The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2012's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. The mayor of Dallas recently authorized an aerial spraying program to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which provoked protest from area residents.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:00 am
Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.
When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.
Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.
My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As the U.S. and NATO start to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan, many in Kabul are considering the lessons of history this summer, and two years in particular: 1989 and the withdrawal of Soviet troops after 10 years; 1992 and the Afghan civil war.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:17 pm
The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics, and begin August 29th. 4,000 elite disabled athletes will compete in 20 sports. Many of the sports are familiar, but others — like boccia and goalball — are unique to the Paralympics.
The Avengers and Expendables 2 are two of the summer's biggest movies, and they share a common theme: a band of heroes trying to save the day.
Film buff Murray Horwitz — with some help from Talk of the Nation listeners — suggests alternative movies to watch at home if you like that theme, but don't want to stand in long lines at the box office.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:04 pm
Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.
Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.
Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.
The Republican National Convention is being held in Tampa, Florida, and it's expected to bring the city tens of millions of dollars. But many are wondering if Tampa is ready for two oncoming storms — the whirlwind of people descending on the city, and brewing tropical storm Isaac. Guest host Viviana Hurtado talks with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Questions are swirling around the death of a 21-year-old Arkansas man who died in police custody in July. An autopsy report lists Chavis Carter's death as a suicide. But his family is asking how he could have shot himself in the head while handcuffed in a police car. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with Associated Press reporter Jeannie Nuss.
Memorial services are being held for miners shot dead recently by police at a South African mine. The violent images were compared to the darkest days of apartheid. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with prominent Johannesburg radio host John Robbie to gauge the mood in the country.
Graham Spanier, who lost his job as president of Penn State University for allegedly not doing enough to investigate whether former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting young boys, has "launched a full-throttle defense" against charges that he cared more about the university's reputation than Sandusky's victims, Harrisburg's
Unpaid guides provide pitchforks so tourists can pose in front of the house that inspired Grant Wood's recognizable painting. And they dispense information about one of America's most celebrated artists.
Several years ago, Jolene Mowry, president of the Yah Yah Girls of Punta Gorda, heard about a program in another state that provided food on weekends to needy schoolchildren.
So every Friday since 2010, the Yah Yahs deliver backpacks full of healthy, non-perishable, child-friendly food to schools throughout Charlotte County. The packs are given to Back Pack Kidz who have been identified — by the principals and school nurses — as likely to be hungry on weekends.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:35 am
Intense forest fires have been raging across the western United States this summer. So far this year, nearly 43,000 wildfires have torched almost 7 million acres of land.
As NPR Science correspondent Christopher Joyce and photographer David Gilkey report from Arizona and New Mexico this week, the forests of the American Southwest have become so overgrown that they're essentially tinderboxes just waiting for a spark.
This summer's drought is not helping the wildfire situation, and the drought is also deeply harming the nation's agricultural economy. Parched lands extend from California to Indiana, and from Texas to South Dakota, impacting everyone from farmers and ranchers to barge operators and commodity traders.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, some farmers are getting close to calling it quits.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Looking over his small, 100-acre farm near South Union, Kentucky, Rich Vernon doesn't like what he sees.