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10:20 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly

Marchers at the state capitol building in Austin, Texas, in February protest working conditions in the state's construction sector.
Jason Cato Courtesy of Workers Defense Project

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:12 am

Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.

Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.

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Financial Basics For Baby Boomers
10:19 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Debt And The Modern Parent Of College Kids

How will you pay for your kids' college?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 4:44 am

It's college touring season, and many parents are on the road with their teenagers, driving from school to school and thinking about the college application — and financial aid — process that looms ahead.

Many baby boomers have already been through this stage with their kids, but because the generation spans about 20 years, others still have kids at home. So how should boomers plan to pay for school when, on average, students graduate from college in the U.S. with $25,000 in debt?

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Sweetness And Light
5:03 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Tiger At The Masters: The Juncture Of Exhilaration And Peril

Tiger Woods spends some time on the driving range during Monday's practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 2:20 am

Let us now ponder the exquisite status of Tiger Woods, who has clawed back to the top of the charts thereby to proclaim, with the help of his Nike mouthpiece, that his ragged and raw past few years never really happened because — ta-da –– as his ad says: "Winning takes care of everything."

And yes, indeed, he is No. 1 in the rankings again. And, too, he has a beautiful new girlfriend, although, of course, I will not mention her name here, so as not to be a member of what he calls the "stalkerazzi."

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The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

New Rule: Spelling Bee Will Now Include Definitions Test

Winning the National Spelling Bee, like Snigdha Nandipati, 14, of San Diego, did in 2012, will get harder.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:14 pm

As if it weren't hard enough to spell "cymotrichous," now the National Spelling Bee will expect contestants to know that it means "having wavy hair."

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Your Money
1:46 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Will You Be Chained To A Smaller Check In Retirement?

Opponents of President Obama's expected proposed changes to Social Security rallied at the White House on Tuesday. Among them were lawmakers like Minnesota Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan.
J. David Ake AP

When President Obama on Wednesday unveils his blueprint for the government's 2014 budget, he'll offer lots of ideas for changes in taxes and spending.

But the proposal likely to grab the most attention will be the one dealing with cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. Many economists would applaud a change in the way Social Security officials measure inflation, but many older Americans may hiss, fearing a new formula will cut their benefits.

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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Mali Will Give France's François Hollande A New Camel, After The First Was Eaten

Yep. That camel is now stew.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:02 pm

As a thank you for sending French troops to repel Islamist rebels out of Mali, the government gifted President François Hollande a small camel.

As The Guardian tells the story, this was back in February and Hollande was intent on bringing the camel back to France.

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The Two-Way
12:47 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Bitcoin Surpasses $200 Mark, Continuing 'Epic' Rise

A chart shows the sharp rise of bitcoin against the U.S. dollar in the past five days. Only two months after exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20, it surpassed $200 Tuesday.
Bitcoin Charts

Bitcoin, the digital currency that trades outside the control of central banks and international borders, reached new heights Tuesday, surpassing the $200 mark for the first time. That level comes just five days after bitcoin approached $150, a development that Mt.Gox, the largest exchange service for the currency, deemed to be "epic."

Bitcoin's rise has been sharp. It was only two months ago that exchange rates put a single bitcoin's value at around $20.

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Sports
12:34 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

How Louisville Went From 'Little Brother' To Powerhouse

Louisville forward Chane Behanan celebrates after defeating Michigan in the NCAA basketball championship on Monday. It was the school's first basketball title since 1986.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

University of Louisville fans have had a lot to cheer about lately — and not just basketball.

Monday's big victory by Louisville's men's basketball team over Michigan is just the latest success for the school and for an athletic department that is quickly becoming one of the country's most admired.

In January, the football team upset fourth-ranked Florida to win the Sugar Bowl, and coach Charlie Strong turned down a lucrative offer from the University of Tennessee to continue rebuilding the Louisville program.

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Shots - Health News
12:34 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Genetically Modified Rat Is Promising Model For Alzheimer's

Scientists hope a new genetically modified rat will help them find Alzheimer's drugs that work on humans.
Ryumin Alexander ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

A rat with some human genes could provide a better way to test Alzheimer's drugs.

The genetically modified rat is the first rodent model to exhibit the full range of brain changes found in Alzheimer's, researchers report in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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All Tech Considered
12:34 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Austin Is Latest Testbed For Google's High-Speed Experiment

Matthew Marcus works at his desk in the basement of Kansas City Startup Village in Kansas City, Kan., in January. The village houses several startup companies and takes advantage of the high-speed Internet. Google announced on Tuesday it would be installing its Google Fiber network in Austin, Texas, next.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

Google announced Tuesday that its Google Fiber project would be hitting Austin, Texas, next. The company says Austin, famous for its South by Southwest festival, is a "mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities."

Google Fiber is the tech giant's blazing fast Internet service, with current rates at 1 Gpbs, about 100 times faster than your typical cable broadband Internet service. It debuted in Kansas City in 2012.

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The Salt
12:14 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Vermont Bests The Nation In Local Chow

A Vermont farm stand. The state excels at getting the produce to the people.
David Sucsy iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:00 pm

Sure, it's a tiny state, but Vermont is powerful when it comes to shopping at farmers markets, ordering up veggies from a CSA, and developing distribution systems for local products.

That's why the Green Mountain State topped the 2013 Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index, a ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on their commitment to local food.

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It's All Politics
11:59 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Will The Future GOP Be More Libertarian?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., shown speaking at a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on March 19, is promoting libertarian ideas as a way the Republican Party can be more inclusive.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

Republicans don't often make high-profile speeches at Howard University, one of the country's most prominent historically black schools. But on Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will talk to Howard students about how his party can be more inclusive.

Paul believes one answer is libertarianism — and party leaders are starting to think he might be on to something.

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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Spring Storm Brings Snow To Colo., High Winds To Wyo., Dust Storm In Ariz.

A woman crosses the street as steam rises from a manhole cover in Denver's financial district on Tuesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:31 am

We almost feel guilty writing this post, because here in Washington, we're finally seeing some spring (the cherry blossoms have reached full bloom!): But in the Plains, a spring storm is bringing snow to Colorado and Wyoming and whipped up enough winds to cover parts of Arizona in dust.

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Music Reviews
11:01 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Brad Paisley Ventures Out Of Country's 'Wheelhouse'

Brad Paisley's new album is titled Wheelhouse.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

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Shots - Health News
10:49 am
Tue April 9, 2013

How A Spring Birthday Could Pose A Risk For Multiple Sclerosis

Spring has brought the stork and a baby who just might have a higher risk for multiple sclerosis later in life.
Anna Bryukhanova iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 5:42 am

There's lots of science trying to connect a baby's birth date to health later in life. It's usually about serious diseases that have no clear cause, like schizoprenia, autism and multiple sclerosis.

And it's almost all junk science, the medical equivalent of astrology. That's because though studies have shown a correlation between season of birth and disease for MS and other disorders, they've never been able to show how seasonal differences in people's bodies or the environment could cause disease.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Pacific Commander: U.S. Can Intercept North Korean Missiles

The launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket in December in a photo released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
AFP/Getty Images

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday that American forces currently have the ability to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile.

Adm. Samuel Locklear, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if the U.S. had the ability to intercept a North Korean missile launched "within the next several days."

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Code Switch
10:42 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Brad Paisley's 'Accidental Racist' Sparks At Least One Dialogue

LL Cool J (left) and Brad Paisley backstage during the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards Sunday in Las Vegas.
Jerod Harris/ACMA2013 Getty Images for ACM

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 3:18 am

"It can't be a coincidence that 'Accidental Racist' came out the same day Code Switch launched," @Melanism tweeted at us on Monday.

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Middle East
10:22 am
Tue April 9, 2013

'It's Not Normal': Syrian War Transforms Lives

Razan Shalab Al-Sham, in bright blue, works for the Syrian Emergency Task Force. She helped provide uniforms for the new civil police force of Khirbet al-Joz in northern Syria.
Deborah Amos NPR

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 3:59 pm

In November, Razan Shalab Al-Sham, the daughter of a wealthy Syrian family, led the way to the Syrian farming village of Khirbet al-Joz to deliver an unusual kind of aid: police uniforms. A cold winter rain turned the frontier forest between southern Turkey and Syria into a muddy march up a mountain ridge along a smugglers' trail. She climbed the mountain to make the delivery herself.

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It's All Politics
10:11 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Blacks' Election-Day Waits Nearly Double Those Of Whites, But Why?

People stood in line to vote on Election Day 2012 at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center in Apex, N.C.
Gerry Broome AP

On Election Day 2012, black voters waited on average nearly twice as long to vote as did white voters, while the wait time for Hispanic voters fell in between those two groups.

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It's All Politics
9:56 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Immigration Overhaul 'Feels Unstoppable Now,' Backers Say

Protesters march last week in Miami, in support of immigration overhaul legislation. The marchers were calling for a new immigration system with a path to citizenship for 11 million people currently in the country illegally.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 11:22 am

Thousands of supporters will descend on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call for legislation that creates a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally.

Sound familiar?

But this time, unlike in 2007 and 2010 when immigration legislation died in Congress after similar demonstrations, proponents of an overhaul say politics has swung inexorably toward their side.

"I've been working on this issue for more than a decade, and it feels unstoppable now," says Ana Avendano, director of immigration and community action at the AFL-CIO.

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The Two-Way
9:44 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Giant-Killing Louisville Women Look To Keep Charmed Run Alive

Head coach Jeff Walz of the Louisville Cardinals talks to his team during a timeout in the game against the Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
G. Flume Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

Tonight, there's a chance for a rare double in NCAA Division I college basketball.

As we reported earlier, if the University of Louisville scores a victory in the women's championship game, it will be only the second school to capture both the men's and women's titles in the same year.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Multiple People Hurt At Houston-Area College Campus, Following Stabbing Incident

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 5:30 pm

Fourteen people were injured after a stabbing incident at a Houston-area college.

The Lone Star College System put its Cy-Fair campus on lockdown on Tuesday following the stabbing. One suspect — a 20-year-old man who was enrolled in the school — was apprehended.

Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that medical personnel said 14 people were "wounded in the stabbing in which a suspect was detained this morning."

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Tue April 9, 2013

KPMG Partner May Have Traded Inside Information

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 10:20 am

KPMG has withdrawn as auditor of Herbalife and Skechers USA after the accounting firm revealed that one of its partners may have sold inside information on the companies to a third-party stock trader.

Nutrient-supplement seller Herbalife briefly halted activity in its shares after the revelation, only reopening trading Tuesday afternoon. The company's stock was down 21 cents at $38.18 Tuesday. The broader market was mixed.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue April 9, 2013

A View From South Korea: The North Is 'A Playground Bully'

Carrying on as usual: Shoppers in central Seoul on Monday.
Lee Jae-Won Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 2:34 pm

Nearly two decades ago, a North Korean official threatened to turn Seoul into a "Sea of Fire." South Koreans responded by cleaning out the shelves of supermarkets and preparing for an attack that never came.

On Tuesday, North Korea urged tourists and foreign companies to leave South Korea for their own safety, saying the two countries are on the eve of a nuclear war.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Actor Who Played Satan Scoffs At Obama Comparison

Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani with an image of himself in character as Satan.
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

"It's nonsense," Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani says of the fuss created by some conservative TV talkers who think Ouazzani was made to look as much like President Obama as he did Satan in The History Channel miniseries "The Bible."

Still, he tells The Associated Press that the notoriety is a good thing:

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
7:31 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Should We Abolish The Minimum Wage?

Jared Bernstein and Karen Kornbluh, who argued for keeping the minimum wage, celebrate their win in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Adelaide Mandeville Intelligence Squared U.S.
  • Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
  • Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate

In the 75 years since it was introduced, Americans have been arguing over the minimum wage.

Some say government intervention to artificially raise wages lowers demand for workers and interferes with economic freedom — preventing people who would be willing to work for less from getting jobs at all. They argue that the minimum wage especially hurts teenagers and young adults with few or no skills.

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The Two-Way
7:02 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Osteen Hoaxster Explains: Goal Wasn't To Defame Pastor

An image taken from a YouTube video depicts a mock news story on the Christian Broadcasting News site, claiming that Pastor Joel Osteen had renounced his faith.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 8:27 am

The person behind the elaborate online hoax in which a fake website and Twitter feed falsely proclaimed Pastor Joel Osteen's intent to renounce Christianity and shut down his influential Houston ministry says that his goal wasn't to attack Osteen personally.

"I would like to state unequivocally my intent was not to defame Mr. Osteen," the person behind the hoax wrote in an email, adding that "he seems like an infectiously nice and genial character."

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The Two-Way
6:55 am
Tue April 9, 2013

New Data Show Ford Doing Well In Overseas Markets

A Ford Focus ST was on display at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 8:27 am

Which Japanese-manufactured car is the world's most popular vehicle? Maybe none of them. It might just be the Ford Focus.

More than a million Focus models were sold worldwide last year, with Toyota's Corolla coming in second. Next was Ford's top-selling F-Series pickup, sold almost exclusively in the U.S. and Canada, according to the marketing firm R.L. Polk.

Still, there's one caveat. As The Wall Street Journal points out:

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Sports
6:49 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Sports Round-up: 'Smarmy' Pro Golf And A Maddening March

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:26 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. If you're like most Americans, you probably have some debt, and that's a bummer, but how do you think you'd feel if you were in debt because of a guy who beat you? Later, we are going to talk about what might be the hidden cost of domestic abuse. That's financial abuse. We'll have that eye-opening conversation in just a few minutes.

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Politics
6:49 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Social Security Will 'Lose Credibility' If We Do Nothing

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:26 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Louisville Cardinals capped off a dramatic journey through March Madness to take the NCAA men's crown last night. We'll look back on the men's college basketball tournament. We'll look ahead to the women's final. That conversation is just ahead.

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