National

Renee Montagne has the latest news on Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who was involved in a traffic accident in the Los Angeles area over the weekend.

Some rural counties are having trouble affording ambulance services. Urban ambulances have frequent calls and less territory to cover, which helps keep them afloat. But in more sparsely populated areas, calls can be few and far between. Funding for these emergency services are low-hanging fruit for counties facing tough budgets. From member station KUNC, Grace Hood reports.

The legend of the escape from Alcatraz has always held that Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin would return for the 50th anniversary of their famed 1962 prison breakout. Tuesday was that anniversary. And while the men, who would now be in their 80s, haven't been heard from in half a century, family members went to the island for the first time to wait — along with U.S. Marshals — just in case.

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In the southern Rocky Mountains, several destructive wildfires are burning across a vast stretch of parched land and firefighters are struggling to gain control. In Colorado, the High Park Fire which flared up this past weekend is huge, even for a region where wildfires are common. The fires quickly engulfed more than 41,000 acres, destroying dozens of homes and buildings. And there's no end in sight. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC brings us this update.

Last week's assignment of two federal prosecutors to investigate disclosures of national security information might have been the first shot in a new war on leaks. The director of national intelligence is expected soon to announce new measures to fight unauthorized disclosures, and some members of Congress say it could be time for new anti-leaking laws.

Enter the glorious Rose Reading Room on the third floor of the New York Public Library on a weekday afternoon, and you'll find almost every chair filled.

Scholars and researchers still submit their book requests on slips of paper and wait for their numbers to appear on two large boards.

The stacks, filled with some 3 million volumes, are closed to the public, so books are retrieved from seven floors of shelving below. Still other volumes are stored off-site.

Without question, drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. Counterterrorism officials say they've come to rely on the pilotless aircraft for their surveillance capability and what officials say is precision targeting. That reliance has led to greater use in the past couple of years, especially in Pakistan and Yemen.

John Bellinger, a State Department legal adviser during the George W. Bush administration, says there are increasing concerns about the frequency of drone attacks.

Most American troops have left Iraq, and many have left Afghanistan. Now more than half a million of them have left the service — and they're going to college. Some vets say the transition is like landing on another planet, but they aren't the only ones struggling: The college staffs are, too.

Across the country, swimmers are putting in their final laps before this month's Olympic trials. For many, the dream of making the U.S. swim team has been what gets them out of bed for a predawn practice. But on the men's side of the pool, the superstars of swimming often leave little room for anyone else.

At a recent swim practice in Nashville, Tenn., Dakota Hodgson, 20, puts in laps. And speed-walking to keep up, stopwatch in hand, is his gray-haired coach and father, Charlie Hodgson.

Charlie calls out Dakota's time: "29.24."

Voters in southeastern Arizona go to the polls Tuesday in a special election to fill the rest of the congressional term of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords, a Democrat, resigned in January, a year after she was critically wounded in a shooting rampage. Running to fill the remaining six months of her term are her former aide, Ron Barber, and Republican Jesse Kelly, a businessman and Iraq War veteran.

The special election has echoes of the 2010 congressional campaign in the Tucson-based 8th Congressional District.

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A member of the Cabinet is under investigation for a series of auto accidents in California. Commerce Secretary John Bryson allegedly hit a car that was stopped at a railroad crossing on Saturday, then hit it again as he drove off. Later, Bryson allegedly hit a second vehicle. He was found unconscious in his car. Police say there's no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role and no one was seriously hurt. The Commerce Department says Bryson suffered a seizure, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

Late last week the attorney general, under pressure from lawmakers, appointed two prosecutors to look into leaks of national security secrets. But leak cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute, and the prospects for these cases are problematic.

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The number of Nevada residents who are not fluent in English jumped almost 50 percent over the last decade. And that increase has led to a growing demand for interpreter services in Nevada's courts.

As Jude Joffe-Block of member station KJZZ reports, courts are having a tough time meeting that demand because of shrinking budgets.

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CORNISH: The child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky began today in Pennsylvania. The former Penn State assistant football coach faces more than 50 counts of sexually abusing 10 young boys. He denies the charges. Lawyers painted two sharply conflicted portraits of Sandusky in opening statements today.

NPR's Joel Rose was in the courtroom in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and joins me now. Hello, Joel.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take a second look at how its 2008 decision on the rights of detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is being carried out.

In his opening statement at the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky this morning, the prosecutor accused Sandusky of "cultivating" young boys over many years for his alleged "serial predatory behavior," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes.

Why Is Poverty, Inequality Growing?

Jun 11, 2012

The number of people living in poverty is the highest it's been since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking poverty estimates. Plus, the gap between those earning the most and the least continues to grow. Host Michel Martin discusses the current state of poverty and income inequality with two experts on the subject, Timothy Noah and Peter Edelman.

Is Teach For America Failing?

Jun 11, 2012

Teach for America has been touted for its success in bringing talented people into the field of education. But it has also been drawing criticism, even from former supporters, about whether the program is effective. Host Michel Martin talks with Gary Rubenstein, a Teach for America alum, a veteran teacher and a critic of the program.

In Defense Of Teach For America

Jun 11, 2012

Teach for America is drawing criticism from some education policy observers who say its training for new recruits is rushed and incomplete. The organization, however, vigorously defends its record. Host Michel Martin speaks with Heather Harding of Teach for America about the program's challenges and its future.

In a state full of tasty surprises, count the Swanton Berry Farm, along the coast highway just north of Santa Cruz, California, among the most charming. At this pick-your-own, certified-organic berry field and farm stand cafe on the planted bluffs above a tumbling surf, you can pick or picnic with ocean views — and, if you're lucky, catch a glimpse of a grey whale and her calf migrating north from Baja.

There was a 4 percent drop in the number of violent crimes reported in the U.S. last year vs. 2010, the FBI reports. It's the fifth straight year of declines, according to FBI records.

In its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, the FBI says that data collected from 14,009 law enforcement agencies indicate that:

Two political tried-and-truisms: Sitting presidents are hard to unseat, and history repeats itself.

To the first point: In the past 10 presidential elections with incumbent candidates, the incumbents have won seven times. The only incumbent losers were Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Occupy Wall Street's founding forum has declared that the movement's "first generation is succumbing to an insidious institutionalization and ossification that could be fatal to our young spiritual insurrection unless we leap over it right now."

And Canada's Adbusters website, which kicked off the Occupy idea last year, says that "putting our movement back on track will take nothing short of a revolution within Occupy."

Commerce Secretary John Bryson suffered an apparent "seizure" before a series of car crashes on Saturday in Los Angeles, a department spokesman says, according to an Associated Press "alert" issued just after 9:30 a.m. ET today.

As we reported earlier, Bryson was involved in three seemingly fender benders that did little damage and left those involved with only minor injuries — but led police to cite him for "felony hit-and-run."

Update at 10:26 p.m. ET. Bryson To Take Medical Leave:

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DAVID GREENE HOST: If you've ever felt a sudden urge to give money to a politician but you just couldn't get to your checkbook or your computer in time, well, the Federal Election Commission is getting ready to help. The Commission today might approve a proposal to allow contributions via mobile phone. Here's NPR's Peter Overby.

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In the U.S., as we all know, getting basic health care can be financially out of reach for many people who don't have insurance. Some doctors are trying to fill that need by charging patients a flat monthly fee for medical care.

From Oregon, we have story about one of those medical clinics where the doctor is effectively on retainer. Rachael McDonald of member station KLCC reports.

RACHAEL MCDONALD, BYLINE: Steven Kennedy sits in an exam room with Dr. Steven Butdorf. He's getting a physical.

A Comeback For Downtown Cleveland

Jun 11, 2012

Almost 11 years ago, Phil Alexander opened his company, BrandMuscle, in the affluent Cleveland suburb of Beachwood.

The company sells marketing software to corporate clients worldwide, and its offices have a lean, energetic vibe, with 20-somethings tossing around ideas in multiscreened meeting rooms or a comfortable coffee bar.

Sandusky Trial Opens Near Penn State

Jun 11, 2012

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Opening statements are beginning today in the sex-abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky, the long time assistant football coach at Penn State University. Sandusky denies the charges that he sexually abused 10 young boys over the course of 15 years. The case is being heard in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, just a few miles up the road from Penn State's Campus. NPR's Joel Rose has the story.

Alcoholics Anonymous has long been known for the anonymity of its members. But there are two key figures in AA's history whose names are well known.

One is co-founder Bill Wilson, known as "Bill W." Beginning in the 1930s, Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith began helping other alcoholics in order to maintain their own sobriety.

Wilson's simple grave in Vermont makes no mention of his work. That doesn't stop people from visiting it, especially on this annual Bill W. Day. But people seek out Wilson's grave in a small cemetery near his birthplace in East Dorset, Vt., all year long.

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