Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Michelle Obama can celebrate a win today, now that her white and dark chocolate-chip cookies beat out Ann Romney's M&M cookies in Family Circle Magazine's Presidential Bake-Off. During the 2008 election, Cindy McCain's oatmeal butterscotch cookies won. Michelle Obama may be savoring her victory all the more, since on this, the couple's 20th anniversary, she's had to trade date night for debate night. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
There's a neighborhood in New York City that has always been a mystery to us. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, around 29th street, is the wholesale district. There you can find rows of narrow storefronts packed to the ceiling with trinkets. Racks and racks of fake gold chains. Acres of souvenir lighters and walls of belt buckles. Plastic, plastic, plastic toys.
Early voting has begun in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Iowa. Voting booths were set up for early voting Thursday at the Black Hawk County Courthouse in Waterloo, Iowa. Ahead of Wednesday's first presidential debate, an NPR poll finds President Obama with a 7-point lead nationally, but his GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, is within striking distance.
The latest poll by NPR and its bipartisan polling team [pdf] shows President Obama with a 7-point lead among likely voters nationally and a nearly identical lead of 6 points in the dozen battleground states where both campaigns are spending most of their time and money.
NPR's business news starts with good news for automakers.
U.S. auto sales last month were the best they've been in four and a half years. That's according to numbers compiled by the research firm Auto Data. Experts give credit the boost in sales to cheap financing for car loans and growing consumer confidence. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In the run-up to the presidential election, Morning Edition visited communities in swing states — in fact, in swing counties — that are predictably unpredictable when it comes to voting. We wanted to hear from voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year.
A paradox of American health care is that hospitals are sometimes rewarded for doing things badly.
Patients who are discharged, for example, shouldn't have to come right back because they got worse after getting home. But if they do come back, hospitals benefit because they can fill an empty bed and bill for more care.
The federal government says, in fact, that Medicare alone pays $17.4 billion a year for unnecessary return visits.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (front left) rides in a driverless car to a bill signing at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on Sept. 25.
Credit Eric Risberg / AP
California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill for driverless cars as state Sen. Alex Padilla (left) and Google co-founder Sergey Brin look on. The legislation opens the way for driverless cars in the state.
The 007 theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.
In 1962, Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for the first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.
Beer is processed at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo. The brewery has embraced sustainability, making efforts to produce some of its own energy.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
Jenn Vervier, the New Belgium Brewing Co.'s director of sustainability, says the brewery's energy-saving efforts include making ice at night, when it's colder.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
Wade Troxell is an associate professor of engineering at Colorado State University and a City Council member in Fort Collins, Colo. He's passionate about the technology and the policy behind renewable energy.
The presidential debates are expected to cover a wide range of topics, from the economy to foreign policy to health care. Wednesday night's debate will focus on domestic policy — and one topic that's likely to come up is energy.
It's a subject that is certainly on the minds of voters in Larimer County, Colo. Last week, in a rural area outside Fort Collins, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan held a campaign event in a warehouse at Walker Mowers, a family-owned manufacturer of lawn mowers and tractors.
In western Michigan, there aren't enough apples to pick because bad weather decimated 85 to 90 percent of the crop. But Washington state has the opposite problem — there's an abundance of apples, but not enough pickers.
This should be the happiest, busiest time of year in Washington apple orchards. But now — just as the peak of apple harvest is coming on — Broetje Orchards manager Roger Bairstow is wincing.
So, we found out that the National Football League is too big to fail. But not so big that it couldn't make a complete fool of itself and show to the world that its owners are stingy, greedy nincompoops.
Not so big that it couldn't make its commissioner, Roger Goodell, stand out in front, looking lost and small, so that their erstwhile tough-guy commander suddenly became an errand boy, losing respect and dignity that will be hard to regain the next time he needs it.
Emily Goldberg, with her daughter, Willa, 2, holds up a sign during the NAACP voter ID rally to protest against Pennsylvania's voter ID law on Sept. 13. Tuesday, a judge ordered that the law not be enforced in the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 6:23 pm
Civil rights groups are cheering the injunction placed on the Pennsylvania voter identification law, but their recent victories against state photo ID measures very likely won't last beyond Election Day.
Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant who witnessed former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a boy, has filed a lawsuit against Penn State University for defamation and misrepresentation.
Bernard Goutier, 25, has served time in prison twice. He's now learning construction skills with Emerge Connecticut, which offers paid on-the-job training, literacy classes and support groups to ex-offenders.
Credit Courtesy of Justice Mapping Center
This map shows the cost of incarcerating all residents sent to prison in 2009 from each block in Brooklyn. Dark red blocks represent areas where the state will spend more than $1 million to incarcerate people sent to prison that year.
Credit Courtesy of the Justice Mapping Center
The cost of incarcerating residents from individual blocks in and around Brownsville. In response to the concentration of people on probation in Brownsville, the New York City Department of Probation used mapping to locate and launch the Neighborhood Opportunity Network, which connects probation clients with services, jobs and civic participation opportunities.
Credit Courtesy of Groundswell
The Brownsville NeON probation office partnered with the public arts group Groundswell to establish a community garden in Brownsville. Local probationers designed and created the garden and mural. Here, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Probation, Vincent Schiraldi (second from left), meets with local advocates involved in the project.
Credit Shannon Stapleton / Reuters/Landov
The Brownsville section of New York's Brooklyn borough has long been considered one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. The Brooklyn-based Justice Mapping Center has been tracking the cost of incarcerating residents of neighborhoods like Brownsville, block by block, for almost 15 years.
Credit Uma Ramiah
Tywain Harris says Emerge Connecticut has provided him a place to go each day as he transitions from prison back into the New Haven community.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 7:53 am
Should you take Vitamin D supplements to prevent colds and shorten the misery?
Like other theories about the benefits of vitamin D, it seems like a reasonably good idea. After all, some lab studies suggest vitamin D might enhance immunity. And as everybody knows, people are more prone to respiratory infections during winter, when they cover up and get less vitamin D-generating sunlight.
Georgian billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili (left) reacts with supporters at his office on Monday. Ivanishvili defeated Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the election, clearing the way for a new government.
Parliamentary elections in Georgia, the former Soviet republic, delivered a resounding defeat for the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday. Preliminary election results showed the opposition winning 57 percent of the vote.
A day later, the president conceded defeat. In a televised address, Saakashvili said he respected the decision of the voters, and that he would clear the way for the opposition Georgian Dream party to form a new government, a move that would install opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili as prime minister.
Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was a close ally of Syria and lived in the capital Damascus for years. But relations soured over the uprising in Syria, and Syria's state television denounced him in withering terms. Mashaal is shown speaking at a conference in Turkey on Sunday.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 2:55 pm
You can believe this latest poll result if you'd like. Or not.
A survey released Tuesday that was conducted by Public Policy Polling asked people if they thought pollsters were rigging their results to show President Obama leading Mitt Romney (h/t Josh Voorhees at The Slatest).
The 37-year-old search for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa will continue.
As Mark reported last week, the search for Hoffa turned to a driveway in Roseville, Mich. Police took "soil core" samples after they received a "credible" tip that someone was buried there right around the time Hoffa went missing.
Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.
"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."