Vikki Hankins wants nothing more in the world than to have her civil rights restored. Hankins, 43, lost the right to vote — and many others — when she went to a federal prison for selling cocaine in December 1990. She spent almost two decades behind bars for her crime.
Today, Hankins is an author and an undergrad who dreams of going to law school. She got out of prison four years ago and quickly applied to have her rights — like voting, serving on a jury and becoming a lawyer — restored.
The high school debaters at the Bay Area Urban Debate League get together every week in downtown Oakland, Calif., to hone their arguments and debating styles. But the young debaters have had a chance during the recent presidential debates to see how it's done on the national stage.
They watch with pen and worksheet, taking notes and analyzing the candidates' debating styles, hoping to glean some lessons from the pros.
There is a lot for these young debaters to observe and compare, but they have also noticed some key differences.
Two Republican lawmakers investigating the botched gun trafficking operation known as Fast and Furious say they aren't finished yet.
In a letter obtained by NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., are demanding an update on personnel actions taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives after a lengthy investigation by Congress and the Justice Department inspector general.
Another reporter has quit the mainstream news business because he thinks there's too much emphasis on entertainment rather than old-fashioned reporting:
"In Superman issue 13, the Man of Steel's alter ego, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, quits the Metropolis newspaper that has been his employer since the DC Comics superhero's earliest days in 1940," USA Today says.
Parisian dance professor Charlotte King says she needs Google for her job and life, but she doesn't trust the world's top Web search engine.
"When I'm doing some research, the day after I have some proposition of products, of stores, of places, and it's really espionage. I was spied on. I don't want that. It's unacceptable," King says.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 5:19 pm
The Great American Canyon Band is a Baltimore indie-folk act featuring husband-and-wife duo Paul and Krystal Jean Masson. The pair's first single, "Tumbleweed," is a lovely, dreamy piece of countrified rock, destined for road trips. The rest of the self-titled EP came out in May, and an additional track, "Young Lady," was released on Sept. 5; it's available for download here.
In many of his campaign speeches, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney likes to chide the Obama administration for cutting military spending. And Romney says one force in particular is suffering from a lack of resources.
"The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916," he says in many of his stump speeches. Romney promises to rebuild the Navy until it reaches 350 ships. But does a bigger Navy make the U.S. more secure?
The Tibetan Labrang Monastery in Gansu, northwestern China, is normally a place of tranquility. Now, it is also known for tragedy. Early this morning, a Tibetan farmer known as Dhondup headed to Labrang to perform the Buddhist ritual of walking around the monastery in prayer. Near the prayer hall inside the gold-roofed monastery, Dhondup lit himself ablaze in protest of Chinese rule in Tibet.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 3:10 pm
What is the point of the best-seller list? Depends who you are. If you're a reader, it's a guide to what's popular — what's new, what your neighbors are buying, and what you might like to read next. If you're a publisher, it's a source of feedback and a sales tool: It tells you how your books compete, and gives you triumphs to crow about on paperback covers.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:33 pm
Add all of us up, all 7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then?
Across the nation, the number of people who have lost the right to vote because of a felony conviction has grown dramatically in the past three decades. Currently, almost 6 million people don't have that right — and about 1.5 million of them live in Florida.
While some states are making it easier for felons to get their voting rights back, Florida has taken the opposite approach — and the path for former convicts trying to get those rights back is often an arduous one.
About 300 people have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated in the U.S. thanks to DNA evidence. But overlooked in those stories are the accounts of jurors who unwittingly played a role in the injustice.
One of those stories is playing out in Washington, D.C., where two jurors who helped convict a teenager of murder in 1981 are now persuaded that they were wrong. They're dealing with their sense of responsibility by leading the fight to declare him legally innocent.
In one North Carolina county, mugging too much for a mug shot can get you locked in a cell indefinitely.
First off, though, why would you smile for a mug shot? Thumb through those publications like TheSlammer magazine filled with nothing but mug shots and you can find entire sections of people grinning it up.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 1:53 pm
Television, the ever-present babysitter, the companion that asks nothing of you, is changing. It is changing because we're asking questions of it, and making new demands about how we watch TV, and even what we consider to be "TV."
No longer is the prime concern how big your TV should be or what furniture should point at it. For some, the box isn't even the first place they go when they want to be entertained, for we now truly live in the multiscreen age.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 10:57 am
Antoni Dobrowolski, who was put in the Auschwitz concentration camp because he defied Nazi orders not to teach young Poles, has died. He was 108 and was the oldest known survivor of that World War II Nazi death camp.
For the first time, the nation's pediatricians are wading into the controversy over whether organic food is better for you – and they're coming down on the side of parents who say it is, at least in part.