Christmas tree growers are frustrated that politics are delaying a marketing campaign to promote real trees over artificial. Following four years of work to get it passed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the industry-sponsored real Christmas tree campaign in November. But conservatives quickly branded it as "President Obama's Christmas tree tax" and the program was delayed within days of its approval. There are 18 other commodities — like pork and eggs — with similar generic advertising programs. They show anywhere from a two-to-one to a ten-to-one return on investment.
Days after it seemed Congress had struck a budget, tax cut and unemployment deal that would get it through the holidays, it is clear that they did not. House Speaker John Boehner Monday must deal with a restive House GOP caucus that signaled over the weekend that it had no interest in going along with the Senate's two-month plan. NPR congressional correspondent David Welna joins Lynn Neary with the latest.
Wed. 12/21 8a: Reindeer – also called caribou – are ubiquitous in the world’s northern latitudes, but the populations closest to the North Pole are dwindling because of climate change. Now there is a push to list the large deer as endangered.
Tues. 12/20 11a: The “Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights” begins this Sunday. The walk will begin with a ceremony at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. It will follow a route across the southern U.S. and end in Washington D.C. in May.
Tue. 12/20 8:30a: Few deny anymore that internet access is becoming critical to taking part in political and economic life. So, what does it matter that research shows that higher proportions of African Americans and Latinos than white people are achieving that access through relatively more affordable smartphones rather than home computers?
2011 is shaping up to be the safest on record for airline travel, according to analysis of United Nations data by a trade group.
The International Air Transport Association reports that January to November of 2011 are the safest months on record since the U.N. started keeping data in 1945. The 11-month period has also seen a 22 percent improvement in safety from last year.
There's certainly already been a lot said about North Korea's Kim Jong Il. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has an obit and Planet Money has a recap of how North Korea's economy is fueled by drug dealing and smuggling of counterfeit goods.