Idaho Representative/Tax Evader
6:31 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Idaho Lawmaker Is Tax Crusader To Some, Tax Dodger To Feds

Idaho Representative R- Phil Hart is in danger of the U.S. Justice Department foreclosing on his home near Athol, Idaho.
Photo credit: Idaho House of Representatives Northwest News Network

ATHOL, Idaho -- Tax evasion will get you into hot water with the IRS. But in north Idaho, it won’t necessarily spell the end of your political career. A Republican state legislator who believes the federal income tax is unconstitutional is battling charges of tax evasion, even as he seeks reelection.

The federal government says Phil Hart owes more than $500,ooo in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. The U.S. Justice Department is threatening to foreclose on his home near Athol, Idaho if he doesn’t pay up. Meanwhile, Idaho tax collectors say Hart owes the state another $53,000.

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B.C. Pipeline Expansion
6:22 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Washington Not Ready For Implications Of B.C. Pipeline Expansion

In a typical crude oil spill floating boom is used to corral the oil, which collects in a sheen on the surface. But what happens if the oil sinks?
Photo credit: Ashley Ahearn KUOW

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Canadian pipeline operators are considering expanding the line that brings oil from the Alberta Oil Sands to western British Columbia. Environmentalists and others say that raises the potential for oil spills in Northwest waters and, it involves a different type of oil.

Right now the Trans Mountain pipeline moves 300,000 barrels of oil per day to an export terminal near Vancouver, B.C. If the Canadian government approves the expansion that amount could almost triple. More oil in the pipeline means more oil loaded onto large tanker ships. Those ships will eventually head out the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the Pacific.

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It's All Politics
3:28 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

In Southwestern Pa., Two Conservative Democratic Incumbents Fight For One Seat

House Speaker John Boehner administers the House oath to Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., on Jan. 5, 2011.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 2:55 pm

To get elected in southwestern Pennsylvania as a Democrat, it helps to be a conservative one. And because of congressional reapportionment, two conservative Democratic incumbents are facing off for a single seat in their party's primary later this month.

Rep. Jason Altmire and Rep. Mark Critz, who are vying for the state's 12th District seat, each oppose abortion rights and favor gun rights. Their race on April 24 may come down to the few issues that do distinguish the two congressmen.

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Making Babies: 21st Century Families
2:32 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Ties That Bind: When Surrogate Meets Mom-To-Be

Surrogate Whitney Watts had her son, J.P., while her husband, Ray Watts, was at sea with the Navy. Surrogacy experts say it's crucial for surrogates to have their own children because they'd presumably understand the emotions involved in bearing a child. The couple for whom Whitney carried twins paid for all expenses during the pregnancy, including private health insurance.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 2:55 pm

Second in a four-part report

As she approached her sixth month of pregnancy last year, Whitney Watts' cervix had started to shorten. It's a common problem with twins. Watts was concerned, and was taking care not to overexert herself.

But it's probably fair to say her condition was far more frightening for Susan de Gruchy, the woman who had hired Watts to be a surrogate because she and her husband were unable to conceive. Nearly 400 miles away, de Gruchy was obsessed with worry.

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Three Books...
2:23 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Permanent Siesta: 3 Books To Whisk You Away

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 2:55 pm

One doesn't necessarily associate spring travel with heavy reading. For one, books are bulky luggage, the weighty enemies of economical packers; even an e-reader takes up precious space in one's overflowing duffel. And two, escapist migration to mountaintops or flowery fields or seaside locales for sun worship and meditative communion with nature connotes a markedly book-free environment, an escape from the office or the solemn halls of academe.

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Music Interviews
2:04 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

The Magnetic Fields: 'Out Late At A Bar, Writing A Song'

Stephin Merritt (far left) has led The Magnetic Fields since the early 1990s, with a songwriting style that ranges from sincere to bitter to ironic.
Marcelo Krasilcic

For more than 20 years, the indie-pop group The Magnetic Fields has been singing songs about love, though not always in the traditional sense. With a style that ranges from bitter to sincere to ironic, Stephin Merritt — the group's frontman, writer and producer — has created a growing cast of characters surviving love's vicissitudes.

In his characteristic deadpan, Merritt tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer that he owes the inspiration for many of those characters to a particular ritual of his.

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It's All Politics
1:52 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Romney Wins Some Votes, If Not All Hearts, At NRA Meeting

Chris Patrie looks at the Benelli display of shotguns during the NRA annual meetings and exhibits Friday in St. Louis.
Whitney Curtis Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 2:27 pm

Some 70,000 people are attending the National Rifle Association's annual convention in St. Louis this weekend. It's hard to find any who support Barack Obama.

But that doesn't mean gun owners are completely sold on Mitt Romney. He may be the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but many NRA members still harbor some doubts.

"I'd really like to see someone more pro-gun, but if he's all we got, he's all we got," said Kenny Hoehgesang, a retired power plant worker from Schnellville, Ind.

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Jazz
1:32 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Alfredo Rodriguez: 'Crossing The Border' To Meet A Legend

Alfredo Rodriguez's new album is titled Sounds of Space.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri April 20, 2012 3:06 pm

In 2009, jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez showed up in Laredo, Texas, with only a suitcase, some sheet music and one aim: to collaborate with Quincy Jones. A Cuban seeking amnesty in the U.S., Rodriguez ended up arrested by Mexican border officials. He says they questioned him for hours and demanded money.

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Making Babies: 21st Century Families
1:29 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Legal Debate Over Surrogacy Asks, Who Is A Parent?

William Stern holds his daughter, then known as Baby M, in 1987. The Sterns' surrogate tried to keep the baby after she was born. Their court battle became the first public debate about surrogacy.
M. Elizabeth Fulford AP

Third in a four-part report

These days it can take a village to create a child. Technology means someone who never thought they'd be able to conceive can use a sperm donor, an egg donor and a surrogate — a woman who bears a child for someone else. But the law has not kept pace with technology, and with so many people involved, a key question remains: Who is a legal parent?

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Europe
1:27 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Tough Cuts In Portugal May Be Exacting High Toll

Retiree Alfredo Silva, 67, wore a skeleton costume to an anti-austerity protest in Lisbon, Portugal, last month.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

After a financial bailout earlier this year, fees in Portugal's health system have risen substantially. As a result, nongovernmental organizations say, the poor and elderly in Western Europe's poorest country can no longer afford essential care. Some Portuguese fear that austerity measures are threatening not only their livelihoods, but their lives.

Alfredo Silva, 67, showed up at an anti-austerity protest in Lisbon last month dressed as a skeleton. He says the costume shows the effect of Portugal's $100 billion bailout on retirees like him.

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