In a letter addressed to Congress, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe calls for slashing 150,000 jobs - mostly through retirements. The most significant savings Donahoe suggests would come from the Postal Service breaking away from the federal health benefits plan.
Symbolically speaking, this month's Michigan's primary may be the most important of the GOP presidential race to date. It's the state where Mitt Romney grew up, and his father was a beloved government and business leader. And now, Romney seems to have a real chance of losing the state to Rick Santorum.
And at his stops in Michigan yesterday, Rick Santorum spoke of economic revival through low taxes, fewer regulations and his commitment to conservative family values.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Rick Santorum can't outspend Romney in Michigan, and he's facing a barrage of ads on radio and TV paid for by the pro-Romney superPAC Restore Our Future. The ads attack Santorum's U.S. Senate record.
Fridays used to be infamous as the worst night for TV ratings. It was where shows went to die. Now, between DVRs and people not going out because of the lousy economy, Friday has become a perfectly respectful night to have a certain kind of show on TV and even become a hit.
This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It's not quite driver's licenses for robots — but it's close.
The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.
Do people notice it's a self-driving car and gawk?
A closed-door meeting to discuss controversial bird flu research is drawing to a close at the World Health Organization in Geneva, and the WHO plans to publicly report on what happened once it's officially over.
The Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho's Silver Valley, shown in 2007, was temporarily shut down in January while it complies with safety regulations, according to the mine's operator, Hecla Mining.
The recent spike in metal prices, combined with a shortage of miners, means mining companies are hiring. So some teens are opting not to go to college, and instead are heading underground. A miner is shown at work in Newmont Mining's Leeville mine near Carlin, Nev.
Jiang Shixue is describing to me one of the most exciting moments of his life: The moment earlier this month when one of the most important people in Europe — German Chancellor Angela Merkel — came to visit his workplace.
"She said that the EU would be happy to see if China can offer a kind of helping hand," says Jiang, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Bill Burton, shown during a news briefing at the White House in January, is now with pro-Obama superPAC Priorities USA Action. He says the superPAC is "careful to make sure that we are in compliance with the rules."
Henry Flores was walking down the hallway at St. Mary's University in San Antonio when he noticed that the last office in the hallway's door was open.
"I just kind of looked inside to see who was in there, and I saw a flash of ankle, and I saw this blond hair, and I went smack-dab into the wall," says Flores, who is now a professor of political science and dean of the graduate school at St. Mary's.
It was the mid-1980s and Gwendolyn Diaz, who had just joined the university faculty, was sitting in the office.
Gary Carter, the former Major League Baseball catcher who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, has died of brain cancer at 57. In a career marked by tenacity — and the ability to hit homeruns — Carter was chosen for 11 All Star teams.
Between 1992 and 2004, Monsignor William Lynn was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's point person for allegations of clerical abuse. When he heard a claim, he was supposed to investigate and, if warranted, remove or turn the priest over to police.
But as two grand juries reported in 2005 and 2011, that often didn't happen.
Earlier this week, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was glitter-bombed by Occupy protesters in Tacoma, Wash., during a rally.
It wasn't the first time for Santorum. In fact, all of the Republican presidential candidates still in the race have faced off with glitter bombers. Unlike a ticker-tape parade or a burst of celebratory confetti, glitter-bombing is a form of protest — it tells candidates that someone thinks they're wrong on an issue.
Egyptian Planning and International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga (shown here in Washington, D.C., last April) has repeatedly warned Egyptians about the alleged danger foreigners pose to their country. She is the driving force behind recent efforts to prosecute 43 people, including American and other foreign democracy activists, for operating illegally in Egypt.
The attacks of Faiza Aboul Naga — a holdover from the regime of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — have made her a hero to many Egyptians who believe she is defending their country's honor. But the threat she poses to billions of dollars in U.S. aid and international loans could make her power short-lived.
A House panel heard testimony about conscience and religious freedom Thursday from (left) Rev. William E. Lori, Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn.; Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod; C. Ben Mitchell, Union University; Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Yeshiva University; and Craig Mitchell, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The good news for the nation's doctors — and the millions of Medicare patients they care for — is that assuming everything goes as planned, the 27.4 percent cut in reimbursements that would have taken effect March 1 won't.
Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 4:46 pm
Provocateur comedian Stephen Colbert is known for many things. Silence has not been among them — until now. An abrupt suspension in his Colbert Report's production schedule sparked rumors online Thursday, after Comedy Central said it would air reruns for three days this week.
Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire supporter, drew some attention from his candidate Thursday with a comment about contraception that was, to say the least, unusual and surefire fodder for late-night TV comedians .
The coming-home genre is so rife with stock ingredients that first I'd like to tell you what Liza Johnson's very fine drama Return doesn't do. The camera doesn't move in on returning-veteran Kelli, played by Linda Cardellini, as the sound of battle rises and she's back in her head on the front lines. The film doesn't give you what I call the "psychodrama striptease," in which a past trauma is revealed piece by piece until you're finally, at the end, shown the essential bit.
Poking fun at a complex new system for classification of diseases is surprisingly easy and enjoyable.
Yes, there are codes your doctor will be able to use someday to submit bills for treatment of a dolphin bite (W5601XA), being struck by a dolphin (W5602XA) or "other contact" with a dolphin (W5603XA). And that's just the start.
Teacher Ruben Gonzalez conducts the South Gate High School band. According to Gonzalez, thieves passed up a computer as well as a stash of valuable flutes, saxophones and clarinets to get to the school's tubas.
Credit Krissy Clark for NPR
La Banda Rebelde charges twice as much per song as a band without a tuba charges. People have been known to throw hundred-dollar bills into the tubist's horn to show their appreciation.
The words "black market" usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas. Yet authorities in Los Angeles say the instrument is in such high demand that the black market may be what's driving a wave of local tuba thefts.
Ruben Gonzalez is teaching an after-lunch band class at the scene of one recent tuba crime — the music room at South Gate High School outside L.A. He starts with a request only a band teacher would make.
"Make sure we rinse out folks — we don't need any hamburgers or hot chilies coming through those instruments," he says.
Is there arsenic in your rice? Probably. That's the news behind a study that found surprisingly high levels of arsenic in rice-based organic toddler formula and energy bars.
One toddler formula with organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient had arsenic concentrations six times the federal limit of 10 parts per billion for arsenic in drinking water.
Cereal bars that contained rice products like brown rice syrup or rice flour had arsenic levels ranging from 23 to 128 parts per billion, according to researchers at Dartmouth College, who tested the products.
The man who tried to blow up a U.S. passenger plane three Christmases ago was sentenced to life in prison in a Detroit courtroom today. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, boarded Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009, with a massive bomb hidden in his underwear. As the plane approached Detroit, he tried to detonate the explosives. They failed to go off.
Four months ago, on the second day of his criminal trial, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty.
Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 2:03 pm
Amanda Knox, the U.S. college exchange student who won an appeal to overturn her murder conviction in Italy last October, has signed a deal to write a memoir — for which she'll earn nearly $4 million, according to reports.
The plane landed at Benghazi airport, about an hour late, which seemed just about right to most people on board. Elderly women sported tattoos from their bottom lip to the tip of their chin; several men carefully removed plants that somehow survived being crushed in the overhead luggage bins.