Women in the U.S. military have been flying warplanes for years, and recently began serving in artillery and tank units. But they're still barred from direct ground combat.
Now, for the first time in the course's 35-year history, the Marine Corps is putting the first women through its grueling Infantry Officer Course: 86 days crawling through obstacle courses, lugging heavy machine guns, navigating the woods at night.
Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, the top trainer at Marine Base Quantico in Virginia, says there's a good reason the course is so tough that 1 in 5 Marines fail.
If there is one thing that the mobile-computing era has made clear, it's that kids love touch screens. Because those touch screens — smartphones, iPads, Kindles and the like — are an inevitable added distraction to the classroom, schools across the country are struggling to deal with the growing prevalence of the technology.
But a growing number of schools are embracing these hand-held, Internet-ready devices by creating policies that put them to use in the classroom.
Fox News and other conservative media outlets claimed to have a scoop on Tuesday they called "Obama's other race speech." The tape that was supposed to turn this election around, however, was documented and reported on in 2007 by the very same news outlets.
After a two-year investigation, a Senate report released Wednesday criticizes the Department of Homeland Security's "fusion centers" as ineffective, expensive, and encroaching on civil liberties. The centers were created after Sept. 11 to improve communication between federal counter-terrorism agents and state and local law enforcement. A department spokesman called the report flawed.
A new analysis shows that the Obama campaign continues to have superiority over the Romney campaign and its allies when it comes to TV ads. The report also finds that political ads are the most negative since 2000, and that the leading advertiser in congressional races is Karl Rove's tax-exempt group Crossroads GPS.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders affirmative action. On Wednesday, it will hear oral arguments in the case of Fisher versus University of Texas. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is a white woman who says she was denied admission because of her race. Her case is the first to reach the high court since 2003, when it re-affirmed that public colleges and universities could consider race as one of many factors in admissions decisions.
And you can listen to tonight's debate live on many NPR stations. We'll also have analysis and fact checking at NPR.org. Now, our next story looks not at the differences between the candidates, which we're sure to hear about tonight, but at a similarity. President Obama and Mitt Romney share something that goes to the core of this campaign. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it comes up in every stump speech they give.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The stage is set in Denver for the first presidential debate tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. The candidates are suiting up, reporters are gathering, live tweeters are sharpening their virtual pencils. And NPR's Mara Liasson is in Denver and she joins us for a preview. Welcome, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: So what is the format for tonight's debate?
A paradox of American health care is that hospitals are sometimes rewarded for doing things badly.
Patients who are discharged, for example, shouldn't have to come right back because they got worse after getting home. But if they do come back, hospitals benefit because they can fill an empty bed and bill for more care.
The federal government says, in fact, that Medicare alone pays $17.4 billion a year for unnecessary return visits.
So, we found out that the National Football League is too big to fail. But not so big that it couldn't make a complete fool of itself and show to the world that its owners are stingy, greedy nincompoops.
Not so big that it couldn't make its commissioner, Roger Goodell, stand out in front, looking lost and small, so that their erstwhile tough-guy commander suddenly became an errand boy, losing respect and dignity that will be hard to regain the next time he needs it.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 6:23 pm
Civil rights groups are cheering the injunction placed on the Pennsylvania voter identification law, but their recent victories against state photo ID measures very likely won't last beyond Election Day.
Certain truths about life in a neighborhood are readily apparent to people who live there, but less obvious to city and state officials. The Justice Mapping Center uses data to help bridge that gap with information about the prison system. By mapping the residential addresses of every inmate in various prison systems, Eric Cadora and his colleagues have made vividly clear a concept they call "Million-Dollar Blocks." In some places more than a million dollars are being spent every year to incarcerate the residents of a single Census block. Audie Cornish talks with Eric Cadora.
President Obama and Mitt Romney had no public events on their campaign schedules today. They're both busy preparing for tomorrow's big event: a prime-time debate that could be one of their last opportunities to sway undecided voters. Yesterday, we heard from NPR's Ari Shapiro about Mitt Romney's preparations. And today, we get a scouting report on President Obama from NPR's Scott Horsley.
In Pennsylvania, a judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the state's controversial voter ID law. In effect, the judge's ruling will allow registered voters to cast ballots in the upcoming election, without showing the government-issued ID required by the law.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 2:55 pm
You can believe this latest poll result if you'd like. Or not.
A survey released Tuesday that was conducted by Public Policy Polling asked people if they thought pollsters were rigging their results to show President Obama leading Mitt Romney (h/t Josh Voorhees at The Slatest).
The same could be said for another feature of the president's Affordable Care Act: the state health exchange. That's the online marketplace where individuals and small businesses can buy private health insurance. The law requires every state to have an exchange up and running by 2014.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 2:20 pm
There's always a lot of noise around a presidential campaign — minor flaps that suck up a lot of media attention but are forgotten by Election Day.
John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington University and a founder of the blog The Monkey Cage, says there's no need to worry about a lot of the ephemera that news coverage tends to focus on.
"I'm telling you, all the fun things don't matter," Sides says.
A judge in Pennsylvania has blocked a key part of that state's new voter ID law, a law that's caused controversy. Now, come Election Day, voters showing up at the polls can still be asked to show a government-issued photo ID, but they will not be prevented from voting if they don't have one. NPR's Pam Fessler has been covering the story and she joins us now. Good morning.
PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So, remind us what this Pennsylvania law is - you know, why it's been making national news.
Richard Lapointe confessed in 1989 that he stabbed, raped and killed his wife's 88-year-old grandmother two years earlier. But in the 23 years since, experts in criminal justice have come to better understand how sometimes people make false confessions — especially someone with brain damage, like Lapointe. On Monday, Connecticut's state Appellate Court ordered a new trial, saying prosecutors wrongly withheld potentially important evidence.
Religion used to be everywhere in the presidential elections. George W. Bush courted conservative believers in 2004. In 2008, Sarah Palin excited evangelicals and — unexpectedly — so did Barack Obama.
What a difference a few years make. In 2007, then-candidate Obama used evangelical language to describe his Christian conversion: He was a young, secular community organizer who occasionally visited the local Chicago church, when one day he walked to the front of the sanctuary and knelt before the cross.
Fifty years ago, James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi, had to be escorted by federal marshals to his mostly empty classes. His enrollment came after a standoff between state segregationists and the federal government that led to a deadly riot on the Oxford campus.
Today, black and white juniors and seniors at Ole Miss sit together around a table in an Honors College class on the school's turbulent history. The course is called "Opening the Closed Society," and is an in-depth look at the integration of Ole Miss.
Republicans are still within reach of a big political goal this year: retaking control of the Senate. They lost the majority in 2006, in part because of the razor-close victory of Democratic challenger Jon Tester in Montana.
Now, Tester is the incumbent facing a tough challenge of his own. And if he's going to win re-election, he has to turn out a lot of younger voters, the way he did in 2006. And on that front, he does have some allies.