From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
Federal regulators are taking aim at a practice they say is forcing millions of struggling homeowners to pay higher insurance premiums. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an order today. It bars banks from charging lucrative fees and commissions on so-called lender-placed insurance policies. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And among those asking the justices to strike it down is a broad cross section of corporate America.
Inside the courtroom, the debate over California's gay marriage ban was joined with sharp questions and a splash of humor. But where will all lead is still unknown. As NPR's Carrie Johnson reports, expectations for a sweeping and decisive ruling may be overblown.
CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Chief Justice John Roberts set the tone in the opening moments. Almost immediately, he pressed the lawyer defending California's gay marriage ban on the most basic of points.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
All this week, we're reporting on a remarkable increase in the size of the country's disability programs. Fourteen million Americans now receive a monthly disability check from the government. The number has roughly doubled every 15 years. As we've reported, there are many, complicated reasons for the increase. There's also one, very simple one: Congress. In 1984, Congress changed the definition of disability. Lawmakers broadened it, and made it more vague.
Amanda Knox is led away from an appeals court in Perugia, Italy, in November 2010. Her murder conviction in the death of a flatmate was ultimately overturned, but now, Italy's highest court has ruled she must be retried.
William Irvine is a philosophy professor by day, but he has an unusual sideline: He's also a collector of insults. Irvine has gathered some of his favorite jibes into a new book called A Slap in the Face: Why Insults Hurt — And Why They Shouldn't.
Irvine tells NPR's Audie Cornish that one of his favorite masters of insult is Winston Churchill. "Nancy Astor [said] to Winston Churchill, 'if you were my husband, I would put poison in your coffee,' " Irvine says, to which Churchill replied, " 'If you were my wife, I would drink it.' "
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:12 am
President Obama has chosen 30-year veteran Julia Pierson to head the Secret Service. Pierson will become the first woman to hold that position and she takes the reins as the agency recovers from scandal.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 3:40 pm
The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments on California's voter-approved gay marriage ban, known as Proposition 8. Audio of Tuesday morning's arguments is available above and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We'll hear argument this morning in Case 12-144, Hollingsworth v. Perry. Mr. Cooper?
ORAL ARGUMENT OF CHARLES J. COOPER ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS
MR. COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has a report today that shatters some preconceived notions: A review of records from the Border Patrol, shows that three out of four people the patrol found carrying drugs were United States citizens.
CIR reports this finding goes against the many press releases issued by the agency highlighting Mexican drug smugglers.
This artist rendering shows attorney Charles J. Cooper, who was defending California's voter-passed ban on gay marriage, addressing the Supreme Court on Tuesday. From left, the justices are Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, (Chief Justice) John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan.
As global warming accelerates, the Arctic Ocean melts and the U.S. Navy estimates that by 2035 it may be ice-free for a month each year - that will mean more activity through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic shipping route which is already busier than ever. In an op-ed in Foreign Policy, James Holmes argues if and when that icy expanse opens regularly to shipping, the Arctic will need policing like any other marine thoroughfare, and he nominates the United States Coast Guard.