1:23am

Wed December 5, 2012
Around the Nation

Pot's Legal In Washington State, But Don't Drive High

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 11:10 am

Chris Guthrie, vice president for operations at Canna Pi medical dispensary, inspects a medical marijuana product at his clinic in Seattle on Monday. Marijuana will be legal in Washington state from 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Anthony Bolante Reuters /Landov

Marijuana is legal in Washington state as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but the ballot initiative that made it legal last month contained a new DUI standard — a deal-sweetener for hesitant voters — that may actually make life riskier for regular pot users.

The new law makes it legal for adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but illegal for that same adult to drive if the THC content of his blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter.

Read more

1:22am

Wed December 5, 2012
Your Money

More Large Retailers Ease Customers' Path To Credit

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:09 am

Home Depot has long offered credit cards, partly to serve customers who have just suffered major house damage. The company has recently widened those efforts. Here, a Tampa, Fla., customer buys a generator and bottled water, preparing for Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival in August.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Retailers are finding more ways to offer their customers financial products — mortgages, loans and the like. In the past, people looked to banks for this kind of product. But big-box stores are trying to find new ways of getting money to those who cannot use banks, or want to avoid them altogether.

Costco may be best known for pallets of bottled water or bulk toilet paper that can last a family an entire year. But earlier this year, it also added mortgages to its growing array of financial offerings.

Read more

9:03pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Sweetness And Light

Navel-Gazing: Why Golf Should Embrace Belly Putters

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 1:20 pm

Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
Hunter Martin Getty Images

When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.

Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.

Read more

6:13pm

Tue December 4, 2012
World Cafe

Stars On World Cafe

Stars
Norman Wong Courtesy of the artist

Stars returns to the World Cafe studio to play songs from its latest album, The North. Here, the band sits down with host David Dye to discuss its decision-making process, and how its insistence on being as democratic as possible has helped it stay together over the years.

Read more

5:05pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Politics

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

Read more

4:31pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Afghanistan

Kabul's Roads, Paved With Good Intentions

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:00 am

Afghan laborers work on a roads project last month in Kabul. A huge project to fix the city's roads and sewers is causing huge headaches.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Sometimes, you don't have to go far to find a story. For the past few months, just stepping outside NPR's Kabul office has been a drama.

The neighborhood is in the midst of a major road and sewer renovation project. It's just one of many such projects that is badly needed in Kabul and elsewhere in the country.

But as is often the case, the pace and quality of the work has been uneven. And residents aren't so sure whether the final product will be worth the months of gridlock, power outages and business interruption.

Read more

4:20pm

Tue December 4, 2012
NPR Story

AAA Says New Ethanol-Gas Blend Could Hurt Cars

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

Read more

4:20pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Shots - Health News

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

Read more

4:00pm

Tue December 4, 2012
The Two-Way

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

Read more

3:44pm

Tue December 4, 2012
Music Reviews

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

Read more

Pages