National

Religion
3:56 am
Wed April 2, 2014

For 'Lent Madness,' Reverend Pits Saints Against Each Other

Comments on the Lent Madness website have gotten heated. Mark D. writes, "So I got my wish: JS Bach is in the mix. But he's in the same bracket with the Wesleys and Thomas Merton?? This is going to be ugly."
Courtesy of Adam Thomas/Lent Madness

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

We're deep into Lent, the season when Christians prepare themselves for Easter. For those of you who have been preparing by giving up something — chocolate, or driving, or yelling at the kids — it can feel like a pretty long time.

But, some folks are looking to reframe Lent, with a little madness.

"A lot of people see Lent as the church's season of doom, and gloom, and guilt, and depression, and eating dirt," says Tim Schenck, an Episcopalian priest in Massachusetts.

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Parallels
3:55 am
Wed April 2, 2014

So You Think You're Smarter Than A CIA Agent

A group of 3,000 ordinary citizens, armed with nothing more than an Internet connection, is often making better forecasts of global events than CIA analysts. Here, a man crosses the CIA logo at its headquarters in Langley, Va.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria.

It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:

Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014?

Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.

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Politics
3:54 am
Wed April 2, 2014

In Arkansas, Voters May Get Chance To Raise Minimum Wage

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor speaks to reporters at his Little Rock campaign headquarters on Feb. 28. A minimum wage increase on the ballot alongside Pryor could give Democrats more of a reason to show up on Election Day.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

President Obama travels to Michigan Wednesday to tout his proposal to boost the minimum wage.

Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour is one of the top agenda items for Obama and his fellow Democrats during this mid-term election year. The White House says the move would put more money in the pockets of some 28 million workers.

One test of that strategy will be in Arkansas, where proponents are trying to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November. Arkansas has some of the lowest wages in the country and it's also home to one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.

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Shots - Health News
3:54 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Small Health Insurance Co-Ops Seeing Early Success

Karl Sutton leaves his mobile greenhouse in Montana. He sells spinach as part of a farmers co-op, and likes that nonprofit business model for his health insurance, too.
Eric Whitney for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Many of us know the names of some of the big U.S. health insurance companies — like Blue Cross, Aetna and Wellpoint. But what about CoOportunity Health, or Health Republic Insurance of New York? These are among 23 new companies started under the Affordable Care Act. They're all nonprofit, member-owned insurance cooperatives that were begun, in part, to create more competition and drive prices down.

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The Two-Way
6:13 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Mother Of Victim: More Killed By GM Ignition Switch Defect

Laura Christian, far right, talks about how her birth daughter Amber Marie Rose was killed on July 29, 2005, in a car crash that investigators determined was linked to a defective ignition switch.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:24 pm

The birth mother of Amber Marie Rose, the teen whose 2005 death was the first linked to an ignition switch problem that's triggered a massive recall of General Motors vehicles, says that through a Facebook group for families of victims, she's identified at least 29 fatalities due to the defect. GM only acknowledges 13 deaths.

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Business
5:40 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship

More and more older adults are becoming entrepreneurs instead of retiring, like Paul Tasner of Pulpworks, who spoke at the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition in California.
Courtesy of Kevin Warnock

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:57 am

If you've ever been driven to rage and despair trying to pry open one of those plastic blister packs, Paul Tasner says it doesn't have to be that way. According to the 68-year-old Tasner, all it would take is for more products to use the packaging he's developed for his company, Pulpworks.

As you might guess from the name, it specializes in packaging made from pulp — from paper, cardboard, even sugarcane fiber — that's molded to fit a product.

"I just loved the idea of turning [what is] basically garbage into packaging," Tasner says.

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The Salt
4:52 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

It's Official: Americans Are Floating In A Pool Of Ranch Dressing

Tomatoes, pizza, Pringles — Americans are not afraid to douse everything in ranch.
Mr.Ducke/Flickr; Jamaila Brinkley/Flickr; Hajime Nakano/Flickr; Janet Hudson/Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:37 pm

Many a gab session of my 1980s suburban youth was fueled by Cool Ranch-flavored Doritos — after school, on a campout, on a sleepover — whenever the girls got together. We'd seek out that tangy, salty flavor, inhale a bag or two, and lick the red, blue and green flecks off our fingers when they were all gone. (Ah, the pre-calorie-counting days.)

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Shots - Health News
4:42 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Review Finds Mammography's Benefits Overplayed, Harms Dismissed

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:04 pm

Talk to women here in the office, and it quickly becomes clear that we're confused about what to do about mammograms. And no wonder.

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Deep In The Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas
4:33 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

As Texas Gets More Diverse, Educators Grab The Bull By The Horns

Students participate in orchestra practice at Dr. John Folks Middle School in suburban San Antonio. The school is brand new and was built with explosive growth in mind — the student population is expected to double to 1,200 within five years.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:45 pm

Texas is in the midst of a population boom and demographic sea change. It's grown faster than any other state and has more than doubled its population in just 40 years, from 11 to 26 million people.

And overwhelmingly, the fastest growth is among Hispanics who now make up 38 percent of the state's population and will be the largest single group in Texas by 2020.

Majority Minority State

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Law
4:30 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Mother Of Earliest Auto Defect Victim Calls On Congress To Act

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 7:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The earliest of the 13 deaths attributed to the faulty ignition switch and acknowledged by GM was in 2005. Amber Marie Rose was 16 years old. One year earlier, she had been reunited with her birth mother, Laura Christian, who had given her up for adoption as an infant. Her adoptive parents sued GM and the automaker settled. Miss Christian, though, has been speaking for the family and joins us. Welcome to the program.

LAURA CHRISTIAN: Thank you.

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