1:36am

Thu April 19, 2012
Research News

Death Penalty Research Flawed, Expert Panel Says

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:17 am

Proponents of the death penalty often argue that the threat of being executed acts as a deterrent that prevents people from committing murder. But those who oppose capital punishment challenge that claim. And some researchers argue that state-sanctioned execution might actually increase homicide rates.

Now, a panel of independent experts convened by the prestigious National Research Council has taken a look at this question and decided that the available research offers no useful information for policymakers.

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1:34am

Thu April 19, 2012
Environment

How A 'Western Problem' Led To New Drilling Rules

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 7:45 am

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., on Feb. 21. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.
Orlin Wagner AP

The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.

Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.

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1:33am

Thu April 19, 2012
Latin America

Cruise Ship Didn't Aid Drifting Boat, Passengers Say

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 3:09 pm

Bird-watcher Jeff Gilligan snapped this photograph of a small boat in distress. Gilligan and others say the cruise ship he was traveling on did not stop to help the stricken craft.
Jeff Gilligan

1:31am

Thu April 19, 2012
Planet Money

Why Lobbyists Dodge Calls From Congressmen

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 8:36 am

"You spend most of your time dodging calls." - Jimmy Williams, former lobbyist
Courtesy of Jimmy Williams

This story is part of our series on money in politics.

We imagine the lobbyist stalking the halls of Congress trying to use cash to influence important people. But it doesn't always work that way. Often, the Congressman is stalking the lobbyist, asking for money.

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1:30am

Thu April 19, 2012
All Tech Considered

To Read All Those Web Privacy Policies, Just Take A Month Off Work

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:08 am

Many Web users have little idea about how, or when, they're being tracked. In this 2011 photo, Max Schrems of Austria sits with 1,222 pages about his activities on Facebook — the company gave him the file after he requested it under European law.
Ronald Zak AP

Internet surfers have long worried that they have insufficient control over their online privacy — despite the privacy policies many people agree to when they visit websites or use online services.

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1:29am

Thu April 19, 2012
U.S.

Few Answers In Abuse Probes At Homes For Disabled

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 3:08 am

A memorial to Van Ingraham at his brother Larry Ingraham's home in San Diego. Van Ingraham died after an injury at Fairview Developmental Center in 2007.
Nadia Borowski Scott

Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., is a sprawling facility of offices, residential buildings and therapy rooms set between a noisy boulevard and a golf course.

Some 400 people with developmental disabilities live at Fairview. And while minor scratches and bruises are not uncommon for these patients, over the years, the center has seen scores of serious injuries and even deaths.

Fairview is one of five state-run developmental centers in California — homes for people with developmental disabilities who are unable to care for themselves.

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11:02pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Around the Nation

Alleged $30M Theft By Comptroller Stuns Ill. City

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:52 am

This November 2011 photo provided by The American Quarter Horse Journal shows Rita Crundwell of Dixon, Ill., at the 2011 American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. FBI agents arrested Crundwell, the Dixon comptroller, on charges she misappropriated more than $30 million since 2006 to finance a lavish lifestyle.
AP

The top financial official for the small city of Dixon, Ill., is accused of stealing more than $30 million from city coffers over the past six years. It's a staggering amount of money for the city of just 15,000 residents in northwest Illinois, and federal prosecutors allege she used the funds to finance a lavish lifestyle that included horse farms and a $2 million luxury motor home.

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5:29pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Music Interviews

Anoushka Shankar: A Sitar Player In Andalusia

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:41 am

"There's a very primal, emotional response I feel when I hear flamenco," sitar player Anoushka Shankar says. "It's quite in the belly in a way."
Harper Smith

Anoushka Shankar is the daughter and protege of the renowned Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, who is credited with introducing Indian classical music to Western audiences. Now, Anoushka Shankar carries on this tradition in more ways than one. On her new album, Traveller, she goes back in time to make the connections between India and Spain.

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4:29pm

Wed April 18, 2012
It's All Politics

Obama, Romney Use Opposing Versions Of 'Are You Better Off?'

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 5:37 pm

Mitt Romney's campaign plans on using variations of Ronald Reagan's "Are you better off?" question frequently over the next six months.
Chuck Burton AP

Ever since Ronald Reagan posed the killer question to voters in a 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter — "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" — challengers to incumbent presidents have tried to repeat the Reagan magic.

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4:10pm

Wed April 18, 2012
Three Books...

Jargon To Jabberwocky: 3 Books To Jazz Your Writing

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 6:49 am

iStockphoto.com

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

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