Tomorrow, in Madison, Wisconsin, college students will be partying, and it's not your average University of Wisconsin party. It's the annual Mifflin Street block party, a pre-exam bash. And as we hear from Gilman Halsted of Wisconsin Public Radio, the tradition has morphed into a sometimes violent 24-hour drinking fest, and the city and university are not happy about it.
The nation's unemployment rate hit a four-year low of 7.5 percent and the job market improved last month. Friday's news helped push the Dow Jones industrial average above 15,000 for the first time.
Was that a rational response?
Although the jobs report for April was positive, what triggered the market reaction was the fact that it was better than expected. Instead of 145,000 jobs created, as most economists predicted, the Labor Department says there were 165,000 new jobs.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we often talk about people with mad skills in tough competitions, so in just a few minutes, we are going to meet two teenagers who are making their mark in chess. That's later.
Are you a teenager with a story to tell? NPR and Radio Diaries want to hear it. Write it down, photograph it (and record it if you want) and then submit it to the storytelling site Cowbird.
Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to five teenagers to create audio diaries about their lives. Starting on May 6, All Things Considered will revisit these original diarists, now in their 30s, to document their lives for NPR listeners.
When the Great Storm of 1900 battered Galveston, Texas, the town simply lifted itself up--in some places as much as 17 feet. Could a similar approach save cities today? Randy Behm of the US Army Corps of Engineers and Dwayne Jones of the Galveston Historical Foundation talk about the costs and feasibility of raising a town, albeit with better technology than Galveston's hand-cranked jacks and mules.
Veteran teacher Rita Pierson believes that relationships are crucial to education. She talks about how classrooms lack the kind of human connections kids need to feel inspired and to learn. Pierson gave her talk as part of the PBS Special TED Talks Education, airing May 7.
In Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday, children took to downtown streets in a reenactment of historic events there 50 years ago. It's part of a series of events this year marking Birmingham's crucial role in the civil rights movement.
In December, six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler was among those killed in the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since then, his father, David Wheeler has met with officials in Washington, D.C., urging tighter controls to rein in gun violence. He speaks with Melissa Block about his views on the legislative process and what his path forward is from here.
The government's employment report for April comes out Friday. It's an important measure of the economy's health and the advance signals have been mixed. One report this week showed layoffs falling to a five-year low, but another suggests disappointing jobs creation.
At least one sector is providing some positive news for the job market: housing.
A woman holds a .22-caliber Crickett youth rifle at a Gander Mountain store in Flint Township, Mich. This type of gun, which is marketed to children and comes in a variety of colors, was involved in the shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky.
Credit FPG / Getty Images
A man and a boy out hunting with shotguns, circa 1955.
Credit U.S. Department of Homeland Security / Reuters/Landov
Employers using the E-Verify program are required to post an E-Verify Participation Poster, shown here in a handout photo. A Senate bill would make participation in the system, used to check employees' immigration status, mandatory for all employers.
Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.
While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, center, exits the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Colo., on Wednesday after touring the facility. Hickenlooper has proposed closing the facility due to budget concerns.
A relatively high-profile black man came out this week. And with it, a hardy old narrative got another moment in the sun.
When Jason Collins, a journeyman NBA center, announced that he was gay, many commentators who applauded his disclosure still nodded to the idea of heightened opposition to gay rights among black people.
In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, some critics said investigators should have used harsh interrogation techniques with the surviving suspect. Host Michel Martin speaks with counterterrorism expert and former FBI Agent Joe Navarro about how attitudes about torture have evolved, and what really are the most effective ways to interrogate.
The four cuts at the top of this skull "are clear chops to the forehead," says Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley. Based on forensic evidence, researchers think the blows were made after the person died.
Credit Donald E. Hurlbert / Smithsonian
This forensic facial reconstruction shows what the 14-year-old, nicknamed "Jane," may have looked like. Scientists say the remains found at Jamestown are evidence of cannibalism over the winter of 1609-1610.
Credit Donald E. Hurlbert / Smithsonian
Markings on the lower side of the jaw look like they were sawed with a sharp object, says forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley.
"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."
So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.
They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama today announced two new heads of agencies that play key roles in the economy. He tapped former wireless and cable industry executive, Tom Wheeler, to head the Federal Communications Commission. And he's naming North Carolina Democrat and veteran Congressman Melvin Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Republicans and Democrats in Florida's Legislature are at an impasse over whether to expand Medicaid. In order to pressure the Republican leadership to hold another vote, Democrats have invoked a rule requiring all bills to be read aloud in the entirety before they're voted on. In this post-Siri world, Republicans have plugged the bills into an electronic reader, dubbed Mary, who's reading t he bills at double speed to a chamber full of bored legislators.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with the war in Syria and the possibility of U.S. involvement. Today, in Damascus, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used the opportunity of May Day to make a rare public appearance. He visited a power plant and said, we hope that by this time next year, we will have overcome the crisis in our country.
A contentious battle for a spot on Penn State's board of trustees is dividing the university's alumni community. While some candidates and alums focus on the past, others want to push beyond the abuse scandal that shook the school over the last two years. With so much at stake for the much-loved school, some say the board of trustees election is playing out more like a contentious political race for mayor or Congress, not just a spot on a university board.
"Compassionate release" programs that free inmates with terminal illnesses and limited life expectancies are poorly run and lack clear standards, the Department of Justice's inspector general said on Wednesday.
During the housing bust, taxpayers were forced to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But thanks to the real estate recovery, Fannie Mae could end up paying tens of billions of dollars back to the Treasury this summer.
That's just one of the factors behind a better bottom line for the federal government. This week, the Treasury Department announced it will pay down some of its debt for the first time in six years.