Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:36 pm
Since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 2009, Sonia Sotomayor has stood out. The nation's first Latina justice is also its most extroverted; not only does she ask far more questions during oral arguments than her predecessor, David Souter, but she also has refused to indulge the court's pose of Olympian detachment. William Rehnquist never threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, and I don't remember Antonin Scalia making an appearance on Sesame Street.
Add this to the list of proposals to overhaul the gun industry: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says he will introduce legislation this week to roll back legal immunity for gun manufacturers and dealers.
Schiff tells NPR there's no need for the 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to remain on the books. That law gave gun makers, gun dealers and trade groups immunity from most negligence and product liability lawsuits. "Good gun companies don't need special protection from the law," Schiff says, "Bad companies don't deserve it."
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:03 pm
At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.
On this fourth day of French military operations aimed at routing Islamist militants in Mali, the al-Qaida-linked rebels are "vowing to drag France into a long and brutal ground war," Reuters reports.
"France has opened the gates of hell for all the French. She has fallen into a trap which is much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," a spokesman for the MUJWA Islamist group told Europe 1 radio, the wire service writes.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep, with regrets to Kelly Hildebrandt. She became famous in 2009 for marrying a man with the identical name, Kelly Hildebrandt. Perfect. No anxiety about changing names, and if they chose to hyphenate the kids, it would Hildebrandt-Hildebrandt. But now the Hildebrandts have separated and filed for divorce. Miami's WTVJ quotes Mr. Hildebrandt saying, She's a Florida girl, I'm a Texas guy. They're from different worlds. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Winning isn't everything but at least you don't have to dance. The mayors of Denver and Baltimore made a friendly wager when their teams met in the NFL playoffs. When Baltimore won in overtime, it was disaster for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who must now dance like Ray Lewis. The soon-to-retire Baltimore star does an awkward but enthusiastic sideline dance before games. And we're going to find out soon how well Mayor Hancock moves.
A woman helps adjust a mask for her friend outside an amusement park on a hazy day in Beijing on Saturday.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
A woman wears a mask while walking in a park near the China Central Television Tower, background, on a hazy day in Beijing. The elderly, children and those suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are being advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to polluted air.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Air pollution hangs over the skyline as the sun rises over the central business district in Beijing on Monday. Dense smog has shrouded the city with pollution at hazardous levels for days, and residents were advised to stay indoors.
Credit Liu Changlong / Xinhua /Landov
Students take an indoor physical education class at Shoushuihe Elementary School in Beijing, as outdoor sports activities for primary and middle schools were halted due to heavy air pollution. Heavy smog has caused highway closures and flight delays in several provinces.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
This combination of photos shows (left) the Beijing skyline during severe pollution Monday, and the same view (right) taken during clear weather on Feb. 4, 2012.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Beijing hospitals saw a spike in respiratory cases Monday following a weekend of off-the-charts pollution. Here, a row of intravenous drips is seen as parents take their kids to hospital for flu treatment Sunday.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
A woman wears a mask while walking in a park near the China Central Television Tower, background, on a hazy day in Beijing. The elderly, children and those suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to polluted air.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
About 9,000 children per day consult doctors in Beijing's children's hospital, around a third of them suffering from respiratory disorders.
In China's capital, they're calling it the "airpocalypse," with air pollution that's literally off the charts. The air has been classified as hazardous to human health for a fifth consecutive day, at its worst hitting pollution levels 25 times that considered safe in the U.S. The entire city is blanketed in a thick grey smog that smells of coal and stings the eyes, leading to official warnings to stay inside.
The NFL playoffs are down to four teams. The 49ers, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens remain alive. Four other teams are gone, including the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have a great shot at a championship until this past weekend when Baltimore scored a last-minute touchdown to tie the game and then won in overtime.
These playoffs, of course, lead up to the Super Bowl, the biggest game in football and surely among the biggest commercial events in all of sports.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris yesterday to protest government efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The demonstration was considered one of the largest in years. The government of President Francois Hollande says it will go ahead anyway. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.
A week from Monday, President Obama is to take his public oath of office for a second term.
The inauguration will be marked by celebratory balls and other festivities, sponsored by the privately financed Presidential Inaugural Committee. The first Obama inauguration had strict fundraising rules. But this year, the rules have been loosened, and critics wonder what happened to the president's old pledge to change the way Washington works.
When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water.
At one of UVM's recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their refillable bottles is an old habit.
If you live in a college town, you might have noticed that campus coffee shops are still buzzing late into the evening.
And that makes sense. New survey data from the NPD group, which tracks trends in what Americans eat and drink, finds that 18- to 24-year-olds are turning to coffee, rather than caffeinated sodas, as their pick-me-up of choice.
Hepatitis C patient Nancy Turner shows Kathleen Coleman, a nurse practitioner, where a forearm rash, a side effect of her treatment, has healed. Turner is one of many patients with hepatitis C experimenting with new drugs to beat back the virus.
A smoldering epidemic already affects an estimated 4 million Americans, most of whom don't know it.
It's hepatitis C, an insidious virus that can hide in the body for two or three decades without causing symptoms — and then wreak havoc with the liver, scarring it so extensively that it can fail. Half of all people waiting for liver transplants have hepatitis C.
Looming sequestration cuts of massive proportions, coupled with a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan are adding to the boiling partisanship over nominating Chuck Hegel as defense secretary. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that some of the biggest challenges for the Department of Defense come from inside U.S. borders.
Emily Dickinson's poem that begins with the line "I died for beauty" inspires the title of a new biography of Dorothy Wrinch, the path-breaking mathematician who faced the kind of tumult that scientific inquiry can inspire.
Few people outside the sciences have heard of Wrinch. In 1929, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate of science from Oxford University. But that only begins her largely unknown story.
Now, to New York. Printed Matter is a bookstore in Manhattan's Chelsea district. But it's not just any bookstore. The nonprofit works with artists to create, publish and sell their work in book form. It also hosts exhibitions and performances. Over the course of nearly four decades, it's become a beloved institution in New York's art community.
A giant squid stars in this still image taken from the footage Edie Widder shot. It's the first-ever video of these giant squids, and it'll debut in a Discovery Channel documentary airing in late January.
Credit Discovery Channel
A giant squid is attracted to the "e-jellyfish," a bioluminescent lure invented by marine biologist Edie Widder.
For thousands of years, sailors have told stories of giant squids. In myth and cinema, the kraken was the most terrible of sea monsters. Now, it's been captured — on a soon-to-be-seen video.
Even after decades of searching, giant squids had only been seen in still photographs. Finally, in last July, scientists filmed the first video of a live giant squid swimming some 2,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
Edie Widder is the ocean researcher who shot the footage, which is slated to be released in a Discovery Channel documentary later this month.
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 4:27 pm
The head of the National Rifle Association said Sunday that there's little appetite on Capitol Hill for a ban on assault weapons.
"When a president takes all the power of his office, if he's willing to expend political capital, you don't want to make predictions, you don't want to bet your house on the outcome. But I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress," NRA President David Keene said on CNN's State of the Union.
This week, Morning Edition explores the "nones" — Americans who say they don't identify with any religion. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that's their answer: "none."
Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 1:16 pm
An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat.
The decision to retry the strongman who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership.
In recent weeks, President Obama has chosen Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his next secretary of state; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to head the Pentagon; counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director; and his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary.
Each nomination will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and they all could be stopped by a Senate filibuster — that is, the refusal by any one of 100 senators to let a matter come to a final vote.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 7:39 am
Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Eugene Patterson died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer, a family spokeswoman tells The Associated Press. He was 89.
Patterson, editor of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution from 1960 to 1968, "helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, eloquently reminding the silent majority of its complicity in racist violence," the AP reports.