The Obama administration has drawn fierce criticism over a new rule requiring religiously affiliated charities, universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Now, that mandate has created a stalemate between American Catholic bishops and the White House that shows few signs of easing.
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 4:46 am
Everyone knows that when your kids get the flu, they stay home from school.
But what does it take to justify closing the school down entirely? That's a question we should probably answer before the next big pandemic hits.
At one point during the swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, "The potential benefits of preemptively dismissing students from school are often outweighed by negative consequences," such as disruption of classes and hassles for parents.
The $26 billion deal Thursday reached by the federal government, most states and the nation's largest banks to compensate homeowners for abusive foreclosure practices was hailed as a landmark agreement. But it's unlikely to end the mortgage mess that has depressed property values and left millions of homeowners owing more than their homes are worth, analysts say.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 3:08 pm
PepsiCo, the maker of Pepsi soda and Doritos chips, said it will cut 8,700 jobs worldwide. That represents about 3 percent of its 300,000 person global work workforce.
The announcement also comes just after the company announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. The Financial Times reports that net income for the company rose 3 percent to $1.4 billion and revenues were up 11 percent to $20.1 billion.
The Soup Movement in America is based on a simple recipe: Bring a bunch of people together to eat soup. Ask each person for a modest donation — say $5. Listen to a few proposals about how people might use that pool of money for a worthwhile project. Vote on the best proposal, and give all the money to the top vote-getter. Go home full and fulfilled.
The FBI has released the files it kept on Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple. The 191-pages are part of a background search the FBI undertook in order to clear him for an appointment made to the President's Export Council by George W. Bush in 1991.
For the background check, the FBI conducted 30 interviews with friends, family, neighbors and former colleagues. What emerged was a portrait of a man admired for his brilliance but whose personal life and character are often questioned. It's not unlike the picture painted in Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography "Steve Jobs."
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 5:26 pm
Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. It's Satirical, The Lawmaker Says:
Daniel Cherry of Mississippi Public Broadcasting just talked with Rep. Stephen Holland — the Democratic lawmaker who's getting a lot of attention for introducing a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico to Gulf of America.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 6:09 pm
Across the country, 1 in 6 hospitals has high rates of one of the most serious kinds of preventable infections — those caused by catheters inserted into large veins, according to new data published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 12:33 pm
The National Regulatory Agency announced it had given Southern Co. the OK to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia, making it the first new nuclear power plant approved in a generation.
The AP, which reported earlier today that the NRC was poised to give its approval, reports that one of the $14 billion reactors could be ready as soon as 2016. The second reactor could begin operating in 2017. The AP adds:
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis ignited a controversy when he wrote that what he saw in Afghanistan "bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders." U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Ma), defense analyst Tom Donnelly and McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Johnathan Landay discuss the realities of the war in Afghanistan.
On September 17, 2011, hundreds of people gathered in Lower Manhattan to protest the growing wealth gap and Wall Street's involvement in the economic crisis. Five months later, most of the Occupy encampments across the country have been disbanded and the future of the movement remains uncertain.
SPIN Magazine is hoping to review 1,500 albums and mixtapes exclusively in 140-character tweets on the SPINReviews Twitter feed in 2012. The music magazine recently abandoned their 80-word reviews for the new Twitter format, which critics think is killing the art of the music review.
You'd think that, by now, the news that Americans are spoiling their children would be as attention-getting as the fabled headline, "dog bites man," but, apparently, we never weary of hearing about how bad we're doing as parents. Last year, it was the Tiger Mom; this year, a hot new book called Bringing Up Bebe, tells us that the French have us beat by an indifferent shrug when it comes to the art of raising independent kids.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 11:39 am
By a nearly unanimous vote this morning the House passed the STOCK Act, which as NPR's Tamara Keith has reported, "would, among other things, explicitly ban insider trading for members of Congress and their staffs."
The vote was 417-2, with 14 members absent. The two nay votes were from Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., and Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.
The protests that led to the Egyptian revolution last year were organized in part by an anonymous Facebook page administrator. When the police found out who he was, they arrested and interrogated him. After his release, Wael Ghonim became the public face of the Egyptian revolution.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Historian Noah Andre Trudeau is known for uncovering secrets of the Civil War. His previous books, Bloody Roads South and Gettysburg, have unveiled information about Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's march to the sea in 1864, and the legacy of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Now, in preparation for a book about a largely unexamined period of President Abraham Lincoln's life, Trudeau is in search of witnesses.
The flashy Denzel Washington thriller Safe House will probably gross in a few hours what Steven Soderbergh's Haywire has made in several weeks, but if you like action you ought to catch both back to back. Soderbergh's film is a reaction to the jangled, high-impact style of Safe House and its ilk.
Young conservatives are bringing new energy to this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a panel called, "Why Am I Living in My Parent's Basement?" Host Michel Martin talks with two young people attending, about how they hope to bring under-30 voters to their side of the aisle.
It's been nearly one year since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and the country is still experiencing the growing pains of transition. Last year, host Michel Martin spoke with a young protester minutes after Mubarak's resignation. Now, Martin catches up with her again to see if she's still optimistic about changes in her country.
The House on Thursday passed a bill that would ban congressional insider trading. The STOCK Act passed overwhelmingly, 417-2, despite some partisan disagreements over its scope.
With congressional approval at all-time lows, the bill was widely seen by lawmakers as a small step in restoring public confidence. But differences remain to be worked out with a Senate measure, passed last week, before a bill could be sent to President Obama.
Originally published on Thu February 9, 2012 10:48 am
It might seem like the equivalent of trying to bail the ocean with a bucket but we now have another major race, the U.S. Senate race in Montana, in which the idea of a self-imposed truce by the candidates on superPAC money in the race has come up.
Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, sent a letter to Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican who seeks to unseat him, requesting a truce on outside money funding negative ads for their campaigns, meaning superPACs.
The word that Pentagon rules may soon "catch up a bit with reality" as the military considers formally allowing women to do something that they've already been asked to do in Iraq and Afghanistan — serve close to the front lines but technically not "in combat" — raises a question.
As NPR's Tom Bowman reports, the new rules still wouldn't allow women to serve in front line combat jobs such as infantry, armor or Special Forces.