Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:50 pm
Days before a budget crisis deadline will hit the U.S. economy, President Obama says, "I'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time."
The details of that agreement, which could avert automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are set to take effect on Jan. 1, would likely come from discussions between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
It's been a holiday week here at the old PCHH studios (I'm just kidding, that's completely not a thing), but we've got good news: we're offering the audio of our live show, which we recorded on December 15, in front of an incredibly patient and kind crowd.
The tortuous negotiations involved in the "fiscal cliff" talks are like a chess game.
To shed some light on the kinds of negotiation techniques that members of Congress might be using during the talks, we asked two negotiators to walk us through their tactics with examples from their everyday lives.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 2:46 pm
Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to an extension on labor negotiations, a federal mediator said Friday, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET: The temporary deal extends the contract to Feb. 6.
Women shop and trade at a market in Razon city, northeast of Pyongyang, in September. Most private trading, which is the only source of income for almost half of North Korean families, is done by women.
Credit Ng Han Guan / AP
Women work at a bookstore in Pyongyang. With so many men unable to find work and support a family, more young women are willing to delay marriage.
Imagine going to work every day and not getting paid. Then, one day, you're told there's no work to do — so you must pay the company for the privilege of not working.
This is the daily reality facing Mrs. Kim, a petite 52-year-old North Korean. Her husband's job in a state-run steel factory requires him to build roads. She can't remember the last time he received a monthly salary. When there are no roads to build, he has to pay his company around 20 times his paltry monthly salary, she says.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, are you invited to any parties for Kwanzaa, which is going on now? If the answer is yes, you're not alone. If the answer is no, you're not alone, either. We'll ask just how widely observed is this inspired-by-Africa, made-in-America celebration.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, all kinds of folks made their debut on Twitter this year, including His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. We decided we wanted to talk about the best and worst of 2012 on Twitter. That's coming up later in the program.
Looking ahead to the new year, we would like to know if you are planning to make a change in an effort to bring peace into your life. It could be anything: trying to reconcile with someone with whom you are estranged, cutting up your credit cards, cleaning out the garage or making plans for a weekly date night. Whatever it is, if the intention is to bring peace to your life, we'd like to hear about it
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:03 am
Vowing to stop smoking, curb spending or exercise more this January 1? Nearly half of U.S. adults will make year-end resolutions to change for the better in the coming year. Clinical psychologist John Norcross talks about how to increase the odds of success.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:49 am
You folks were busy this year.
According to our friend Kate Myers, by the start of this week there had been about 200,200 comments posted in this blog's threads in 2012. She tells us that about 21,000 different people shared their thoughts.
The person who had the most to say (and this won't be a surprise to frequent readers) was "Art Aficionado." He shared his thoughts nearly 2,000 times this year.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. This week we've been revisiting some of our favorite interviews of 2012, and we conclude the week by presenting two more: Terry's visits with Stephen Colbert and Doris Day.
As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 2, 2012.
The biggest female box-office star in Hollywood history, Doris Day started singing and dancing when she was a teenager, and made her first film when she was 24. After nearly 40 movies, she walked away from that part of her life in 1968, and started rescuing and caring for animals.
This WWII-era minesweeper once was a floating museum in St. Louis. Swept away in a 1993 flood, it has been under water in the river for most of the years since. But the ship has been exposed as the river's water level has fallen. (Photo taken on Dec. 14.)
With a gauge at the tricky section of the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill., already registering a remarkably low water level — and projections that it will fall further in coming days and weeks — trade groups are warning that barge traffic through that part of the river may have to halt completely as soon as next week.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 10:41 am
Got milk? Ancient European farmers who made cheese thousands of years ago certainly had it. But at that time, they lacked a genetic mutation that would have allowed them to digest raw milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood.
Today, however, 35 percent of the global population — mostly people with European ancestry — can digest lactose in adulthood without a hitch.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 7:37 am
The death Thursday of retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf — "Stormin' Norman" — has prompted many looks at the legacy of the American commander who led coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army out of Kuwait.
A thief stole brightly wrapped presents, which a French family had left in an unlocked car. But the thief left his cell phone behind. When the family went to the police station to report the theft, the alleged thief was there too, reporting his lost phone.
Dennis Lehane, who wrote the darkly compelling novels Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, has lost his beloved rescue dog. The novelist describes Tessa as "immeasurably sweet." To the finder, Lehane will name a character after you in his next novel.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 7:37 am
As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed a law "that bans Americans from adopting Russian children and imposes other measures in retaliation for new U.S. legislation meant to punish Russian human rights abusers," Reuters reports.
On China's Internet over the past couple of months, it's felt like open season on corrupt officials. Every week or so, some cyber-citizen posts an incriminating video or allegation. Instead of deleting the material, censors have often left it up. So far, at least seven officials have either lost their jobs or are under investigation. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on what's driving the recent exposure of graft and why it may not last.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:48 am
So far there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks between Democrats and Republicans in Washington to stave off the tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day. President Obama has summoned top congressional leaders for talks at the White House on Friday.
Also last month, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency joked to an environmental law conference: Everyone who wants my job, stand up. Yesterday, Lisa Jackson turned serious and made it official: She's leaving the EPA next month.
As NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin reports, there are mixed feelings about Jackson's departure.