A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.
There's an unforgettable moment in the diary of the great Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. He's on the beach and he spots a beetle that's been blown on its back by the wind and now lies there helplessly, legs wiggling, unable to right itself. Gombrowicz saves it by turning it over. He sees another upside-down beetle, and turns it over. Then, another. Looking along the sand, he realizes that there are so many beetles he can't possibly save them all. Eventually, he gives up trying.
Texas Rep. Steve Stockman participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner in January. Stockman made the surprise move to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the 2014 Texas GOP primary.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:42 pm
Another day, another GOP primary fight.
This time, it's John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, who's receiving a challenge from the right in 2014. Rep. Steve Stockman, a conservative firebrand, made the surprise move to enter the March 4 race Monday evening just before the state's filing deadline.
The memorial service for Nelson Mandela concluded Tuesday in Soweto, but South Africans will have additional opportunities to say farewell to their late president. Mandela lies in state in Pretoria for three days and will be buried Sunday in his home village of Qunu.
American bank regulators unveiled the final version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from trading stocks, bonds and derivatives for their own accounts. For more, Steve Inskeep speaks to NPR's Jim Zarroli.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in the tiny Persian Gulf nation of Qatar on Tuesday morning, the last leg of a tour that has also taken him to Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
The day when a simple blood test or saliva sample can identify your risk for medical conditions ranging from cancer to Alzheimer's disease seems tantalizingly close.
But genetics specialists say the hype around many of these tests has outstripped the science. Insurers generally only cover a test if there's strong scientific evidence that it can provide a health benefit to patients.
A person walks on a deserted walkway on a snowy morning in New York City on Tuesday. People who live along the East Coast and the Appalachians woke up to snow Tuesday, forcing school closings and closed roads.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 4:53 pm
(This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET)
A fast-moving winter storm swept through the Eastern U.S. on Tuesday, bringing several inches of snow to the region, causing flights to be canceled, traffic to be snarled and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., to be shut for the day.
Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New England got up to 6 inches of snow, and the nation's midsection experienced frigid temperatures.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:35 pm
While milk consumption continues to fall in the U.S., sales of organic milk are on the rise. And now organic milk accounts for about 4 percent of total fluid milk consumption.
For years, organic producers have claimed their milk is nutritionally superior to regular milk. Specifically, they say that because their cows spend a lot more time out on pasture, munching on grasses and legumes rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the animals' milk is higher in these healthy fats, which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:18 pm
Mary Barra will become the new leader of General Motors in January, the company announced Tuesday. A longtime GM veteran, Barra is currently an executive vice president; her tenure as CEO will begin after current leader Dan Akerson retires on Jan. 15.
Students at Northeast Elementary Magnet, in Danville, Ill., play around. Fewer than 1 in 5 parents polled said their kids were getting physical education daily.
In a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, parents reported that their kids aren't getting nearly as much time in phys ed classes as is recommended.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 7:54 am
Avery Stackhouse, age 7, of Lafayette, Calif., says he wishes he had more time for phys ed.
"We just have it one day a week — on Monday." There's always lunch and recess, he says. "We play a couple of games, like football and soccer," he tells Shots.
But at Happy Valley Elementary, where he goes to school, recess last only 15 minutes and lunch is 45. Between eating and mingling, he says, "there's only a few minutes left where we play games and all that."
A military plot has been blamed in the death of Brazil's former President Juscelino Kubitschek, seen here at the White House in 1961 speaking with President John F. Kennedy. For years, Kubitschek's death was blamed on a car accident.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:00 pm
For years, a car accident has been blamed in the 1976 death of former Brazilian President Juscelino Kubitschek. But a new inquiry has found the politician was murdered by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years.
"We have no doubt that Juscelino Kubitschek was the victim of a conspiracy, a plot and a political attack," Sao Paulo Truth Commission leader Gilberto Natalini says, according to Agence France-Presse.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. More than 50,000 people attended a rainy and emotional memorial for Nelson Mandela today in Johannesburg. Scores of world leaders and dignitaries were in attendance, including President Barack Obama, who gave a lengthy tribute to the man he credits for inspiring his own journey into politics. NPR's Gregory Warner reports from Johannesburg.
Eat candy and fight tooth decay. What a sweet concept, right?
Well, microbiologists in Berlin are trying to make that dream a reality.
They've created a sugarless mint that's aimed at washing out cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth. And the candy works in a curious way: It's spiked with dead bacteria. It's like probiotics for your teeth.
The experimental mint is still in the early days of development — and far from reaching the shelves at Walgreens.
Supermarket employees try to recover items left by looters in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, on Monday. Looting has spread across Argentina as mobs take advantage of strikes by police demanding pay raises to match inflation.
Credit Julio Pantoja / AP
An armed shopkeeper stands outside his shop after it was looted in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, on Monday. The country's government dispatched federal police to trouble spots as looting spread early this week.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 11:52 am
Chaos is visiting the Christmas season in Argentina, as police in many regions have refused to work until they get a pay raise. The lack of law enforcement has spurred looting in which at least five people have died and hundreds more have been injured. Some shop owners have taken up arms to defend themselves.
In Chaco province, the casualties include police deputy superintendent Cristián Vera, who died after being shot by looters in a supermarket, reports Data Chaco.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. At a soccer stadium in South Africa before a crowd notable for its dancing and for the umbrellas it is holding up against the rain, President Obama is speaking in a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. He said just a moment ago: The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. And let's listen to a little bit more of the president today.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:41 am
During Tuesday's memorial service at South Africa's largest soccer stadium, President Obama delivered a 20-minute eulogy that compared Mandela to Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and America's founding fathers.
Mandela, Obama said in Johannesburg, was the "last great liberator of the 20th century." He was not only a man of politics, but a pragmatist and flawed human being who managed to discipline his anger to turn centuries of oppression into what Mandela liked to call a "Rainbow Nation."
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News, I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Federal regulators have unveiled the final version of what has come to be called the Volcker Rule. It's a big part of the financial reform that went into affect three years ago. It's taken all those years to come up with the language that will set new limits on the kinds of trading that banks can do and cannot do. NPR's Jim Zarolli joins us now to talk about this. Hi Jim.
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 12:16 pm
A French court has sentenced the head of a company that sold tens of thousands of defective breast implants to four years in prison for aggravated fraud. Poly Implant Prothese was once among the world's leaders in supplying implants. But its product was found to have a high rupture rate.
From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsely reports:
"The Marseilles court convicted Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of the company, and three colleagues.
Standing in a steady drizzle at dawn, Lerato Maphanga took a black marker to a whitewashed wall that's serving as a condolences board outside Nelson Mandela's old home in Soweto, South Africa.
"Thank you, Tata [father], rest in peace," she wrote Tuesday. Then she signed it, "Born Free," a reference to the black South Africans born after apartheid ended in the 1994 election that made Mandela the country's first black president.
There will be a Nativity scene inside the Florida State Capitol Building. The Florida Prayer Network put up the scene, with a state permit. Chaz Stevens thinks that's an annoying mixture of church and state, so he applied for a permit for a Festivus pole, honoring the fake religion made up on the TV show "Seinfeld." The Festivus pole will be made of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans. Other displays allowed in the rotunda include a Bill of Rights Nativity banner.
Oil giant BP is challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in claims that were filed by businesses after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The total price tag for BP's oil spill is huge — $42.5 billion. At issue here is a fraction of that — but still a lot of money. BP says $540 million has been awarded to businesses for losses that "are either nonexistent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident."
In many ways, military veterans hold a privileged place in American society, but not all vets have access to what goes along with that privilege. In the past decade of war, more than 100,000 men and women left the military with less than honorable discharges, many due to bad conduct related to post traumatic stress disorder. Once they're kicked out of the military, they lose access to benefits like treatment for PTSD.