Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 4:59 pm
The Space Shuttle Endeavour landed in the Mojave Desert today. In truth, tomorrow will be the spectacular day, when it flies across the California coast, and across the landmarks of San Francisco and Los Angeles, where it will find its new, permanent home at the California Science Center.
Still, the retired shuttle had a poignant day today, taking off from Houston, flying low through Austin and making a special flyover in Tucson, Arizona in honor of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly was in command during its last mission in May 2011.
Two days before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Americans in Libya, three U.S. officials met pro-government militias working to provide security in the city of Benghazi.
In that meeting, which included the American economic and political counselors, Mohammed el Gharabi, a leader of a prominent militia, says he warned the Americans that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating.
Assassinations are becoming rampant; no one is safe, including militiamen like himself, he says he told the Americans.
According to a Senate investigations subcommittee, Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and other multinational corporations took advantage of an ambiguous U.S. tax code to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 4:46 pm
President Obama may have the overwhelming support of Latino voters in his race against Republican Mitt Romney, but that didn't get him a free pass during his appearance Thursday at Univision's presidential candidate forum.
Obama faced repeated tough questions from the hosts of the forum on the Spanish-language channel, and from some in the audience, for his failure to deliver on his promise as a candidate in 2008 to push comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in the White House.
The protests and violence aimed at U.S. interests in the Middle East have set off a domestic debate about what the U.S. could or should do to relate to new political movements in the region. The Obama administration says it will continue to engage the region. The campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, says the U.S. needs to do more to lead.
But there are others who say that both parties have it wrong, and that U.S. policies from both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed.
From teenagers strumming guitars in their bedrooms to big studio executives in Hollywood, there are a lot of people trying to figure out how to make money from online videos. The video-sharing site Vimeo has just added to their site a feature with a time-tested history in the real world — a virtual tip jar.
Electric-bass player Brian Compton has been a musician for 20 years. He plays with a three-piece band on a San Francisco street corner and hopes for tips from afternoon commuters. He estimates that less than 1 percent of passersby actually leave a tip.
A man-made bat cave in Tennessee is looking for tenants. An hour northwest of Nashville, the artificial cave is built to give thousands of bats a haven from a devastating infection called white-nose syndrome.
Millions of bats in the Northeast have died from the infection since it first showed up a few years ago. The culprit is an invasive fungus that grows in caves. When bats hibernate inside, they wake up with faces covered in white fuzz and often wind up starving or freezing to death.
There's some big news out today about one of the most sensitive issues in medicine: Who's next in line for a transplant?
The United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, a nonprofit in charge of distributing organs, wants to revamp the system for distributing the most sought-after organ — kidneys — for the first time in 25 years.
The Affordable Care Act survived a near-death experience at the Supreme Court earlier this year. And the overhaul law's fate again hangs in the balance come Election Day. Mitt Romney has vowed to work for its repeal, if he's elected president.
We don't know how much software mogul Larry Ellison recently paid for the Hawaiian island of Lanai — for 98 percent of the island, to be exact — but estimates run upward of half a billion dollars. So what do you get for that kind of money?
Beautiful beaches, for starters. A view of Maui, just eight miles away. A couple of luxury resorts built by the previous owner. And, as a bonus, some delicate history.
The allegations of physical and verbal abuse at U.S. Speedskating have a new twist: A coach allegedly directed a skater to tamper with the skates of a Canadian competitor at an international competition last year — and the skater complied.
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 2:30 pm
Minnesota gamblers no longer have to rip paper pull-tabs to see if they've won cash: As of this week, they can use iPads to play, and play again, at the click of a button. The venture was sparked by the need to help pay for a new Minnesota Vikings football stadium, which will cost an estimated $975 million.
The Obama administration filed a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization this week alleging that China is illegally subsidizing its auto industry.
The US says China provides cheap loans and grants and other incentives to their car industry, and that these favors go to companies who are already successful exporters. That, says US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, is unfair.
Fifteen members of an Amish breakaway group in Ohio "have been found guilty of hate crimes by carrying out beard- and hair-cutting attacks against fellow Amish in a dispute over religious differences," The Associated Press reports.
According to the wire service, a jury today "also found the sect's leader, 66-year-old Samuel Mullet Sr., "guilty of planning the attacks last fall in eastern Ohio. ... They all face prison terms of 10 years or more."
Americans are paying high prices for poor quality Internet speeds — speeds that are now slower than in other countries, according to author David Cay Johnston. He says the U.S. ranks 29th in speed worldwide.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 7:46 am
Why would a billionaire energy trader-turned-philanthropist throw his foundation's dough behind a new think tank that wants to challenge scientific assumptions about obesity?
John Arnold, 38, whose move from Enron to a spectacularly successful hedge fund got him on the list of wealthiest Americans, isn't crazy about talking to the press. But certainly his decision with his wife Laura to back a newly launched operation called the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI, is an intriguing one.
The Obama administration continued walking a fine line today when describing the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," White House spokesman Jay Carney said aboard Air Force One, according to Reuters. "Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that's self-evident."
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a bit of news during an appearance at the University of Colorado, yesterday. When she was asked a question about the issue of gay marriage, she smiled and declined to answer, the AP reports. She said the issue is likely to come up before the court, so she couldn't adress it.
"I think it's most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term," she said.
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 12:03 pm
With less than seven weeks to go before the presidential election, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign to take a top Washington lobbying job.
Pawlenty, 51, will become the next CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, whose 100 members include many of the nation's largest banks and insurance and securities companies.
Religious intolerance is on the rise worldwide, according to a new study from Pew's Forum on Religion and Public Life. The study finds that during the past year three-quarters of the world lived in countries with "high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion." That's five percent higher than a year earlier.
Perhaps the biggest jump, Pew reports, is the rise in countries the forum considers to put high or very high restrictions on religion. That number jumped from 31 percent in 2009 to to 37 percent in 2010.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 10:43 am
Every election season, political signs sprout like dandelions from lawns across America. They also pop up at more than a few businesses. For some, expressing political preferences is a calculated move to attract customers. But it can just as easily turn clients away.
Jeff Reiter, who owns the Blue Plate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain in Portland, Ore., proudly displays a 2008 Obama campaign sign inside his restaurant and says he has "never tried to hide" his support for the president.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. You might have heard us mention our Twitter Education Forum that we'll be hosting in Miami next month. We'll tell you more about that a little later.
But education is very much on our minds, so today, we're also going to talk more about some troubling new numbers showing that the high school graduation rates for black and Latino boys is lagging. We want to find out more about why. We'll talk about that a little later.