President Obama's new plan to help millions of people stay in their homes by refinancing their mortgages at low rates raised hopes of easing the housing crisis.
But federal budget cuts have sharply reduced the number of housing counselors who can help distressed homeowners in the nation's hardest hit communities. Banks that own the properties are slow to pick up the tab.
"We are definitely concerned about counseling capacity," says Lemar Wooley, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 3:19 pm
When it comes to improving health, there are carrots and there are sticks.
One way to try to influence people's habits is by tying how much they pay for health coverage to their behavior.
Starting next year, for instance, Wal-Mart, the nation's largest private employer, will charge workers who smoke a penalty ranging from $260 to $2,340 annually on health insurance. That's a pretty big stick. As for a carrot, the retailer will offer free smoking-cessation help.
Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 6:55 pm
In the election held a year ago this week, Republicans took over control of the House with the help of nearly 90 newcomers to their ranks. Now, just a year before the 2012 contests, many of those freshman lawmakers find themselves facing tough re-election bids.
Kait Wyatt carries her 1-month-old son, Michael, at the burial for her husband, Marine Cpl. Derek Wyatt, at Arlington National Cemetery, Jan. 7. Wyatt was killed Dec. 6, 2010, in Afghanistan. Kait Wyatt, who was pregnant at the time of her husband's death, was induced the day after he was killed so she could attend the service.
Credit Courtesy of Kait Wyatt
Cpl. Derek Wyatt is seen here with his wife, Kait, in Fresno, Calif., at a Fresno State football game. Wyatt was 25 when he died; his wife, 22.
Credit Jose Luis Magana / AP
Marines carry the remains of Cpl. Derek Wyatt upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on Dec. 8, 2010. He was killed by hostile fire during a deployment to Sangin in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province.
Credit Courtesy of Kait Wyatt
A former Marine herself, Kait Wyatt (seen with son Michael at an apple orchard in New York) says she is still struggling with the meaning of her husband's death. She knows he died doing what he believed in — and yet mourns the loss of her husband, and of her son's father.
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
To us it sounded like the premise of a particularly cruel reality TV show: Six men are picked to live in a windowless, cramped mock spaceship for 18 months to see how humans would react to conditions similar to what one would expect on a mission to Mars.
Tomorrow, after 520 days of isolation, the hatch will finally be open and the volunteers will return to normal life. With a cost of $15 million, the project, dubbed Mars500, is a serious experiment commissioned by the European Space Agency.
Beginning Nov. 10, citizens and permanent residents in Cuba will be able to buy and sell residential property on the island. The move is one of the more major acts of reforms instituted by President Raúl Castro.
Pull any packaged food item off the shelf and chances are it has a long list of mysterious ingredients with highly scientific names like "methylcellulose." If you're like us, you may puzzle and even worry a little over theseunappetizing words.
Why do we have so much weird stuff like methylcellulose and xanthum gum that's produced in a laboratory in our food? Texture, baby, texture. It's nearly impossible to understate the importance of texture and "mouth feel" to food companies, especially in an age when people fear the fat content in their food.