The Salt
5:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

These Days, School Lunch Hours Are More Like 15 Minutes

Students at Lowell High School in Michigan sit down for lunch. Shorter lunch breaks mean that many kids don't get enough time to eat and socialize.
Emily Zoladz Landov

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:09 am

It's lunchtime at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif., and that means fence hoppers. Several kids wear mischievous grins as they speedily scale a 12-foot-high metal perimeter.

In theory, anyway, Oakland High is a "closed campus." That's done in the interest of safety and security and to cut down on school-skipping. It means kids can't leave during school hours without parental consent, especially at lunchtime. But it doesn't stop several students from breaking out.

Read more
NPR Story
4:44 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

USAID Contractor, Four Years In Cuban Jail, Asks Obama For Help

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

Robert Siegel talks with Peter Wallsten of The Washington Post about the story of Alan Gross, a USAID contractor held in a Cuban prison for the last four years. Gross had been working on a covert project installing internet in a Jewish community in Cuba.

NPR Story
4:44 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Ski Resorts Work To Turn China's Middle Class Into Snow Bunnies

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Colorado's ski resorts are looking far and wide for potential customers, including emerging markets like China. About 12 percent of visitors to the state's ski areas come from overseas. And with China's middle class growing, Colorado resorts are looking to profit. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

MARCI KRIVONEN, BYLINE: Inside the offices of the Aspen Skiing Company, Candace Sherman is learning Mandarin Chinese...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

KRIVONEN: ...using a Rosetta Stone audio course.

Read more
3:44 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

House committee bill could change sentences for juvenile lifers

Lead in text: 
The state Senate has proposed similar legislation, but the new House bill would also apply to current prisoners.
DETROIT - Detroit retirees promised to take their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be to protect their benefits after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that Detroit can reorganize under Chapter 9 bankruptcy and can do so by including city pensions as part of that restructuring.
The Fresh Air Interview
2:57 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Mark Mulcahy Is The 'Moving Forward Type'

Mark Mulcahy, the songwriter behind the much-beloved "Hey Sandy," returns after eight years and a tragic loss.
R. Murray Courtesy of the artist

Read more
Commentary
2:57 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

What To Expect When You're Expecting ... To Share Your Baby Photos

Where will you share your baby's adorable post-bath pics?
Chris Parypa iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:42 pm

This summer, I hit one of life's great milestones: I became a person who posts baby pictures on the Internet. A lot of them.

Our son was born in August, and I have already taken 15,000 pictures of him, hundreds that I want to share with our family and close friends, and a few dozen that I might want to show colleagues and acquaintances. But how?

In theory, we're in a golden age of photo sharing. There are literally dozens of ways to share photos with friends now. But with the new capabilities of the Internet come new and distinctly contemporary problems.

Read more
2:50 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

More than 60 percent of Michigan college grads in debt

Lead in text: 
Last year’s college graduates had an average of more than $28,000 worth of student debt. That’s about $1,000 more than in 2011.
Michigan's 2012 college graduates each borrowed $1,000 more on average than their peers who graduated a year earlier, a report released today shows. That pushed Michigan into the 10th spot among states in average debt per graduate, according to the report from the Project on Student Debt, an initiative of The Institute for College Access & Success.
Planet Money
1:46 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

'Our Industry Follows Poverty': Success Threatens A T-Shirt Business

Noreli Morales (right) works on the Planet Money women's T-shirt at a factory in Medellin, Colombia.
Joshua Davis for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:26 pm

The Planet Money men's T-shirt was made in Bangladesh, by workers who make about $3 a day, with overtime. The Planet Money women's T-shirt was made in Colombia, by workers who make roughly $13 a day, without overtime.

The wages in both places are remarkably low by U.S. standards. But the gap between them is huge. Workers in Colombia make more than four times what their counterparts make in Bangladesh. In our reporting, we saw that the workers in Colombia have a much higher standard of living than the workers in Bangladesh.

Read more
12:43 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Albion Superintendent to step down at end of school year

Lead in text: 
Albion School Board accepted resignation of Jerry-Lynn Williams-Harper Tuesday night
ALBION - Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper, the Albion Public Schools superintendent who oversaw the closing of Albion High School and the sending of its students to Marshall, announced Tuesday she'll resign at the end of this school year.
Your Money
11:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Shopping With Your Values In Mind

Shopping is on everyone's mind during the holiday season — not just what to buy, but where you buy it. Host Michel Martin speaks with columnists David Sirota and Mario Loyola about shopping with your values in mind.

Economy
11:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Retirees Fear Losing Pensions In Bankrupt Detroit

A federal judge has given Detroit the green light to enter bankruptcy. Host Michel Martin speaks with Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley about what it means for Motown residents.

Africa
11:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Muslim-Christian Conflict Threatens Central African Republic

Since a coup last spring, the Central African Republic has spiraled towards chaos. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and civilians are getting caught in the crossfire. Host Michel Martin talks with Lewis Mudge of Human Rights Watch about the growing calls for international intervention.

Landline phones
8:50 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Senate bill could make it easier to end landline phone service

Credit WMUK

Interview with Mike Nofs

    

State Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek is chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee he is the sponsor of the bill. 

Read more
Business
7:31 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Confirmation: Selfies Are Forces Of Evil

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. For those who believes selfies are a force of evil, here's confirmation. Darth Vader just posted on Instagram a photo of his face - that is, his iconic black helmet - with the tag GPOM for Gratuitous Portrait Of Myself. The selfie launched the Star Wars Instagram account - a marketing effort by Disney - two full years before the next sequel. It's a pretty good shot, though we have to say a little on the dark side. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

7:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Two candidates still considered for Benton Harbor City Manager

Lead in text: 
Some commissioners want to start search again
BENTON HARBOR - No one is certain what will happen next now that the Benton Harbor City Commission has interviewed the two finalists for the city manager's position. No formal action was taken after the interviews Monday.
6:47 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Four candidates to be interviewed for vacancy on Portage City Council

Lead in text: 
Two former mayors, a former city council member and the candidate who finished runner-up in last election apply to serve
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
PORTAGE, MI - Four candidates will be interviewed Dec. 16 to fill a vacancy on the Portage City Council. The Portage City Council Tuesday voted 6-0 to interview the four people who applied to serve the remaining two years on the term of former Councilwoman Elizabeth Campbell: Cory Bailes, Richard Ford, James Graham and Betty Lee Ongley.
6:40 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Battle Creek to demolish two buildings to fight blight

Lead in text: 
Buildings on Capital Avenue Northeast once had retail and upper level apartments
Two vacant commercial buildings on Capital Avenue Northeast are slated for demolition as the city continues to battle against blight. Battle Creek commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept a $64,050 offer from Pitsch Co., which beat out three higher bids, to tear down the buildings at 411, 415, 427 and 429 Capital Ave.
Politics
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition)

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:39 pm

In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.

1. Categorical Eligibility

People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."

Read more
Middle East
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Iran's Nuclear Deal Faces Big Test

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to visit Iran's heavy-water reactor in the city of Arak on Sunday as part of an international deal on the country's nuclear program.
Hamid Forutan EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:39 pm

The nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers will face its first test this weekend. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are due to make a long-delayed visit to a nuclear site in Iran where plutonium could be produced.

A nuclear reactor and associated production plant in Arak are a special concern because plutonium can be used in a nuclear bomb. Under last month's accord, Iran promised to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Officials on both sides say they are committed to the nuclear deal, but keeping it on track will be a challenge.

Read more
Sports
5:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NFL Thursday Matchup: 2 Losing Teams Will Still Get Ratings

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 7:14 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It must be said the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars tomorrow night, is not a marquee matchup. The Texans are two-and-10, the Jaguars look a little better, having won three of their last four games, but that was only after losing the first eight games of the season. In fact, these teams combine for the lowest-winning percentage in the history of the NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football" games.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:22 am
Wed December 4, 2013

A Holiday Photo Book That Puts Families In An 'Awkward' Position

Someone has earned a spot on the naughty list this year.
Courtesy of Three Rivers Press

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:06 pm

In 2009, Mike Bender was horrified to find that his mother had hung a particularly embarrassing family photo.

"It was a vacation photo. It was my dad's 50th birthday. I was 13," he says. "My dad had my brother and I do a Rockette's kick with our skis. We were on top of a mountain, right by the lift, and I just remember feeling, you know, stuck in that pose: This. Is. Awkward."

But as an adult he realized that the photo was not only awkward — it was hilarious.

Read more
Sweetness And Light
3:07 am
Wed December 4, 2013

To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?

Fox sportscasters Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson appear during the 2005 Super Bowl pregame show in Jacksonville, Fla.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:39 pm

The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.

"They've got to cut down on turnovers."

"They've got to convert more third-down situations."

And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like The View and The Talk, the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. And they dare do it all without a net, before a live audience.

Read more
Parallels
3:06 am
Wed December 4, 2013

There And Back Again: One Afghan's Journey To Find Home

An Afghan man rides a horse at sunset on Nadir Khan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan. Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape the Taliban-controlled country, only to return after 12 years living in England.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 9:28 pm

In 2000, Auliya Atrafi paid thousands of dollars and risked his life to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. He spent 12 years in England getting educated and becoming a documentary filmmaker.

Last year, he gave up life in the West and returned home to southern Helmand province. Now, he's the father of twins and he's working in a rural government office while trying to readjust to life in a conservative society that he finds dysfunctional.

Read more
8:33 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Kalamazoo County Commissioners say more discussion needed before changing retiree pensions and health care

Lead in text: 
Several commissioners say county has made promises to retired employees
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO, MI - While Kalamazoo County may make considerable changes to its retiree health care and pension plans in 2014, it became clear Tuesday commissioners want to discuss the issue at length before approving any adjustments.
8:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Unions, retirees plan for appeal of Detroit bankruptcy ruling

Lead in text: 
Bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that Detroit's bankruptcy process can proceed
While activists who fear cuts to retiree pensions protested outside the courthouse, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Tuesday found Detroit eligible for bankruptcy and gave the city the go-ahead to pursue adjustments to retirement benefits as part of its restructuring plan, despite pensions being explicitly protected by the state constitution.
7:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Senate committee approves bill that makes it easier to end landline service

Lead in text: 
Battle Creek Senator Mike Nofs says safeguards added to ensure reliable phone service
LANSING - Legislation that would make it easier for phone companies in Michigan to discontinue traditional landline service cleared a hurdle Tuesday despite concerns from some consumers and businesses. Senior citizen groups and others are worried they'll lose access to vital phone, medical alert and alarm services.
Politics
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Obama Offers Second Chance For Missouri Court Nominee

Ronnie White, then-chief justice-elect of the Missouri Supreme Court, talks with reporters in June 2003.
Kelley McCall AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:50 pm

President Obama has made it a priority to choose federal judges who are diverse in terms of race or gender. But for the most part, he's avoided controversy for those lifetime appointments.

That's why the nomination of a Missouri lawyer named Ronnie White has raised the eyebrows of experts who've been around Washington for a while. Old hands remember that White was rejected for a federal judgeship back in 1999 after a party line vote by Senate Republicans.

Now, in what experts say could be an unprecedented step, he's getting another chance.

Read more
Technology
6:39 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

FCC Proposes AM Radio Changes To Give The Band A Boost

For years, sports broadcasts were a staple of AM radio. But now, AM seems to be mostly a mix of talk shows and infomercials, and the Federal Communications Commission wants the band to be relevant again.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:24 pm

AM radio once played a central role in American life. The family would gather around the Philco to hear the latest Western or detective drama. The transistor radio was where baby boomers first heard the Beatles and other Top 40 hits. And, of course, there's no better way to take in a ballgame.

Read more
5:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Eminem matches Michigan children's charity donations

Lead in text: 
Wolverine Human Services helps kids between the ages of twelve and eighteen who were victims of abuse and neglect.
DETROIT, MI - The donations keep pouring in for an Eminem-backed fundraising campaign to support a Michigan-based charity that helps the needs of children in Detroit, Flint and other areas of the rapper's home state.
Parallels
5:11 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Will Progress On Nuke Talks Mean More Engagement From Iran?

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Nov. 24 in Geneva, after the announcement of a deal halting parts of Iran's nuclear program.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:01 pm

The U.S. and other major powers have been holding historic negotiations with Iran to try to curb that country's nuclear program. But Washington still has many other concerns about Iranian behavior. And while some diplomats may hope to build on the nuclear talks to push Iran to play a more constructive role in the region, experts remain skeptical.

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says there are a couple of ways to look at the negotiations with Iran.

Read more

Pages