loss of 35,000 jobs. USPS has posted a full list of the facilities — which process and sort mail on its way to being delivered — on its website.

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Middle East
3:52 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Egypt's Press Still Feels The Power Of The Military

An Egyptian stock trader reads a copy of the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper last November. Critics say the newspaper is reluctant to criticize the ruling military council and has engaged in self-censorship.
Amr Nabil AP

When Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power last February, many Egyptian journalists hoped for a new era of freedom of expression.

But many now say they've been disappointed. A year after the revolution, Egypt's independent media still face many challenges, mostly, but not exclusively, from the country's ruling military council.

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Planet Money
12:08 am
Thu February 23, 2012

How Mitt Romney's Firm Tried — And Failed — To Build A Paper Empire

Mitt Romney, shown here when he was president of Bain Capital.
David L. Ryan Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:20 pm

Mitt Romney is campaigning as a businessman who knows how to turn the economy around — a skill he says he learned during his time turning companies around, as president of the private equity firm Bain Capital.

So today, we're going to take a look at two deals that Bain did while Mitt Romney was heading the firm. This afternoon, we'll tell the story of one of Bain's successes.

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Around the Nation
12:07 am
Thu February 23, 2012

African-American Museum Breaks Ground In D.C.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to open in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Courtesy Nationa African Museum of African American History And Culture

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:01 am

President Obama spoke Wednesday at the formal groundbreaking for the Smithsonian's newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The museum, Obama said, has been "a long time coming" and will serve "not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life."

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Crisis In The Housing Market
12:01 am
Thu February 23, 2012

With Banks As Landlords, Some Tenants Neglected

Luz Escamilla's bedroom walls are stained with the blood of bedbugs. She says she doesn't want to bleach them until reps from CW Capital, her landlord, pay an in-person visit to her Maryland home.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Across the country, big banks and other large investors are buying up tens of thousands of foreclosed rental properties. They're not always model landlords, according to tenants and regulators. Some banks are failing to follow local and state housing codes, leaving tenants to live in squalor — without even a number to call in the most dire situations.

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Movie Interviews
12:01 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Private Screening: How Hollywood Watches Its Work

At the Charles Aidikoff Screening Room on Rodeo Drive, filmmakers can screen their works in progress for an invite-only audience in the small, 57-seat theater. The screening room is also rented to show films to members of the Academy and the press.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Before they made it to the Oscars, the nominated films — not to mention all the films that didn't make the cut — were viewed by some 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Many of those movies were shown in small, private, rented screening rooms all over Hollywood.

The studios have their own screening rooms, of course, but often directors want a more private place to screen works in progress — with no studio suits in sight.

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All Tech Considered
6:21 pm
Wed February 22, 2012

Troubled Sony Pins Hopes On PlayStation Vita

Sony's PlayStation Vita and its predecessor, The PlayStation Portable.
Reed Saxon AP

Sony launched the PlayStation Vita, its first hand-held gaming device in seven years, Wednesday. Vita, of course, is the Latin word for "life." And after suffering a series of tough blows — from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami to a relentlessly strong yen and a significant hacking attack — a bit of new life is just what the struggling company needs.

The Vita went on sale at a Best Buy in Los Angeles Wednesday morning. Despite the company's $50 million marketing campaign, only about a dozen gamers were on hand.

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