6:54am

Fri March 23, 2012
State Capitol

Senate Takes Budget Action

After hours of closed-door meetings, the Kentucky Senate approved budgets for the three branches of state government Thursday night.  The House previously approved its own versions of the budgets. The Senate kept the House's legislative plan intact but modified the executive and judicial budgets.  The two chambers must now form a conference committee to work out the differences.

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5:03am

Fri March 23, 2012
Crisis In The Housing Market

Fannie, Freddie Press For Mortgage Write-Downs

A Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac mortgage services representative (left) helps a person register for mortgage help in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The two most powerful entities in the housing market — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — could be on the verge of a significant change regarding foreclosures. NPR and ProPublica have learned that both firms have concluded that giving homeowners a big break on their mortgages would make good financial sense in many cases.

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4:59am

Fri March 23, 2012
Religion

'Woodstock For Atheists': A Moment For Nonbelievers

Organizers expect about 30,000 people to attend the Reason Rally over the weekend, a celebration of atheists and nonbelievers.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Thousands of people are expect to descend on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to celebrate not believing in God. It's being called a sort of "Woodstock for Atheists," a chance for atheists to show their power in numbers and change their image.

The "Reason Rally" could attract up to 30,000 people; organizer David Silverman says it marks a coming-of-age for nonbelievers.

"We'll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light," Silverman says.

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4:58am

Fri March 23, 2012
Planet Money

How A City Goes Broke

Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 5:35 pm

A garbage truck at the Harrisburg incinerator.
MLADEN ANTONOV AFP/Getty Images

This is the first of two stories we're doing on Harrisburg. Read the second story here.

Eric Papenfuse owns a bookstore in Harrisburg, Pa. He used to be on the city agency in charge of basic municipal services — sewer, water, trash.

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4:01am

Fri March 23, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

How The Health Law Could Survive Without A Mandate

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:24 pm

Sally Baptiste from Orlando, Fla., waits outside the U.S. Capitol for the vote on the health care bill on March 21, 2010.
Astrid Riecken Getty Images

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on, among other things, whether the 2010 health law can require most Americans to have health insurance starting in 2014.

The so-called individual mandate is the centerpiece of the law, and the conventional wisdom says the rest of the law will crumble if it is found to be unconstitutional.

But many policy wonks say that's not necessarily the case.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
Asia

N. Korea Tests U.S. Deal Ahead Of Nuclear Summit

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

North Korea agreed, last month, to freeze uranium enrichment and missile tests in exchange for large amounts of food aid from the United States. American officials thought they had an understanding, but then last week North Korea announced it would be launching a satellite using a long-range missile. As NPR's Mike Shuster reports from Seoul, all this is now threatening to overshadow next week's global nuclear security summit in Seoul, which President Obama is planning to attend.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
U.S.

'Stand Your Ground' Law In Focus After Teen's Death

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, even if the shooter, George Zimmerman, is arrested for the death of Trayvon Martin, a conviction could be hard to get because of the controversial law that Kathy mentioned in her report. Let's take a closer look at that law. It's called Stand Your Ground and it allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves when confronted with a threat of violence. It's been on the books in Florida for several years. And as NPR's Greg Allen reports from Miami, it was a source of controversy long before the Martin shooting.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
U.S.

Outcry Grows As Fla. Shooter Remains Unprosecuted

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go now to Florida, where late yesterday Governor Rick Scott announced that a new state attorney has been assigned to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The announcement came as thousands rallied in Sanford demanding justice for Martin. The teen was shot as he walked unarmed in Sanford, a suburb of Orlando. The shooter, George Zimmerman, is a volunteer neighborhood watch captain and he claims self-defense. He's also not been arrested. As NPR's Kathy Lohr reports, the cry is growing louder for an arrest to be made.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
Politics

Obama: 'Brain Power' Key To Curbing Oil Dependency

Originally published on Fri March 23, 2012 12:24 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

As many of you know, prices at the gas pump are still rising. That can often spell trouble, politically, for a sitting president. And President Obama has spent much of this week touting different kinds of energy as the solution to price spikes. Out on the road, Mr. Obama has promoted a mix of fossil fuels, alternative energy and greater fuel efficiency. Along with solar and wind power, Mr. Obama says brain power can help to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil.

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4:00am

Fri March 23, 2012
Election 2012

GOP Hopefuls Court Louisianans Ahead Of Primary

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now, let's get down to the campaign trail. In the race for the Republican nomination, the scene has shifted to Louisiana which is holding its primary tomorrow. Today, all four of the remaining GOP candidates are campaigning in the state.

Most of the media focus is on Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Both men have won other southern primaries, and both have been in and out of Louisiana all week long, hoping a victory there will keep their slim chances of winning the GOP nomination alive. Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

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