5:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Economy

Shipyard Workers Worry About Sequestration Furloughs

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

Military communities are keeping a wary eye on the sequester debate in Washington, D.C. In Maine, employees of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard have already been dealing with budget cuts. Now they could face furlough days as well. The smaller payroll could send shock waves through the local economy.

5:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Business News

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a Fed status update.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is in front of the Senate Banking Committee this morning. It's his semi-annual report to Congress.

And Bernanke is facing questions, as he has for years, about the Fed's bond buying program that's been pumping money into the economy and keeping interest rates low. Some lawmakers fear this policy could eventually cause inflation.

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5:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

If you were to open a new brick-and-mortar bookstore, New York City would be a very pricey place to do it. Manhattan boasts some of the world's most valuable land - and, as it turns out - air. And that is our last word in business this morning.

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3:27am

Tue February 26, 2013
It's All Politics

Loaded Words: How Language Shapes The Gun Debate

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

The country has been debating gun regulations for months. Later this week, a Senate committee will start work on various proposals, including a background check on every gun sale and a ban on assault weapons.

But this debate over guns goes beyond disagreements about policy. Advocates on both sides quite literally disagree on the terms of the discussion — as in, the words they use to describe it.

Ask "gun control advocates" to describe what this debate is about, and they'll say "control" really isn't the word they prefer.

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3:25am

Tue February 26, 2013
All Tech Considered

Seeking A 'Field Of Dreams' For A Rising Drone Industry

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

Joe Kummer, president of Propulsive Wing in Elbridge, N.Y., is rooting for having a drone test site in upstate New York. He says it could save him trips to the West Coast to try out new drone prototypes.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

In three years, the federal government is expected to open the skies for the civilian use of drones. But before that, the Federal Aviation Administration will set up six drone test sites around the country. Stiff competition to get one of the sites is anticipated — driven by hopes of attracting thousands of new jobs.

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3:24am

Tue February 26, 2013
Religion

The Hermit Pope Who Set The Precedent For Benedict XVI

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:15 pm

Beneath a glass coffin, wearing a pontiff's miter and faded vestments of gold and purple, there lies a tiny man with a wax head.

This represents an Italian priest who, until this month, was the only pope in history to voluntarily resign.

His name is Celestine V.

Celestine became pope at 84, some seven centuries ago, after a long and self-punishing career as a hermit.

Though a celebrated spiritual leader, and founder of a new branch of the Benedictine order, his papacy lasted just over five months. It's widely viewed as an utter disaster.

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3:23am

Tue February 26, 2013
Law

Supreme Court Considers If Warrantless DNA Swab Violates Constitution

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a case about the collection of DNA evidence, and whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits police from obtaining DNA samples before conviction without a warrant.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday in a case that could throw a monkey wrench into the widespread use of DNA testing — a case that pits modern technology against notions of personal privacy.

Twenty-eight states and the federal government have enacted laws that provide for automatic DNA collection from people at the time of their arrest. The question is whether it is unconstitutional to do that without a warrant, for the sole purpose of checking the DNA against a national DNA crime scene database.

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3:21am

Tue February 26, 2013
Business

Technology Upends Another Industry: Homebuilding

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 9:44 am

The recession forced Mid-Atlantic Builders Executive Vice President Stephen Paul to cut the company's staffing. But he says the firm is being efficient with half the original number of employees.
Marie McGrory NPR

Years into the economic recovery, hiring remains slow. Many businesses learned to do more with less during the recession, so they don't need to bring on as many people now.

These new efficiencies have led to what economists call "labor displacement," which is taking place around the country. One business in Rockville, Md., is doing the same amount of work with half its original staff.

Two things are noticeably absent from the offices of Mid-Atlantic Builders: people and paper.

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6:24pm

Mon February 25, 2013
WVAS Local

WVAS Local News

Central Alabama is already several inches above average rainfall for the year with the barrage of storm systems sweeping across the state in recent weeks.  All of the rain can be both good and bad for farmers.  Regional Extension Agent Christy Hicks said farmers growing wheat have had some complications.  Hicks says the corn crop isn't planted until early March, so young plants weren't affected.  The surplus of rainfall allows farmers to refill irrigation ponds to use during warmer months.

Alabama's Constitution

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5:53pm

Mon February 25, 2013
Economy

Too Soon To Blame Payroll Tax For Stagnant Retail Sales?

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:23 pm

Wal-Mart is one of several large retailers that say an increase in the payroll tax may hurt U.S. sales in the months ahead.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

For Darden Restaurants, the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster, its earnings projections out last week were not pretty. Sales will fall, it said, and company CEO Clarence Otis called higher payroll taxes a "headwind."

After a two-year tax break, the payroll tax, which funds Social Security payments, went back up to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1. The 2-percentage-point increase is an extra $80 a month in taxes for someone earning $50,000 a year.

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