2:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Education

With Full-Time Job, Life Improves For High School Dropout

Nearly three decades ago, Kenny Buchanan decided to drop out of school. Over the last 26 years, he's jumped from job to job and unemployment. He now has a full-time job and for the first time in years, he and his family have health insurance and can enjoy a few luxuries.

2:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Movies

First Round Of Oscar Ballots Get Mailed

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 7:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're nearing the end of an unusual year for movies. No single film has dominated the conversation in Hollywood. Some celebrated films this year refer to the past of the movie industry itself, like the silent film "The Artist," or "Hugo," which becomes a tale of old film preservation.

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2:00am

Tue December 27, 2011
Asia

Can North Korea Afford Kim Jong Il's Funeral?

As North Korea prepares for the funeral of leader Kim Jong Il, attention is being focused on the country his son, heir apparent Kim Jong Un, will inherit. Like almost everything to do with North Korea, the picture of how the country's economy works is cloudy.

1:24am

Tue December 27, 2011
Election 2012

Rick Santorum Hunts For Iowa's Pheasants, Votes

With just a week until the Republican caucuses, presidential candidate Rick Santorum spent the day in Iowa hunting β€” for pheasants and votes. Although he's worked hard in Iowa, he's not won over the group he's targeted: social conservatives.

11:05pm

Mon December 26, 2011
R&B/Soul

Anthony Hamilton's Got Something To Prove

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 8:43 am

Anthony Hamilton at the Los Angeles shoot for the video for "Woo" in November.
Adrian Sidney Courtesy of the artist.

As 2011 winds down, Morning Edition is looking at music we missed over the past 12 months. R&B singer Anthony Hamilton is one artist that slipped under our noses; we just missed his album Back To Love, which came out earlier this month. Hamilton's been in the music business for two decades, during which he's had a mostly black audience. Now, with Back To Love, he's gaining even wider appeal.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Iraq

No U.S. Troops, But An Army Of Contractors In Iraq

As many as 5,000 private security contractors will be protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The U.S. Embassy compound (above) and several consulates will have about 15,000 workers, making it the largest diplomatic operation abroad.
Lucas Jackson Reuters/Landov

The U.S. troops have left Iraq, and U.S. diplomats will now be the face of America in a country that remains extremely volatile.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, along with several consulates, will have some 15,000 workers, making it the largest U.S. diplomatic operation abroad. Those diplomats will be protected by a private army consisting of as many as 5,000 security contractors who will carry assault weapons and fly armed helicopters.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Around the Nation

Historic Ford Plant Site Likely A Tough Sell

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:11 am

Ford employees assemble parts for Ranger pickup trucks. The last Ranger rolled off the line weeks ago as the plant prepares to close.
Jennifer Simonson for NPR

The Ford Motor Co. recently closed its historic Twin Cities Assembly Plant on a scenic river bluff in St. Paul, Minn. In better times, the parcel of land might have made condo developers drool, but in today's real estate market, redevelopment of the old factory could be a long way off.

The industrial architect Albert Kahn was particularly skilled at making factories blend into their surroundings. The 2-million-square-foot plant has a classical stone facade that flows along the Mississippi River bluff. The red tile roof of its hydroelectric plant glows in the sunlight.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
Presidential Race

Early Florida Primary Could Sow Confusion, Not Clout

A woman votes in the Jan. 29, 2008, Florida primary in Miami Shores.
Marc Serota Getty Images

Four years ago, Florida played a key role choosing the Republican presidential nominee with a crucial early primary in violation of party rules. Next month, Florida Republicans are poised to do it again β€” once again breaking rules with an early primary. Only this time, their decision could confuse the race, rather than clarify it.

To understand why political parties set rules for presidential primaries, and why states break those rules, it's helpful to appreciate what it means for the campaigns to descend on a small state like Iowa or New Hampshire.

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10:01pm

Mon December 26, 2011
It Was A Good Year For...

In Vermont, Gravel And Road Business Is Up

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 7:53 am

Chris Carl, foreman of the Shelburne Limestone Corp. quarry in South Wallingford, says Vermont's weather woes helped to more than double the quarry's business.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

Federal, state and local spending on roadways is down nearly 6 percent. That's made it a tough year for many in the road-building business β€” but not in Vermont. There, pavers, excavators and other companies have had one of their busiest years ever, thanks to a storm named Irene.

For the past several months, Steve Wilk and Doug Casella have spent a lot of time in and out of their pickup trucks, checking on their road crews. For a business meeting, they just pull off onto the rocky shoulder to talk about new guardrails and blacktop for a job they're working on.

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Frank Morris has supervised the reporters in KCUR's newsroom since 1999. In addition to his managerial duties, Morris files regularly with National Public Radio. He’s covered everything from tornadoes to tax law for the network, in stories spanning eight states. His work has won dozens of awards, including four national Public Radio News Directors awards (PRNDIs) and several regional Edward R. Murrow awards. In 2012 he was honored to be named "Journalist of the Year" by the Heart of America Press Club.

Morris grew up in rural Kansas listening to KHCC, spun records at KJHK throughout college at the University of Kansas, and cut his teeth in journalism as an intern for Kansas Public Radio, in the Kansas statehouse.

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