Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:26 pm
Something that only comes around once every four years and doesn't involve either politics or Olympic competition deserves its own mention:
Wednesday is Feb. 29.
Leap day, that is.
Our friend Linton Weeks has put together a handy list of 24 things you could do with the extra 24 hours. (And yes, we know that some of you have already started your day; but, hey, we're an East Coast-based blog.)
Found time! An extra day. How will you use it? Here are 24 ideas. None of them takes longer than an hour. Because time is tight, time is of the essence, time is money. And if you don't have time to get to everything on the list, don't worry. Maybe in 2016.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:43 pm
Virtually everyone expected Tuesday's big political news to come blowing out of Michigan, the big industrial state, where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were vying to win that state's GOP presidential primary.
But little Maine managed a national political bombshell of its own with the surprising news that Sen. Olympia Snowe, the 65-year old, three-term moderate Republican senator, won't seek re-election.
From a statement she issued, it appears Washington's partisan bickering just got kind of old for the senator.
Another Tuesday, another critical day for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders.
This time the locations are Michigan, where most polls close at 8 p.m. ET, and Arizona, where voting ends at 9 p.m. ET. The story political junkies are watching closest: Will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Michigan native, hold off a strong challenge there from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum?
Also on the ballots, of course: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
When he returned from Afghanistan and saw his partner waiting to welcome him home, "four years of pent-up emotion and secret love" just seemed to naturally lead to "what felt like an eternity kiss," Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan told NPR this afternoon.
A Washington State Patrol crime lab technician opens DNA sample cards containing cheek swabs sent from jails and prisons. If the state Legislature approves pre-conviction DNA sampling, the number of cards the lab processes could double.
Mandatory DNA collection is fast becoming routine in the American criminal justice system. In many jurisdictions, just being arrested can mean having tosubmit a genetic sample to the national database. Federal law enforcement and 26 states now permit various forms of pre-conviction DNA sampling and more states are poised to follow suit.
<strong> Come Sail Away:</strong> Retired high school science teacher — and adrenaline junkie — Andy Sajor rides his ice boat on a frozen Lake Champlain in New York. Perfect ice sailing conditions call for cold temperatures, a strong breeze and a thick sheet of ice — but not too much snow.
Credit Sarah Harris / North Country Public Radio
Andy Sajor prepares his DM, or ice boat, for a run on Lake Champlain. Ice sailing happens just about anywhere water freezes, but the sport started in the Netherlands and caught on in colonial America, where sailors ran up and down the Hudson River, ferrying goods in winter.
Credit Sarah Harris / North Country Public Radio
For her ride around the lake, reporter Sarah Harris claimed the ice boat's only seat while Sajor balanced the plank next to her. Together, they reached a top speed of about 48 miles an hour.
The minute I learned that ice sailing was an actual sport, I wanted to give it a try. I watched YouTube videos of wooden boats with big white sails zooming across the ice on steel runners. It seemed like such a rush: Imagine racing over a frozen lake on a wind-powered sled, hitting speeds that top 40 miles an hour.
It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.
On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.
On tonight's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel talks to the chief of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.
Naturally, Robert focused his interview on Greece, which has been engulfed in a debt crisis that has threatened its membership in the European monetary union. Robert asked Lagarde about the tough austerity measures Greece has agreed to and whether those measures could promote a shrinking economy as opposed to getting Greece back to prosperity.
Supporters greet Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, atop her vehicle, as she arrives at an election campaign rally in Thongwa village, Myanmar, on Sunday. The country's new government is holding legislative elections on April 1.
Credit Altaf Qadri / AP
A girl from the Kachin ethnic group waves the flag of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy as the democracy leader arrives in Namti village last week.
Credit Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters/Landov
Myanmar President Thein Sein (shown here in Singapore on Jan. 30) has introduced a number of changes. His decision to halt construction of Chinese-supported dam project on the Irrawaddy River was widely praised in the country.
Credit Chris McGrath / Getty Images
A Buddhist monk reads a newspaper in Yangon on Tuesday. Newspaper articles that would have been rejected by Myanmar's draconian state censors just months ago are making it into print, in one of many signs that the long-repressed country is becoming more open.
Once an international pariah ruled by a repressive military regime, Myanmar has in recent months become one of Southeast Asia's hottest destinations.
Last year, a nominally civilian government took over and began political changes in the country also known as Burma. Now, foreign investors and tourists are flooding in, and foreign governments are considering lifting their sanctions.
Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.
Egyptian presidential candidate and former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa delivers a speech to Bedouins in Ras Sidr during a campaign trip to the South Sinai last week. Egyptians are anticipating the first presidential elections after last year's ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
When it comes to schemes to defraud Medicare and Medicaid, there seems to be no limit to the ingenuity and tenacity of would-be scammers.
Still, a Texas doctor and six co-conspirators indicted for an alleged long-running home health care scheme look to have set a new record for a one practice: at least $350 million in fraudulent Medicare bills and $24 million under Medicaid over nearly six years ending in late 2011.
Right about now, gardeners are aching to get out and plant. Usually, in the February dregs of winter, that desire is dashed by cold, wet, maybe even frozen soil. But this year is different.
Here in Washington, D.C., snowdrops came up almost a month ago, and the daffodils have been blooming for two weeks. It's tempting to think that if these harbingers of spring showed up three weeks ahead of schedule, it's safe to plant early, too.
South Carolina is one state that requires special clearance from the Justice Department to change its election laws. Here Charles Monnich casts his vote in the GOP primary at Martin Luther King Memorial Park in Columbia, S.C. on Jan. 21.
The roiling legal battles over election laws passed in various states have potentially far-reaching consequences: the fate of a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The landmark legislation requires the Justice Department to "pre-clear" any changes to election laws in some or all parts of 16 states, mostly in the South, because of their histories of racially discriminatory voting practices. The Justice Department recently used the mandate to block a voter identification law in South Carolina on grounds that it would harm minority voter turnout.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 12:13 pm
In a report released by the Pentagon today, the government admits that a contractor dumped some of the remains of Sept. 11 victims in a landfill.
According to the report, the remains "that could neither be tested nor identified" from victims of the attack on the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pa. crash were first taken to Dover Air Force Base, cremated by a contractor, returned to the base, where they were handed over to a "biomedical waste disposal contractor," which incinerated the remains.
Angus Roxburgh began reporting on Russia in the 1980s for outlets such as <em>The Guardian</em> and the BBC. He is the author of <em>Pravda: Inside the Soviet News Machine</em> and <em>The Second Russian Revolution.</em>
Russia's presidential election is on Saturday. The projected winner is current prime minister — and former president — Vladimir Putin, the subject of a new biography, The Strongman. Author Angus Roxburgh is a longtime journalist who served briefly as a public relations adviser to the Kremlin. He joined Morning Edition's David Greene to discuss the complicated figure who dominates and defines Russian politics.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 12:02 pm
Owning a food truck may sound like fun – it's a free wheeling, superhip, and low-cost way to experiment with food service. But increasingly food truckers are finding that they're up against some unfriendly realities of city streets, namely a shortage of parking spots.
That's why many, like Nida Rodriguez, who steers the helm of The Slide Ride, a Chicago truck that dishes out gourmet mini sandwiches, are now focused on catering events from office parties to weddings.
A British photojournalist hurt during the government shelling of Homs is now safe in Lebanon, his employer told Reuters.
Reuters adds that The Sunday Times said Paul Conroy was in "good shape and good spirits."
Conroy was hurt in the same incident that killed two other journalists, including his colleague Marie Colvin and Frenchman Remi Ochlik. There is no word whether French journalist Edith Bouvier, who is also hurt, is still in Syria.
In a final burst of campaigning in Michigan Tuesday, embattled GOP front-runner Mitt Romney complained that rival Rick Santorum was making automated phone calls to Democrats and urging them to vote against Romney in the Republican race. (Although only declared Republicans can vote in the party primary, voters can change their affiliation to cast a ballot.)
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 4:09 pm
Like baseballs in a batting cage, the controversies that divide us just keep on coming. Fast and unpredictable.
Last month it was the flap over the Susan G. Komen foundation and its move to cut financial support of Planned Parenthood. The resulting imbroglio dredged up deeply held convictions among Americans about women's health issues and "cause marketing" that, in this case, has resulted in profits for companies promoting breast cancer awareness and research through pink and omnipresent product tie-ins.
Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 9:14 am
Less than a month ago, it seemed inconceivable that Mitt Romney would have to fight for his political life in his home state of Michigan.
But fast-moving economic changes, the candidate's verbal stumbles and event venue blunders, and the ascent of flamethrower social conservative Rick Santorum have left Romney sweating to eke out a win Tuesday in Michigan's Republican presidential primary, where the latest polls show a tight race.