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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is campaigning in New Hampshire after finishing a very close second in the Iowa caucuses. His success in the Hawkeye State was a surprise because Santorum was polling in the single digits there just a few weeks back.

For Santorum, surprising the political establishment is nothing new. Since he was first elected to Congress in 1990 — at 32 years old — Santorum has made a career out of being the underdog and usually winning.

Most of the Republican presidential candidates are focused on New Hampshire, which holds its primary next Tuesday.

But while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began his day campaigning in New Hampshire, by the afternoon he was in South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21.

There's an old joke: The two happiest days in a man's life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.

That's certainly been true for the owners of the Kalakala, a historic art deco ferry that currently resides in the Puget Sound. Launched in 1935, the vessel's trials and tribulations have become the stuff of legend in Seattle.

New Consumer Czar: 'This Is A Valid Appointment'

Jan 5, 2012

Richard Cordray, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, defended his appointment in an interview with All Things Considered today.

"This is a valid appointment," he told NPR's Robert Siegel. "But, again, I'm not going to be distracted by the details of that. My job is to be the director of this consumer bureau, to look out for consumers across the country and I'm going to focus 100 percent on that job."

Robert asked if he was just going to "ignore whatever litigation might develop from that" and Cordray said, "that's correct."

It's flat. It's slimy. And it hides under rocks on the river bottom. It's the Ozark hellbender, and at up to two feet in length, it's one of the world's largest salamanders.

But Ozark hellbenders are disappearing: Fewer than 600 are left in the rivers of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Scientists have been making a huge effort to get them to breed in captivity. And now, thanks to a major effort at the Saint Louis Zoo, 2012 could be the year of new hope for hellbenders.

A scandal involving French-made breast implants continues to widen.

The implants contain industrial-grade silicone that causes abnormally high rupture rates, according to critics. They have been sold in many countries in Europe and beyond, though not in the United States. Now, the French government has opened a criminal investigation into the company.

French television showed footage on Thursday of investigators and a judge searching the factory of the Poly Implant Prothese company, or PIP, in southern France.

Killer whales in Puget Sound aren't doing very well. They were placed on the endangered species list in 2005, and there are several hypotheses for why they're not recovering.

In Puget Sound, a team of researchers is relying on a secret weapon with a killer nose to figure out what's wrong with the orcas in Northwestern waters.

'A Treasure Trove Of Information'

Scientists suspect lack of food, boat traffic and pollution are to blame, but no one knows for sure. Some think the answer might be found in the whales' wake — specifically, their poop.

A California woman is taking Honda to small claims court, claiming her Civic hybrid never gave her the 50 miles per gallon advertised.

All Things Considered's Melissa Block spoke to Andrea Chang, a Los Angeles Times business reporter who was in court on Tuesday as Heather Peters made her case.

GM To Modify Chevy Volt To Protect Battery

Jan 5, 2012

General Motors is advising Chevrolet Volt owners to return their electric cars to dealers for repairs that will better protect the vehicles' batteries, which have caught fire after crash tests.

The repairs fall under a "customer service campaign," which is similar to a safety recall but allows GM to avoid the bad publicity and federal monitoring that come with a formal recall.

This Tea Party ROCKS! And Wants To Cash In

Jan 5, 2012

If you direct your browser to TeaParty.com, you will not find a site devoted to the political movement of the same name. What you will find is the Internet home of The Tea Party, a Canadian rock band that has owned the domain name since the early '90s.

Now, with seemingly no shortage of would-be buyers, the band is hoping to cash in.

Facing the prospect of a recall election in June, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came to Washington on Thursday to talk up the merits of the anti-union legislation that has landed him in hot water — and to raise funds to save his job.

Walker said he's certain his opponents will gather the 540,000 signatures they need in time for the Jan. 17 deadline, setting up a recall election in June.

How much lead does it take to ruin a brain? Not much, according to a new standard proposed for lead poisoning in children.

The amount of lead in a child's blood that determines dangerous lead exposure should be cut in half, from the current standard of 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood to 5 micrograms for ages 5 and below, a federal advisory committee said Wednesday.

That in itself would be a big step, and would double the number of young children in the United States officially considered to have lead poisoning to almost 500,000.

This is, no doubt, a local story. But bear with us because it's pretty fascinating. Yesterday, the Florida Highway Patrol issued a final report on an incident that sparked a battle between the state troopers and Miami-Dade Police.

Here's a twist. You know how you keep hearing that the Affordable Care Act is doing little more than raising health care costs?

Well, the Obama administration says a new rule it's issuing under the law could result in a savings of as much as $4.5 billion over the next decade.

What The Camembert Rind Does For The Cheese Inside

Jan 5, 2012

For lovers of Camembert, the downy white rind is the tart bite that balances out the fat-laden, oozing, pungent layer inside.

For a group of Swiss bioengineers, that moldy rind is one of nature's greatest living surfaces, doing double duty as a shield and a cleaner. The rind allows the cheese's deep flavor and aroma to mature, but also defends it against microorganisms that could spoil it. The cheese repays the fungi on the rind by supplying it with nutrients.

This is why we created a category called The No-Way:

"A family in Northwest Fresno was stunned Wednesday morning to find a car on the roof of their apartment," KFSN-TV reports.

Police say a 26-year-old man who allegedly stole a car was apparently driving it way too fast when he missed a turn, went on to some rocks and the vehicle launched into the air.

In its February issue, Vanity Fair has a long report on Jon Corzine, the former head of Goldman Sachs and former Democratic governor of New Jersey. Corzine has been in the news lately for his role in MF Global, which last year collapsed spectacularly and left $1.2 billion in client money missing.

The piece talks to friends and former associates of Corzine and paints a picture of a CEO who took great risks and micromanaged.

A Changing Picture For Cancer Deaths In The U.S.

Jan 5, 2012

This year, there will be 1.6 million new cases of cancer in the U.S. And, the American Cancer Society estimates, more than 577,000 people will die from the disease.

As the trial of Egypt's former dictator continued in Cairo, today, one of the prosecutors said Hosni Mubarak should face the death penalty for his role in the killing of protesters during the uprising that toppled his regime, last year.

"Retribution is the solution," Mustafa Khater said on the final day of the prosecution's opening statements. "Any fair judge must issue a death sentence for these defendants."

The long-awaited trial of five men accused of helping plan the Sept. 11 attacks is scheduled to begin early this year in a revamped trial process at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Initially, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men charged with planning the attacks were going to be tried in a New York federal court, but congressional opposition forced the Obama administration to reverse course.

The theme of the 2012 GOP presidential contest has been dissatisfaction with the candidates, and a rollicking battle for the honor of being the anti-Mitt Romney alternative.

We were curious about what young conservatives have been thinking about the race, which moved to New Hampshire Wednesday after Iowa's decidedly non-decisive caucuses.

So NPR photographer John Poole and I, after a night at former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's headquarters in Bedford, N.H., decided to head west to Dartmouth College in Hanover.

Joseph P. Kennedy III, the son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, "is taking the final steps to launch a run for Congress this year, hoping to succeed [the retiring] U.S. Rep. Barney Frank," the Boston Globe reports.

In 2014, when expansion of the Panama Canal is complete, a new generation of superlarge cargo ships will begin calling on the East Coast. Cities like New York; Savannah, Ga.; and Miami are vying for the new business, as they race to deepen their ports and expand their facilities to accommodate the new ships.

But some of the cities are running into significant challenges. In Miami, where plans are under way to deepen the port to 50 feet, dredging is a hot topic. Some see it as a great business opportunity. To others, it's a threat to the environment.

Saying that "the size and structure of our military and defense budget have to be driven by a strategy — not the other way around," President Obama just gave a broad overview of his administration's new military strategy.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Obama said that:

You may have heard about that Canadian man who says he got into the U.S. by showing a Customs and Border Protection officer an image of his passport on an iPad.

Well, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has this to say about that:

If you haven't seen it yet, take a few seconds to watch something that's now happened just four times in English Premier League history.

Everton goalie Tim Howard scored from about 90 yards away last night when his clearing kick bounced over the head of opposing goalie Adam Bogdan.

Fortunately for Bogdan, his Bolton Wanderers team went on to defeat The Toffees 2-1.

It may be the most insulting snub in Olympic history. After seeking and winning the right to host the 1976 Winter Olympics, the city of Denver backed out of the games. Colorado voters rejected public funding of the Olympics in 1972 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was forced to turn to Innsbruck, Austria, the host city eight years earlier.

The GOP candidates have left Iowa, but number crunchers are starting to dig deeper into the data behind Tuesday night's vote. The Washington Post has this post-game analysis tracking where each candidate's supporters live and how they stack up by age, income, religion and Tea Party affinity.

There was a 325,000-gain in the number of jobs on private employers' payrolls last month, according to the widely watched ADP National Employment Report, which was just released.

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