Melissa spent months looking for a job â€” any job. For days, the 25-year-old consistently visited her welfare-to-work program in downtown Brooklyn, resume in hand and an interview smile splashed across her face.
"Every day, Monday through Friday, 9 to 4," she explains. "That's dedication."
Melissa, who asked us to not reveal her last name, has plenty of job experience. She's a self-identified "people person" and says she aces every interview. But there's just one thing holding her back: the past.
As cocaine consumption falls in the United States, South American drug traffickers have begun to pioneer a new soft target for their product: big and increasingly affluent Brazil.
And the source of the cocaine is increasingly Bolivia, a landlocked country that shares a 2,100-mile border with Brazil.
As Brazilian police officers and border agents can attest, the drug often finds its way to Brazil by crossing the Mamore River, which separates the state of Rondonia from Bolivia in the heart of South America.
On 53rd Street and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles, violent members of at least six gangs run the streets. A landmark church is boarded up and tagged. There are liquor stores and abandoned lots. On Tuesday night, there was a drive-by shooting two blocks away, and folks are expecting retaliation.This is an area where murders, robberies and rapes are common â€” and so are guns.
"There's too many guns out there," says Randolph Wright, 18. "I can tell you right now, every hood has an AK[-47]. Regardless of whatever other gun they got, they have an AK."
Over the past year, small gnomes started springing up all around Oakland, Calif. The elfin creatures are hand-painted on wooden boards; each is about 6 inches tall, with red hat, brown boots and white beard. They're bits of urban folk art from an anonymous painter who surreptitiously screws them onto the base of utility poles.
Somehow, Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith makes a case of the deep blues sound sweet. The new album Forever Endeavour is his 13th, and the songs show him, at midlife, reflecting a lot on the passage of time.
"I think there's always something comforting about sad songs," Sexsmith says. "It's a shared thing that everyone can relate to."
Adam Mansbach is the author of the forthcoming novel Rage is Back.
Stealing my 9-year-old nephew's copy of The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was the best thing I did last summer. I was his age the first time I read it, and twice his age the last time I went back to it. I'm twice that old again now, but as soon as I dove into this intimate, majestic tale of war writ small â€” of a battle between the pushcart peddlers and the truckers of New York City â€” I realized how timeless, and how deeply a part of me, the story was.
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 5:56 am
The human neck is a delicate stem. Torque it a bit too much, and the carotid and vertebral arteries can rip, causing deadly strokes. People have torn their neck arteries riding roller coasters, doing yoga, going to the chiropractor, being rear-ended in the car â€“ even leaning back for a beauty-parlor shampoo.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:59 pm
Shots were fired at an Atlanta middle school, this afternoon, several news outlets are reporting. The Associated Press quotes an Atlanta fire official saying that a 14-year-old had been shot at Price Middle School.
WSBTV reports that one teacher was injured and the condition of the teen is not known.
Officially as of last week, there's nothing quite like Apple's stores. After an array of patents of its products, Apple has decided to go whole hog and trademark its minimalist store design. The trademark was approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 22, Reuters reported.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 8:33 am
The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.
In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.
When protests in Tunisia inspired a wave of revolutions known as the Arab Spring, Andy Carvin tracked the events in real time from thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C.
From the tear gas in Egypt's Tahrir Square, to the liberation of Libya, Carvin, NPR's senior strategist, used social media to gather and report the news.
In his book Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution, Carvin explains how he cultivated social media sources into a new form of journalism where civilians on the ground controlled the news.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:35 pm
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton "got away with murder" for her handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who led the independent investigation into the attacks, talks about the future of diplomatic security.
According to The New York Times' own investigation, Chinese hackers have been attacking the newspapers' computer system for the last four months. Infiltration happened as The Times broke a story on the vast wealth accumulated by the family of the Chinese prime minister. Officials warned The Times the story would have consequences. But hacking is not anything new in China, and they're definitely not the only country doing it today. We'll look at what China's after, who they're targeting, how they do it and why.
The Washington Post's Fact Checker takes on the subject of whether President Obama was shooting straight when he told The New Republic that he has fired a gun and that "we do skeet shooting all the time" at Camp David.
A $20.1 billion merger of beer conglomerates is now delayed, after the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev's acquisition of Mexico's dominant brewer, Grupo Modelo, Thursday. The agency's antitrust division says the two corporations haven't done enough to protect consumers.
The deal would put Corona, Bud Light, Stella Artois, and other popular beers under the same corporate umbrella, ending the competition that Justice officials say has resulted in lower prices. The Mexican government approved the merger last November.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 2:18 pm
Though increasingly common, Alzheimer's disease still isn't all that easy to diagnose, especially in its early stages.
Forgetfulness and other signs of dementia can be caused by lots of things other than Alzheimer's. Sometimes the symptoms are fleeting or normal in the context of a person's age. But at other times these symptoms mark the dark path of Alzheimer's.
Doctors' standard approach to diagnosis includes taking a medical history of the patient, assessing mental function and administering various neurological and lab tests.
Violent protests are breaking out in Egypt, just two years after a massive uprising led to the fall of the former dictator. One of the unexpected driving forces is soccer. Host Michel Martin talks to Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation about how the sport affects Egypt's political landscape.
It's been two years since Hosni Mubarak was ousted as Egypt's President. Today, there's new leadership, but the country is still in turmoil. And some Egyptians wonder if things are changing for the best. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Cairo Bureau Chief, Leila Fadel, to learn more about the new Egypt.
We turn now to an all-too-familiar story of violence here in the U.S. In Chicago, 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed on Tuesday. She was the 42nd person killed in Chicago since the beginning of the year. Last year, there were more than 500 killings. And a number of these murders, particularly of young people, brought the city to tears, but Pendleton's death has brought national attention because she recently performed with her high school drill team at the president's inauguration in Washington, D.C.
On a new box set collecting the first four albums of Jack DeJohnette and his band Special Edition, two discs are gems and the other two have their moments. DeJohnette's quartet-slash-quintet was fronted by smoking saxophonists on the way up, set loose on catchy riffs and melodies. The springy rhythm section could tweak the tempos like no one this side of '60s goddess Laura Nyro.
Ten months on the road playing Richard III in theaters around the world is a good way to prep for playing a ruthlessly ambitious politician and Washington insider â€” according to Kevin Spacey, at least.
Just before he took the role of Francis "Frank" Underwood, the fictional majority whip of the House of Representatives who hatches a plan to take down the president in the new Netflix original series House of Cards, Spacey spent nearly a year playing Shakespeare's murderously ambitious king.