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Obama's Budget Would Undo Broad Cuts Made In 2013

KPLU News - 1 hour 12 min ago
When President Obama meets with House Democrats tonight during their retreat in Philadelphia, officials say he'll lay out the details of his budget proposal, which will include reversal of large cuts to federal spending instituted in 2013, reports NPR's Mara Liasson.

Those spending cuts, known as the sequester, hit both the defense and domestic budgets and were the result of congressional gamesmanship when the parties couldn't agree on spending priorities.

The president officially will release his fiscal 2016 budget to the public on Monday; White House officials say it also will include bo

For Long-Haul Drivers, Cheap Gas Means A Sweeter Commute

KPLU News - 3 hours 1 min ago
With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gas prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

"It's not that we're not all average families, we're not average drivers," he says.

And So We Meet, Again: Why The Workday Is So Filled With Meetings

KPLU News - 3 hours 1 min ago
The ouster of Bryan Stockton from his CEO perch at Mattel this week came as the toy maker's best-known brands like Barbie stagnate and it loses business to Web-based games.

Stockton himself said last year that Mattel lacked an innovative culture and blamed it in part on something specific: bad meetings. That's a common and persistent corporate ailment.

Scott Ryan-Hart is a cartographer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, where a typical meeting can last more than two hours.

"I would be needed for 15 minutes in the middle of it," Ryan-Hart says.

Insurance Choices Dwindle In Rural California As Blue Shield Pulls Back

KPLU News - 3 hours 3 min ago
After the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act first went live in late 2013, Lori Lomas started combing the website of Covered California on a hunt for good deals for her clients.

Enviromental Groups Take On Port of Seattle Over Shell Oil Lease Agreement

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:28

Environmentalists turned out in full force Wednesday to voice their opposition to a Port of Seattle agreement allowing Shell Oil to base its 26-ship Arctic drilling fleet in West Seattle.

A coalition of state and national groups is threatening to sue the Port over its agreement to lease the currently-vacant Terminal 5 to the oil company for up to four years.

Boeing Shares Climb After Fourth-Quarter Earnings Show Improved Cash Flow

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:16

Investors are becoming more optimistic about Boeing’s ability to generate cash even as deferred costs continue to mount for the 787 Dreamliner program. 

Boeing shares climbed more than 5 percent after the company reported fourth-quarter net income of $1.47 billion, up 19 percent from a year ago.

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:28


Amid Fighting In Donetsk, On Edge And Seeking Safety Underground

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:20
As war rages in eastern Ukraine, European Union foreign ministers are preparing to meet Thursday to consider drastic new sanctions against Russia.

The EU and the United States say Moscow's troops and weapons are directly involved in an offensive by anti-government militias in Ukraine's eastern provinces.

The offensive is the latest phase in a war that has racked the region since last April — and it's grinding hard on the civilians who are caught in the middle.

There are a lot fewer people in Donetsk these days than there were during my last visit in November, but I did find Nadezhda Stol

Beefed-Up Border Security Proposal Unsettles Texas Business Leaders

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:20
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson Steps Down

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:10
McDonald's President and CEO Don Thompson is retiring and will be replaced by Steve Easterbrook, the fast-food giant said in a statement.

Thompson, who ascended to the CEO position in 2012, spent nearly 25 years at the company. His retirement will take effect March 1. Easterbrook, who led McDonald's U.K.

Back From The Dead: A Cat Returns Home 5 Days After His Burial

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:01
We wrote about dogs today and so, in the interest of bipartisanship, this story is about cats – one cat in particular: Bart.

Bart's owner, Ellis Hutson, 52, of Tampa, Fla., said he found the 1 ½-year-old feline last week in the middle of the street.

Jordan Tests Coalition Against ISIS With Offer To Negotiate

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Yes, Your Toilet Paper Squares And Rolls Are Shrinking

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
Robert Siegel talks to Steven Chercover, a research analyst who studies the paper and forest industries, about the trend of shrinking toilet paper rolls. The old standard square sheet of 4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches long has been getting increasingly smaller. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Israeli Soldiers Killed In Renewed Fighting With Hezbollah

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Super Bowl Coaches More Alike Than You Might Think

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In 'The Americans,' Art Imitates Real Life Lies

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Florida Health Officials Hope To Test GMO Mosquitoes This Spring

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:36
The FDA is considering whether to approve the experimental use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help stop the spread of dengue fever and other diseases. Mosquito control officials in the region say they hope to get approval to begin releasing the insects in the Keys as soon as this spring.

There are few places in the United States where mosquito control is as critical as the Florida Keys.

Live Studio Session: Trio Subtonic

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:29

One of Portland, Oregon’s best known jazz group is Trio Subtonic.  They’ve made their mark on the Northwest independent and jazz music scenes, crafting three albums worth of original compositions by the band members: on keys, Galen Clark; on bass, Bill Athens; and on drums, Russ Kleiner.  

On a quick zoom through Seattle (they were in town for a one-nighter), the Trio kindly made time to visit the KPLU studios for a performance/interview with host Abe Beeson.  Check out their original blend of jazz, Brazilian and funk.  

Remaking The U.S. Government's Online Image, One Website At A Time

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:06
When you think of the federal government and computers, these days, the image that likely comes to mind is the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

But the government is changing the way it develops and designs software systems.

Ad Fumble: GoDaddy Pulls Super Bowl Puppy Commercial Amid Outrage

KPLU News - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 14:02