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The Democratic Party is looking the worse for wear these days. And that's putting it mildly. The party's net favorability rating has fallen off steeply in the past few years, and it's been negative or near-negative since 2010, according to multiple polls.

That would be cause for concern, except for one thing: The GOP looks much worse.

Every week, we say the next race is pivotal, perhaps decisive even. Every week, it's... true, but in different ways.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Cyclist Teaches Kids To Use Fun To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

May 3, 2016

Jaime Rangel holds a bike tire and begins checking with his hands for thorns and other sharp objects that might be puncturing the tire's rubber tread. His fingers, stained with black patches of oil, move quickly and seamlessly. He's done this type of work dozens of times before.

All around him, a steady stream of kids line up to get their bikes' flat tires and faulty brakes fixed at this free event at a park in southeast Fresno, Calif.

When the health insurance premiums got to the point that they were higher than her mortgage, Renee Powell started to become cynical.

"There was something in me that just kind of switched," said the mother of two from Bartlesville, Okla. "I was OK with paying $750, but when it became about $100 more than my housing costs, it upset me."

Powell is an epidemiologist and used to work for the state in Oklahoma City. She had affordable insurance through that job.

Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET with an editor's note at the end of the story.

Sometimes you call an Uber, and what you thought would be an $8 ride is going to be two, three, even four times more — the result of greater demand brought on by a blizzard, or a baseball game. Whatever the reason, surge pricing is not fun.

It turns out Uber is working to fix it — or, should we say, end it. The move likely will be great for riders, but not for drivers.

Hunting For Surge

On the banks of a canal in industrial east London sits Britain's oldest salmon smokehouse: H. Forman & Son.

Inside, 80 employees help fillet and salt salmon by hand, then hang the fish in giant smokers. It's the same method used by the company's founder, Harry Forman, 111 years ago.

"He was an Eastern European Jewish immigrant that fled the pogroms — he came from Ukraine — and settled in London's East End in the late 19th century," says his great-grandson Lance Forman.

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in "societal intolerance," according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve," says Princeton professor Robert George, the USCIRF chairman. "At worst, they've spiraled downward."

NBC's reality show The Biggest Loser turns dieting into a grueling training regime fit for gladiators. The victor this past season was Roberto Hernandez. He dropped a whopping 160 pounds to reach a body weight of 188 pounds.

One of the economic legacies President Obama hopes to leave behind is an expansion of U.S. exports.

To do that, he wants to complete one trade deal with European countries, and another with Pacific Rim nations.

But well into his final year in office, Obama is facing stiff headwinds on trade.

The European deal, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, made news on Monday...but probably not the way the White House would have preferred.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A somber procession began on Sunday in the courtyard of the former Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968. Everyone in Memphis knows about that piece of history, but until recently, folks were unaware of a massacre that happened in the same part of town 100 years earlier.

The food glitterati will gather in Chicago Monday night for the black-tie James Beard Chef and Restaurant Awards, known as the "Oscars of the food world." Most of the categories sound like industry fare: Outstanding Restaurant Design. Best Chef: Great Lakes. Best New Restaurant. Rising Star Chef of the Year. There's not much of interest for anyone outside the foodies and food world orbit. Except, that is, for a sneakily subversive category: America's Classics.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has sparked a debate about abortion in both Latin America and the United States.

The virus has been directly linked to a birth defect that results in an abnormally small head and brain damage. In Latin America, where many countries have strict bans on abortion, some citizens and government officials are asking whether such bans should be reconsidered, at least in infected mothers.

Intel was once known for its success in branding personal computers with microprocessors, a technology that fueled the digital revolution. But the Silicon Valley veteran announced last month it would lay off 11 percent of its workforce — up to 12,000 positions — and that it's shifting away from personal computing.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You may have seen the crazy amounts of money spent at high end art auctions: $81 million for a Mark Rothko, $179 million for a Picasso. Now, a new memoir called The Auctioneer dishes about the tycoons, rock stars and royalty who play in this high-priced game. Simon de Pury is an art world insider who has been called the "Mick Jagger" of auctions — he once even tried to compete with the two power houses, Christie's and Sotheby's.

Matt Coy likes to tell people how he went 47 years without voting. Not once. Not even for high school class president.

But there he was last Friday at an early-voting center at a county parks building in Columbus, Ind., excitedly preparing to cast his ballot for Republican Donald Trump.

"I've lost three factory jobs in the last 10 years, to go to China or go to Mexico or go to somewhere out of the country. We're losing our jobs to everybody else. We need 'em back. I think he can do it," Coy said.

Critical Drugs For Hospital ERs Remain In Short Supply

May 2, 2016

At some hospitals, posters on the wall in the emergency department list the drugs that are in short supply or unavailable, along with recommended alternatives.

More than 90 Detroit public schools were closed Monday because of a teacher "sickout" over pay.

The public schools will run out of money after June "unless Michigan lawmakers approve hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term aid," Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek tells our Newscast unit.

Without that longer-term funding, teachers who spread their paychecks throughout the year would not get paid for work they had already done.

Cwiek reports:

If the entire, bizarre 2016 GOP presidential primary could be captured in one video, this might be it.

As a co-founder of the band X, John Doe helped define the punk scene that emerged in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Doe tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that punk was about breaking rules and challenging the norms of the existing music scene.

Amid pressure from both U.S. and European antitrust regulators, two of the world's biggest oilfield services companies, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, have called off their $28 billion merger.

In April, the Justice Department sued to stop the merger, saying it would have eliminated competition, NPR's Jim Zarroli reports for our Newscast unit.

Ballerina Misty Copeland, who made history when she became the first black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre last summer, now has her own Barbie doll. The doll wears a costume similar to Copeland's for her Firebird role.

Philadelphia's historic Italian Market is known for its cheeses, meats, fresh pastas and chocolate. Running 10 city blocks through south Philadelphia, it's one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in the country. But what would a tour through this vibrant neighborhood be like without the ability to see?

That's where Philly Touch Tours comes in. The guide company specializes in offering hands-on tours of Philadelphia.

Yes, it's been a couple of days, but we felt compelled to share:

At 100 years old, Ida Keeling set a new world record for the 100-meter dash on Saturday at Penn Relays in Philadelphia.

She completed the race against competitors 80 and up in 1 minute and 17.33 seconds — the fastest time recorded for a centenarian. (For comparison's sake, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt holds the 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds.)

Saying he was making a "tough decision," Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro García Padilla announced the island would not make a more than $400 million debt payment due today.

"I've had to choose and I have made a choice," García said in a message to the commonwealth. "I've decided that your basic needs come before anything else."

NPR's Jim Zarroli filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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