Credit Courtesy of Washington Universtiy in St. Louis
Clark Porter was 17 when he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for robbing a downtown post office at gunpoint. He spent 15 years in prison and today helps some of the toughest ex-offenders turn their lives around.
Credit Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis
Porter was hired by Chief U.S. Probation Officer Douglas Burris, who was initially taken aback by the idea of an ex-felon working for the probation office.
Every weekday, Clark Porter, a tall man with a sturdy build, walks into the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis to work with tough ex-offenders. On the outside, he wears a suit and tie. But on the inside, he has more in common with the former felons than most.
Back in 1986, a skinny 17-year-old Porter went on trial there as an adult for robbing a post office at gunpoint. His sentence: 35 years.
In The Generals, Thomas Ricks argues that the failures in America's recent wars can be directly traced to failures of those in command.
Ricks examines U.S. military leadership from World War Two to the present day, and concludes that the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan can be traced to the Army's inability to come to terms with all the lessons of Vietnam.
Last week, the Supreme Court decided to take up two cases that focus on same-sex marriage, but some gay rights advocates worry that now may not be the best time. Rulings to uphold California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be a major setback. Even if they're struck down, the rulings could well leave same-sex marriage bans in effect in 30 states. Supporters of gay marriage, given these cases and given this court: is now the right time?
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)
CONAN: That was the scene this morning outside the Michigan statehouse in Lansing as activists protested the legislature's work on two bills to rewrite the state's labor laws and make Michigan the 24th state in the country to become a right to work state. Rick Pluta, the managing editor and statehouse bureau chief for Michigan Public Radio Network, joins us now by phone from the statehouse. Nice to have you on the program today.
These gas masks were reconditioned at the Edgewood Arsenal for civilian defense use during World War II. Later, in the 1950s and '60s, the arsenal near the Chesapeake Bay was used for secret chemical weapons testing run by the U.S. Army.
Credit The New Yorker
In this week's New Yorker, journalist Raffi Khatchadourian tells the story of a secret chemical weapons testing program conducted by the U.S. Army.
In the latest issue of The New Yorker, journalist Raffi Khatchadourian writes about a secret chemical weapons testing program run by the U.S. Army during the Cold War.
Throughout the 1950s and '60s, at the now-crumbling Edgewood Arsenal by the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, military doctors tested the effects of nerve gas, LSD and other drugs on 5,000 U.S. soldiers to gauge the effects on their brain and behavior.
On a new box set from mail-order house Mosaic Records, Charles Mingus, The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964-65, the jazz legend's bands usually number between five and eight players. The bassist often made those bands sound bigger. He'd been using midsize ensembles since the '50s, but his new ones were more flexible than ever, light on their feet but able to fill in backgrounds like a large group.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. The latest unemployment numbers are out and while things are getting slightly better overall, younger people who want to work are still having a very tough time. We reached out to an economist who says apprenticeships might offer one way to offer more opportunity to the younger trying to get into the world of work. We'll talk more about that in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In a few minutes we'll hear more about singer and reality show star Jenni Rivera. She died in a private plane crash over the weekend. We'll hear about why she was such a big star on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. That's coming up.
But first, among other things, many of her fans admired about her, Jenni Rivera was a mom of five and on this program we check in every week with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy parenting advice.
Now we'd like to talk about those new unemployment numbers. Last week, we learned that the national unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7 percent. That's the lowest level in four years. But the cheering hasn't started for one group of people, the youngest workers, or would-be workers.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, you might think of apprenticeships as something out of the era of blacksmithing and barrel-making, but our next guest says it's time for this type of employment to make a comeback.
Finally, we want to take a few minutes today to remember Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She died in a plane crash in Mexico on Sunday, flying from a concert to a show taping. She was 43 years old, a mother and a grandmother, and a major star on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Here's a bit of a popular song "La Gran Senora," where she tells her man's other woman to back off.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:39 pm
As weary as many Americans grew of campaign commercials last month, they may be getting even more annoyed this month by endless talk of the fiscal cliff, the massive collection of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at year's end.
It's easy to understand the urge to stick fingers in ears and loudly chant "la-la-la-la." The budget problems are indeed complicated, and the negotiations tedious.
But resolving the mess is extremely important: Without a solution, every person who gets a paycheck or has investments will see his or her taxes rise.
A right-to-work protester walks past Michigan state police at the capitol in Lansing on Tuesday. The Michigan Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP
Thousands rally at the state capitol grounds in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday. The crowd is protesting right-to-work legislation.
Michigan's Legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday that would bar contracts requiring employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The proposed right-to-work law has infuriated union leaders in a state considered the heart of the union movement.
Republican leaders pushing the bill closely watched the fights over labor rights going on across the Midwest, but it wasn't Ohio or Wisconsin that prompted them into action. Many leaders in the public and private sector looked to their neighbor to the immediate south.
If your health insurer pays too much for a claim, you might think that would be a good kind of problem. But it could turn out to be more of a headache than a windfall.
Just ask Lisa Dowden, who had gastric bypass surgery three years ago. In September, the 51-year-old lawyer got a bill from her insurer claiming she owed more than $9,100 because it had overpaid for the services of the surgeon who assisted on her operation.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:38 pm
On Sunday, Weekend All Things Considered aired an interview with Glenfiddich Malt Master Brian Kinsman. He talked about the $94,000 that a buyer recently paid at auction for one bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 55 Year Old whisky.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 9:06 pm
Update at 6:00 p.m. ET:
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two controversial "right-to-work" bills passed earlier Tuesday by the state's House. This officially makes Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation.
The two bills give both public and private employees so-called right-to-work protections — controversial pieces of legislation that have sparked protests in and around the state capitol in Lansing.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 12:18 pm
As we've said now several times, "the White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect."
As NPR and others cover the story, we're pointing to interesting reports and analyses. Here are some of the latest.
Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 2:25 pm
If Syrian President Bashar Assad gets desperate enough he will use chemical weapons against his own people, the former chief of staff for that country's chemical weapons tells NPR's Deborah Amos.
Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, who defected in July and is now in Turkey, is convinced that if rebel forces close in on Damascus, Assad will order the use of mustard gas, sarin or other chemicals in a "last desperate act," Deb reported today on Morning Edition.
Good morning. I'm David Greene, with news that Noah's Ark has docked in the Netherlands. Well, sort of. Johan Huibers built a full-scale replica of the ark on a river, staying as true as he could to God's instructions to Noah. The giant floating hulk opened to the public with some real animals: rabbits and parakeets. The bison and tigers are life-sized sculptures. There are modern creature comforts, like two cinemas and a restaurant. And on opening day, by God, it rained. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The spirit of Hanukah is aglow in the desert. For the seventh straight year, a man in Phoenix is lighting up the tips of a giant cactus to celebrate the holiday. Mel Kline's cactus is called a saguaro. It has a middle trunk and eight arms, perfect for a menorah. And at 30 feet tall, it attracts hundreds of visitors. The Arizona Republic reports that Kline bought the cactus 35 years ago. His wife wanted a maple tree. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The Federal Trade Commission has released a report taking to task the makers of mobile apps for children. It says apps are not transparent enough about the personal information they collect. It's the latest sign the Obama administration is concerned about children's privacy online.
Lines of communication remain open in an effort to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff," according to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner.
If no deal is reached between now and the end of the year, would the consequences be that drastic?
To answer that question, let's imagine it's January and the nation has gone off the "fiscal cliff." You don't really feel any different and things don't look different, either. That's because, according to former congressional budget staffer Stan Collender, the cliff isn't really a cliff.