Howard Audsley has been driving through Missouri for the past 30 years to assess the value of farmland. Barreling down the flat roads of Saline County on a recent day, he stopped his truck at a 160-acre tract of newly tilled black land. The land sold in February for $10,700per acre, double what it would have gone for five years ago.
Heading out into the field, Audsley picked up a clod of the dirt that makes this pocket of land some of the priciest in the state.
If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.
This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods â€” milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.
Many religious conservatives thought this might be the year of an evangelical comeback, when voters would throw President Obama out because of his support of same-sex marriage and abortion, and his health plan's birth control mandate. It didn't work out that way.
"I think this was an evangelical disaster," says Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
As the news spread that the son of the late Barack Obama Sr. â€” a Kenyan government economist â€” had held on to the most powerful presidency in the world, the elation across this East African nation was contagious.
One Nairobi radio DJ could scarcely contain himself on Wednesday. "How are your feelings this morning, this Obama Day morning? Talk to me and share your feelings with me," he said.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:53 pm
It only took two extra days, but Florida's Miami-Dade County has finished counting votes in the presidential election.
Supervisor of Elections Penelope Townsley said Thursday she was pleased to announce that the state's most populous county, with more than 2.5 million people, was "the first of the large counties to complete its tabulation process."
Townsley was referring to three other large counties â€” Broward (population 1.8 million), Palm Beach (population 1.3 million) and Duval (population 870,000) â€” that were still tallying absentee ballots.
As Barb mentioned, this week, Colorado and Washington State passed measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. We're going to hear reaction now from the country where much of America's pot is grown, Mexico. The sale, growth, and use of marijuana there remains illegal. And Mexico's incoming government fears these new laws will force them to rethink how they fight cross-border pot smuggling. But others think the measures could help fight narco-trafficking and cut into the cartels' power.
Now to efforts aimed at restructuring the Syrian opposition. The main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, is increasingly seen as ineffective, so people trying to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad are meeting right now in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. NPR's Kelly McEvers is there and as she reports, the goal is to give the opposition more credibility with Syrians and the international community.
Maybe I've got too many election results on my brain.
But the Pew Research Center's report about how people are using their mobile phones to get health information sent me to the data from the exit polls. Really.
The bottom line of the Pew report is that cellphone "owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information" than other people on their mobile phones.
During the holidays, family kitchens are ground zero for intense craziness: mixers whirling, timers buzzing, knives flying. So yes, it's understandable that many of us just stay out of way of the experienced cook. Especially when the knives come out and Mama is talking under her breath.
If you read Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain as a manual on how to take over a state and turn it totalitarian, the first lesson, she says, would be on targeted violence. Applebaum's book, which was recently nominated for a National Book Award, describes how after World War II, the Soviet Union found potential dissidents everywhere.
"It really meant anybody who had a leadership role in society," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "This included priests, people who had been politicians, people who had been merchants before the war, and people who ran youth groups."
Since the end of the Cold War, many Americans have come to the conclusion we don't need nuclear weapons anymore and ought to focus on reduction of stockpiles as quickly as possible. The problem, according to Yale professor Paul Bracken, is that the other countries that have nuclear weapons view them very differently.
Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 2:05 pm
Nigeria is the world's epicenter for polio. It's the only place where cases are ticking up, and it's been the source of outbreaks in other countries since 2003.
There was a disappointing update from public health officials Thursday about the polio situation in Nigeria. Despite beefed-up efforts to vaccinate kids and a flood of new resources, Nigeria still hasn't turned the corner on polio.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Before the election recedes too far, there are a couple more takeaways that deserve attention. One is the money. Spending in the 2012 campaign reached record heights. Some estimates put the total at more than $6 billion, and the new outside groups, the superPACs and the nonprofits, spent more than a billion to buy maybe one million television ads. In a moment, the effect of that unprecedented flow of cash.
The contrast couldn't be clearer. On Tuesday night, crowds gathered to watch election returns. The candidates and their nervous supporters had no way to know who'd win. In Beijing, as the Communist Party Congress gathered, the government cleared Tiananmen Square to create an eerie scene one observer described as post-apocalyptic. China's new leaders are being chosen in secret and few have any idea how they proposed to direct policy.
Two days after the U.S. election, another major political development is unfolding on the other side of the world. China began its once-in-a-decade transition of power on Thursday with the opening of its 18th Communist Party Congress.
With its lack of personalities or political platforms, it is almost diametrically opposed to the hurly-burly of U.S. elections. In Beijing, the message was about fighting corruption and keeping the Communist Party in power.
Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:43 pm
Florida is again having problems determining the winner of its presidential vote. But its difficulties are entirely different from the ones that kept the nation in suspense for more than a month back in 2000.
"It was just a convergence of things that were an embarrassment to Florida," says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Ethiopia enjoys a rich tradition of enticing music, filled with asymmetric rhythms set to a haunting, five-note scale and sly double-entendre lyrics in the Amharic language. It's a shame that, for Western listeners, a full, clear picture of Ethiopian music has been elusive.
Jared Loughner, the 24-year-old who pleaded guilty to killing six people and wounding 13 others during a shooting spree at a congressional meet-and-greet in Tucson, Ariz., will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Loughner was sentenced today as a U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz.
Before the judge handed down his punishment, victims and their families addressed Loughner and the court.
Hundreds of thousands of service members are transitioning from bases to college campuses. As Americans get ready for Veterans Day, host Michel Martin discusses the challenges veterans face, and the programs that help them succeed. She talks with Meg Mitcham, a veteran and the head of veterans programs for the American Council on Education.
The election is over and the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" is drawing closer. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about how the two relate, and what it could mean for America's economic future.
Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 7:50 pm
Fast-food giant McDonald's said today that revenue at its restaurants that have been open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent in October â€” the first time it has suffered a month-to-month decline in that key indicator since April 2008, according to BloombergBusinessweek.