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The majority of Americans have now filed their taxes. And the majority of Americans have done so incorrectly.

There is one mistake, in particular, that lots of people made: They bought tax-free things online or in another state — and they failed to pay tax on their purchase in their home state.

It's called a use tax. As far as I can tell, accountants and tax lawyers are some of the only people who pay it.

In The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy In Retreat, former State Department adviser Vali Nasr describes veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke being all but frozen out by President Obama's inner circle, for whom Nasr believes diplomacy was a "lost art."

Instead of engaging civilians to find political solutions in Afghanistan and beyond, they would look first to the military and intelligence agencies for solutions that were politically popular — that includes getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

Take the usual agony of an adoption dispute. Add in the disgraceful U.S. history of ripping Indian children from their Native American families. Mix in a dose of initial fatherly abandonment. And there you have it — a poisonous and painful legal cocktail that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

At issue is the reach of the Indian Child Welfare Act, known as ICWA. The law was enacted in 1978 to protect Native American tribes from having their children almost literally stolen away and given to non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.

6 Year Old Takes Car Out To Get Chinese

Apr 15, 2013

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Good morning, I'm David Greene.

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Savvy Investors Pumped By Cicadas' Return

Apr 15, 2013

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And our last word in business today is the cicada index.

Every 17 years, these nasty, loud, little insects known as Brood 2 cicadas emerge in staggering numbers - as many as 1 billion per square mile, from the Carolinas to Connecticut.

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Most research on memory loss in the elderly focuses on dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other brain diseases.

But neuroscientist Emily Rogalski from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine knew there is great variation in how good memory is in older people. Most have memory loss to varying degrees, but some have strong memories, even well into old age.

The numbers are pretty grim: More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia.

But here's the good news: Brain researchers say there are ways to boost brain power and stave off problems in memory and thinking.

As a kid in Chicago, director William Friedkin liked to frighten little girls with scary stories. When he grew up, he scared the rest of us with a little girl — Regan MacNeil, who is possessed by the devil in his horror classic The Exorcist.

And in The French Connection, he put knots in our stomachs with one of the great movie chases in American cinema.

The intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and 28th Street looks like a lot of intersections in Los Angeles: There's a Taco Bell on one corner and a strip mall with a liquor store and a Liberty Tax Service office on the other. And out in front, as traffic speeds by, 27-year-old Robert Oliver is hard at work — dancing.

"So, chest movements like this, this is called bucking," he says. His chest bounces to the beat. His Bluetooth headphones are on. And his feet glide across the hot sidewalk like he's on ice. "I come up in here and I go down, and that's called a kill-off."

You may find a hint to the era in which you were born (as well as your taste in entertainment) in Linda Wertheimer's clarification that on the '80s nighttime soap Dynasty, actress Linda Evans played Krystle Carrington — Krystle with a K, that is. (And, she does not add, an L-E.) If that surprises you at all, you were almost surely not paying attention to the television of the 1980s, when Evans, John Forsythe and Joan Collins made up the wealthiest, nuttiest, most notorious and most rhinestone-covered love triangle ever bedazzled for prime time: Krystle, Blake and Alexis.

President Obama's nominee to lead the Labor Department has been one of the most aggressive advocates for civil rights in decades. Tom Perez prosecuted a record number of hate crimes cases and extracted huge settlements from banks that overcharged minorities for home loans.

But some Republican lawmakers say those same qualities give them pause about voting to confirm Perez as a Cabinet member.

'Making A Huge Difference'

Each month, we ask public radio DJs from across the country to share their favorite new songs. Usually, we stick to a handful, but since April is Public Radio Music Month, we're celebrating with a 10-spot.

  • Larry Groce, host of NPR's Mountain Stage, which is produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting
  • Rita Houston, the program director at WFUV in New York City

Consumers Cut Back, Sales Reports Show

Apr 12, 2013

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NPR's business news starts with less shopping.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene. Conspicuous consumption is the art of buying lots of expensive stuff to show off. It is part of daily life in the Emirate city of Dubai, even for the police. They just added a slick green and white Lamborghini with a $400,000 price tag to their force. It goes more than 200 miles per hour, which is useful in the fast moving kingdom.

Police say about 15 percent of the speeding tickets go to motorists going more than 130 miles per hour. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Good morning, I'm David Greene.

For most of us, the office vending machine is good for a mid-day pick-me-up; that's pretty much it. But for one Japanese man it is much more. He hosts a blog called "I Take a Picture of the Vending Machine Every Day or So, I'm Very Sorry." Since 2005 he's taken nearly daily pictures of the same vending machine. Over the years the sodas move, the ads change, and there was that true moment of drama - the machine started taking digital payments.

The Last Word In Business

Apr 12, 2013

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And our last word in business today is, what do you want on your burger? The CEO of Burger King Worldwide is stepping down. Forty-three-year-old Bernardo Hees has been wearing the Burger King crown since 2010, when the fast food chain was bought out by 3G Capital.

Venezuela's Telenovelas

Apr 12, 2013

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Hugo Chavez, the late president of Venezuela, had a touch for the dramatic. He appeared on television all the time. It turns out, he also admired dramatic acting. In the 1990s, when he was in prison for an attempted coup, he never missed an episode of his favorite TV drama.

Once he gained power, a deeper drama developed. Venezuela was a huge exporter of Latin-American multi-episode dramas called telenovelas, until President Chavez's government changed that. NPR's Jasmine Garsd reports.

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NPR's business news starts with layoffs at Eli Lilly.

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In 1998, John Curtis and David Wikiera adopted a son from Vietnam and named him John Wikiera.

"I had always wanted to be a parent," Curtis tells his now 11-year-old son during a visit to StoryCorps in Rochester, N.Y. "So it was a dream I had, but I never dreamed would come true because Papa and I are gay. But we had some friends who started thinking about adoption and that got us thinking.

A top executive at News Corp. dropped a bombshell this week when he said the company is considering taking Fox's over-the-air network to cable. The announcement follows a court win for a startup company that streams broadcast channels online.

That startup's CEO, arguably the most feared man in television right now, is soft-spoken and rather techy.

The Tax Code, Translated Into Plain English

Apr 12, 2013

The tax code is full of complicated loopholes and deductions that require professional translation. So I called a bunch of accountants and tax lawyers and asked them: What are your favorite, most confusingly named deductions — and what do they actually mean?

Intangible Drilling Costs

"The government will pay you to dig a hole in the ground," says Howard Rosen, a CPA in St. Louis. "You can write it all off immediately."

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, a Starbucks coffee shop looks as it would in the United States. It has the same jazzy music; the same items on the menu.

There is one thing that is different, though: the prices.

"Everyone told me it's expensive, but when you see it yourself it's shocking," says one customer, Thierry, who is from Geneva and is in town for a wedding.

The cherry blossoms are finally in bloom in Washington, D.C., and what better way to celebrate these beautiful Japanese gifts than with a haiku? Our callout on Facebook and Twitter yielded hundreds of spring haiku submissions. With the help of Ellen Compton, Roberta Beary and Kristen Deming of the Haiku Society of America, we selected 20 and made videos inspired by the top three.

streetlamps in the haze ...
this morning the stone lions
catch cherry blossoms
— Judy Totts

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan tells NPR that he's "cautiously optimistic" that a budget deal can be reached with the White House.

Speaking to NPR a day after President Obama unveiled a 2014 budget proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as well as tax increases and new investments in education and infrastructure, Ryan said he was encouraged by the broad outlines from the White House.

The House of Representative Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan says he sees hope for a bipartisan budget agreement for the first time since President Obama came to office.

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