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Politics
6:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Effects Of Automatic Spending Cuts Become Clearer

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

As we've been hearing, clock is ticking on the sequester. That is the Washington term for the across-the-board cuts that will take effect March 1, unless Congress acts to put them off.

The impact the $85 billion reduction in government programs could have became a bit clearer yesterday, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Politics
6:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Automatic Budget Cuts Near As Democrats, GOP Stand Firm

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.

NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The 27th Victim: Nancy Lanza Is Subject Of 'Frontline' Documentary

Wooden angels memorialize the victims of Adam Lanza's shooting spree in Newtown, Conn., last December. An upcoming Frontline documentary seeks to provide new details about Lanza and his mother, Nancy.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:13 pm

The lives of the 26 people murdered by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December were eulogized and celebrated after the tragedy. But many discussions about Lanza's first victim, his mother, Nancy, were marked by both sympathy and suspicion, particularly as the news emerged that she had taken her son to shooting ranges.

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Business
2:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

In Kansas, A 'Glide Path' To No Income Taxes. Will It Work?

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, shown delivering the State of the State address last month, is pushing to get rid of the state's income tax, which has some Republicans concerned.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 9:47 am

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has put the state on what he calls a "glide path to zero" income tax. But that glide path is far from being clear or smooth.

On the face of it, Brownback seems to enjoy a remarkably strong political position. He's a conservative Republican, flanked by GOP supermajorities in both legislative chambers. His allies helped purge moderate Republicans from the state Senate in last year's election.

"I think the road is open," Brownback says. "I think we do provide an alternative model. I think we do provide a red-state model."

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Movie Interviews
2:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The Story Of 'No' Is The Story Of Modern Chile

The bright colors and throwback feel of the Chilean drama No mask the very real political consequences of the 1988 plebiscite it depicts. (Pictured: Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene Saavedra)
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

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Arts + Life
2:09 am
Fri February 15, 2013

A Husband And Wife Blessed Late In Life

The Caplans. Louis, 76, and Harriet, 67, visited StoryCorps in Santa Fe, N.M.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 8:39 am

Harriet and Louis Caplan's love story began 20 years ago in a college town in Kansas. Harriet was 48 and working at a bank. Louis was a 56-year-old physicist.

Both assumed they'd be single for the rest of their lives — until their paths crossed.

It began with Wednesday evening outings when a group would meet after work.

"We went to football games and concerts, and I still don't quite know how it happened, but instead of going in two separate cars, you and I would start going in the same car," Harriet remembers. "I don't think we ever had a date."

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It's All Politics
6:33 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Lautenberg Retirement Ends Potential May-December Senate Fight With Booker

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker speaks last year at a ceremony at City Hall.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 7:21 pm

The potential Democratic Party contest for a U.S. Senate seat between 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg and 43-year-old Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had been shaping up to be a generational battle royale.

Alas, it won't happen now that Lautenberg has announced that he won't run for re-election in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race. In a statement, the octogenarian senator said:

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The Two-Way
6:21 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Pope Hurt Head Last Year On Trip To Mexico

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing after an audience with the Roman clergy in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Thursday.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world by announcing he was resigning from his post as head of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the first time a sitting pope had stepped down in nearly 600 years.

As Mark wrote on Monday, Benedict cited his "advanced age (85) and diminishing strength," as reasons for his decision.

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The Two-Way
6:01 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Frank Lautenberg, Oldest Member Of The Senate, Won't Seek Reelection

Sen. Frank Lautenberg speaks to members of the press in January.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 7:18 pm

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the oldest member of the senate, announced today that he will not seek re-election.

The New York Times reports:

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Around the Nation
5:58 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Artist Works To Keep Immigrants In The Picture

Los Angeles-based artist Ramiro Gomez Jr. displays his immigrant worker art on the Capitol's East Lawn in Washington, D.C.
Lizzie Chen NPR

Ramiro Gomez Jr. is working fast enough to draw the least amount of attention, but slowly enough to make every detail stand out. He describes the rush he gets as "therapeutic."

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It's All Politics
5:40 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

As Spending Cuts Loom, Alarm Bells Begin To Sound

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey (from left), Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller Robert Hale wait for a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Military leaders are warning Congress about the effects of the sequester.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 6:27 pm

Senate Democrats offered an alternative Thursday to the sequester, the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to hit March 1.

Despite dire warnings in congressional hearings this week, many on Capitol Hill seem resigned to the sequester.

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Senate Votes To Continue Debate On Hagel Nomination

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., who has been nominated to be the next secretary of defense.
Ron Sachs DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:31 pm

A cloture vote on the nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary failed in the Senate, today.

That means Senate Republicans succeeded — with a vote of 58 to 40 — in keeping the Hagel nomination from coming before a final vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid scheduled the cloture vote after Republicans refused to give unanimous consent to proceed with the final vote.

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U.S.
5:14 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Taxpayers Steaming Over Florida Nuclear Plant's Shuttering

The Crystal River Nuclear Plant has stood idle since workers cracked the reactor's containment building in 2009. The facility is now slated to close permanently.
Will Vragovic AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 7:15 pm

The operator of Florida's Crystal River nuclear plant sent shockwaves through the state when it announced recently that it was shutting down the facility for good.

When nuclear plants have closed elsewhere, locals have cheered. But in Citrus County, it's been more like a death in the family.

At Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant in Crystal River, owner Bubba Keller says he's worried about what's going to happen to the community. "I mean, things are already tough," Keller says. "If this makes it worse, don't know if I can hang in there."

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Business
5:14 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Airline Mega-Mergers: 'Good, Bad And Ugly'

A United Airlines aircraft passes by a Continental Airlines plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in 2006. Their merger, begun in 2010, has been difficult, analysts say.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 8:24 pm

The proposed marriage of American Airlines and US Airways announced Thursday is likely the last in a series of industry mega-mergers, but history suggests combining two big carriers isn't easy.

"The history of airline mergers in the U.S. is good, bad and ugly," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at the consulting firm Hudson Crossing. He and many others point to the 2008 union of Delta and Northwest as the best merger in recent memory.

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Science + Technology
5:02 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Darkness Provides A Fix For Kittens With Bad Vision

Scientists found that darkness worked far better than they expected as a treatment for kittens with lazy eye.
Bill Rhodes/Flickr

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:57 am

When it comes to treating a lazy eye, there's evidence that turning the lights off may help — if you're a kitten.

A study in the latest issue of Current Biology reports that kittens with a type of visual impairment known as amblyopia, or lazy eye, were able to regain normal eyesight after being plunged into total darkness for 10 days.

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It's All Politics
4:54 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Rubio On The Move, At Least Once The House Sells

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., works in his Capitol Hill office on Feb. 7.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 6:28 pm

Remember Sen. Marco Rubio's paean to his Florida neighborhood in giving the Republican response to the State of the Union address?

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Animals
4:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

With Brawls And Calls, Love Is In The Air For Elephant Seals

A male northern elephant seal calling near Santa Cruz, Calif.
A. Friendlaender NMFS Permit No. 14636

On this Valentine's Day, we bring you a story from the California coast, where love is in the air. It sounds something like this:

That's a male northern elephant seal. It's the peak of their mating season right now. Elephant seals spend of the most of the year alone, out in the Pacific Ocean. So you can probably guess what happens when they get together every winter.

Naturalist Lisa Wolfklain is leading a public tour at Ano Nuevo State Reserve, two hours south of San Francisco, where hundreds of elephant seals are packed together on a narrow strip of beach.

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Movies
4:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Hooray For Nollywood: Nigerian Distributor Casts Wide Net Online

A typical Nigerian film market in Lagos. Though physical distribution of Nollywood films is booming, the digital market has also grown, thanks to a plugged-in African diaspora.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:56 pm

The massively popular Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood started humbly about 20 years ago. Nollywood movies were shot as cheaply and as quickly as possible, then released straight to VHS.

Nollywood caught on globally, and piracy was a major factor in the industry's growth, as copies of copies of Nollywood tapes sold on street corners from Lagos to Harlem. In the early 2000s, Nollywood distribution shifted from VHS to discs — and now, the movies are also beginning to stream online.

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The Legacy And Future Of Mass Incarceration
4:37 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Decades On, Stiff Drug Sentence Leaves A Life 'Dismantled'

Now 59, George Prendes works as a telemarketer in New York and struggles to make the rent on his small Bronx apartment.
Natasha Haverty

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:11 pm

There are roughly half a million people behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes in America. But no one really knows how many people have been sentenced to long prison bids since the laws known as Rockefeller drug laws first passed 40 years ago.

What's clear is that tough sentencing laws, even for low-level drug dealers and addicts, shaped a generation of young men, especially black and Hispanic men.

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The Two-Way
3:55 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

We Wonder: Why Couldn't Disabled Cruise Ship Be Evacuated?

In this handout from the U.S. Coast Guard the tugs Resolve Pioneer and Dabhol tow and steer the disabled 893-foot Carnival Triumph cruise ship on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 10:05 pm

As the Carnival Triumph drifted for days in the Gulf of Mexico, we wondered: Instead of undertaking a slow, arduous tow to Mobile, Ala., wouldn't it have been easier — and more comfortable for passengers — to send an empty cruise ship to the area and evacuate the 3,143 passengers?

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