Senate Republicans have once again blocked President Obama's nominees. Despite a deal in July to let several of the president's picks go through, the rancor has returned with a fresh batch of appointments. Two nominations failed within less than an hour on Thursday, and Democrats may once again threaten to change Senate rules so Republicans can't easily derail another nomination.
Steve Inskeep talks to freelance writer Johnnie Roberts and NPR's Gene Demby about the branding of high-end products — and the implications when companies specifically court, or exclude, consumers based on race.
This is the second report in a four-part series on adult education.
Ana Perez never made it to high school. Her education ended after the sixth grade, when war broke out in her native El Salvador. She says she's "desperate" to learn English, but she gets nervous trying to speak it.
Immigrants like Perez see English as the key to a better life. Many hope learning the language will help lift them out of poverty and integrate them into American society. But gaining English proficiency is a difficult task amid everyday obligations.
Since childhood, Rami Aizic knew he "needed and wanted to be a dad." He assumed he would one day meet the girl of his dreams and it would all just happen.
Then he realized he was gay.
Robin Share also wanted kids, but had no partner. So when a mutual friend told Rami about Robin, he called her up and left a message: "Hi, Robin. I'm a friend of Scott's and he said you might be interested in having a baby with me. So give me a call back."
In a barn outside Manhattan, Kan., researchers from Kansas State University are trying to solve the riddle of bovine respiratory disease. They're sticking plastic rods down the noses of 6-month old calves, collecting samples of bacteria.
Starbucks, which revolutionized the coffee industry, is now taking on tea. It has opened its first tea bar, and it's creating mixed tea beverages, some even more complex and customized than the coffee beverages we all know.
This first store, on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, has minimalist decor: gray soft seats, charcoals, chestnut browns. Teavana teas line one wall. Beakers filled with colored liquids greet you at the entrance.
As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.
How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal HealthCare.gov website has some people pretty upset.