National Partners

Stories from our program partners, including NPR, APM, and PRI.

Carolyn Beeler

Cheryll Sumner grew up along the water in Norfolk, Virginia. About 15 years ago she moved back to her childhood home to raise her kids.

“It was wonderful that my kids were able to have the same upbringing that I had,” Sumner said, standing in front of her stately brick home in the Chesterfield Heights neighborhood.

Rising seas series

24 million Americans could lose health insurance under GOP plan

Mar 13, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office released its long-awaited score for the Republican replacement for Obamacare, what the GOP is calling the American Health Care Act. The CBO's report estimates the impact of the bill on people. Sarah Kliff covers health care for Vox, where she is a senior editor. She breaks down what we've learned from the report. 

Kai Ryssdal: Give me the headlines on this one. What's a big takeaway for you?

It’s FAFSA season, when families apply for federal aid to pay for college. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool makes it easier for applicants to add the required tax information to their forms by transferring it directly from the IRS. Or it did. The IRS has suspended the service for several weeks, and if history is any guide, this could mean fewer students complete the forms and go to college.  

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

The Republican plan – or the American Health Care Act – radically reconfigures Medicaid by cutting federal funding by $880 billion over 10 years, according to recently released figures from the Congressional Budget Office. That could mean a loss of services for millions of people, including one in 10 million Americans with disabilities on the program.

The very real science behind 'The Expanse'

Mar 13, 2017

Imagine for a moment that we’ve colonized Mars and the asteroid belt. We mine the asteroid belt for ice and minerals and live — not always peacefully — in different factions, split up across the solar system.

Reaching Mars is a hard sell, but not impossible

Mar 13, 2017
Kai Ryssdal

During his address to Congress, President Donald Trump said that “American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.” While the details about that dream are unclear, what is clear is that last month Congress approved an authorization bill for NASA. That bill allows NASA $19.4 billion in spending money for 2017, and NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot has already instructed his team to consider what it would take to send people to Mars. So how likely is it that we'll see a televised Mars landing?

Trump executive order calls for downsized government

Mar 13, 2017

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on "a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch" today. The White House said it'll make government more efficient, effective and accountable. It's not the first time a president has done something like this. But, the plan is more about Trump making good on his campaign promises on military strength and border security than it is about budget austerity.

Consumer credit reporting agencies are going to start eliminating some information from credit reports that might reflect negatively on would-be borrowers. Some of that information has been prone to errors in the past, and consumer advocates argued it was unfair to consumers. This is likely to raise credit scores for some who would not be considered creditworthy in the past. It also might increase the risk to lenders.

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President Donald Trump and the Fed have had a bit of an up-and-down relationship even before he became president. At one point, he accused Fed Chair Janet Yellen of keeping interest rates low to help President Barack Obama. Another time, he said raising rates would be a disaster. To be fair, he has also said he has great respect for Yellen. But now that a Fed rate increase is on the horizon, relations between the Fed and the White House soon could become much more volatile, if history is any guide.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

03/13/2017: Let's do the numbers on health care

Mar 13, 2017

Snowstorm aside, it's a busy start of the week in Washington. The Congressional Budget Office just did the numbers on Republicans' Obamacare replacement, and, well, we may need to break out "Stormy Weather." Plus, the Federal Reserve is meeting tomorrow and Wednesday, so we'll soon have an official call on interest rates. We'll look at the relationship between the Fed and the White House over the years. Plus, can Trump help send a human to Mars?

8: The singer and the supercomputer

Mar 13, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The debt limit, South by Southwest and other recurring disruptions on this week's Make Me Smart. Also singer-songwriter Marian Call debuts a snippet of a new song about our changing relationship to work. 

In August of last year, Call, who lives in Juneau, Alaska wanted to write about our changing relationship to work. Marian Call sent out a quick tweet to her followers, and then went to bed.

03/13/17: Are constant rate hikes a good thing?

Mar 13, 2017

With the next Fed meeting coming up soon, market strategist Karyn Cavanaugh stops by to explain what we can expect from Janet Yellen and co., and whether we should be worried about the possibility of constant rate hikes. Next, we'll report on the start of the debt ceiling countdown clock, and then talk with laid-off aluminum workers from Wenatchee, Washington about memories from their line of work.

Chris Yakimov/Flickr 

When President Donald Trump came into office in January, staff at several government agencies were told not to send out news releases or to communicate by social media, and most mentions of climate change disappeared from government websites.

Changing the message on issues that could affect policy is standard procedure with a change of administration, but many saw this as censorship of government scientists — akin to moves taken in Canada under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mining nature for the next groundbreaking antibiotic

Mar 12, 2017

It’s been just shy of 90 years since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in his London lab, but as the World Health Organization recently cautioned, we’re already headed for a “post-antibiotic era.”

Jon McNaughton/McNaughton Fine Art, LLC

In 2008, artist Jon McNaughton got an idea for a painting called "One Nation Under God." To his surprise, the painting went viral and McNaughton became something of an icon for the political right.

Here's how to experience SXSW from your living room

Mar 11, 2017
Chris Saucedo

The massive arts festival South by Southwest has just kicked off. It features everything from tech talks and movie premieres to stand-up comedy shows, podcast recordings, and of course, lots of concerts.

But if you can't make it to Austin, Texas, for the festival, don't worry — you can still enjoy it from the comfort of your own home, says Melissa Locker, the culture reporter for Time magazine, The Guardian and The Takeaway.

Trump Versus the EPA

Mar 11, 2017

Scrap Your Dinner Plans

Mar 11, 2017

The Microbiome of the Clouds

Mar 11, 2017

The Science of Tuvan Throat Singing

Mar 11, 2017

REVEAL Fundraiser Episode Spring 2017

Mar 10, 2017

For the 2017 spring fundraising season, here are three of our favorite recent Reveal stories.

Jason Margolis

America is literally falling apart. The most authoritative report of the country’s infrastructure, released Thursday, gave America's crumbling roads, bridges, dams, schools and other essential underpinnings an overall D+ grade. Not a single element of America’s framework received an A.

You have to hear the music of Chicano Batman

Mar 10, 2017

Chicano Batman! It's a fun thing to say, isn't it?

It's also the name of a four-piece alt-rock band from Los Angeles that is pretty great to listen to.

But where does the name come from?

We asked Bardo Martinez, Chicano Batman's frontman and lead singer. 

"We all need a superhero in our lives. We all need something to look up to. We happen to put the names together and it creates this weird juxtaposition. It just keeps you wondering what does that name — what does that mean? So obviously it makes for a good band name."

Courtesy Israel Association of Baseball

They have been dubbed the "Jamaican bobsled team" of this year's World Baseball Classic.

Team Israel is ranked 41st in the world. But this week, they beat the Netherlands, South Korea and Chinese Taipei, all of which are ranked significantly higher.

Danielle Barta, who lives in Jerusalem and works as the regional director of the Isreal Association of Baseball, has been rapt, watching it all. 

As much as she can, that is.

Violence against women, as an acceptable practice in some cultures, is hardly a new story to me. For years, I’ve reported in countries across the Middle East and Asia, where women face deep-seated oppression and a lack of basic rights, including the right to pursue justice against domestic violence.

But this was different.

Ravi Ragbir is a popular immigrant organizer in New York City. He’s been running the New York City Sanctuary Coalition for nearly a decade, and supporting migrants who are either detained or threatened with removal.

But now his own private struggle with deportation has become a big part of his work.

On Thursday, he took a dozen people with him to a scheduled meeting with immigration agents. He came to the US as a legal permanent resident, but was ordered deported after being convicted of an aggravated felony in 2001.

What the Nike Pro Hijab is really about

Mar 10, 2017

When weightlifter Amna Al Haddad, 27, first trained at the gym near her home in the United Arab Emirates, she says people stared at her. She was a wearing a hijab, a traditional Muslim headscarf.

“Seeing a woman wearing a hijab was very unheard of when I first started sports,” she says. “It was very unusual, and I did get a lot of rejections at first, a lot of stares, a lot of naysayers. Personally, I did not care to hear their opinion, and I did what was right for me.”