Morning Edition for Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why A Handful Of Hard-Liners Has A Hold On Boehner

To understand House Speaker John Boehner's role in the government shutdown, you have to understand the 30 or so House Republican hard-liners and his relationship with them. Because Republicans have a relatively slim majority in the House, the 30 have more power than their numbers would make it seem.

Reid's Tough Tactics In Shutdown Drama Draw Notice

As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights — but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line. After a meeting with other congressional leaders and President Obama on Wednesday, Reid said: "The one thing we made very clear ... we are locked in tight on Obamacare."
The Egyptian military operation to destroy most of the tunnels used to smuggle goods into neighboring Gaza has led to a shortage of cheap fuel and building materials. It also has led to more sewage flowing into the sea. Change is afoot, however, for the first time in six years.
The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is often the last resort for patients who have mysterious, rare or terminal diseases. Patients sometimes call it the "House of Hope." But the government shutdown may mean that prospective patients will be turned away.
Flooding in Colorado has taken a toll on the state's small businesses. In the small town of Lyons, the road to recovery looks especially long. Businesses there not only need to repair damage, but also stay afloat for as long as six months without much of their customer base. That's because damaged water and sewage lines have made many parts of town unlivable.
Nationwide, many cash-strapped cities have raided funds intended for retirees or have chronically underfunded their pension systems. But despite a budget crunch, Milwaukee's fund has consistently ranked among the nation's top pension programs. Even so, some changes lie ahead for city workers.
Pardit Pri left her job as a legal assistant when she had a baby. She thought she'd be able to find a new job with health insurance, but so far has found only contract work with no benefits. She's not sure if her state's new health exchange will make sense for her, given her uncertain income.

Court Ordered To Review BP Payout Formula

The oil giant has won a partial victory after a U.S. appeals court halted some payments related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a key win for BP which had complained that the payout formula was too generous, and compensated people that were not harmed. Billions of dollars in claims were filed by businesses and individuals in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Fashion Designer Mark Jacobs To Leave Louis Vuitton

After 16 years at Louis Vuitton, Mark Jacobs is expected to focus on an eventual IPO for his own brand, which could come within three years. Investors are interested, partly because the designer Michael Kors had a public offering in 2011, and since then shares have tripled in value.
Federal agents arrested Ross Ulbricht, 29, known as "Dread Pirate Roberts," and took $3.6 million in Bitcoin. They're calling it the largest seizure of the popular digital currency in history.
Central Falls, a former mill city in Rhode Island, has turned to the Internet for donations to fund a government project.The new mayor wants to update the local park with steel trash cans and recycling bins. So far citizens have committed $390 to the project — the goal is more than $10,000.

Day 3 Of Shutdown: Both Sides Remain Dug In

On Wednesday, President Obama invited the top four congressional leaders to the White House for a chat. But after the meeting, no progress was reported on reopening the government. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been idled and services curbed across the country.
Small businesses can now buy health insurance tailored for their needs on marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. But it's not clear how much relief the exchanges will offer from high prices that are a longstanding problem for small business. And they will almost certainly require more paperwork.
Ten years of peace in Liberia has created opportunities for education and entrepreneurs. But challenges remain, including no electricity, widespread corruption and weak infrastructure. Twenty-four-year-old Pandora Hodge is a budding restaurateur and art theater owner trying to make it in Liberia.

Government Shutdown Will Add To VA's Backlog

Payment of veterans' benefits is one of the most emotionally charged issues affected by the shutdown. Politicians of both parties have scrambled to show their support for vets. While the most serious consequences won't come unless the shutdown lasts for weeks, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering because of a backlog of claims.

National Parks Close As Other Public Lands Stay Open

From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads. National forest and Bureau of Land Management lands would nearly be impossible to close because there are so many access points.

Wisconsin Prisons Incarcerate Most Black Men In U.S.

The U.S. prison population is still the world's highest — with more than 1.5 million people behind bars. A study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee looked at that state's incarceration rates and found they were the highest in the country for black men.

NSA Head Admits Testing U.S. Cellphone Tracking

Intelligence chiefs said recent media reports are wrong about their efforts to gather information about the social networks of Americans. They told a Senate panel such efforts are focused on foreigners. But NSA chief Keith Alexander admitted the agency has collected cellphone location information, as part of a short-lived test program years ago.

Studying The Science Behind Child Prodigies

Matt Haimovitz is 42 and a world-renowned cellist. His mother took him to many concerts as a kid, but nothing in his family history explains where he got his extraordinary talent. And that's typical, says Ellen Winner, a psychology professor at Boston College who has spent much of her career studying prodigies.

Author Tom Clancy Dies At 66

Best-selling author Tom Clancy wrote iconic thrillers like The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. His books were turned into Hollywood blockbusters and popular video games. Clancy died on Tuesday.

Family Dog Eats Couple's Vacation Money

A Montana couple was on vacation when they stopped at a restaurant and left the dog in the car. When they came back, the dog had eaten 5 $100 bills. Pieces of the money was collected post digestion, and the couple has been reimbursed by the U.S. Treasury.

Boss Releases Video After Employees' 'I Quit' Video

Marina Shifrin became an Internet sensation when she danced her way out of the office to Kayne West's hit song "Gone." Captions detailed her grievances. Her former company, in Taiwan, makes animated videos. The new video ends with the final line: We're hiring.
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