2:28am

Thu December 13, 2012
Planet Money

Will A $1.9 Billion Settlement Change Banks' Behavior?

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 10:55 am

Ben Stansall AFP/Getty Images

If a kid does something bad and you want to discipline him — give him a timeout, say, or take away a toy — there are some basic principles that seem to work.

The punishment needs to happen quickly after the bad behavior. And it needs to be significant enough to get noticed. Those rules aren't just for kids; they need to hold true for any type of punishment to be effective.

But if you're a federal regulator punishing a bank, it can be tough to be swift enough and to levee a penalty that's severe enough to make a difference.

Read more

2:26am

Thu December 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Report On CIA Interrogation Tactics Revives Torture Debate

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have opposing views about a report detailing CIA detention and interrogation practices.
Alex Wong Getty Images

In a closed-door meeting Thursday, lawmakers will consider whether to approve a secret report that chronicles CIA detention and interrogation practices — including methods that critics have compared to torture.

That report — along with the release of a new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden — is rekindling an old debate about whether those methods worked.

Read more

2:25am

Thu December 13, 2012
Arts & Life

Letters From 'Peanuts' Creator Reveal Bittersweet Romance

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

The collection's estimated price is $250,000 to $350,000.
Courtesy of the Claudius Family

On Friday, Sotheby's is putting up for auction 44 letters and 35 drawings from Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, to a young woman he was courting.

The letters were written during an eight-month period starting in 1970 when Schulz's first marriage was deteriorating and before he met his second wife. During this time, Schulz, 48, wrote Tracey Claudius, 25, poignant, funny, even innocent notes in pictures and words, often using Charlie Brown to stand in for himself.

Read more

2:24am

Thu December 13, 2012
Asia

A Rare Visit Inside A Chinese Courtroom

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

An NPR reporter recently was allowed to watch legal proceedings at Hongkou District Court — a rare opportunity for a foreign correspondent in Shanghai.
Courtesy of Hongkou District Court

After years of covering China, I finally set foot in a Chinese courtroom last week. Foreign reporters need government permission to enter Chinese courts and past attempts had gone nowhere.

Read more

2:23am

Thu December 13, 2012
Religion

From Gang Member To Hip-Hop Church Leader

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

Pastor Troy Evans of Edge Urban Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Edge Urban Fellowship

Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.

It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.

Read more

2:22am

Thu December 13, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

New York Planners Prep For A 'New Normal' Of Powerful Storms

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

A woman with the Army Corps of Engineers documents a destroyed home last month in a residential area of New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg Getty Images

It will take tens of billions of dollars to repair the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy. But scientists who study climate change say repair is not enough. As the climate warms, ice sheets and glaciers will melt, raising the sea level. That means coastal storms will more likely cause flooding.

So New Yorkers, local politicians and scientists face a tough decision: How to spend limited funds to defend themselves from what climate experts call "the new normal."

Read more

2:21am

Thu December 13, 2012
Business

Etsy Crafts A Strategy For Staying Handmade And Profitable

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

Etsy, which began as a place for home crafters and small businesses to sell their goods, has experienced growing pains as it surpasses 800,000 sellers.
Courtesy of Etsy

Etsy has gotten very big, very fast. This year, sales are at about $800 million.

"Their growth on all the major metrics you want to look at has accelerated really consistently," says journalist Rob Walker.

Walker recently wrote a story for Wired Magazine with the headline, "Can Etsy Go Pro Without Losing Its Soul?" Here's why: Etsy makes money from its sellers: 20 cents every time they list an item and 3.5 percent of every sale. Today, there are some 800,000 sellers.

Read more

2:20am

Thu December 13, 2012
U.S.

Finding A Child Online: How The Web Is Transforming Adoption

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 8:03 am

Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, have spent the past year looking to adopt. To speed up the arduous process, the couple built a website about their lives to draw in interested birth mothers.
Courtesy of Eric James

When Eric James and his partner, Zerxes Spencer, decided to adopt last year, they signed on with Adoptions Together, a reputable agency close to their home in Maryland. They attended the agency's seminars to learn about the process, met other "waiting parents" and formed personal bonds with the staff. But there was just one problem.

Read more

5:38pm

Wed December 12, 2012
The Two-Way

'Complex And Difficult Days' Without Chavez, Venezuelan Vice President Warns

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, center, addresses the nation flanked by Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, left, and National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday.
Efrain Gonzalez AP

Venezuelans must prepare for "complex and difficult days" after President Hugo Chavez' cancer surgery, the country's vice president says.

Read more

5:29pm

Wed December 12, 2012
Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond

Post-Sandy, Newly Unemployed Struggle To Stay Afloat

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 6:19 pm

Erin Kulick can see the animal clinic where she once worked from her balcony in Queens, N.Y. Six weeks after Hurricane Sandy, the clinic is still closed.
Courtesy of Scott Kulick

Hurricane Sandy's effect on the nation's unemployment figures was less pronounced than expected. The reasons are complex, but one thing is clear: Thousands of victims are still struggling to rebuild their lives and get back to work.

Danielle Siekierski was tending bar at a restaurant in Manhattan's Meatpacking District before Sandy hit. When the restaurant was damaged in the storm, the workers were told it might be a week before it reopened.

Read more

Pages