Dairy cows feed on a farm in Chilton, Wis., in May. The farm bill being considered by Congress, part of a massive package that could cost nearly $1 trillion over a decade, contains a number of provisions affecting dairies.
Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 10:49 am
If you think only farmers care about the farm bill currently being considered by Congress, you're very, very mistaken.
The measure will not only set policy and spending for the nation's farms for years to come, but it will also affect dozens of other seemingly unrelated programs — all at a cost of nearly $1 trillion over the next decade. Following are a few questions and answers about the massive legislation:
Why is it called the farm bill, and where did it come from?
The latest proposal for the farm bill — the law governing everything from food stamps to rural development grants — is being considered by the U.S. Senate this week. It's designed to save more than $23 billion over the next 10 years, in part by getting rid of direct payments to farmers. The direct payment program alone costs taxpayers $5 billion per year.
Baseball historians continue to poke around in the 19th century to better explain how the game was originated and developed, but I've always wondered if one of the prime movers wasn't a student of Shakespeare.
While I certainly don't know the terminology of all ball games, the popular ones I'm aware of — everything from basketball and football to golf and tennis — all use some variations of the words in and out when determining whether the ball is playable.
Only baseball is different.
"Fair is foul and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air."
The big story of this year's election campaign is big money. Since the Supreme Court, through its Citizens United ruling, has made it easier for corporations, unions and rich individuals to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, Republicans have seized the advantage.
Right now, an analysis by NPR finds that Republican allied groups are outspending their Democratic counterparts by 8 to 1.
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez arrives atop a truck at the elections office in Caracas on Monday. Chavez addressed thousands of supporters as he formalized his re-election bid. Chavez's younger daughter Rosines is by his side, and on his right is his brother Adan.
Credit Juan Barreto / AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of Chavez followers took to the streets of Caracas for Monday's rally.
Federal authorities arrested seven people, today, in connection with what authorities say was a multi-million dollar money laundering operation run by Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.
The scheme allegedly used the millions earned through the illicit drug trade to purchase, train, breed and race American quarter horses in the United States. The Department of Justice said 14 had been indicted; among them is Zetas leader Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales and his brothers Oscar Omar Treviño Morales and José Treviño-Morales.
Members of the U.N. observers mission in Syria visit wounded soldiers and policemen at Tishreen Military Hospital in Damascus on May 23. Casualties among Syrian government forces are rising sharply.
Credit Deborah Amos / NPR
Col. Abdul Kareem Mustapha, 51, is being treated at Barzeh military hospital in Damascus. He was wounded in the Syrian capital Tuesday during an ambush by armed men in taxis that killed one of his fellow passengers.
Syrian activists have posted thousands of videos of civilians killed and wounded in the 15-month-old conflict. But there have been many casualties on the government side as well, and they are on display at a military hospital in the capital, Damascus.
For Abdul Kareem Mustapha, a 51-year-old colonel in the Syrian army, the war came for him at 8:15 a.m. on his way to his military post.
Elinor Ostrom, the only woman ever to win an economics Nobel, died today at age 78.
She was famous for challenging an idea known as the tragedy of the commons — the theory that, in the absence of government intervention, people will inevitably overuse a shared resource.
So, for example, if a village shares a pasture, it's in the individual interest of each farmer to graze his cattle as much as possible on the pasture even though, in the long run, overgrazing may ruin the pasture for everyone.
The music made by Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known by his stage name, Diplo, is one part club-music mashup and one part pop music forecast. In 2009, he took bubblin' — a syncopated house style born in the clubs of Holland — as inspiration and collaborated with fellow DJ Switch, his partner in the group Major Lazer, to make the dance-floor hit "Pon de Floor." But he wasn't done with the bubblin' sound yet. In 2011, he used that song as basis for "Run the World (Girls)," a single by the pop star Beyonce.
In this handout from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Shellie Zimmerman, wife of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting Trayvon Martin, is seen in a police mug shot on Tuesday in Sanford, Florida.
George Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, has claimed he acted in self defense.
Leaders of a group that represents most Catholic sisters in the United States meet with Vatican officials in Rome today. As we've reported, the sisters went to Rome to talk to the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about a report that found the group was running afoul of church doctrine.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi is heading to Europe for the first time in more than two decades and will be giving a series of high-profile speeches She's shown here on June 2 meeting with Myanmarese refugees who are living in camps in Thailand.
Credit Khin Maung Win / AP
Policemen in Myanmar walk toward burning buildings in the town of Sittwe, in the western part of the country, where Muslims and Buddhists have clashed recently.
Aung San Suu Kyi heads to Europe Wednesday, where she'll deliver a speech she was invited to give more than two decades ago: the one for her 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, which she was unable to collect while under house arrest.
In Myanmar's largest city, Yangon, at the headquarters of Suu Kyi's party, spokesman U Nyan Win says she is busy writing speeches for her extended trip to Europe, including the visit to Oslo for the belated Nobel address this weekend.
Jake Dobberke, 26, a Marine who lost his legs in Afghanistan, watches for turkeys in Potter County, Pa. The LEEK Hunting and Mountain Preserve helps healing young vets explore the wilderness in adaptive hunting gear.
Recreational rehabilitation programs have long been a favorite for helping disabled veterans acclimate after war, and the number of young and disabled vets returning who need those services is on the rise.
Two brothers — with nearly 60 years of military service between them — are trying to help with a unique retreat that's free for young vets. The program gets them out of their hospital beds for a few days to hunt in rural Pennsylvania.
Penn State University assistant football coach Mike McQueary arrives at the Centre County Courthouse to testify in the child sexual abuse trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in Bellefonte, Pa.
(Note: There is graphic testimony about the alleged sexual abuse of a young boy in this post.)
Mike McQueary, a key witness in the case against Jerry Sandusky, testified that he saw the former Penn State assistant football coach engaged in a "clear" "sex act" with a young boy at a campus shower, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Russia is sending attack helicopters to Syria for President Bashar Assad's regime to use in its campaign to stamp out opposition, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today.
She warned that such action "will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
The U.S. and Russia have been at odds over how hard to squeeze the regime in an effort to end its harsh crackdown on anti-Assad protests — a crackdown that the U.N. says has killed more than 10,000 people since March 2011, mostly civilians.
First Lady Michelle Obama gardens in Soweto township, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The first lady has planted a garden on the South Lawn of the White House — it's the first vegetable garden to be planted there since Eleanor Roosevelt's victory garden.
Many first ladies choose a mission, and when Michelle Obama moved into the White House, she decided to take up the cause of combating childhood obesity. It's an epidemic that affects up to one-third of all children in the U.S. It's also a personal issue for the first lady. A number of years ago, her pediatrician asked her to rethink her daughters' diets.
Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 12:34 pm
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener feedback on previous Talk of the Nation programs, including shows on summer jobs for teens, the complications of claiming Native American ancestry and blues guitarist Buddy Guy.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Isabel Sawhill argued that then-Vice President Dan Quayle was right 20 years ago when he criticized television character Murphy Brown's decision to become a single mom. Sawhill cited statistics that show children in a two-parent family do better at school, then later in life.
Former British Prime Minister John Major told an inquiry that Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul, tried to influence the country's politics during a private dinner in 1997. Major said that Murdoch even hinted that the Prime Minister could lose his media empire's support if he didn't change the way he was dealing with the European Union.
Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 11:40 am
It's a given that Latino voters are viewed by both political parties as critical to the the 2012 general election and that polling shows President Obama, and Democrats generally, enjoying a significant advantage with that such voters.
That reality prompted Mitt Romney to tell donors at a closed-door Palm Beach, Fla. fundraiser in April, in remarks overheard by reporters:
"We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party." He suggested that if the GOP failed to draw significant numbers of Latino voters away from the Democratic Party "that spells doom for us."
"The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation." Ninety percent of the population has died from nuclear annihilation or famine. "Three superpowers have been locked in a 1,700-year war" that's "an eternal death struggle."
On Reddit earlier today, a gamer called Lycerius posted those apocalyptic notes about what the year 3991 is like in his decade-long game of Civilization II.