When Laura Kate Whitney enrolled her 4-year-old, Grey, at Avondale Elementary, a public school in Birmingham, Ala., she and her husband were bucking a trend. Whitney and her husband are white, middle-class professionals. Public schools in Birmingham are 95 percent black, and 90 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch.
Whitney's is one of about two-dozen similar families who are not buying into the conventional tradeoff that if you live within city limits and have means, you send your kids to private schools.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 7:03 am
"This is something we see on the news in other parts of the country, not here," Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Kris Arneson said Thursday night as her department began investigating why a man apparently walked into a sign company, killed at least four people and then took his own life.
In 1939, Jessie Lee Bond died. His death certificate says he drowned accidentally, but his family has always maintained that he was lynched after an argument with white shop owners — shot and thrown into the river.
No one has ever been charged with his death.
Decades later, his now-91-year-old brother, Charlie Morris, told StoryCorps in Memphis, Tenn., that he was at school when he was called down to the office and told that his brother had been murdered.
Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 4:30 pm
From the magazine that brought you the infamous, secretly recorded "47 percent" video comes a new one about Republican candidate Mitt Romney — this one offering a very different objective for Bain Capital than the one he brags about on the campaign trail.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 3:18 pm
More than the ice is frosty at the Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City this week, as short track speedskaters begin the 2012-2013 season.
U.S. skaters are split over allegations of abuse leveled against two coaches and a claim that one coach ordered the sabotage of a Canadian competitor's skates at an international competition last year.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:17 pm
During the Republican National Convention last month, I traveled with Mitt Romney's campaign from Tampa, Fla., to the American Legion conference in Indianapolis.
Romney delivered a speech about foreign affairs and national security. Among the thousands of attendees from around the country, I interviewed one woman from Virginia whose quote sparked a conversation among NPR's audience and staff.
Aurora, Colo., became a familiar name this summer, in the wake of a mass shooting at a local movie theater.
But there's much more to this Denver suburb than the recent tragedy. Just ask Ethiopian immigrant Fekade Balcha. Balcha's apartment, on Aurora's north side, sits in a dense neighborhood of squat brick apartment buildings and tiny homes.
"You see, in our apartment, there are Russians, Mexicans, Africans," Balcha says. "From Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, and something like that."
After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.
In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The idea that milk may diminish the potential heart-health benefits of tea has been a topic of some debate. Lots of us can't imagine black tea without a little dairy to cut the bitterness. But, according to this research going back to 2007, we might want to at least consider trying, say, a nice cup of green tea sans sugar or cream.
Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.
NASA's Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.
"You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan," NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.
It was an iconic moment, really one of those amazing Olympic moments when a brilliantly smiling Gabby Douglas became the first African-American gymnast to win a gold medal in the individual all-around. People were amazed as she twisted her petite frame and flew through the air with both power and grace. It was the second gold for Douglas. She and her teammates won the team gold medal as well, and since then Gabby Douglas and the rest of the Fabulous Five have become celebrities.
At Fort Myer, Va., a small Army base across the river from Washington, D.C., Chaplain Mark Worrell is talking to about 100 soldiers, reciting the grim numbers.
"This year, 2012, there have been more suicides in the Army than combat deaths," he says.
Worrell paces in front of the stage in a small auditorium and talks with the soldiers for more than an hour about the warning signs of suicide. He asks them what they would do if a friend starting selling his tools and lost interest in his favorite hobbies.
A battle is under way in Iowa over whether a state Supreme Court justice can keep his job.
Critics have launched an all-out campaign to throw him off the bench because of his ruling three years ago clearing the way for same-sex marriage. The judge's supporters are fighting back, but they may need to get over their reluctance to mix politics and the judiciary.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:44 am
The University of California will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Occupy protesters at UC Davis who were pepper-sprayed last November, according to a preliminary settlement filed in district court.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 5:42 am
Months after his sudden removal from his post in Afghanistan, Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair has been charged with multiple violations of the military's Uniform Code, ranging from wrongful sexual conduct to several rules violations.
For our Newscast desk, NPR's Tom Bowman reports that "Sinclair faces multiple counts of sexual misconduct and maltreatment of subordinates, as well as charges he violated orders by possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Some called it awkward timing, others called it an outrage. Today, as Jews mark the high holy day of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the president of Iran attacked Israel in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. His message came as no surprise. The U.S. stayed away, complaining about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repulsive slurs.
For more on Ahmadinejad's speech and the dynamics of political power in Iran, I'm joined by analyst Karim Sadjadpour, who specializes in Iranian politics and society. He's with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Welcome to the program.
KARIM SADJADPOUR: Thank you, Melissa.
BLOCK: We heard Ahmadinejad today make a point of saying that this was his eighth time speaking before the general assembly. Did you hear anything different in this swan song speech, either in tone or in content, than you've heard before?
One topic you don't hear much about from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is climate change. Like so much else, it's become politically divisive, with polls showing Republicans far less likely to believe in it or support policies to address it.
But two new groups aim to work from within, using conservative arguments to win over skeptics.
It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.
Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.
In January, NPR and ProPublica reported on a potential conflict of interest at Freddie Mac, a mortgage giant sponsored by the federal government. The stories noted that even as Freddie Mac was writing rules making it harder for homeowners to refinance their mortgages, it also was stepping up investments in securities that gain when homeowners remain stuck in high-rate loans.
We just talked about the changing demographics in this country. In fact, the Pew Research Center says Latinos will make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population by the year 2050. So we talked about how that might affect our public schools, but there's another group that's paying very close attention to these changes, and that's librarians.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, a new documentary follows a harrowing day in an Oakland, California emergency room, where the policy questions about health care play out in real life. We talk with the director of "The Waiting Room." That's in just a few minutes.