NPR News

Pages

The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Warren Buffett Has Prostate Cancer; Detected At Early Stage, He Says

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that the billionaire investor has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Seth Wenig AP

Warren Buffett, 81, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his Berkshire Hathaway company announced Tuesday afternoon. The cancer is at Stage 1, according to MarketWatch. The billionaire investor's condition is not life-threatening, he says.

Buffett send a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to inform and reassure them. Here's the text of that letter:

Read more
Digital Life
3:22 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

In Noisy Digital Era, 'Elegant' Internet Still Thrives

Many computer users today use tools like Facebook MySpace to connect online. But some computer hobbyists still use pre-Web technologies to interact.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Before Facebook and MySpace transformed how we interact virtually, there was another kind of Internet — a 1980s network, where users connected via phone lines and communicated through simple lines of text.

And while that may sound outdated, that version of the Internet is still very much alive.

'A Lot More Elegant'

Pat McNameeking, a college student in Concord, N.H., is one champion of this throwback social network known as SDF, or Super Dimensional Fortress.

Read more
Million-Dollar Donors
3:22 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

SuperDonor Backs Romney — And Gay Marriage

Hedge fund manager Paul Singer of Elliott Management has donated $1 million to Mitt Romney's superPAC.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

When it comes to campaign money, there's one industry GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney can count on: finance.

Some of the single largest checks to the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future come from hedge fund managers. People at securities and investment firms have contributed more than $16 million.

Paul Singer, the man behind the hedge fund Elliott Management, has contributed $1 million.

As of Dec. 31, Elliott Management had $19.2 billion in assets, making it one of the nation's largest hedge funds.

Read more
It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Former Romney Adviser: Veep Hunt Could Lead To Portman

Republican strategist Mike Murphy, November 2007.
Alex Wong AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:34 pm

Mike Murphy, the very quotable Republican political consultant who has listed some of his party's biggest names as clients, including John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, has some advice on picking a vice presidential running mate.

Read more
Presidential Race
3:16 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

The Obama-Romney Poll-A-Palooza: What's It Mean?

Some voters may be choosing campaign buttons now, but most polling experts agree it's too early to predict November's winner.
Daniel Acker Landov

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:25 am

President Obama is leading presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney big in recent national polls.

No, wait. Polls show he's trailing Romney by a couple of percentage points.

Oh — this just in: Obama is actually leading Romney, but the race is tightening.

It's a general election poll-a-palooza out there, people.

But what do all the numbers mean?

"I have friends who support Obama, and friends who support Mitt Romney," says Scott Keeter, survey research director at Pew Research Center. "I tell them not to get too excited or too depressed at this point."

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
2:36 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Seniors In Medicare 'Doughnut Hole' More Likely To Stop Heart Drugs

Falling into the "doughnut hole" of Medicare drug coverage led people to stop taking medicines more often than to search for cheaper alternatives.
iStockphoto.com

Medicare patients who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the "doughnut hole" are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

Read more
Planet Money
2:34 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Pay Your Taxes: A Cautionary Tale

Young Buck, 2004
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

When IRS agents raided the house of rapper Young Buck, they seized all his things: his white leather dining chairs, his watches, his craps table, his tattoo kit. Even his refrigerator. The Nashville artist, who was once part of 50 Cent's G-Unit, owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.

His lawyer, Robin Mitchell Joyce, said he thought Young Buck's taxes were being handled by his business manager. They weren't.

Read more
Music Interviews
2:11 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Kat Edmonson 'Just Wasn't Made For These Times'

"As usual, the party in my imagination is much grander than the actual one," Kat Edmonson says of the song "Champagne."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:30 pm

A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.

"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."

Read more
The Two-Way
2:03 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Prosecutors Knew Of Forensics Flaws For Years, 'The Post' Reports

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:27 pm

For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has known that flawed forensic work by FBI experts may have led to the convictions of innocent people, but prosecutors rarely told defendants or their attorneys, according to an investigative report in The Washington Post.

Read more
Making Babies: 21st Century Families
2:03 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Gifting Birth: A Woman Helps Build Other Families

Charity Lovas has given birth to eight children, three of whom are her own.
Courtesy of Charity Lovas

For most mothers, there is no event in life bigger than giving birth to a child. Charity Lovas has given birth to eight children, yet only three of those children are her own.

It all began in 2002, when she and her family were living in Indianapolis. She says she was reading the Sunday newspaper and spotted an ad for ovum donors. She had never heard about it. She was curious.

She called the number in the ad. A woman at the other end of the line explained the egg donor program, and said they had a surrogate program, too.

Read more
Europe
2:03 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Spain Scrambles To Avoid A Financial Bailout

A broker sits in the stock exchange in Madrid. Worries about Spain's finances intensified last week as the country's bond yields rose on international markets, making it more expensive for Spain to borrow money.
Paul White AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 3:54 pm

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visited Poland last week and tried to assure international markets that Spain would not join the list of European nations needing a bailout.

"Spain will not be rescued," he said at a news conference. "It's not possible to rescue Spain. There's no intention of it, and we don't need it."

However, Spain's borrowing costs are nearing levels that were followed by bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Pranksters Put Fake Ensign's Portrait On Pentagon Wall; It Stayed For Months

U.S. Naval Institute

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

The must-read story of the day if you're into practical jokes has to be The Wall Street Journal's piece headlined "Walk The Prank: Secret Story Of Mysterious Portrait At Pentagon."

As Melissa Block and Audie Cornish will explain later on All Things Considered, last year some pranksters hung a portrait on a hall in the Pentagon with a plaque saying it was "Ensign Chuck Hord. USNA circa 1898. Lost at sea 1908."

There is no such person.

Read more
My Guilty Pleasure
1:08 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

The Wrong Crowd: A Tale Of Teens Behaving Badly

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 8:26 am

Meg Wolitzer is the author of a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

In reality, I may be a middle-aged woman with two nearly grown sons, but in my heart I am a teenage girl who has found herself pregnant and doesn't know what to do. For if you came of age, as I did, reading Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger, then you probably still feel that you know what it's like to be a high school student whose life almost derails.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Shifting Into Reverse, Detroit Automakers Lose Some Market Share

A worker assembles a Silverado truck on the assembly line at the GM Flint Assembly plant in Michigan.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.

Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.

Read more
U.S.
12:23 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Scandal Puts Secret Service Culture In The Spotlight

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 11:06 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over the weekend, scandal overshadowed the president's visit to a hemispheric summit in Colombia. Reports accused 11 U.S. Secret Service agents of cavorting with prostitutes ahead of the president's arrival.

Read more
All Tech Considered
11:10 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Greenpeace: How Clean (And Green) Is Your Cloud?

Greenpeace's annual report ranks Internet companies based on the efficiency of their cloud facilities.
szaz iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:22 pm

Greenpeace released its latest report today asking, "How clean is your cloud?"

The annual report examines the server farms built by the largest Internet companies — including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — and ranks them according to how efficient their cloud facilities are, and where they get their electricity.

Yahoo — which has struggled to please investors in recent years — was the only major Internet company in the study to get most of its electricity from renewable or clean energy sources, according to the report.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:04 am
Tue April 17, 2012

At Scandal-Ridden Federal Agency, All Sorts Of Abuses

How bad are things at the General Services Administration, where the scandal over extravagant spending at a Las Vegas conference has led to resignations, firings and could end up with criminal charges for some officials?

Read more
Health
10:37 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Race To Create The Best Antiviral Drugs

The HIV-1 virus cultivated with human lymphocytes.
C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:42 pm

If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:36 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Former 'Car Czar' Rattner Gives Dodd-Frank A Qualified Endorsement

Steven Rattner — the "car czar" when the Obama administration was restructuring the auto industry in 2009 — today spoke in favor of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

But it wasn't exactly a double thumbs up.

On a panel at an ideas conference in New York City, Rattner noted that before the financial crisis began in 2008, Wall Street was the "global leader in finance. ... But of course, it got out of control."

Read more
Music Interviews
10:22 am
Tue April 17, 2012

The Jazz Drummer Who Makes Music Out Of Everything

Han Bennink drums on whatever surface he can find — and plays with tone and rhythm while manipulating the drum with parts of his own body.
Michael Jackson

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:04 pm

Read more
Around the Nation
10:12 am
Tue April 17, 2012

War Of The Worlds: When Science, Politics Collide

In 1925, people lined up to buy anti-evolution books in Dayton, Tenn., where the "monkey trial" of teacher John T. Scopes took place. Tennessee recently enacted a law encouraging teachers to question accepted science on evolution and other issues.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:36 pm

Roger Cone is a microbiologist, not a politician. He struggles with a basic truth: For all the scientific acceptance of evolution, many Americans simply don't believe it is factually accurate.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:03 am
Tue April 17, 2012

At Least 20 Women Involved In 'Summit Scandal,' Senator Says

The "summit scandal" continues to grow, judging from this story just posted by Reuters:

"Twenty or 21 women were brought back to the hotel in Colombia by U.S. Secret Service agents and members of the U.S. military in an incident last week involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes, U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Tuesday."

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
9:28 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Sebelius To Lend Support To Vaccination Projects In Haiti

Rice farmer Alexi Rochnel shows his blank cholera vaccination card. April is the beginning of Haiti's rainy season, which will likely intensify Haiti's cholera outbreak.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 10:34 am

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is in Haiti today to support two big vaccination initiatives.

Read more
The Salt
8:42 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Food Stamps Helped Many Families Weather The Recession

Food stamps kept the carts rolling during the recession.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:26 am

Food stamps have long been a favorite whipping boy of politicians looking to beat up on government spending. But the massive food-assistance program does help keep people out of poverty, according to new research.

Food stamp benefits led to a decline of 4.4 percent in poverty from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:00 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Romney Has 2-Point Lead Over Obama As Gallup 'Tracking Poll' Begins

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday in Boston.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 4:30 pm

For those who can't get enough of polls about the presidential election, Gallup has fired up its "daily tracking" survey that will follow the levels of support for President Obama and presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

And it begins with:

-- Romney's support among registered voters at 47 percent.

-- Obama's support among registered voters at 45 percent.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:50 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Other Options Gone, Tea Party Members Warm Up To Romney

Courting Tea Party voters in Philadelphia on Monday night, Mitt Romney speaks next to a large statue of Benjamin Franklin at the Franklin Institute.
Tim Shaffer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 10:26 am

Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reaching out to a segment of the Republican base that has given him trouble in this year's primary season: the Tea Party. On Monday night in Philadelphia, he spoke to activists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and what might have been a tough crowd turned out to be just the opposite.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:45 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Housing Starts Drop, But Building Permits Are Up

There was a 5.8 percent drop in housing starts from February to March, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

Bloomberg News says the decline was unexpected and left starts at a five-month low.

Still, the number of starts was up 10.3 percent from March 2011.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:25 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Fear Drives China's Oppressive Rule In Tibet, Dalai Lama Says

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Diptendu Dutta AFP/Getty Images
  • Renee Montagne speaks to the Dalai Lama

China's leaders continue to impose oppressive policies on the people of Tibet out of fear, the Dalai Lama said earlier today on Morning Edition.

They fear what might happen if Tibetans were allowed to live freely and others under Chinese rule started to demand more respect for their rights. That has meant, he said, that "they ignore ... reality and they impose their rules. ... That's the problem."

Read more
The Two-Way
5:45 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Pulitzer Jurors Are Shocked That No Fiction Prize Was Awarded

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 7:50 am

  • Susan Larson talks with Lynn Neary

One of the surprises from Monday's Pulitzer Prize announcements was the lack of an award in the fiction category. It's the first time since 1977 that the Pulitzer board hasn't given an award for fiction writing.

Read more
World
5:16 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Cardboard To Be Used In Temporary Cathedral

The New Zealand town of Christchurch is rebuilding after an earthquake left its 19th century cathedral in ruins. Its replacement has been dubbed "the cardboard cathedral." It's a temporary fix while the permanent building is under construction.

Pages