National

Paying For College
3:38 am
Thu April 3, 2014

First Test For College Hopefuls? Decoding Financial Aid Letters

Colleges send each prospective student a letter detailing a financial aid award package β€” but many families say the letters are difficult to understand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 10:43 am

Around the country, millions of parents of prospective college freshmen are puzzling over one big question: How will we pay for college?

The first step for many families is reviewing the financial aid award letters they receive from each school. But often those letters can be confusing. Some are filled with acronyms and abbreviations, others lump scholarships and loans together. And because they're often very different, they're also difficult to compare.

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The Two-Way
7:11 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

U.S. Troubled By Iran's Choice Of 1979 Hostage-Taker For U.N. Post

The U.S. says Iran's potential nomination of a new United Nations ambassador who was a hostage-taker during the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is "extremely troubling," but stopped short of saying it would deny him a visa.

"We're taking a close look at the case now, and we've raised our serious concerns about this possible nomination with the government of Iran," State Department deputy spokesman Marie Harf said of Hamid Aboutalebi, who was a member of a radical Muslim student group who seized the took over the embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

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It's All Politics
6:36 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Campaign Finance Ruling Winners: The Political Pros

The Supreme Court victory for Republican activist Shaun McCutcheon (center) was also a win for those in the political campaign business.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 2:10 pm

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision has been described both as a victory for the First Amendment and as another damaging blow to campaign finance laws.

One thing seems certain: The decision, which overturned limits on the aggregate amounts individual donors can give to candidates and campaigns, will mean more money sloshing around political campaigns.

In practical terms, that means more business for the political consultants who orchestrate most serious federal political campaigns.

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Business
5:53 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Traders Defend High-Speed Systems Against Charges Of Rigging

"The stock market is rigged," says Michael Lewis, and high-frequency traders are to blame. But defenders of high-speed trading say it plays a legitimate role.
Paul Giamou iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed this week that they're both investigating the world of high-frequency stock trading. They did so at a time when a new book on the subject, Flash Boys by Michael Lewis, is causing an uproar on Wall Street.

To read Lewis' book is to be reminded of how drastically the stock market has changed in a decade β€” and how opaque it remains. Lewis says this opacity serves to cover up some disturbing developments.

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It's All Politics
5:13 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

A Younger, Wealthier Capital City Turns A Political Page

Muriel Bowser, the Democratic mayoral nominee in Washington, D.C., talks with reporters after a Wednesday news conference at the National Press Club in Washington.
Evan Vucci AP

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray has been shadowed by scandal since the day he was elected to the city's top job in 2010, and there's no doubt it crippled his re-election campaign.

An ongoing federal probe into how you ran your previous campaign will do that.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Cycling's Catching On In Texas, For A Very Texas Reason

Bicycles and pedicabs along a dedicated bike lane in Austin, Texas.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

For years, cyclists have faced long odds in Texas, where sprawling highways teem with trucks. Dallas was ranked the worst city for bicycling in the country, several years in a row. But in recent years, the two-wheeled form of transportation has begun to gain ground.

It's no surprise that progressive Austin β€” where the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong still lives β€” has plenty of cyclists.

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News
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Supreme Court Strikes Down Pillar Of Campaign Finance Limits

The Supreme Court
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:16 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has once again erased from the books a major provision of the nation's campaign finance law. By a 5-to-4 vote, the justices removed the cap on the total amount of money that donors can contribute to candidates and parties in each election. Prior to Wednesday's ruling, the aggregate limit was $123,000. Now there is no limit.

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Law
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Enforcing Prison Rape Elimination Standards Proves Tricky

The Prison Rape Elimination Act standards are now taking effect in many states. Three auditors recently questioned staffers at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in a practice inspection.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

On a recent day at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, inmates in jumpsuits peek out of their cells to see three men with clipboards walk into the housing unit. These men are auditors doing a practice inspection. They're here to see if the facility complies with a federal law called the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA.

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News
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Dogged By Scandal, DC Incumbent Goes Down In Primary

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

There will be a new mayor in Washington, DC, next year. And that's because the incumbent mayor, Vincent Gray, was soundly defeated in yesterday's Democratic primary. As Patrick Madden of member station WAMU reports, a late-breaking scandal helped turn the race in favor of one of Gray's challengers.

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Politics
4:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Drawing On Family History, Julian Castro Hopes To Paint Texas Blue

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 9:54 pm

The story of the changing demographics in Texas can, in many ways, be told through the family history of Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio. Mayor Castro discusses his story, as well as what Texas' expanding Hispanic population means for the state's political future.

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