War in Afghanistan
6:33 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Lawyer of massacre suspect begins mounting defense

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an August 2011 training exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Ryan Hallock AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 4:18 pm

Attorney John Henry Browne said the meeting he had with his client Robert Bales, the Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians, was "just really emotional."

Browne also corrected some details of Bales' story that he had released earlier. According to the AP:

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Prisons
6:28 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Unsealed report calls Idaho prison 'indifferent' to inmate health

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 12:00 am

A new report says Idaho’s largest prison provides such substandard health care to inmates that in some cases it may have resulted in death. A federal judge unsealed an expert’s opinion in a decades-long case Monday. In it, Dr. Marc Stern details a range of problems at the Idaho State Correctional Institution near Boise.

He says patients there face cruel and unusual treatment. One inmate wasn’t told he had cancer for months. Another bed-ridden inmate wasn’t fed. And Stern said an emergency ventilator that should be used often was caked in dust.

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Liquor privatization
5:33 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Judge upholds Washington's liquor initiative

LONGVIEW, Wash. — A Cowlitz County judge has upheld a voter-approved initiative privatizing liquor sales in Washington state.

Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning had ruled on March 2 that Initiative 1183 addresses two different subjects because it includes a provision for public safety funds.

Attorneys for the state asked the judge to reconsider on Monday, arguing that public safety and liquor have a close relationship. Warning heard arguments from both sides and then reversed his earlier decision, granting the state's motion for summary judgment.

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Diversions: Space travel
4:46 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Kutcher becomes 500th Virgin Galactic space customer

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is carried to its launch altitude by a mothership, the Scaled Composites White Knight Two, before being launched to fly on into the upper atmosphere, powered by a rocket motor.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Richard Branson says his venture to launch paying tourists into space has netted its 500th customer, and it's none other than Ashton Kutcher.

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Washington State Legislature
4:24 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Gregoire wants tax on 'roll-your-own' cigarettes

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 4:44 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire would like to see a tax on roll-your-own cigarettes included in any final budget deal.

Gregoire’s comments Monday come at the start of week two of the legislature’s special session. Lawmakers are trying to hammer out a deal to close a roughly $500 million shortfall.

The tax on self-rolled smokes would only raise $12 million toward rebalancing the budget. But Gregoire still thinks it’s worthwhile.

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War in Afghanistan
4:08 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Wife of Afghan shooting suspect offers condolences

A car drives into the main entrance to the U.S. Army's Fort Leavenworth, in Leavenworth, Kan., on Monday.
The Associated Press

The wife of the U.S. soldier held in the slayings of 16 Afghan villagers is offering condolences to the victims' families and says she too wants to know what happened.

Karilyn Bales issued a statement through a Seattle lawyer Monday, for the first time offering her comments on a case that has threatened to upend American policy over the decade-old war.

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NPR tech news
3:46 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Digital Technologies Give Dying Languages New Life

In an undated photo, members of the Siletz tribe gather for the Siletz Feather Dance in Newport, Ore. The tribe is using digital tools to help preserve its native language.
Courtesy of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 5:45 pm

There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.

Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.

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Planet Money
3:40 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

A reason to celebrate Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movement

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 2:44 pm

In his latest column, Adam Davidson profiles two economists, Daron Acemoglu of MIT and James Robinson of Harvard University, who take a surprising stance on Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Movement: both have the potential to improve the U.S. political system. We asked Daron Acemoglu to elaborate in the following post.

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Environment
11:18 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Ban on cruise ship discharges proposed for Washington waters

Cruise ships such as the Norwegian Star are cabable of holding their sewage for the 24 hours or less that they typically berth in Seattle. The Department of Ecology and several non profits are asking for a ban on all discharges in Washington waters.
Photo by Drewski2112 Flickr

Cruise ships are big business for the Port of Seattle.

Last season, about 200 calls brought nearly 900,000 passengers and their wallets though the city. Projections for this season are about the same. Each call equates to about $1.9 million in local spending.

But that economic benefit comes with ecological risk.

Now the state’s Department of Ecology is backing a proposed ban on cruise ship discharges while the vessels are in Washington waters.

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Environment
7:01 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Bellingham to buy land to preserve Lake Whatcom

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The Bellingham City Council is on the verge of approving the purchase of a 47-acre tract of land along North Shore Road as part of the effort to preserve Lake Whatcom water quality.

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Humanosphere
6:53 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Changemakers: Winning, one vegetable patch at a time

Quick BIO: Noah Derman, 31, is development director for Development in Gardening in Atlanta and a University of Washington graduate.

By Lisa Stiffler, special correspondent

Global health and development is by definition bound to be overpowering. So Noah Derman has a strategy for not feeling crushed by the enormous scope of the field’s challenges – he mentally breaks them into smaller chunks.

“If you look at smaller battles that you win,” said Derman, “you won’t get so overwhelmed.”

For Derman, development director for Development in Gardening, or DIG, those battles are won one vegetable patch at a time.

Read more on Humanosphere.

NPR opinion
6:35 am
Mon March 19, 2012

New Republic: Birth control different than Starbucks

From left to right, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah participate in a news conference on Medicare reform on Capitol Hill March 15, 2012 in Washington, DC. Sen. Paul unveiled a Medicare reform plan that would allow seniors to join their Member of Congress's health plan.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 6:11 am

Jonathan Cohn is the senior editor of The New Republic.

The controversy over contraception has faded a bit. Congressional Republicans are rethinking efforts to overturn a requirement that would make birth control coverage a mandatory part of health insurance. Rush Limbaugh has stopped talking about the issue, at least for the moment.

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War in Afghanistan
6:27 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Seattle defense attorneys to meet with Bales in Kansas

From High Desert Warrior.

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 12:00 am

The man accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians has had a brief phone conversation with his wife and two children. But efforts are underway to arrange a face-to-face meeting. That’s according to one of the attorneys for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Bales’ defense team will spend the next two days interviewing him at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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Artscape
4:58 am
Mon March 19, 2012

In Victoria B.C. artist Bill Blair creates whimsical, kitschy art

Artist Bill Blair with one of his one-of-a-kind paint-by-numbers guitar shrines at home in Victoria, B.C.
Photo by Florangela Davila

There's the type of art that hangs in museums, roped off to the public and well-guarded.

Then there's the kind of art that someone like Bill Blair of Victoria, B.C. creates. Art that's whimsical, kitschy, and suitable for places as distinguished as your home Tiki bar.

Exhibit A: His series of photomontages about fish, created after he became fixated with salmon puns.

"There was everything like 'Salmon-40-salmon,' a giant salmon with a nose cone of a Boeing 747.

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Artscape
4:46 pm
Sun March 18, 2012

'A Salesman' lives on in Philip Seymour Hoffman

Bridgette Lacombe

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 1:54 pm

When Philip Seymour Hoffman took the stage on March 15 in the new revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, he became the fifth actor in 63 years to walk the boards of Broadway in the shoes of the blustery, beleaguered salesman, Willy Loman. In the last six decades, each incarnation of the play has resonated with a new generation of theatergoers.

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