National News Content

Nearly 500 State Legislators Sign Letter Pleading Congress To Pass For The People Act

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:38pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit AILSA CHANG, HOST: The For the People Act, a Democratic effort to overhaul voting laws, stalled in the Senate today after failing to attract a single Republican vote. All 50 Senate Democrats backed opening debate, but the bill needed at least 10 Republican votes to proceed. In the lead up to the vote, nearly 500 state legislators had rallied together, signing a letter urging Congress to pass the act. The letter's organizer is Texas state Representative Trey Martinez Fischer, a Democrat. And when I spoke to him before today's vote, I asked him why he felt the need to bring together all these legislators to send Congress this letter. TREY MARTINEZ FISCHER: Well, you know, in my mind, national voting rights reform with the For the People Act is - this is a now-or-never moment in our country. A bunch of us Texas Democrats broke a quorum in defiance of the Republican majority to deny them a vote on voter suppression. And it ended up igniting a national

Nicaragua Cracks Down On Press, Government Jails Opposition Leaders Ahead Of Election

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:38pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit AILSA CHANG, HOST: The crackdown on opponents of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega continues. Yesterday, a reporter was arrested and charged with aiding foreign intervention in the country. These are similar accusations that have led to the arrest of nearly 20 opposition figures, including former government officials and key business leaders. This crackdown, which began late last month, has virtually wiped out opposition to President Ortega, who's set to run for a fourth consecutive term in November. New York Times reporter Anatoly Kurmanaev was recently denied entry into Nicaragua to cover all of this. He covers Mexico and South America for The Times and joins us now from Mexico City. Welcome. ANATOLY KURMANAEV: Thank you for having me. CHANG: So I understand the airline actually canceled your ticket to Managua shortly before you were even boarding. What happened exactly? KURMANAEV: Nicaraguan authorities didn't approve my entry into the country

Biden Backs Bill To End Sentencing Disparities For Crack And Powder Cocaine

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:38pm
(SOUNDBITE OF "DYNASTY" THEME SONG) AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: If you were around in the 1980s, this TV theme might stir up some memories - memories of Blake, Krystle, Alexis and the whole Carrington family, the main characters of the TV show "Dynasty," which turns 40 this year. Between introducing one of the first out gay characters to mass audiences and offering up scenes of unforgettable camp, the hit prime-time series quickly became iconic TV, especially among LGBTQ+ audiences. For Pride Month, Chloe Veltman of member station KQED visited the stately home south of San Francisco where the show's earliest episodes were filmed. She was joined by a "Dynasty" superfan. Here's that story. CHLOE VELTMAN, BYLINE: Pride Month is in full bloom at Filoli mansion, as I stand underneath the canopy of fluttering rainbow flags waiting for the arrival of San Francisco drag royalty. D'ARCY DROLLINGER: I'm here to check on my house. VELTMAN: That's performer, club owner and "Dynasty" fan D'Arcy Drollinger

Stunning Photos Capture 2 Brothers' Walk 1,600 Feet Above Yosemite

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:31pm
Two brothers living in San Francisco led a group that set a record this month for the longest highline walked in California. The nylon line — about an inch or two wide and a few millimeters thick — stretched across 2,800 feet in Yosemite National Park, from Taft Point across gullies to an old tree on another outcropping nicknamed "Your Mom." Stepping out onto the line presented stunning views — and a drop of some 1,600 feet. Moises Monterrubio , 26, and Daniel Monterrubio , 23, led a group of friends and collaborators who spent six days stringing the line across the complex terrain below, which involved rappelling from cliffs and hanging a thousand feet in the air. "The dangerous part was actually getting the line across, not walking the line itself," Daniel tells All Things Considered . Moises Monterrubio walks the line. Highlining is not like a tightrope, as the line dips down significantly. Scott Oller / Moises Monterrubio Daniel was the first one to walk the line on June 10,

November ballot question will determine right to clean air and water

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:18pm
Environmental groups say there were some wins in the recently concluded New York state legislative session, including a new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to clean air and water. But business groups say the provision could lead to complications. The state Senate and Assembly gave final passage to the constitutional amendment earlier this month, and New York voters will consider it on the November ballot. Environmental groups said it would require businesses and state and local governments to make better decisions going forward when they need to approve projects that might potentially cause pollution. “Voters are going to be asked a simple question,” said Peter Iwanowicz with Environmental Advocates. “Should we add to New York state’s bill of rights, the right to clean air, clean water and a healthful environment?” Liz Moran with the New York Public Interest Research Group said the idea for the amendment came after the water crisis in Hoosick Falls in eastern New York,

A Strawberry Moon Will Rise This Thursday — No, It Won't Be Red Or Pink

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 4:04pm
Look to the eastern skies for a sweet sight on Thursday evening: a strawberry moon is set to rise just as the sun dips below the horizon. June's full moon is best known as the strawberry moon , and it's the first full moon after the summer solstice. It's also a marginal supermoon , according to NASA, as definitions of a supermoon are widely varied among publications. While the moon will still be large and at one of its closest points to Earth in its elliptical orbit, this moon will be further away from our planet than the last three full moons, NASA says. The strawberry moon gets its sweet name from the Algonquin tribes of North America who related its appearance to the start of the strawberry picking season. So it won't appear red or pink; it will look large and gold as it appears above the horizon, says Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History. "It'll look goldish. It can have a tiny bit of a red tinge to it depending on what's in the atmosphere,

Connections: Author and journalist Lisa Napoli on her book, "Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie"

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 2:02pm
Summer Book Week continues with a conversation with journalist Lisa Napoli about her new book, "Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR." Plus, we hear all week from prominent Rochesterians about what they're reading this summer. Today, we hear from State Senator Jeremy Cooney . Our guest: Lisa Napoli , journalist and author of "Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR"

Connections: What has caused the rise of conspiracy theories in the United States?

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 2:01pm
Conspiracy theories -- or, more precisely, "conspiracism" -- have become a bigger part of American political life in the last few years. How do they get traction, and how do proponents of fact-based politics counter that trend and get us back to a more normal time? Our guest: Scott Tyson , assistant professor of political science at the University of Rochester

Coming up on Connections: Tuesday, June 22

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 11:55am
First Hour: What has caused the rise of conspiracy theories in the United States? Second Hour: Author and journalist Lisa Napoli and her new book, "Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR"

White House Says The U.S. Will Narrowly Miss Its Vaccination Goal

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 11:21am
The country will narrowly miss President Biden's goal of having 70% of the U.S. adult population at least partially vaccinated by July 4, according to a White House official who did not want to get ahead of the public announcement. But the official also noted that 70% of those 30 and older have already been vaccinated a week and a half ahead of Independence Day and that those 27 and older are expected to also reach the 70% mark by July 4. Currently, 65% of the adult population has gotten at least one shot and 56% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At current rates, the U.S. is on track to get to about 67% people with at least one shot by July 4. The coronavirus has been shown to affect older people worse, on average and 87% of those 65 and older have had at least one dose, while 77% are fully vaccinated. Demand for vaccinations has slowed dramatically, leaving scientists to be concerned about the rise of the Delta variant and

Billie Eilish Says She Is Sorry After TikTok Video Shows Her Mouthing A Racist Slur

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 10:34am
Pop star Billie Eilish is apologizing for mouthing a racist slur after questions were raised by an old video of her that quickly went viral on TikTok. Eilish says she is "being labeled something that I am not," after critics said her actions were insensitive at best and racist at worst. Eilish, 19, responded to the criticisms in a message posted to her Instagram Stories. The footage in question dates from when she was 13 or 14 years old, she said. The video consists of several clips that have been edited together to highlight different scenes. Describing one of the clips, Eilish says, "I mouthed a word from a song that at the time I didn't know was a derogatory term used against members of the Asian community." It was the first time she had heard the term, she adds. "I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word," the singer says. "Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am

Federal Officials Can't Be Sued For Clearing Protesters Near White House, Judge Says

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 10:28am
A federal judge has dismissed claims that former White House officials conspired to forcibly remove peaceful protesters last year from Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square so that then-President Donald Trump could pose for a photo holding a Bible at a nearby church. The lawsuit stems from June 1, 2020, when U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops dispersed a largely peaceful gathering of Black Lives Matter protesters from the square near the White House using tear gas and pepper spray. Trump, accompanied by then-Attorney General William Barr, then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, strode to St. John's Church across from the square, where the photo was taken. In four overlapping suits, Black Lives Matter and three other plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union alleged that the former president, Barr and other Trump administration officials conspired to violate the civil rights of the protesters. Last month,

Fringe scrambling for venues, welcomes back Spiegeltent and Parcel 5

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 9:01am
The KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival is firing up what it once considered “a pipe dream for us.” After having conceded this spring that September’s Fringe would not include two major pieces from past years -- the glittering Victorian Spiegeltent and the open block off Main Street, Parcel 5 -- it now seems assured that both will be part of the 12-day festival this fall. “It’s a result of the guidelines changing faster than anyone thought they would change,” says the event’s producer, Erica Fee. Last year’s Rochester Fringe was presented entirely online. This year’s 10th annual festival, scheduled for Sept. 14-25, will include some online performances. But most will be in-person, live shows. After more than a year of being sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, a wave of musicians, theater groups, comedians and dancers is eager to re-emerge at Rochester Fringe. “You just cannot believe how many artists are trying to get back onstage, and can’t,” Fee says. They can’t because there aren't

Senate Democrats Take Up Act Which Would Expand Voting Rights

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 7:20am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Today, the Senate votes on a bill that Democrats consider their highest priority, and they are not going to succeed. The For the People Act is designed to set federal standards for voting. It has many other provisions, too. And Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell opposes the whole thing. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) MITCH MCCONNELL: They've made abundantly clear that the real driving force behind S 1 is a desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently - permanently in Democrats' favor. INSKEEP: Now, to be clear, Democrats say they're responding to Republican efforts to rig the rules on the state level. But in any case, in a closely divided Senate, Republicans have the power to block the bill. NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis is on the line once again. Sue, good morning. SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Steve. INSKEEP: So if this bill were to pass, what would it do? DAVIS: It would enact pretty sweeping

Democrats' Measure Maintains State Voting Systems, Sen. Tester Says

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 7:20am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Senator Jon Tester joins us next. He is a Democrat from Montana and supports the voting bill. Senator, good morning. JON TESTER: Good morning. INSKEEP: I want to take... TESTER: How are you, Steve? INSKEEP: I'm doing fine, sir. Thank you very much. I want to take the Republican objection at face value here. Voting is generally a state matter. Why is it a good idea to set so many federal standards? TESTER: Well, I think what we've seen over the last year is many, many state legislators, including the one in Montana, taking away things like same-day registration, which we've had for 15 years. I think we've seen elections since Citizens United being impacted by dark money in a very negative way where we don't know who's trying to influence election. And by the way, transparency in government's a good thing, and elections are part of government. And then gerrymandering - I mean, we've heard about this forever. Why not make it so

Opinion: Vaccine Hesitancy In The U.S. Is A Peculiar Privilege

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 7:19am
"I want to wait and watch." This is a peculiar response I receive from my friends and some family members in the United States when I ask them about their thoughts on COVID-19 vaccination. This is a peculiar response for a couple of reasons: COVID-19 vaccines are exceptionally effective , are now readily available and are the best way to end the pandemic and return to normalcy. This skeptical response is reflective of broader trends in the United States: An NPR/Marist poll this spring revealed that up to one-fourth of the national population would decline to get vaccinated even when offered. This is also a very American response in a country where the proportion of fully vaccinated people is now roughly 45% . Two vastly different vaccine rollouts The vaccine rollout at the global level has markedly different dynamics. As of June 16, almost 80% of the global population has not received a COVID-19 vaccine. In low-resource countries, the vaccination rate is less than 1% . These statistics

A New Way To Understand Automation

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 6:30am
For one of the most distinguished critics of automation, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu has been, ironically, cranking out research on the subject lately like he's a machine. He and his co-author Pascual Restrepo have produced so many studies on the subject that he couldn't tell us how many they've done. "I've lost count," he says. Their conveyer belt of research has been spitting out some startling facts. They find, for instance, that each new industrial robot killed, on average, 3.3 jobs in America between 1993 and 2007. Last week, Acemoglu and Restrepo released a new study that suggests as much as 70 percent of the rise of inequality in America since 1980 is due to machines devouring jobs previously done by middle and low-income workers. [Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money 's newsletter. You can sign up here ] More than just quantifying the past effects of automation, Acemoglu and his colleagues have been developing a new framework to understand it going forward. People

Fauci Warns Dangerous Delta Variant Is The Greatest Threat To U.S. COVID Efforts

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 5:57am
Updated June 22, 2021 at 4:25 PM ET The dangerous Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading so quickly in the United States that it's likely the mutant strain will become predominant in the U.S. within weeks, according to federal health officials and a new analysis . At a White House briefing on COVID-19 Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said that 20.6% of new cases in the U.S. are due to the Delta variant. And other scientists tracking the variant say it is on track to become the dominant virus variant in the U.S. "The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19," Fauci said. The variant, first identified in India, is the most contagious yet and, among those not yet vaccinated, may trigger serious illness in more people than other variants do, he said. Another reason to get vaccinated "It definitely is of concern," says William Lee , the vice president of science at Helix, which is under contract

What's The Best Way To Help The Climate And People, Too? Home Improvement

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 5:57am
Workmen have invaded Flora Dillard's house on the east side of Cleveland. There's plastic over everything and no place to sit, but Dillard doesn't seem to mind. "A couple of days of inconvenience is nothing, compared to the results that you get," she says. She'll benefit, and so might the climate. The workers have plugged cracks around the foundation and rerouted an air vent to reduce the risk that mold will form. They're insulating the drafty upstairs bedroom, which was so cold that Dillard had resorted to multiple electric space heaters this past winter. They also discovered and fixed a gas leak. "I could have blew up," Dillard says. "Me and my grandbabies and my brother who's here visiting." She didn't pay for any of this. She can't afford to. But thanks to government and utility help, her house soon should be more comfortable, safer and cheaper to heat. She'll burn less fuel, cutting down on the amount of greenhouse gases she sends into the air. Flora Dillard says the help she

A Rise In Traffic Fatalities Leads To A Spike In Law Enforcement Officer Deaths

WXXI US News - Tue, 06/22/2021 - 5:57am
Updated June 22, 2021 at 11:44 AM ET On Monday, 19-year Arvada, Colo., police veteran Gordon Beesley marked another loss for the law enforcement community. Beesley was killed along with two other people during a shooting at a downtown shopping district , authorities said. He is the fourth Colorado police officer to die on the job this year. The rate of on-the-job fatalities for police is higher this year than it was at this time in 2020, according to an organization that tracks law enforcement deaths. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that as of Monday, 151 total deaths were recorded -- an 11% jump over last year. The number includes federal, state, military, tribal and local law enforcement officer deaths. The largest share of that rise is due to traffic-related fatalities. There have already been 36 officers killed in traffic, compared with 25 at this point last year — a rise of 44%. Traffic-related deaths include collisions with other vehicles, single
Syndicate content