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Well, That's One Way To Stop Smoking

May 13, 2013

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Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

Etta Mae Lopez needed help. She wanted to quit smoking. She decided she needed to go someplace where she could not go buy cigarettes. And the place that came to mind was jail. Ms. Lopez says this is the reason she went to a jail, walked up to a Sacramento sheriff's deputy and slapped him in the face. The deputy took her inside the jail, where she slapped him again. After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor, she faces 63 smoke-free days.

If you said the "s" word in the ninth century, you probably wouldn't have shocked or offended anyone. Back then, the "s" word was just the everyday word that was used to refer to excrement. That's one of many surprising, foul-mouthed facts Melissa Mohr reveals in her new book, Holy S- - -: A Brief History of Swearing.

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On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The last time Nawaz Sharif was prime minister of Pakistan, it did not work out so well for him. Sharif won a big election, moved to consolidate his power, and named a new army chief - only to see that same general overthrow him in a coupe in 1999.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Again and again, President Obama's administration tries to pivot attention toward East Asia. Administration officials believe China and its neighbors are where the economic future lies.

GREENE: And yet it's the Middle East that keeps demanding the president's attention. It brings to mind that line from F. Scott Fitzgerald: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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Now a story of "Impossible Odds," that's the title of a new book by Jessica Buchanan. She's an American aid worker who was kidnapped in Somalia back in 2011. Her new book recounts the terrifying experience. It's co-written with her husband and fellow aid worker, Erik Landemalm. The couple was based in northern Somalia, considered the safer part of a country that to this day they feel an affection for.

Google Glass isn't even for sale yet, but it's already facing backlash.

When she was just 6, Emily Gorospe became very tired and sick. The spunky girl, now 8, developed a fever that wouldn't go away, and red blotches appeared across her body.

"She's got so much energy usually," says Emily's mother, Valerie Gorospe. "Just walking from one part of the house ... she was drained." The little girl was also very pale. "She just didn't look like herself," Valerie recalls.

As a Republican senator from Maine, Olympia Snowe was known for her willingness to stand alone. A moderate with independent views, she had substantial influence in the health care debate as both sides vied for her vote. Earlier this year she left the Senate, out of frustration, she says, with the inability to get anything done.

Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO2 concentrations.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Let's get an update now on one of this year's major policy debates. There is an immigration bill under consideration. The law, if passed, has the potential to be a major success story for President Obama and for the bipartisan group of lawmakers who drafted it. Opponents of the bill have major concerns about how it treats people who came to the U.S. illegally, and also about how much the law would cost.

Sophia, Jacob Top Popular Baby Names List

May 10, 2013

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. The Social Security Administration has put out its list of the most popular baby names from last year. Topping the list for girls: Sophia. For boys, it's Jacob. As for fast rising contenders, Aria is becoming popular for girls. It seems parents are inspired by "Game of Thrones." Boys names gaining popularity: Major, King and Messiah.

A few other names of interest: David is hanging on at number 19, and Steve, where is Steve? Oh, 762.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's a little too exotic.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

Police in Pinellas County, Florida pulled over Bryan Zuniga at a traffic stop. The man ran away but his already bad day got worse, because as he fled he was attacked by an alligator. Police later arrested him at the hospital where he was being treated for his wounds. You may have seen those TV commercials, on for years, where a dog urges you to take a bite out of crime. This is not precisely what the crime dog meant, but close enough.

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All right, prosecutors are calling it the biggest bank heist in New York City since the 1970s. They say a gang of cybercriminals drained $45 million from ATMs around the world.

Here's NPR's Joel Rose.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: United States Attorney Loretta Lynch says the eight men charged in New York were able to withdraw $2.8 million in cash in just one day, in February.

LORETTA LYNCH: This was a 21st century bank heist. But instead of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and malware.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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Anthropologists, sociologists and biologists have explored over several decades many factors that shape the likelihood of sexual coercion of women by men.

The Internet has managed to disrupt many industries, from publishing to music. So why not lending?

Google is teaming up with the nation's largest peer-to-peer lender. The search and tech giant is investing $125 million in Lending Club, which gets borrowers and lenders together outside the conventional banking system. Google's move and the actions of other big players reflect a growing interest in peer-to-peer lending.

At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are borrowing a strategy that students successfully used in decades past. In the 1980s, students enraged about South Africa's racist Apartheid regime got their schools to drop stocks in companies that did business with that government. In the 1990s, students pressured their schools to divest Big Tobacco.

This time, the student activists are targeting a mainstay of the economy: large oil and coal companies.

This is the second installment of NPR's Cook Your Cupboard, a food series about improvising with what you have on hand. Got a food that has you stumped? Submit a photo and we'll ask chefs about our favorites!

Laurel Ruma, an NPR listener from Medford, Mass., didn't realize quite how much she had gathered up from her travels until renovating her kitchen last summer. She unearthed things like harissa, chickpea flour and black chia seeds.

When you arrive in Myanmar, you can see how eager the people are to do business. At the airport in Yangon, new signs in English welcome tourists. A guy in a booth offers to rent me a local cellphone — and he's glad to take U.S. dollars. But when I pull out my money, he shakes his head.

"I'm sorry," he says.

He points to the crease mark in the middle of the $20 bill. No creases allowed.

In 2008, Rebecca Posamentier visited StoryCorps with her mother, Carol Kirsch.

"My mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, and I was hoping to get her voice and her thoughts on tape before she couldn't express them anymore," Posamentier said recently during a second visit to StoryCorps.

Kirsch died in March 2011, but during that first visit, Posamentier chatted with her mother about well, motherhood.

In this installment of Heavy Rotation — where we bring to you public radio's new favorite songs — we collaborated with KCRW in Santa Monica, Calif., to bring you an exclusive track from British singer Laura Mvula's session on Morning Becomes Eclectic, plus enjoy a download from rising post-punk band Savages, courtesy of WXPN in Philadelphia.

This week's panel includes:

  • Anne Litt, a DJ at KCRW in Los Angeles.

Mike Tyson tells the New York Daily News he would like to play Othello. Reviews of his acting have been mixed, but Tyson says he could do it, given time to prepare. "They say my skills are horrible," he says, "but I have the natural timing."

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

A natural gas company in Great Falls, Mont., wanted to educate consumers. So it printed up 25,000 scratch-and-sniff cards to show how a gas leak would smell. Then yesterday, the company tossed some of the cards. And as they were crushed in a garbage truck, the gas smell filled the town.

Several buildings were evacuated after people reported gas leaks. The company apologized, but said that their campaign, in a sense, worked.

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One reason the world is not yet running out of oil and gas is that energy companies keep finding ways to extract those resources from more and more difficult places, including far under the ocean. Royal Dutch Shell announced plans, yesterday, for the world's deepest offshore floating oil and gas facility.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's college graduation season, a time when young people stop worrying about final exams and start worrying about getting a job. In a minute we'll hear some popular career advice dished out by commencement speakers. First, there's an ongoing debate over how well universities are preparing graduates for the real world and whether colleges themselves should operate more like businesses.

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Chinese security forces are patrolling the streets of southern Beijing today in great numbers, apparently to try and send a message to protesters. This follows a large demonstration yesterday at a shopping mall in the southern part of the capital, where protesters accused police of mishandling an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old migrant woman who worked there. It is just the latest example of mass unrest in China, and with each incident, police presence seems to be growing.

A while back, Max Kornblith sent the following email to Tyler Cowen, an economist who blogs at Marginal Revolution:

1) As a fairly recent graduate of an Ivy League institution (with a bachelor's degree), most of my classmates seemed to have some idea that career and life path choice should be driven by a "passion" such that the right choice is self-evident to the chooser. What does this belief mean to you as a social scientist? ...

YouTube is expected to announce in the coming days that it will launch paid subscription channels, a first for the online video platform that's been around since 2005. But, with the growing number of subscription services available for entertainment, shopping and news, some consumers say they're reaching digital subscription overload.

President Obama travels to Texas on Thursday for the second time in as many weeks. He will talk about job training and economic opportunity, but he may have a political opportunity on his mind as well.

Obama lost Texas by more than 1 million votes last year. But Democrats believe their fortunes in the Lone Star State may soon change, thanks to demographics and a new organizational push.

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