10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Planet Money

What The IRS Could Learn From Mormons

The money Mormons tithe goes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then is distributed to congregations around the world.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Many religious traditions stress the importance of charity. But Mormons are remarkable for the amount and the precision with which they give to their church.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that each Mormon in good standing should tithe 10 percent of his or her income. The money goes right to church headquarters in Salt Lake City and then is distributed back to congregations around the world.

"That's written in stone, and preached from the pulpit," says Gordon Dahl, an economist at the University of California, San Diego, who is Mormon.

Read more

10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Governing

Shrinking Community Grants Put Cities In A Crunch

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 4:24 am

Budget cuts approved by Congress in the past two years are trickling down to local communities, and officials there are not happy. They say that reductions in community development block grants will hurt the nation's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Two years ago, the federal government gave out about $4 billion in such grants to low- and moderate-income communities. This year, the figure is $3 billion — a 25 percent cut. And as that pie has shrunk, those whose slices have shrunk even more are hungry for answers.

Read more

10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Governing

Government Backs Up On Rearview Car Cameras

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 4:47 pm

A camera is used instead of a rearview mirror on the Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 10.
Mike Cassese Reuters/Landov

The statistics are pretty grim — on average 300 people a year die after being hit by cars backing up, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Half of them are children younger than 5.

Read more

10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Around the Nation

Underground Cold War Relics As Doomsday Castles?

Larry Hall shows off the old vents and 9-foot-thick walls of a missile silo he's developing into condominiums.
Frank Morris

One clear threat once menaced civilization: nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The Cold War is over, but decades later, some of the fortifications built to fight that war still dot the American landscape.

Four years ago, Larry Hall bought a nuclear missile silo out on the open rolling land north of Salina, Kan. Hall paid $300,000 and spent much more to clean out all the scrap metal and stagnant water.

Read more

10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Europe

Putin Heavily Favored As Russians Pick A President

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:12 am

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a campaign speech during a rally of his supporters in Moscow, Feb. 23. Putin is mounting a vigorous campaign in the face of growing opposition but is expected to win Sunday's presidential elections.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

When Russians go to the polls Sunday, they will have several choices for president. But none is a serious threat to Vladimir Putin, who has been the most powerful figure in Russia for the past 12 years.

Boris Makarenko, a longtime observer of Russian politics, says the candidates arrayed against Putin are all more or less part of what Kremlin leaders call "the systemic opposition."

In other words, he says, they are "the tolerable opposition ... which can never even hope of replacing them in the Kremlin."

Read more

10:01pm

Thu March 1, 2012
StoryCorps

'Life Is Really Good,' Says Cancer Survivor, 12

Originally published on Fri March 2, 2012 6:27 am

Jennifer Coursey with her son, 12-year-old Grant Coursey, at StoryCorps in Ukiah, Calif.
StoryCorps

When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant's spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.

Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first "clean" scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.

Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.

Read more

4:23pm

Thu March 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Judge Who Emailed Racist Obama Joke Calls For Investigation On Himself

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 4:32 pm

U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull says he will apologize to President Obama and ask for a panel of judges to investigate his conduct after a Montana newspaper reported he had sent a racially inflammatory message using his courthouse email account last month.

The Great Falls Tribune reported the judge had forwarded the following message to six of his friends February 20:

Read more

4:07pm

Thu March 1, 2012
News

Nation's Toughest Immigration Law Stays Put For Now

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 2:38 pm

A line of people wait outside the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments over tough new laws targeting illegal immigration in Alabama and Georgia on Thursday.
John Amis AP

Portions of Alabama's strict immigration law will remain in force until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its predecessor, the Arizona statue that ignited a national firestorm in the debate over illegal immigration.

A panel of three judges from an Atlanta federal appeals court decided Thursday to put off action on lawsuits against measures in Alabama and Georgia. Oral arguments are set for April 25 before the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of Arizona's enforcement policy.

Read more

4:03pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Europe

Will The New AK-47 Be As Popular As The Original?

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:59 am

A Colombian police officer stands guard next to seized Chinese-made AK-47 replicas on Nov. 18, 2009. The guns have become so ubiquitous around the world that Russia's planned redesign may not do much to booster sales.
Luis Robayo Getty Images

The Kalashnikov assault rifle, or AK-47, is one of the most dangerous and widely used weapons in the world. For more than 60 years, nations, rebels, gangsters and child soldiers have wielded the gun.

And now, Russian officials say it's outdated. As part of a $700 billion army modernization program, the country has announced a redesign of the rifle.

New York Times foreign correspondent C.J. Chivers — author of The Gun, a book about the Kalashnikov — tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the updates are mostly cosmetic.

Read more

3:35pm

Thu March 1, 2012
The Salt

Seattle's First Urban Food Forest Will Be Open To Foragers

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:41 pm

Designers of a food forest in Seattle want to make blueberry picking a neighborly activity.
iStockphoto.com

If you're a regular reader of The Salt, you've probably noticed our interest in foraging. From San Francisco to Maryland, we've met wild food experts, nature guides and chefs passionate about picking foods growing in their backyards.

Read more

Pages