William Roman wants to borrow money, but his bank won't lend him any more. So he's turning to his local pawn shop.
For Roman, a loan from the pawn shop is a lot easier to get. He doesn't have to fill out an application. The people at the pawn shop don't check his credit — all they want is something valuable, something they call sell if Roman doesn't pay them back.
"I've pawned laptops, PlayStations," says Roman. "If I'm not using it, then I'll just go and pawn it."
There's no shortage of R-rated male buddy comedies, but this summer's raunchy flick — complete with drinking, sex and swimming pools — isn't one of them. TheTo Do List, written and directed by Maggie Carey and starring Aubrey Plaza, chronicles the coming-of-age, sexual escapades of a teenage girl.
From madness to seizures, to crime and lack of sleep, people have long blamed the full moon for a range of problems. Research, on the other hand, has found little evidence over the years to support these anecdotal accounts of the moon's powers over the human body and brain.
But scientists in Switzerland decided to look again at one of those putative effects — disturbed sleep — and were surprised to see there might be something to the claim after all.
Makis Anagnostou, a worker and union leader, bottles lavender-scented fabric softener at VIO.ME, a former tile materials factory that went bust and has been revived by its staff as a collective making environmentally-friendly detergent.
Credit Joanna Kakissis/NPR
Empty bottles that will hold fabric softener made with vinegar and lavender.
The financial crisis in Greece has devastated the country's manufacturing sector, which has lost more than 30 percent of its jobs in the past three years. But at one factory in an industrial center in the north, workers have taken matters into their own hands.
Inside the cavernous factory on the outskirts of Thessaloniki, eight middle-aged men are filling bottles with a vinegar-based fabric softener that's scented with fresh lavender.
Twenty-two years ago this summer, Bryan Lindsay was riding his bike when he was hit by a van and almost killed. He was 7 years old.
Rowan Allen was the paramedic on the scene that day. "When the call came in, it was just before my shift ended that day," Rowan recalls on a visit to StoryCorps in New York. "The first instinct was, 'Oh man, right before we get off.' And then the dispatcher comes back on the air and he says, 'Child struck.' That just changes everything. And luckily, we were just a couple blocks away.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department will ask a federal court to subject Texas to the same kind of scrutiny that was required of it by a section of the Voting Rights Act struck down last month by the Supreme Court.
In Shelby County v. Holder, the high court rescinded Section 5 of the 1965 act, which required several states including Texas that had a history of voter discrimination to get "pre-clearance" from the federal government before changing their election laws.
Phillip Agnew was blindsided by the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. The decision came down late on a Saturday night. Agnew was expecting the neighborhood watchman who killed Trayvon Martin to be found guilty.
Agnew, 28, leads a group of young activists called the Dream Defenders, which formed in Florida last year in the weeks following Trayvon's shooting death. It was one of the many groups that sprouted up in cities across the country in response to the shooting.
In an interview with ABC News, the only minority in the all-female jury that acquitted George Zimmerman with the killing of Trayvon Martin said Zimmerman "got away with murder."
"You can't put the man in jail even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty," said Juror B29, who identified herself as Maddy. "But we had to grab our hearts and put it aside and look at the evidence."
The 36-year-old mother of eight is Puerto Rican and had recently moved to Sanford from Chicago.
The news out of Detroit has been grim of late, but there are some bright spots coming from one corner of the Motor City. On Thursday, General Motors posted its 14th straight profitable quarter since emerging from bankruptcy. Ford announced its 16th consecutive profitable quarter Wednesday, and Chrysler is expected to offer good news soon as well.
Jasmine, once a wealthy Manhattan socialite, comes to us a jabbering wreck in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.We meet her staggering off a plane in San Francisco to stay with her down-market sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins).
The bottom has fallen out of Jasmine's glamorous world, in which she oozed style and made the trains run on time for her husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin), a financier who gave lavishly to charity with others' money. The name Madoff never comes up, but Hal went to jail, Jasmine is left with mountains of debt, and it's not hard to do the math.
North Carolina could become the first state to compensate people who were forcibly sterilized in programs across the country that began during the Great Depression and continued for decades, targeting individuals deemed feeble-minded or otherwise unfit.
In a proposed budget, lawmakers have set aside $10 million for one-time payments to an estimated 1,500 people still alive who were part of a state program that sterilized 7,600 men, women and children from 1929 to 1974. The amount of each payout would be determined by how many people came forward.
When it is discovered that Timmy Choi (Louis Koo) has been manufacturing meth, he's sentenced to death and put in the custody of Capt. Zhang. His only shot at redemption? Helping Zhang shut down his cartel.
Hong Kong action-crime maestro Johnnie To makes films about good and evil, but he's not in the habit of neatly distinguishing the two. So he might seem at a disadvantage in mainland China, where the censors don't tolerate moral ambiguity. With the canny Drug War, however, the director proves himself entirely up to the challenge.
This week, President Obama is travelling around the country talking up ideas to strengthen the middle class, but those ideas are given very little chance of passage in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Well, to hear their side, we turn now to Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who's a member of the House Appropriations' Committee. Congressman Cole is also a deputy majority whip. Welcome back to the program.
REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: Robert, great to be with you.
Federal prosecutors finally brought their case against SAC Capital, the giant hedge fund that for years has outperformed almost all of its competitors. Prosecutors say they know why. The firm encouraged the use of illegal insider information and trading on that information became a part of the firm's culture, according to the indictment.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
It's been more than four years since Israelis and Palestinians held direct peace talks. Today, Israeli officials said talks will resume next week in Washington. The State Department will not confirm that date, but a spokesperson said Secretary of State John Kerry expects negotiations to begin soon.
NPR's Jackie Northam has this story about the opportunity and the obstacles.
The world's first Latin American and Jesuit pope toured Rio de Janeiro's slums on Thursday, blasting the world's "culture of selfishness" and telling Brazilians not to be discouraged, even in the face of corruption by officials. His trip comes after widespread protests over inequality in Brazil.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
In the early 1900s, more than half of the states in the U.S. passed laws allowing people to be sterilized against their will. North Carolina's eugenics program was particularly aggressive. Some 7,600 men, women and children were sterilized often because they were poor or mentally ill.
Now, North Carolina has done more than any other state to make amends, as we hear from Julie Rose of member station WFAE.
In addition to Georgia, a handful of other states — Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Alabama — have dropped out of or scaled back their participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC) consortium. Florida's education commissioner is mulling a similar decision. We discuss what it could mean for the success of the standards.
This week, Georgia announced it is withdrawing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Career (PARCC), one of two consortia developing standardized tests for the Common Core. The Core is the set of national K-12 education standards in math and English language arts that has been adopted by 46 states. Georgia officials say the cost of the tests is too high and many schools don't have the computer technology the tests would require.
Attorney General Eric Holder has announced an aggressive new strategy in response to a Supreme Court ruling last month overturning a key part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department is starting in Texas, where it is asking a court to force the state to get federal approval before making any election changes - using a different part of the law.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
In all the current talk about helping 11 million undocumented immigrants come out of the shadows, there's typically broad agreement about who shouldn't get a path to legal residence: law breakers. There are lists of offenses that rule people out, whether it's under existing immigration law or under the immigration bill the Senate passed, or under President Obama's program to help the so-called Dreamers - the ones who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
In the high-profile civil case against Wall Street titan Steven Cohen, federal authorities accuse the hedge fund head of allowing insider trading within his ranks. Cohen's lawyers offered up a defense fit for the digital age: They claim he didn't see a key, incriminating email because he gets too many messages — an estimated 1,000 a day, and opens only 11 percent of them.
Pope Francis speaks during a gathering with Argentine youths at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, on Thrusday. Pope Francis urged young Brazilians not to despair in the battle against corruption Thursday as he addressed their country's political problems in the wake of massive protests.
Credit Nelson Almeida / AFP/Getty Images
Francis waves to the crowd while riding in the Popemobile as he tours the Varghina favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
The pope blesses a child in the favela.
Credit Antonio Lacerda / EPA /LANDOV
Thousands of young people gather at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Copacabana beachfront to welcome Pope Francis to World Youth Day ceremonies. On the fourth day of his visit to Brazil, Francis waded into the country's ramshackle slums and onto the national battle over poverty and corruption.
Credit Christophe Simon / AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis speaks to youths at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. He urged them not to despair as he addressed Brazil's political problems in the wake of massive protests. The pope is in Brazil for his first foreign trip since he became leader of the Catholic Church.
Credit Nelson Almeida / AFP/Getty Images
Pilgrims from Argentina watch as Francis speaks in the Varghina favela. More than 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to join the pope during his visit for World Youth Day celebrations.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Francis walks through the Varginha favela. The community of 1,000 people was under the sway of narcotraffickers until it came under police control less than a year ago.
During the fourth day of his first foreign visit, Pope Francis headed to the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro.
As NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro described it to our Newscast unit, the shantytown was not prettied up for the pope. Its river remained clogged with sewage and dirt, and the houses were still slapped together.
"It's an extremely poor community," Lourdes said. "I think the pope wanted to come here to highlight his very personal message of affinity with the poor."
Willie Louis may be one of the most celebrated but least-known figures in a pivotal point in American history: He testified against the men accused of kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. He died July 18, but his wife, Juliet, announced his death this week.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the jury summons disguised as refund checks is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a search for entry points to country-music fandom.
Emily Carol Schmidt writes via Facebook: "I'm not super into country, but I now live in a place with 50+ country stations, so I'm giving it a second chance. But how? Do you just listen to it for a couple hours? Get recommendations? Go to a concert?"
Each morning as dawn breaks over the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey, a small drama repeats itself: Massive oil tankers and cargo ships slide past tiny fishing boats bobbing on the surface like bathtub toys.
These intrepid fishermen are out in all weather, in all seasons. In the winter, they catch the rich, oily anchovies, bluefish and mackerel. With spring come the turbot and sea bream, and by summer, sea bass and red mullet are being hawked by the fishmongers.