Melissa Block talks with Lolis Eric Elie, a writer and editor behind the HBO series Treme about a new cookbook written in the voices of the show's characters. Elie says it reflects both old New Orleans traditions and more recent influences.
Shopping for school supplies is no longer just about picking up some pencils and a few notebooks. Julie Langley is the mother of a 7th grader in West Des Moines, Iowa. She says as her daughter grows, so does the number of things she’s asked to bring to school every year.
“A CD-ROM, a flash drive,” she says. “The only thing we don’t need to buy is stuff for P.E.”
As schools face budget cuts, schools are asking more of parents like Langley -- printer paper, dry-erase markers, and cleaning supplies. A survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that more than a third of teachers have asked parents to help stock the classroom when school budgets fall short. The shopping list keeps getting longer, says NSSEA spokeswoman Adrienne Dayton.
"Now the lists appear to be 30 items, sometimes totaling $50 worth of materials that really they’re asked to bring right from the beginning, if they can afford it,” Dayton says.
Some parents are being asked to do even more. Dan Lazar is the principal at Greenfield Elementary in Philadelphia. The school is facing a $175,000 shortfall. SoLazar is asking parents to pony up more than $600 per student this year.
“This is something I never want to have to do again,” Lazar says. “I don’t think I would have agreed to do it if the situation wasn’t so dire.”
The money will be used to help pay for everything from office paper to salaries for classroom assistants. Lazar says other Philadelphia schools are also asking parents for big contributions.
And the city is not alone. The same is true in New York City, where Lazar says parent-teacher groups often ask for hundreds of dollars per child.
“My concern in all of this -- and has been from the start -- is those schools…where the parents aren’t able to give,” Lazar says. “And that scares me and it saddens me, because those are our neediest kids.”
Joanna Crane organizes a school supply drive for needy families at the Red Rock Area Community Action Program south of Des Moines. She says the bumped-up supply lists are starting in preschool now.
“Paper plates, and cups, and Clorox wipes and sanitizer,” Crane says.
Crane says it’s just too much for some families -- like Christina Dale’s. The 29-year-old mother of three recently came in to the center to pick up free backpacks, pencils, and notebooks. Dale works full-time, but she says her children’s back-to-school needs can add up to hundreds of dollars she doesn’t have.
“Once you factor in the new school clothes, new shoes, the fact that they have to have a separate pair of shoes just for gym, and regular shoes to wear -- it gets very expensive,” Dale says.
And that’s before you even get in the school door. Then, there may be a whole new round of expenses.
“There may be fees to help defray the cost of uniforms; there may be fees…for additional courses that may be offered after the school day,” Domenech says. “They’re all over the place.”
People who had taken LSD, psilocybin or mescaline at any time in their lives were no more likely than those who hadn't to wind up in mental health treatment or to have symptoms of mental illness, a Norwegian study finds.
NPR correspondent and former All Things Considered co-host Noah Adams recalls a day he spent with the famed crime writer in Detroit.
From Maria Sharapova to Maria Sugarpova?
That's not a typo. The Russian-born tennis superstar says she considered temporarily changing her last name for the duration of the two-week U.S. Open to promote her line of snacks and sweets. But after careful consideration decided against the move, according to ESPN.
"Maria has pushed her team to do fun, out-of-the-box-type things to get the word out about Sugarpova," Max Eisenbud, Sugarpova, rather, Sharapova's agent, told ESPN. "In Miami, we're going to fill a glass truck full of candy and drive it around town. This was an idea that fell along those lines. But, at the end of the day, we would have to change all her identification, she has to travel to Japan and China right after the tournament and it was going to be very difficult."
Of course, the publicity she's garnered from the non-story of her name change won't hurt her candy line either. As noted by Forbes, requesting a name change with the Florida Supreme Court costs virtually nothing -- and in this case, there wasn't even a request submitted.
Whether the name ploy will translate into sales remains to be seen. Sharapova launched her line of premium candies in 2012 investing $500,000 of her own money into the company. The gummy candies are available in countries in North America, Europe and Asia.
According to Forbes, Sharapova is the highest paid female athlete in the world -- earning $29 million this year, $23 million alone just from endorsements. Forbes says her career prize money of $26.7 million ranks third all-time behind both of the Williams sisters -- Venus and Serena.
It looks like would-be Maria Sugarpova won't be joining the likes of these famous athletes, who (some, infamously) changed their names:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Lew Alcindor) - basketball player
- Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.) - boxer
- Cameron F. Awesome (born Lenroy Thompson) - boxer
- Bison Dele (born Brian Carson Williams) - basketball player
- World B. Free (born Lloyd Bernard Free) - basketball player
- Nenê (born Maybyner Rodney Hilário) - basektball player
- Chad Ochocinco (born Chad Javon Johnson) - football player
- JR Sakuragi (born Milton "J.R." Henderson) - basketball player
- Stylez G. White (born Gregory Alphonso White, Jr.) - football player
- Metta World Peace (born Ronald William Artest, Jr.) - basketball player
Soccer fans are strutting in Afghanistan today, after their national team defeated neighboring Pakistan in a friendly match sponsored by FIFA, soccer's governing body. Before Tuesday's match in Kabul, the two teams had not played each other in more than 30 years.
We hear a lot these days about cyber crime -- online hackers who get hold of credit card numbers and bank accounts, then use our identities to splurge. But whatever happened to good old fashioned stick ‘em up bank robberies?
Turns out, they've on the decline. The number of bank robberies has dropped from around 8,000 in 1990 to just over 5,000 last year, says retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza.
"There’s still a huge number of bank robberies, any way you look at it," he says.
Lanza points out that every day the banks open, about 20 get robbed. Still, he says, most bank robberies aren't the dramatic branch takeovers favored by Hollywood screenwriters.
"Someone comes in, passes a note to the teller. They say they have a weapon. Maybe they have a weapon, maybe they don’t. They get money from one teller drawer and then they leave the bank," Lanza says.
That's pretty much how things went down when Ted Nellis robbed his first bank. He was 19 at the time and was hustling pool. He's just gone broke.
"I said to a gentleman, half-jokingly, why don’t we just rob a bank? And he said sure. Let’s do it," Nellis recalls.
The two men robbed a bank in Calgary, Canada, strolled out into the street crowd and, 10 minutes later, boarded a bus out of town. Nellis says it was thrilling at the time.
"This was just incredible, that I could do this and pull it off so easily and make a fairly decent chuck of change in 30 seconds to 60 seconds work."
Nellis and his partner each bagged about $4,000 and they beat the odds by getting away. About 70 percent of bank robbers get caught the first time. Those who don't almost always go back for more.
"We blew a lot of money partying and whatnot," Nellis says. "We were broke again in about 10 weeks and began looking for another bank."
Nellis and his partner picked the bank that Nellis' parents used and hid out in their home after the robbery. But Nellis’ mom returned early from work, saw the men and the cash, and ran outside to tell the police. Nellis was sentenced to five years in prison.
That was back in the '70s. These days, robbing banks has kind of gone out of style, says the FBI’s Jeff Lanza.
"The ones that are taking place now are a crime for the less skilled, who are not smart enough to commit indentity theft or file false tax returns," he says.
Criminals take in about $2 billion a year in check and debit fraud. Bank robberies only net around $30 million. The traditional bank robbery is also a lot riskier. Bank robbers are prone to making mistakes, like leaving fingerprints or bragging about the crime.
"A lot of them, after a while, they’ll want to start bragging," says Sheriff Dale Radcliff of York County, Nebraska.
A bank robber Radcliff was tracking last year, actually posted a video of herself on YouTube, holding up a written note that she’d just robbed a bank and waving around a stack of $6,000 in cash.
"We got a call that this girl had posted pictures of herself with the money and put a video of her out on the web," says Radcliff. "That made our job real easy."
Ted Nellis told his story in a memoir: "Journey to Redemption: Small-time Pool Hustler, Convicted Bank Robber, Born Again Christian." Since leaving prison more than 30 years ago, Nellis has started a successful cleaning business and works as a licensed minister and public speaker.
He says it’s hard to think back on his criminal days, though the skills do still come in handy.
"If I can walk into a bank and rob it in broad daylight, I can stand in front of a group of people and talk," he says.
Nellis also says he’s grateful his mom turned him in.
The website Groklaw, which for 10 years demystified complex issues involving technology and the law, is shutting down. Editor Pamela Jones writes that she can't run the site without email, and that since emails' privacy can't be guaranteed, she can no longer do the site's work.
Customer reviews can make all the difference when you're buying something online. And especially with a massive shopping site like Amazon, reviews come in all shapes and sizes, from the scathing, to the fawning ... to the just plain weird.
Amazon's compiled a list of some of its most humorous product reviews. Here are some of our favorites:
Great compliment for my skin art, May 19, 2009
"Unfortunately I already had this exact picture tattooed on my chest, but this shirt is very useful in colder weather." overlook1977
Combine with other foods!, August 5, 2006
"Has anyone else tried pouring this stuff over dry cereal? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!" J. Fitzsimmons
For the Accoutrements Horse Head Mask:
My Transformation is Complete, December 3, 2012
"It is day 87 and the horses have accepted me as one of their own. I have grown to understand and respect their gentle ways. Now I question everything I thought I once knew and fear I am no longer capable of following through with my primary objective. I know that those who sent me will not relent. They will send others in my place... But we will be ready" ByronicHero
Have you seen any funny Amazon reviews? Send them to us!
"Used Jag for sale REAL CHEAP!!" the comic actor tweeted after his car broke down and burst into flames. He was helped to safety by some passersby. "Somebody's looking after me," the 87-year-old TV veteran says.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns the plant, says about 80,000 gallons of contaminated water have spewed from a metal holding tank. The leak is reportedly the largest of several at the tsunami-damaged facility.
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. You know, the standard teenager checklist.
Now LinkedIn wants in.
The giant business-networking site is trying to attract the college and pre-college crowd. It’s introduced “University Pages” -- sortof profiles for universities that offer dashboards of information like where alumni are, what fields they are in, and where they are working.
At the same time, LinkedIn has lowered its minimum sign up age in the U.S. to 14.
For those younger students, LinkedIn will be “a directory of dreams,” according to John Hill, LinkedIn’s Higher Education Evangelist.
On the one hand, he argues it will afford pre-professional students to model professional behaviors when they’re developing their profile. “Think about all the people who surround students -- parents, guidance counselors, mentors, relatives they can connect to and see how they’ve developed their professional identity and model some of that behavior.”
The new data dashboards on the University Pages will also let students discern the right university in terms of their interests post-graduation.
For example, say you were thinking about going to UC San Diego, you could look up its page and see that many alumni are in engineering and lots of them work at Qualcomm. That would work for you -- so add UC San Diego to your list.
For schools, the format affords them the opportunity to compete on the real-world merits of jobs and career preparation. “Ninety-eight percent of our incoming freshmen expect a job by the time they leave our institution,” says Brandon Buzbee, director of outreach at UC San Diego.
The troves of data LinkedIn possesses help make the case that a school can help a prospective student in the job market. “LinkedIn has access to more folks than we likely do on the university side,” says Buzbee.
So not only mightLinkedIn for the pre-college crowd help prospective students see beyond college, but it can also help them during college. “The paper resume is dead,” Buzbee says.
That’s something echoed by other education professionals. Trudy Steinfeld, Assistant Vice President of the Wasserman Center for Career Development at NYU, says LinkedIn “is how students increasingly are going to get identified not only for jobs after college but even for possible internship opportunities.”
The flipside to all the education and career talk though is that young people are a huge growth opportunity for LinkedIn. The under-25 crowd is the site’s fastest growing demographic, but still makes up only 15 percent of members. It represents a rich and underserved market for LinkedIn to tap, according to Susan Etlinger, an analyst with Altimeter Group. “There just hasn’t been a good central place for young people to learn about universities outside their own geography or in particular areas of interest for them,” says Etlinger.
Just one note to future college students: Save those pics from that party you weren’t supposed to be at for Facebook.
That fight about fees that Time Warner Cable pay CBS -- which has Time Warner blacking out CBS and Showtime for millions of people in New York, Los Angeles, and other places -- is in its third week. And for customers, it turns out breaking up with Time Warner isn't necessarily easy.
A couple days after the CBS blackout began, Nikki Muller tried to leave Time Warner because she was moving from Burbank, Calif., one of the areas affected by the blackout. She got caught in an unusually long queue. Muller was on hold for more than two hours -- enough time to eat dinner and watch a couple shows, she said.
(Marketplace called Time Warner's toll-free line this afternoon and got through in just a few minutes; the time and day you call seem to matter.)
It’s too soon to say if anecdotal reports of high call volume mean Time Warner Cable is losing lots of customers over the CBS spat. Mike Hodel, an analyst with Morningstar, said and he thinks not. He said consumers are less likely to notice programming outages over the summer. It’s the fall prime time season -- and especially NFL football season, he said -- when they’ll get mad.
“Our feeling is that until you get to a point where there’s real consumer pain, like you’ll likely have around the football season, that both sides have an incentive to continue to push for what they want and not give in,” he said.
In other words, expect the brinkmanship to continue until September.
When we talk U.S. aid to Egypt, we’re talking in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, nearly all of it military aid. The money goes into a bank account in New York, and Egyptian officials use it to buy equipment produced by American manufacturers.
Among the purchases, says Shana Marshall, of George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies. “The M1A1 Abrams tank, produced by General Dynamics, that’s probably one of the most well known items of equipment.” She says Egypt also buys F-16s, helicopters, communications equipment, missiles, and items used in domestic crowd control situations, like tear gas.
The U.S. also spends money to train the Egyptian military -- Marshall estimates hundreds of members each year, including Egypt’s military chief, General al-Sisi.
“When you see the military putting down demonstrators and so on, their training and some of their equipment is underwritten by the United States,” says Mark Lagon, a professor in the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown.
So, what’s in it for the U.S.; why’s it been so hard to pull back?
Lagon says one reason is that policy makers worry about Israel. “Egypt making peace with Israel is something we want to maintain; so that one of the fronts of instability for our closest ally in the region be kept stable.”
Experts say there are other strategic reasons. There’s a sense that aid equals influence, it builds relationships. The U.S. military also has fly-over rights and gets expedited access to the Suez Canal.
And, lots of U.S. defense industry jobs are at stake making those tanks and planes.
Later this year, the jazz legend will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Sandoval talks with guest host Celeste Headlee about his start as a trumpet player in Cuba, his relationship with Dizzy Gillespie and how American citizenship influenced his music.
Schools have long used IQ tests to group students. But some experts say labels like 'gifted' or 'disabled' are following students throughout their education — for better and worse. Guest host Celeste Headlee finds out more.
Violence continues in Egypt, and the political situation there continues to get more volatile. Guest host Celeste Headlee checks in with NPR's correspondent, Peter Kenyon.
The supercheap and palatable noodles help low-wage workers around the world get by, anthropologists argue in a new book. And rather than lament the ascendance of this highly processed food, they argue we should try to make it more nutritious.
Nearly 2 million Syrians are refugees in other countries because of the civil war in their country. Many of them — nearly 700,000, according to the U.N. — are now in Lebanese camps.
The agency acknowledged this week that it played a role in Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh's ouster in 1953. The CIA also acknowledged the existence of Area 51 and spying on Noam Chomsky.