National

Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write about before realizing that biggest story she'd ever cover was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about it on Nightline.

And You Thought You Had Good Attendance

Jun 12, 2012

Jalyn Brown is a graduating honors student and a varsity basketball player at Riverhead High School in Long Island, New York. She's looking forward to a well-deserved chance to sleep in after a 13-year streak of perfect attendance. Brown tells host Michel Martin about what pushed her to get to school every morning.

Many job hunters are downright frustrated. But one expert says it's not you, it's the employers and a flawed electronic application process that may be preventing qualified people from finding work. Host Michel Martin speaks with University of Pennsylvania's Peter Capelli. He's the author of Why Good People Can't Get Jobs.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Throughout the program today, we've talked a lot about tough times for college students and jobseekers, but now we want to turn it around and talk about people who are finding job satisfaction in what might be unexpected places.

Dropping Out With Debt

Jun 12, 2012

Student loan debt in the U.S. adds up to more than a trillion dollars, putting a major strain on graduates. But the weight of debt is even heavier for those who leave school without receiving a degree. Host Michel Martin speaks with Anthony Carnevale, who heads the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

Sure, "there was no sign of the men," as Laura Sullivan and Ben Bergman reported on Morning Edition.

The legend was that Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin would reappear Monday on Alcatraz Island — 50 years to the day after they escaped in one of the most daring prison breaks in U.S. history.

Americans who fear the economy is losing steam would like to see the Federal Reserve turn up the heat.

That might happen when the central bank holds its next meeting June 19-20. The Fed could take steps to drive interest rates even lower, or create fresh piles of cash to stimulate growth.

But with the election season gearing up, the Fed's ability to act boldly may be restrained. That's because the monetary policymakers want to preserve the Fed's credibility as a nonpartisan entity.

"Some top JPMorgan Chase executives and directors were alerted to risky practices by a team of London-based traders two years before that group's botched bets cost the bank more than $2 billion," The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Fifty years ago three men set out into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay in a raft made out of raincoats. It was one of the most daring prison escapes in U.S. history from what was billed as the nation's only "escape-proof prison" — Alcatraz.

Most people assume the men have been at the bottom of the bay or were swept out to sea since the night they broke free, tunneling out of their cells in part with spoons from the kitchen and climbing the prisons' plumbing to the roof.

If Republicans had their way, there would not have been a gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin. An unnecessary waste of time, many of them said.

Democrats, for the most part, disagree. Scott Walker's policies, they argued, mandated the recall election.

As for today's special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District, both Democrats and Republicans agree that it shouldn't be taking place at all.

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.

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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.

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.

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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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

I'm Melissa Block. And this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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.

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