Human Rights Campaign Rates Major Utah Cities On LGBTQ Equality

On Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign released LGBTQ equality scores for 506 U.S. cities, including eight in Utah. The average score for Utah cities was 40 out of 100. The Municipality Equality Index is the only report of its kind in the United States. The index gives a score out of 100 possible points based on how LGBTQ-friendly a city’s laws and policies are.

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Steve Inskeep talks to filmmaker Mike Mills for the latest in the Watch This series about recommended movies and television shows. Mills directed the film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer as an elderly father who comes out of the closet.

The next sounds you hear will be Iowa Republicans rendering their judgment for 2012. The road to the magic number of 1,145 — delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination — begins Tuesday. The caucuses, all 1,774 of them, start at 7 pm Central time (8 Eastern), and results may start to trickle in within the hour.

Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad is a fierce advocate for the Iowa caucuses. At times over the past four months, he has seemed frustrated that candidates have not been in the state as much as in past years.

Branstad's message over and over to the candidates was not to ignore the voters of Iowa, because they take it personally.

"They want to see the candidates, and they take their responsibility very seriously," Branstad says.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Blustery winds and freezing cold temperatures today didn't slow down the Republican presidential candidates' campaigning on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.

Six GOP candidates — most with family members in tow — shook voters' hands and made their final arguments.

Here's a look at what our reporters are finding on the campaign trail:

-- Mitt Romney, who has edged into the lead in recent polls, is looking to deepen — not broaden — his statewide map in the final stretch, campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells NPR's Ari Shapiro.

Driving And Phoning: What's New In 2012

Jan 2, 2012

States have long sought to restrict cellphone use by drivers because of safety concerns, and as the new year begins, several states are toughening their laws.

It turns out it's a hard habit to break; and for government officials, it's not easy to stay ahead of tech advances.

'Cognitive Distraction'

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.

ANN SELZER: Great to be here, Neal.

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On most days from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mary Grimes can be found pacing along a crowded street in Orlando, Fla., with clipboards in both hands.

"Can I have five minutes of your time?" the 58-year-old says to a parade of passers-by. Those who are in a rush, she quickly wishes well; the others, Grimes directs to a blue and yellow form, reciting her spiel and soliciting a signature from each.

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Spain's prime minister says he'll fire the government officials of Catalonia and hold new elections there within six months. Spain's Senate will have to approve that plan next week.

The wildfires in Northern California cut across a wide swath of the state — including dozens of school districts, hundreds of schools and hundreds of thousands of students. At one point, classes were canceled for 260,000 students in 600 schools.

And while schools are slowly coming back on line, there remain many that may not resume classes for days or even weeks.

A congressional candidate in Florida drew a little ridicule this week.

Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, one of the Republicans in the crowded field in Florida's 27th Congressional District, said in 2009 that she was taken aboard a spaceship when she was 7 years old.

She does not mean at Disney World.

"I went in," she says in a 2009 Spanish language interview that appeared on YouTube this week. "There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship, not like airplanes.

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