All Things Considered
NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.
The story of the woman famously referred to as a "welfare queen" in Ronald Reagan's 1976 campaign is far more bizarre and unsettling than the stereotype she became the emblem for, as a stellar long read from Slate reveals.
Increasingly, privately owned sports teams aren't just asking for newer, fancier digs. They're also asking the public to pay half — or more — of the bill.
Companies are replacing paper resumes with tests designed to collect data from job applicants. They're finding some surprising results.
Melissa Block talks with Josh Levin, executive editor at Slate, about his article about "Welfare Queen" Linda Taylor. She became notorious in the 1970s for her abuses of the welfare system but, as Levin discovered, she also committed far worse crimes.
Friday is the last day for many NPR employees who have chosen to leave the company in a voluntary buyout program.
The White House announced another rule change for people signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Just in time for the holiday rush, the Obama Administration said people whose policies have been cancelled will be allowed to buy so-called catastrophic coverage plans. The high-deductible, low-premium plans that cover the basics and not much more had previously been limited to people under the age of 30 who had demonstrable financial need.
Ahead of his trip to Hawaii for the holidays, President Obama held a year-end press conference at the White House Friday. Despite a tough year, the president insisted he had successes under his watch as well, and said he still hoped 2014 could be a "breakthrough year."
One upon a time, the National Football League had trouble packing its stadiums. To encourage fans to attend games instead of watching them at home, the games did not air on local TV. Today, filling stadium seats is not usually a problem, but the so-called blackout rules endure — at least for now. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins Audie Cornish to talk about that and check in on the NFL's season.
Detroit is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and police officers there are being asked to do more for less money because the police force has been shrinking faster than the city's population. But many hope that a newly hired top cop will change this. James Craig spent the bulk of his career on the Los Angeles police force, but he started as a beat cop in Motor City in 1977. Audie Cornish talks to Craig about his return home and the city's tough law enforcement situation.
Robert Siegel recently returned from a reporting trip to Qatar. He joins Melissa Block to talk about some of the stories he reported while there.
The presidential panel on NSA has brought renewed attention to the practice of spying this week. Phone tapping, searching records and general intrigue — these have been popular topics in literature and film for well nigh a century. But espionage is not often a glamorous task, as author Julia Keller reminds us.
Melissa Block speaks with regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times for the latest in political news. They'll talk about another looming debt ceiling fight in early 2014, new changes to the Affordable Care Act, and a White House panel's review of NSA surveillance programs.
President Obama held a year-end press conference Friday at the White House. He touted successes under his watch including improved jobs numbers and a stronger economy, increased oil and gas production, and said a million people had signed up for private health plans on state and federal exchanges. He also chided lawmakers for allowing extended unemployment benefits to lapse. And he took questions from reporters on a range of other issues.
Robots from around the world are competing in a Pentagon-sponsored robot "Olympics" this weekend. The challenge is to build a robot that can do human tasks and even go into disaster zones.
Colorado and Washington state are setting up legalized marijuana markets, and advocates are celebrating. But there are signs of discontent. Even a founder of a marijuana legalization group says there's a possibility of a popular backlash.
Two decades ago, labor unions warned that the North American Free Trade Agreement would drive away U.S. jobs and push wages down. Today, unions feel as strongly as ever that NAFTA was a mistake for U.S. workers, but quantifying the factors behind the decline in the middle class is no simple matter.
GlaxoSmithKline says it will stop paying doctors to speak on its behalf at conferences and will also stop paying for doctors to attend conferences where marketing takes place. The company is also changing the way it compensates its global sales force. Some of the changes will go into effect by early 2015, others will take a bit longer.
Moscow has agreed to a massive financial bail-out for Ukraine, including big discounts on natural gas supplies from Russia and billions of dollars in loans. The deal will buy some time for embattled President Viktor Yanukovich, but it's unlikely to solve Ukraine's weeks-long political crisis. Tens of thousands of demonstrators continue to occupy the main square in Kiev, protesting Yanukovich's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union, and his turn toward Russia. Critics are asking what strings are attached to Russia's largesse, and economists question whether it's a good deal for anyone.
In the six months since leaks about NSA surveillance began, the intelligence community has struggled to cope with the ramifications of the unauthorized disclosures. With the scandal still reverberating, we take a year-end look at how NSA contractor Edward Snowden got the documents, the scale of what he took, what other categories of documents might still be revealed.