More than 200 Marines have been training since late September in the pine forests of North Carolina. They've been hiking for miles carrying 87-pound packs and assault rifles, sleeping in the field, attacking mock enemy positions.
And for the first time, women took part in the training. Three of them made it to the end and graduated Thursday morning.
They were there at Camp Geiger to answer the question of whether women have what it takes to become combat infantry Marines.
Just as the food stamp program has been hit with funding cuts, a small study out of Harvard has found that the program isn't doing enough to ensure that its participants get a complete and nutritious diet.
The researchers wanted to find out how much the benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a critical source of food aid for 47 million needy Americans, improved individuals' food security.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:48 pm
The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.
By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.
Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.
If Americans were writing the Constitution over again in 2013, would it make sense to include the right to bear arms? Or has it become outdated?
Some argue that states should have the ability to decide the laws they want around guns, instead of having a national standard. And they point to the Second Amendment's language about the need for well-regulated militias as evidence of its anachronism.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:49 am
Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.
The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.
The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:12 pm
NPR photographer David Gilkey has photographed in extreme situations — from the surge in Afghanistan, to bombings in Gaza, to the tsunami in Japan, but he was shocked at what he saw in the village of Barangay 68 in Tacloban City, Philippines.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to find when I arrived.
"Barangay," loosely translated, means a neighborhood or village and Barangay 68 is just one of the tiny hamlets that make up greater Tacloban City in the central Philippines. The village was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 6:38 pm
Secretary of State John Kerry says he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have agreed on the text of a security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to stay on the ground in the South Asian country beyond 2014.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that after numerous phone calls, Kerry says he and Karzai reached terms for a "limited role" for U.S. troops that would be confined to training, equipping and assisting Afghan forces.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Fifty years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. It was one of those moments in history where, if you were old enough, you'd remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you found out. If you've been paying attention to the media at all this week, then you've no doubt run across one or another retrospective.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's been nearly 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. Many people still remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. We asked Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon, for his memories of the day. And we'll also look at the bigger picture of John F. Kennedy's role in The Civil Rights Movement. That's coming up.
Adrian Miller is a lawyer and former special assistant to President Clinton. After the president's second term, finding himself with extra time on his hands, he ended up spending the next decade or so researching soul food. "With the only qualifications of eating the food a lot, and cooking it some, I dove in," says Miller.
Getting past some stereotypes about soul food is one goal of his new book. Miller says the common perception is that soul food is slave food, but that's only partially true, he tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 11:45 am
If Americans know Education Secretary Arne Duncan for anything at this point, it would be as that guy who claimed last week that opposition to the Common Core national K-12 educational standards sprang from "white suburban moms" who feared that tougher requirements would reveal their children to be as not "brilliant" as they thought.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:34 pm
This year, Americans are expected to buy more than $30 billion worth of organic grains, produce, coffee, wine and meats.
Some producers of farmed fish want the chance to get a cut of those profits, and retailers, who can charge a premium price for organic farmed fish, are with them. But an organic label for aquaculture is not coming easy.
The death toll from Sunday's tornado outbreak across the Midwest stands at eight. Many of those who witnessed the devastation say they're shocked that number isn't higher. Early warnings delivered by text message may have helped limit the casualties.
Along with the privacy advocates and the national security establishment, there is another set of players with strong views on NSA surveillance programs: U.S. tech companies.
Google and five other companies weighed in on the surveillance debate last month, sending a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supporting legislation to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs.
If the answer is "not recently," then you can count yourself among the millions of Americans who just don't write letters anymore. The post office says the average American home receives only one personal letter about every two months.
But there are a few determined people who are doing their best to wreck that average.
"It's becoming a lost art," says Deb Bruzewski.
Every day she curls up on her plaid couch in her home in Auburn, Mich., to write a few of her 60 letters for the week.
A portion of the $13 billion JPMorgan Chase mortgage settlement will go to anti-blight measures across the country. One of the groups that might receive some of those funds is the Thriving Communities Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. Melissa Block talks with the non-profit's director, Jim Rokakis, about how the group tries to fight blight by establishing land banks, demolishing vacant properties and finding new ways to use the land.
A long-awaited deal between JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department was finalized Tuesday. The bank — one of Wall Street's largest — agreed to pay a total of $13 billion to resolve a number of legal issues stemming from mortgage securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. A few appropriate remarks. That was the invitation extended to President Lincoln. Would he formally consecrate the National Cemetery at Gettysburg with a few appropriate remarks? Lincoln's speech, delivered 150 years ago, the Gettysburg Address, is, of course, now considered among the most famous in U.S. history.
This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.
NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.
The last desert bighorn sheep that roamed the mountains above Tucson, Ariz., died in the 1990s, the victim of human encroachment, mountain lions, and fire suppression. Now, the iconic Southwest animal — picture the Dodge Ram's grille — is back. A herd of 31 was released Monday morning after being transplanted over the weekend from the Yuma area in the far west of the state. Why would the sheep survive this time?
Colorado and California both just proposed new regulations for oil and gas production in their states. Both states have been pushed by environmental concerns to establish rules tougher than federal requirements. If Colorado's proposal goes ahead, it would be the first state in the nation to directly regulate methane. California also says its proposed rule would be the toughest in the nation. It regulates the engineering technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
For the past nine months, Princeton University in New Jersey has been trying to halt an outbreak of bacterial meningitis in its students without success. So it's going to offer students a vaccine that's not yet approved for broader use in the US.
Since bacterial meningitis is a serious infection of the brain and spinal cord that can cause brain damage and death, having it on campus is no small matter.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:38 pm
In an agreement settling many U.S. claims over its sale of troubled mortgages, JPMorgan Chase will pay a record $13 billion, in a deal announced by the Justice Department Tuesday. The plan includes a $4 billion payment for consumer relief, along with a payment to investors of more than $6 billion and a large fine.
The latest updates on this story are at the bottom of this post. We've also added a few key points to the main post.