Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — who oversees the largest municipal jail system in the country — is facing growing pressure to bow out of the race for what could be his fifth term.
There's a lot that's been piling up against Sheriff Baca lately. At the top of the list is an FBI probe into what's been described as a systemic pattern of unnecessary force against inmates in county jails.
Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 7:36 am
The threat of furloughs loomed large early in 2013, when mandatory budget cuts seemed certain to force federal workers to skip anywhere from 10 to 22 days of work without pay this year. A new tally by Federal News Radio shows that many agencies have taken fewer than half the days they had predicted.
There are way more veterinarians than there is work for them to do, according to a recent survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as the nation's veterinary schools continue to crank out graduates.
And we wrap up this week's All Tech Considered with a story out of Finland.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
This past weekend, 80 people from six countries competed in the annual Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships. The Finns shut out the competition, winning first, second and third place overall.
SIEGEL: The top tosser threw his handheld device an impressive 320 feet. The top woman on the field was a 31-year-old Swede - Asa Lundgren. Her distance: 132 feet. She's a newcomer to the sport but threw javelin in her youth.
The New York Times reported last week on the practice of placing bogus liens against the property of government officials. It's a tactic of self-styled sovereign citizens, people who deny the legitimacy of the federal government. They take advantage of laws, both real estate laws and also the Uniform Commercial Code, that make it easy to file liens even if they're phony. Why do they do it? Well, because a lien can ruin your credit rating, and removing one, even a phony lien, can take countless hours in court and cost thousands of dollars.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 12:38 pm
That's how a disciplinary panel at the International Skating Union (ISU) describes the behavior of former U.S. Olympic short track speedskating coach Jae Su Chun during a contentious international meet in Poland in 2011.
American Olympic medalist Simon Cho confessed last Fall to sabotaging the skate of a Canadian rival at that meet. Cho claimed his coach made him do it.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:33 pm
There is still debate as to whether the hot dog evolved from lesser sandwich forms or is the work of an intelligent designer, but everyone can agree it's a marvel of simplicity. At the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff earlier this summer in Chicago, though, five chefs were challenged to reinterpret the humble tube steak, and we were challenged to eat them all.
The chefs were told to "start with Vienna Beef hot dogs" and "use them in any way imaginable." Those instructions, when you think about it, are frighteningly open to interpretation.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 3:01 pm
After long and costly U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama has been deeply reluctant to act forcefully in Syria. But reports last week of a possible chemical weapons attack in Syria appear to have changed the White House's tone. As NPR's Larry Abramson said on Morning Edition, the issue now appears to be "how to respond, not whether to respond."
News that National Security Agency officers sometimes abuse domestic intelligence gathering practices to monitor potential love interests has led to a sweeping, satirical response by The People of The Internet. On Tumblr and Twitter, the #NSAPickupLines and #NSALovePoems hashtags have sparked all sorts of creativity from users poking fun at the potential intrusion of the NSA into our personal lives.
Lydia Ko, the New Zealand golfer who last year became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA event, has played her way into the record books again. By successfully defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this past weekend, Ko, who's now 16, is the only amateur to win two LPGA events.
When we first started thinking about dumplings for NPR's Dumpling Week, we presumed that there wasn't much to the little balls of dough. They seemed simple, universally beloved and unencumbered by controversy.
But the semantics of the dumpling turns out to be far more fraught that we imagined. This became clear when we started wondering whether tamales, or samosas, counted as dumplings. The deeper we waded into the pool of quasi-dumpling snacks, the more we realized we needed some expert input to set us straight.
Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.
While some American lawmakers have urged increased involvement by the United States in the Syrian civil war, so far the Obama administration has been reluctant to intervene in a major way.
The question has taken on a new sense of urgency following an attack last week near the Syrian capital Damascus that left hundreds dead. The Syrian opposition says it was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, a charge the government denies. The Obama administration is now weighing possible responses.
Doctors do make a difference when it comes to keeping children and teenagers from taking up tobacco. This may sound like a no-brainer, but until recently there wasn't strong evidence that anti-smoking efforts by pediatricians and other primary care doctors make a difference.
"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," says Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown behind a skit at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month that sparked outrage when a masked "President Obama" was chased by a bull that Gessling said was "gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 10:27 am
Amanda Knox, whose murder conviction was overturned in 2011, will not travel to Italy for a new trial in the stabbing death of a fellow student. In May, Italy's supreme court ordered Knox to be tried again, along with her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 12:01 pm
"Snake Oil Salesman." The phrase conjures up images of seedy profiteers trying to exploit an unsuspecting public by selling it fake cures. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary defines snake oil as "a quack remedy or panacea." What the OED does not note, however, is that the history of snake oil is linked to an often forgotten chapter of Asian-American history.
The nation is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington this week. Tens of thousands traced the path of civil rights leaders and foot soldiers in the nation's capital this weekend. On Wednesday, President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other speakers did back in 1963. Tell Me More reflects on the role political activism played and is continuing to play in the civil rights movement.
Sarah Murnaghan, whose plight prompted a national debate about transplant policies when she came close to dying while waiting for new lungs, could leave a Philadelphia hospital as soon as Tuesday, CNN says.
A stream of fiction and stories written by reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be published between 2015 and 2020, according to a new biography about the writer of The Catcher in the Rye, who died in 2010. Some of the books will reportedly revisit beloved Salinger characters such as Holden Caulfield.
The claims come from David Shields and Shane Salerno, co-authors of the biography Salinger, which will be published next week. Days later, Salerno's documentary film of the same name will be released (and in January, it will air on PBS).
Newly declassified CIA documents "combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States' knowledge of how and when Iraq" used chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s, Foreign Policy reports.
Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 9:33 am
You may have to turn off your television today if you wish to avoid seeing clips of one-time squeaky clean Disney star Miley Cyrus as she "twerked and gyrated, stripped and swayed," Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards.