National

Economy
6:57 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Would Supercommittee Failure Roil Markets?

Analysts worry that failure by the supercommittee to reach a credible debt-reduction deal could upset financial markets, force up interest rates and hurt the economy.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 4:34 pm

With Wednesday's deadline looming, the congressional supercommittee still seems far from an agreement, causing concern that failure could send financial markets into a spiral.

The bipartisan panel, charged with finding budget cuts or new revenues to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, is a child of the summer's debt-ceiling debate. It was an escape hatch for Congress and the president when they couldn't reach agreement on big deficit-reduction measures. That game of chicken helped to send the stock market sliding.

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Election 2012
8:39 am
Mon November 7, 2011

In Ads, Candidates Turn Up Heat On Romney

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 11:50 am

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Business
2:16 pm
Sun November 6, 2011

'Farmville' Makers Putting Stock In Virtual Goods

A screenshot of Piskorskiville. Five percent of Zynga's 200 million monthly users buy "virtual goods" to get ahead in the game or beautify their city.
Courtesy of Misiek Piskorski

Zynga is a company that makes money by selling nothing. Or, to be fair, by selling imaginary things, like tractors that plow farms on Facebook.

A "virtual good" is the term of art for an industry that minted $9 billion last year alone. Zynga is America's first virtual goods company to file an initial public offering. The IPO is expected to go through before Thanksgiving and will test whether the company's modern day alchemy — turning virtual goods into real money — is a game-changer for the gaming industry.

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Music News
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

The Surgery That Saves Silenced Singers

Adele at the MTV Video Music Awards in August.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

The biggest-selling pop artist of the year has gone silent.

The British pop/soul singer Adele was forced to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour. Earlier this year, she suffered two vocal hemorrhages and will need to undergo surgery.

Singers are in a high-risk business. Many famous singers have needed similar treatment.

"Essentially, people who sing are vocal athletes," says Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Voice Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "So you can look at this as a not unusual scenario as an athlete getting an injury in that area."

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Europe
6:36 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Initial Agreement Reached In Greece Power-Sharing

The Greek president's office said Sunday the country's prime minister and the leader of the main opposition party reached an initial agreement on forming an interim government.

In a statement read on Greek media Sunday night, the office said Prime Minister George Papandreou will not head the interim government and that talks on details of who will form the new Cabinet will continue Monday.

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Election 2012
10:33 am
Wed October 26, 2011

The GOP Campaign Ad Wars, As Seen On YouTube

A new ad from Herman Cain features his campaign manager, Mark Block, taking a drag from a cigarette.

YouTube

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 10:29 pm

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NPR News Investigations
10:24 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

Derrin Yellow Robe, 3, stands in his great-grandparents' backyard on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. Along with his twin sister and two older sisters, he was taken off the reservation by South Dakota's Department of Social Services in July 2009 and spent a year and a half in foster care before being returned to his family.

John Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu October 27, 2011 12:27 pm

Overview of a three-part investigation

Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are being removed from their homes every year, sometimes under questionable circumstances. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is largely failing to place them according to the law. The vast majority of native kids in foster care in South Dakota are in nonnative homes or group homes, according to an NPR analysis of state records.

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Law
10:20 am
Wed October 26, 2011

As It Turns 10, Patriot Act Remains Controversial

Protesters hold up signs outside of Federal Hall during a demonstration against then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2003 in New York City.

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 10:27 am

Ten years ago, on Oct. 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act.

Congress overwhelmingly passed the law only weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. It's designed to give the FBI more power to collect information in cases that involve national security.

But in the decade since then, civil liberties groups have raised concerns about whether the Patriot Act goes too far by scooping up too much data and violating people's rights to privacy.

Nicholas Merrill is one of the people sounding an alarm.

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The Two-Way
10:14 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Was Libya A 'Recipe For Success,' As Obama Says?

President Obama gestures during his appearance Tuesday (Oct. 25, 2011) on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 7:20 am

The U.S.-NATO mission in Libya was a "recipe for success in the future," President Obama said Tuesday on NBC-TV's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

During a sober discussion that lasted several minutes, the president told Leno that he doesn't agree with critics who say the U.S. led from behind.

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Opinion
10:10 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Foreign Policy: Thoughts On Obama's Foreign Policy

President Barack Obama smiles during a campaign event in San Francisco, California, on Oct. 25, 2011.

Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

With Moammar Gadhafi's timely demise, it's becoming harder and harder to argue that Barack Obama's foreign policy is a failure. Of course, this hasn't stopped the GOP's 2012 candidates for president from trying. They dislike Obama so much that they're even saying nice things about France instead.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:09 am
Wed October 26, 2011

'Nobody's Perfect'

Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers reacts after first base umpire Ron Kulpa calls Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals safe in the fourth inning of game three of the World Series.

Ezra Shaw Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 8:05 am

A bad call by umpire Ron Kulpa at first base in game three of the World Series last week in Arlington — even though it turned out not to have a decisive impact on the game's outcome — has led to renewed controversy about the use of instant replay in baseball, as well as about the integrity of umpires.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

What A Show! Northern Lights Seen Across Much Of Nation

The Northern Lights over Marquette, Mich., last night.

Courtesy of Shawn Malone/LakeSuperiorPhoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 9:06 am

From Alabama and Georgia north to the border with Canada, there are reports from all over the continental U.S. today about a fantastic show last night:

An intense geomagnetic storm that produced some of the best "Northern Lights" in recent memory, reports SpaceWeather.com.

Many folks are posting photos and videos. Here's one that the poster says was taken in Michigan.

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It's All Politics
12:31 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Poll: Herman Cain And Mitt Romney Still Basically Tied

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 10:27 am

Even after the flaws in his highly touted 9-9-9 tax plan have been relentlessly exposed and his confusing abortion stance noted, Herman Cain is still essentially tied with Mitt Romney in a new CBS/NY Times poll of Republican voters.

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Monkey See
12:30 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Crowdsourced Happiness: A Short, Good Story About The Internet — For A Change

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 12:07 pm

You read every day about the horrors of online life: stalking, harassing, the appearance of embarrassing photos that sink one's job prospects, or just the general fact that people can be real jerks when they don't have to go back and clean up after themselves.

This is not that kind of story.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Jobs' Biography: Thoughts On Life, Death And Apple

Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was published Monday, less than three weeks after Job's death on Oct. 5.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 3:35 pm

When Steve Jobs was 6 years old, his young next door neighbor found out he was adopted. "That means your parents abandoned you and didn't want you," she told him.

Jobs ran into his home, where his adoptive parents reassured him that he was theirs and that they wanted him.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:08 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Big-Name Drugs Are Falling Off The 'Patent Cliff'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:22 am

Some of the most popular and expensive brand-name drugs are about to go generic.

Take Lipitor, for example. In November, the heart drug comes off-patent — and by next June, there are likely to be multiple generic versions.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:07 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Will Smartphones And iPads Mush My Toddler's Brain?

For real: Fisher-Price's Laugh & Learn Baby iCan Play Case protects an iPhone while baby plays with apps.

Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 22, 2011 7:52 am

Parents of small children have long been told to avoid using the television as a babysitter. This week, the nation's leading group of pediatricians reiterated its stance against letting kids under 2 watch any TV at all.

But what about iPhones and iPads?

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Shots - Health Blog
11:05 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Medicare Enrollment Comes Earlier This Year

The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries is under way earlier this year — one of many upcoming changes.

Anne de Haas iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:20 am

If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.

"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Mon October 24, 2011

NPR's Michele Norris Stepping Away From Hosting Duties

NPR's Michele Norris.

Stephen Voss

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 10:53 am

Michele Norris, an All Things Considered co-host since December 2002, is stepping away from that post until after the 2012 presidential campaign because her husband has taken a senior position with President Obama's re-election effort.

She is not leaving NPR's airwaves, however. While she will not be involved in coverage of the 2012 election, Norris will continue to report and produce projects for the organization.

In a message just sent to NPR staff, Norris says:

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The Two-Way
11:03 am
Mon October 24, 2011

For Poor, Cain Says His 9-9-9 Plan Is Now 9-0-9

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain steps out of his campaign bus to at a rally where he unveiled his "Opportunity Zone" economic plan in front of the Michigan Central Station, an abandoned train depot in Detroit.

Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 3:33 pm

This past week, republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hit hard over his 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. During the last Republican debate, Cain's plan was attacked as regressive, meaning that it would hit the middle-class and poor Americans hardest.

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Opinion
11:02 am
Mon October 24, 2011

The Nation: Obama Puts Lipstick On Iraq War Pig

A US soldier guards a church in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on July 18, 2011.

Marwan Ibrahim AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 9:22 am

Robert Dreyfuss, a Nation contributing editor, is an investigative journalist specializing in politics and national security.

Putting gobs of lipstick on the Iraq War pig, President Obama announced today that all US forces, except for a tiny number to protect the not-so-tiny US embassy in Iraq, were coming home. Said Obama:

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Election 2012
11:01 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Latino Republicans Find Party A Tough Sell

President Obama, seen here in North Chesterfield, Va., last week, is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — states with significant Hispanic populations.

Jay Paul Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 7:03 pm

President Obama is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — all states where Hispanic voters will play a pivotal role in next year's election.

Obama has lost popularity with Latinos recently, mostly due to the economy. But Hispanic voters looking for alternatives find problems with the Republican slate as well.

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently said he'd "electrify" the U.S.-Mexico border fence "with a sign on it on the other side that says it can kill you."

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Opinion
10:59 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Foreign Policy: Was Killing Gadhafi A War Crime?

A rose is placed in the gun barrel of an NTC fighter during celebrations following the announcement of the liberation of the country in Martyr's Square in central Tripoli on Oct. 23, 2011, three days after Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed.

Marco Longari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 8:25 am

David Bosco reports on the new world order for The Multilateralist.

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The Two-Way
10:57 am
Mon October 24, 2011

'We Can't Wait,' Obama Says As He Unveils New Economic Initiatives

President Obama talked about jobs last week in North Chesterfield, Va.Â

Jay Paul Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:50 pm

Update at 5:42 p.m. ET. As expected, President Obama announced that his administration was easing the terms of a federal program that would open the doors for homeowners to refinancing their homes no matter how far underwater their mortgage is.

The AP reports that the Federal Housing Finance Administration "estimated an additional 1 million people would qualify. Moody's Analytics say the figure could be as high as 1.6 million."

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This Is NPR
10:55 am
Mon October 24, 2011

An Update for ATC Listeners

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:50 pm

We wanted to share the following note from Michele Norris, which she sent to our staff and stations today. Listen for Michele's personal message this afternoon on All Things Considered.

Hello everyone,

I need to share some news and I wanted to make sure my NPR family heard this first.

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Strange News
10:54 am
Mon October 24, 2011

Was It A Cat I Saw? (Nope: It Was A Palindrome)

Barry Duncan constructs a palindrome in a scene from Michael Rossi's documentary The Master Palindromist. "I happen to believe that I can change the world with reversibility," Duncan says.

Michael Rossi

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 7:19 pm

Barry Duncan has an obsession that follows him everywhere he goes. "I see street signs, restaurant menus, objects while I'm walking along, and I'm just reversing them all the time," he tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Duncan is a master palindromist. He creates phrases, sentences, even passages that read the same forward and backward. He's been at it since 1981, when he was working at a bookstore in Philadelphia and stumbled onto a book of wordplay.

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You Must Read This
7:00 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Bold, Beautiful Violence In A Strange, Savage Town

[Spoiler alert: This review gives away some elements of the story.]

When a friend gave me Merce Rodoreda's Death in Spring, he told me it would blow my mind. Ten pages in, I doubted his claim.

The book begins when the narrator, a 14-year-old boy from a small mountain village, slips into a cold, sometimes savage river to escape a bee. His swim is interspersed with descriptions of his isolated community, with its pink painted homes and wisteria vines that "over the years, upwrenched houses."

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