On a muggy summer afternoon in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a dozen people are hard at work on the patio behind a local church. They're stripping old bicycles of their brakes, cables and chains, and sanding and spray-painting them white.
But behind the lighthearted chatter, there's a more somber purpose to this gathering: They're building "ghost bikes."
Painted all white and adorned with colorful notes and flowers, ghost bikes are the cycling community's equivalent of roadside shrines dotting the highway; they mark the spot where a rider was killed in traffic.
Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 7:15 am
Fewer boys are being circumcised these days, and that could add to health costs down the road.
Over the past two decades, circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen to 55 percent from a peak of about 79 percent. Insurance coverage for the procedure has also fallen — particularly under Medicaid — and is a factor in the decline.
While many cities around the country grapple with drought and excessive heat this year, city planners in Boston have something else on their minds: the prospect of rising water.
In this coastal metropolis, scientists and computer models predict that climate change could eventually lead to dramatic increases in sea level around the city. Coupled with a storm surge at high tide, parts of the city could easily end up under water.
In Nairobi, Kenya, when friends want to celebrate a birthday, the end of bachelorhood or a graduation, they often go out for goat. This communal and culinary tradition in Kenya is called nyama choma — literally, roasted meat. While it's usually goat, some places offer beef, chicken and lamb. If you know where to look, you can even get illegal zebra and and wildebeest meat.
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to be his running mate, Catholics passed a milestone. For the first time in history, both vice presidential candidates, Ryan and Vice President Biden, are Catholic.
But if Biden and Ryan share the same faith, they couldn't be further apart in their cultural and political worldviews. On issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, taxes and Medicaid, they are miles apart.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 8:47 pm
In Tampa, Fla., a week ahead of their national convention, Republicans are drawing up their party platform. There are muted disagreements over a few issues, such as immigration and same-sex marriage. But at least within the platform committee, one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion.
With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour in Pennsylvania. When it comes to presidential elections, the state has been reliably blue, but Mitt Romney and his new running mate hope to change that. Paul Ryan held two events in Pennsylvania today, while Romney was raising money out of the public spotlight. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from the campaign trail.
"Welcome to the Bush Bazaar," says Zach Warren, an American who has spent years working in Afghanistan. He's giving me a tour of Kabul's shopping districts as we buzz around the city on his rickety motorcycle, slicing through the city's traffic.
It's one of the worst-kept secrets in Kabul that most everything in the Bush Bazaar was pilfered from NATO trucks and bases — except for the counterfeits.
Water gets churned up at the end of a dredging pipeline connected to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., on Monday. The river has seen water levels from Illinois to Louisiana plummet because of drought conditions in the past three months. When there's less flow coming downstream, saltwater from the Gulf wedges its way in.
Claus served in the Army from 2005 until he was honorably discharged in 2010. A parachute accident in 2007 left him with chronic back and knee pain. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Credit Courtesy of Justin Claus
Army veteran Justin Claus and his fiancee, Crystal Scroggins. Claus has been jobless for two years and suspects his military disability may be keeping him from getting hired.
When Army veteran Justin Claus, 26, of Racine, Wis., goes to job interviews, he brings along his DD214, a document that serves as proof of military service. Claus is proud of his service and hopes being a veteran will give him an edge.
But the document, which basically sums up a military career, includes the reason it ended. In Claus' case, it reads "disability, permanent." And that little line Claus says, "comes back to get ya."
He says when employers ask why he was discharged, he recounts a parachute accident in 2007 that left him with chronic back and knee pain.
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 11:54 am
For one day the whir of wheels on a wooden track is suspended as the Los Angeles Derby Dolls open their warehouse venue for the summertime Free Community Health & Job Fair, serving the surrounding Historical Filipinotown community.
The event provides free mammograms, glucose testing, self-defense classes and more courtesy of St. Vincent's Hospital — as well as job recruitment from police and fire departments.
China is planning to increase investments in Pakistan, and some Pakistanis feel China is trying to become a new colonial power. Amid these tensions, a bomb went off near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, on July 23. The blast injured two people.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Ali Hassan, president of the Sindhi National Movement, speaks at an anti-China rally in Karachi on Aug. 9. Local activists were protesting the construction by China of an industrial megacity, Zulfiqarabad, in their province.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Crowds of Sindhi nationalists hold an anti-China rally in Karachi on Aug. 9. Local activists have called for a boycott of Chinese-made products.
With all its current troubles, Pakistan has not been attracting much foreign investment recently. In fact, China seems to be the only country that's prepared to pour money into Pakistan in a big way.
But a boost in Chinese investment has sparked resentment in southern Pakistan, where activists accuse China of trying to be a new colonial power. A bomb blast recently hit near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi — an ominous sign of the rising tensions.
Despite tough economic times, Nike is about to go where it has never gone before: Its Lebron X sneakers are expected to retail for $315. That's the first time a pair of its kicks breaks the $300 barrier.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the price hike comes after the company saw some steep drops to its gross margins. But the company may be taking its customers too far. The Journal reports:
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:19 pm
It is a truth universally acknowledged that health insurance companies can be a pain for patients. What may be a surprise is that hospitals often complain, too. And the reasons aren't so different from those of consumers: Denied claims. Low reimbursement. Late reimbursement. Thickets of red tape.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 1:53 pm
New reports from the presidential campaigns show that Republican Mitt Romney last month widened his cash advantage over President Obama. But the numbers reported to the Federal Election Commission paint a more complex picture of the race and the vast amounts of money fueling the campaign.
The Obama campaign committee, Obama for America, reported raising about $39 million, almost $11 million more than was raised in July by the Romney campaign committee, Romney For President.
Cities may be the defining element of human civilization.
The path from hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era 25,000 years ago to the high-tech, high-wonder jumble we inhabit today runs straight through cities. In traveling that path, our construction of cities has always been a dance with physics. In some cases, that physics was explicitly understood; in others, its manifestation was only recognized in hindsight.
As our cities have become more complex the physics embodying their behavior and organization has also become more nuanced, subtle and profound.
I'm Viviana Hurtado and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. You know it had to happen. Summer break is over in some parts of the country, or almost over. Children are heading back to school.
U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin apologized for his remarks about rape and pregnancy, but calls have intensified for him to withdraw. Plus, a new e-book claims the Obama campaign is in a constant state of conflict. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America and Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com.
Ethiopians today are facing an uncertain future after the death of their leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He was last seen in public in June, and he reportedly died in a Belgian hospital. Guest host Viviana Hurtado discusses the implications of Meles Zenawi's death for the region with NPR Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.