Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 9:06 am
They're asking politely. Malcontents from 20 different states are petitioning the White House to allow them to secede from the union.
Using the White House website's We the People function, in which petitions garnering at least 25,000 signatures get a response from the president, people from the state of Texas are asking to "peacefully ... withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government."
When Andrew Solomon started his family with his husband, John Habich, he says, people were surprised that he wasn't afraid to have children, given the topic of the book he was writing. That book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, explores what it's like for parents of children who are profoundly different or likely to be stigmatized — children with Down syndrome, deafness, autism, dwarfism, or who are prodigies, become criminals, or are conceived in rape.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
We begin this hour with the conflict in Syria. There are both military and diplomatic developments to report. First, cross-border fire between Syrian and Israeli forces. Israel's military says it hit back today at a Syrian army mortar unit that had launched a round into Israeli-held territory in the Golan Heights. And Israel says it's ready to escalate its response if necessary.
Many veterans aren't just looking for a job; they're looking for a career, a calling and, of course, financial stability. Those recently separated from the military have to confront what is still a fairly weak civilian job market.
Titan, the new supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has been crowned the fastest in the world. It can clock 17.59 petaflops (quadrillions of calculations per second). Audie Cornish talks to Steve Henn for more.
Many farmers want their farms to be located close to a city - especially organic farmers who'd like to sell their produce at big urban farmers markets. But the price of land within range of a big city is sky high and only getting higher.
Most small farmers buy their land, but some are now looking to lease in suburban or exurban areas. And to do that, they're using something straight out of Fiddler On The Roof: A matchmaker.
The Greek government passed a 2013 budget on Monday that includes more spending cuts and tax hikes. But European leaders, while welcoming the move, won't give Greece its latest loan fix for now because of the country's rising debt. More than two years after Greece adopted a punishing austerity regimen in exchange for bailout loans, the country remains deeply in debt and addicted to loans.
Robert Siegel talks with Yaser Tabbara, spokesman for a newly formed umbrella organization of Syrian opposition groups. The coalition, forged over the weekend in Doha, is much broader than its predecessor, the Syrian National Council, bringing together roughly 90 percent of Syria's opposition. Tabbara, an attorney typically based in Chicago, helped broker the coalition's agreement.
On Saturday, the BBC's Director General, George Entwistle, resigned. On Monday, Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, and her deputy Stephen Mitchell, took leaves of absence after what appear to be major breaches of journalistic ethics. The first occurred a few weeks ago when the organization spiked an investigative report about alleged child sex abuse by a former BBC star, Jimmy Savile. The second happened last week when the BBC falsely accused a former senior politician, still living, of child abuse.
Ferry service into Manhattan started Monday for the Rockaway section of Queens, one of the hardest-hit New York City neighborhoods after Superstorm Sandy. Many residents are still feeling cut off, struggling without power or adequate public transportation options. And now worries about mold are creeping in.
But the new ferries were a small consolation for the trickle of commuters who trudged onto Manhattan soil for the first time in two weeks. Some of them, like Sheila Curran, were grinning all the way down the plank.
The downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus appears to have grown out of jealousy. He had been having an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and she allegedly sent harassing emails to a woman in Florida she thought was too close to Petraeus. Now the discussion is turning to what people knew and when they knew it and why this explosive story came out just days after the election. Audie Cornish talks to Dina Temple-Raston.
Last week's elections were historic for many reasons. Among them, they brought a remarkable turnaround on the issue of gay marriage. In 2004, same-sex marriage bans made it onto general election ballots in 11 states and passed resoundingly in all of them. This cycle, however, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington State approved gay marriage. And in Minnesota, they refused to amend their state constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman exclusively.
This Veterans Day marks the first issue launch of O-Dark-Thirty, a literature quarterly composed entirely of veterans' fiction and non-fiction. It's published by The Veterans Writing Project, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Robert Siegel speaks with retired Army Lt. Col. Ron Capps, now an award-winning author and director of the project.
Afghan villagers look at a translator as U.S. soldiers tend to an injured local Afghan man, who was shot for being suspected of planting a roadside bomb in Genrandai village at Panjwai district, Kandahar, on Sept. 24.
Credit Tony Karumba / AFP/Getty Images
An Afghan boy watches an Afghan National Army soldier on patrol in Logar province, eastern Afghanistan, on May 17. NATO forces are scheduled to leave Afgahnistan by the end of 2014.
Credit Anja Niedringhaus / AP
In the Panjshir Valley, where mujahedeen commander Ahmed Shah Massoud fought off the Soviets and the Taliban, Afghans are hopeful, but nervous, about the country's future after NATO troops leave in 2014.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
The mausoleum of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the rebel commander who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and the Taliban the following decade.
Uncertainty is gripping Afghanistan as the clock ticks toward the withdrawal of NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.
People and money are leaving the country. Housing prices are falling. Construction is slowing down. Many Afghans are trying to be hopeful, but even the most optimistic admit that a number of troubling variables could determine what post-2014 Afghanistan looks like.
The Panjshir Valley, some 60 miles north of Kabul, is one of the most scenic places in Afghanistan. The Panjshir River winds its way through barren mountains.
As part of Virginia's waiver to opt out of mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind law, the state has created a controversial new set of education goals that are higher for white and Asian kids than for blacks, Latinos and students with disabilities.
Virginia Democratic state Sen. Donald McEachin first read about the state's new performance goals for schoolchildren in a newspaper editorial.
Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 1:20 pm
Since 2001, more than 1.9 million sons and daughters have been deployed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. For many young veterans, homecoming can be a time of mixed emotions and changing family dynamics after a life-changing experience at war.
Lance Armstrong competes in the Rev3 Half Full Triathalon Sunday in Ellicott City, Md. Armstrong joined other cancer survivors in the event, which raised funds for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, with the election now over President Obama and members of Congress are getting no end of free advice about how they should spend the next four years. So today and tomorrow, we'll talk about that with people we are calling the loyal opposition. Today, we speak with one of Mr. Obama's former advisors, Van Jones, and we'll ask him what progressives want to see in the next four years.
Van Jones has become a leading voice on the progressive left. That only happened after a short stint as the Obama administration's Green Jobs czar. Jones is now the co-founder of the policy group, Rebuild the Dream. He talks with host Michel Martin about what progressives should expect — and demand — in a second Obama term.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:11 am
Some of the latest news on the conflict in Syria:
-- Israel Fires Back. "Israeli troops fired tank shells into Syria on Monday in retaliation for a mortar round that struck near an army post in the Golan Heights, scoring 'direct hits' on the source of the fire, the [Israeli] army said." (Al-Jazeera)