National / International News

Test Of '1 Person, 1 Vote' Heads To The Supreme Court

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:51

Analysts have noted that dividing districts based on eligible voters rather than total population would tend to shift representative power to localities with fewer children and fewer immigrants.

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Cold sore virus 'treats skin cancer'

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:43
A genetically engineered version of a virus that normally causes cold sores shows real promise for treating skin cancer, say researchers.

Petrobras ex-manager sentenced

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:38
A former Petrobras executive was sentenced in Brazil to five years in prison for money laundering.

VIDEO: Where war still rages in eastern Ukraine

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:24
The conflict in Ukraine is entering its second year and a ceasefire, nominally in place since February, has failed to stop the violence in areas around Donetsk airport.

How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:08

Perhaps no one did more to show us the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photos of farm workers and others have become iconic of the era.

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VIDEO: The 'radical' Barenboim piano unveiled

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 14:04
Will Gompertz is at the unveiling of the Barenboim piano in London.

Trevor Bayliss: All you need to know

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:57
He has a link to James Bond but prefers his pint neither shaken nor stirred - meet new England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss.

Staying in 'will be Yes in EU vote'

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:56
Voters in the UK's EU referendum will be asked to choose Yes if they want to remain in the union or No to leave, the BBC understands.

Out Of The Classroom And Into The Woods

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:53

In this Vermont kindergarten, every Monday is "Forest Monday" a day that gets students out of the classroom and into nature.

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VIDEO: 'Relentless rain' sparks US flash floods

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:49
Extreme weather has been wreaking havoc in the US, where 16 people have been killed by storms in Oklahoma and Texas.

Hackers Stole Data From More Than 100,000 Taxpayers, IRS Says

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:48

The thieves used the data to file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS commissioner said less than $50 million had been successfully claimed from the agency.

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Sip It Slowly, And Other Lessons From The Oldest Tea Book In The World

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:40

Over 800 years before tea was known in the West, a Chinese master penned the The Classic of Tea. In it, he blends the practical with the spiritual and emphasizes rituals from cultivation to drinking.

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How Worried Should We Be About Lassa Fever?

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:27

The tropical virus has killed a man who returned to New Jersey from Liberia this month. But chances that he could have spread the disease are remote.

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The assisted dying debate

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:22
The death of Jeffrey Spector reignites the debate about assisted dying in the UK.

Kabul guesthouse targeted in attack

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:19
Heavy gunfire and a series of explosions are reported in a guesthouse popular with foreigners in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

NI welfare reform bill fails to pass

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:18
Northern Ireland's controversial Welfare Reform Bill has failed to pass at Stormont after failing to win the support of nationalist parties.

Texas floods have business owners singing the blues

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:17

Flooding has disrupted life for many in the Lone Star State. Kellie Moore was at her bakery in Austin yesterday when the water levels began to rise.

"It was crazy," Moore told Kai Ryssdal. "I looked in the back room and I noticed that water was coming through the building ... [I] was trying to sop it up, but then it started coming into the kitchen and into the front of our showroom, and there was no way to stop the water."

Press the play button above to hear more of Kellie's story. 

Gun used in IRA man's murder 'rare'

BBC - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:01
A handgun used in the murder of a senior IRA man in Belfast was from eastern Europe and "extremely rare", police have said.

Chrome extension turns word 'millennials' into 'snake people'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:00

This story comes as, I guess you might say, a mea culpa for the aspersions I cast on millennials the other day.

Maybe this'll ring a bell: 

I'm sharing this so I can tell you about what I saw on Buzzfeed today.

There's an extension for Chrome that will replace the word "millennials," wherever it pops up on line, with the words "snake people."

Buzzfeed

There are 14,000 lobbying groups in Washington

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-26 13:00

To see just how ubiquitous lobbying has become in Washington, I make an appointment for lunch with Lee Drutman. He's a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of "The Business of America is Lobbying."

He’s waiting for me at the buffet, and we're about to zero in on the food business: loading up our plates, then dissecting them to see which foods have lobbyists at the table. 

Drutman pulls out a laptop with a list of lobbyists, and I tell him what’s on my plate, starting with beef.

“There’s 17 beef organizations here in Washington," Drutman says. "We’ve got the Center for Beef Excellence, U.S. Premium Beef, Beef Products Incorporated…”

You get the idea. Every single thing on our plates had somebody representing it on Capitol Hill. Sometimes lots of somebodies. For rice, seven associations. Ditto for shrimp.

Some of the trade associations are pretty obscure. Like the International Natural Sausage Casing Association, or the American Dehydrated Onion and Garlic Association.  

I reach for a bag of chips, which reminds me: I interviewed the CEO of the Snack Food Association, Tom Dempsey, because I was wondering – what are all these food folks lobbying for? Turns out it’s stuff like labeling on packages, and the federal government’s new dietary guidelines.

“What the association does is tries to stay out in front of issues that may not impact the industry tomorrow but will impact it down the line,” says Dempsey.

Other food lobbyists are focused on some proposed new trade deals. There’s one with Europe that’s gotten the attention of the International Dairy Foods Association — Europe wants to trademark the names of certain cheeses. But there are 35 dairy lobby groups. I ask Dave Carlin, the Association’s chief lobbyist why there are so many.

“We have to tell our story," he tells me. "Because if we don’t tell our story nobody else will.”

Nancy Marshall-Genzer & Tony Wagner/Marketplace

There’s an old saying in Washington: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu, which brings me back to the buffet, with Lee Drutman. 

We’ve started talking money. He says there are 1,114  different food lobbying organizations in Washington, spending about $130 million a year.

Drutman says all the registered lobbyists in town spend about $3 billion a  year. I wondered when lobbying got to be such a big business. Drutman says the food folks started around the time of FDR’s  New Deal, when a lot of agricultural subsidies were born.

“It caused a lot of people in the agricultural industry to pay attention to politics,” he says.

Drutman says corporations started lobbying more in the '70s and '80s, in the wake of increased government regulation. And it’s just kept growing. Now, lobbying kind of feeds on itself.

“Once companies and associations set up shop in Washington they rarely leave because they’ve hired lobbyists who can keep them interested in all the issues," says Drutman. "So once you start lobbying, you tend to keep lobbying, and there’s a self-reinforcing stickiness.”

Because you certainly don’t want to be the one who’s not at the table.

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