NPR News

Pages

Shots - Health Blog
5:15 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Dental Visits To ERs Are On The Rise

Toothache? The ER doctor will see you now.
istockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 5:18 pm

Americans who turn up in the emergency room to get dental care aren't lost, they're probably just running out of options.

According to a new report from the Pew Center on the States, more than 800,000 visits to the ER in 2009 were for toothaches and other avoidable dental ailments.

Read more
Politics
5:05 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Found Time: How To Spend The 24 Hours Of Leap Day

Leap day is the perfect moment to contemplate time. Here a man looks at the Seine river through the giant clock of the Orsay Museum in Paris.
Pierre Verdy AFP/Getty Images

Found time! An extra day. How will you use it? Here are 24 ideas. None of them takes longer than an hour. Because time is tight, time is of the essence, time is money. And if you don't have time to get to everything on the list, don't worry. Maybe in 2016.

Feb. 29, 2012 Hour By Hour:

Read more
It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Senate's Snowe To Retire, Boosting Democrats' Bid To Keep Control

Sen. Olympia Snowe in Augusta, Maine, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
Joel Page AP

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 5:43 pm

Virtually everyone expected Tuesday's big political news to come blowing out of Michigan, the big industrial state, where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were vying to win that state's GOP presidential primary.

But little Maine managed a national political bombshell of its own with the surprising news that Sen. Olympia Snowe, the 65-year old, three-term moderate Republican senator, won't seek re-election.

From a statement she issued, it appears Washington's partisan bickering just got kind of old for the senator.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:45 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Join Us For Live Blogging Of Today's Republican Primaries

Another Tuesday, another critical day for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders.

This time the locations are Michigan, where most polls close at 8 p.m. ET, and Arizona, where voting ends at 9 p.m. ET. The story political junkies are watching closest: Will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Michigan native, hold off a strong challenge there from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum?

Also on the ballots, of course: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:25 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Gay Marine's Kiss Was 'Four Years Of Pent-Up Emotion And Secret Love'

The kiss. That's Sgt. Brandon Morgan on the right. Dalan Wells on the left.
Gay Marines on Facebook

When he returned from Afghanistan and saw his partner waiting to welcome him home, "four years of pent-up emotion and secret love" just seemed to naturally lead to "what felt like an eternity kiss," Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan told NPR this afternoon.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
3:58 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Popular Cholesterol Drugs Get New Warnings About Memory, Blood Sugar

Lipitor, and other cholesterol-fighting drugs like it, will carry new instructions about risks.
Paul Sakuma AP

If you take a cholesterol-lowering drug called a statin, there's some new safety information you should know about.

A statin might be why you're having trouble remembering things or have been feeling confused, or at least that's what quite a few people taking the drugs have been saying.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:33 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Airline Trade Group: The Business Of Flying Is Tough

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:02 pm

For airlines, it ain't easy making a buck. In fact, even a penny is out of reach.

Airlines for America, a trade association for major U.S. carriers, says the industry earned less than half a penny in profits for every $1 of revenue generated during 2011.

The poor financial performance wasn't a fluke. Over the past decade, airlines have lost a collective $50 billion.

On Tuesday, the trade group said something has got to change. Association CEO Nicholas Calio sat down with journalists to explain a new industry push for a "National Airline Policy."

Read more
Law
3:29 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Wash. Lawmakers Fight For DNA Sampling At Arrest

A Washington State Patrol crime lab technician opens DNA sample cards containing cheek swabs sent from jails and prisons. If the state Legislature approves pre-conviction DNA sampling, the number of cards the lab processes could double.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Mandatory DNA collection is fast becoming routine in the American criminal justice system. In many jurisdictions, just being arrested can mean having to submit a genetic sample to the national database. Federal law enforcement and 26 states now permit various forms of pre-conviction DNA sampling and more states are poised to follow suit.

Read more
Reporter's Notebook
3:15 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Sailing On Ice? Yeah, That's A Sport.

Come Sail Away: Retired high school science teacher — and adrenaline junkie — Andy Sajor rides his ice boat on a frozen Lake Champlain in New York. Perfect ice sailing conditions call for cold temperatures, a strong breeze and a thick sheet of ice — but not too much snow.
Sarah Harris North Country Public Radio

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

The minute I learned that ice sailing was an actual sport, I wanted to give it a try. I watched YouTube videos of wooden boats with big white sails zooming across the ice on steel runners. It seemed like such a rush: Imagine racing over a frozen lake on a wind-powered sled, hitting speeds that top 40 miles an hour.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Dow Does It: Closes Above 13,000

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 3:47 pm

For the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the Dow Jones Industrial average has closed above the 13,000 mark.

It didn't do it by much — about 5 points.

We'll have more in a moment.

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET:

Read more
CD Reviews
3:04 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Heartless Bastards: Rousing Songs, Born On The Road

Heartless Bastards' fourth album, Arrow, was released earlier this month.
Nathan Presley

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.

On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.

Read more
The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde: The European Union Is 'A Work In Progress'

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

On tonight's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel talks to the chief of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

Naturally, Robert focused his interview on Greece, which has been engulfed in a debt crisis that has threatened its membership in the European monetary union. Robert asked Lagarde about the tough austerity measures Greece has agreed to and whether those measures could promote a shrinking economy as opposed to getting Greece back to prosperity.

Read more
Asia
2:58 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

How Far Will The Changes In Myanmar Go?

Supporters greet Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, atop her vehicle, as she arrives at an election campaign rally in Thongwa village, Myanmar, on Sunday. The country's new government is holding legislative elections on April 1.
Altaf Qadri AP

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Once an international pariah ruled by a repressive military regime, Myanmar has in recent months become one of Southeast Asia's hottest destinations.

Last year, a nominally civilian government took over and began political changes in the country also known as Burma. Now, foreign investors and tourists are flooding in, and foreign governments are considering lifting their sanctions.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Virginia Senate OKs Abortion Measure Requiring Ultrasounds

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 2:57 pm

Virginia's state Senate this afternoon passed legislation that would "force women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion," the Richmond Times Dispatch reports. The vote was 21-19.

Senators made two changes to the controversial measure that had already been OK'd by the state House:

Read more
The Record
2:30 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Carnaval In Uruguay: Choir Competitions In The Streets

The murga choir Los Curtidores de Hongos performes at the Teatro de Lavalleja in Minas, Uruguay, in February.
Martina Castro for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.

Read more
Middle East
2:25 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Egyptians Prepare For Wide-Open Presidential Poll

Egyptian presidential candidate and former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa delivers a speech to Bedouins in Ras Sidr during a campaign trip to the South Sinai last week. Egyptians are anticipating the first presidential elections after last year's ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Asmaa Waguih Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 2:00 pm

Egypt's presidential race officially kicks off Saturday, and there are already more than a dozen contenders for what is expected to be the most competitive presidential election ever.

Nevertheless, many Egyptians fear those currently in power will try to manipulate the process to make sure that a candidate of their choosing wins.

At 41, Khaled Ali is the youngest Egyptian vying to be his country's next president.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
2:24 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Feds Accuse Texas Doctor In $350 Million Medicare Fraud

The Justice Department has zeroed in on alleged fraudulent billing for home health care around Dallas.
iStockphoto.com

When it comes to schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, there seems to be no limit to the ingenuity and tenacity of would-be scammers.

Still, a Texas doctor and six co-conspirators indicted for an alleged long-running home health care scheme look to have set a new record for a one practice: at least $350 million in fraudulent Medicare bills and $24 million under Medicaid over nearly six years ending in late 2011.

Read more
The Salt
1:51 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Weird Winter Has Gardeners Itching To Plant, Despite The Risks

Plant now, and in a month your spinach might look like this. It's a hardy plant that can survive late frost.
iStockPhoto.com

Right about now, gardeners are aching to get out and plant. Usually, in the February dregs of winter, that desire is dashed by cold, wet, maybe even frozen soil. But this year is different.

Here in Washington, D.C., snowdrops came up almost a month ago, and the daffodils have been blooming for two weeks. It's tempting to think that if these harbingers of spring showed up three weeks ahead of schedule, it's safe to plant early, too.

Read more
Law
1:47 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Is The Voting Rights Act Endangered? A Legal Primer

South Carolina is one state that requires special clearance from the Justice Department to change its election laws. Here Charles Monnich casts his vote in the GOP primary at Martin Luther King Memorial Park in Columbia, S.C. on Jan. 21.
Gerry Melendez MCT /Landov

The roiling legal battles over election laws passed in various states have potentially far-reaching consequences: the fate of a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The landmark legislation requires the Justice Department to "pre-clear" any changes to election laws in some or all parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, because of their histories of racially discriminatory voting practices. The Justice Department recently used the mandate to block a voter identification law in South Carolina on grounds that it would harm minority voter turnout.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Report: The Remains Of Some Sept. 11 Victims Were Dumped In Landfill

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 1:13 pm

In a report released by the Pentagon today, the government admits that a contractor dumped some of the remains of Sept. 11 victims in a landfill.

According to the report, the remains "that could neither be tested nor identified" from victims of the attack on the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pa. crash were first taken to Dover Air Force Base, cremated by a contractor, returned to the base, where they were handed over to a "biomedical waste disposal contractor," which incinerated the remains.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:09 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Obama Gives Eventual GOP Nominee Taste Of Michigan Campaign Ahead

President Obama appears to check smartphone as he heads for the Oval Office after speaking to the UAW, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 8:03 pm

President Obama never mentioned Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or the other Republican presidential candidates by name in his speech before the United Auto Workers Tuesday.

He didn't need to; everyone knew whom he had in mind when he accused some critics of the federally financed auto industry bailout of peddling distortions.

Read more
NPR Story
12:00 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

The Hidden Faces Of Modern Day Slavery

Slavery continues to exist across the United States in a number of forms. There are brothels, farms, nail salons and factories across the United States where people are working against their will, for no pay. A number of states are working on legislation to address human trafficking.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Not Enough Hours In The Day?: How To Find More Time

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 3:22 pm

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

Free time, so how much of that do you have? Are you, say, too busy to breathe? Well, author Laura Vanderkam says that she used to be too busy to breathe until she figured out that most of us who don't think we have time to spare in a day are really only fooling ourselves, maybe even lying to ourselves. She says you're not that busy. Hmm. Are you? If you're convinced that you really are that busy, give us a call, maybe Laura can help you out and convince you otherwise.

Read more
NPR Story
12:00 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

In-Laws And Interracial Marriage

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, about 15 percent of new marriages in 2010 were between people of different races or ethnicities — nearly twice the rate from 30 years prior. Though interracial marriage is more mainstream, the unions may still cause tension among family members.

Food
12:00 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Chef Trotter Transitions From Kitchen To Classroom

Chef Charlie Trotter helped pioneer American fine dining at a time when French cuisine reigned on the food scene. After 25 years, Trotter will close his namesake restaurant — Charlie Trotter's — in Chicago, Ill., to pursue a Master's in philosophy and political theory.

From Our Listeners
12:00 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Letters: Va.'s Proposed Ultrasound Law, 'Rez Life'

NPR's John Donvan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including Virginia's proposed ultrasound law, preparing your pockets for a rainy day and reservation life.

The Two-Way
11:25 am
Tue February 28, 2012

At UAW Conference Obama Defends Auto Bailout

President Barack Obama alongside UAW President Bob King prior to his speech at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, D.C.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

In a speech to a convention of United Auto Workers, President Obama vigorously defended his administration's bailout of the auto industry.

Without naming his Republican opponents, a combative President Obama took shots at their opposition to the bailout.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:20 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Putin 101: Understanding Russia's 'Strongman'

Macmillan

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 11:36 am

Russia's presidential election is on Saturday. The projected winner is current prime minister — and former president — Vladimir Putin, the subject of a new biography, The Strongman. Author Angus Roxburgh is a longtime journalist who served briefly as a public relations adviser to the Kremlin. He joined Morning Edition's David Greene to discuss the complicated figure who dominates and defines Russian politics.


Interview Highlights

On Putin's ability to manipulate others

Read more
Politics
10:55 am
Tue February 28, 2012

As GOP Races On, Puerto Rico Could Be Battleground

Mitt Romney campaigns with Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno at Lanco Paint Co. in Orlando, Fla., last month. The Puerto Rico's March 18 primary could be a significant source of delegates for the GOP candidates.
Charles Dharapak AP

Residents of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, but they get a say in who should be president only by voting in the Democratic and Republican party primaries. Because Puerto Rico is a territory, not a state, Puerto Ricans are not allowed to vote in the general election. The political parties, on the other hand, can set their own nominating procedures, and on occasion Puerto Rico becomes a primary battleground.

Read more
The Salt
9:41 am
Tue February 28, 2012

When Food Truck Horns Meet Wedding Bells

Many food trucks, like Carpe Donut, are finding new business catering weddings.
Courtesy of Jack Looney

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 1:02 pm

Owning a food truck may sound like fun – it's a free wheeling, superhip, and low-cost way to experiment with food service. But increasingly food truckers are finding that they're up against some unfriendly realities of city streets, namely a shortage of parking spots.

That's why many, like Nida Rodriguez, who steers the helm of The Slide Ride, a Chicago truck that dishes out gourmet mini sandwiches, are now focused on catering events from office parties to weddings.

Read more

Pages