NPR News

Pages

Living Large: Obesity In America
10:01 pm
Sun August 7, 2011

Big, Fat Stereotypes Play Out On The Small Screen

Jackie Gleason (right) played Ralph Kramden — a bumbling but loveable overweight husband — in the 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. Audrey Meadows co-starred as his wife, Alice.
Paramount Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:00 pm

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America.

About the only thing all real fat people have in common is that they weigh more. Beyond that, they are as diverse in style, background and personality as people who aren't overweight. But on the small screen, fat people get shrunk into the same stereotypes.

Read more
Research News
2:59 pm
Sun August 7, 2011

'Labs On A Chip' May Detect Diseases In The Field

Can the most modern of technologies help solve the health woes in the poorest countries in the world? Some biomedical engineers say yes. They are designing diagnostic laboratories that fit on something as small as a credit card, and give results in minutes instead of hours or days.

These devices are sometimes referred to as a "lab on a chip." To use them, all you need to do is obtain a drop of someone's blood.

Read more
Politics
1:00 pm
Sun August 7, 2011

Downgrade Illustrates Washington's Dysfunction

Originally published on Mon August 8, 2011 4:24 am

When Standard & Poor's downgraded the United State's credit rating, it said that the "effectiveness, stability and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened." In other words, S&P was down on Washington's dysfunction, distrust and gridlock. The reactions to S&P's move — at least the reactions seen on TV — suggest that the ratings agency may have had a point.

Read more
World
7:07 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Nuclear Power Criticized On Hiroshima Anniversary

Saturday, Japan commemorated the 66th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, but the ceremony was different this year.

In March, a massive earthquake triggered a meltdown at the Japanese nuclear plant in Fukushima. The plant continues to leak radiation in the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl. Saturday's ceremony focused on the nuclear attack on Japan in 1945, but the country's ongoing nuclear disaster loomed large.

Read more
U.S.
6:22 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Illegal Border Crossings Fewer But Just As Deadly

This border patrol rescue beacon is in the desert about 15 miles north of the Mexican border southwest of Tucson. Anyone in need can push the button for an emergency response. The instructions are in English, Spanish and the local Native American language.
Ted Robbins NPR

Over the last decade, the U.S. government has spent billions beefing up surveillance, manpower and fencing along the border with Mexico. Fewer people are attempting to cross, but hundreds of migrants still die every year, and not a day goes by without a rescue by border patrol agents.

Officials and humanitarian groups are ramping up efforts to find illegal crossers before the worst happens, and they're hoping new deterrents convince people not to cross in the first place.

Catching The Crossers

Read more
Commentary
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Manatee Scars Come From A Fight They Can't Win

Spot a manatee, the friendly, charming and prehistoric marine animal common in Florida's waters, and you're likely to think they're constantly besieged by sharks or other toothy killers. Many bear heavy scars and other marks of attack. But, as essayist Diane Roberts writes, manatees have no natural predators. What's attacking them? Boat propellers.

Politics
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

White House Scorns S&P Downgrade

When Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. government's credit rating, the Treasury Department and White House responded swiftly with criticism. Guest host John Ydstie talks with NPR's National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea about that response.

A Blog Supreme
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

A Millennial Incursion At Newport

Trombone Shorty, with Dan Oestreicher on baritone saxophone in the background, performing at the Newport Jazz Festival on Saturday.
Erik Jacobs for NPR

The New Black Eagle Jazz Band is about as traditional as they come. The musicians have been playing together for 40 years. And they opened this year's Newport Jazz Festival with rousing, old-time New Orleans polyphony, a style that dates back to the teens and 1920s.

At the same moment, a mere 300 feet away on another stage at Fort Adams, is a band of twenty- and thirty-somethings on the opposite end of the musical spectrum. It's called Mostly Other People Do the Killing.

Read more
World
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

After The Downgrade, Eyes Turn To Monday's Markets

Europe is reacting to Friday's downgrade of U.S. credit by Standard & Poor's. NPR's Tom Gjelten reports from Madrid as markets prepare to open around the world.

Afghanistan
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Navy SEALs Mourn Heavy Loss In Afghanistan

The Navy SEAL community is mourning the loss of more than two dozen members. They were among 30 Americans killed Saturday when their helicopter came under fire during an operation in eastern Afghanistan. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reports.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

In Tuscaloosa, A Commencement Comes A Year Late

This weekend, the University of Alabama will award degrees to students who would have received them last spring had a devastating tornado not postponed graduation. During ceremonies, the school will honor the six students killed in the storm. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Urban Rangers Quest For The Natural L.A.

The Los Angeles Urban Rangers are an art collective set on teaching Angelenos how to view nature in their everyday surroundings. Guest host John Ydstie travels with the Rangers on their newest expedition: to explore the L.A. River, a neglected natural resource.

Business
6:00 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Credit Rating Agencies Aren't Above Scrutiny, Either

The opinions of the major ratings agencies like S&P carry a lot of weight in the financial markets. Their own reputations, however, were damaged during the financial crisis when they awarded AAA ratings to what turned out to be toxic, mortgage-backed securities. Guest host John Ydstie speaks with Nikola Swann, a credit analyst at Standard & Poor's, about some of the criticism the company's received in the wake of the decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.

Race
4:16 am
Sun August 7, 2011

After Years Of Research, Confederate Daughter Arises

Mattie Clyburn Rice is the second black "Real Daughter" to be recognized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization that was once exclusively for whites
Jessica Jones

Originally published on Sun August 7, 2011 7:01 pm

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. It's of particular importance to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization for female descendants of Confederate soldiers.

The group includes 23 elderly women who are the last living daughters of those who served. One of them is black.

Read more
Animals
4:14 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Fighting Decline, Micronesia Creates Shark Sanctuary

Micronesian islands have declared vast areas of the Pacific Ocean to be a sanctuary for sharks. It's the latest move in a trend to create zones where sharks can live undisturbed.

These top predators are in serious decline around the world because they are being over-fished. Mostly, they are caught to feed an insatiable appetite for shark-fin soup in Asia.

Read more
Economy
4:05 am
Sun August 7, 2011

American Pride Takes A Hit With S&P's Downgrade

For generations, the United States and its debt — sold in the form of U.S. Treasuries — have been synonymous with safety. Now, though, the nation's sterling credit is tarnished. The ratings agency Standard & Poor's has downgraded the U.S. from AAA to AA-plus, one notch down. The downgrade has raised big questions about what this will mean for investors and for the nation as a whole.

Read more
Science
3:49 am
Sun August 7, 2011

Dinosaur Hall Roars To Life In Los Angeles

At the center of the new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is a display on T. rexes' growth and eating habits.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

At the new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, visitors are greeted with the simulated sound of a dinosaur's roar. Some 300 dinosaur specimens are on display. It's also a hands-on show, with interactive games where kids can become paleontologists. The centerpiece of the revamped exhibit are three Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, including the youngest known T. rex fossil in the world.

Read more
Politics
7:48 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

Gov. Perry Tries To Keep Focus On God, Not Politics

It could have been a typical service at any megachurch in the South, with a tight band, a great choir, big-screen projection, and a large congregation swaying and praying. But the speaker who drew the biggest response at the prayer rally in Houston on Saturday was Texas Gov. Rick Perry, looking resplendent in a red tie and his much-envied mane of dark hair.

The often combative Republican governor did not attack his nemesis, Barack Obama, who Perry often accuses of overreaching and whom he may try to defeat at the polls next year.

In fact, Perry prayed for him.

Read more
Health
2:51 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

Mexico To The Rescue In America's 'Venom Belt'

Centruroides sculpturatus, or bark scorpion, is the only scorpion species that is dangerous to humans. It lives mainly in Arizona but has turned up in New Mexico and southern Nevada.
Monica Ortiz Uribe NPR

Toxicologists refer to the American Southwest as the "Venom Belt" for its many venomous spiders, snakes and scorpions. In fact, doctors estimate there are about 250 severe scorpion stings a year in this country.

Most of those stung are children in Arizona, but the U.S. ran out of its own supply of scorpion antivenom nearly a decade ago. Mexican doctors, however, have been treating stings from venomous creatures for years, and what they've learned may now save American lives.

Read more
Economy
2:06 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion

Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors and is a professor of economics at Boston University.
Courtesy of Boston University

When Standard & Poor's reduced the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, "reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

Read more
Economy
12:21 pm
Sat August 6, 2011

Bitterness All Around After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Republicans and Democrats quickly doled out blame to each other and China weighed in angrily after the first-ever downgrade in America's sterling credit rating — an expected but unsettling move that further clouds prospects for the recovery of the fragile U.S. economy.

Read more
Politics
8:17 am
Sat August 6, 2011

All In All, A Woeful Week For The White House

On Friday, President Obama spoke about the economy and jobs for military veterans at the Washington Navy Yard. A new jobs report released that day wasn't as bad as expected — but not great.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

There's no such thing as an uneventful week at the White House. Yet even by the climactic standards of this presidency, the past week has been a big one.

President Obama might have hoped the biggest news story of the week would be his 50th birthday. Not even close.

When Monday dawned, it was still unclear whether the U.S. would run out of money to pay its bills. With hours to go until the deadline Tuesday, Congress finally passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama announced the resolution in the White House Rose Garden.

Read more
Simon Says
7:14 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Raw Jobs Numbers Mask The Pain Of Joblessness

People might be shaken to wake to the news today of the nation's downgraded credit rating. But yesterday's unemployment report reflects a much more personal impact for many Americans. Not having a job in the United States can feel like getting punched in your stomach every morning. It can literally ache and take your breath away.

There are lots of people who may disappear in the monthly unemployment numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies 8.4 million Americans as "involuntary part-time workers."

Read more
Economy
6:17 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Jobless Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story

If the monthly jobless numbers aren't saying much, the longer-term employment trends in the United States are speaking volumes about the economy.

Those trends aren't often mentioned. The number of people who are long-term unemployed remains unchanged — more than 6 million people. The number of "discouraged workers" also remains the same. Those are people who are not looking for work because they believe there are no jobs.

Read more
Economy
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

U.S. Credit Rating Downgraded

Standard & Poor's has lowered its long-term credit rating on the United States from AAA to AA-plus. It also says the outlook on the long-term rating is negative. The ratings agency says its action comes because of the prolonged controversy over raising the debt ceiling and other fiscal policy. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR business reporter Tamara Keith about the downgrade.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Katrina's Lawlessness Remembered In Shooting Verdict

A federal jury in New Orleans returned guilty verdicts Friday against five current and former police officers who were charged with shooting at unarmed civilians in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. Two were killed in the shooting and four others wounded. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's John Burnett about the conviction.

Animals
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

A Special Visitor Alights On Coney Island

This week, a foreign visitor came to Coney Island, perching along the boardwalk on a sweltering August afternoon. To most of us, the grey-hooded gull would look much like all of the other seagulls that flock to Coney Island, but bird enthusiasts could tell this one was special. Host Scott Simon has more on the buzz among birders.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Chilean Miner Exhibit Recounts 33 Days Of Drama

A year after the Chilean miners began their world-famous saga trapped underground for 33 days, a new exhibit on their journey back to their loved ones opens this week in Washington, D.C. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tours the exhibit with the director of the National Museum of Natural History.

Sports
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

No Disgrace In Baseball This Week, But It Was Close

Craig Counsell didn't set a record Friday night, and that's good news for the Milwaukee Brewers infielder. You can bet there's more to come on Alex Rodriguez and his love of poker, but should there be? Host Scott Simon talks sports with NPR's Mike Pesca about the week in sports.

Politics
6:00 am
Sat August 6, 2011

With U.S. Downgrade, S&P Calls Politics Into Account

On Friday night Standard & Poor's credit rating agency downgraded its rating of U.S. credit for the first time in the country's history. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Scott Simon about the politics of the decision.

Pages