Three days of intense pressure persuaded House Republicans to give in and approve a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation benefits. Linda Wertheimer talks to NPR's Tamara Keith about the reversal by GOP leaders in the House.
As Eater reported this week, some politicians believe this country is awash in food waste. But this isn't the stuff in the garbage — it's the way we pour money into building restaurants, promoting American food products abroad, and encouraging the purchase of local foods.
When the histories of the current 111th Congress are finally written, maybe it all will become clear.
But for right now, there seem to be many more questions than answers.
For instance, why did House Republicans ever think it was a good idea to stake out a position on the payroll-tax issue that would leave them holding the bag for a new year's tax increase for 160 million workers? That has now been averted with Congress' passage Friday morning of a two-month extension of the current payroll-tax holiday.
Though there are more ways today to create a baby than ever before – with help from a friend or stranger's sperm, egg, embryo or womb, just to name a few—questions continue to swirl about what and when to tell the resulting children about how they're related to whom.
A review of 259,978 gravesites and more than 510,000 records at Arlington National Cemetery has identified 64,230 cases of potential problems that range from minor mistakes in files to errors on gravestones, according to a U.S. Army report delivered to Congress on Thursday.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. An Irish man received a touching Christmas gift when 100-year-old letter from his mother to Santa was printed in the Irish Times. He had never seen the letter. The slightly-scorched note had been stuck in the chimney of his mother's childhood home in Dublin for more than 80 years until the current owner discovered it. Annie Howard was just 10 in 1911 when she asked Santa for gloves, toffee and a baby doll.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin was writing for the majority in an insurance fraud case. He produced six pages of verse with gems like: "Convictions for the forgery and theft are approbated — the sentence for insurance fraud, however, is vacated."
As with everything happening in Congress these days, the deal reached Thursday to pass a 2-month extension of a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed isn't a "done deal" just yet.
And for it to be "done" later today will require the "unanimous consent" of House members — something that sounds rather daunting as one of the most partisan years in recent memory draws to a close.
South Korean soldiers face a North Korean soldier standing at the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on Thursday. North Korea's neighbors are reassessing their policies following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
Credit Wally Santana / AP
North Korean soldiers watch the South Korean side of the demilitarized zone on Thursday. North Korea has tightened security and put troops on alert since the announcement of Kim's death.
The boundary between North and South Korea has been called the world's most dangerous border. But on Thursday, the most dangerous thing about it appeared to be the biting cold and bone-chilling wind, with one Korean soldier jokingly describing the temperature as "hell."
At the Joint Security Area where the actual demarcation line is, half a dozen South Korean soldiers stood at the alert, facing off against one solitary North Korean soldier in khaki. The only unusual sign was the North Korean flag flying at half-staff.
Few things announce the arrival of Christmas-time like the sound of bells. And chances are many of the bells you hear this holiday season can be sourced to one small, family-owned manufacturing business in Connecticut. Bevin Brothers was founded 180 years ago.
Men's professional basketball was on a long break because of the lockout. But on Christmas Day, the NBA season begins with a five-game package featuring exciting teams and glittering superstars. There's a rematch between defending champion Dallas and everyone's favorite team to hate — the Miam Heat.
MONTAGNE: The frenzy for Apple's phone 4S has failed to catch on in much of Europe. Given the product's high price and the region's weak economies, shoppers just haven't bitten. Apple's market share has dropped in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Though, the British never wants to fall in with the continent have fallen hard for the phone. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
It appears as if the bitter fighting in Congress is about to come to an end just in time for Christmas. Today, the House and the Senate are expected to approve an extension of the payroll tax holiday and benefits for the long-term unemployed. This required a major reversal for House Republicans who, earlier this week, voted to reject a nearly identical compromise.
Over the last year, many dictators have fallen from power. To name a few: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died. Linda Wertheimer talks to Susan Glasser, with Foreign Policy magazine, about the year that was and which of the world's remaining strongmen need to worry about what 2012 has to offer.
After the fall of the Taliban, Abdul Wahkeel was the first potter to return to the Afghan village of Istalif.
Istalif had been home to generations of potters who crafted teapots, dishes and pots that glow a jewel-like blue. But Wahkeel and other villagers left after the Taliban torched workshops, smashed pottery and — it was said — killed birds in their cages.
When NPR's Renee Montagne first arrived in Istalif in 2002, she heard Wahkeel's story as he was centering clay on his potter's wheel.
"It is two months now that I have returned back to my home," he told her.
Willa Booker, 53, has been out of work for more than two years. A former medical records administrator in Chicago, Booker says she just wants someone to give her a chance.
Credit Cheryl Corley / NPR
Jonathan Gandy worked as a project coordinator for an insurance company and then as a computer consultant for a nonprofit through Americorps. He's been searching for a full-time job for a year and a half.
Although the U.S. gained more than 120,000 jobs last month, the numbers of the long-term unemployed barely shifted and the unemployment rates for African-Americans continued to go through the roof.
A recent NPR and Kaiser Family foundation poll shows although the long-term unemployed face many of the same difficulties regardless of race, there are distinct differences between blacks and whites struggling to find work.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul is anything but an establishment GOP candidate. Yet, he is at the top of the polls in Iowa, largely because his message appeals to more than just the typical Republican caucus-goer. That was made clear when he met John McCarthy and Michelle Godez-Schilling, both of whom attended a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa.
"I would like to say I'm an independent, and for the first time in my life I'm affiliated with one of the two major parties because of you," McCarthy told Paul.
Sixth Street in downtown Austin, Texas, is one of the city's premiere live music districts. Guitar-shaped Christmas decorations hang on light poles, and the street is alive with bands and bars. Tonight you can hear Austin Heat at the Thirsty Nickel, Mike Milligan and the Altar Boys at Maggie Mae's, or you could catch Misbehavin' at the Dizzy Rooster.
Daniel Davis, a tall, thin birch tree of a man, is willing to eat almost anything. Indeed, cooking and eating are two unadulterated pleasures in Dan's life. But he recently revealed to me, his wife, that there is one dish that, as a kid, he actually feared as Christmas drew near: ambrosia salad.