The documentary Bully follows several middle- and high-school students who are different, awkward or for some other reason the targets of bullying. One of the kids at the center of the film is Alex, from Sioux City, Iowa.
In the film, Alex, a small boy, says people think he's not normal, and most kids don't want to be around him. And some kids at his school, or on the school bus especially, make his life miserable.
Director Lee Hirsch says Alex immediately struck him as someone who was having a hard time — and no one seemed to notice or really care.
As part of a new campaign, dozens of citizen groups around the country are searching voter registration lists, looking for problems.
They're also training poll watchers to monitor this fall's elections.
Leaders of the effort — spawned by the Tea Party movement — say they want to make sure that elections are free from voter fraud. But critics say it's part of a campaign to suppress the votes of minorities, students and others who tend to vote Democratic.
For many, the only way they learn a tornado is approaching are sirens. In the spring and summer, tornado sirens go off a lot more when twisters roar across Alabama, which has been hit by 900 since 2000, accounting for a quarter of all U.S. tornado deaths.
"I am still surprised that so many people rely on just one source of getting warned, and that has to change," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.
Spanking in school may seem like a relic of the past, but every day hundreds of students — from preschoolers to high school seniors — are still being paddled by teachers and principals.
In parts of America, getting spanked at school with a wooden or fiberglass board is just part of being a misbehaving student.
"I been getting them since about first grade," says Lucas Mixon, now a junior at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. "It's just regular. They tell you to put your hands up on the desk and how many swats you're going to get."
Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 5:46 pm
Update at 4:34 p.m. ET. 15 of 19 Banks Pass Stress Test:
The Federal Reserve says 15 of the country's top 19 banks have enough capital to survive a "severe recession," which it defined as "peak unemployment rate of 13 percent, a 50 percent drop in equity prices, and a 21 percent decline in housing prices."
Could Georgetown University students like Sandra Fluke have to wait an extra year for free birth control?
There's a reason to ask the question.
Fluke, in case you missed it somehow, is the law student who testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee last month about the importance of providing free contraceptive services to students and others at religiously affiliated institutions.
Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 2:31 pm
Citing an economy that is "expanding moderately," an improving labor market and subdued inflation — but a housing sector that "remains depressed" — the Federal Reserve just announced it is holding to its current policy on short-term interest rates.
The central bank's policymakers also said they expect "moderate economic growth over coming quarters" and that the jobless rate will continue to "decline gradually."
The sudden national fame for 85-year-old North Dakota newspaper columnist Marilyn Hagerty because she wrote last week that the new Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks is "impressive ... welcoming ... [and] is the largest and most beautiful restaurant now operating" in the city reinforces two things for this blogger:
1. Almost everyone loves a story about someone who seems to be just so darn nice and who's still going strong at an age when many of us will just be glad to still be around.
More than a decade ago, an album came out recorded mostly on cassette in a house, never released on a major label — and until last month it had been out of print for almost that long. When Noel Gallagher of Oasis heard it, he declared it "amazing," and The Guardian called it "the best album The Beatles never recorded."
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has been getting help from anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List as he campaigns this primary season, so far receiving nearly $500,000 in ads and other support.
The man who warned us that aerosol spray-cans could destroy the earth's protective ozone layer has died.
F. Sherwood Rowland, better known as Sherry Rowland, was a Nobel-prize winning chemist at the University of California, Irvine. And he didn't just keep to the laboratory: He successfully advocated for a ban on ozone-destroying chemicals called CFCs.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. We still don't know why a U.S. Army soldier allegedly murdered 16 men, women and children in Afghanistan. That investigation continues. The consequences, though, seem clear.
The families involved are devastated. The Taliban promises revenge. The Afghan Parliament issued a statement saying Afghans had run out of patience with foreign soldiers, and the New York Times reports that the Obama administration is debating a speedier pullout from the country.
An advertising agency sparked controversy at the South by Southwest technology conference when it hired homeless people in Austin to act as "Homeless Hotspots." Critics charge that it exploits the homeless. But Megan Garber, a staff writer for The Atlantic, sees some good in the project.
NPR's Jennifer Ludden reads from listener comments on previous show topics including the controversy over mapping Muslims, the jump in grey divorces, reaction to the viral video Kony 2012, and leaving the Catholic Church.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Losing a loved one is, simply put, painful. Such separation brings extreme sadness that can feel sometimes too heavy to bear. The Irish writer C.S. Lewis chronicled his suffering and healing after his wife died of cancer at the age of 45.
"I've figured out that there are more of them when it's a payday," photographer Alejandro Cartagena writes to me from Monterrey, Mexico, where he is based.
More carpoolers, that is — the subject of his latest project, which started somewhat accidentally. Cartagena was commissioned by a group of researchers about usage of a Monterrey street. "I wanted to see the car in the context of the street and the urbanscape," he explains. "That took me to find higher points of view, where I found these workers."
Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 11:07 am
Our friend Liz Halloran reports that Mitt Romney "might just win in the South" today as Republicans go to the polls in Alabama and Mississippi to pick between the four remaining candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.
Lucy Worsley works as the chief curator in several palatial buildings in London, including Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. In contrast, she lives in what she calls a "normal, boring modern flat."
"Strange things are happenin' to me" a bewitched Mitt Romney said recently to a crowd of Mississippi supporters. The former Massachusetts governor is right: Strange things do happen to folks, especially national political candidates, when they talk to us Southerners. They start drawling and twanging, trying to sound like us. Sometimes, they're mocking us; sometimes they're just trying to be friendly. We know the difference.