Morning Edition

Every weekday for over three decades, Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country.

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A bi-coastal, 24-hour news operation, Morning Edition is hosted by NPR's Steve Inskeep and David Greene in Washington, D.C.; Renee Montagne at NPR West in Culver City, CA; and Sean Crawford in Springfield, IL. These hosts often get out from behind the anchor desk and travel to report on the news firsthand.

Heard regularly on Morning Edition are some of the most familiar voices including news analyst Cokie Roberts and sport commentator Frank Deford as well as the special series StoryCorps, which travels the country recording America's oral history.  The WUIS/SJ-R Business Report with Tim Landis brings it home.

Morning Edition draws on reporting from correspondents based around the world, NPR Illinois journalists, and producers and reporters in locations in the United States. This reporting is supplemented by NPR Member Station reporters across the country as well as independent producers and reporters throughout the public radio system.

Since its debut on November 5, 1979, Morning Edition has garnered broadcasting's highest honors, including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. If little Lorraine Begazo turns out like many big sisters, she'll lord it over her brother Brandon that she's the older one. And she was born the year before he was. The news is that they're twins. Lorraine was born two minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve 2013. Brandon came along one minute after we rang in 2014. The twins' father says they'll celebrate with two cakes and blow out the candles over two years. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Good morning. I'm David Greene.

Fifty years ago, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov made a series of predictions about 2014, and he was right. He foresaw gadgets that relieve mankind of tedious jobs, like machines that heat water and prepare coffee. He predicted smartphones, noting we'd be able to see and hear someone we call, and be able to look at photos on the same screen. He even knew Twitter and reality TV were coming, writing, quote: Mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom.

A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. President Obama says he will soon propose changes at the National Security Agency. Former contractor Edward Snowden's disclosure of NSA surveillance programs widespread criticism and prompted a review of the agency's operations by Congress, the courts, and the White House. NPR's Tom Gjelten looks at whether the country is now at a turning point, ready to rethink the security policies in place since 9/11.

Lebanon has announced Saudi Arabia will give it $3 billion to buy weapons. To explain the significance of this gift, Renee Montagne talks to Aram Nerguizian, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

This year promises to bring plenty of political drama — and some high stakes races — with mid-term elections in full view. Billions of dollars will be spent in House, Senate and governors' contests. And some of the nation's most powerful politicians will scramble to hold onto their seats.

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NPR's business news starts with Fiat and Chrysler.

The Italian automaker Fiat has paid $4.3 billion to gain complete ownership of Chrysler. The agreement announced yesterday is not a big surprise. Fiat already held a majority share of the Detroit automaker that produces Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.

Industry analysts say this final step in the merger creates a global company that's better able to compete with the likes of General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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And in this new year, Colorado is turning over a new leaf. State license retailers spent their New Year's Eve putting plant buds on shelves, stuffing baggies and rolling joints in preparation for what's being called Green Wednesday. Colorado is the first in the nation to regulate and control a recreational marijuana industry.

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Jan 1, 2014

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Sweden's icy winter leads a lot of people indoors which didn't deter one enterprising ice cream truck driver. He simply played his truck's jingle louder. So loud, that residents complained. Which led the ice cream company to come up with a quieter substitute to the traditional jingle: texting.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with a short update on a woman with a very long name.

JANICE KEIHANAIKUKAUAKAHIHULIHE'EKAHAUNAELE: Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele.

MONTAGNE: OK, she goes by Loke. Last fall, she began a push to get all 36 characters of her surname on her Hawaiian I.D. The state would only accept 35. Now its transportation department says it will allow 40 characters. Next challenge: Getting Loke's full name on her Social Security Card.

Alarm Clock Sets Off A Real Wake-Up Call

Jan 1, 2014

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Around New Year's lots of us are thinking about time and how we spend it. Yesterday we heard about an unusual wristwatch that challenged how we look at time and today we bring you a story about an alarm clock designed to help you stick to those New Year's resolutions.

The Chicago based company Fig believes the clock will help keep people motivated to meet their life goals. NPR's Alix Spiegel took a look and found the clock led her into some much deeper issues.

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January 1st is the day college football fans dream about - or, at least they used to. Not too long ago, it featured the big event: the last and biggest of the bowl games. We'll have to wait until next Monday for the BCS championship, but no worry, there are still some good games on tap for today. And here with a preview is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.

MONTAGNE: Six games today, Mike. Which are the big ones?

3 NPR Correspondents Change Beats

Jan 1, 2014

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As the new year begins, some of the familiar voices you hear on NPR will be coming from different places. Call it our own version of musical chairs. Our colleague Philip Reeves has been covering Europe from his base in London. He's now moving to Pakistan. Replacing him in London is Ari Shapiro, who's been our White House correspondent.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

So how did you ring in the New Year this year: among friends with a pop of champagne and a kiss? Or did you join with the millions of celebrants in cities all around the world, who gathered in public places, to bring in 2014 with a bang. In London, a spectacular fireworks display kicked off with Big Ben chiming in the New Year.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD AND BIG BEN)

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with more ways to count down to 2014 tonight. In Georgia, an 800 pound peach is Atlanta's version of the Times Square crystal ball. Among the other huge items being dropped tonight: A giant ruby slipper in Key West, in Plymouth, Wisconsin, an 80 pound cheese wedge decorated for the occasion, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma an oversized olive descends 19 stories into a martini glass. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Would-Be Robber Rejects Victim's Flip Phone

Dec 31, 2013

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

If you don't have a smartphone, no reason to envy those who do. Your old flip phone might be far smarter than you think. According to the New York Post, a man was being mugged in Central Park. The thief asked for his phone, then saw it was old, flip model. As the victim recalls, quote, "He looked at it like, what the bleep is this? And he gave it back to me."

The giant coffee chain sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Missouri. Starbucks told the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as "the frappicino." Starbucks noted it sounds a lot like its trademarked frozen coffee drink.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's that time again, the American Dialect Society will soon vote on its Word of the Year. Last year it was hashtag. For this year's words that popped, we reached the society's new words guy, linguist Ben Zimmer.

Good morning.

BEN ZIMMER: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So this year it seems that everyone is coalescing around one word. That word is selfie. It's so ubiquitous that I wonder if that is one of your top words.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. This New Year's Eve is also a deadline in one of the year's biggest stories. Syria is due to turn over more than 500 tons of some its most deadly materials in its stockpile of chemical weapons. That was part of the deal brokered with the Assad regime by the U.S. and Russia, after a chemical attack outside Damascus killed many hundreds of civilians. But the Syrian government will not meet today's deadline.

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We have an update now on a hoop dream. In October, NPR's listeners heard from Kiwi Gardner, a 20-year-old, five-foot-seven inch basketball wiz from Oakland, California. Like so many talented young ballplayers, Gardner's ultimate goal was the NBA. To get there, he chose the minor league route.

KIWI GARDNER: I want to be able to make a D-League team this year, you know. I feel I'm at that level or I play at that level right now.

At the end of this month, Michael Bloomberg ends his three terms as mayor of New York City. Assessing Bloomberg's legacy, a man who went from Republican to Independent, is not a simple thing to do. His 12 years in office were groundbreaking, locally and even globally.

But at the same time, many New Yorkers found him arrogant and insensitive to the poor. It's a vein that was tapped successfully by Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who described New York as a city of haves and have nots. But the changes implemented by Bloomberg will impact generations of New Yorkers to come.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, let's look back just a single year now with NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans. He's been giving us his most memorable television moments from 2013. And this morning, Eric has something of a twofer because he says the best TV prank of the year became one of the worst moments for television journalists.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I David Greene.

How do you get a cow out of a swimming pool? Wait, hear me out, this is not the setup for a bad joke. It's real conundrum faced by an Oregon man last week. The solution, it turns out, involves draining the entire pool, also a series of straps and ropes, a ramp, a bucket of oats, and 10 firefighters to haul the cow out. The homeowner says he's not sure how the cow got into the pool; that's just the setup for a whole other joke.

It's MOO-NING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Japanese Vending Machines Sell Bras

Dec 30, 2013

In Japan, you can buy an incredible range of things from vending machines: bags of rice, fishing tackle or fresh flowers. And now you can add bras to that list — in particular the wireless "Fun Fun Week" bra.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a tax hike for la creme de la creme.

Yesterday, French President Francois Hollande's millionaires tax got the official go-ahead from the nation's Constitutional Council. Now all salaries over a million euros will be taxed at a rate of 75 percent.

Part of the tax hike will be shouldered by companies who are paying the higher salaries. Business leaders complain the new tax will only drive more entrepreneurs and wealthy into exile.

Along with the usual traffic citations, police in Melbourne, Fla., gave out scratch-off lottery tickets. The cops themselves paid for them — in the spirit of the season, they said. No word of any big winners, just yet.

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