Detroit is a surprisingly green landscape during the spring and summer months. The site of many houses that are crumbling, boarded up or missing altogether is tempered by community gardens and even some urban farms.
There are some serious urban gardeners in this country, but few can match the agricultural output of Paul Weertz.
"I farm about 10 acres in the city, and alfalfa's my thing. I bale about a thousand bales a year," he says.
On each Sept. 30, the nation wraps up its old budget, and on Oct. 1, it starts a fresh spending cycle. Or at least, that's what is supposed to happen.
But once again, Oct. 1 has come and gone, and the country still has no formal budget in place. Instead, Congress last week approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating temporarily, just as it has done time and again since the 1970s.
Originally published on Sun October 2, 2011 8:28 am
This year, the annual budget fight has become especially muddled. That's because Congress and the White House are actually engaged in three different, but related, budget debates that are going on simultaneously.
Ultimately, the three battles involve just one question: How much money should government take in and spend? But the separate tracks involve different time horizons, and each problem has to be resolved in a different way.
Here is a fresh look at the three ongoing budget battles:
Voters in West Virginia will choose the state's next governor on Tuesday, in a special election to finish the term of Democrat Joe Manchin. The popular former governor left office after being elected to the U.S. Senate last November.
On the ballot are the man who has been acting governor, Democratic state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, and GOP businessman Bill Maloney.
But Republicans are trying to make the race a referendum on someone not on the ballot: President Obama.
After many awful seasons this year's Detroit Lions are — can you believe it — undefeated. To add to the glory, each of the Detroit car makers is showing signs of health with increased quality and profitability. It's long-awaited good news for a city that's been through bad times.
There's no denying that Detroit has had an image problem for quite a while. A whole cottage industry has sprung up over the years with many people from all walks trying to help turn that image around.
Now, that al-Qaida leader killed this week, Anwar al-Awlaki, he was born in New Mexico. And a decade ago, he was already branding himself as a kind of spokesman for Muslim Americans. Here he is as a guest on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION back in 2001, two months after 9/11.
More than 50 of America's most decorated war heroes are in Louisville, Kentucky, this weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. Three men have received the honor in the last year — the first time the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has welcomed new living members since Vietnam. Reporter Brenna Angel of member station WUKY, reports on how they shared their stories across generations.
We're back with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)
I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run. I don't want to run. I don't feel like I'm ready to run. First, you have to have in your heart, you got to want it more than anything else. More than anything else. I don't want it that badly.
More than half a million people work for the U.S. Postal Service making it the seventh largest employer in the world. But like a lot of other businesses, this one is being hit hard by the tough economy and transformed by the Internet.
Originally published on Sat October 1, 2011 3:19 pm
The international spotlight has been on North Africa this year, where Arab autocrats have been overthrown by government opponents seeking democracy in three separate countries – Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.
But farther south on the continent, a less dramatic democratic trend has been playing out for years.
Seventeen of the 49 nations in sub-Saharan Africa are holding national elections this year. That's partly an accident of timing. But it's also a sign that holding power in Africa these days increasingly requires a leader to hold regular elections.
Pakistan is a leading recipient of U.S. economic aid, receiving billions of dollars every year in both civilian and military support. However, the recent rocky patch between the two countries is pushing many members of Congress to reevaluate the assistance package.
Turkey's leaders have called Israel the "West's spoiled child," and the "bully" of the eastern Mediterranean. When a Tel Aviv soccer team showed up in Istanbul recently for a match, the welcome was less than warm.
In September, Turkey kicked out the Israeli ambassador, suspended military and trade deals and threatened legal and naval action to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.
A joint CIA and U.S. military operation targeted and killed the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in an air strike this week. Awlaki had been linked to terrorist attacks against the United States and was a key target for several years. NPR's Rachel Martin shares the latest with host Scott Simon.
The books closed at midnight on another reporting period for the Federal Election Commission, as candidates and political action committees continue to fill their coffers for the 2012 election. Host Scott Simon talks with Tony Corrado, professor of government at Colby College, about campaign fundraising for the 2012 presidential race.
Many political watchers say the 2012 presidential campaign is shaping up to be the most expensive election cycle in American history. One reason: the growing influence of political action committees, independent groups that raise money largely from corporations, trade unions and the wealthy. Host Scott Simon talks with Bill Burton, co-founder of the Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, about his group's fundraising efforts for the 2012 presidential election.
This week, a military court in Bahrain handed down harsh sentences to 20 doctors and medical personnel accused of stockpiling weapons and illegally occupying a hospital during recent protests. The doctors say they're being punished for treating demonstrators injured in anti-government protests. Host Scott Simon speaks with Dr. Fatima Hajji, one of the medical professionals sentenced to prison.
It's been more than a hundred days since Matt Rutherford has walked on dry land. With any luck, it'll be another 200 before he does. The 30-year-old Marylander is sailing around North and South America. Alexandra Gutierrez of member station KUCB in Unalaska reports that if he makes it, he'll be the first person to do the 23,000-mile trip alone and without stopping.
The 2011 baseball playoffs have begun, but fans are still reeling from perhaps the single most exciting end to baseball's regular season since Babe Ruth ate 30 hot dogs. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about this week's playoff action and more.
Gliding along in a flat-bottom boat on the San Antonio River thorough the heart of downtown San Antonio is a beautiful and authentic Texas experience.
There's one thing a boat tour guide is not going to mention, however. Texas is in the middle of a historic drought, and the river that tourists are cruising along with ducks, big bass, catfish and perch is actually treated sewage water.
Losing weight in America is big business. Americans spend $61 billion a year on everything from diet pills and exercise videos to meal plans, health club memberships and medical treatment. One of the fastest growing and lucrative segments of the weight-loss market is surgery.
This December, along with the holidays, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire can also look forward to lots of visits from presidential candidates. The primary calendar now looks like it will start early in January—first with the Iowa caucuses, followed closely by New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and then, by month's end, Florida.
On Friday, officials in the Sunshine State announced they were scheduling their presidential primary on Jan. 31 — breaking party rules and forcing four other states to move up even earlier to maintain their places in the batting order.
Astronomers are lining up to use a powerful new NASA telescope called SOFIA. The telescope has unique capabilities for studying things like how stars form and what's in the atmospheres of planets.
But unlike most of the space agency's telescopes, SOFIA isn't in space — it flies around mounted in a Boeing 747 jet with a large door cut on the side so the telescope can see out. Putting a telescope in space makes sense: There's no pesky atmosphere to make stars twinkle. But why put one on a plane?
Today marks 35 years since Congress first passed what's come to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal abortion funding.
While the actual language of the rider to the annual funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services has changed considerably over the years, since 2003 it has allowed federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy.
For years scientists have been faced with a mystery about the planet Mercury. Its iron core is much bigger than that of most other planets. More than half of Mercury's mass comes from its core. In comparison, about 32 percent of Earth's mass comes from its core.
Scientists theorized that was because Mercury is so close to the sun that its rocky surface simply melted away.
A new study, which was released along with a series of other papers about Mercury in this week's issue of Science, disputes those theories.
A Hellfire missile fired from an American drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday, ending a two-year hunt for a radical cleric who had called on his followers to attack the U.S. any way they could.
Some details of the strike are sketchy. U.S. officials and the Yemeni Defense Ministry both confirmed that a drone had fired on a convoy of cars that was carrying Awlaki in northern Yemen. They said it was a joint operation, but it is unclear what role the Yemeni military played in the attack.
With all the recent turmoil in the Middle East, one piece of news that has been overlooked is the revelation that the Obama administration approved the sale of 55 deep earth penetrator bombs to Israel in 2009.
The two-year-old transaction was recently reported by Newsweek. No U.S. officials have talked openly about why the bunker busters were provided to Israel but speculation falls most heavily on a single target.
Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 2:03 pm
A new analysis of 2010 census data by the Williams Institute shows how same-sex couples are distributed across the nation. Liberal enclaves are well-represented, of course. But so are some surprising pockets of the heartland and the South.