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10:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Senator Blumenthal Pushes President On Iran

The Associated Press reports that International Atomic Energy Agency officials are concerned that Iran may be trying to cover up evidence related to nuclear weapons. That could fuel the debate over U.S. options for addressing Iran. Host Michel Martin talks with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Salt
10:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Hundreds Battle For International Cheese Glory In Wisconsin

A judge smells a block of cheese at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis. Judges carefully appraise a cheese's look, smell and texture before they taste it and spit it out.
Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

When over 50,000 pounds of cheese rolled this week into Wisconsin, a state clearly not suffering from cheese shortages, it could only mean one thing: The World Championship Cheese Contest was in town.

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Television
9:39 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Is 'Game Change' Fair To Sarah Palin? You Betcha

Ed Harris and Julianne Moore star as Arizona Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the HBO made-for-TV movie Game Change, based on a book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin about the 2008 presidential race.
HBO

There are times when TV dramas about national politics and politicians deserve criticism, even ridicule, for their fast-and-loose narratives and characterizations. Recent miniseries about the Reagans and the Kennedys, loaded with unsubstantiated dialogue and action, are only two very fresh examples.

But Game Change — HBO's new take on the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign — is entertaining, and commendable, precisely because it stays so close to the facts, not because it strays from them.

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Inside Bin Laden's House, 'A Fading Splash Of Blood'

The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed. (May 3, 2011, file photo.)
Getty Images

The New York Times writes this morning about a retired Pakistani Army brigadier's attempt to reconstruct what happened last May when U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden at the al-Qaida leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Report: 'Explosive' Growth Of 'Patriot Movement' And Militias Continues

"Patriot movement groups" in red. Militias — armed wings of such organizations — in gray.
Southern Poverty Law Center

An enormous surge in the number of groups that "see the federal government as their primary enemy" and in some cases have militias as their "armed wings" continues, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports today.

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The Salt
7:49 am
Thu March 8, 2012

The Secret To Glowing (Yellow) Skin? Eat Your Fruits And Veggies

Carrots and other veggies give skin a slight yellow tone that people think looks healthy and attractive.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 9:01 am

We know that fruits and vegetables do us all kinds of good. But evidently they also give us a healthful glow — by tinting our skin yellow and red.

People's skin color changed in just six weeks when they increased their fruit and vegetable consumption, according to researchers in Scotland who compared eating habits to skin tone.

And while the cosmetics industry might have you believe that rouge is the ideal cheek color, this study found that another hue rated more healthful and attractive: yellow.

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The Two-Way
6:35 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Jobless Claims Rise By 8,000

There were 362,000 first-time clams for unemployment insurance last week, up 8,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration just reported.

That means the number of claims has moved up slightly, but remains around the lowest level since this time four years ago.

The Two-Way
5:45 am
Thu March 8, 2012

In Video, Man Said To Be Syrian Oil Ministry Official Says He's Defecting

  • Kelly McEvers on 'Morning Edition'

As we've relearned from the overthrows of oppressive leaders in Libya and Egypt, among the signs to watch for when looking or evidence of cracks in such regimes are defections and transfers of money out of the country by a dictator's cronies.

Today:

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Around the Nation
5:15 am
Thu March 8, 2012

California Teacher Moonlights As Porn Star

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:08 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Indiana Legislature Votes On Official State Gun

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Two-Way
5:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

House Expected To OK Jobs Bill In 'Rare Agreement' With Obama

Sometimes bipartisanship does shine down on the Capitol.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:01 pm

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET. The House Passes JOBS Act:

Saying that it shows the federal legislature can work in a bipartisan fashion, the Republican-controlled House passed the JOBS Act, which was supported by President Obama.

"It is a welcome sign that we can put our differences aside and work together to produce results to help boost the economy and get people back to work," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said, according to the AP.

The bill was passed with a vote of 390-23.

Our Original Post Continues:

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Asia
2:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Japanese Businesses Post Tsunami

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:00 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a stunning fact we came across as the anniversary of Japan's tsunami and nuclear disaster approaches. Of Japan's nuclear plants, only two of 54 reactors are currently active one year after the disaster. To talk about the implications of this, we've called Kenneth Cukier. He is Tokyo correspondent for The Economist magazine. He's on the line.

Welcome to the program.

KENNETH CUKIER: Hi, there.

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Business
2:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Business News

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with allegations of price fixing on e-books.

The Justice Department is threatening to sue Apple and five major U.S. publishers for allegedly colluding to raise the price of digital books. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple persuaded publishers, including Harper Collins, Penguin and Simon and Schuster, to change how they price their e-books before the launch of the first iPad in 2010.

Europe
2:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Creditors Face Deadline In Greek Bond Swap

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:00 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Private creditors holding Greek bonds have until the end of today to participate in the largest sovereign debt restructuring in history. This means creditors must exchange the Greek government bonds they now hold for new ones that are worth far less. Some creditors are balking, since it means up to a 70 percent loss on their returns.

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Business
2:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And we turn now to a group of people worth almost as much as a small country. Today's last word in business goes to Forbes magazine, which has released its 25th annual billionaires list.

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Middle East
2:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Syrian Rebels Commit To Anti-Government Strategy

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:00 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Western governments are still debating whether to help Syria's rebels. But as they debate, the rebels are finding ways to help themselves.

INSKEEP: Syrians continue arming themselves, even after they retreated from the battered city of Homs. This week, the United Nations' humanitarian chief finally toured that city, including a rebel neighborhood, now mostly abandoned.

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Middle East
1:05 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Egypt's Moves Leave Democracy Advocate Bewildered

Sam LaHood of the International Republican Institute is one of 19 American democracy promoters who face charges of fomenting unrest in Egypt. Here, he is shown last month at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Courtesy IRI

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:00 pm

Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, spent four weeks holed up at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, sleeping on an air mattress part of the time and trying to fathom why the Egyptians wanted to prosecute him and his pro-democracy colleagues.

Eventually, LaHood's organization and others with employees facing prosecution paid more than $300,000 a person in bail to get them off the Egyptian travel ban, and the U.S. government flew most of them home.

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Monkey See
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

On HBO, A Bestselling Book Becomes A Movie About A 'Dynamic Moment'

Ed Harris as John McCain and Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the HBO film Game Change.
Phillip V. Caruso HBO

There were a lot of good stories from the 2008 presidential election, including Hillary Clinton's serious run for the Democratic nomination, not to mention the election of the first African-American president. The whole story was covered in the bestselling — and controversial — book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, Game Change.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

In Denver Taxis, Extra Eyes On The Street For Police

Longtime Denver taxi driver Teddy Johnson participates in the "Taxis on Patrol" program, and has made two reports of potential safety issues so far.
Kirk Siegler for NPR

Some days, it would be easy to mistake the Metro Taxi dispatch center in Denver for a police station. Traffic and crime incidents are recorded in a special logbook, as drivers call in descriptions and locations to police.

It's part of a program called Taxis on Patrol. Just a day after the program began, a cab driver helped police make an arrest for a fatal hit-and-run. In the months since, eyewitness calls from cabbies using a bulletin system similar to an Amber Alert have led to hundreds of arrests.

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Japan In Crisis
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

With Radiation, Doubt Grows In Fukushima Farms

A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:00 pm

The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.

Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.

'Nothing Is Better'

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Presidential Race
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

How Far Apart On Iran Are GOP Candidates, Obama?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in April 2008. Western governments suspect Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. How to handle the possible threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is a major foreign policy concern of the U.S.
AP

Originally published on Sun March 11, 2012 7:10 am

Republican presidential candidates this week — with the exception of Ron Paul — appeared to be trying to outdo each other in saying how tough they would be in dealing with Iran. Speaking before a pro-Israel group, they said President Obama has been weak — "feckless," in Mitt Romney's words.

Obama, meanwhile, was not impressed. He said he'd heard a lot of "bluster" and "big talk" about Iran, "but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years."

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Planet Money
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

The European Central Bank, As Seen From A Bar On The Coast Of Spain

JOSE LUIS ROCA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 12:14 pm

"I have a little bar. A drinks bar," says Chadd Ritenbaugh. His bar is called El Catalonia. It's in the port of Marbella, on the Spanish coast.

"Just sun, sand, and sea," he says. "It's just kind of empty at the moment."

Ritenbaugh bought the bar in 2009. Since then, business has gone downhill. He tried, and failed, to sell.

"Nobody's out buying bars right now," he says. "Banks in Spain are not lending a cent — a euro cent."

Chad himself tried and failed to get a bank loan. "Absolutely nothing," he says.

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Author Interviews
10:01 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

'Fragile Beginnings': When Babies Are Born Too Soon

Dr. Adam Wolfberg had two daughters and another on the way when his wife, Kelly, went into labor. But this joyous occasion had come much too soon — Kelly was three months away from her due date. After just 26 weeks in the womb, their baby daughter Larissa entered the world by emergency cesarean section and was whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit of a Boston hospital. It was the same hospital where Wolfberg was doing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and his medical background turned out to be a mixed blessing.

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StoryCorps
4:21 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

A Mom Becomes A Man, And A Family Sticks Together

Les and Scott GrantSmith visited StoryCorps in San Diego to discuss how they moved on together, after a crisis point.
StoryCorps

This spring, Les and Scott GrantSmith will mark their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple raised two daughters along the way. But 15 years ago, they hit a crisis that nearly shattered their family. Les was keeping a secret, and that became a problem. But they solved it as a family, in a way that kept them together and happy.

In the weeks leading up to that day back in 1997, Les was certain of two things: She was a mother who loved her daughters — and she was also transgender, the term for someone born in a body of the wrong sex.

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Utah Legislature Votes To Prohibit Schools From Teaching About Contraception

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 4:07 pm

A bill "that would let schools skip teaching sex education and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception" is headed to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's desk after the state Senate today approved it by a 19-10 vote, The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Schools would need to focus on "abstinence-only" instruction.

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Ron Paul's In-It-To-Win-It Strategy Is 'Not Far-Fetched,' Campaign Manager Says

Texas Rep. Ron Paul (right) talks with the his presidential campaign manager, Jesse Benton, backstage at the Republican Party's Iowa straw poll last August.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 8:34 am

Texas Rep. Ron Paul hasn't won any of the 23 Republican presidential primaries or caucuses already in the 2012 history books.

He's captured only 29 delegates, just 5 percent of those awarded in contests to date. (Front-runner Mitt Romney has 340 committed delegates, 58 percent of those officially allotted, according to NPR calculations.)

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Money & Politics
4:05 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Pro-Romney SuperPAC Spent Big On Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at a town hall meeting in Bexley, Ohio, last month. Romney won Ohio by less than 1 percent in Tuesday's primary.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 8:39 am

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's six primary wins on Super Tuesday didn't come cheap. An NPR analysis shows that last week alone, the Romney campaign and the pro-Romney superPAC combined spent nearly $7 million on TV ads.

Less than $1 million of that was spent by Romney's official campaign, while the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future — which has almost exclusively engaged in negative advertising this year — spent $5.7 million.

That's compared to $220,000 spent on ads last week by the superPAC supporting former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

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The Salt
3:55 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

When Food Aid Goes Local, Some Say It Works Better

A worker piles sacks of corn at a market in Guatemala City.
Daniel LeClair Reuters /Landov

There's finally some careful research that goes a long way toward resolving one of the hot debates over food aid — whether it's better to ship bags of rice and corn from the United States, or to buy food close to where it's needed. Emergency food supplies will be needed this summer, for instance, in the Sahel region of Africa.

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Europe
3:37 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Uncertainty Looms As Greek Debt Deadline Nears

People walk past the Bank of Greece headquarters in Athens. Greece toughened its stance to push creditors to accept a debt swap and take heavy losses, just one day before the Thursday deadline for completion of the deal to avert default.
Louisa Gouliamaki AFP/Getty Images

Stock prices rebounded somewhat Wednesday, one day after their biggest sell-off of the year. What caused prices to plunge Tuesday was an all-too-familiar problem: the Greek debt crisis.

European officials have cobbled together a deal to keep Greece from defaulting, and investors all over the world who hold Greek bonds are weighing their options. They're worried about what could happen if they reject the deal.

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