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10:36 am
Tue November 13, 2012

How The Alternative Minimum Tax Could Slam You

Customers line up at an H&R Block office in Nashville, Tenn., on April 17, the deadline for filing 2011 federal income taxes.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:29 am

Seriously, again?

Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.

And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event — along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.

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The Salt
10:12 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Adventurous Eating Helped Human Ancestors Boost Odds Of Survival

The first prehistoric chef who looked out at a field of grass in Africa and said, "dinner!" may have helped our ancestors use new resources in new locations.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 7:38 am

Picture, if you can, a prehistoric Bobby Flay — an inventive 3 million-year-old version of the Food Network star chef. He's struggling to liven up yet another salad of herbs and twigs when inspiration strikes. "We've got grass here, and sedge," he says. "Grass and sedge, that's what this dish needs!"

His pals take a tentative taste of this nouvelle cuisine. Sedges usually aren't considered gourmet fare, after all, by these human ancestors. They're tough grasslike plants that grow in marshes. But wow! Not only is this a new taste sensation, it's found in many places.

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The Two-Way
9:10 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Cleveland's Convicted Idiot Finishes Punishment; Says She's Learned Lesson

On Wednesday, Shena Hardin  held her sign of shame higher — as the judge said she should.
Marvin Fong The Plain Dealer /Landov

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:50 am

Update at 9 a.m. ET, Nov. 14: "It's A Learning Lesson ... I'll Move Forward."

Shena Hardin, the Cleveland woman ordered to stand on a street corner with a sign saying she was in idiot for driving on a sidewalk to get past a stopped school bus, finished that two-day punishment this morning and issued a statement saying she's learned a lesson.

As Cleveland's 19ActionNews reports, Hardin:

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The Second Term
9:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Tea Party Assessing Damage From Election 2012?

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:00 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we're hearing a lot about the so-called fiscal cliff: those automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that will take effect if lawmakers and the White House don't come up with a deficit reduction plan by the end of the year. We're going to focus on a tax hike that may hit many more people than you might think. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.

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Your Money
9:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Alternative Minimum Tax And Your Bottom Line

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:31 am

If the government goes over the "fiscal cliff," millions of households could see tax increases because of an obscure part of the tax code, known as the alternative minimum tax. Host Michel Martin talks with NPR Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about exactly what could happen and who would be affected.

Food
9:06 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Cook Anupy Singla Dishes On Her Diwali Table

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:03 am

Hindus from New Jersey to New Delhi are celebrating Diwali. The holiday has its own traditions, customs, and most importantly, food. Host Michel Martin speaks with writer and cookbook author Anupy Singla about the dishes she's bringing to the table for this year's Diwali celebration.

Krulwich Wonders...
8:21 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Death, But Softly

Michel de Montaigne
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:35 pm

It was 1569, or maybe early 1570, when it happened: A young French gentleman was out for a ride with his workers, all of them on horseback, when suddenly, "like a thunderbolt," he felt something thick and fleshy slam him from behind. (It was an overzealous, galloping assistant who couldn't stop in time.) Michel de Montaigne's horse crumbled, he went flying up, then down, he crashed to the ground. Then things went black.

When he came to, a minute or so later, he says,

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Second General Getting Snared In Petraeus Scandal Is 'Mind-Boggling'

Marine Gen. John Allen.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 2:36 pm

  • NPR's Tom Bowman and Carrie Johnson, on 'Morning Edition'

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: The Associated Press just moved a "bulletin" saying that according to a "senior defense official" the emails between Gen. John Allen and Jill Kelley were "flirtatious."

Update at 4:33 p.m. ET: NPR's Tom Bowman reports that U.S. officials tell him Paula Broadwell sent Gen. Allen messages warning him about Kelley. Allen, in turn, warned Kelley about those messages.

Our original post:

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Shots - Health News
7:35 am
Tue November 13, 2012

High-Deductible Health Plans Can Cost Patients A Discount

Health insurance plans that require consumers to pay more in out-of-pocket medical expenses may have hidden costs.
iStockphoto.com

As workers consider their health insurance options this fall, chances are there's one on the open-enrollment menu with a deductible of more than a $1,000.

Coverage like that is often linked to a tax-advantaged financial savings account to pay for medical expenses that fall below the hefty deductible.

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The Two-Way
6:40 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Top Stories: Petraeus Affair Widens; More Air Strikes In Syria

A picture taken from the adjacent Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar shows people running in front of smoke after a Syrian aircraft bombed the strategic border town of Ras al-Ain earlier today.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

Earlier, we posted a guide to "who's who and what's what" in the Petraeus affair.

As for other stories making headlines, they include:

-- "Residents Flee Air Strikes On Syria Border Town." (Reuters)

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The Two-Way
6:01 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Petraeus Affair Widens: Who's Who & What's What? Here's A Guide

Then-Gen. David Petraeus in mid-2011, just before he became CIA director.
Barbara Sax AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:31 am

Feb. 19, 2013: See our note below about Gen. John Allen.

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Around the Nation
5:18 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Dictionary Chooses American Word Of 2012

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It's a big year for the little word gif. The Oxford Dictionary has chosen it as the word of 2012. Short for graphic interface format, which are looping Internet animations, gif began as a noun in the 80s but caught on as a verb. For example, I giffed. That is made my own looping animations of the president's speech. Runners up include nomophobia - fear of being without your mobile phone. And YOLO - you only live once. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Around the Nation
5:08 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Homeless Man Jailed For Charging Cell Phone

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Latin America
3:09 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Azerbaijan Leader's Statue In Mexico Draws Protests

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the most prominent park in Mexico City, you can find statues to international heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and now Heydar Aliyev. He was a Soviet-era autocrat in Central Asia. The late leader's government paid for the statue and restoration of a nearby plaza. And as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, that's created quite a stir in the Mexican capital.

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Business
3:02 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:30 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a small reprieve for Greece.

Health
3:02 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Missouri, Kansas Reject Health Exchanges

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:36 am

Immediately after last week's election, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced the state would not be setting up its own health insurance exchange. Next door in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback announced that Kansas will have no involvement in running a state exchange either. The moves open the door for increased federal involvement in health care in staunchly Republican territory.

The Salt
1:46 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Danes May Bring Back Butter As Government Rolls Back Fat Tax

Toothbutter, illustrated.
Sidsel Overgaard NPR

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:34 pm

Toothbutter: noun. Butter spread so thickly as to reveal teeth marks upon biting.

The fact that this word exists in the Danish language should help to explain what politicians were up against when they introduced the "fat tax" just over a year ago. This is a country that loves it some butter (and meat, and all things dreadful to the arteries).

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It's All Politics
1:45 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Obama Hopes For Another Victory: Avoiding Fiscal Cliff

President Obama speaks during a Veterans Day ceremony in Arlington, Va., on Sunday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:55 am

President Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to steer clear of the so-called fiscal cliff. It's the first of many meetings aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of the new year.

A week ago, the president proved again that he and his team are good at winning elections. The question now is whether he can translate victory at the ballot box to success in shaping policy.

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Author Interviews
1:44 am
Tue November 13, 2012

'Testament Of Mary' Gives Fiery Voice To The Virgin

Scribner

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 1:36 pm

The Virgin Mary is one of the most familiar icons of Christianity. For centuries, artists have depicted her on everything from backyard statues of a rosy-cheeked innocent to paintings of magnificent Madonnas hanging in museums all over the world. But few writers have taken up her story or tried to create their own version of the events of her life.

Now, Irish writer Colm Toibin does just that. His novella, The Testament of Mary, raises questions about the life of Jesus' mother and the stories that laid the groundwork for the creation of a church.

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Energy
1:43 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Across Pa., Abandoned Wells Litter The Land

An abandoned, unplugged well near the Allegheny National Forest in northwest Pennsylvania.
Scott Detrow StateImpact Pennsylvania

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 3:02 am

In February 1932, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt was plotting a run for the White House. And in northeast Pennsylvania, the Morris Run Coal Co. had just finished drilling a 5,385-foot-deep gas well on a farm owned by Mr. W.J. Butters.

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World
1:43 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Far-Right Greek Party Rides Wave Of Economic Anger

Members of the Greek ultranationalist Golden Dawn Party, sing the national anthem outside the party's office in Thessaloniki in June. The party's support has been boosted by anti-immigrant anger.
Sakis Mitrolidis AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 3:02 am

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens last month, a few Greek Army reservists in fatigues greeted her with chants of "Get out, Nazis!" Like other Greeks, they are furious over the drastic budget cuts Germany and other eurozone countries are demanding in exchange for billions in bailout loans.

The protesters compared the situation to Nazi Germany's brutal occupation of Greece during World War II, when more than 400,000 Greeks died.

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Shots - Health News
1:34 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Health Insurance Exchanges Explained

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said last week the state could design its own health insurance exchange required under President Obama's health care law. But resistance in the Republican-controlled General Assembly may cause the state to hand that power off to the federal government.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:33 am

Last week's election may have settled the fate of the federal Affordable Care Act, but its implementation after months of uncertainty has caught many of the players unprepared.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
1:33 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Beach Towns Mourn Sandy-Ravaged Boardwalks

Waves break Oct. 31 in front of a destroyed amusement park wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:15 am

Hurricane Sandy left a long trail of destruction across the New Jersey shoreline. And it did a lot more than just flood houses.

In towns like Seaside Heights and Belmar, Sandy wiped out the boardwalks that line the beach. In places like these, boardwalks served as the commercial center knitting the towns together, and residents are wondering where to go from here.

Until two weeks ago, the boardwalk was the place to hang out in Belmar, N.J. Ann Summer was walking along the water with her husband this weekend.

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U.S.
1:32 am
Tue November 13, 2012

In Chicago, Violence Soars And Witnesses Go Silent

Paramedics treat multiple gunshot victims in Chicago in August.
Devlin Brown, Chicago Tribune MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 6:22 pm

It's an old problem and an old code — "don't snitch." And it exists everywhere.

But in Chicago, where homicides and shootings are up significantly this year, that old code is leaving a rising number of violent crimes unsolved. Chicago Police Department statistics show arrests are being made in about 30 percent of shooting homicides, while close to 80 percent of nonfatal shootings are going unsolved.

When police can't find and arrest the perpetrators, they worry that the shooters will soon shoot again.

Witness Protection

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It's All Politics
1:31 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Would Only Dent The Deficit

House Speaker John Boehner, seen last week, discusses the looming fiscal cliff.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:30 pm

Virtually everyone agrees that allowing the nation to fall off the fiscal cliff would be a bad thing.

Government programs would be cut, taxes would rise significantly on a majority of Americans, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, the economy would fall back into recession.

But get this: Even if all of those things happen, there would still be a budget deficit.

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National Security
1:14 am
Tue November 13, 2012

The FBI's Role In The Petraeus Investigation

Members of Congress want to know why they didn't know more about the investigation involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, seen here testifying on Capitol Hill on Feb. 2.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 10:40 am

In Washington scandals, the question is usually what the White House knew.

But in the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus, lawmakers are asking why President Obama did not know about a federal investigation that had found evidence Petraeus was having an affair.

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Media
4:17 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Conservative Media Caught in the Blame Game

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:08 am

In the wake of last Tuesday's elections, a lively debate has erupted into the open over whether conservatives and the Republican Party were well-served by their favorite media outlets.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney was reported to have been so certain of a victory on Tuesday night that he cast aside tradition and did not draft a concession speech. But conservatives now say his misplaced confidence — and theirs — were bolstered by the predictions of many like-minded pundits, which were broadcast and posted online around the clock by sympathetic news outlets.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Thousands of Iranian Troops Will Participate in 'Biggest Ever' Military Drill

Iran has initiated a massive week-long air defense drill amidst growing international pressure over its nuclear ambitions and last week's firing on a U.S. drone they claim entered Iranian air space.

Iran will test its air defense system, named "Mersad," meaning ambush in Persian. Drill spokesman Shahrokh Shahram told Iran's Press TV the military exercise was both a "strong warning to those threatening Iran" and a symbol of regional security, according to Reuters.

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Europe
3:37 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

A German City With Debt Problems Of Its Own

The main street in Oberhausen — Germany's most indebted city — is dotted with vacancies. Despite its economic woes, Oberhausen, like other western German cities, must make "reunification" payments to the former communist East. The payments help explain German voters' reluctance to bail out Greece and other eurozone countries.
Patrik Stollarz AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 6:31 pm

Germany, the economic engine of Europe, has been a key player in bailing out the Continent's most troubled economies.

Yet there are places in the former West Germany — like Oberhausen — that are struggling with their own debt problems, even as they pay hefty sums to revitalize former East German cities with transfers known as "Solidarity Pact" payments.

Borrowing To Stay Afloat — And Pay Out

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Salman Rushdie, John Le Carre End Literary Feud

Author Salman Rushdie at The New Yorker Festival in New York on Oct. 7.
Todd France AP

It began with a war of words in the letters pages of the Guardian and ended with comments made to The Times of London. It took 15 years, but, as the Guardian reports, the feud between writers Salman Rushdie and John le Carre is at an end.

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