U.S.
4:45 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Despite Crop Insurance, Drought Still Stings Farmers

Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:30 am

Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.

Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.

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Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.

The Veepstakes
4:22 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Budget Hawk Ryan Offers Romney Risk, Reward

Rep. Paul Ryan (left), R-Wis., and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Appleton, Wis., on March 30.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:30 am

Among those on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he's a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.

But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices.

Back in February, when the Republican primary was still in full swing and the party's right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney, tax hawk Grover Norquist spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

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Middle East
4:07 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Border Battles A Cat-And-Mouse Game In Syria

Battles on the Syria-Turkey border, like the one at the Bab al-Hawa border post, are a cat-and-mouse game for Syrian rebels.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 10:30 am

Second of five parts

I'm standing next to a ridge, looking at the Syrian town of Salaqin. Just up on the ridge you can see the silhouettes of a mosque and couple of water towers. It looks like a very small, inconsequential town, but because it's on the Syrian-Turkish border it's very important to the rebels.

What the Syrian rebels are trying to do right now is carve out a kind of safe zone, a buffer zone where they can gather, assemble and plan attacks against the Syrian regime's army, and also a place where they can move weapons and money into Syria.

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Mitt Romney
4:04 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Romney's Foreign Agenda: Listen, Learn, Olympics

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks in Bow, N.H., on July 20. On his upcoming trip, Romney plans to make stops in the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 29, 2012 9:18 am

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday. It's a sort of launching pad for a foreign trip that will take Romney to three countries over the next week: the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.

Romney, a man with a lot of domestic policy experience, is now trying to demonstrate his proficiency with international affairs.

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The Torch
5:49 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Two Very Different Cyclists Steer The Way From Idaho To London Olympics

Kristin Armstrong has been reporting to this stretch of highway outside Boise, Idaho, nearly every week to train in the time trial.
Sadie Babits Boise State Public Radio

Two American women cyclists from Idaho will race at this summer's Olympics. And their events couldn't be more different: Kristin Armstrong races the clock, wearing an aerodynamic teardrop helmet in the time trial.

Meanwhile, mountain biker Georgia Gould combines speed with technical prowess to navigate rocky descents and dirt trails.

Training In The Desert

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It's All Politics
5:42 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Little Election-Year Incentive For Obama Or Romney To Join Gun Debate

President Obama at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, when he met with victims and family members of last week's shooting.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 7:33 am

As occurs after seemingly every mass killing that involves firearms, the shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater last week have renewed calls for tougher gun control laws.

Just as predictably, those calls have led to pushback by gun-rights advocates who accuse those calling for stricter legislation of trying to exploit the tragedy to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.

Worth noting is that neither of the two major-party candidates running for the White House has engaged in any current gun control debate.

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The Two-Way
5:21 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Sally Ride, First American Woman In Space, Is Dead

Ride and her crewmates rocketed into space aboard Challenger at 7:33 a.m. Eastern Time on June 18, 1983. Ride later described the launch as "exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time."
NASA

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 7:42 pm

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D. candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.

In a lecture she gave at Berkeley, Ride said she saw the ad on Page 3 of the student newspaper.

"The moment I saw that ad, I knew that's what I wanted to do," she said.

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National Security
5:19 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Defense Cuts: How Do You Buy 1.8 Submarines?

The Defense Department planned to buy two Virginia-class submarines, like the USS Virginia, per year. A 10 percent across-the-board cut would fund only 1.8 submarines, making the purchase impossible.
Raytheon Co.

Congress created a monster when it decided that the entire government will face across-the-board cuts in January, unless an agreement on deficit reduction is reached.

The deadline for the automatic spending cuts — called sequestration — is now approaching, and the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry say those cuts would be horrible.

The Pentagon, perhaps the world's premier planning agency, views the threat of a 10 percent budget cut like an invasion from Mars. It's too awful, too scary and, as Pentagon press secretary George Little puts it, too "absurd."

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