1:22am

Fri December 21, 2012
StoryCorps

Santa Claus Is Driving To Town

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

In December, when Boyd Applegate isn't driving his big-rig truck, he dresses up as Santa and hand-delivers gifts under Christmas trees. It's a pastime he's enjoyed for more than 20 years.
StoryCorps

Boyd Applegate never set out to become a real bearded Santa Claus. No, the calling found him.

The 56-year-old, who was last on StoryCorps talking about volunteering at the polls on Election Day, is a big-rig truck driver. He's logged nearly 5 million miles on the road.

"Santa Claus was a byproduct of truck driving," he explained to his sister, Rhonda Dixon, at StoryCorps. "Because I drive a truck, I can have a beard that's a little bit longer than most people."

Read more

1:21am

Fri December 21, 2012
Business

Not Your Grandma's B&B: Traditional Inns Transform For Young Travelers

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Innkeepers are combating old stereotypes about bed and breakfasts. The Abbott Room at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, Vt., was renovated in 2009 to reflect more modern tastes.
Jumping Rocks

There is a war going on. The enemy is an innocuous little piece of ornamental fabric.

When the Professional Association of Innkeepers launched the Death to Doilies Campaign this year, the approach was tongue-in-cheek, but the message of change was serious: The doily has had the run of bed and breakfasts for too long.

Read more

1:21am

Fri December 21, 2012
The Salt

Drought, Economics And Your Holiday Feast

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:16 am

Think your prime rib holiday dinner is more pricey this year? You're right. But maybe not for the reason you think.
Todd Patterson iStockphoto.com

Nobody really wants to think about economics, the famously dismal science, while sitting down at a table loaded with love and calories. Like it or not, though, supply and demand drive food production and set the price of dinner.

So, in a season of feasts, what are the business stories on your holiday menu?

Read more

8:18pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Politics

House Pulls 'Plan B' Tax Measure From The Floor

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Read more

4:32pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Shots - Health News

YouTube-Inspired Food Dares: Don't Try This At Home, Kids

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 9:20 am

GloZell demonstrates the chubby bunny challenge.
YouTube

Back in March, we told you about the "cinnamon challenge" — a game of dubious origin that involves eating a tablespoon of cinnamon powder without any liquid to wash it down. Experts at the nation's network of poison centers were warning parents about the game after the number of calls related to teens ages 13 to 19 increased dramatically from 2011. Their symptoms included choking, gagging, vomiting and other respiratory problems.

Read more

4:31pm

Thu December 20, 2012
The Two-Way

In Christmas Message, Queen Elizabeth Returns To 3-D After 59 Years

Queen Elizabeth II wears 3-D glasses during a visit to the University of Sheffield, in 2010. This year, the queen's annual Christmas message will broadcast in 3-D.
WPA Pool Getty Images

4:05pm

Thu December 20, 2012
It's All Politics

Financial Ties Bind NRA, Gun Industry

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:51 am

In this photo illustration, a Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle is seen with ammunition.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Leaders of the National Rifle Association plan to break their weeklong silence Friday and make their first public comments on the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

They say they will be speaking for the NRA's 4 million members. But they will also be speaking for the gun industry, which has close financial ties to the association.

The NRA and the gun industry are reeling after last week's massacre. The primary weapon used — an AR-15-style rifle — is one of the most popular guns in America.

Read more

3:53pm

Thu December 20, 2012
U.S.

Is The Border Secure Enough To Tackle The Immigration System?

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:10 pm

A hilltop view of the 18-foot fence along the U.S.-Mexico border west of Nogales, Ariz.
Ted Robbins NPR

Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Border Patrol has quintupled in size — growing from about 4,000 to more than 20,000 agents.

The government has constructed some 700 miles of fencing and vehicle barriers. It has placed thousands of ground sensors, lights, radar towers and cameras along the border. And Customs and Border Protection is now flying drones and helicopters to locate smuggles and rescue stranded immigrants.

So here's the question: Is the Southwest border secure?

Read more

3:18pm

Thu December 20, 2012
It's All Politics

House Republicans Face Threat Of Primary Challenges In 'Plan B' Vote

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 8:18 pm

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., shown in 2010, has said he would deserve a primary challenge if he voted for House Speaker John Boehner's "fiscal cliff" proposal, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts only on income of less than $1 million.
John Hanna AP

House Republicans are under a lot of pressure.

House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team are urging them to support his "Plan B" to avoid the automatic tax hikes of the "fiscal cliff." But they're also facing pressure from outside groups that could mount primary challenges against them if they do.

Boehner argues his plan — which would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to stay in place for income under $1 million a year — isn't a tax increase. But a number of conservative groups have come to a very different conclusion.

Read more

3:03pm

Thu December 20, 2012
Energy

Next In Line For A Fracking Boom, California Looks At The Rules

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 8:18 pm

Most hydraulic fracturing in California is done to extract to oil in areas like this field in Kern County. The state is drafting fracking regulations for the first time.
Craig Miller KQED

The controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing has created an oil and gas boom around the country. In states like Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, there's been heated debate about rules that protect groundwater and public health.

California is now wading into that arena with the release of the state's first fracking regulations. The state's earthquake-prone geology, however, could bring particular concerns.

Fracking itself isn't new. The technology behind it, though, has changed.

Read more

Pages