NPR News

It's All Politics
3:51 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

GSA Clown-Conference Scandal Could Result In Counterproductive Reaction

Former GSA administrator Martha Johnson on Capitol Hill in June 2009.
Harry Hamburg AP

The scandal involving the General Services Administration's by now infamous conference featuring spending on a clown and mind reader is certainly far from the biggest in terms of the overall dollars involved. After all, we're talking about less than $1 million all told.

That's pocket change at the Pentagon, where they can probably find more taxpayer money under the couch cushions.

But it may go down in history as one of the dumbest. A clown and a mind reader at a conference of federal bureaucrats? Really?

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

After Two Test Flights, The Race Toward A Flying Car Is On

The PAL-V at a runway.
PalVco via Flickr

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Asia
1:53 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Is North Korea Changing — Or Resisting Change?

In a photo released by North Korea's Korean Central Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (third from right) and other senior leaders attend a memorial service in Pyongyang, March 25, marking the 100th day since the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong Il. North Korea has been sending the world mixed messages since the death of the elder Kim.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 9:05 pm

Recent developments in North Korea are puzzling watchers of the "Hermit Kingdom" in both the U.S. and South Korea.

There are some signs of change within the new leadership in North Korea — and there are signs of resistance to change as well.

When he was in Seoul, South Korea, last week, President Obama said he didn't know who is calling the shots in Pyongyang, which is making it difficult to determine what's next for North Korea.

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The Two-Way
1:02 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Tornadoes Touch Down Near Dallas; Widespread Damage Reported

Destroyed vehicles sit in a Kenworth trailer lot after a tornado that swept through the area toppling many of the trailers on the lot on Tuesday in Lancaster, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 4:58 pm

"We've got two tornadoes, one in Dallas and one in Arlington. I just watched it plow through a tractor trailer parking lot like it was Godzilla in a temper tantrum."

That's how NPR's Wade Goodwyn just described the images being shown on local television in Texas.

The images from WFAA, the local ABC affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, show tractor trailers flailing across the air in the middle of a dark debris ball.

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Education
12:44 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Under Scrutiny, Some Head Start Programs In Limbo

President Obama plays with children at a Head Start center in Yeadon, Pa. The Obama administration is requiring some Head Start programs to compete for continued federal funding.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 9:05 pm

The Obama administration is calling for major changes in Head Start, the 46-year-old early childhood education program that helped launch President Johnson's War on Poverty.

President Obama says too many children today aren't learning, and too many education programs are mismanaged.

"We're not just going to put money into programs that don't work," the president announced late last year. "We will take money and put it into programs that do."

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Shots - Health Blog
12:00 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

New Rankings Are County-By-County Health Snapshot

County Health Rankings

How healthy is your county?

To see how the place where you live stacks up against the rest of the U.S., check out the latest County Health Rankings, an annual report comparing health trends for more than 3,000 counties, plus the District of Columbia.

The rankings are produced by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. You can drill down to look at, among other things, which areas have the highest and lowest education rates and income levels as well access to medical care and healthful foods.

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The Two-Way
11:07 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Obama: GOP Budget 'Makes Contract With America Look Like The New Deal'

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 11:08 am

Renewing his push against "trickle-down economics" that he says has failed the nation in the past, President Obama just said the Republican budget plan passed by the House last week is so conservative and so focused on cutting taxes for the rich that it makes the GOP's mid-1990s Contract With America "look like the New Deal."

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Shots - Health Blog
10:48 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Mammograms May Lead To Breast Cancer 'Over-Diagnosis,' Study Finds

The problem of breast cancer overdiagnosis with mammograms is similar to the dilemma faced by men diagnosed with prostate cancer because of a PSA test.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Norwegian scientists say as many as 1 in every 4 cases of breast cancer doesn't need to be found because it would never have caused the woman any problem.

It's a startling idea for laypeople (and many doctors) thoroughly indoctrinated with the notion that any breast cancer is medically urgent — and should be found at the earliest possible moment.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Census Bureau's Website Is Coming Back: 1940 Data Now Viewable

Sara and Arthur Memmott, July 1939.
Family photo

After a tough start because of huge interest that overwhelmed servers, the Census Bureau's new website devoted to records from the 1940 census is showing signs of life.

Monday, as The Associated Press says, the website was "nearly paralyzed shortly after the records became available to the public":

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World
10:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Is Mexico's Drug War Worth The Cost?

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 3:18 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's National Poetry Month, and just as we did last year, we want the celebration to include you, so once again we're inviting you to send us your poems via Twitter. Poet Holly Bass kicks off our month-long tweet poetry series. We call it Muses and Metaphor. That's in just a few minutes.

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Law
10:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Zimmerman's Lawyer: Don't Rush To Judgement

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Middle East
9:43 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Boycotts Simplify Ongoing Issues In West Bank

Israel's Supreme Court has ruled the West Bank Jewish settlement outpost of Migron must be destroyed by August 2012.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 5:03 pm

In many American Jewish families, Israel is an extremely difficult subject to talk about. Generational and political divides have stalled discussions about the occupation of the West Bank in numerous households.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Cheney Released From Hospital

Former Vice President and Mrs. Cheney at home after his release from Inova Fairfax Hospital on Tuesday.
Courtesy of Dick Cheney

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 2:45 pm

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was released this morning from the Fairfax, Va., hospital where he received a heart transplant on March 24.

NPR's Don Gonyea forwards us this statement from Cheney's office:

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Car Sales, Factory Orders Both Make Gains

In Glendale, Calif., last month, Allen Zimney and Leila Alvarez shopped for a Ford Edge.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 8:52 am

As the Census Bureau was reporting earlier this morning about a 1.3 percent gain in orders for manufactured goods in February from the month before, automakers were saying that March was perhaps their best month in almost four years, The Associated Press says:

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The Two-Way
8:15 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Murdoch Son Stepping Down From Post At BSkyB

James Murdoch, in July 2011.
Warren Allott AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 8:17 am

The hacking scandal that has ripped through Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in the U.K. has now led to son James Murdoch's decision to step down as chairman of the satellite broadcast giant BSkyB.

NPR's David Folkenflik tells our Newscast Desk that:

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Tue April 3, 2012

What Happened In Vegas Costs Federal Properties Manager Her Job

The Las Vegas Strip: sometimes what happens there does come back to bite you.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

An inspector general's report about "excessive and wasteful" spending on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas hosted by the federal government's General Services Administration has cost GSA administrator Martha Johnson her job.

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It's All Politics
6:59 am
Tue April 3, 2012

As Wisconsin Heads To Polls, Romney And Santorum Vie For Last-Minute Support

Campaigning in Wisconsin Monday, Rick Santorum hopes he'll come out ahead in the cheese state.
Jeffrey Phelps EPA /Landov

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been fighting it out in Wisconsin for the past week. And Tuesday night they'll see the results of their labors. Republicans will also cast votes Tuesday in Maryland and Washington, D.C., primaries, though the candidates have not spent much time there.

In all three contests, polls show Romney with a wide lead. Yet Santorum continues to campaign as relentlessly as ever. On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Ari Shapiro and David Welna filed reports from the trail.

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It's All Politics
6:58 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Five Things To Watch For Tuesday In Wisconsin, Maryland, DC

Mitt Romney should have a very good day Tuesday in the Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia GOP primaries.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 2:28 pm

Once the Republican presidential primaries entered April, leaving behind March with its run of several Southern contests, the electoral terrain was expected to start looking much better for Mitt Romney.

That seems the case Tuesday, as Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia hold the first primaries in April, with a total of 98 delegates at stake. The front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination is expected to have a very good day. Just how good remains to be seen.

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Shots - Health Blog
6:46 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Medicare Boosting Coverage For Mental Health Issues

Medicare coverage for mental health services will reach 80 percent in 2014.
DElight iStockphoto.com

Medicare coverage for people with depression used to be, well, depressing. But that's starting to change.

In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began covering screening for depression without any cost-sharing when Medicare beneficiaries visit their primary care doctor.

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The Two-Way
6:30 am
Tue April 3, 2012

U.S. Puts $10 Million Bounty On Mumbai Terror Suspect's Head

An April 2011 file photo, taken in Islamabad, of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the suspected mastermind behind the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that left 166 people dead, now has a $10 million bounty on his head from the U.S. State Department's "Rewards for Justice" program.

Six American citizens died in the Mumbai massacre.

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Tue April 3, 2012

In Women's Title Game, Baylor Goes For History

Baylor's Brittney Griner (42) blocking a shot by Georgia Tech's' Sasha Goodlett on March 24.
Nati Harnik AP

Kentucky is now in the record books as this year's NCAA Division I men's basketball champion after its 67-59 win over Kansas last night.

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Carnage In Oakland: 'People Started Running, And He Started Shooting'

Police descended on Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., Monday after the shootings that left at least seven people dead.
Noah Berger AP

Survivors are telling harrowing tales about what happened Monday morning at Oikos University in Oakland when a man who police say once attended the small Christian school allegedly ordered the dozen or so people in a classroom to line up against a wall, drew a handgun and started firing.

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Sports
2:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Wildcats Roll To 8th NCAA Title, Coach Calipari's 1st

Anthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats puts up a shot over Jeff Withey of the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Division I men's basketball final Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

The Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 Monday night in New Orleans, claiming their eighth NCAA men's basketball title and head coach John Calipari's first.

The Jayhawks trailed by 14 at halftime, and just 5 points separated the teams with about a minute left in the game. But Kansas couldn't get any closer to beating Kentucky, a team stacked with young talent that had dominated the whole tournament.

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Around the Nation
1:39 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Oakland Police: Former University Student Kills 7

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan address reporters after a gunman allegedly killed seven people at a California religious college. The suspect, identified as One Goh, is a 43-year-old Korean who has been living in the United States.
Kimihiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

Oikos University is housed in a nondescript single-story industrial building in a business park near the Oakland International Airport.

The university's website says it trains men and women "for Christian leadership, both lay and clerical." But it doesn't say how many students attend. It offers courses in nursing, music, biblical studies and Asian medicine. And now it's the site of one of the deadliest mass shootings in California in recent memory.

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Space
1:05 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Earth Has Just One Moon, Right? Think Again

The last lunar eclipse of 2011 as seen from the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles on Dec 10, 2011.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

Everybody knows that there's just one moon orbiting the Earth. But a new study by an international team of astronomers concludes that everybody is dead wrong about that.

"At any time, there are one or two 1-meter diameter asteroids in orbit around the Earth," says Robert Jedicke, an astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii.

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National Security
1:03 am
Tue April 3, 2012

A Prosecutor Makes The Case For Military Trials

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, graduated first in his class at West Point, studied as a Rhodes scholar, and attended Harvard Law School. Here he speaks during a press conference at the military facility on Jan 18. following a hearing against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the main suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 12:01 pm

The chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is arguing a difficult case: that the commissions are not only fair, but can take pride of place alongside the civilian criminal justice system.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins is the chief prosecutor for the commissions, the courts at the naval base that try high-profile terrorism suspects.

He has been called Guantanamo's detox man largely because he has made it his mission to show that the military commissions system at Guantanamo is no longer a toxic version of victor's justice.

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All Tech Considered
1:00 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Who Has The Right To Our Facebook Accounts Once We Die?

At least two states are considering laws to require social networking sites to grant loved ones access to the accounts of family members who have died.
Gunay Mutlu iStockphoto.com

When Loren Williams died in a motorcycle crash in 2005, his mother used his Facebook password to read posts on his wall.

"These were postings from personal friends that [said] he meant a lot to them in their lives, and it was very comforting," Karen Williams told KGW television in Portland, Ore. "There were pictures that I had never seen before of his life and just evidence of the wonderful relationships that he had established."

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

PHOTO: The First Woman To Enter The Boston Marathon

Kathrine Switzer of Syracuse found herself about to be thrown out of the normally all-male Boston Marathon when a husky companion, Thomas Miller of Syracuse, threw a block that tossed a race official out of the running instead.
AP

We had never read about Kathrine Switzer, but then we saw this astonishing picture cross our social streams:

That's Switzer, of Syracuse, being pushed off the Boston Marathon course by Jock Semple, one of the race organizers. The year was 1967 and as Switzer tells it, Semple jumped off the media truck and began yelling at her.

"Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers," she says he told her.

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The Two-Way
4:11 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

American Senior Citizens Still Owe $36 Billion In Student Loans

Americans 60 years and older are still paying off $36 billion in student debt. That's according to research from Federal Bank of New York, the Washington Post parses today.

The story is worth a read, but here is the gist:

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It's All Politics
3:35 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Obama Administration Officials Tripped Up By Clown, Comedian, Mindreader

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 9:03 am

A mind reader, a clown and a comedian walk into a bar.

Actually, we don't know about a bar. But we do know they walked into a conference of federal workers held outside Las Vegas in October 2010.

And though it sounds like the start of a joke, it isn't. Someone at the General Services Administration, the federal agency charged with managing government property, actually approved using taxpayer money to pay the three to appear at the meeting.

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