NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Payroll Tax Cut Brings Other Benefits

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Investor Counting On Ireland's Better Days

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As Phil reported, things are still pretty tough for the people of Ireland, but there's one man who thinks things there will start to look up before too long. He's prepared to put money on it, billions in fact.

Michael Hasenstab is what's known as a contrarian investor. He's just about the only person prepared to bet that Ireland's fortunes will greatly improve over the next couple of years. Michael Hasenstab joins us from Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California.

Thanks for being with us.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Mortgage Woes Pock Irish Landscape

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Finally, The Physics Of The Ponytail Explained

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 8:16 am

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?

Keith, this is for real?

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Michigan Brakes For Santorum

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

That Michigan primary is just in 10 days and the contest there is turning to be closer than expected. Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. His father, George Romney, ran a car company there. He was the governor. But Santorum has come on strong and even ahead in current polls. We're joined now by another son of Michigan, NPR's Don Gonyea, live in our studio, who spent the week in his home state. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: My pleasure. Good to be here.

SIMON: What's the latest?

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Asia
5:38 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Wife Of Chinese VP Shows Off Vocal Pipes, Stripes

Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, sings during a July 2007 performance celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army of China.
Xinhua/Landov

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The Salt
5:16 am
Sat February 18, 2012

At Gates Bar-B-Q, The Ultimate Flavor Lies in Burnt Ends

The brisket and ribs are on the fire at Gates Bar-B-Q for ... as long as it takes.
Tom Bullock NPR

Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 9:54 am

How do you know you're in Kansas City, Missouri? Follow the smoke, and listen for this:

"Hi, may I help you?"

At the famed Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, "May I help you?" is a kind of mantra.

It's how people standing in front of the barbecue pits greet all who walk in the door, while ribs, brisket, turkey, and for all I know, pillow stuffing sizzle, pop, and get saturated with smoke and the signature sauce of Ollie Gates, the barbecue master.

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Education
5:15 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Kansas City's Failed Schools Leave Students Behind

On Jan. 1, the Missouri State School Board revoked the Kansas City public school district's accreditation. Now parents have a hard choice to make: leave or keep their children at a failed school?
Tom Bullock NPR

On a recent wintry day, Kansas City eighth-grader Yak Nak sat before a Missouri state Senate committee. He was there to tell lawmakers why his family had sacrificed to send him to a parochial school.

"Even though it was a struggle for my family, the reputation of the public schools in my area was not as good as my parents would have hoped," he said. "They knew there was no time to waste when dealing with young minds, and education was more valuable than any money they could save."

Consider this: Yak Nak and his family are refugees from Sudan.

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The Two-Way
5:14 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Independence Day Parade, Benghazi-Style

Libyan flags fly above the cars lining the streets of Benghazi.
Andy Carvin NPR

Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 8:04 am

Stepping out of my hotel on Friday evening, I could see cars backed up for miles, stretching all the way around the Benghazi's biggest lake, not far from the shores of the Mediterranean.

Horns blared in every direction, but not just car horns: bull horns, oo-gahhorns, vuvuzelas, aerosol-powered horns, even a bagpipe or two. The air smelled of exhaust, gasoline and the occasional whiff of hash. It was a cacophonous mess, overwhelming, painful to the ears, joyful, extraordinary.

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Education
3:30 am
Sat February 18, 2012

In Today's Economy, How Far Can A GED Take You?

In Cleveland, 2010 GED graduates from the Get On Track program parade down the aisle during their commencement. In today's economy, some experts say, the GED may not be enough to provide "gainful employment."
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Every year, roughly 750,000 high school dropouts try to improve their educational and employment prospects by taking the General Educational Development test, or GED, long considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

The latest research, however, shows that people with GEDs are, in fact, no better off than dropouts when it comes to their chances of getting a good job.

This is raising lots of questions, especially in school districts with high dropout rates and rising GED enrollments.

A Second Chance, But Is It Enough?

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