There's one part of Obamacare that doesn't get mentioned a lot, but that could end up being a big deal. It sets up experiments in hospitals all over the country to try to figure out how to save money without lowering the quality of care.
On today's show, we visit a hospital in Akron, Ohio that's engaged in one of these experiments. We sit in on a tense conversation where doctors argue about why it's so hard to start surgery on time. And we hear what happens when you change the way hospitals and doctors get paid.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:31 pm
The Senate passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal aimed at easing automatic spending cuts and avoiding a government shutdown, following a House vote on the measure last week.
The vote by a simple majority was absent the partisan brinksmanship that has become a hallmark of budget deals in recent memory.
The appropriations committees in both chambers must now set in stone a $1.012 trillion fiscal 2014 spending bill before current spending authority expires. Congress also faces a Jan. 15 deadline to raise the debt ceiling — another potential partisan standoff.
When Benta Odeny was diagnosed with HIV, she started to protect her husband Daniel from the virus by taking antiretroviral medications. The same drugs also helped her give birth to an HIV-negative daughter, Angelia.
In the past five years, the Federal Reserve has created roughly $3 trillion out of thin air.
The Fed uses the money it creates out of thin air to buy bonds. The idea is to drive down interest rates, which encourages people and businesses to borrow and spend money. It's called quantitative easing.
Whether you love buying gifts or dread trips to the mall, good luck avoiding some kind of shopping during the holiday season. But I don't need the excuse of a holiday to get me to the stores. I'm obsessed with shopping.
The question is, am I a shopaholic? The technical term is "compulsive buyer," according to psychologist April Benson.
"Simply put," says Dr. Benson, compulsive buying is "when we spend so much time, energy and/or money shopping ... or even thinking about shopping and buying that it is impairing our life in a significant way."
Ten years after education researchers began focusing on big city school systems and monitoring their math and reading scores, there's good news to report. Today, fourth and eighth graders in many of the nation's largest cities have made impressive gains. Surprisingly, school systems with large numbers of low income children have exceeded the national average in both subjects .
For more than a year, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA have been engaged in a tug of war over the release of the so-called torture report.
Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, says the $40 million, 6,000-page report demonstrates that CIA treatment of detainees was all but useless in terms of gathering actionable intelligence.
For its part, the CIA says the classified committee report contains significant errors and that no one at the agency was interviewed by Senate investigators.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:42 pm
Michael Steinberg, a top portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors, has been found guilty of insider trading — the latest conviction stemming from a years-long federal investigation into the hedge fund's activities.
Steinberg was found guilty on five counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.
"Prosecutors said he traded on confidential information that was passed to him by an employee, who later admitted to swapping illegal tips with friends at other firms."
James Breton is a sophomore at the Academy for Software Engineering, one of several small schools now housed in New York's Washington Irving High School building.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Washington Irving High School in 2012, announcing the closures of several underperforming schools and the opening of 54 new ones. Washington Irving is set to close in 2015.
Washington Irving High used to be a large school of 4,000 students. But today, the elegant, century-old building, its walls painted with murals depicting scenes from New York history, is home to seven separate schools.
The changes at this school, near the hustle and bustle of Manhattan's Union Square, offer a window into the imprint outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made on the city's public school system.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Activists in Syria say the most intense bombardment of that country's civil war is now in its fourth day. Government aircraft are dumping barrels packed with explosives on the city of Aleppo. Close to 200 people have been killed in the assault so far, according to the group Doctors Without Borders.
The Port of Tyne on the northeastern coast of England used to be a world famous harbor where the biggest ships were built. But those industries have collapsed. "Now I think we are not quite sure who we are," says one resident. The port and the shipyards once provided apprenticeships and jobs, but no more. Boys and young men have little prospect of work, and all are hoping that plans for a massive wind farm in the North Sea will come to fruition and revitalize the economy.
Melissa Block talks with Paul Crompton, executive producer at Barge Pole Productions, about train robber Ronnie Biggs, who died Wednesday at 84. Crompton made the film The Great Train Robber's Secret Tapes with former Daily Express reporter Colin MacKenzie, who tracked the robber to Rio after he escaped from prison, and recorded his interviews with him over a period of days.
LGBT activists are hailing the Obama administration's choice of a delegation to attend the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. It doesn't include the President or Vice President or their wives or even cabinet secretaries. Instead the delegation includes prominent gay athletes. This is seen as a rebuke of Russia's new anti-propaganda law that targets those who are LGBT.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:12 pm
In a year that featured divisive fights over the budget, health care and presidential nominations, the United States Senate took a break from partisan bickering Tuesday night to get in the Christmas spirit.
World Cafe welcomes the U.K. trio Daughter to the studio for Wednesday's session. Led by singer-songwriter Elena Tonra, the group formed when its members met as students at London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. The band released a pair of EPs independently before attracting the attention of a big label, which released the full-length If You Leave in March.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:31 pm
(This post was updated at 6:30 p.m. ET)
A panel looking into U.S. electronic surveillance activities in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations has recommended removing the NSA's authority to collect and store Americans' telephone data.
The key recommendation was one of dozens that the panel put forward; however, it did not propose a wholesale scaling back of domestic spying by the National Security Agency and other intelligence branches.
The Obama administration's ambassador to the U.N. says this is a pivotal moment for the Central African Republic and time for the international community to take steps to prevent further atrocities there.
Samantha Power, a former journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is well-known as an advocate for humanitarian intervention. How she and the Obama administration handle the conflict in the CAR is a major test of that.
Team USA celebrates its 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinal Men's Ice Hockey event at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 22, 1980. The game was dubbed "the Miracle on Ice."
Jesse Owens runs in a 200-meter preliminary heat at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin.
Athletes Tommie Smith (top center) and John Carlos (top right) extend their fists during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200-meter run at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 6:40 pm
When it comes to the Olympics, politics intrudes more often than not.
President Obama has decided not to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. The official U.S. delegation will not include a president, vice president, first lady or former president for the first time since 2000.
Instead, Obama asked athletes including openly gay tennis great Billie Jean King and two-time hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow to represent the country. American gay-rights groups, angered by an anti-gay law Russia enacted in June, applauded the move.