NPR News

Which U.S. city has the worst-dressed citizens?

According to readers of Travel and Leisure magazine, it's Anchorage.

How to convince voters that while the economy isn't roaring, the situation is still improving?

That's President Obama's challenge, made more difficult with every passing month where the jobs report disappoints, as on Friday. The latest Labor Department report informed us that only 69,000 jobs were created in May, less than half what analysts had forecast. Meanwhile, the jobless rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

Earlier, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blamed what he said have been President Obama's "failed" economic policies for the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate and weak job growth.

In Minnesota this hour, President Obama conceded "we've got a lot of work to do before we get to where we need to be," but also claimed credit for policies that he said prevented another Great Depression after the financial crisis of 2008.

The board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most nuns in the United States, rejected a report from the Vatican that found they were running afoul of church doctrine.

The report, which among other things expressed concerned about the group's "radical feminism," was issued in April and ruled that an American archbishop would bring the nuns back in line.

Reporting in Science, researchers write that a combination of therapies, willpower and chocolate helped rats with severe spinal cord injuries learn to walk and even run again. Neurobiologist Moses Chao, not affiliated with the study, discusses the rehab method and whether it could work in humans.

Russia Is Not Propping Up Syrian Regime, Putin Says

Jun 1, 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied claims made by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that Russia is "in effect, propping up" the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"We don't supply weapons that can be used in civil conflicts," Putin told reporters in Berlin after he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Diamond Rugs is one those bands that wants you to think it prizes spontaneity and sloppy good fun more than careful song construction and technical polish. And the album, also titled Diamond Rugs, almost succeeds in convincing you of its sloppy aesthetic, dispensing songs about drinking and carousing only to be left morose, in one's cups.

It's All Politics, May 31, 2012

Jun 1, 2012

Mitt Romney gets enough delegates, in some counts, to go over the top in his bid for the GOP nomination. But his celebration gets distracted by more Donald Trump "birtherism." Plus, the Texas GOP goes into overtime to find a Senate nominee, Rep. Thad McCotter plans a write-in campaign in Michigan in hopes of keeping his own job, and a look ahead to the Wisconsin recall.

NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving have the latest political news in this week's roundup.

A Memoir About Mothers, Memory And Loss

Jun 1, 2012

This interview was originally broadcast on January 11, 2011.

Writer Mira Bartok was 40 years old when a semi-trailer hurled into her car on the New York Thruway. The force of the accident whipped the inside of her brain against her skull, causing what's known as coup contrecoup, a type of traumatic brain injury that for Bartok, affected both her long- and short-term memory.

On Saturday, the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure will be run and walked in Washington. This year, the field won't be so crowded.

In Florida, a battle is heating up on several fronts over who will be allowed to vote in the upcoming primary and the November general election.

In Tallahassee, a federal judge has blocked state elections officials from enforcing tough restrictions on groups that conduct voter registration drives.

And in Washington, the Justice Department has sent a letter to Florida telling it to immediately halt efforts to purge from the voting rolls people suspected of being noncitizens.

May's higher unemployment rate and meager job creation couldn't have come at a worse time for people like Julia Gray. A Chicago-based writer and editor with a master's degree, Gray said she has been unemployed for 17 months. "The media world in Chicago is dead and deader," she said.

"I was collecting unemployment benefits for a while," she said. "It helped a great deal — it was incredibly important."

But now her benefits have run out, and her employment search goes on.

If royal watching's your kind of thing, the next four days are going to be a treat.

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebration — marking 60 years on the throne — looks like it will be quite a show. Sunday's huge flotilla alone is predicted to be "the most spectacular nautical event seen in London for 350 years."

Want to know when to tune in?

The official website of the British Monarchy, of course, has a ton of information.

For broadcast schedules, though, you need to look elsewhere.

The ads for Snow White and the Huntsman show a glum Kristen Stewart dressed for battle, obviously playing the huntsman. Hold the phone, she's Snow White. Another storybook heroine turned warrior! Just like the princess in this year's first Snow White picture, Mirror Mirror, who not only goes mano a mano with her patronizing, patriarchal prince, but tells him she's sick of stories in which damsels take their distress lying down.

Stock prices fell on Wall Street today as investors digested the much-weaker-than-expected report on job growth in May.

The damage? The Dow plunged 274 points or 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq fell 80 points or 2.82 percent.

CNN Money reports the Dow had the worst day of 2012, erasing "all its gains for the year."

U.S. Experiences A Drop In Millionaires

Jun 1, 2012

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, let's turn now to personal wealth. Today's last word in business is disappearing millions.

The number of millionaire households in this country declined in 2011. That's according to this year's Global Wealth Study from the Boston Consulting Group. It found the number of American households with a million dollars of investable assets shrunk by 2.5 percent.

The U.S. still leads the world in millionaires, but developing countries are gaining ground. Other countries added nearly 200,000 millionaire households in 2011.

Horrid. Lousy. Awful.

Those are just three of the words economists are using to describe the news that just 69,000 net jobs were added to public and private payrolls last month — and that the nation's jobless rate edged up to 8.2 percent from April's 8.1 percent.

The news has raised fears that the hoped-for strengthening of the economy may not materialize.

We posted on the news and followed with details from the report and reaction to it. It's now 11:22 am. ET, here's our original post and earlier updates:

This morning's talker:

"From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America's first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program," The New York Times reports.

Lawrence Adams doesn't want to be called a hero, but many in Seattle are saying that's just what he is.

As The Seattle Times reports this morning, police believe Adams saved the lives of at least three people on Wednesday when he picked up a stool at a cafe and threw it at a gunman who killed four people there. Adams' action distracted the gunman, identified as Ian Stawicki, and allowed Adams and some others to escape.

Rare Double Egg Laid In Abilene, Texas

Jun 1, 2012

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with a remembrance of Dick Beals, the man whose voice gave lie to Gumby. A glandular condition gave Beals his small stature and youthful voice, a voice that was used in more than 3,000 commercials. Beals played a wide range of roles - babies, teenagers, chipmunks. Perhaps most notably the Speedy Alka-Seltzer character.

(SOUNDBITE OF ADVERTISEMENT)

DICK BEALS: (Singing) Alka-Seltzer, plop, plop, fizz, fizz - oh, what a relief it is.

One year ago today, Alpha Natural Resources officially absorbed the troubled coal mining company Massey Energy, which had one of the worst safety records in the industry.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's spend some time talking about the big money world of video games. In a moment, what may have been the biggest legal battle ever in the game industry. But first to former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Shilling. He is blaming the governor of Rhode Island for the meltdown of his video game company, 38 Studios. The company's failures have seen almost 400 workers lose their jobs and has Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for close to $100 million. Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio has the story.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to Florida, where a federal judge has blocked portions of a new election law that was causing a lot of debate. That law had put tough restrictions on groups conducting voter registration drives. Because of the restrictions, the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote stopped registering votes(ph) in the state. Those groups challenged the new law in court. And yesterday, Judge Robert Hinkle sided with the groups. He called the rules onerous and unconstitutional.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This election year we've seen a lot of cases where different people look at the same economic situation and come to different conclusions. And that seems to be happening in Michigan. It's America's comeback state - that according to its governor, Rick Snyder. Unemployment there is dropping, as the U.S. auto industry rebounds. And the state has a budget surplus for the first time in years.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's been more than a year since Wisconsin Democrats began talking about recalling the state's governor, Scott Walker. Next week they'll get their chance to do it. Last night, Walker and his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, traded barbs in their final debate before Tuesday's vote. Turnout is expected to be very high, as the recall is sharply dividing voters in Wisconsin, so much so, some have just stopped talking to each other. NPR's David Schaper has the latest from Milwaukee.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a new, multibillion-dollar chemical plant.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Exxon Mobil plans to build a huge chemical facility in Baytown, Texas. It reverses a company statement last year that said it has no plans for new chemical factories in the United States. According to Reuters, decades-low natural gas prices made the move too enticing to pass over. Natural gas is a key fuel in chemical production. By using its own natural gas, Exxon Mobil can run a chemical plant relatively cheaply.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure takes place tomorrow here in the nation's capital. It's one of the breast cancer charity's biggest fundraisers. But this year, participation is way down. That follows Komen's controversial decision in February to stop funding Planned Parenthood programs. The decision was quickly reversed, but Komen's supporters worry about the long-term impact, as NPR's Pam Fessler reports.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The financial woes of Greece and other countries of the eurozone, have meant painful austerity measures in exchange for financial bailouts. Now, Irish voters have approved a European Union treaty to battle the debt crisis. It's an effort to enforce strict budget cuts or face financial penalties.

Pages