When the sun rises over the Rio Grande Valley, the cries of the urracas — blackbirds — perched on the tops of palm trees swell to a noisy, unavoidable cacophony. That is also the strategy, it could be said, that local officials, health care providers and frustrated valley residents are trying to use to persuade Gov. Rick Perry and state Republican lawmakers to set aside their opposition and expand Medicaid, a key provision of the federal health law.
Worker Charles Lee sorts through clothes at Mac Recycling near Baltimore. Textile recycling is a huge international business, and a small facility like Mac ships about 80 tons of clothes each week to buyers around the world.
Credit Jackie Northam / NPR
Bales of used clothing are seen at Mac Recycling near Baltimore. Textile recycling is a huge international business, and a small facility like Mac ships about 80 tons of clothes each week to buyers around the world.
On a bright and warm Saturday morning, there's a steady flow of people dropping off donations at Martha's Table, a charity in downtown Washington, D.C. A mountain of plastic and paper bags stuffed with used dresses, scarves, skirts and footwear expands in one corner of the room. Volunteers sort and put clothes on hangers. They'll go on sale next door, and the proceeds will help the needy in the area.
It's a scene played out across the U.S.: people donating their old clothes, whether through collection bins or through large charities, to help others.
NBC News has put together a time-lapse video of the EF-4 tornado that tore through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Okla.
As we told you in the live blog, the National Weather Service says it was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.
David Rainey, a former BP vice president during the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, leaves federal court after being arraigned on obstruction of a federal investigation in New Orleans on Nov. 28, 2012. A federal judge Monday dismissed the charge that Rainey obstructed a congressional investigation into the 2010 spill.
A federal judge in Louisiana has thrown out the central criminal charge against a former BP executive because prosecutors failed to prove he knew about a pending congressional investigation into oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico three years ago. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt also ruled that a Democratic House member who inquired about the oil flow rate was acting as head of a subcommittee, not a full congressional committee, as required under the federal Obstruction of Justice statute.
Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and a founding member of The Doors, died Monday in Germany. He was 74.
A statement from publicist Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald said Manzarek died in Rosenheim, Germany, after a long battle with bile duct cancer.
Manzarek and Jim Morrison founded the iconic band after meeting in California. The Doors went on to become one of the most successful rock 'n' roll acts of the 1960s — and continues to have an impact decades after Morrison's death in 1971.
Beth Lapides (with music director-producer Mitch Kaplan) is the founder and ringmaster at UnCabaret, a Los Angeles comedy institution that's marking its 25th anniversary this year.
Comedian and actress Margaret Cho is among the big-name performers who've taken a turn onstage at UnCabaret, where those who come to the stage are encouraged to try out material that might never make it on the comedy circuit or on TV.
Microsoft hasn't exactly had a great couple of years.
Its new Windows 8 operating system was held responsible for the drop in PC sales last quarter. Sales of its Windows Phones lag far behind both the iPhone and Google's Android phones.
The light in the darkness for Microsoft has been the Xbox 360, which has been the top-selling game console for over two years — beating out both the Nintendo Wii and Sony's PlayStation. On Tuesday, Microsoft is expected to announce a new version of the Xbox.
ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
Document prep technician Carol Sine (left) and tracer Debra Barrett process firearm transaction documents at the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) processes firearm transaction documents from firearms dealers no longer in business, no matter the condition of the documents, such as this fire-and-water damaged ledger at their National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.
A pilgrim walks the Way of St. James outside Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, on July 21, 2010. The ancient religious pilgrimage is also attracting the nonreligious these days.
Credit Eleanor Beardsley / NPR
"I always wanted to do this pilgrimage for the adventure and spiritual growth," says Pascal Begin, a 55-year-old French parish priest. "But whether you're religious or not, everyone is looking for simplicity and getting to know themselves and meeting others. It's just human."
Credit Xurxo Lobato / Cover/Getty Images
A pilgrim prays before a crucifix in Somport, France, along the Way of St. James. Last year, nearly 200,000 pilgrims walked the journey.
A 1,200-year old European pilgrimage route is experiencing a revival. Last year alone, some 200,000 followed in the footsteps of their medieval forebears on the Way of St. James, making their way some 750 miles from Paris across France to the Spanish coastal city of Santiago de Compostela, and the relics of the eponymous apostle.
A woman carries her child through a field near the collapsed Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on Monday A tornado as much as a mile wide with winds up to 200 mph roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school.
A massive tornado ripped through the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, according to the state medical examiner's office.
The death toll was expected to rise.
Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore, Okla., completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes and traveled 20 miles.
Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr could be considered a bargain compared with its other big-dollar bets. The company's history is dotted with pricey purchases of once-hot Web properties that had more promise than eventual purpose. A look back:
When movie stars become unbankable, they're no longer a slam dunk at the box office. When investments become unbankable, they're relegated to the Wall Street's junk pile. For ordinary Americans deemed unbankable — those who don't have a traditional checking or savings account — it can be hard to simply pay bills.
And that absence of a bank account is about to become a big problem for those who also lack health coverage — and for the health insurance companies trying to sell them coverage. After all, how do you sell a product to a customer who has no easy way to pay you?
Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.
The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.
William von Schneidau, an intrepid butcher in Seattle, is giving a whole new meaning to "potbelly pig." Lately, he's been feeding marijuana refuse to the pigs he turns into prosciutto for BB Ranch, his butcher shop in the city's famous Pike Place Marke
For years, one of the pieces of advice we've been ignoring is that we should really cut back on our salt intake. Now, a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine says limiting salt below a certain amount may not really do us any good. Around here, we take this to mean: Eat as much salt as you can or you'll die.
Beijing has long been about the closest thing to an ally that Pyongyang enjoys, but the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat by unidentified North Koreans has threatened to put an already tenuous relationship on even shakier ground.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was quoted by The New York Timesas making it fairly clear that his government was not happy about the development.
After uproar over some lesson plans some conservatives deemed un-American, a Texas company has decided scrap a curriculum system used by 877 school districts that were too small or too poor to produce their own.