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1:23 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Supreme Court Considers If Warrantless DNA Swab Violates Constitution

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case about the collection of DNA evidence, and whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from obtaining DNA samples before conviction without a warrant.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday in a case that could throw a monkey wrench into the widespread use of DNA testing — a case that pits modern technology against notions of personal privacy.

Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws that provide for automatic DNA collection from people at the time of their arrest. The question is whether it is unconstitutional to do that without a warrant, for the sole purpose of checking the DNA against a national DNA crime scene database.

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Business
1:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

The recession forced Mid-Atlantic Builders Executive Vice President Stephen Paul to cut the company's staffing. But he says the firm is being efficient with half the original number of employees.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.

These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.

Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.

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Shots - Health News
5:10 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Governors' D.C. Summit Dominated By Medicaid And The Sequester

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad speaks during a panel discussion at the National Governors Association 2013 Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:31 pm

When the nation's governors gathered in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for their annual winter meeting, the gathering's official theme was about efforts to hire people with disabilities.

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Economy
3:53 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Fought Against Smoking, AIDS, Dies

Former Surgeon General of the United States C. Everett Koop.
Geisel School of Medicine

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 3:37 pm

C. Everett Koop, known as America's Family Doctor during his tenure as surgeon general from 1981 to 1989, died today at his home in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth announced.

He was 96.

Koop made a name for himself for the surprising stands he took during the AIDS epidemic, as well as for his efforts fighting for a smoke-free country.

The Associated Press reports:

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Remembrances
3:32 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Koop Turned Surgeon General's Office Into Mighty Education Platform

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

C. Everett Koop was the most outspoken and some would argue the most influential of all U.S. surgeon generals. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The correct plural form of the word is surgeons general.] He wore the uniform throughout most of the 1980s, and he turned an office with little power into a mighty platform - to educate Americans about AIDS prevention and the dangers of smoking.

C. Everett Koop died today at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was 96. NPR's Joseph Shapiro looks back on his career.

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Television
3:30 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

An Oprah-less Chicago Tries To Keep Talk Show Spirit Alive

Members of the studio audience wait outside Harpo Studios before the final taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago in May 2011.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

It's been nearly two years since Oprah ended her daily show, and Chicago's been adjusting to the loss of the daytime talk queen. Although she left a huge void, there's no need to write an obituary for the TV talk genre in Chicago.

In the lobby of Chicago's NBC Towers, the crowd of excited fans gathered for a TV taping is reminiscent of the Oprah days of old. But instead of Oprah, they're lined up to see veteran comedian Steve Harvey's show.

"I like Steve's energy. I like his shows. He's funny. He covers all topics," says fan Deloris Neal.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Italian Elections Produce Murky Result, Financial Jitters

Workers open ballots in a polling station in Rome on Tuesday following Italy's general elections. The initial results showed a close race with no clear-cut winner, a development that made financial markets jumpy.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 4:41 pm

As Italy's elections results came in Monday, the country appeared headed toward political gridlock, a development that rattled financial markets hoping for a clear result.

A center-left coalition, headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and favored in pre-election polls, looked like it would win the lower house of Parliament, according to partial results.

But in a surprise, the center-right grouping, headed by the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared to be ahead in the upper house.

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Brooklyn Assemblyman Defends Blackface Costume

Dov Hikind is in the middle.
Facebook

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is facing a storm of criticism after he dressed as an African-American basketball player in blackface. Hikind wore the costume to a party at his house celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim.

He posted a picture of himself on Facebook wearing an afro wig and an orange jersey.

The New York Times reports that some fellow Democrats criticized the costume. The Times adds:

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Shots - Health News
3:02 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Most People Can Skip Calcium Supplements, Prevention Panel Says

Forgoing calcium supplements is a fine approach for most people, a preventive services panel says.
iStockphoto.com

Women have been told for years that if they don't take calcium supplements religiously, they're putting themselves at risk of crippling hip fractures in old age.

Now the word from a major government panel: Why bother?

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NPR Story
2:49 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Increased Humidity From Climate Change Could Make It Harder To Tolerate Summers

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, a story about heat, the sweaty, miserable kind. Heat plus humidity. Working outdoors or playing sports on a hot, muggy day can be dangerous, even deadly. And as the climate continues to warm, being outside will become even more challenging. Those are the findings of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

NPR's Richard Harris tells us more.

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Shots - Health News
2:32 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

To Spot Kids Who Will Overcome Poverty, Look At Babies

For some kids who grow up in poverty, the bond developed with Mom is especially important in dealing with stress.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 4:25 am

Why do some children who grow up in poverty do well, while others struggle?

To understand more about this, a group of psychologists recently did a study.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

The Vaportini: A Cocktail Inhaled, Not Stirred

A sip or a hit? Jack Faller sucks up a bourbon Vaportini at Red Kiva lounge in Chicago.
Courtesy of Andrew Nawrocki/Time Out Chicago

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:49 pm

Here at The Salt, we've heard about some whacky cocktail trends swirling around the country recently — from bacon-infused mescals in Washington to liquid nitrogen martinis in San Francisco.

But why do you need to drink your cocktail when you could inhale it instead?

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Africa
2:08 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Fearing Election Turmoil, Kenyans Seek A Tech Solution

Kenyan authorities are trying to guard against fraud and violence when they hold a presidential election on March 4. Here, voters register on biometric equipment last December in Nairobi.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:22 pm

As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.

Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.

Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Plains Will See Second 'Crippling, Historic Blizzard' In As Many Weeks

Blizzard conditions persist in Lubbock, Texas, on Monday. The storm system packing snow and high winds has been tracking eastward across western Texas toward Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
Betsy Blaney AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 3:40 pm

Just a week after a blizzard swept through an area from Western New Mexico to West Texas, another system is dumping record snowfall today.

The headline from the National Weather Service in Amarillo, Tex.? "Crippling, Historic Blizzard Ongoing."

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It's All Politics
1:03 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Would-Be Federal Judges Face The Washington Waiting Game

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

To understand what's happening with federal judge vacancies, consider this: The Senate voted Monday night to approve the nomination of Robert Bacharach to sit on the federal appeals court based in Denver.

Bacharach had won support from both Republican senators in his home state, and his nomination was approved unanimously. But he still waited more than 260 days for that vote.

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The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

101-Year-Old 'Turbaned Tornado' Retires From Running

Fauja Singh, the 101-year-old "turbaned tornado," with other runners Sunday in Hong Kong.
Jayne Russell Getty Images

Fauja Singh has decided, at the age of 101, to put his feet up and rest.

Or, at least, to stop participating in long-distance races.

The Indian-born British citizen known as the "turbaned tornado" was among the competitors Sunday at a 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong. According to Sports Illustrated, he completed the 6.2-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Sandwich Monday: Fish McBites

Two Fish McBites, which are not the Chicken of the Sea.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 12:22 pm

The McDonald's menu is a sacred document, like the Constitution. You can't just add things willy-nilly. It took hard work and sacrifice to add the Fourth Amendment, the McRib, and the Twenty-third Amendment, the Snack Wrap. Now, a new item called Fish McBites seeks ratification.

Miles: Fish McBites — for the bottom feeder in all of us.

Ian: I can't wait to wash this down with McDonald's new Chumrock Shake.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Scientists May Have Uncovered Ancient Microcontinent

Rodinia. Mauritia is shoehorned between India and Madagascar.
United States Antarctic Program/Wikipedia Commons

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 2:53 pm

The remains of a small continent have been hiding right under our noses for the past 85 million years or so.

That's according to a new study published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience. Scientists looked at lava sands from beaches on Mauritius to determine when and where the material might have originated.

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The Two-Way
11:27 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Supreme Court Will Not Hear Campaign Finance Case On Corporate Donations

The Supreme Court denied the petition of businessmen who say the 2010 Citizens United ruling makes it legal for corporations to contribute directly to candidates. The court building is seen here during renovations in December.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The Supreme Court says it won't hear a case that would have let candidates solicit money from corporations. By doing so, the court is reaffirming one strict ban on corporate political money, three years ago after easing other limits in its controversial Citizens United ruling.

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The Two-Way
11:24 am
Mon February 25, 2013

No More 'Negro' For Census Bureau Forms And Surveys

Question 9 on the first page of the 2010 Census form. After more than a century, the Census Bureau is dropping use of the word "Negro" to describe black Americans in its surveys. Instead of the term, which was popularized during the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, census forms will use "black" or "African-American."
Carolyn Kaster AP

The Census Bureau announced Monday that it would drop the word "Negro" from its forms, after some described it as offensive. According to the Associated Press, the term will be replaced next year by black or African-American. From the AP:

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The Two-Way
11:16 am
Mon February 25, 2013

At Nuclear Talks: West Will Float 'Sanctions Relief;' Iran Will Take 'Hard Line'

Talks between the U.S., its allies and Iran about the Persian giant's nuclear ambitions are due to begin Tuesday in Almaty, Kazakhstan. As the time draws near, we're seeing stories about how each side will approach the discussions.

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All Tech Considered
11:13 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Working From Home: The End Of Productivity Or The Future Of Work?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Feb. 20, 2013. Under Mayer, Yahoo is ending its remote work policy for employees.
Peter Kramer ASSOCIATED PRESS

In its bid to reshape itself for the future, Yahoo is returning to a workplace culture of the tech industry's past. The Internet giant has reportedly notified its employees they'll no longer be allowed to work from home.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Mon February 25, 2013

'The Onion' Apologizes For Offensive Tweet About 9-Year-Old Quvenzhane Wallis

Actress Quvenzhane Wallis.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:10 pm

This isn't a joke.

Steve Hannah, CEO of The Onion has issued a personal apology on behalf of the satirical news outlet for a tweet that someone on its staff sent out late Sunday night during the Oscars awards.

The subject was 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis, star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The tweet read:

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Shots - Health News
10:33 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Spanish Test: Mediterranean Diet Shines In Clinical Study

Don't hold back on the olive oil, a Spanish study concludes.
hiphoto40 iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 3:36 pm

Pour on the olive oil in good conscience, and add some nuts while you're at it.

A careful test of the so-called Mediterranean diet involving more than 7,000 people at a high risk of having heart attacks and strokes found the diet reduced them when compared with a low-fat diet. A regular diet of Mediterranean cuisine also reduced the risk of dying.

The findings, published online by The New England Journal of Medicine, come from a study conducted right in the heart of Mediterranean country: Spain.

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The Two-Way
10:10 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Justice Sotomayor Chastises Asst. U.S. Attorney For Race Baiting In Drug Case

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke with NPR in December at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 1:19 pm

Usually when the United States Supreme Court refuses to hear a case, it does so without a lengthy opinion.

Today, however, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, issued a pointed rebuke of an assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

The case involves a man who was arguing he did not know the two friends he was with intended to buy drugs. During the trial the assistant U.S. attorney, whom Sotomayor did not name, made a racist comment.

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Around the Nation
10:03 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Grief Still Very Real For Trayvon's Mom

Tuesday marks one year since the fatal shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The case has drawn a lot of national attention and polarized America on issues of race and self-defense. Host Michel Martin checks in again with Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and her attorney, Benjamin Crump.

Arts & Life
9:39 am
Mon February 25, 2013

High Honors for Actress Deavere Smith

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:56 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now, we turn to a giant in the arts world. You probably know the name, Anna Deavere Smith. You might know her from her role on "The West Wing" or as the no-nonsense old school hospital administrator, Gloria Akalitus, on the Showtime series, "Nurse Jackie."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SERIES, "NURSE JACKIE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How do you sleep at night putting someone out of a job?

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Movies
9:39 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Who Won Oscar Gold Last Night?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In a few minutes, we will speak with an artist who just won one of the American art world's biggest prizes. It was endowed by the famous sisters of silent movie fame. It comes with $300,000 attached. It was just awarded to Anna Deavere Smith, and we will speak with her in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
9:11 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Seth MacFarlane: Crude Or Classy? Delightful Or A Dolt? You Be The Critic

Host Seth MacFarlane backstage during the Oscars ceremony Sunday night in Hollywood.
Christopher Polk Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 11:04 am

The reviews of Seth MacFarlane's performance as host of the Oscars are in and they're all over the place.

NPR's Linda Holmes thinks the bad boy behind Family Guy was "predictably juvenile" and offensive. She concludes it was "one of the worst hosting performances in Oscar history."

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