This week, President Obama signed a law banning synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs. Dozens of states and local governments have already tried to outlaw fake marijuana, which has been blamed for hundreds of emergency room visits and a handful of fatalities.
But the bans have proved largely ineffective, and there are fears that the federal law won't be any different.
Synthetic marijuana looks a bit like dried grass clippings. It's readily available on the Internet and in convenience stores and smoke shops, where it's sold as herbal incense or potpourri.
The app simulates a rescue phone call. The app can show a telephone number — a coworker's, your mother's — and a photo of the supposed caller. Although it can't guarantee your date will believe the fake excuse.
On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Now to a political mystery in Chicago. Constituents and colleagues are demanding to know more about the whereabouts and condition of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Junior. Jackson took a leave of absence a month ago, but his office has been vague about why. And that lack of information about Jackson is the talk of the town. From Chicago, NPR's David Schaper reports.
They may not be having a great season on the baseball diamond, but the Philadelphia Phillies are in first place with the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA says Citizens Bank Park has the best vegetarian choices.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is in Houston Wednesday to address a convention of the NAACP. On Tuesday, he was in Colorado, one of the most hotly contested swing states. Romney, who unexpectedly lost to Rick Santorum in the Colorado caucuses earlier this year, is working to shore up support among the GOP base
Manchester United is the most famous soccer team in the United Kingdom, and one of the world's most popular sports teams. Now its owners are hoping the team's popularity will translate into big bucks. They're planning to sell Manchester United stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Roger Blitz, of the Financial Times, talks to Renee Montagne about the team's IPO.
Across America people are sweltering through extreme heat this year, continuing a long-term trend of rising temperatures. Inevitably, many are wondering if the scorching heat is due to global warming. Scientists are expected to dig into the data and grapple with that in the months to come. They've already taken a stab at a possible connection with last year's extreme weather events, like the blistering drought in Texas. NPR's Richard Harris reports.