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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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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.

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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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Author Interviews
2:58 am
Wed February 22, 2012

A 'Favored Daughter' Fights For Afghan Women

On the day she was born, Fawzia Koofi nearly died after being left outside in the unrelenting Afghan sun. But against all odds, Koofi survived and went on to become Afghanistan's first female deputy speaker of Parliament. Today, Koofi's name is floated in discussions about whether Afghanistan is ready for a first female president.

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Business
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

New Consumer Agency Eyes Bank Overdraft Fees

Customers use Bank of America ATMs in New York. The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it is looking into ways to help consumers limit their exposure to banks' overdraft fees.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 9:49 am

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it's looking to overhaul rules on overdraft fees. The new agency will be seeking data from banks about how they handle overdrawn accounts, and how they assess fees. The agency plans to use this information to help consumers limit their exposure to these costly charges.

The CFPB estimates that last year, banks made between $15 billion and $22 billion from overdraft fees.

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Election 2012
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Protesters To GOP Candidates: Don't DREAM Halfway

Protesters demonstrate as Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney attends a Get Out the Vote Rally in Mesa, Ariz.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

The run-up to Wednesday's Republican presidential debate in Arizona has highlighted immigration issues including the so-called DREAM Act, which proposes paths to citizenship for some undocumented children of immigrants. Three of the top candidates have said they support only part of the proposal — an unpopular stance among the Latino voters the candidates are courting in the border state.

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Sweetness And Light
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

When There's More To Winning Than Winning

Senior Cory Weissman (center) of Gettysburg College, takes his second free-throw shot in a Division III Centennial Conference game against Washington College.
Tommy Riggs Gettysburg College

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 1:28 pm

When last we left the NCAA, it was February madness, colleges were jumping conferences, suing each other, coaches were claiming rivals had cheated in recruiting — the usual nobility of college sports.

And then, in the midst of all this, the men's basketball team at Washington College of Chestertown, Md., journeyed to Pennsylvania to play Gettysburg College in a Division III Centennial Conference game.

Read more
Law
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Can 'I Earned The Medal Of Honor' Get You Jailed?

The Medal of Honor is held by a military honor guard at the White House last September, when President Obama awarded the medal to Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 23, from Greensburg, Ky., for his actions in Afghanistan. The Supreme Court is now deciding if those who falsely claim to have won such military awards can be prosecuted for lying.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 8:03 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case about lies, big and small, and when those lies can be a crime under the Constitution's guarantee of free speech. At issue is the constitutionality of a law making it a crime to lie about being the recipient of military medals.

At the center of the case is Xavier Alvarez, a man nobody disputes is a liar. He lied about being an ex-professional hockey player. He lied about being an engineer. He lied about rescuing the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis. He even lied about being a retired Marine.

Read more
The Record
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Rihanna And Chris Brown: The Saga Continues

Rihanna and Chris Brown perform together in December 2008.
Scott Gries Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 9:49 am

Just about three years after he violently assaulted her, R&B singer Chris Brown is back with pop star Rihanna — musically, at least. On Monday night, each released a new version of a previously released song. Both remixes feature the other party, and both are causing quite the stir.

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U.S.
12:01 am
Wed February 22, 2012

Should Valets Be Responsible For Drunk Drivers, Too?

Bars and restaurants are already legally on the hook for stopping would-be drunken drivers. Some in Boston say valet parking attendants should be, too.
Getty Images

That old public service announcement is pretty well ingrained these days: "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." But who else should be responsible for stopping would-be drunken drivers? Bars and restaurants are already legally on the hook. Some in Boston say valet parking attendants should be, too.

City Councilor Rob Consalvo says he decided something needed to be done after a 23-year-old on a scooter was mowed down by a drunken driver in Boston. The driver later said he was "blackout drunk" and couldn't believe that a valet guy actually handed him his car keys.

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Europe
4:00 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Bailout Talks Reopen Wounds In One Greek Village

Nikos Bouras, 37, stands next to a monument for those massacred by the Nazis on June 10, 1944, that stands atop the highest hill in the Greek town of Distomo.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Europe is still a continent that looks over its shoulder at a long and sometimes dark past. That extends even to the protracted Greek bailout negotiations, where Germany's dominant role has scratched at some historical wounds.

Germany occupied Greece during World War II, committing atrocities that some older Greeks can't forget. This history defines the pretty village of Distomo in central Greece, where Nazi soldiers killed 218 men, women and children in June 1944.

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Newt Gingrich
3:44 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Georgia On His Mind, Gingrich Faces Key Primary

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves during a campaign stop Friday in Peachtree City, Ga. Doing well in the state's primary is important for Gingrich because he represented a congressional district there for 20 years.
Evan Vucci AP

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is facing his most important challenge yet — winning Georgia on Super Tuesday. Georgia is considered Gingrich's home because he represented parts of the state in Congress for 20 years, but he hasn't lived there for more than a decade.

Over the weekend, Gingrich held several rallies, including one in Peachtree City, south of Atlanta, where he stressed that this area has long supported him.

"It is great to be home," Gingrich told the crowd. "I believe that I carried Fayette County in every single election, including the two that I lost."

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Asia
12:01 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Protests, Self-Immolation Signs Of A Desperate Tibet

This photo, provided to freetibet.org, shows a man being forcibly detained by security forces in the town of Serther in Tibet following a clash with protesters and police.
freetibet.org

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 8:44 pm

In a monastery on the Tibetan plateau, monks swathed in crimson robes chant under silk hangings, in a murky hall heavy with the smell of yak butter. Photos of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama — seen by China as a splittist — are openly displayed, as if in defiance. But Chinese security forces have tightened their grasp on this region, and monasteries appear to be emptying out, gripped by an atmosphere of fear and loss.

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Latin America
12:01 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Prison Break Epitomizes Mexican Drug War Woes

A relative of an inmate observes Mexican police behind the security fence after a riot inside Apodaca prison near Monterrey. At least 44 inmates were killed during Sunday's riot, and about 30 alleged members of the drug cartel Los Zetas were rushed out of the prison.
Julio Cesar Aguilar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 8:08 am

Officials in Mexico are offering a reward of nearly $1 million for the capture of 30 inmates who broke out of a prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon on Sunday.

The governor says the inmates staged a riot, during which 44 people died, to create a diversion for their escape.

It was a jail break that epitomized the Mexican drug war: Rival gang members brutally killed each other, corrupt public officials looked the other way, and dangerous criminals went free.

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Food
2:46 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Swedish Fat Tuesday Delicacy Kept Alive In Portland

Filling semlor with sweet almond paste requires great concentration from Astrid Foster, age 7. Get the recipe for semlor.
Deena Prichep NPR

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 6:56 am

Back when refrigeration wasn't up to modern standards, Fat Tuesday was a time to clear your house of indulgent foods. This led to lots of rich recipes, from Shrove pancakes to King Cake. In Sweden, the specialty is semlor. A group of people in Portland, Ore., are keeping that dish — and a few other Swedish traditions — alive.

Picture soft, sweet rolls, sort of like brioche, piled with creamy almond filling. Now picture them being made by a room full of young, mostly blond children speaking Swedish.

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Books News & Features
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Forget Lincoln Logs: A Tower Of Books To Honor Abe

A tower of books about Abraham Lincoln as seen from the top down.
Maxell MacKenzie

This President's Day, a group of historians in Washington, D.C., decided they wanted to do something different to recognize the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. But how do you memorialize someone who is already one of the most memorialized people in history?

Their solution: to physically illustrate Lincoln's importance by creating a tower of books written about him. The tower measures about eight feet around and 34 feet — that's three and a half stories tall.

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Europe
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Signs Of A Media Crackdown Emerge In Russia

Alexei Venediktov, then editor-in-chief of Moscow Echo radio station, talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during an awards ceremony in Moscow, Jan. 13. Venediktov's ouster this month is seen as a sign that the Russian government may be cracking down on the independent media.
Yana Lapikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 6:56 am

With less than two weeks to go before Russia's presidential elections, the country's independent journalists are in a state of anxiety. Government-run media seem more open than ever to divergent viewpoints — but officials may be cracking down on independent outlets that go too far.

Two incidents last week suggest that the Russian government is prepared to lean on journalists — both domestic and foreign.

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Media
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Russian Accuses Voice Of America Of Fake Interview

Voice of America was criticized after the veracity of its interview with a Russian anti-corruption activist was questioned. In this photo provided by the network, a control room is seen during a Russian-language Web show.
Voice of America

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 6:56 am

NPR's Michele Kelemen is a former employee of Voice of America.

Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny has been the victim of many dirty tricks by pro-Kremlin media.

But when the U.S. government-funded Voice of America published an online interview that had him criticizing other Russian opposition figures, Navalny quickly tweeted that the interview was a fake.

"It seems the VOA has gone nuts," he wrote to his Twitter followers.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

Dr. John McBride examines 9-month-old Martez after his mother, Ceasha Moorer, brought him in to check on his asthma.
Courtesy of Karen Schaefer

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 5:50 pm

Parents and doctors around the world have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma.

One factor in the upswing is better detection by doctors, but at least one doctor thinks a common over-the-counter drug also has something to do with it.

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