Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 5:14 pm
Why do economists keep getting it wrong?
For months, the job market's strength has been exceeding economists' predictions. It happened again today: the Labor Department's weekly report on first-time jobless claims came in at just 348,000 — the lowest level in four years.
Most economists had predicted about 355,000 people had applied for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 17. So why do they keep missing the mark?
The only Canadian on death row in the United States is in the Montana State Prison, about an hour and a half southeast of Missoula. After almost three decades, he is asking the governor of Montana for mercy. The request for clemency is the last chance Alberta native Ronald Allen Smith has of avoiding execution.
"I've been here for 29 years," says Smith, who has spent more of his life inside the state's maximum security block than he has spent outside of it. He has tried to think about his crime as little as possible.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health care overhaul law that President Obama championed and Republicans rejected — turns two on Friday.
The law is headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, where the Justices begin hearing three days of arguments about the constitutionality of the law. Ahead of the big day, we asked for questions from our audiences online and on air. Here's a sampling of questions, edited for clarity and length, and the answers.
Are You Not Entertained? TV host Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) takes the celebrity interview to new lows when chatting up the young combatants in the to-the-death Hunger Games — including Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Hungry for a good dystopia? Well, as you may be gathering from reports of the millions of tickets sold before prints were even shipped to theaters, author Suzanne Collins has a feast for you in the first movie installment of her young-adult trilogy The Hunger Games.
President Obama signs the national health care law at the White House on March 23, 2010.
Credit Elise Amendola / AP
Then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney shakes hands with Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Timothy Murphy after signing a landmark state health care law on April 12, 2006, in Boston. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., stands at center.
As the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of his signature domestic policy achievement next week, President Obama will be keeping his distance from the events in Washington.
A coincidence of timing puts the president in South Korea for a global nuclear security summit on Monday and Tuesday, as the Supreme Court holds the first two of its three days of historic oral arguments on the new national health care law.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signs into law a new health care reform bill during an April 12, 2006, ceremony at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The bill made Massachusetts the first state in the country to require that all residents have health insurance and has become a centerpiece of criticisms leveled by Romney's opponents in the 2012 presidential race.
As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments about President Obama's health care law, supporters and opponents are planning a flurry of rallies, press conferences and phone banks to remind people why the law is so great — or so terrible. Republicans have been energized by their desire to see the law repealed, but the issue could be more complicated for the GOP than it seems.
The Senate passed a bill Thursday to explicitly ban insider trading by members of Congress and the executive branch, and that means the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is headed to the president's desk.
But this STOCK Act is quite a bit weaker than earlier versions.
The STOCK Act has been on a glide path ever since an explosive 60 Minutes story last fall highlighted the issue of members of Congress apparently profiting on nonpublic information.
NPR's Kathy Lohr Reports On "All Things Considered"
Saying his role as police chief has "become a distraction," Bill Lee Jr. announced he was stepping down temporarily.
The Sanford, Fla. police chief has been under fire for the way he has handled the investigation surrounding the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Martin, who was unarmed, was shot by a a 28-year-old man, George Zimmerman, who claimed self defense.
During a news conference, today, Lee said that he stands by his police department, its personnel and the investigation that was conducted, but he was stepping down to "restore a semblance of calm to the city."
If your OB-GYNdoesn't ask you about your sex life, who will?
That's the question that comes to mind on reading about a new survey of the women's health specialists and what they don't talk about with their patients.
Most gynecologists did ask a patient if she was sexually active. A measly 14 percent asked about sexual activity and pleasure. Only 28 percent asked about a patient's sexual orientation. Yet one-quarter of the doctors say they had expressed disapproval of their patients' sexual practices.
Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 1:29 pm
Neighborhood watch programs have long been the eyes and ears of local law enforcement, keeping tabs on suspicious behavior. But the recent shooting death of an unarmed Florida teenager by a watch volunteer may incite debate over how to balance vigilance and action.
Last week, we reported that the U.S Department of Agriculture decided it would give school food administrators alternatives to meat containing lean finely textured beef, also known as LFTB, or "pink slime" by its detractors.
Now, Wal-Mart has become the latest food retailer to announce that it's making changes after listening to customer concerns about LFTB.
Philip Reeves on 'Morning Edition;' March 21, 2012
There is good news to report on Fabrice Muamba, the soccer player in Britain who went into cardiac arrest during a big game last Saturday in London.
Muamba, a 23-year-old from Congo, collapsed on the field as his team, Bolton, was playing English Premier League rival Tottenham. The Bolton club doctor, Jonathan Tobin, says the stricken player failed to respond to multiple defibrillator shocks, and that 78 minutes elapsed before Muamba's heart started beating on its own again.
With Florida's "stand your ground law" in the spotlight, we want to point to a decision taken yesterday by a Miami-Dade county judge in the case of Greyston Garcia, who was facing second-degree murder charges.
Nearly a month after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida, the widespread shock and outrage has grown into a nationwide movement calling for justice. This week, the Justice Department announced it would conduct a federal investigation of the incident.
But the Trayvon Martin story has also turned into a dialogue about race in America, a conversation that NPR's Michele Norris has been engaged in for over a year with her Race Card Project.
If Ben Petrick's career had gone the way the scouts expected, he'd still be in his prime — a star baseball player, maybe even a megastar. He came up to the majors as a catcher for the Colorado Rockies in 2000 with speed, power, a fine arm and maybe a better head for the game.
But the year before, at just 22-years-old, he learned that he had early-onset Parkinson's. He struggled to hide the symptoms, but, frustrated by his shaking and growing lack of mobility, he retired in 2004. Petrick has since focused on coaching, parenting and giving motivational speeches.
Like many grade schools, a growing number of universities are turning to standardized tests to measure students' educations. Advocates say they are an important tool to help gauge what students learn. Critics insist no single exam can ever accurately measure the value of four years of college.
A NATO ally with close ties to the West, Turkey's economy has grown significantly, and the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken active roles in several international crises. But reporter Dexter Filkins paints a complicated picture of Erdogan under threats of coup and paranoia.
"I'm very sorry about Tyler," Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers student convicted of a crime for spying on his roommate, tells The New Jersey Star-Ledger this morning. "I have parents and a little brother, and I can only try to imagine how they feel. But I want the Clementis to know I had no problem with their son. I didn't hate Tyler and I knew he was okay with me. I wanted to talk to his parents, but I was afraid. I didn't know what to say."
A couple of really rich guys have decided to give even more money to health causes they care about deeply.
New York Mayor, media magnate and public health zealot Michael Bloomberg said he will give $220 million to fight smoking in the developing world. Bloomberg's charitable foundation has targeted tobacco use.
And the latest chunk of money, which is part of a four-year commitment, will bring Bloomberg Philanthropies' support of anti-smoking efforts around the globe to more than $600 million.