Along with the privacy advocates and the national security establishment, there is another set of players with strong views on NSA surveillance programs: U.S. tech companies.
Google and five other companies weighed in on the surveillance debate last month, sending a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supporting legislation to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs.
If the answer is "not recently," then you can count yourself among the millions of Americans who just don't write letters anymore. The post office says the average American home receives only one personal letter about every two months.
But there are a few determined people who are doing their best to wreck that average.
"It's becoming a lost art," says Deb Bruzewski.
Every day she curls up on her plaid couch in her home in Auburn, Mich., to write a few of her 60 letters for the week.
For four years, the Islamist militants of Boko Haram have been waging a deadly campaign in northern and central Nigeria, killing thousands of people. In response, the Nigerian military is cracking down on the group, and the United States last week designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
College basketball seems to get started sooner every year, like puberty in American children. Why does everything have to begin so early now, before you have time to get ready for it?
Things move so fast in college basketball that there are three players this year who are being called "the next LeBron James. " In the NBA, most of the talk is already about where the superstars will be next season.
The first satellite ever developed by high school students to make it to space is believed to be orbiting Earth after getting a ride aboard a U.S. military rocket Tuesday night from Wallops Island, Va.
Fittingly, perhaps, you can send it a text message.
The satellite, using a voice synthesizer, is built to transform that text into an audio message that can be heard over certain radio frequencies around the globe, and in different languages.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:59 pm
Imagine how celery root feels at the vegetable beauty pageant. Everyone's falling over the tomato, that smug beauty queen. The cameras love elegant long carrots and parsnips, and the radishes blush in the spotlight. People coo over the potatoes even though they're not much to look at, because they're in it for the fries.
But homely celery root hovers by the concessions table with big, unremarkable rutabaga and antennaed kohlrabi.
Some 3,000 Afghan elders will assemble on Thursday in Kabul to consider a new security agreement with the U.S. The document will spell out the rules for American forces in Afghanistan troops after their combat mission ends in December 2014. U.S. officials say between 6,000 and 9,000 US troops would remain to train Afghan security forces and conduct counter-terror missions against al-Qaeda and other anti-government forces. That counter-terror mission remains a sticking point, though most other issues — like potential criminal liability of Americans in Afghanistan — have been resolved.
In 2010, British spy Gareth Williams was found dead, naked, and stuffed inside a duffel bag in his bathtub. Although a coroner initially suspected foul play, London police have determined that his death was probably an accident. Robert Siegel talks to spy historian Nigel West about the case.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Negotiators for Iran and six world powers returned to Switzerland to discuss limiting Iran's nuclear program. After reportedly coming close to a first-step deal earlier this month, some officials say an agreement is within reach this week. But critics warn a deal would be dangerous.
NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and has this report.
Norwegian chess player Magnus Carlsen is competing in the 2013 World Chess Championships. Melissa Block speaks with Joran Jansson, president of the Norwegian Chess Federation, for more on his rise to a number one ranking and what his popularity means for the game of chess.
The last desert bighorn sheep that roamed the mountains above Tucson, Ariz., died in the 1990s, the victim of human encroachment, mountain lions, and fire suppression. Now, the iconic Southwest animal — picture the Dodge Ram's grille — is back. A herd of 31 was released Monday morning after being transplanted over the weekend from the Yuma area in the far west of the state. Why would the sheep survive this time?
Colorado and California both just proposed new regulations for oil and gas production in their states. Both states have been pushed by environmental concerns to establish rules tougher than federal requirements. If Colorado's proposal goes ahead, it would be the first state in the nation to directly regulate methane. California also says its proposed rule would be the toughest in the nation. It regulates the engineering technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
A portion of the $13 billion JPMorgan Chase mortgage settlement will go to anti-blight measures across the country. One of the groups that might receive some of those funds is the Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Melissa Block talks with the non-profit's director, Jim Rokakis, about how the group tries to fight blight by establishing land banks, demolishing vacant properties and finding new ways to use the land.
A long-awaited deal between JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department was finalized Tuesday. The bank — one of Wall Street's largest — agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to resolve a number of legal issues stemming from mortgage securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. A few appropriate remarks. That was the invitation extended to President Lincoln. Would he formally consecrate the National Cemetery at Gettysburg with a few appropriate remarks? Lincoln's speech, delivered 150 years ago, the Gettysburg Address, is, of course, now considered among the most famous in U.S. history.
This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.
NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.