WBEZ | All Things Considered http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Senators Want Moratorium on Dismissing Soldiers During Investigation http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/senators-want-moratorium-dismissing-soldiers-during <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/morrison-edit_custom-1c52a64c3259d5d3348a9acdceda04d47704ab63-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Four U.S. senators are calling on the Army to stop kicking out soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and have been diagnosed with mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries &ndash; effective immediately.</p><p>The senators say they&#39;re motivated by an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/28/451146230/missed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct">investigation</a>&nbsp;by NPR and Colorado Public Radio that revealed the Army has continued to discharge troubled troops for misconduct, even though the Army&#39;s then- Acting Secretary Eric Fanning&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/04/458458063/army-says-it-will-review-cases-of-dismissed-soldiers-with-mental-health-problems">promised late last year</a>&nbsp;to investigate whether the practice is unfair.</p><p>We found that since 2009, the Army has kicked out more than 22,000 mentally-wounded combat troops on the grounds of misconduct, and taken away their benefits, instead of helping them. As a result of that report, 12 Democrat senators&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/04/454675053/lawmakers-call-for-army-to-investigate-misconduct-discharges-of-service-members">sent a letter</a>to Fanning and the general who run the Army, demanding an investigation.</p><p>Developments since then raise questions about the Army&#39;s investigation. For instance, Fanning appointed Debra Wada, the Army&#39;s assistant secretary in charge of Manpower and Reserve Affairs to lead the review.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s puzzling and troubling,&quot; says David Sonenshine, a former military prosecutor who now works with the National Veterans Legal Services Program.Two weeks after she was named, Wada signed a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/documents/2016/feb/Morrison-Final-Order.pdf">document ordering commanders to dismiss Larry Morrison</a>, a highly-decorated combat soldier who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was one of the soldiers profiled in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cpr.org/news/story/investigation-army-kicked-out-thousands-soldiers-brain-injuries-mental-health-issues">original report</a>&nbsp;by NPR an CPR.</p><p>He says because &quot;the person who&#39;s in charge of the investigation is also the same person who ultimately reviews some of these administrative separations, [it] creates the picture that there&#39;s just something unfair or unobjective about the process.&quot;</p><p>Morrison&#39;s Army records suggest he&#39;s the kind of soldier that senators say the Army should help, not punish. He&#39;s a 20-year veteran. He fought four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Army awarded him a Bronze Star.</p><p>After Morrison came home to Fort Carson, in Colorado, he was diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. He pleaded guilty to drunken and reckless driving. Commanders at Fort Carson also alleged he belonged to a &quot;criminal&quot; motorcycle gang &mdash; which Morrison denies. They asked top Army officials for clearance to kick him out for misconduct.</p><p>Now that Wada has signed the order, Morrison won&#39;t be able to receive a combat soldier&#39;s usual benefits, including free health care.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve given them all of my youthful years, I&#39;m 42 years old,&quot; Morrison says. &quot;And now they want to put me out with no benefits. They want to give me an &#39;other than honorable&#39; discharge, so I can&#39;t get a job, I can&#39;t go to school, and [they&#39;re going to] take my 20-year retirement away. So they want to put me on the streets with nothing.&quot;</p><p>Four senators tell NPR and CPR they want the Army to stop dismissing soldiers diagnosed with mental health problems until the Army finishes its investigation.</p><p>&quot;The Army needs to halt the discharge process,&quot; says Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. &quot;What it does, it stops any kind of wrongdoing from going forward.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It seems to me to be common sense that the Army would impose a moratorium on taking disciplinary actions against soldiers while they undergo this review,&quot; says Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.</p><p>&quot;If something is concerning enough to investigate, common sense says that you wait until the results of that investigation, before you take further action,&quot; says Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. &quot;And I think that&#39;s just garden variety fairness.&quot;</p><p>Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also tells NPR and CPR that she wants the Army to impose a temporary moratorium on discharging combat troops for misconduct if they&#39;ve been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.</p><p>Army officials declined to say whether they&#39;ll comply with the senators&#39; requests for a moratorium. They also declined our requests for an interview.</p><p>&quot;The review is ongoing, so it would be premature for us to comment on any aspect of it at this time,&quot; Jennifer Johnson, an Army spokesperson, tells NPR in a written statement.</p><p>Meanwhile, Morrison just got his final orders. The Army will kick him out Thursday, Feb. 4.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/01/464907342/senators-want-moratorium-on-dismissing-soldiers-during-investigation?ft=nprml&amp;f=464907342"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/senators-want-moratorium-dismissing-soldiers-during Why Some Still Can't Find Jobs as the Economy Nears 'Full Employment' http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-economy-nears-full <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-185743197_wide-ca2aa052aea1cad8bc4df14edd823add15e92ad5-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res464870357" previewtitle="Economists use the phrase &quot;full employment&quot; to mean the number of people seeking jobs is roughly in balance with the number of openings."><div data-crop-type="">&quot;Full employment&quot; is a phrase economists use to explain how the job market recovers from a recession. We&#39;ll be hearing this phrase a lot as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">Labor Department</a>&nbsp;releases the latest jobs data on Friday. It&#39;s expected to show that employers added even more workers in January.</div></div><p>But the phrase doesn&#39;t tell the full story for millions of Americans either still out of work or who are looking for something better than part-time work.</p><div id="res464898219"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><strong>What is full employment and what does it mean?</strong></p><p>To economists, it&#39;s when the number of people seeking jobs is roughly in balance with the number of openings. It doesn&#39;t mean the unemployment rate is zero because that&#39;s not realistic. There will always be some unemployment. Companies have to close down obsolete operations, individuals have to quit their jobs to move with a spouse, or they might move to look for something better with higher pay.</p><p><strong>If the economists don&#39;t mean zero unemployment when they use the phrase &quot;full employment,&quot; what do they mean?</strong></p><p>Economists say a healthy job market has an unemployment rate somewhere between 4.6 percent and 5 percent. Some people are quitting, some people are getting hired &mdash; there&#39;s churn but no despair.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462362534/u-s-economy-added-a-robust-292-000-jobs-in-december">In December</a>, the national rate was 5 percent and now many predictions have the rate gliding down to 4.6 percent by July. So bingo, we&#39;re basically there at full employment. If all goes as expected in 2016, people who want jobs will be able to find them, and employers who need workers will be able to attract them.</p><div id="res464897368"><div id="responsive-embed-unemployment-20160108"><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div></div><p><strong>Is it really fair to use the term &quot;full employment&quot; when that doesn&#39;t seem to match the reality that a lot of people are experiencing?</strong></p><p>Those words can hit hard and they can hurt because it sounds like you must be doing something wrong. But really, unemployment is very regional. In West Virginia, there are counties today with unemployment rates of 12 percent or even 13 percent. But in California&#39;s Silicon Valley, the rate is virtually zero, with companies battling each other for workers. So geography matters!</p><p>And there are big differences based on age. For black teenagers nationwide, the unemployment rate is 21 percent. For women of any color, if you&#39;re 50, studies show you have a tough time getting back to the workforce. You become long-term unemployed. Besides age and location, more than anything, education determines your unemployment rate. For college graduates, it&#39;s 2.3 percent unemployment; for high school dropouts, 7 percent.</p><p><strong>Is &quot;full employment&quot; something that a lot of Americans are still going to experience as something very unsatisfying?</strong></p><p>If you&#39;re a 30-year-old with a college degree and a U-Haul, you&#39;re all set, you can find jobs. If you want to go to night school and you want to move, you can be part of that full employment economy. But the reality for a lot of people is that it is very hard. About 7.9 million people remain unemployed because they may not fit that demographic description. Like women in their 50s who may actually be at the center of a whole financial and emotional ecosystem, taking care of aging parents, as well as children and grandchildren, it can be very hard to move.</p><p><strong>Is this sort of a new normal in that what we call &quot;full employment&quot; is really not at all &quot;full&quot; but very uneven?</strong></p><p>Yes, we can say now that for younger, tech-savvy, well-educated people, jobs abound. The recession truly is over. And&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462410820/the-employment-outlook-for-2016-is-looking-much-brighter">2016 should be a great year</a>&nbsp;for job hunting. But for people in their 50s with rusty skills or teenagers with relatively little education, the phrase &quot;full employment&quot; is a painful taunt.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/31/464856256/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-as-the-economy-nears-full-employment?ft=nprml&amp;f=464856256"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-economy-nears-full Chicago Teens and Combat Veterans Join Forces to Process Trauma http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/chicago-teens-and-combat-veterans-join-forces-process <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/urbanwarriors09edit_custom-9459b1b92239d1fd205db74ec32154c764aa2bf7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you took a map of Chicago and put down a tack for each person shot last year, you&#39;d need nearly 3,000 tacks.</p><p>Of those, 101 would be clustered in the neighborhood of East Garfield Park. That&#39;s where 15-year-old Jim Courtney-Clarks lives.</p><p>&quot;To be honest, I really don&#39;t like it,&quot; Courtney-Clarks says. &quot;Every time you look up somebody else is getting killed, and I never know if it&#39;s me or somebody I am really close to.&quot;</p><p>For kids in some Chicago neighborhoods, walking up and down the same street where there was a beating or a shooting or a body is just part of life &mdash; one that isn&#39;t always talked about.</p><p>That&#39;s something the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ymcachicago.org/programs/youth-safety-and-violence-prevention-programs#urbanwarriors">Urban Warriors program</a>&nbsp;is trying to change. The YMCA of Metro Chicago project connects kids like Courtney-Clarks, who live in high-violence neighborhoods, with veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and who might understand what they&#39;re going through.</p><p>The program is built on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/types/violence/effects-community-violence-children.asp">the idea that these kids are experiencing trauma and need to process it</a>, and that witnessing or experiencing violence can affect how they behave at home, react at school, or lead them to commit violence themselves.</p><div id="res464038552" previewtitle="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/22/urbanwarriors10_custom-9deeb04db577c9d1425fccc75cfffe2537dc05ac-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 620px;" title="The Urban Warriors program takes place at YMCAs in the Chicago's Humboldt Park and Little Village neighborhoods. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>The man behind the program is Eddie Bocanegra. Today he&#39;s the co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention programs at the YMCA. But 20 years ago, he was a 19-year-old gang member serving prison time on felony murder charges.</p></div></div></div><p>Bocanegra traces the idea for Urban Warriors back to a conversation he had while he was in prison. It was during a visit from his brother, Gabriel Bocanegra, a decorated Army veteran who had done two tours of duty in Iraq.</p><p>Fresh from therapy, Gabriel told his brother stories about struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder &mdash; and how he thought Eddie was also dealing with the effects of trauma.</p><p>Eddie was skeptical, but his brother pressed him, recalling the violence of their childhood &mdash; black eyes, stab wounds, run-ins with the police. The trauma was ongoing, his brother said.</p><p>&quot;&#39;Every time that I come and visit you, what you talk to me about is prison assaults, you talk about people who commit suicide. ... You talk about it as if it was just normal,&#39;&quot; Eddie remembers his brother telling him. &quot;And he was explaining to me, &#39;Like, Eddie, actually this does something to you. And the reason why you&#39;re pretty upset most of the time, or you&#39;re not sleeping well, is because of what you&#39;ve been through.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Eddie says he was in denial. &quot;I have never been to war,&quot; he thought. &quot;This is normal, this is nothing, compared to what I know (my brother has) gone through.&quot;</p><div id="res464300250" previewtitle="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors01_custom-ed98562d0ee128191414d6a3cea03c86a23138fa-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 419px; width: 620px;" title="After serving 14 years for a gang-related murder, Eddie Bocanegra graduated from the University of Chicago and created the Urban Warriors program. He is co-executive director of youth safety and violence prevention at the YMCA in Chicago. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>His brother urged Eddie to see a therapist when he got out of prison. When he was released, he did eventually. He also returned to the Chicago neighborhoods where he was once a gang member and worked for an anti-violence program.</p></div></div></div><p>Many of the gang members Bocanegra met had witnessed violence or been victims as kids. He wanted to get to them sooner, using people they respect as mentors. He gave the kids a list of potential role models from the neighborhood; they liked the idea of veterans.</p><p>&quot;Kids identify themselves as soldiers, because they live in war zone communities,&quot; Bocanegra says. &quot;They make the parallels between, veterans, you know, carry guns, we carry guns. They got ranks, we got ranks. They got their army uniforms, we got our gang colors. And the list went on and on.&quot;</p><p>For the last two years, he&#39;s put this idea into practice with the Urban Warriors program.</p><p>On a Saturday morning late last year at Chicago&#39;s Kelly Hall YMCA, a group of seven veterans &mdash; a mix of black, white and Latino men, some of whom grew up in the same neighborhoods as the teens &mdash; sit in a circle. The dozen or so boys shuffle in one by one. Some are cheerful, some sullen with sweatshirt hoods and baseball caps pulled low. They grab granola bars and take a seat.</p><p>Mikhail Dasovich is a 25-year-old Marine Corps veteran helping to lead the session. He joined Urban Warriors after seeing a flyer about the program at his therapist&#39;s office where he was getting help for PTSD.</p><p>The tough stories started from the very first meeting, Dasovich recalls.</p><div id="res464300912" previewtitle="(Top, left) In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. (Top, right) Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. (Bottom) Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Top, left) In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. (Top, right) Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. (Bottom) Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors17edit_custom-16a9142bf50ae834ab166096a4614ade47047c46-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 615px; width: 620px;" title="Top, left: In an exercise designed to open up the conversation between veterans and teenagers, Navy veteran Jamal McPherson waits for others to ask him questions. Top, right: Veteran Mikhail Dasovich, who served as a Marine in Sangin in Afghanistan, shares his tattoos with participants. Bottom: Bocanegra speaks at the start of the day's program. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I was very, very nervous, and all of the youth were looking at me. And everyone&#39;s clowning, everyone&#39;s joking,&quot; he says. &quot;And one of the youth ... he says to me like, &#39;Hey, you ever seen someone get shot in front of you?&#39; And the whole room went silent, and I was like &#39;Oh man, like, this quick, huh?&#39;&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>Dasovich told the group about watching his platoon sergeant get shot, right in front of him, during the war.</p><p>&quot;I went into detail, what seeing my father figure getting tore up by rifle bullets, what that did to me emotionally,&quot; Dasovich says.</p><p>Immediately, the teen who asked the question then offered up his story.</p><p>&quot;Right from my answer [he] goes in to describe how he had to watch his two cousins get gunned down right in front of him.&quot; Dasovich says. &quot;And that was something I had never felt before, to have such a young man so effortlessly describe the execution of his family members.&quot;</p><p>&quot;These kids, before they&#39;re 16, have, in essence, really been to combat,&quot; he says.</p><div id="res464317723" previewtitle="(Left to right) Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(Left to right) Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors-composite_custom-cfbd2854205a4609c17a4294c21b326676008b9a-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 307px; width: 620px;" title="Left to right, Jim Courtney-Clarks, 15; Noel Melecio, 15; and Marine veteran Mikhail Dasovich, 25. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Dasovich says he sees the effects of neighborhood violence on some of the teenagers, and recognizes some of the same habits he picked up serving in combat.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;I see the same levels of self-awareness with these kids when we&#39;re outside, just seeing how they&#39;re looking around,&quot; he says. &quot;It piques up right in me, remembering just having to check my sectors, always feeling like I had to check my back when I came home from the war.&quot;</p><p>Being alert is just a way of life for most of these boys. Fifteen-year-old Noel Melecio brings up a few recent attacks in his neighborhood, Logan Square. He says he thinks the same thing almost happened to him.</p><p>&quot;Me and my friend were walking, and I look back and I see there&#39;s one group of kids behind me, which is like two or three kids and then across the street I see another group of kids,&quot; he says. &quot;I think they&#39;re trying to wrap around so they can get in front of us, so I tell my friend, &#39;Start running.&#39; And we start running and they start chasing us.&quot;</p><p>Melecio got away, and later shared the story with the vets and kids in the group.</p><p>For Urban Warriors that&#39;s the idea: The teens talk about what they&#39;re going through, the veterans help them figure out how to process it.</p><p>But getting them to open up takes time. Over the program&#39;s 16 weeks, the veterans build trust through team building, talking and sometimes just playing.</p><p>At the recent Saturday session, that included a rowdy race through a makeshift obstacle course of folding chairs and lunch tables. The catch: a blindfolded member on each team and a military-like mandate that no one is left behind.</p><div id="res464301124" previewtitle="(From left) Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="(From left) Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors16_custom-47a2ab1062415bbaca2998835e8302f16d863c9f-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 405px; width: 620px;" title="From left, Marine veterans Richard Rivera and Dasovich help a youth participate in a trust-building exercise. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Eventually they break into small groups &mdash; three or four kids for each veteran. And that&#39;s where they get at the most difficult subjects: suicide, loss, grief. They might have endured the deaths of family or friends, witnessed assaults or other violence.</p></div></div></div><p>Melecio says it wasn&#39;t easy for him to share at first.</p><p>&quot;It was like, all we do is just come here and sit here and just talk about feelings,&quot; he says. &quot;I can do that anywhere else.&quot;</p><p>The program is voluntary and some kids do drop out. Melecio says the veterans are what got him to stay.</p><p>&quot;Anywhere else anybody would just tell you, &#39;Oh, you&#39;ll be OK,&#39; or they&#39;ll pat you on the back or something. But them, they like get into your feelings and help you sort them out,&quot; he says.</p><p>But just sticking it out isn&#39;t a measure of success. In fact, people around the country are weighing this idea &mdash; that neighborhood violence can cause trauma that should be treated.</p><div id="res464301485" previewtitle="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/25/urbanwarriors09edit_custom-9459b1b92239d1fd205db74ec32154c764aa2bf7-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Noel Melecio, 15, talks with YMCA outreach worker John Vergara during a recent Urban Warriors session. (Alyssa Schukar for NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>In California, a handful of families&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/10/01/445001579/ruling-in-compton-schools-case-trauma-could-cause-disability">sued the Compton school district</a>&nbsp;arguing that trauma is a disability that schools should accommodate. Baltimore is putting workers, city-wide,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-trauma-training-20150827-story.html.">through train</a><a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-trauma-training-20150827-story.html.">ing to detect and understand trauma</a>&nbsp;in the communities they serve.</p></div></div></div><p>The Urban Warriors program raises many questions: How do you know if a kid is coping better? What about the vets? Does mentoring help them deal with PTSD? Researchers from the University of Chicago have begun studying the kids who have completed the program &mdash; currently about 80 &mdash; in order to start answering those questions.</p><p>In the meantime, Jim Courtney-Clarks, the teenager wondering whether he&#39;d be the next shooting victim in his neighborhood, is unequivocal. He says Urban Warriors has changed the way he thinks about his future.</p><p>&quot;The past week, I was just thinking about dropping out of school,&quot; he says. &quot;Until today. And I see that it&#39;s a lot of stuff that I can accomplish if I stay in school, by looking at the veterans. Like I&#39;m not sure if I want to go to college, but I might want to join the police academy or just go to the Navy or something.&quot;</p><p>For Courtney-Clarks and the veterans of Urban Warriors, that&#39;s a start.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/chicago-teens-and-combat-veterans-join-forces-process Teaching Kids About Slavery: Picture Books Struggle with the Task http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/teaching-kids-about-slavery-picture-books-struggle-task <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/9780375868320_custom-cf00cbbd1229995eac509848e751fe9ea5ad5b63-s400-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The shelves and desks at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.teachingforchange.org/">Teaching for Change</a>&nbsp;in Washington, D.C., are full of picture books. For years, the nonprofit, which advocates for a more inclusive curriculum in public schools, has been keeping track of what it considers to be some of the best &mdash; and worst &mdash; multicultural children&#39;s books out there.</p><p>Allyson Criner Brown, Teaching for Change&#39;s associate director, says they keep the bad ones because &quot;there&#39;s so much to learn from them.&quot;</p><p><em>A Birthday Cake for George Washington</em>&nbsp;was just put on the bad shelf.</p><p>Over the weekend, the publisher&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/18/463488364/amid-controversy-scholastic-pulls-picture-book-about-washingtons-slave">Scholastic announced it would stop distributing the children&#39;s picture book</a>&nbsp;after public outcry.</p><p>Even though it was created by a multicultural team, the book came under heavy criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery. Just a few months ago, another children&#39;s book,&nbsp;<em>A Fine Dessert,</em>&nbsp;drew similar criticism.</p><div id="con463985245" previewtitle="Book Edition Information"><div id="res463985287" previewtitle="A Fine Dessert"><div data-crop-type=""><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/463985215/a-fine-dessert-four-centuries-four-families-one-delicious-treat"><img alt="A Fine Dessert" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/a/a-fine-dessert/9780375868320_custom-cf00cbbd1229995eac509848e751fe9ea5ad5b63-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 257px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall" /></a></div></div></div><p>It also raised questions about the diversity of the publishing industry and especially about the struggle parents, teachers and authors face when presenting such sensitive topics to young children.</p><p><em>A Birthday Cake for George Washington</em>&nbsp;tells the story of Hercules, a slave Washington used as a chef. It&#39;s a book full of smiles, as Hercules and his daughter, Delia, take pride in baking for the president.</p><p>But the story glosses over the fact that Hercules and Delia are in bondage. And it&#39;s only in a note following the story that the author writes that Hercules escaped, leaving his daughter behind.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s almost as if the book presents that because he had moments of happiness and because he took pride and joy in his work that outweighs the fact that he was enslaved,&quot; Brown said. &quot;And that cannot ever be a part of telling any story about somebody who was held in bondage.&quot;</p><p>Brown said that kind of simplistic, idealized narrative in a picture book is just a reflection of the adult world.</p><p>This is a country, she said, that wants to believe that the United States started as the land of the free and the home of the brave.</p><p>&quot;The nation didn&#39;t start like that for everyone,&quot; she said. &quot;So, as much as we struggle with it, how to then have these difficult conversations with our children with things that we&#39;re wrestling with ourselves, I think is very tough for a lot of people.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/138262863/elijah-of-buxton"><img alt="Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/e/elijah-of-buxton/9780439023450_custom-3c16b48f1ca25885968694532a3e28c195e1a960-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis" /></a></p><p>But&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/Ebonyteach?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Ebony Elizabeth Thomas</a>, a professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania, said children are not waiting around for adults.</p><p>Thomas studies how schools approach touchy subjects like slavery, and she spent time with students at a Philadelphia middle school.</p><p>&quot;I found out that kids are not only ready to discuss these topics, but they are already discussing these topics with their friends,&quot; Thomas said.</p><p>At the time of her research, the students were reading<em> Elijah of Buxton</em>,&nbsp;a book about a runaway slave in Canada. Thomas said the kids were making sophisticated connections between the historical fiction and the realities of the Black Lives Matter movement today.</p><p>So the reality is that while kids&nbsp;are already grappling with some of the world&#39;s ugliness, she said, adults&nbsp;are still clinging to a Victorian ideal of an innocent child.</p><p>Adults are thinking &quot;the innocence of the ideal child must be protected at all costs,&quot; she said. &quot;We must keep the dirty secrets of our society away from those kids. And I think that kids are seeing those contradictions.&quot;</p><p>That protection instinct is familiar to writer Matt de la Peña &mdash; especially because he&#39;s a new father.</p><p>&quot;I have a 20-month-old daughter,&quot; he said. &quot;And you really just want to protect your daughter so much from the sadness. And you feel like, she&#39;s gonna see it eventually on her own. But then you have to take a step back and say my need to protect isn&#39;t as important as for her to see the truth.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/383856474/last-stop-on-market-street"><img alt="Last Stop on Market Street" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/l/last-stop-on-market-street/9780399257742_custom-3b33ff288b57c2455cbfda64d074e73507324032-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 381px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson" /></a></p><p>The truth is something de la Peña thinks about a lot. His books for young adults often deal with the harsh realities of crime and violence. That honesty, he said, is valuable to kids.</p><p>&quot;Young readers have a chance to experience very scary and sad and dark things in books,&quot; he said. &quot;It&#39;s kind of the safest way to experience these things for the first time.&quot;</p><p>De la Peña&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberymedal">just won a Newbery Medal</a>&nbsp;for his book<em>&nbsp;Last Stop on Market Street.</em></p><p>It&#39;s about CJ, a black kid taking a bus ride to the soup kitchen with his grandma.</p><p>At one point CJ asks why the poor neighborhood is always so dirty.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes when you&#39;re surrounded by dirt,&quot; the wise grandma responds, &quot;you&#39;re a better witness for what&#39;s beautiful.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/22/463977451/controversial-picture-books-surface-struggle-to-help-children-understand-slavery?ft=nprml&amp;f=463977451"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/teaching-kids-about-slavery-picture-books-struggle-task More African-Americans Are Learning Their Roots with Genetic Testing http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/more-african-americans-are-learning-their-roots-genetic <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/dnatest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tracing your genealogy has become a popular hobby in the United States. More than 1 million people around the country have taken these tests. Shows like PBS&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Finding Your Roots</em>&nbsp;have shown the public how much information you can find out about your family tree with a simple DNA test.</p><p>It might be surprising that genetic sleuthing has become part of pop culture, but it probably isn&#39;t so shocking that this has become particularly important to one demographic. African-Americans of all different backgrounds were intentionally divorced from their ancestral stories by the slave trade and all that followed.</p><div id="con464181626" previewtitle="Book Edition Information"><div id="res464181658" previewtitle="The Social Life of DNA"><div><p>Author and Columbia sociology professor Alondra Nelson&#39;s new book&nbsp;<em>The Social Life Of DNA</em>&nbsp;looks at the interest in genetic ancestry tracing from the African-American community.</p></div></div></div><p>In an interview with NPR&#39;s Michel Martin, Nelson considers how this technology is changing the way many African-Americans see themselves and their place in the American story.</p><p>Interview highlights below contain some web-only answers. Click the audio link above to hear the whole interview.</p><div><hr /></div><h3>Interview Highlights</h3><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/464181585/the-social-life-of-dna-race-reparations-and-reconciliation-after-the-genome"><img alt="The Social Life of DNA" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/t/the-social-life-of-dna/9780807033012_custom-7f8b6d0faf53e58462abcb39fd65ac70dcf1735b-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome by Alondra Nelson" /></a></p><p><strong>On African-Americans&#39; skepticism of medical testing</strong></p><p>How does a community that had really been the object of scientific and medical scrutiny for generations &mdash; with really negative outcomes &mdash; come to see science and technology as a positive thing, or something that can be used for self-knowledge and liberation? That was a question for me as well.</p><p>And what I discovered over the course of this decade of research is that people find the stakes are really high, but they also find that the benefits are really high for communities. ...</p><p>Many people talk to me about living their whole lives wanting to know who they were, in the sense of who they were before the slave trade, who they were with regards to African ancestry. And to have this as a prevailing question for your whole life means that if you can find something that might help you answer that question, that it might be worth making the leap, despite that history.</p><p><strong>On using the DNA technology for those seeking reparations for slavery</strong></p><p>This is a moment where genetic technology is being used for an endeavor that many African-Americans had tried to accomplish for decades and generations: reparations. And they&#39;re using genetic technology which has not always historically been a friend to black communities if we think about the legacy of eugenics for example. And they&#39;re using this to try to get freedom and restitution for black people.</p><p>So it&#39;s an interesting case in that it&#39;s &ndash; to the best that I could discern &ndash; it&#39;s the first time that genetic ancestry testing is introduced in a civil case. ... It continues the long drumbeat for reparations in American society by generations of people &ndash; a drumbeat that comes again in 2014 with the publication of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/">Ta-Nehesi Coates essay</a>&nbsp;in<em>&nbsp;The Atlantic</em>. And because genetics is thought here to pose a new answer to a very old and longstanding question in black political culture.</p><p><strong>On her own test results</strong></p><p>Part of what I learned in the course of doing the research is that I am an outlier in this regard. Many of the people I spoke to &ndash; whether they were 25 or 65, had lived their whole lives wanting to know where in Africa their ancestors were from. ...</p><p>I was well aware of the ritual and performance of the reveal. So I thought to myself if I&#39;m gonna do this I&#39;m gonna do it in a big public way &ndash; in a reveal. ...</p><p>When the chief science officer of the African Ancestry Company announced my results as being an inference to the Bamileke people at Cameroon, things just sort of went from there. I didn&#39;t have to perform so much because everyone was just so happy and enthused about the results for me. It was a very emotional experience.</p><p><strong>How she felt when learning about her heritage</strong></p><div id="res464182729"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>I had no idea what the result was going to be. I found it informative and interesting. So it was a bit surreal, and it was fun.</p><p>But it was actually more meaningful to my mother, who right away &ndash; like so many of the people that I interviewed in my book &mdash; within I would say, within a couple of weeks my mother calls and says &quot;I met a lady from Cameroon at church and she&#39;s Bamileke,&quot; and then she was at the dinner table &ndash; this was a few years ago. And this past Thanksgiving she was at our table with her husband and her son, she&#39;s part of our family now.</p><p><strong>On the future of genetic testing</strong></p><p>The industry is continuing to grow, it shows no signs of stemming. I think this will continue to happen as people will continue to make meaning and stories and relationships and new connections out of the evidence. I think that that space that you describe as on the one hand being knowledgeable about the technology or science at times being the enemy of black communities. On the other hand, being a friend. So friend or foe.</p><p>I think that&#39;s actually not a bad place to be. I think that&#39;s our contemporary modern condition for all of us.</p><p>You see it with the Black Lives Matter movement. The very technology that&#39;s used to surveil young activists, has also been turned against police authorities and the state to advance that political agenda.</p><p>So we&#39;re living in a moment that is the social life of DNA and is the social life of technology. It&#39;s very much the driver of who we are and what we do. I think having that critical, nuanced perspective that maybe we could say is particular to or comes out or has a particular inspiration in the experiences of black people who come to often science and technology with this critical perspective, is I think not a bad place to be in this historical moment.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/24/464181490/more-african-americans-are-learning-their-roots-with-genetic-testing?ft=nprml&amp;f=464181490"><em> via NP</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/more-african-americans-are-learning-their-roots-genetic After Chipotle Outbreaks, Will 'Food With Integrity' Still Resonate? http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-integrity-still <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chipotle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chipotle Mexican Grill is struggling to convince its customers it&#39;s a safe place to eat, after several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have sickened hundreds of its customers. But no one thinks the task is going to be easy.</p><p>&quot;This is a fairly significant problem for Chipotle,&quot;<a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/calkins_timothy.aspx">&nbsp;Timothy Calkins</a>, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University&#39;s Kellogg School of Management, tells us. While customers are often quick to forgive companies for transgressions, that may not be the case this time, he says.</p><p>&quot;The difficult thing for Chipotle is that, it&#39;s not that there was one incident. There have been a number of different incidents,&quot; he says. &quot;And the problem with that is that it creates an overall perception, and it raises questions about safety.&quot;</p><p>The once-high-flying restaurant chain has been hit with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2015/O26-11-15/index.html">two separate outbreaks of E. coli</a>&nbsp;over the past three months. The larger one sickened 52 people in October, mostly in Washington and Oregon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A separate outbreak in November sickened five people in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma, the agency said.</p><p>In December, scores of students at Boston College&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbur.org/2015/12/10/chipotle-sickness-practices">fell ill</a>&nbsp;after eating at a nearby Chipotle, an outbreak the company said was due to a norovirus, which causes vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.</p><p>And in August, a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota sickened 64 people who had eaten at Chipotle. The state&#39;s Department of Health later linked the illness to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/2015/salmonella091615.html">tomatoes served at the chain</a>.</p><p>Founded in Colorado more than two decades ago, Chipotle has enjoyed rapid growth by positioning itself as a healthy, fresh alternative to traditional fast-food chains, a company that serves &quot;food with integrity.&quot;</p><p>&quot;To eat at Chipotle was sort of the ethically and ecologically right thing to do, which resonated with a great deal of customers,&quot; says Andrew Alvarez, an analyst at<a href="http://www.ibisworld.com/">IBISWorld,</a>&nbsp;a market research firm.</p><p>The multiple outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have struck at the very heart of that image, says John Stanton, professor of food marketing at St. Joseph&#39;s University in Philadelphia.</p><div id="res461929381" previewtitle="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/04/ap_976775719604-298979658dcf222b2ac6a8bbe749a4fde0a7bd1f-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 232px; width: 310px; float: right;" title="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety. (Stephen Brashear/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;They&#39;ve kind of positioned themselves as a special company that caters to the fresh and delicious product, etc., and they&#39;ve let people down. And when you let people down, they take that pretty seriously,&quot; Stanton tells us.</p></div></div></div><p>The bad publicity has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13387648/1/chipotle-mexican-grill-cmg-stock-plunges-as-e-coli-outbreak-weighs-on-q4-sales.html">taken a toll on the bottom line</a>&nbsp;at the company, which has warned that its sales fell in the last quarter of 2015. Once a darling of Wall Street, Chipotle&#39;s stock fell 30 percent last year, and the company says its sales have fallen by as much as 11 percent.</p><p>Chipotle has responded by promising to become an<a href="http://ir.chipotle.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=194775&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2120228">&quot;industry leader in food safety.&quot;</a>&nbsp;A press release promised more stringent testing of produce, better training of employees and &quot;continuous improvements throughout its supply chain, using data from test results to enhance the ability to measure the performance of its vendors and suppliers.&quot;</p><p>The company&#39;s founder and CEO, Steve Ells, also apologized for the outbreaks in a Dec. 10 interview on NBC&#39;s&nbsp;Today&nbsp;show:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;It was a very unfortunate incident, and I&#39;m deeply sorry this has happened, but the procedures we&#39;re putting in place today are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>But a message of contrition could be hard to sell to customers, Stanton says.</p><p>&quot;I mean, my first question, as soon as they said that, was why didn&#39;t they do that originally? I mean, they obviously weren&#39;t doing all they could to make their products safe, and they&#39;re now paying a price for it,&quot; he says.</p><p>Northwestern&#39;s Calkins says companies can eventually recover from public relations disasters such as this one. Chipotle first has to discover the source of the recent outbreaks, he says.</p><p>Once it does, Calkins says, &quot;they need to get out there and get people feeling good. They&#39;ve got to invest a lot in advertising, so that when people think about Chipotle, they&#39;re not thinking about food safety. They&#39;re thinking about that great brand, and the food they love so much.&quot;</p><p>Calkins says other companies, such as Toyota, have come back from big public relations disasters, so it is possible. But he says it will take time for Chipotle to crawl out of the hole it has stumbled into.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/05/461925691/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-with-integrity-still-resonate?ft=nprml&amp;f=461925691" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-integrity-still Supreme Court to Review if Obama's Immigration Actions Were 'Faithfully Executed' http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-22/supreme-court-review-if-obamas-immigration-actions-were <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/168567545-1-_wide-4bf62ef434de738cb4c99f40fb96d674714ec802-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="A young immigration activist holds a sign reading &quot;It's in your hands Mr. President&quot; during a rally calling on President Obama to suspend deportations in 2013." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/19/168567545-1-_wide-4bf62ef434de738cb4c99f40fb96d674714ec802-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="A young immigration activist holds a sign reading &quot;It's in your hands Mr. President&quot; during a rally calling on President Obama to suspend deportations in 2013. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>The Supreme court has once again stepped into the fire of hot-button political issues. The court said Tuesday it would rule by summer on the legality of President Obama&#39;s executive action granting temporary legal status to as many as 4.5 million people who entered the U.S. illegally.</p></div></div><p>Fourteen months ago, Obama, frustrated by Congress&#39; inability to act on immigration reform,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/06/30/326998127/obama-says-he-will-use-executive-action-to-address-immigration-system" target="_blank">issued an order</a>&nbsp;expanding temporary legal status for some adults who entered the U.S. illegally.</p><p>The new order granted temporary legal status and work permits to illegal adult immigrants who had been in the U.S. for five years and who have children who are American citizens or lawful permanent residents. In addition, applicants had to register, pass a criminal background check, and prove they had paid their taxes. If they met all these criteria, they would be granted legal status and temporary work permits for three years.</p><p>The president said this change in immigration regulations would allow people to &quot;come out of the shadows and get right with the law.&quot;</p><p>The president&#39;s action followed a similar temporary reprieve from deportation that he issued in 2012 for children age 15 and under brought to the U.S. illegally. Court challenges to that order failed.</p><p>Although many Republicans objected to the 2012 action for children, opposition was relatively muted. The most recent temporary reprieve for adults, however, infuriated the GOP.</p><p>Republicans blasted the president&#39;s action as &quot;lawless,&quot; and a coalition of 26 states led by Texas challenged the executive action in court, contending that the president had exceeded his authority.</p><p>A year ago a federal judge blocked implementation of the new regime and a federal appeals court panel, by a 2-1 vote subsequently upheld the injunction on broader grounds. The Obama administration then asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and on Tuesday the justices said they would hear arguments in April, with a decision expected by late June.</p><p>If the court had refused to hear the case, the appeals court ruling would have stood, and the president&#39;s program would have been dead in the water.</p><p>But there is no assurance of how the court will rule. Indeed, the justices broadened the scope of the case, asking the two sides to address an additional, and fundamental question: whether the president&#39;s action violates the Constitution&#39;s requirement that the president &quot;shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.&quot;</p><p>The addition of that question is seen as &quot;a good omen&quot; by many conservatives, like Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice. &quot;I think the adding of that question ... helps those of us that are concerned that the president overreached here,&quot; Sekulow said.</p><p>He is filing a brief opposing the president&#39;s action on behalf of 88 congressmen and 25 senators, including the two Texas senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. Dozens of other groups, on both sides, are expected to weigh in.</p><p>Marielena Hincapié, of the National Immigration Law Center notes, for instance, that President Obama&#39;s immigration action is similar to those &quot;used by every administration, both Republican and Democrat, since President Eisenhower.</p><p>Duquesne Law School Dean Kenneth Gormley, author of a new history of presidential power, observes that &quot;There have been battles over these issues dating back to George Washington.&quot; In this case, he views the states&#39; case as &quot;particularly weak&quot; because in general the Constitution leaves questions of immigration and naturalization to the federal government so that the nation has a uniform system.</p><p>Gormley sees &quot;the real battle lines&quot; in the case as &quot;between President Obama and Congress&quot; and the critical question as whether the President exceeded his power under congressional enacted statutes.</p><p>For those charged with carrying out immigration laws &mdash; many of which are in fact presidential actions &mdash; the critical question may be the first one presented in the case: whether Texas has the legal standing to sue in the first place.</p><p>In order to have such standing, a state has to show that it would be injured in a concrete way if the president&#39;s action were to be carried out. Texas asserts, and the appeals court agreed, that it would be injured because it would have to spend millions of dollars to provide drivers&#39; licenses for immigrants with temporary legal status as a result of the federal program.</p><p>The Obama administration counters that there is no requirement that Texas provide licenses at a financial loss and that the state is free to charge the full cost of the license.</p><p>It may seem like nitpicking to some, but Stephen Legomsky, a former top immigration official, says that if any state can challenge an executive action on immigration, &quot;the result would be that practically any favorable decision by the federal government on an immigration matter would give rise to lengthy lawsuits.&quot; That, he said, would be &quot;a recipe for a government paralysis.&quot;</p><p>The addition of the U.S. v. Texas case to the Supreme Court docket this term means that just as the two political parties are about to choose their presidential nominees, the High Court will be deciding cases involving race and affirmative action, abortion, birth control, and now, immigration.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/19/463622789/supreme-court-agrees-to-review-obama-executive-actions-on-immigration?ft=nprml&amp;f=463622789" target="_blank"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 17:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-22/supreme-court-review-if-obamas-immigration-actions-were Scientists Find Hints Of A Giant, Hidden Planet In Our Solar System http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-21/scientists-find-hints-giant-hidden-planet-our-solar-system <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/planet-1_wide-91193f3dc645b3149de2bf0d9ec90b8eeac570ca-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463623316" previewtitle="The imagined view from Planet Nine back toward the sun. Astronomers think the huge, distant planet is likely gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="The imagined view from Planet Nine back toward the sun. Astronomers think the huge, distant planet is likely gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/19/planet-1_wide-91193f3dc645b3149de2bf0d9ec90b8eeac570ca-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="The imagined view from Planet Nine back toward the sun. Astronomers think the huge, distant planet is likely gaseous, similar to Uranus and Neptune. (Caltech/R. Hurt IPAC)" /></div><div><div><p>The astronomer whose work helped kick Pluto out of the pantheon of planets says he has good reason to believe there&#39;s an undiscovered planet bigger than Earth lurking in the distant reaches of our solar system.</p></div></div></div><p>That&#39;s quite a claim, because&nbsp;<a href="http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/">Mike Brown</a>&nbsp;of Caltech is no stranger to this part of our cosmic neighborhood. After all, he discovered&nbsp;<a href="http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/eris">Eris</a>, an icy world more massive than Pluto that proved our old friend wasn&#39;t special enough to be considered a full-fledged planet. He also introduced the world to&nbsp;<a href="http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/sedna/">Sedna</a>, a first-of-its-kind dwarf planet that&#39;s so far out there, its region of space was long thought to be an empty no man&#39;s land.</p><p>Now Brown has teamed up with Caltech colleague&nbsp;<a href="http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~kbatygin/Home.html">Konstantin Batygin</a>&nbsp;to do a new analysis of oddities in the orbits of small, icy bodies out beyond Neptune. In their&nbsp;<a href="http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-6256/151/2/22">report published Wednesday</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;The Astronomical Journal, the researchers say it looks like the orbits are all being affected by the presence of an unseen planet that&#39;s about 10 times more massive than Earth &mdash; the size astronomers refer to as a super-Earth.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m willing to take bets on anyone who&#39;s not a believer,&quot; says Brown. He thinks existing telescopes have a shot at spotting this mystery planet in just a few years, since this new study points to a band of sky where astronomers should look.</p><div id="res463627687"><div><p><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Planet Nine Wields Huge Influence</strong></span></p><p>The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Moreover, when viewed in 3-D, the orbits of all these icy little objects are tilted in the same direction, away from the plane of the solar system. &quot;The only way to get these objects to line up in one direction, says Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, &quot;is to have a massive planet lined up in the other direction.&quot; Many scientists are now searching the skies with powerful telescopes, hoping for a faint glimpse of &quot;Planet Nine.&quot;</p><div><img alt="Plane Nine" src="http://www.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/19/Planet-nine.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="(Caltech/R. Hurt IPAC)" /></div><div><p>The first suggestion that something big might be affecting the orbits of distant, icy bodies came in 2014. An international team of astronomers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/26/294358647/new-dwarf-planet-found-at-the-solar-systems-outer-limits">announced</a>&nbsp;that they&#39;d discovered a new dwarf planet, nicknamed Biden, that stays even farther out than Sedna. They also noted a strange clustering in the orbits of these objects, and in the orbits of about a dozen others. Perhaps, they hypothesized, the gravity of some unseen planet was acting as a shepherd.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;They were pointing out that there was something funny going on in the outer solar system, but nobody could really understand what it was,&quot; says Brown. &quot;Ever since they pointed it out we&#39;ve been scratching our heads.&quot;</p><p>The idea of a huge, hidden planet seemed kind of crazy. &quot;No one really took it very seriously,&quot; says Brown. &quot;It was ignored more than you might guess.&quot;</p><p>But he walked a few doors down to meet with Batygin and suggested they take this on. As they studied the freaky way that these objects lined up in space, Brown says, they realized that &quot;the only way to get these objects to line up in one direction is to have a massive planet lined up in the other direction.&quot;</p><p>What&#39;s more, this planet naturally explains why the dwarf planets Sedna and Biden have weird orbits that never let them come in close to the solar system. &quot;This wasn&#39;t something we were setting out to explain,&quot; says Brown. &quot;This is something that just popped out of the theory.&quot;</p><p>But there was one moment that turned Brown into a believer. Their computer simulations predicted that if this hypothetical planet existed, it would twist the orbits of other small bodies in a certain way. So Brown looked through some old data to see if any icy bodies had been discovered with those kinds of orbits &mdash; and, lo and behold, he found five of them.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re objects that nobody has really explained or tried to explain before,&quot; says Brown. &quot;My jaw hit the floor. That just came out of the blue. Being able to make a prediction and having it come true in five minutes is about as fun as it gets in science.&quot;</p><p>Their work suggests how big the planet must be, and more or less where it could be found. Brown has already started looking. He hopes other scientists will too.</p><p>&quot;I want to know what it&#39;s like. I want to see that it&#39;s really there,&quot; says Brown. &quot;It will hurt when somebody finds it and it&#39;s not me &mdash; but I assume it&#39;s going to happen, and I&#39;m willing to feel that pain.&quot;</p><div id="res463625928" previewtitle="Caltech astronomers Mike Brown (left) and Konstantin Batygin are &quot;willing to take bets&quot; that a giant ninth planet is lurking in our solar system — way, way out, beyond Neptune."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Caltech astronomers Mike Brown (left) and Konstantin Batygin are &quot;willing to take bets&quot; that a giant ninth planet is lurking in our solar system — way, way out, beyond Neptune." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/19/planet-scientists_custom-03a1b33b24c556c7429edefe40090a321e27c796-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Caltech astronomers Mike Brown, left, and Konstantin Batygin are &quot;willing to take bets&quot; that a giant ninth planet is lurking in our solar system — way, way out, beyond Neptune. (Lance Hayashida/Courtesy of Caltech)" /></div><div><div><p>It may be hard to believe that something so big would not have been seen before now. But&nbsp;<a href="http://home.dtm.ciw.edu/users/sheppard/">Scott Sheppard</a>&nbsp;of the Carnegie Institution for Science explains that for us to see it, sunlight has to travel all the way out there, bounce off the object, then travel all the way back.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;Objects get very faint very fast,&quot; says Sheppard. &quot;If you do the math, if you move something twice as far away from the sun, it gets 16 times fainter.&quot;</p><p>Sheppard is one of the researchers who, after discovering Biden and the strange orbits, suggested a large planet might be the culprit.</p><p>&quot;What we published was a very basic analysis of this clustering of objects in the outer solar system,&quot; he says. &quot;We just did some basic stuff.&quot;</p><p>The new analysis, he says, has gone much deeper and has more rigor. &quot;It leaves me thinking that the possibility of there being this super-Earth or mini-Neptune out there is more and more real now,&quot; says Sheppard.</p><p>Still, he&#39;s not completely convinced. &quot;We really need to find more of these objects &mdash; more of these small objects that can lead us to the bigger object,&quot; Sheppard says. &quot;I think it&#39;s still a tossup if it&#39;s really out there or not. I think we just need more data. Hopefully within the next few years we&#39;ll really be able to nail this down.&quot;</p><p>Dwarf planets like Sedna and Biden<em> </em>are not exactly household names. But Sheppard says if the solar system indeed has an honest-to-goodness ninth planet &mdash; a distant, giant planet that&#39;s bigger than Earth &mdash; &quot;that, I think, is something that would blow the mind of anyone here on Earth.&quot;</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/20/463087037/hints-of-a-hidden-distant-planet-in-our-solar-system?ft=nprml&amp;f=463087037" target="_blank"> via NPR</a></em></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-21/scientists-find-hints-giant-hidden-planet-our-solar-system 'In A Different Key' Traces History and Politics of Autism http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-21/different-key-traces-history-and-politics-autism-114550 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/thestoryofautism.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res463615359" previewtitle="In the 1940s, a psychoanalytic approach to autism — &quot;the refrigerator mother theory&quot; — suggested that the condition was caused by bad parenting."><div data-crop-type="">In their book published this month,&nbsp;<em>In a Different Key: The Story of Autism</em>, journalists John Donvan and Caren Zucker delve into the history of the good and bad intentions, sometimes wrongheaded science and shifting definitions that can cloud our understanding of what has come to be called the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml">autism spectrum</a>.</div></div><p>In their Tuesday conversation with NPR&#39;s Robert Siegel, host of&nbsp;<em>All Things Considered</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/News/john-donvan/story?id=128658">Donvan</a>&nbsp;and Zucker tell of a particularly dark period in the 1940s when psychiatrists blamed autistic behavior on &quot;refrigerator mothers&quot; &mdash; emotionally distant women who, supposedly, didn&#39;t love their children enough.</p><p>&quot;This was a very, very poisonous idea,&quot; says Donvan. And it wasn&#39;t the last flawed notion about autism&#39;s roots.</p><p><em>Highlights of the interview follow, edited for space and clarity.</em></p><hr /><p><strong>INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS</strong></p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;How would you define autism?</p><p><strong>Zucker</strong>:&nbsp;Well it depends who you are actually, because autism is now seen as a spectrum, and the spectrum is so broad right now that there are people on one end of it that are severely, severely disabled and you can&#39;t help but call it a disability because people are literally injuring themselves &mdash; they can&#39;t communicate, they can&#39;t do things by themselves. On the other extreme end of the spectrum are people who can speak for themselves, they can manage their lives; they do not see autism as a disability but just as a different fabric in humanity.</p><div id="res463612553" previewtitle="In researching their book, Caren Zucker and John Donvan tracked down Donald Gray Triplett (center), the first person officially diagnosed with autism. Now in his 80s, Triplett has had a long, happy life, Donvan says, maybe partly because his hometown embraced him from the beginning as &quot; 'odd, but really, really smart.' &quot;"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="In researching their book, Caren Zucker and John Donvan tracked down Donald Gray Triplett (center), the first person officially diagnosed with autism. Now in his 80s, Triplett has had a long, happy life, Donvan says, maybe partly because his hometown embraced him from the beginning as &quot; 'odd, but really, really smart.' &quot;" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/19/autism-1-4b9924b11342469f873ffe1a3854ff5820271f90-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 310px; float: right;" title="In researching their book, Caren Zucker and John Donvan tracked down Donald Gray Triplett, center, the first person officially diagnosed with autism. Now in his 80s, Triplett has had a long, happy life, Donvan says, maybe partly because his hometown embraced him from the beginning as &quot; 'odd, but really, really smart.' &quot; (Courtesy of Penguin Random House)" /></div><div><div><p><strong>Donvan</strong>:&nbsp;Because this condition is not one that has a biological marker, you cannot identify autism by a cheek swab or a blood test, but you identify it by looking at people&#39;s behaviors. That has allowed, over decades, for so many various interpretations of those key traits that the definition itself has moved again and again.</p></div></div></div><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;The book describes how autism was first diagnosed, how it was named and explained. I want you to describe this: For years, there was a psychoanalytic approach that dominated the understanding of autism, and the cause was really held to be bad parenting.</p><p><strong>Donvan</strong>:&nbsp;It was called the&nbsp;<a href="https://embryo.asu.edu/pages/early-infantile-autism-and-refrigerator-mother-theory-1943-1970">refrigerator mother theory</a>, and the idea was that children were somehow insulted &mdash; psychologically insulted &mdash; by their mothers, who, for some reason, signaled that they didn&#39;t love their children enough. And, as a defense mechanism, the children were said to have withdrawn into their own world. So this was a very, very poisonous idea.</p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;Much of the story of autism is frankly about parents and about what parents have done to bring attention to the condition of their children &mdash; very often for the good. [But] sometimes &mdash; in the case of advocating a vaccine theory as the cause of autism &mdash; not for the good.</p><div id="con463602384" previewtitle="Book Edition Information"><div id="res463602410" previewtitle="In a Different Key"><div data-crop-type=""><a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/463601896/in-a-different-key-the-story-of-autism"><img alt="In a Different Key" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/i/in-a-different-key/9780307985675_custom-0a316c36714b57a4742cd7ee4f2cb2294cede238-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 453px; width: 310px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Cover, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan and Caren Zucker" /></a></div></div><div id="res463602031"><p><strong>Zucker</strong>:&nbsp;Well, in our book, we really see the parent as unsung heroes. They literally change the world for children with autism. I mean, parents were told to put their children into institutions, and that was what the norm was 50 years ago. And they opened up the schools for them. [Before parents insisted on a change in policy] the schools were allowed to not have children with autism in them. So without parents, we wouldn&#39;t be anywhere near where we are today.</p></div></div><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;On the other hand, parents did lend their voices to, well, to the vaccine theory. And the fact that there are many voices saying something doesn&#39;t make it scientifically true.</p><p><strong>Donvan</strong>:&nbsp;Absolutely not. The story of autism has very often been the story of bad science, many, many times. In the case of the vaccine issue, yes, 15 years ago, when the question had not been investigated, it made sense to ask it; it was not a ridiculous question. But it was asked; it was answered, and the science settled it. Vaccines don&#39;t cause autism.</p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;By the year 2000, the rise in the number of autism diagnoses became the subject of congressional concern. In hearings that year, Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana said, &quot;The rates of autism have escalated dramatically in the last few years. What used to be considered a rare disorder has become a near epidemic.&quot;&nbsp;<em>Has&nbsp;</em>there been an autism epidemic?</p><p><strong>Donvan</strong>:&nbsp;The truth is that we don&#39;t really know whether there has been an epidemic. And I know that sounds strange to people, because they hear so much more about autism now than they ever have before, but what we think is that there has been an explosion in&nbsp;<em>autism diagnoses</em>,&nbsp;which is different from there being more autism. We started looking for autism, so found it. Also, at the same time, what we call autism became a much, much broader spectrum, and the definition kept changing over time.</p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;Toward the very end of your book, you acknowledge the &quot;neurodiversity movement.&quot; These would be people who are on the spectrum and who say, &quot;Look, this isn&#39;t an illness. We don&#39;t want to be cured. This is a different way of being wired, a different way of your brain working.&quot; And there&#39;s an exchange between an activist of that sort with a mother whose son has autism. Describe what goes on between them.</p><p><strong>Donvan</strong>:&nbsp;It&#39;s a conversation between&nbsp;<a href="http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/about-asan/staff/">Ari Ne&#39;eman</a>, who is a very, very prominent and successful activist for the concept of neurodiversity. And Ari Ne&#39;eman, whom we have a lot of respect for, has been very, very successful in promulgating the idea that people with autism should be accepted as they are. And he had a conversation with a mother named&nbsp;<a href="http://blog.autismspeaks.org/tag/liz-bell/">Liz Bell</a>. Liz Bell is the mother of a young man named Tyler.</p><p>In his mom&#39;s opinion, Tyler&#39;s experience of autism is very, very limiting in his life and his ability to dress himself, to shave himself, to feed himself, to go out the front door by himself and not run into traffic. And these are two very, very different views of what autism represents that come down to the fact that the spectrum is so broad that there is room for an Ari Ne&#39;eman on it and there is room for a Tyler Bell on it. And the basic disagreement between them is whether autism is something that should be cured &mdash; whether the traits that limit Tyler&#39;s ability to be independent in life should be treated to make those traits go away.</p><p>On one side, Ari is saying that it&#39;s suppressing who he actually is and his identity; on the other side is Tyler&#39;s mother saying that to treat him, and even cure him, of his autism would be to liberate who he is.</p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;But it does pose a question: Since there is no biological test &mdash; as you say, &quot;no cheek swab that defines someone&#39;s condition as being autism&quot; &mdash; are we really clear that Ari and Tyler have the same condition, and that we should group them together on this spectrum? Or does the spectrum inevitably include everybody in the world?</p><p><strong>Donvan</strong>: Boy, that is the question of the moment in the autism conversation. How big is the umbrella under which we want to include people who have autistic traits? We don&#39;t look at the spectrum concept as necessarily the last word. We may end up splitting the spectrum again into different parts. And this tension between lumping together or splitting apart has been repeated again and again through the history of autism. We happen to be in what&#39;s called in the field a &quot;lumper moment&quot; in that the spectrum idea is dominant, popular &mdash; it makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.</p><p><strong>Siegel</strong>:&nbsp;Caren Zucker, is it any easier to be the parent of someone with autism today than it was, say, 15 or 20 years ago?</p><p><strong>Zucker: </strong>Absolutely. I have a 21-year-old son [with autism], and when I was trying to get services for my son, I was making it up, or I was on a list for 300 people to try to get into a program that could actually help him. And if you look back at how far we&#39;ve come in 15 years, it&#39;s remarkable in terms of awareness, in terms of education. We have figured out what to do, to a very large extent, with the kids. But we have not gotten to the adults. And part of that is because adults weren&#39;t around, you know, 50 years ago &mdash; they were mostly in institutions. So that&#39;s really the heart of where we&#39;re also trying to go with our book &mdash; for people to see: Look how far we&#39;ve come. Look at what these parents and advocates have done. But look how far we still have to go.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/19/463601735/in-a-different-key-traces-history-and-politics-of-autism?ft=nprml&amp;f=463601735" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 11:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-21/different-key-traces-history-and-politics-autism-114550 Attendance Drops at Maryland High School, as Deportation Fears Rise http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-19/attendance-drops-maryland-high-school-deportation-fears <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istock_000066798857_medium_wide-568210156e87a867efc380ff9aca55253226a61d-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>At one high school in Maryland, fears of deportation are playing out in the classroom.</p><p>In Prince George&#39;s County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., about 70 percent of the students at High Point High School are Latino. It&#39;s a student population that&#39;s prompted the school&#39;s principal, Sandra Jimenez, to term it &quot;Central American Ellis Island.&quot;</p><p>Principal Jimenez says the fear of deportation raids is making many immigrant students scared to come to school, despite assurances from government officials that there are no raids happening at schools.</p><p>It&#39;s a concern that was echoed in a statement by Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George&#39;s County Public Schools in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www1.pgcps.org/ceo/index.aspx?id=221188">open letter to DHS</a>.</p><p>&quot;I am deeply troubled by the fear and uncertainty that exists in so many of our school communities as a result of the actions of the Department of Homeland Security,&quot; he wrote. &quot;We urge federal authorities to see schools and other public gathering places as areas where no enforcement activities should take place and ask them to strongly consider the devastating impacts of their actions on the academic, social and emotional well-being of all of our students.&quot;</p><p>DHS declined an interview request from NPR, but said in a statement that the agency &quot;does not conduct &#39;raids.&#39; ICE focuses on those who have been issued a final order of removal from a judge.&quot;</p><p>Jimenez joined NPR&#39;s Michel Martin to discuss the drama that is playing out on her campus.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463405722/attendance-drops-at-maryland-high-school-as-deportation-fears-rise?ft=nprml&amp;f=463405722" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-19/attendance-drops-maryland-high-school-deportation-fears