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Politics
2:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Plug Pulled On 'Plan B,' House Breaks For Christmas

House Speaker John Boehner pauses during a news conference Thursday. House GOP leaders abruptly canceled a vote on his measure after they failed to round up enough votes for it to pass.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

House Speaker John Boehner was dealt a major defeat Thursday night. After spending most of the week trying to round up votes for his "Plan B" to extend tax cuts for virtually everyone, he pulled the measure without a vote and sent the House home for Christmas. The clock keeps ticking toward the end of the year, when automatic tax increases and spending cuts are set to hit.

Early Thursday, Boehner expressed confidence not only that his bill would pass but that the Democratic-controlled Senate would feel so much pressure, it would be forced to consider it, too.

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Business
2:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now you can consider this. It's our last word in business today: A Bluetooth bathroom. The Japanese are known for being on the cutting edge of tech, and now that extends to the edge of the toilet seats.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A Japanese company recently announced a smartphone-controlled toilet. Yup. Using a smartphone app, you can flush - that means not having to touch the handle at all.

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Politics
2:56 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Obama Focuses On Newtown, 'Fiscal Cliff'

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Action last night in the House of Representatives suggests just how hard it could be to pass a solution to the tax increases and spending cuts due at the end of the year.

INSKEEP: House Speaker John Boehner has yet to reach a deal with President Obama, so he sought to put his own plan before the House last night.

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Planet Money
1:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

When The Doctor Works For The Insurance Company

This won't hurt a bit.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Some insurance companies are taking a page out of their own history books: running their own doctors' offices and clinics. Though the strategy previously had mixed results, insurers think that by providing primary care for patients, they might reduce costly diseases and hospital stays in the long run.

Dr. Michael Byrne spent eight years working for a Brooklyn hospital and he saw firsthand why the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world.

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Research News
1:52 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Why Some Kids Have An Inflated Sense Of Their Science Skills

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 6:49 pm

If you're a student at the halfway point of the academic year, and you've just taken stock of your performance, perhaps you have reason to feel proud of yourself.

But a recent study suggests some of the pride you feel at having done well — especially in science — may be unfounded. Or at least your sense of your performance may not be a very accurate picture of how good you actually are.

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Shots - Health News
1:50 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Medicare Starts To Reward Quality, Not Quantity, Of Care

In a push to improve quality, Medicare will pay some hospitals more and others, including Boston's Massachusetts General, less.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

It's no longer enough for hospitals to just send a bill to Medicare and get paid.

The nation's biggest insurer is starting to dole out bonuses and penalties to nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients.

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Business
9:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

From Shoes To M&M's, Custom-Made Products Take Off Online

High school student Jon Ledbetter designs his own "NikeiD" sneakers. Ledbetter can post his designs on Nike's website, where other shoppers can also order them.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 11:53 am

It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.

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Energy
5:02 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Coal Mining Museum Welcomes Solar Panels

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. It's the dawn of a new era at the Big Pit National Coal Mining Museum. The former mine in Wales celebrates the fossil fuel that sparked the Industrial Revolution. Now it's embracing solar energy. Renewable Energy World reports that 200 newly installed solar panels could save the property as much as $650,000 over 25 years on power. Put another way, the museum celebrating coal won't have to dig so deep to pay the electric bill. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
4:55 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Dead Russian Parliament Member Voted 31 Times

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, honoring a devoted lawmaker. Some officials are slammed for missing votes, but Vyacheslav Osipov was there for vote after vote - or not precisely there. This member of Russia's parliament voted on 31 different measures, despite being dead. The rules allowed other lawmakers to cast votes for him by proxy. He is now off the voting roles, but set a political milestone. Usually the dead only vote to get people into office. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Business
3:16 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is something many equate to being as fun as doing taxes - dental work. A dentist in Sweden is offering $45 gift cards. It's an effort to entice 20-somethings who've stopped coming in for cleanings now that they're living on their own. That gift may go over as well as Hermey the elf's ambitions in the 1964 TV special, "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer."

CARL BANAS: (as Head Elf) What? You don't like to make toys?

PAUL SOLES: (as Hermey) No.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu December 20, 2012

South Korea's New Leader Promises Moderate Path

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For the first time in its history, South Korea has chosen a woman as its leader. Park Geun-hye is promising reconciliation with her domestic opponents and dialogue with North Korea. She captured 52 percent of the vote in an election yesterday. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Sen. Warner On Gun Control Issues

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Every morning, the staff of this program sits around a table and talks through the news of the day. And yesterday, the talk grew a little heated. One of our colleagues noted that people talk about gun control after last week's shootings at a Connecticut school, but it's not always clear what different people mean by gun control or what could really work.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a dent in Toyota's safety ratings.

The Salt
1:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Paradox And Mystery Of Our Taste For Salt

Bali sea salt and a spoonful of Hawaiian red alae salt.
Jim Noelker AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Salt is one of those dangerously tasty substances. We add the magical crystals of sodium chloride to almost everything that we cook or bake, and according to many public health experts, we add too much.

They want us to cut back, to lower our risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Yet when you really start looking for ways to do this, you run into a paradox and a scientific puzzle.

First, the paradox. Too much salt may kill us, but our bodies need some of it to survive.

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Music News
1:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Joe Strummer's Life After Death

Joe Strummer performs with his solo project, The Latino Rockabilly War, in 1989. The Clash frontman died of heart failure in December 2002.
Mark Baker Sony Music Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

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Europe
1:25 am
Thu December 20, 2012

In A French Village, Protection From The Apocalypse

Doomsayers claim the French village of Bugarach, population 200, will be spared when the world supposedly ends Friday.
Guillaume Horcajuelo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:37 am

Friday is the last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar, sparking talk about the possible end of the world. About two years ago, a rumor began circulating on the Internet that the French village of Bugarach, population 200, would be the only place to survive this apocalypse.

But despite many news stories of people flocking to the village, less than two weeks before "doomsday," there was no one on the streets. Houses were shuttered against the cold.

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Around the Nation
4:42 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Oregon Man Advertises For Wife

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Around the Nation
4:37 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Lottery Winners Donate To School's Football Stadium

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Politics
3:08 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Capitol Hill Reaction To Gun Mayhem Varies

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Even before the events of the last few days, Congress had a busy agenda. Lawmakers are negotiating over taxes and spending that could affect the economy in the year ahead, not to mention almost every part of the federal government and the take-home pay for millions of Americans.

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NPR Story
2:53 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a global bank settlement.

It's the big Swiss bank, UBS. It announced this morning that it will pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines for its role in rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. The settlement will be paid to Swiss, British and American regulators.

NPR Story
2:53 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Credit Rating Upgrade Is Good News For Greece

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Greece got a rare bit of good news late yesterday. Standard and Poor's upgraded the country's credit rating six notches to a B minus. I mean, not the worst grade on your report card, but in the financial world this is junk bond status.

Still, Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens that there is a more stable outlook.

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NPR Story
2:53 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Gunmen In Pakistan Target Polio Vaccinators

Rukhsana Bibi (center) mourns for her daughter, polio worker Madiha Bibi, killed by unknown gunmen, at a local hospital in Karachi on Tuesday. Gunmen staged additional attacks Wednesday.
Fareed Khan AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

Pakistani gunmen staged new attacks Wednesday on health workers carrying out a nationwide polio vaccination program. Six workers were killed Tuesday as they went house to house to administer the immunizations to area children in Karachi and the northwest city of Peshawar.

Although there were additional attacks, the Pakistani government vowed to continue the vaccination campaign — and eradicate the disease — even if there is bloodshed.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:50 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Single-Issue Solidarity Behind NRA's Clout

A visitor handles a revolver at a Smith & Wesson display during the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits on April 14 at America's Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

The National Rifle Association says it will hold a major news conference Friday — a week after the school massacre in Connecticut — and that it is "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."

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Music
1:50 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Country Singer Sammy Kershaw's Cajun Christmas

Sammy Kershaw's new album of Cajun holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

If the sheer variety of holiday music that pops up each winter is any indication, there's no genre that can't handle a little Christmas spirit. This year, Louisiana country singer Sammy Kershaw decided to test that theory with the sounds of the bayou. His new album of Cajun-infused holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.

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Books News & Features
1:49 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

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Sweetness And Light
8:03 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Time For Gun Owners To Be Good Sports About Gun Restrictions

Frank Deford says those who have the potential to reduce the gun violence are people who own guns and who are good sports.
LeightonPhotography iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

I've never had any interest in hunting. Among other things, I'm a terrible shot, but I have friends who hunt, and it appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable sports hobby — certainly every bit as honorable as fantasy football. Moreover, shooting a deer or a duck with a bullet seems to me no more inhuman than catching a trout or a marlin with a hook.

Oh, sometimes I get a little piqued that those who hunt and fish are ennobled as "sportsmen," while people who play golf are just golfers and people who bowl are just bowlers. But then, that's just me being picayune.

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Animals
5:11 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Christmas Comes Early At Australia's Taronga Zoo

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:06 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Questions Answered About Indiana Jones Package

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Remembrances
4:07 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Sen. Inouye, A War Hero Who Broke Barriers, Dies At 88

Inouye's wife, Maggie, waves to a neighbor as she, the senator and son Kenny prepare to leave their home, Aug. 4, 1973, in Bethesda, Md.
Bill Weems AP

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:06 am

Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, the Senate's senior member, died at a Bethesda, Md., hospital Monday. He was 88 years old and was suffering from a respiratory ailment. The Japanese-American was known for his heroism in World War II and for breaking racial barriers.

Born to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii in 1924, the young Inouye dreamed of becoming a surgeon, but world events intervened as he was listening to the radio on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941.

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Politics
3:31 am
Tue December 18, 2012

Gun Issues Return To Political Debate

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the wake of those mass killings in Newtown, Connecticut, there is a new conversation in Washington about gun laws. And there are signs that the outcome could be different than in the past.

Here's NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

Read more

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