The Salt
2:04 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Gardening Map Of Warming U.S. Has Plant Zones Moving North

The new version of the map includes 13 zones, with the addition for the first time of zones 12 (50-60 degrees F) and 13 (60-70 degrees F).
U.S. Department of Agriculture

It's official: Gardeners and farmers can count on warmer weather. If that's you, it might be a good time to rethink those flower and vegetable beds for this year's growing season.

That's the word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released a new version of its "Plant Hardiness Zone Map" this week, the first update since 1990. The color-coded zones on this map of the United States are widely used as a guide for what perennial flowers will survive in a particular area, or when to plant your vegetables.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:30 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Chávez's Daughter Poses With Dollar Bills, Unleashes Anger, Internet Meme

Hugo Chávez's daughter posted this picture on Instagram.
Instagram

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 9:55 am

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is known for railing against U.S. capitalism. And it's not just talk. Since 2003, his government has made it very hard for Venezuelans to trade foreign currency.

So you can just imagine the uproar in the country when his 14-year-old daughter Rosinés Chávez published a picture of herself covering half her face with a wad of dollar bills.

The Guardian reports:

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
12:36 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Home Births Grow More Popular In U.S.

Shannon Earle holds her new baby Kiera Breen Earle, moments after she was born at their home last year.
Amanda Steen NPR

The number of women delivering babies at home in the United States has increased significantly, according to the latest government data released Thursday.

Home births increased by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009.

The upward trend is being welcomed by some advocates of home births and midwives, but it's also raising concern among some doctors.

Read more
Presidential Race
12:18 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

The Baffling, Befuddling Primary Season

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign event at Paramount Printing in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:38 pm

It was so clear for a moment: Mitt Romney was in the lead in the presidential nomination race. Newt Gingrich was a distant second. Rick Santorum — the youthful candidate — was appealing to the socially conservative voters. And Ron Paul was hanging on.

Then things got weird.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:00 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Chinese New Year Unique For Adoptive Families

A traditional dance troupe performs in New York's Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For many children adopted from China, the holiday is a time to learn about their heritage.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 10:50 am

Chinese New Year celebrations kicked off earlier this week to herald the Year of the Dragon. Like many Americans raising children adopted from China, David Youtz and his wife like to use the holiday to instill in their children the importance of their ethnic heritage.

"We want them to feel a lot of pride in where they came from," Youtz says. "I think that's especially important when you're an adopted person."

The Mandarin speaker is the father of four Chinese daughters, three of whom are 7-year-old triplets.

Read more
Election 2012
12:00 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Republicans Fight For The Latino Vote

More than 4.2 million Latinos live in the Sunshine State, and that population is in the spotlight as Republican presidential candidates battle to win Florida's upcoming primary. Host Michel Martin discusses this crucial voting bloc with Gary Segura of Latino Decisions, and the Associated Press's Hispanic Affairs reporter Laura Wides-Munoz.

National Security
11:48 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Obama's Military Tactics: Risky Missions, Elite Units

President Obama has called on small, elite military units to carry out several risky operations in the past year, like the hostage rescue this week in Somalia. Here, Navy SEALs are shown during a training exercise at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
John Scorza U.S. Navy

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 2:51 pm

President Obama has authorized several risky military missions in the past year and can claim major successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan; the airstrike that killed terrorism suspect Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen; and the ongoing drone strikes in Pakistan.

The latest operation, a hostage rescue in Somalia carried out by Navy SEALs, is part of a pattern established by a commander in chief who has shown a clear preference for limited, small-scale military action.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:39 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Was The Stimulus Package 'Money Well Spent?'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 1:39 pm

No issue will be more important in the upcoming presidential election than President Obama's handling of the nation's economy. Critical to that debate is an assessment of the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. Republicans claim it was a costly failure. Supporters maintain it saved the U.S. from a depression.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:29 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Judge Tosses Conviction Of Texas Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Toddler

Ernie Lopez is serving a 60-year prison sentence for a crime he, and medical experts, say he didn't commit.
Courtesy of Frontline

Originally published on Fri January 27, 2012 11:30 am

A Texas man whose conviction for sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl raised questions about the science behind determining how children die has won a key legal battle. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday threw out the conviction of Ernie Lopez, ruling that the Amarillo man's original attorneys failed him by not calling potentially important medical experts as witnesses.

Now the Amarillo district attorney must decide whether to retry Lopez, who has been in prison for nine years. Lopez is serving a 60-year sentence.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Capping Worst Year On Record, Sales Of New Homes Drop In December

2011 was the worst year on record for sales of new homes. The dismal year was capped by a drop in home sales in December.

The AP reports:

"The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

"About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963.

Read more

Pages