12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Economy

In Hard Times, Welfare Cases Drop In Some States

Monday marks 15 years since President Clinton signed an overhaul of the nation's welfare system into law. The president said the measure wasn't perfect, but provided a historic opportunity to fix a system that didn't work.

"Today we are ending welfare as we know it," he said in a Rose Garden ceremony on Aug. 22, 1996. "But I hope this day will be remembered not for what it ended, but for what it began."

What it was supposed to begin was a program that would get the poor into the workforce and end their dependence on public aid.

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12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Politics

For Supporters, Ron Paul's Message Strikes A Chord

Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:54 am

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, a Texas congressman, reacts after seeing several hundred people show up to see him Wednesday in Concord, N.H.
Jim Cole AP

On a balmy August evening in Concord, N.H., the smells of summer float through the air: cooking meat, freshly cut grass and bug spray. A few hundred Ron Paul supporters have gathered under a white tent to hear their candidate speak at the opening of his state campaign headquarters.

They're excited about the Texas congressman's close second-place finish at the Republican presidential straw poll in Ames, Iowa. They're also a little frustrated that it hasn't been getting more attention.

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12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Planet Money

A Big Bridge In The Wrong Place

Why the long bridge?
Stuart Ramson AP

You would never look at a map of the Hudson River, point to the spot where the Tappan Zee Bridge is, and say, "Put the bridge here!"

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12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Research News

Black Researchers Getting Fewer Grants From NIH

A new study finds that when applying for scientific research grants from the National Institutes of Health, white researchers succeeded 25 percent of the time, while blacks about 15 percent of the time. Above, the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Md.
NIH

If you glance around university corridors or scientific meetings, it's obvious that African-Americans are uncommon in the world of science. A study in Science magazine now finds that the black scientists who do start careers in medical research are at a big disadvantage when it comes to funding.

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12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Small Businesses, Big Problems

Ag Business Strained Finding Good Crop Of Employees

Hamilton Farm Bureau Chief Operating Officer Wade Blowers says he hopes to recruit sales people that will make investing in more storage and processing capacity at his co-op worthwhile.
Rick Pluta Michigan Public Radio

Last of a five-part series

In Michigan, one in 10 people who want work can't find a job, and that number doubles if you include people who are underemployed or who have just given up on their job search.

But despite high unemployment, some employers are still finding that the search for talent can be a challenge.

At the Hamilton Farm Bureau cooperative in southwest Michigan, a 50-ton truck is taking in a load of grain that will go to feed cattle.

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12:01am

Fri August 19, 2011
Race To The Arctic

In The Arctic Race, The U.S. Lags Behind

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice to support scientific research in the Arctic Ocean near Barrow, Alaska, in this file photo from July 2006 provided by the Coast Guard. In addition to the medium-class Healy, the U.S. just has two polar-class icebreakers — one of which will be decommissioned soon.
Prentice Danner AP

Seattle is the home of the U.S. Coast Guard's entire fleet of polar-class icebreakers.

Both of them.

Capt. George Pellissier commands both the Polar Sea and the Polar Star. He has spent much of his career on these ships, which were built in Seattle in the 1970s.

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10:32pm

Thu August 18, 2011
StoryCorps

Homemade Planetarium Reflects One Man's Dream

The Kovac Planetarium is dedicated to Frank's father, Frank Kovac Sr., seen in the inset photo on the sign, who inspired his son to gaze at the stars.
StoryCorps

Deep in the North Woods of Wisconsin, more than 200 miles north of Milwaukee, sits the world's largest handmade planetarium.

It isn't easy to find. A sign points down a dirt road toward Frank Kovac's backyard, where he built the planetarium over a period of 10 years. His lifelong fascination with the stars turned into a project of cosmic proportions.

As a child, Kovac looked at the sky through his father's small telescope.

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6:06pm

Thu August 18, 2011
The Two-Way

Obama Administration Shifts Focus On Deportations

The Department of Homeland Security will no longer target people who are in the United States illegally but have done nothing else wrong, under a new policy announced today by the Obama administration.

According to the White House, DHS and the Justice Department will review pending deportation cases on a case-by-case basis, and "clear out" the queue of people deemed to be low priority.

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5:57pm

Thu August 18, 2011
Around the Nation

Gun Makers Set Sights On Female Buyers

Pink and purple handguns are for sale at Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C. Gun store owners reported a 73 percent increase in female customers in 2009 from the year before — a trend reflected by the growing number of guns made just for women.
Scott Graf NPR

For years, gun stores were predominantly patronized by men. But these days, shooting ranges and shops selling firearms are seeing more female customers than ever before, and that has them changing the way they do business.

In one brand-new shooting range at Eagle Gun in Concord, N.C., shots from Sharon Skoff's handgun boom behind glass that separates the range from the rest of the shop.

"I just refuse to be a victim if I possibly can in life," Skoff says. "I actually went and got my concealed permit a couple months ago so I can carry."

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5:17pm

Thu August 18, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Goodbye, Mystery Meat? School Lunches Get More Healthful

Healthy fare is becoming more common in school cafeterias.
iStockPhoto.com

Kids may claim that Tater Tots are the only edible food in the school cafeteria, but in reality, school lunches are getting more healthful.

Almost all cafeterias now serve fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a survey of school food directors released Thursday. Whole grains are readily accessible in 97 percent of schools, and 89 percent of districts offer salad bars or pre-packaged salads. Gone are the days of full fat milk; virtually all districts offer skim or 1 percent.

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