This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's talk about everything that was left out of the fiscal cliff compromise approved by Congress yesterday. The measure does raise taxes for the wealthy and preserve tax cuts for others, and extend unemployment insurance again, among other things. But it left a huge amount of fighting for the New Year.
Now, as Frank pointed out, a lot of illegal sports betting is spurred by college basketball. But college football also keeps plenty of bookies in business, especially these past few weeks with all these bowl games.
(SOUNDBITE OF ESPN BROADCAST)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ohio, Louisiana-Monroe Advocare V-100 Independence Bowl, Rutgers-Virginia Technology, Russell Athletics Bowl, Minnesota-Texas Tech, Mineke Car Bowl of Texas...
Being a little overweight may tip the odds in favor of living a long life, according to a new analysis. Researchers say there may be some benefit to having a little extra body fat.
This isn't the first time researchers have raised questions about the link between body weight and how long someone will live. While there's no debate that being severely obese will raise the risk of all kinds of illnesses and even cut some lives short, it's less clear what happens to people who are less overweight.
A policeman stands guard at the Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, in June. The Lower House recently passed a bill similar to the United States' Patriot Act, touching off a debate about privacy in the country.
Earlier this month, Pakistan's powerful Lower House of Parliament passed what analysts have dubbed Pakistan's Patriot Act. Its name here is "Investigation for Fair Trial Bill."
It has been presented to the Pakistani people as a way to update existing law and usher the rules for investigation in Pakistan into the 21st century. Among other things, it makes electronic eavesdropping admissible as evidence in court.
Most of us do everything possible to avoid mosquitoes. But one Italian researcher literally sacrifices her right arm to keep the lowly insects alive.
Chiara Adolina is studying a new malaria drug, and she needs the little suckers for her experiments. So she feeds them each day with her own blood.
She extends her arm into a mosquito cage to give the insects "breakfast." Several dozen mosquitoes spread across her forearm and jam their proboscises into her skin. "Can you see how fat they become?" she says. "Look at that tummy."
The millions of Americans who make New Year's resolutions to lose weight often have pictures in mind.
They're pictures that have been repeatedly supplied by the health and beauty magazines at supermarket checkout lines. They feature skinny models in bikinis, or toned guys with six-pack abs, and captions about how you could look like this by summer.
Some people go so far as to tape these pictures onto their refrigerators and cupboards. When they're tempted to reach for a cookie, they reason, the sight of that toned model might dissuade them from breaking their resolutions.
The U.S. Navy version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter conducts a test flight on Feb. 11, 2011, over the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The F-35 is the fighter jet of the future for the U.S. military, but its high cost and many delays have raised questions.
After years on the drawing boards and in testing labs, a new fighter plane is entering the U.S. arsenal. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to help the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines replace their fleet of aging aircraft.
But this plane has become the most expensive military procurement program in history. While critics continue to carp about the cost, the plane is now in the skies, and the military says it's the lynchpin for future defense strategies.
For those dearly devoted of you who paid attention to me in September, I noted that the best bet in the NFL had proven to be whenever a West Coast team played an East Coast team at night, because the Pacific players had their body clocks better set.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am
The budget compromise bill that is meant to allow the U.S. government to avoid higher tax rates and austere budget cuts has tax rates as its central issue, with discussions about more spending cuts, and the federal debt limit, put off until the coming weeks.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
It looks like House lawmakers will take action on a compromise bill to avert the fiscal cliff. Early this morning, the Senate approved a compromise deal hammered out by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, it appears the House may follow suit, or at least they'll try. An up or down vote is scheduled later tonight.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. And we begin this hour in limbo. Early this morning, barely two hours into the new year, the Senate voted 89 to 8 to keep tax rates just where they were last year for all household income up to $450,000. Midnight brought the expiration of those rates, along with a schedule of new, deep spending cuts that the Senate vote would delay. But that vote means nothing without the House acting as well.
Welcome to a future when time travel has been outlawed, meaning only outlaws like Joe, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, travel through time. Joe's an assassin for a crime syndicate that sends folks it wants erased back from 30 years hence.
Gordon-Levitt's been made up to look like a young Bruce Willis, and when Willis shows up as one of the folks he's supposed to kill — well, that's called closing the loop — and there you have director Rian Johnson's nifty premise.
In the aftermath of the Compromise of 1850, a controversial bill that included the Fugitive Slave Act, the journey to freedom became increasingly difficult for enslaved people. In Tracy Chevalier's newest novel, Ohio and its intricate network of Underground Railroad activity provides a rich background for this period.
Arizona's new 9th Congressional District is sending a different type of representative to Washington this week: She's young — 36. She grew up homeless for a time. And she'll be the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema marvels at the number of women, minorities and members of the LGBT community who will join her in the freshman class, which will be sworn in Thursday.
Most of the really big changes made by the 2010 health law don't start for another year. That includes things like a ban on restricting pre-existing conditions, and required insurance coverage for most Americans. But Jan. 1, 2013, will nevertheless mark some major changes.
In covering this debate, much has been made of income tax rates and where exactly they should be raised. But one fact has gotten far less notice. Starting today, payroll taxes are going up two percentage points for nearly all American workers. NPR's John Ydstie joins us to talk about it. And John, this means lower take-home pay for a lot of workers starting very soon.
Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.
Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Early this morning, the Senate approved a fiscal cliff package that includes some important steps forward on taxes, an unemployment extension and a new farm bill, among others. But now it appears that bill may be in trouble in the House of Representatives. NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving joins us now from his home here in Washington, D.C. Ron, Happy New Year.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. This afternoon, House Democrats and Republicans are meeting separately to consider the Senate-approved deal that would avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. Some House Republicans indicate they'd like to amend that bill and send it back to the Senate, which if it doesn't get done tonight could invalidate the negotiated deal. It would then become a problem for the next Congress, which takes office on Thursday. As of now, no vote is scheduled.
Right now in Pasadena, the floats in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade are the homestretch. The Rose Parade is a long-established national tradition, of course, watched every year by hundreds of thousands across the country. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison covered the event many times and wrote today: Its huge cultural shadow has been as much about what you didn't see on display as what you did.
For the 150th birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation, the National Archives is displaying the original document for members of the public to visit. A'Lelia Bundles, chair and president of the board of directors of the Foundation for the National Archives, viewed the Proclamation Sunday; she discusses what the document did — and did not do — for slaves.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 11:03 am
Following an already violent year in Pakistan, on the first day of the New Year gunmen shot and killed five teachers and two aid workers as they were driving home from work.
According to The Associated Press, the groups director said they may have been targeted for their anti-polio work, which would follow a pattern of attacks against charity and aid workers in Pakistan in recent weeks.
I first heard Natalie Maines's version of "Mother," the Pink Floyd song, while sitting alone in my car on a particularly difficult Saturday morning. It was the day after Adam Lanza took his mother's guns into Sandy Hook elementary school and wreaked destruction, and like many people across America, I'd spent most of the previous day trying to grasp what had happened. I really mean grasp: like so many tragedies that don't involve me directly yet engross me as they unfold in raw, real time on the Web, this one quickly became a spectral burden that was difficult to shake.
Waves crash over the Kulluk oil rig, which washed aground on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska. Officials say aircraft have not spotted any signs of a fuel leak from the rig, which reportedly does not contain crude oil.
Credit Jeff Brady / NPR
The drilling rig Kulluk, seen here in 2010, is specially built to work in the Arctic Ocean. Its round shape deflects ice floating in the water.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am
An oil drilling rig holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel, lubricating oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after it was being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.
"The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour," reports Jeff Brady, on NPR's Newscast. The Shell Oil rig is "about 250 miles south of Anchorage," Jeff says.
Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 10:39 am
A compromise deal to stop broad spending cuts and tax increases is headed to the House of Representatives, after receiving strong support in the Senate. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., talks with Steve Inskeep about a possible House vote on the "fiscal cliff" deal.
Cole, the House deputy majority whip who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, says he expects the House to approve the Senate bill, calling it "a pretty big win."
Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 6:19 am
As the new year begins, we here at The Salt are looking back at the food topics that got you talking in 2012, and pondering which conversations will continue in 2013. (And, like many of you, we're also firmly swearing off the holiday cookies.) So, instead, feast your eyes on this roundup of our top stories from the past 12 months: