This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, rising gas prices, rising insurance costs, and rising payroll taxes - Happy New Year, middle class. We'll talk with NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax in just a few minutes about all the things that are squeezing the middle class right now - as if you hadn't noticed.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, I'm happy I have a chance to tell you more about two women who made or are making an impression, one by speaking up, one by choosing not to. That's coming up later in the program.
But, first, it's time for the Beauty Shop. That's where we get a fresh cut on the week's top issues with our panel of women writers, journalists and commentators.
Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 2:36 pm
Soup comes in many variations — chicken noodle, creamy tomato, potato and leek, to name a few. But through much of human history, soup was much simpler, requiring nothing more than boiling a haunch of meat or other chunk of food in water to create a warm, nourishing broth.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Pete Leary is proud to announce that Wisdom the Laysan albatross, who at age 62 (or so) is the "oldest known wild bird" in the world, has hatched another chick.
Wisdom's latest offspring "was observed pecking its way into the world" on Sunday at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the North Pacific Ocean, the agency says.
The U.S. and the international community have pledged $16 billion to support Afghan security forces after NATO troops complete their drawdown at the end of 2014. That money covers the cost of troops and equipment.
But just what equipment will be provided? Afghan military officials want big-ticket planes, tanks and other conventional weapons.
The U.S., however, says the Afghans need to get their strategic priorities in order, and focus less on prestige hardware and more on weaponry and equipment suitable for counterinsurgency warfare.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:29 pm
Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. It's Official:
Praising Sally Jewell as an executive who turned outdoors equipment retailer REI into one of the nation's most successful and environmentally conscious companies, President Obama just said he is nominating her to be his next interior secretary.
Noting that Jewell, who in a previous job worked as an engineer for Mobil, has also climbed mountains in Antarctica, the president joked about that being "just not something I think of doing."
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:30 am
Business leaders involved in homebuilding, oil drilling or automaking are happy about the way 2013 has kicked off. Lower- and middle-income consumers, on the other hand, are feeling like the year has kicked them in the head.
"Consumers have not rebounded with the arrival of the new year," says Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center. "Middle-income Americans were particularly hard hit this month and appear to be losing ground."
The Environmental Protection Agency's once-secret "Watch List" of allegedly chronic polluters is under review by the EPA's inspector general.
The existence of the list was first disclosed by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and NPR in 2011 during a joint investigation of EPA's air pollution regulation. CPI's Jim Morris discovered the list and a CPI/NPR Freedom of Information Act request prompted its public release.
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 4:07 pm
Wednesday, Hasbro announced that it was welcoming a new member of the Monopoly-token family. And because it asked the Internet, it wound up with a cat. (For whatever reason, the Internet was not offered Gotye or a bacon cupcake.)
GREENE: The U.S. Postal Service has just announced the end of first class mail deliveries on Saturday. It is part of an effort to slow enormous financial losses. And NPR's Yuki Noguchi has come into the studio to tell us what all this means for customers and the Postal Service. And Yuki, so when will my Saturday deliveries stop?
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:17 am
Go to the doctor with an aching elbow, and the prescription may well be a cortisone shot. Ah, relief!
But that short-term gain may make for long-term pain. There's mounting evidence that cortisone shots, long the first response for the painful tendon problem known as tennis elbow, increases the risk of continued problems or relapse one year out.
That may come as a surprise to those who have availed themselves of this seemingly miraculous quick fix.
Monopoly players, your game will never be the same. Hasbro, which has been making the for some 80 years, is retiring a game piece. The iron will no longer be passing Go or stopping at Park Place. The company ran a Save Your Token campaign, and only eight percent of respondents fought for the iron. The winner? That little Scottie dog, who may prefer the old iron to the token replacing it - a cat - though players using the cat may get nine chances to win.
A Tunisian politician received death threats in recent days. Chokri Belaid was in a high-profile position. He was among the leaders of a group of politicians urging Tunisia to remain a secular state. That brought him into conflict with religious parties. Despite the death threats, his family says Belaid refused to limit his activities, and as he left home this morning someone shot and killed him.
Manti Te'o won't be tricked again - at least not on Twitter. Te'o's the Notre Dame football player who says he met his girlfriend online. The woman wasn't real, and Te'o says he was the victim of a hoax. He's now deleted his Twitter account. The page had included a quote from author Alexander Dumas: "Life is a storm. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."
Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 1:57 pm
(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)
Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.
The movie "Lincoln" has many fans in Washington. It's reassuring, since the film's politicians shaving the truth and bending the law are doing it for a higher purpose. But Connecticut Joe Courtney is not happy. The film shows Connecticut lawmakers voting to uphold slavery. Courtney looked it up. He found his state's real-life lawmakers voted to abolish slavery in 1865. So he's asking director Steven Spielberg for a correction.
Leadership of the Boy Scouts of America may take an important vote today. The organization's executive board is wrapping up a meeting in Dallas, and they're talking about whether to drop their policy banning gay leaders and gay scouts. Activists delivered petitions with more than 1.4 million signatures to the national headquarters this week calling for the Boy Scouts to open up the organization.
NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that the issue has ignited a passionate debate about what the 100-year-old group should do.
We're also tracking a story that federal authorities call one of the biggest credit card fraud rings in U.S. history. Eighteen people are alleged to have created an elaborate web of fake identities and sham companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.
You may have heard about 3-D printing, a technological phenomenon that uses a robotic arm to build objects one layer at a time. As people get imaginative and create items in a one-stop-shop fashion, one more creation has been added to the printing line: gun parts.
On the West Side of Manhattan, behind large glass windows, a dozen 3-D printers build plastic toys and jewelry. Hilary Brosnihan, a manager at 3DEA, an events company that sponsored a print pop-up store, says things are moving rapidly.
With no government ties, Bitcoin is used to buy everything from blogging services to Brooklyn-made cupcakes. Theoretically, millions of dollars are being kept in the digital currency, and it's increasingly being used by specialized online gambling websites. But is Bitcoin gambling legal?
Purely in the interests of journalism, I decided to get my hands on some of the currency. When I did so, Bitcoin, which has been around for a few years now, was fetching around $17 on most exchange sites. It has since risen to more than $20.
Puerto Rico's population is declining. Faced with a deteriorating economy, increased poverty and a swelling crime rate, many citizens are fleeing the island for the U.S. mainland. In a four-part series,Morning Editionexplores this phenomenon, and how Puerto Rico's troubles are affecting its people and other Americans in unexpected ways.
Edward Bonet's mom no longer tries to convince him to join her in Florida. Unlike his family, the 23-year-old from Puerto Rico refuses to leave the island and its shattered economy.
As beer drinkers demand increasingly obscure beers with ingredients like jalapenos or rhubarb, smaller and smaller breweries are stepping up to the plate. New Hampshire is one state helping these brewery startups get off the ground, with new laws that make it easier for small-scale breweries to obtain licenses and distribute their craft beers.