Can I give you a word I love that you just don't hear anymore?
It used to be that all kinds of stuff was described as "zany," but it seems to have mostly gone out for fancier words like "dysfunctional."
Now, I bring this up because most sports franchises are pretty standard issue. Oh, some are rich, some poor, some win, some lose, but only one currently, to my mind, descends to the dear old level of zany. That is the Miami Marlins, formerly the Florida Marlins, or, now, as I like to call them, given their location in Little Havana, Los Zany-os.
Surrogacy is an idea as old as the biblical story of Sarah and Abraham in the book of Genesis. Sarah was infertile, so Abraham fathered children with the couple's maid. Today, there are many more options for people who want to grow their families — and for the would-be surrogates who want to help.
Macy Widofsky, 40, is eager to be a surrogate.
"I have very easy pregnancies. All three times have been flawlessly healthy, and I wanted to repeat the process," she says, "and my husband and I won't be having more children of our own."
More than 99 million federal taxpayers had filed their returns as of Tuesday, with more than 80 million of those expecting a refund.
People who file at the last minute — and Tuesday is this year's deadline — are somewhat more likely to owe money to the government. And if Congress and the president don't act, next year could see many more Americans paying higher taxes.
That's not because either President Obama or presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney advocate a tax increase for most Americans.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
We have new information now in the investigation of Secret Service misconduct. Agents are alleged to have hired prostitutes before President Obama's visit to South America last week. The Secret Service director has been talking with members of Congress, and NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us now to tell us what he's hearing. Hey there, Ari.
Warren Buffett, 81, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, his Berkshire Hathaway company announced Tuesday afternoon. The cancer is at Stage 1, according to MarketWatch. The billionaire investor's condition is not life-threatening, he says.
Buffett send a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to inform and reassure them. Here's the text of that letter:
Before Facebook and MySpace transformed how we interact virtually, there was another kind of Internet — a 1980s network, where users connected via phone lines and communicated through simple lines of text.
And while that may sound outdated, that version of the Internet is still very much alive.
'A Lot More Elegant'
Pat McNameeking, a college student in Concord, N.H., is one champion of this throwback social network known as SDF, or Super Dimensional Fortress.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 3:34 pm
Mike Murphy, the very quotable Republican political consultant who has listed some of his party's biggest names as clients, including John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger, has some advice on picking a vice presidential running mate.
Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:25 am
President Obama is leading presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney big in recent national polls.
No, wait. Polls show he's trailing Romney by a couple of percentage points.
Oh — this just in: Obama is actually leading Romney, but the race is tightening.
It's a general election poll-a-palooza out there, people.
But what do all the numbers mean?
"I have friends who support Obama, and friends who support Mitt Romney," says Scott Keeter, survey research director at Pew Research Center. "I tell them not to get too excited or too depressed at this point."
Medicare patients who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the "doughnut hole" are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
When IRS agents raided the house of rapper Young Buck, they seized all his things: his white leather dining chairs, his watches, his craps table, his tattoo kit. Even his refrigerator. The Nashville artist, who was once part of 50 Cent's G-Unit, owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.
His lawyer, Robin Mitchell Joyce, said he thought Young Buck's taxes were being handled by his business manager. They weren't.
A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.
"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 4:27 pm
For years, the U.S. Department of Justice has known that flawed forensic work by FBI experts may have led to the convictions of innocent people, but prosecutors rarely told defendants or their attorneys, according to an investigative report in The Washington Post.
For most mothers, there is no event in life bigger than giving birth to a child. Charity Lovas has given birth to eight children, yet only three of those children are her own.
It all began in 2002, when she and her family were living in Indianapolis. She says she was reading the Sunday newspaper and spotted an ad for ovum donors. She had never heard about it. She was curious.
She called the number in the ad. A woman at the other end of the line explained the egg donor program, and said they had a surrogate program, too.
As Melissa Block and Audie Cornish will explain later on All Things Considered, last year some pranksters hung a portrait on a hall in the Pentagon with a plaque saying it was "Ensign Chuck Hord. USNA circa 1898. Lost at sea 1908."
Meg Wolitzer is the author of a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.
In reality, I may be a middle-aged woman with two nearly grown sons, but in my heart I am a teenage girl who has found herself pregnant and doesn't know what to do. For if you came of age, as I did, reading Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger, then you probably still feel that you know what it's like to be a high school student whose life almost derails.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors gained market share in the past couple years. Helped by Toyota's much-publicized recalls, the problems that Japanese carmakers faced after last year's earthquake and tsunami, and an improving reputation for the quality of American-made vehicles, Detroit's Big Three grabbed 47 percent of sales last year — up from 45.1 percent in 2010 and 44 percent in 2009.
Our friend Micki Maynard of Changing Gears, though, reports that the Detroit companies' comeback — in terms of market share — may be over.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over the weekend, scandal overshadowed the president's visit to a hemispheric summit in Colombia. Reports accused 11 U.S. Secret Service agents of cavorting with prostitutes ahead of the president's arrival.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:22 pm
Greenpeace released its latest report today asking, "How clean is your cloud?"
The annual report examines the server farms built by the largest Internet companies — including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo — and ranks them according to how efficient their cloud facilities are, and where they get their electricity.
Yahoo — which has struggled to please investors in recent years — was the only major Internet company in the study to get most of its electricity from renewable or clean energy sources, according to the report.
How bad are things at the General Services Administration, where the scandal over extravagant spending at a Las Vegas conference has led to resignations, firings and could end up with criminal charges for some officials?
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 1:42 pm
If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.
On a panel at an ideas conference in New York City, Rattner noted that before the financial crisis began in 2008, Wall Street was the "global leader in finance. ... But of course, it got out of control."
The "summit scandal" continues to grow, judging from this story just posted by Reuters:
"Twenty or 21 women were brought back to the hotel in Colombia by U.S. Secret Service agents and members of the U.S. military in an incident last week involving alleged misconduct with prostitutes, U.S. Senator Susan Collins said on Tuesday."
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 9:26 am
Food stamps have long been a favorite whipping boy of politicians looking to beat up on government spending. But the massive food-assistance program does help keep people out of poverty, according to new research.
Food stamp benefits led to a decline of 4.4 percent in poverty from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service.