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His wins Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Maryland and — most importantly — in Wisconsin has produced a subtle shift in the way Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is being referred to by the news media.

Herbert Burtis met the person he wanted to marry in college, in 1948. But since the object of his affection was another man, they had to wait until 2004 for the ceremony, when Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.

"It's a long engagement," Burtis says, laughing. "We thought it was time that we made each other honest people."

His spouse, John Ferris, died four years ago. When Burtis went to the Social Security office to apply for survivor benefits, the clerk told him the federal government did not recognize his marriage.

The New York state capital, Albany, is a gathering place for the state's most powerful people.

But in the city's poor and predominately black South End neighborhood, many residents once felt powerless.

They had repeatedly asked for better public transit for South End, an area plagued with poverty and crime not far from New York's gated governor's mansion.

Today, the city's Route 100 bus glides easily up Morton Avenue, a steep hill in the South End neighborhood. Many feel there would be no Route 100 if not for the efforts of local resident Willie White.

Rick Santorum came surprisingly close to an upset in Wisconsin this week, losing to Mitt Romney by less than 5 percentage points. It was not as heartbreakingly close as his previous losses in Michigan and Ohio, but it was one more reminder of what might have been.

With a win in Wisconsin, Santorum would have confounded the ruling media narrative of the moment, which wants to turn from the primary season of spring to the autumnal matchup of Romney and President Obama.

With wins in Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., Mitt Romney inched his way forward toward becoming the inevitable GOP presidential candidate.

After Tuesday's hat trick, the road to victory is clear for Romney and increasingly rocky and unlikely for Rick Santorum, Romney's leading opponent.

Still, in a speech from Mars, Pa., Santorum vowed to continue his campaign.

"We have now reached the point where it's half time," Santorum said. "Who's ready to charge out of the locker room for a strong second half in Pennsylvania?"

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?

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.

"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.

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."

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.

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."

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.

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":

Is Mexico's Drug War Worth The Cost?

Apr 3, 2012



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.



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.

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:

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.