Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.
Our Christmas tree gets uglier every year. It's not the tree's fault. This year we sprung for a Fraser fir, cut fresh at a local farm. It has soft needles, that ideal pine-cone shape, and a pointy top perfect for holding a star. But when we got home, I felt like apologizing. This tree did not deserve what we were about to do. We re-cut the bottom, mounted it in its holder, and gave it water. For about five minutes, our tree looked beautiful. Then came the decorations.
Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 3:18 pm
The Justice Department is calling it the "largest residential fair lending settlement in history:" Bank of America's Countrywide Financial has agreed to pay $335 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed it discriminated against black and Latino borrowers.
A European court ruled Wednesday that airlines flying into and out of European airports will have to pay a price for the carbon dioxide they emit when they burn jet fuel.
U.S. airlines, which had been fighting the idea in court, say the European Union is trying to force other countries to reduce carbon emissions. Europe currently limits carbon dioxide emissions from its major industries to curb global warming. The ruling cannot be appealed, and the decision likely to end the dispute.
New regulations issued by the Obama administration will force the country's coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce the emission of pollutants such as arsenic and mercury or shut down.
In a statement, the Environmental Protection Agency said the new standards "will protect millions of families and children from harmful and costly air pollution and provide the American people with health benefits that far outweigh the costs of compliance."
Abuse in nursing homes and suspicious deaths among seniors often go undetected because postmortem examinations are becoming few and far between.
Earlier this year, an NPR News investigation found that many jurisdictions stopped doing autopsies on people who died over the age of 60, unless it was obvious that a violent death occurred. A lack of resources, both financial and staffing, was often to blame.
Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts made a point of calling Ted Kennedy's old U.S. Senate seat the "people's seat," and he won it in large part by casting himself as the opposite of that glamorous and privileged dynasty.
Brown won in a special election in 2010. Now, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor and Wall Street watchdog, is raising Democrats' hopes they can win the seat back. Just months after announcing her first-ever candidacy, polls show Warren pulling out ahead of Brown.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called on Kurdish athorities to turn over Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who sought refuge in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq after a warrant was issued for his arrest.