NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
6:08 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

'Holy Cow' And 'Kangaroo Court': Panel Grills HealthCare.gov Officials

Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer, answers questions in a House Oversight Committee hearing about problems with the federal HealthCare.gov site. One Democrat on the committee called the hearing "a kangaroo court."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:46 pm

A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

It's National Indian Pudding Day! Here's Why You Should Celebrate

Indian pudding, served warm with vanilla ice cream — a dish well worth celebrating.
Katherine Perry NPR

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:08 am

Turns out, Nov. 13 is National Indian Pudding Day. It sneaked up on you again, didn't it?

You can't be blamed.

Indian pudding is virtually unknown outside of New England, and even there it's tricky to find. But this enduring New England dessert may actually deserve a day of its own.

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Health Care
5:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

The Health Care Numbers Are Out, And They're Disappointing

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 11:46 am

The Obama administration released its much anticipated enrollment numbers for the first month of the troubled HealthCare.gov website Wednesday. And as predicted, the numbers were disappointing.

Just over 100,000 people managed to navigate the process and choose a health plan between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 — 106,185 people, to be precise.

But barely a quarter of those, 26,794, enrolled through the federal website that's signing up people in 36 of the states. The rest enrolled through state marketplaces.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

More Than 106,000 Chose Health Plans Under Affordable Care Act

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a report Wednesday revealing that 106,185 Americans selected a health plan in the new marketplace from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:47 pm

More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.

Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Can Young People Get Obamacare For $50 A Month? Sometimes

President Barack Obama speaks in Boston about the Affordable Care Act. Obama and his supporters have often said the health care law would allow half of single Americans under 35 to get insurance for less than $50 a month.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:56 pm

For Obamacare to succeed, it's crucial for young people to sign up.

Healthy young Americans need to pay into the insurance system to help cover the costs for older, sicker people.

So the White House is reaching out. Its website sent emails to subscribers with a big, orange graphic that says half of young people can get coverage for $50 a month or less.

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The Two-Way
3:46 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Police: British Spy's Strange Death Was 'Probably An Accident'

Scotland Yard says it believes a British spy whose naked, decomposing body was found padlocked inside a gym bag in a bathtub three years ago, probably died accidentally.

Gareth Williams, 31, was working for Britain's MI6 spy agency when his body was found at his home in August 2010.

Last May, a coroner concluded that Williams was probably murdered, but on Wednesday London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt told reporters that the death was "most probably ... an accident."

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The Salt
3:14 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Could Hunger Make Us More Charitable?

Researchers have a hunch that because we often had to share food to survive, we're inclined to be more interested in giving when we're hungry.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Hunger can make people emotional, that's for sure. Some people get "hangry" when their blood sugar levels drop and their irritability rises. Others get greedy.

But new research suggests that we may have another, innate response to hunger: a desire to encourage others to share what they have.

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The Two-Way
1:56 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Obama's Surveillance Review Panel Issues Initial Findings

Former chief counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke is a lead member of a panel appointed by the president to review the country's surveillance policies.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 3:34 pm

A team appointed by President Obama to review U.S. spying policies in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations about National Security Agency programs has delivered an interim report to the White House.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email to news organizations that the review group "has orally provided their interim report to the White House, with their final report due by Dec. 15." She said the results would be made public "in some way" once the finished review is submitted.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Toronto Council Asks Mayor Ford To Temporarily Step Aside

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during Wednesday's contentious City Council meeting.
Mark Blinch Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:10 pm

Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to call on Mayor Rob Ford to take a leave of absence after he admitted to purchasing and using illegal drugs.

In a final plea before the vote, Ford apologized to Council members, acknowledging that "I really 'effed up.' "

The vote came after a tumultuous afternoon chronicled in our original post, which we pick up here:

-- Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to purchasing illegal drugs in recent years, while also insisting that, "I am not an alcoholic ... I am not a drug addict."

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The Salt
12:18 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Why Can We Taste Bitter Flavors? Turns Out, It's Still A Mystery

The first taste of an olive can be a bit shocking. But eventually, many of us start to enjoy bitter fruits, nuts and beverages.
Screenshot from TEDxTalks/Youtube.com

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:08 am

For most of us, bitter foods aren't love at first bite. (Not convinced? Just watch the little girl in the video above taste an olive for the first time.)

But after a few espressos or IPAs, most of us warm up to bitter flavors and eventually throw our arms in the air, like the little girl in the video, declaring, "Yes, I love bitter foods!"

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

ANALYSIS: Why Is '60 Minutes' So Tight-Lipped In Its Benghazi Apology?

CBSNews.com

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:51 pm

(This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET)

How did TV's most storied newsmagazine make such a huge mistake? And why won't they explain exactly what happened?

Those are the questions left unanswered days after 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan and CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager retracted an Oct. 27 story about the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that featured a suspect source: government contractor Dylan Davies.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:00 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You

Can science inspire the same level of passion as religion?
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:01 pm

I was once invited to give a live interview on a radio station in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The interview took place at rush hour in the city's very busy bus terminal, where poor workers come in from rural areas to perform all sorts of jobs in town, from cleaning the streets to working in factories and private homes.

The experience would mark me for the rest of my life and set a new professional goal that I had not anticipated early in my career: to bring science to the largest number of people possible.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'Got You, You Rat,' Woman Tells 'Whitey' Bulger At Sentencing

James "Whitey" Bulger was captured in June 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 12:55 pm

(With the day's court action over, we updated this post at noon ET.)

Confronting James "Whitey" Bulger, who she believes killed her father in addition to the 11 people he's been convicting of murdering, a woman told the mob boss Wednesday morning that "we got you, you rat."

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Monkey See
11:14 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'The Real World' Trades The Final Eight Percent Of Its Soul For Magic Beans

The cast of The Real World: Portland.
MTV

It's hard to remember when you look at the last umpteen seasons of MTV's The Real World, but back at the beginning, it was a pretty fascinating show. It once involved people who had actual plans to be musicians or artists or activists, and although there was always conflict, the days before everyone knew the rhythms of Real World editing — which became the rhythms of reality editing in general — it was, I repeat, a pretty fascinating show.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Wed November 13, 2013

HealthCare.gov's Mystery Lady Says She's Been Cyberbullied

HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:21 pm

The woman whose smiling face adorned the HealthCare.gov website in the first days after its launch has stepped forward to tearfully address those who she says cyberbullied her as they took potshots at the Obama administration's troubled online health exchange.

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