6:32pm

Thu December 20, 2012
World Cafe

Minus The Bear On World Cafe

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 8:59 am

Minus The Bear.
Courtesy of the artist

The majority of Minus The Bear's records have been iterations of the intricate, melodic rock the Seattle band has been playing since it formed in 2001. In 2010 the band made a slight departure with Omni, an album that relied much more heavily on synthesizers and keyboards.

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5:05pm

Thu December 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Financial Ties Bind NRA, Gun Industry

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:51 am

In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Leaders of the National Rifle Association plan to break their weeklong silence Friday and make their first public comments on the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

They say they will be speaking for the NRA's 4 million members. But they will also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon used — an AR-15-style rifle — is one of the most popular guns in America.

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4:53pm

Thu December 20, 2012
U.S.

Is The Border Secure Enough To Tackle The Immigration System?

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:10 pm

A hilltop view of the 18-foot fence along the U.S.-Mexico border west of Nogales, Ariz.
Ted Robbins NPR

Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size — growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents.

The government has constructed some 700 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers. It has placed thousands of ground sensors, lights, radar towers and cameras along the border. And Customs and Border Protection is now flying drones and helicopters to locate smuggles and rescue stranded immigrants.

So here's the question: Is the Southwest border secure?

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4:28pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Picture Show

'Miss Subways': A Trip Back In Time To New York's Melting Pot

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:13 pm

Selsey was Miss Subways January-March 1964
Courtesy of Fiona Gardner

For more than 35 years, riders on the New York City subways and buses during their daily commute were graced with posters of beaming young women. While the women featured in each poster — all New Yorkers — were billed as "average girls," they were also beauty queens in the nation's first integrated beauty contest: Miss Subways, selected each month starting in 1941 by the public and professionally photographed by the country's leading modeling agency.

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4:27pm

Thu December 20, 2012
It's All Politics

House Republicans Face Threat Of Primary Challenges In 'Plan B' Vote

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., shown in 2010, has said he would deserve a primary challenge if he voted for House Speaker John Boehner's "fiscal cliff" proposal, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts only on income of less than $1 million.
John Hanna AP

House Republicans are under a lot of pressure.

House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team are urging them to support his "Plan B" to avoid the automatic tax hikes of the "fiscal cliff." But they're also facing pressure from outside groups that could mount primary challenges against them if they do.

Boehner argues his plan — which would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to stay in place for income under $1 million a year — isn't a tax increase. But a number of conservative groups have come to a very different conclusion.

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4:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Energy

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Most hydraulic fracturing in California is done to extract to oil in areas like this field in Kern County. The state is drafting fracking regulations for the first time.
Craig Miller KQED

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.

Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.

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3:53pm

Thu December 20, 2012
NPR Story

Letters: Southern Baptist Convention Leader On Guns

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, your letters and we heard from many of you about my conversation yesterday with Dr. Richard Land. He's director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. And the moment that seemed to get most of you writing was Reverend Land's theological justification for gun ownership and the use of lethal force.

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3:36pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Latin America

'Lost Jews' Of Colombia Say They've Found Their Roots

Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 11:38 am

Baruj Cano, 4, watches as his father and other men from Bello's Jewish community read from the Torah.
Paul Smith for NPR

They are called "crypto-Jews" or "lost Jews," and in recent years they have emerged in remote places as scattered as India, Brazil, the American Southwest and here in Colombia.

They were raised as Christians but believe they have discovered hidden Jewish roots, prompting many to return to Judaism. Many say their ancestors were Sephardic Jews expelled from Spain more than 500 years ago, as the Spanish crown embarked on a systematic persecution of Jews.

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3:34pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Space

In Calif. Gold Country, A Rush That's Out Of This World

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
UC Davis

On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.

"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."

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3:02pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Salt

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

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