National News

Postcards From The Common Core Classroom

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 04:29

The Common Core State Standards mean big changes in classrooms across the country. This... is the sound of that change.

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As Congress Breaks, Inaction Remains Most Notable Action

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 04:29

A combination of partisanship, upcoming mid-term elections and divided Republicans in the House helped mold a Congress this session that had trouble passing even must-pass bills.

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Tech Week: The CIA Apologizes, Twitter Soars, Foursquare Swarm

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 04:02

In this week's roundup of digital culture headlines, the hardcore Foursquare users have a problem with Swarm. Twitter got a big boost. And why buy shoes when you can print your own?

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War In Gaza Tests Israel's Tolerance For Dissent

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 03:59

In a nation that prizes free expression, some Israelis critical of the war say their views are under attack. "Something really, really bad is happening to the Israeli society," says one activist.

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James Shigeta 'Led The Way' For Asian-American Lovers On Screen

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 03:56

The actor broke barriers as one of Hollywood's first Asian-American romantic leads. Born in Hawaii, he died this week at the age of 85.

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Treating Ebola With An Experimental Serum: Why It Might Help

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 03:03

In 1995, doctors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo skimmed serum rich in antibodies from the blood of Ebola survivors to treat other patients. It's a 19th century approach. Does it work?

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Guess Who's Been Waiting In The Lobby For A Hundred Million Years?

NPR News - Sat, 2014-08-02 03:03

The M-Thing. It's patient. It's modest. It's relentless. It stays.

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House Approves Border Security Spending Bill, 223-189

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 16:48

The $694 million Border Security Supplemental Spending Bill was endorsed one day after the House Republican leadership canceled its plan to hold a vote on the legislation.

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Atlanta Doctors Gear Up To Treat Two Ebola Patients

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 16:31

Two Americans infected with Ebola in West Africa are flying to Atlanta. They will be the first patients treated for the disease in the U.S. What's the risk of Ebola spreading during the transport?

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Killing Of Four Latino Men Sparks Protests In Salinas, Calif.

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 16:31

Calling the shootings "questionable," a civil rights attorney in Oakland requested action by the Justice Department. The Salinas police chief said that would be premature.

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Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 15:58

A Canadian scholar was unimpressed with the cookbooks available for people on food stamps in the U.S. So she decided to come up with her own set of tips and recipes for eating well on $4 a day.

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GM Stays At The Top As U.S. Car Sales Surge In July

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 15:21

An analyst says GM might have benefited from the safety recalls that brought customers back to its dealerships. Many automakers saw strong gains compared to last year.

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Peak Index: The history behind the rise, and rise, and rise of kale

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 15:04

There is a phrase in economics ... when something has hit its high, saturated the market, it's peaked. We're starting a new economic indicator on our show, and we're saying it, we've reached Peak KaleWriter Jane Black explains



If you were a foodie at the dawn of the twentieth century - though, no one would call you a foodie - you probably would have paid attention to what Horace Fletcher had to say.

Fletcher was a wealthy businessman. But he was neither a scientist nor a chef. Still, he pioneered 'Fletcherizing,' or chewing each bite 32 times. It was soon accepted as a key to good health. "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate!" he warned.

The concept seems ridiculous today. But each food fad is a reflection of its time.

Now, we have kale: glamorous but respected; sexy but not in a cookie-cutter way. The Cate Blanchett of vegetables. Like any starlet that has hit the big time, kale is everywhere. It bumps romaine out of Caesar salads. It curls across pizzas and alongside locally raised pork chops. It's the muse for part-cookbook, part-love letter, 50 Shades of Kale.

Why kale? Why now?

To its credit, kale has a vibrant history. It emerged in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. By the Middle Ages, it became so popular in England and Scotland, 'kale' became another word for "dinner." During World War II, Britain urged home gardeners to grow kale for its "Dig for Victory" campaign.   Today it offers those who cook it a badge of honor. Rightly or wrongly, it signals a cook’s commitment to farm to table values, like buying local and, of course, eating your vegetables.

Yet, with every fad comes the inevitable backlash. The first haters are beginning to attack not kale’s pretensions of grandeur but its health credentials. Apparently, all those raw kale salads are a waste. To get the nutrients, you need to cook the stuff.

Yet, with every fad comes the inevitable backlash. The first people to hate on kale claimed it wasn't as healthy as everyone said. Then, they said .... 'only really snooty people eat it.'

Unlike France, Italy and China, the U.S. goes through food fads faster than a box of $4 cupcakes at an office party. So those critiques matter. And before kale was the "it" vegetable, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, portobello mushrooms and celery root each wore the heavy crown.

Still, the backlash has yet to change people's minds about kale. There's a petition on Change.org to make the first Wednesday of October National Kale Day. Folk artist Bo Muller-Moore is locked in a trademark battle with Chick-fil-A to allow him to keep selling T-shirts that read "Eat More Kale."

If the ubiquitous raw kale salad can't live up to its nutritious and culinary promise, perhaps the solution is to mix and match culinary fads.

Put that arugula, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes back into those bowls.

Anyone ready to Fletcherize?

The Market Basket protests

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 15:02

Across New England, a chain of Market Basket grocery stores saw protests this week. Protests in support, not against, former company President Arthur T. Demoulas.

Market Basket's board pushed him out in a massive family feud, and now the chain is losing MILLIONS of dollar as thousands of employees AND customers, have hit the streets.

We asked WGBH reporter Rupa Shenoy to get the bottom of this story.

What do sanctions do, anyway?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 15:00

The word sanctions gets tossed around a lot. The U.S. has sanctions on Iran, Russia, and even Cuba dating back to the Cold War. It's the go-to way to isolate and starve a bad actor, using money.

This week, the U.S. and the E.U. tightened the screws on Russia with even more sanctions.

So how do these things work, anyway?

To find out we met up with economist Sheryl King, director at Roubini Global Economics, outside the United Nations to explain their global impact.

Argentina defaults

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 14:57

Talks broke down between Argentina and some of its bondholders, triggering its second default in the past 13 years.

Tim Ferholz, reporter for Quartz, explains the situation and Argentina's past:

The whole reason for Argentina’s 2001 default was the string of currency crises in Asia and South America in the 1990s, with the IMF and other international financial leaders having bungled their responses to a series of problems in developing economies. Between the specter of contagion, local corruption, and an unwise attempt to peg Argentina’s currency to the dollar, foreign investment poured out of Argentina, and the economy slumped. Social unrest rose, and amid a volatile mix of political chaos, bank runs and high unemployment, Argentina defaulted on $100 billion of debt, going from a poster child for the Washington consensus to its biggest victim. 

Panel Says Plan To Cut Army Strength Goes Too Far

NPR News - Fri, 2014-08-01 13:57

The Pentagon has recommended cutting troop strength to 450,000, but a bipartisan report says that given the global threats, the reduction is too big.

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Automakers could sell 16 million cars this year. What?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 13:23

Turns out, we snapped up around 1.4 million cars last month, an increase of around 9 percent over last year. That puts automakers on track to sell more than 16 million cars in 2014, the biggest auto sales number in eight years. 

So what's going on?

One of the big reasons car sales are so high this year? Banks have discovered the sweet business that is the auto loan.

"Banks have realized that when recessions hit, people may stop paying their mortgage payments, because it takes so long to get thrown out of your house, but very few stop paying their car payment, because those are so easy to repossess and you have to get to work," says Larry Vellequette, with Automotive News in Detroit.

Carmakers have done their part to sweeten that pot, too. "For example Ram, on one of its trucks right now has a 0 percent financing offer for 72 months," says Vellequette. "I mean, six years of free money and no payments for 90 days. That’s… I mean, a really attractive offer."

It's an offer many consumers have been waiting for. The average car on the road is more than 11-years-old, an all-time high. That means there's a lot of pent-up demand right now.

"They’re coming out of this really depressing time, when we had the big financial crisis," says Thilo Koslowski, Vice President and Auto Practice leader at Gartner

But cheap money and easy loans have some seeing signs of a bubble. "That's the $64,000 question right now," says Dan Picciotto, Senior Director at Standard and Poor's. He says the economic fundamentals of the industry seem solid, but, he says, the deep discounts and less-than-sterling loans needs to be kept in check. "Right now the industry is remaining relatively disciplined, but the track record of this industry is one where the risks emerge… It’s something that we continue to monitor."

The average incentive on a vehicle in July was more than $2,700, up 7 percent from last year. 

Everything in this store is made out of felt

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-08-01 13:15

A British artist by the name of Lucy Sparrow - whose bio says she "sets the agenda for textiles within the urban art scene" - has created something called "The Cornershop."

It's being billed as the "fluffiest, furriest shopping experience imaginable." You walk into what was an abandoned store, and everything that you might find in a convenience store - and I mean everything - is there, but it's made entirely out of felt.

She's sewn felt newspapers...

...felt cigarettes....

...felt cheese...

...even felt Prozac...

She spent seven months doing this, and it really does look amazing. You can see some more pictures taken by the Mirror in the UK.  The store will be up for a month, and each of these 4,000 or so felt objects is for sale.

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