National

Education
5:58 am
Sun December 2, 2012

Pencils Down? French Plan Would End Homework

President Francois Hollande argues that homework puts poor children at a disadvantage, but others argue the extra work is needed to help those students succeed.
Fred Dufour AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 7:39 pm

In the name of equality, the French government has proposed doing away with homework in elementary and junior high school. French President Francois Hollande argues that homework penalizes children with difficult home situations, but even the people whom the proposal is supposed to help disagree.

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Business
3:41 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Beauty Pageant Economics: The Sash Isn't Cheap

Jessica Bermudez, 24, models a dress at Deja Vu in Alexandria, Va. Bermudez is competing for the title of Miss District of Columbia USA, and says she regularly enters beauty pageants.
Coburn Dukehart NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:03 am

Miss America's walk might look effortless, but her road to success probably cost more than you think.

Ten-thousand women will compete in a Miss USA-sponsored pageant this year. That organization is just one of more than 15 small circuits, each with its own local, state and national competitions. It's a big industry. From the organizers, designers and coaches, lots of people make money — except the contestants.

Twenty-four women are in the running to become the latest Miss District of Columbia USA.

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It's All Politics
12:39 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Think Congressional Gridlock Is Bad? If Reid Changes Filibuster Rules, Look Out

Jimmy Stewart in a scene from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 12:44 pm

Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was clearly frustrated with the tactics some of his colleagues were using to gum up the legislative process.

The mere threat of a filibuster of a procedural motion to allow the defense authorization bill to be considered on the floor caused the Senate's leadership to balk at scheduling the legislation at all.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Sat December 1, 2012

Reports: Kansas City Chiefs Player Kills Self Near Stadium

Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:45 am

A Kansas City Chiefs player shot and killed himself at Arrowhead Stadium early Saturday morning after fatally shooting his girlfriend.

Police say linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot the woman at her home, then drove to a training facility at the stadium just east of Kansas City, Mo. When police arrived at the scene, according to reporter Laura Ziegler of member station KCUR, they found Belcher with a pistol to his head, thanking team coaches for everything they had done for him.

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Around the Nation
6:28 am
Sat December 1, 2012

White House Holiday Spirit A 'Joy To All'

Lauren Rae (left) and Olivia Marlow look at the ornaments in the Grand Foyer during the first viewing of the White House 2012 holiday decorations in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. This year's theme is "Joy to All."
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 1, 2012 5:29 pm

The bows are tied, the garlands are hung, and the White House is aglow for the holidays. Volunteers from all over the country handled the decorations with care, and on Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama showed off their efforts to military families. This year's theme is "Joy to All."

Ship Capt. Pete Hall from Louisville, Ky., followed family tradition by helping with the decorations. His grandfather was the chief usher of the White House from 1938 to 1957. "So this is part of my family heritage," Hall says.

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National Security
5:43 am
Sat December 1, 2012

Farewell: USS Enterprise Starred In History And Film

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Joseph carries his 1-year-old daughter, Maleah, to his re-enlistment ceremony aboard the USS Enterprise at the Norfolk Naval Station on March 8. The ship began its final deployment on March 11.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 1:17 pm

Sailors, veterans and their families are saying goodbye in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday to the USS Enterprise, which was the largest ship in the world and the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was commissioned in 1961.

In its illustrious history, the Enterprise served at the center of international events for a half-century — from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam to the Iraq War.

And it had a distinguished Hollywood career as well, playing a leading role in the 1986 film Top Gun, which starred Tom Cruise as a young naval aviator.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
6:10 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

After Sandy Outages, A Tale Of Two Utilities

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 7:01 pm

While thousands of people on the East Coast waited weeks for big utility companies to turn the lights back on after Superstorm Sandy slammed ashore, the residents of Madison, N.J., had power just days after the storm. This leafy New York City suburb operates its own municipal utility — and now some neighboring towns are asking whether they should, too.

"We were able to power up sections of town within two days," said Madison Councilman Robert Landrigan. "And then, by the weekend [after the storm], most of the town was back."

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Election 2012
5:06 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

2012 Election The Most Expensive In History

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:44 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Among the many distinctions of the 2012 election season was that it was the most expensive in history. President Obama and Mitt Romney each raised around a billion dollars and outside groups spent another billion or more. We know that a lot of that money went to pay for advertising, but what about the people who placed the ads or produced them or think up the strategy behind them?

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Law
5:02 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

DOJ Sues Gallup For Overcharging On Contracts

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 6:44 pm

The Justice Department has accused the Gallup Organization of cheating federal agencies out of millions of dollars by inflating the price of federal contracts. Gallup says in a statement that the case is "based on false allegations of a former disgruntled employee."

U.S.
5:00 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

U.N. Ambassador Rice Not The Typical Diplomat

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 8:24 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has had a tough week. At the U.N., Rice had to explain to the world why the Obama administration was part of a small minority voting against the Palestinian statehood bid. She's also been under attack as a potential secretary of state. And as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, her critics seem to be growing in number.

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