Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:12 pm
Democrats are fond of saying that Republicans are interested in only one thing, and that is to thwart President Obama at every opportunity. He proposes something, the GOP opposes it. He says it's day, they say it's night. In some cases, those complaints are justified; in others, it's just whining.
But it's a complex story about the opposition to Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel, the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, to become the next secretary of defense. It may not be about Obama at all.
A woman helps adjust a mask for her friend outside an amusement park on a hazy day in Beijing on Saturday.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
A woman wears a mask while walking in a park near the China Central Television Tower, background, on a hazy day in Beijing. The elderly, children and those suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are being advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to polluted air.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Air pollution hangs over the skyline as the sun rises over the central business district in Beijing on Monday. Dense smog has shrouded the city with pollution at hazardous levels for days, and residents were advised to stay indoors.
Credit Liu Changlong / Xinhua /Landov
Students take an indoor physical education class at Shoushuihe Elementary School in Beijing, as outdoor sports activities for primary and middle schools were halted due to heavy air pollution. Heavy smog has caused highway closures and flight delays in several provinces.
Credit Ed Jones / AFP/Getty Images
This combination of photos shows (left) the Beijing skyline during severe pollution Monday, and the same view (right) taken during clear weather on Feb. 4, 2012.
Credit AFP/Getty Images
Beijing hospitals saw a spike in respiratory cases Monday following a weekend of off-the-charts pollution. Here, a row of intravenous drips is seen as parents take their kids to hospital for flu treatment Sunday.
Credit Alexander F. Yuan / AP
A woman wears a mask while walking in a park near the China Central Television Tower, background, on a hazy day in Beijing. The elderly, children and those suffering from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to polluted air.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
About 9,000 children per day consult doctors in Beijing's children's hospital, around a third of them suffering from respiratory disorders.
In China's capital, they're calling it the "airpocalypse," with air pollution that's literally off the charts. The air has been classified as hazardous to human health for a fifth consecutive day, at its worst hitting pollution levels 25 times that considered safe in the U.S. The entire city is blanketed in a thick grey smog that smells of coal and stings the eyes, leading to official warnings to stay inside.
The NFL playoffs are down to four teams. The 49ers, Patriots, Falcons and Ravens remain alive. Four other teams are gone, including the Denver Broncos, who seemed to have a great shot at a championship until this past weekend when Baltimore scored a last-minute touchdown to tie the game and then won in overtime.
These playoffs, of course, lead up to the Super Bowl, the biggest game in football and surely among the biggest commercial events in all of sports.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris yesterday to protest government efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. The demonstration was considered one of the largest in years. The government of President Francois Hollande says it will go ahead anyway. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports.
Some six months after Syria's rebels tried to storm the country's largest city, they can claim the eastern part of Aleppo and perhaps 60 percent overall. In the west, the government army has the remaining 40 percent of the city.
The line dividing these two areas is supposedly the front line in Aleppo's war. But lately the front has gone cold, as people here say in Arabic.
Goldman Sachs is reportedly planning to hold back paying bonuses to its employees in the U.K. That's according to the Financial Times, which reports the bank is looking at waiting until the top British tax rate falls by 5 percent in April before paying out the bonuses that would otherwise pay now.
Eugene Patterson was a man of the South. He grew up in a time of racial segregation. He became a newspaper columnist. And the story we're about to hear is the story of how he chose to use that platform during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Eugene Patterson has died after cancer treatments at the age of 89 and NPR's David Folkenflik reports on his life.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Eugene Patterson will be forever be known in Atlanta as a fearless champion of racial equality.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's talk now about the life and death of Aaron Swartz. He was a 26-year-old computer protégé and social activist. He created new technologies. He led campaigns that touched millions of lives and last Friday, Mr. Swartz hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment. He was facing a criminal investigation at the time. NPR's Steve Henn is covering this story. Good morning, Steve.
A week from Monday, President Obama is to take his public oath of office for a second term.
The inauguration will be marked by celebratory balls and other festivities, sponsored by the privately financed Presidential Inaugural Committee. The first Obama inauguration had strict fundraising rules. But this year, the rules have been loosened, and critics wonder what happened to the president's old pledge to change the way Washington works.
When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water.
At one of UVM's recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their refillable bottles is an old habit.
If you live in a college town, you might have noticed that campus coffee shops are still buzzing late into the evening.
And that makes sense. New survey data from the NPD group, which tracks trends in what Americans eat and drink, finds that 18- to 24-year-olds are turning to coffee, rather than caffeinated sodas, as their pick-me-up of choice.
Chef and culinary historian Maricel Presilla owns two restaurants and has written many cookbooks. But her newest book, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, is her attempt to give fans a heaping helping of the many cultures she blends into her world.
"It's my whole life," she tells Morning Edition host David Greene. "There are recipes there of my childhood, things that I remember my family, my aunts doing. But also things that I learned as I started to travel Latin America."
Hepatitis C patient Nancy Turner shows Kathleen Coleman, a nurse practitioner, where a forearm rash, a side effect of her treatment, has healed. Turner is one of many patients with hepatitis C experimenting with new drugs to beat back the virus.
A smoldering epidemic already affects an estimated 4 million Americans, most of whom don't know it.
It's hepatitis C, an insidious virus that can hide in the body for two or three decades without causing symptoms — and then wreak havoc with the liver, scarring it so extensively that it can fail. Half of all people waiting for liver transplants have hepatitis C.
Looming sequestration cuts of massive proportions, coupled with a U.S. troop drawdown in Afghanistan are adding to the boiling partisanship over nominating Chuck Hegel as defense secretary. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that some of the biggest challenges for the Department of Defense come from inside U.S. borders.
Emily Dickinson's poem that begins with the line "I died for beauty" inspires the title of a new biography of Dorothy Wrinch, the path-breaking mathematician who faced the kind of tumult that scientific inquiry can inspire.
Few people outside the sciences have heard of Wrinch. In 1929, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate of science from Oxford University. But that only begins her largely unknown story.
Now, to New York. Printed Matter is a bookstore in Manhattan's Chelsea district. But it's not just any bookstore. The nonprofit works with artists to create, publish and sell their work in book form. It also hosts exhibitions and performances. Over the course of nearly four decades, it's become a beloved institution in New York's art community.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield arrived at the International Space Station late last month. He has kept busy updating his Twitter followers about life in space. For those on Earth wondering what space sounds like, Hadfield has recorded the sounds of everyday life aboard the ISS, including a toilet flushing.