Morning Edition for Friday, September 27, 2013

House GOP Leaders Gear Up For Debt Ceiling Battle

Even as the potential government shutdown drama remains unresolved, House Republican leaders are moving on to the next deadline: the debt ceiling. Economists say defaulting on payments could be catastrophic, but many House Republicans believe the debt ceiling is the best place to take a stand. Some even say the risk of default really isn't all that bad.

Houston Gears Up For Obamacare, Despite GOP Opposition

Leading Texas politicians have resisted the federal health care law. But in Houston, community groups and public health agencies are trying to educate the city's 800,000 uninsured residents about new coverage options.
As Syria's civil war drags on, the rebels find themselves increasingly divided. This week, about a dozen armed opposition groups broke with the U.S.-backed Syrian National Coalition, a political organization that's been the voice of the rebels in the West. Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep talks to Najib Ghadbian, the coalition's envoy to the United Nations.

'Trials' Relives Painful Past Of Muhammad Ali

Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali has been the subject of many documentaries. But a new one has arrived in theaters: The Trials of Muhammad Ali looks at the former champion's religious and political beliefs.
An electric wire factory in western Georgia is staffed almost entirely by teenagers. They are there because of a partnership between a local company, Southwire, and the Carroll County school system. They teamed up six years ago to try to reduce the high school dropout rate.
Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. Now she criticizes changes that she used to support, like charter schools and school choice. She explains her reasoning in Reign of Error, her new book on the pitfalls of privatizing education.
Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. But less than a week after getting their iPads, hundreds of students had found a way to bypass software blocks meant to limit what websites the students can use.

Shanghai To Open Free-Trade Zone To Boost China's Growth

On Sunday, Shanghai will open a free trade area that officials say will be a laboratory for overhauling the world's second-largest economy. The new zone is garnering lots of media attention in China, but details remain sketchy.

Is North America The Next World Capital Of Energy?

A perfect storm of sorts is leading some Western energy companies to step back from investments and operations in the Middle East. Companies see increased risk in the region because of the turmoil and violence following the Arab Spring. And, advances in technology have made it easier to produce oil in North America.

TomTato Is The Latest Wonderplant

A British gardening mail order firm introduced the TomTato: a tomato-potato plant. Cherry tomatoes and white potatoes have been grafted together. The hybrid hit European garden centers this week.

Kerry Vows To Keep Assessing Iran's Nuclear Intentions

Secretary of State Kerry and his counterparts from Britain, France, Russia, China and the European Union met with Iran's foreign minister at the United Nations on Thursday. They left the meeting praising Iran's new tone, but saying there is a lot of work to be done in dealing with Iran's suspect nuclear program. The talks resume in Geneva in mid-October.

Iranians Back President Rouhani's Diplomatic Outreach

We're going to get the view from Tehran on this week's diplomatic outreach at the United Nations by Iran's new president and foreign minister. David Greene talks to Thomas Erdbrink, a New York Times correspondent in Tehran. Iranians elected Hassan Rouhani president, in hopes he would reach a deal with the West on Iran's nuclear program and win repeal of punishing economic sanctions.

How Recycling Bias Affects What You Toss Where

People tend to throw whole pieces of paper in the recycling bin — and fragments of paper in the trash. Research on the trend finds that we may be acting on unconscious prejudice about what is worth recycling.

Dad To Son: 'I Was Not Going To Let You Drop'

Josh Lampert's parents helped him through a rough period and, in his opinion, saved his life. "You do that for your kids," says his father, Chuck.
Scientists assembled by the United Nations sent out a renewed warning Friday that the planet is warming up and human beings are largely responsible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report that projects more warming air, melting ice and rising seas in this century.

Journalists In Egypt Face 'Unprecedented Pressures'

As the military-backed government in Cairo continues its offensive against the Muslim Brotherhood, there is also a widening crackdown on the media. Army officers now call the shorts at State TV, and independent journalists are under increasing pressure to toe the line.

'CrackBerry' Users Have Moved On. Is BlackBerry Dead?

Over the course of its existence, BlackBerry sold smartphones to more than 200 million people. It became ubiquitous in places like Indonesia but it began with an invasion of Wall Street and Washington.

Fans Experience The Thin Line Between Winning And Losing

It's not just sports teams that win championships. It's also their fans who endure long seasons hanging on every pitch, touchdown or basket. David Greene finds out what it's like to be on the cusp of either a championship — or a disaster.
David Greene speaks to Sid Bream, the former Atlanta Braves player whose dramatic slide into home plate ended the Pittsburgh Pirates last playoff run in 1992. A Pennsylvania native and former Pirate, Bream is now cheering for the Pirates as they return to the post season for the first time in 21 years.
Meredith Fitzmaurice, 34, signed up for a half marathon in Ontario, Canada. Somewhere on the route, she took a wrong turn, landing on the full marathon course. She kept going — becoming the first woman to cross the finish line and was 10th overall. And, she qualified for the Boston Marathon.

North Texas See Mass Migration Of Spiders

Long silky strands were seen falling across the skies of North Texas this week. It turns out, these were web strands as long as 20 feet and floating for miles. The webs were produced by a large cluster of baby spiders that had just hatched. They use the long silk line to migrate.
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