States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Credit Antonio Mena / Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank
When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.
You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option – a move that could erase the promised savings.
Potholes on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, one of which is about half-a-car-length long and at least a foot deep. The city of Chicago says it has filled an estimated 240,000 potholes this winter, 100,000 more than last winter, at a cost of more than $2.8 million.
Credit David Schaper / NPR
A backhoe operated by a Chicago Department of Water Management worker digs a trench about 5 feet deep so other workers can repair a leak in a waterline deep underground.
Credit David Schaper / NPR
Bitter cold has returned to parts of the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast, following another heavy snowstorm that left 1 to 2 feet of snow from Ohio to New England.
And when all this snow finally melts, it'll expose the physical toll of this brutal winter: potholes, broken water mains, collapsed catch basins and other infrastructure problems.
"This winter's crazy, crazy busy," says John Polishak, a foreman for the Chicago Department of Water Management. "Everybody's been working 16 hours a day, seven days a week. It's exhausting."
As one listener points out, we might not have carrot cake today if Germans weren't forced to bake with ersatz materials during World War I. This little girl might have had to settle for chocolate instead.
This year marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. What started as a beef between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia unleashed a clash that brought in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, England and eventually the United States.
Democrats may have lost the battle in a Florida special election, which Republican Rep. David Jolly (right) won and in which the Affordable Care Act figured prominently. But they don't think they have lost the health-law messaging war.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Congressional Democrats' messaging on the Affordable Care Act obviously didn't work as they had hoped in the Florida special election for a vacant House seat, since Republican David Jolly won the Tuesday vote.
But does that mean Democrats should abandon the "fix it, don't nix" it message delivered by Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost a race that Republicans sought to nationalize and turn into a referendum on the health law?
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:51 pm
By Dana Farrington
<em>Jeopardy!</em> contestant Arthur Chu was defeated on Wednesday's episode after amassing nearly $300,000.
Credit Jeopardy Productions, Inc. / AP
Eleven wins and nearly $300,000 later, Arthur Chu was defeated on Jeopardy! Wednesday night. He was "brain-fogged" after the marathon taping, he tellsHere & Now, but he wishes his competitor Diana Peloquin well.
During his reign, Chu faced a barrage of vitriol from fans of the show. Some critics called out his game theory strategy, others got personal.
In the central relationship of the brisk comedy <em>Bad Words</em>, Guy Trilby's (Bateman) sour runs up against 10-year-old competitor Chaitanya's (Rohan Chand) sweet.
Credit Focus Features
As the star of Arrested Development, Jason Bateman became best known for being the most mature member of the emotionally stunted Bluth family; the roles that followed were largely of the same tone, casting the actor as the affable, mild-mannered, often put-upon nice guy.
Always playing the straight man amid casts of clowns must have created some built-up performance envy, because in his directorial debut he trades in Mr. Nice Guy for Mr. Guy Trilby, finally getting to play an apparent case of severely arrested development himself.
If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at Google Flu Trends. Or you can get the official word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based on data that's by now a couple of weeks old.
But a report in the journal Science finds that quicker isn't necessarily better.
We still don't know why Adam Lanza killed his mother, then 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning a gun on himself in December 2012. But we do know more about Lanza's life, what his doctors had to say about him and what his parents did to try to help him.
In remarks last year to the American Bar Association, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed what he characterized as harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes.
Credit Eric Risberg / AP
The nation's highest law enforcement official Thursday endorsed the "All Drugs Minus Two" proposal — as it's known by prison sentencing reformers — to change the way drug crime sentences are handed down.
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:50 pm
President Obama signs a memorandum for overtime protections for workers, at the White House on Thursday.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
Flanked by a cadre of salaried workers, President Obama signed a memo directing his labor secretary to rewrite the rules governing overtime in the country.
"Americans have spent too much time working more and making less," Obama said during comments preceding the signing ceremony.
Obama's proposal would rewrite a commonly used exemption in which a salaried worker designated as "executive, administrative and professional" is denied overtime if he or she is making more than $455 a week.
As the snow melts, even in Minnesota, and daylight lingers into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming: asparagus.
"Asparagus means the beginning of spring. It's spring!" says Nora Pouillon, chef and founder of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C. Later this month, she'll revise her menu, and it will certainly include asparagus with salmon, and asparagus soup.
It's an elegant vegetable, Pouillon says, and unique: "Sweet and bitter at the same time."
The charred tail section of Delta Flight 191 sits near a runway at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in August 1985 after it crashed on approach. Delta quickly retired the '191' designation.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP
Malaysia Airlines announced Thursday that it will stop using two flight numbers associated with the plane that disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, following a long-standing practice of retiring codes after similar incidents.
Flight MH370 mysteriously vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. That number, which Malaysian Airlines uses to denote that particular route, will no longer be used after Friday as a "mark of respect" for the passengers and crew. MH371, the code used for the return flight, also will be retired.
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:43 pm
The University of California, Davis, recently founded a Coffee Center dedicated to the study of the beloved brew.
Many of us have those friends who insist that they're coffee connoisseurs and drink exclusively drip brews. But really, there aren't many academic programs that train people in the taste and science of coffee.
That might all change soon. The University of California, Davis, recently founded a Coffee Center dedicated to the study of the world of java. This week, the center held its first research conference.