South Carolina is getting a new U.S. senator. Governor Nikki Haley announced today that she is appointing Republican Congressman Tim Scott to fill the seat being vacated by Jim DeMint who's retiring. Scott is a freshman member of the House.
And as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, he will be the first African-American senator from the South since Reconstruction.
In the aftermath of Newtown, school officials and parents across the country were asking themselves the same question today: How safe is my school? NPR's Claudio Sanchez has that story.
CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: In Nashville, Tennessee, Ruth Rosenberg asked her daughter's first-grade teacher what school was going to be like today. Teachers there were told to downplay any discussion of the Newtown shooting since many kids still don't know what happened, including her 7-year-old daughter, says Rosenberg.
Inside a modest storefront in Loxley, Ala., 18-year-old Maria Lola Melisio points out the Mexican spices and other products for sale in her mother's market.
"There are the leaves where you make your tamales — you roll them up in that," she says.
Melisio has long dark curls and is wearing a houndstooth scarf in support of the Alabama Crimson Tide. When she was 7 years old, she entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico with her mother, and still has a scar on her back from crawling under the border fence. It's a story she's kept secret until now.
In 2005, Red Lake High School in northern Minnesota was the scene of another school shooting. In all, 10 people died, including the 16-year-old shooter. When I went to Red Lake soon after the attack, I talked with the school principal, Chris Dunshee. He told me Red Lake had joined what he called a tragic fraternity along with schools in Columbine, Colorado, and Paducah, Kentucky. When I reached Dunshee today, he sad the Newtown shooting had brought painful memories flooding back.
Now, a good old-fashioned mystery in the Windy City. Last week, something unusual arrived at the University of Chicago admissions office. It was a thick manila envelope tied with string bearing all kinds of worldly looking stamps and postal markings.
GARRETT BRINKER: We received this package that was addressed to Henry Walton Jones.
SIEGEL: That's Garrett Brinker director of undergraduate outreach at the University of Chicago and actually, it was Henry Walton Jones, Jr.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, reacting to the shooting deaths in Newtown, Connecticut, called yesterday for reinstating the Assault Weapon Ban, which was in effect from 1994 until 2004 when the law expired. How effective was it?
Well, we're going to ask Professor Daniel Webster who studies firearm policy and gun violence prevention. His field is public health, and he's at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Webster, welcome to the program.
That weapon that David just mentioned, the AR-15, was not only used in last Friday's school shooting. It was also used this month by a gunman who killed shoppers at a mall in Oregon. And it was used back in July in the attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The semiautomatic AR-15 is essentially a civilian version of the military's M-16. And it is, according to the NRA, the country's best-selling firearm.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
The painful process of burying the victims of Friday's shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, began today with the funeral of the youngest victim. Noah Pozner leaves behind a 6-year-old twin sister, as well as his mother, father and three other siblings. He was remembered at a service in nearby Fairfield, and NPR's Tovia Smith was there.
Discussions here in Washington are intensifying between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama as they try to find an agreement to avert a raft of year-end spending cuts and tax increases. The two men met today at the White House for 45 minutes. NPR's Tamara Keith joins us now from Capitol Hill with an update. And, Tamara, there does seem to have been something of a breakthrough in negotiations. Speaker Boehner agreed to let tax rates rise. President Obama came back with a counteroffer. Where are we right now?
The face of the American poor is changing. Journalist Anne Hull recently wrote about one teenager's struggle to break the cycle of poverty in a small rust belt town. Host Michel Martin discusses the story with Hull, youth pastor Shawn Galla, and the Brookings Institution's Ron Haskins.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:11 am
It's hard to eat just one potato chip. The salt, the fat, the crunch — no wonder we mindlessly munch away, especially if we're parked in front of the TV.
So is there something better for children to snack on in the afternoon, especially if we're looking to limit their calories? It turns out that the combination of cheese and raw veggies like broccoli, carrots and sliced peppers may be the best option from both a nutrient standpoint and a satiety one.
A federal court in Texas on Monday will take up the case of a high-school student who refuses to wear her location-tracking school ID.
The 15-year-old sophomore says the ID badge, which has an embedded radio frequency identification tag, is a violation of her rights. The student, Andrea Hernandez, believes the ID is "the mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation.
Editor's Note: In separate interviews for weekends on All Things Considered Sunday, host Guy Raz spoke with Rep. John Larson and journalist Paul Barrett. You can hear the discussions as they aired at the audio link above.
In a sermon Sunday morning on gun violence, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral said "enough is enough."
Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, was killed in the shootings in Connecticut Friday. In her two years at the school, Hochsprung had become a favorite of students and parents for her charismatic leadership and warm personality. She died trying to overpower the gunman.
Host Guy Raz talks to The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral, who is calling for stricter gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Connecticut. In his sermon Sunday, Hall said the National Cathedral would become a focal point for taking on the gun lobby.
The shooting in Newtown, Conn., is likely to have an impact on many children, even those nowhere near the state. Host Guy Raz is joined by NPR's Jon Hamilton to talk about how parents, teachers and others who spend time with kids should prepare to discuss the event.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
President Obama is in Newtown, Connecticut, at this hour to offer some comfort to a nation in mourning for the victims of Friday's school shooting. Earlier in the day, Mr. Obama met privately with the families of those who were killed. And later tonight, he'll speak at an interfaith memorial service in Newtown.
NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley is with us now. And, Scott, sadly, the president has been here before.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Tomorrow in Fairfield, Connecticut, 6-year-old Noah Pozner will be laid to rest. Relatives say his twin sister, Arielle, was his best friend. Noah and Arielle were in different first-grade classes. She survived the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:26 pm
Update at 12:43 p.m. ET, Dec. 20: After we published this post, Shannon Hicks of The Newtown Bee got in touch to clarify details from the day of the Sandy Hook shooting. The text below now reflects those clarifications. For details of the revisions, please see the bottom of the post.
On a hillside in Newtown, Conn., art teacher Eric Mueller sets up wooden angels in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Details about the lives of the slain are showing the depths of the community's loss.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:17 pm
A day after the names of children and educators killed by a gunman at a Connecticut elementary school were released by law enforcement officials, details about the victims and their lives are emerging. In the wake of Friday's depraved attack in which 20 students and 6 adults were murdered, family members and friends have made public statements about their loss. And some have chosen to mourn in private.
A woman kisses a stuffed animal before placing it on the memorial.
Credit Julio Cortez / AP
A memorial near the entrance to the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Credit Mike Segar / Reuters/Landov
A sign reading "Pray for Newtown" hangs from a stone bridge over Hawley Pond in Newtown.
Credit Peter Foley / EPA/Landov
Firefighters and other volunteers organize a memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Credit Jason DeCrow / AP
At Newtown High School, residents greet each other before an interfaith vigil for the victims of the shooting.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Rachel Pullen (center) kisses her son, Landon DeCecco, at a memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
President Obama speaks at a memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Newtown.
Credit Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images
Mourners outside Newtown High School listen to a memorial service over a loudspeaker, on Sunday evening.
Credit David Goldman / AP
Manuel Moreno walks his daughter Jady, 6, to the Morris Street Elementary School in Danbury, Conn. Teachers and parents across the country were wrestling with how best to quell children's fears about returning to school.
Credit Mary Altaffer / AP
Mourners embrace as they leave the Honan Funeral Home, where the family of Jack Pinto was holding his funeral service on Monday.
Credit Mike Segar / Reuters/Landov
People arrive for the funeral services of Noah Pozner in Fairfield.
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Mourners gather outside the funeral service of Jack Pinto, 6, in Newtown. Monday was the first day of funerals for the victims.
Credit David Goldman / AP
Veronique Pozner waves to the members of the press as she leaves after a funeral service for her son, 6-year-old Noah Pozner in Fairfield, Conn. Noah was one of 20 students killed in the shootings on Friday.
Credit Jason DeCrow / AP
A mourner pays his respects at one of the makeshift memorials in Newtown.
Credit Mary Altaffer / AP
Candles are lit among mementos at a memorial for victims of the shooting on Monday night in Newtown.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
A student looks for a place to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting at the entrance of Newtown High School on Tuesday in Newtown, Conn.
Credit Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images
A mourner pays his respects at one of the makeshift memorials for the Sandy Hook elementary shooting on Monday in Newtown, Conn.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:26 am
Police on Sunday said 20-year-old Adam Lanza was armed with a high-powered rifle, two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition when he forcibly entered a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and proceeded to gun down 20 young students and six faculty members.
The latest information on the tragedy, the worst violence at an elementary school in U.S. history, came ahead of President Obama's arrival in the town where Friday's mass shooting took place. The president met with families of the victims and planned to attend an evening vigil, where he will speak.
Sunday morning could see a pants revolution at church, at least if you're Mormon. A group of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inviting all sisters to shed their skirts and dresses, and wear slacks or pantsuits in an attempt to change the conservative dress code.
This evening in Newtown, Connecticut, Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker who was killed in yesterday's shooting spoke publicly about the tragedy.
ROBBIE PARKER: It's a horrific tragedy. And we want everybody to know that our hearts and our prayers go out to them. This includes the family of the shooter. I can imagine how hard this experience must be for you, and I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.
Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 7:33 am
Many of us following the news out of Newtown, Conn., do not have a personal relationship with those murdered Friday. Some of us may not have children whom we need to guide as they see images from the scene.
Yet even without these connections, many people are looking for ways to process their grief and mourn the victims.
Then-Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., observe voting in parliamentary elections in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2008. President Obama is reportedly considering Hagel as his next defense secretary, and Kerry for secretary of state.
Credit KM Chaudary / AP
Michele Flournoy is reportedly among those President Obama is considering for defense secretary.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:50 am
In the category of unintended consequences, Susan Rice's announcement about her future could — under one scenario — mean a Republican in President Obama's inner circle, decorated Vietnam veterans overseeing the nation's military and its foreign policy, and another special election for Senate in Massachusetts.
Law enforcement authorities are trying to paint a picture of the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, and what may have led him on that deadly rampage. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson is here to talk about the investigation. Carrie, what more do we know about Adam Lanza at this point?
Today and tomorrow, many people around the country will turn to their spiritual leaders for answers or at least for comfort. For nearly 30 years, Eugene Peterson served as the pastor for Christ our King Presbyterian Church near Baltimore. In the early 1990s, he began to translate the Bible into modern-day English. It became the best-selling book called "The Message." It's a book millions of Christians and non-Christians have come to rely on.