William McGee is a former airlines operations manager who has made a career as an aviation journalist, writing for Consumer Reports and other publications. He's an FAA-licensed aircraft dispatcher and in 2010 was named the sole consumer advocate to the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, formed to make recommendations to the Department of Transportation.
In the land of legislative freshmen, sophomores can be kings.
That's a dynamic that will play out around much of the country after the fall elections. Come January, about half the nation's roughly 7,400 legislators will be totally new on the job or have only two years' experience, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 11:08 am
Considering it a First Amendment case, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has decided to defend a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in its bid to adopt a stretch of Georgia highway.
As Korva reported earlier this month, Georgia transportation officials turned down the group's request, saying "encountering signage and members of the KKK along a roadway would create a definite distraction to motorists."
Nora Ephron, the essayist, novelist, screenwriter and film director, died Tuesday night in Manhattan. She was 71, and suffered from leukemia.
She's most widely known for films including Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally, which she wrote, and Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia, which she wrote and directed. She also wrote many frank, humorous essays, some of which were collected in books.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Viviana Hurtado. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a recent survey shows finances are the most common source of conflict for U.S. couples. We talked to one of our regular money coaches to help you and your significant other maybe avoid an argument before it starts.
"The U.N.'s deputy envoy for Syria, Jean-Marie Guehenno, [has] told the U.N. Human Rights Council that the violence in Syria has 'reached or even surpassed' levels seen before the April 12 ceasefire agreement and that a six-point peace plan forged by his boss, U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, 'is clearly not being implemented.' "
Deb Waldin was in agony when she arrived at the emergency room of Fairview Southdale, a nonprofit hospital in suburban Minneapolis. On a scale of 1 to 10, she says her pain was at 12.
She turned out to have kidney stones. But before she got the diagnosis, while she was still lying on a gurney waiting to see a doctor, she was approached by a debt collector from a company called Accretive Health.
There was a 1.1 percent increase in new orders for so-called durable goods in May from April, the Census Bureau says. That's more than economists had forecast, Bloomberg News reports. According to Reuters, economists thought Census would say orders went up about 0.4 percent.
Something that was "unimaginable a couple of decades ago" happened today in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Queen Elizabeth II shook the hand of former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, NPR's Philip Reeves tells our Newscast Desk.
As Philip adds:
"McGuinness used to be a senior member of the IRA, the group that killed the queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. ... The handshake signals times have greatly changed since the end of the conflict, which claimed more than 3,500 lives, though some tensions remain."
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer, in for Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
In Egypt, a small victory for civil rights: A court there suspended a decree that allowed the military to arrest civilians. Other moves to amass power by the ruling military council, including dissolving Egypt's elected parliament, are still in effect.
"A firestorm of epic proportions" continues to threaten Colorado Springs, Colo., as more than 1,000 firefighters battle flames that by midday had forced more than 26,000 people to flee their homes.
It was local Fire Chief Rich Brown who called the inferno epic Tuesday night. Today, Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said it's an event "that is certainly unprecedented in this city," The Denver Post reports.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Off the coast of Croatia is an island where the mayor dines with Eric Clapton, offers to rename an island Facebook Island if Mark Zuckerberg comes to visit, and just gave honorary citizenship to a celebrity baby. The baby is Blue Ivy, daughter of Beyonce' and Jay Z. Her name was apparently inspired by a tree covered in Blue Ivy at a resort on the island, Hvar. the mayor says the publicity has been great for tourism. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
A Nordstrom warehouse worker created a mini department store in his living room — displaying fancy watches and hand bags at very good prices. He even took orders. Police noticed him when he wore a bulky winter coat to work on a hot summer day and made lots of trips to his car.
Let's turn now to proposed rules to protect patients from abusive debt collection practices, specifically at nonprofit hospitals. The rules come from the Treasury Department. They were required by the 2010 federal health law.
Jenny Gold of our partner Kaiser Health News has more.
JENNY GOLD, BYLINE: When Deb Waldin arrived at the emergency room of Fairview Health Services, a nonprofit hospital system in Minnesota, on a scale of one to 10, she says her pain was a 12.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Debby has now weakened from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, but it's still bringing flash floods and the threat of tornadoes to Florida cities, including Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville. Debby first formed in the Gulf of Mexico last weekend. Jessica Palombo of Florida Public Radio has more.
A publicity storm from the hacking scandal has shaken media conglomerate News Corp. Now, the company is taking steps to split in two - the smaller newspaper and book publishing arm and the vastly more profitable broadcasting and entertainment side. NPR's David Folkenflik has more.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Newspapers have been News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch's first and most enduring love. And of late, they have been his heartache, too.
College football fans are belting out a one word chant this morning: Finally. As in finally, there's a post-season playoff at the sport's highest level. Yesterday, a committee of college presidents approved a four-team, three game plan. When it starts in 2014, it'll end major college football's isolation as the only big time team sport that does not decide its championship with a playoff. NPR's Tom Goldman has more.
In advance of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Obama health care law, Renee Montagne talks to Jamal Greene — associate professor at Columbia Law School and former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens — about how the Supreme Court thinks through momentous cases.
NPR's business starts with living wills for banks.
The nation's biggest banks are getting ready to file plans with the government for how they would unwind their assets if they were to fail. The plans are called living wills. Regulators want to avoid the type of damage the collapse of Lehman Brothers had on the financial system. Big banks have a July 1st deadline to submit their living wills to the Federal Reserve and FDIC. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
"The election of muslim brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi is another step in the balance of power counter-revolutionary process that many wrongly characterized as a revolution eighteen months ago.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
As Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles reported today on Morning Edition, meat has more of an impact on the environment than any other food we eat. That's because livestock require so much more food, water, land, and energy than plants to raise and transport. (Listen to the audio above for their conversation with Morning Edition's Linda Wertheimer.)
Take a look here at what goes into just one quarter-pound of hamburger meat.
Created by the federal government during the Great Depression, Fannie Mae became a Washington powerhouse: a highly profitable, private company, protected by the government and boasting huge lobbying clout. But today, Fannie Mae has essentially become a ward of the state.
Credit Chris Arnold / NPR
While Fannie Mae's public image has been tarnished since the housing collapse, executive Kimberly Johnson says she actually likes "being at the center of the storm."
The collapse of the housing market has led to plenty of finger-pointing in Washington. Two easy targets are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
These government-backed mortgage giants had to be rescued by taxpayers and now owe the government $188 billion. Still, Fannie and Freddie, which currently make the vast majority of home loans possible, are crucial to supporting the housing market right now.