When the sun rises over the Rio Grande Valley, the cries of the urracas — blackbirds — perched on the tops of palm trees swell to a noisy, unavoidable cacophony. That is also the strategy, it could be said, that local officials, health care providers and frustrated valley residents are trying to use to persuade Gov. Rick Perry and state Republican lawmakers to set aside their opposition and expand Medicaid, a key provision of the federal health law.
Worker Charles Lee sorts through clothes at Mac Recycling near Baltimore. Textile recycling is a huge international business, and a small facility like Mac ships about 80 tons of clothes each week to buyers around the world.
Credit Jackie Northam / NPR
Bales of used clothing are seen at Mac Recycling near Baltimore. Textile recycling is a huge international business, and a small facility like Mac ships about 80 tons of clothes each week to buyers around the world.
On a bright and warm Saturday morning, there's a steady flow of people dropping off donations at Martha's Table, a charity in downtown Washington, D.C. A mountain of plastic and paper bags stuffed with used dresses, scarves, skirts and footwear expands in one corner of the room. Volunteers sort and put clothes on hangers. They'll go on sale next door, and the proceeds will help the needy in the area.
It's a scene played out across the U.S.: people donating their old clothes, whether through collection bins or through large charities, to help others.
ATF Special Agent Charles Houser runs the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
Document prep technician Carol Sine (left) and tracer Debra Barrett process firearm transaction documents at the National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Credit Cliff Owen / AP
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) processes firearm transaction documents from firearms dealers no longer in business, no matter the condition of the documents, such as this fire-and-water damaged ledger at their National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Opponents of expanding background checks for gun sales often raise the fear that it would allow the government to create a national gun registry — a database of gun transactions. In fact, federal law already bans the creation of such a registry. And the reality of how gun sales records are accessed turns out to be surprisingly low-tech.
Ray Manzarek, the keyboardist and a founding member of The Doors, died Monday in Germany. He was 74.
A statement from publicist Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald said Manzarek died in Rosenheim, Germany, after a long battle with bile duct cancer.
Manzarek and Jim Morrison founded the iconic band after meeting in California. The Doors went on to become one of the most successful rock 'n' roll acts of the 1960s — and continues to have an impact decades after Morrison's death in 1971.