The Federal Reserve has released the results of its much-anticipated stress test of the nation's biggest banks. The Fed says most of the nation's 19 biggest financial institutions passed the tests, although four did not. To find out what this means, we turn to NPR's Jim Zarroli. Jim, first, why is the Fed running stress tests? What are they supposed to show about the banks?
Los Angeles has become the nation's first city to require male adult film actors to wear condoms. The city council's new ordinance has riled the region's billion-dollar-plus porn industry. Filmmakers are warning that the measure will harm the local economy and threaten the health of industry performers.
Condoms are now required on all film shoots that receive a city permit, but the law does not apply to adult films shot in studios. Those don't require city permitting in the first place. But a proposed ballot measure in November looks to extend the law throughout the county.
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.
This May 3, 1999, funnel became the F-5 storm that damaged thousands of buildings in central Okahoma. University of Oklahoma storm chasers and observers are anticipating the annual tornado season as it approaches the central part of the country.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Dozens of people line up in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., supermarket. They're buying weather alert radios and having them programmed to receive specific warnings about bad weather. Tuscaloosa was hit by a monster tornado that decimated parts of the town last April.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Computer screens at the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service show forecast models. Meteorologists use the information to predict severe weather. During Alabama's tornado outbreak on April 27, 2011, forecasters were forced to take shelter when one of the twisters came close to their offices.
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.
Holmes County High School Principal Eddie Dixson says paddling is used for minor offenses like back-talking or consistent tardiness. Students at the school are spanked only by Dixson or the assistant principal, and there is always a witness.
Credit Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida
A wooden paddle sits on the principal's desk at Sneads High School in Jackson County, Fla. Almost every county in the state's rural north has policies that allow schools to paddle students.
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
Credit Federal Reserve
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."
Credit Jackson Forderer for Minnesota Public Radio
AGCO employees work on the assembly line in the company's newly expanded Jackson, Minn., manufacturing plant. The expansion brought the facility's staff from 850 to 1,050 workers and allows the plant to make tractors that were previously made in France.
Credit Annie Baxter for NPR
Richard Beaulieu operates a molding machine that makes rubber parts for radiators at Hiawatha Rubber Co., just outside Minneapolis.
Sandra Fluke, a third-year law student at Georgetown University and former president of the Students for Reproductive Justice group there, testifies during a hearing before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee last month in Washington.
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.
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."
Her fame has taken Marilyn Hagerty to New York City to be on the TV networks. And her newspaper has created a blog just for following her travels.
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."
Supporters of Rick Santorum, organized by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, spoke outside the Georgia State Capitol Building on March 5.
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.