Economy
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How High Debt From The Housing Collapse Still Stifles Our Economy

An artist's installation shows pre-foreclosed homes in Newark, N.J., in July 2009 at the Queens Museum of Art in New York City.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 12:05 pm

"Foreclosure, foreclosure, foreclosure."

Real estate broker John Susani drives down a Paterson, N.J., street where every third house seems to be abandoned or boarded up. During the boom years, money flooded into Paterson.

"The banking industry allowed everyone to be a homeowner; they gave mortgages to people [just because they were] breathing," Susani says.

In some cases, he says, home prices jumped as much as 50 percent. The homes on these streets aren't worth nearly that much anymore.

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Parallels
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Despite Mideast Turmoil, More French Jews Are Moving To Israel

Rabbi Michel Serfaty (right), head of the Jewish-Muslim Alliance of France, stands next to a Muslim cleric, or imam, as they both hold signs wishing Muslims a happy Ramadan. The rabbi and the imam have also traded hats. Despite efforts by Serfaty's group, a record number of French Jews are expected to move to Israel this year.
Eleanor Beardsley NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 9:53 am

Jews are leaving France and moving to Israel in unprecedented numbers this year.

With the departures expected to surpass 5,000, France could pull ahead of the U.S. for Jewish emigration to Israel, known as aliya. Usually, making aliya is a cause for celebration. But in France this year, it's tinged with bitterness.

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Politics
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Strange Political Dustup Clouds Kansas Governor's Future

Paul Davis, third from left, the presumed Democratic nominee for Kansas governor, receives the endorsements of more than 100 current and former Republican politicians on July 15, 2014, in Topeka, Kan.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 10:40 am

Kansas's Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is locked in an unexpectedly tough re-election battle for doing exactly what he said he would do — cut taxes.

Citing mounting evidence that those tax cuts are creating a budget crisis – not stimulating the Kansas economy as promised — some in the state's moderate Republican establishment recently did the unthinkable: endorse a Democrat for governor.

That's not only endangering Brownback's re-election hopes, it's also tarnishing his plans to turn one of the reddest of red states into a national model.

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Law
9:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Ariz. Governor Orders Review After Execution Lasts 2 Hours

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 9:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition reception in Washington in June. On Wednesday, he appeared at a Senate rules committee hearing to oppose a campaign finance bill proposed by Democrats.
Yuri Gripas Reuters/Landov

Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. Or, if you want to be more formal: the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.

It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. Unlike almost all other players in an election campaign, 501(c)(4)s are not covered by the disclosure laws. Their donors are never publicly named.

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The Two-Way
5:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Campaign Finance Transparency Bill Gets Chilly Reception In Senate

A bill that would require transparency by nonprofit groups related to federal elections met with united opposition from Republicans Wednesday, at the first Senate hearing on what its supporters call the Disclose Act.

The legislation would require any politically active group that spends more than $10,000 to list its donors. It was introduced last month, with 52 senators listed as its sponsors or co-sponsors (including the chamber's two independents).

NPR's Peter Overby reports:

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food?

Investigators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have discovered cases of organic fraud abroad as well as in the U.S. In 2013, 19 farmers or food companies were fined a total of $87 million for misusing the organic label.
Mark Andersen Rubberball/Corbi

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 12:48 pm

Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.

Peter Laufer, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Obama Declares Emergency As Huge Fires Burn In Washington State

A burned-out car sits in front of a ruined house in this photo taken Sunday near Pateros, Wash. Large fires have destroyed hundreds of homes in the state this month.
Stephen Brashear Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:57 pm

Fires are still raging in Washington state, where officials hope rain might help them contain the large fires — but there's also a chance that heavy rainfall could trigger flooding and mudslides.

Fire crews have been battling several major fires in central and eastern Washington for the past two weeks. The blazes have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused wide power outages.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare

Investigators were able to fraudulently sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov, sparking criticism from Republican lawmakers.
J. David Ake AP

House Republicans went on the attack Wednesday over what they say is the latest bungling of the Affordable Care Act: fake identities used to get insurance.

Undercover investigators were able to get taxpayer-subsidized health insurance from the government's website 11 out of the 18 times they tried, according to a preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office.

Republicans on the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee say fraud and abuse will be rampant and may already be.

Democrats question all the fuss.

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The Salt
4:17 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Logan Kovach, 6, Matthew Kovach, 2, and Allyson Kovach, 5, eat a lunch distributed by the YMCA in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:49 pm

More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.

The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?

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