Browsing articles from "August, 2017"

Massive Group Of Counter-Protesters Met ‘Free Speech’ Rally In Boston

Aug 20, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Massive Group Of Counter-Protesters Met ‘Free Speech’ Rally In Boston



DWANE BROWN, HOST:

Turning now to Boston, where thousands of people took to the streets today in dueling demonstrations. One was a prescheduled permitted rally to promote free speech. The other was a counterprotest to that rally – also permitted. And that drew even bigger crowds. Martha Bebinger from member station WBUR was there. We spoke with her earlier today as both protests started to wind down. We started by asking if the number of folks who showed up to protest the rally came as a surprise.

MARTHA BEBINGER, BYLINE: The actual number was larger than what we had been expecting. We had heard, Dwane, that there would be 20,000 to 30,000. And it looks like it was more like 40,000 to 45,000 people who were on that counterprotest side – those who wanted to be sure the anti-hate message was the main message today. There was a much smaller group, maybe smaller than we expected, who showed up for the Free Speech rally, where some who have spoke in favor of white supremacy were scheduled to speak. There were just less than a hundred of that group.

BROWN: Was there any sort of interaction between the two sides?

BEBINGER: Very little. You know, the counterprotesters didn’t really arrive down their 2-mile march to the Common until after those free speech folks had been escorted away by police. Apparently, there was some concern about whether they were in danger. And police put them in vans and took them out of the area before the vast majority of those protesters arrived.

BROWN: At the rally in Charlottesville last weekend, which, of course, actually turned deadly, there was some criticism about the police presence. What was it like there today?

BEBINGER: There were 500 or more Boston police officers and officers from surrounding towns on bikes, motorcycles, walking the streets with the counterprotesters, patrolling barricades that separated sides on Boston Common. They were very visible. And in the end, we had about 20 arrests of – mostly of protesters who were going after vans who took the Free Speech folks out. And so there was some criticism of the police for being maybe a little too heavy-handed in trying to control this rally. But for the most part, what I heard was people thanking police for keeping it largely safe.

BROWN: Well, you were on the ground there. Do you think either group – the Free Speech folks or the counterprotesters – achieved what they came out to do today?

BEBINGER: Some people were – who were on that counterprotest side, Dwane, were very excited that their numbers seemed to overwhelm those who came for the Free Speech rally. But there was frustration, I would say, on both sides that there was very little dialogue between the two groups, very little opportunity to interact. And I heard that, in particular, from Ramone Ward (ph).

RAMONE WARD: I didn’t see any dialogue. I seen a lot of shouting. A few people got arrested, a few scuffles. But, fortunately, I’m glad that violence didn’t break out.

BEBINGER: I did also hear, though, Dwane, a lot of people who were really energized today by the sense of community and unity of those thousands of people who marched into the city as a unit to be sure that the message from Boston is we don’t want to tolerate hate.

BROWN: Martha Bebinger from member station WBUR. Thanks, Martha.

BEBINGER: Thank you, Dwane.

(SOUNDBITE OF ODDOSEE’S “FROSTBIT”)

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

How Late Night TV Addressed Charlottesville And This Week In Politics

Aug 20, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on How Late Night TV Addressed Charlottesville And This Week In Politics



DWANE BROWN, HOST:

With all the news out of Charlottesville, Va., over the past week, late-night TV shows have stepped up their game to try to help make sense and nonsense of the news. “Saturday Night Live” alum Tina Fey stopped by “SNL’s” new weeknight version of “Weekend Update” on Thursday, joking about what would happen if neo-Nazis took to the streets of Manhattan.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “WEEKEND UPDATE”)

TINA FEY: Part of me hopes these neo-Nazis do try it in New York City. Like, I hope they try and get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens.

BROWN: OMG, that has to be RuPaul, right? Here to talk about how late night and entertainment TV is helping us process all this is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Hey, Eric.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: You can’t go wrong with a RuPaul reference, you really can’t.

BROWN: No, you can’t. I mean, over-the-top?

DEGGANS: Not at all (laughter).

BROWN: Yeah. So Tina Fey, who is actually a graduate of University of Virginia, shared her personal connection to Charlottesville, Eric, but also did a comedic bit which actually went viral but also got some blowback. What happened there?

DEGGANS: Well, she came on and talked about how upset she was to see white supremacists marching through her old college town. And then she suggested, rather than incite violence by physically confronting them, that maybe Americans should just grab a sheet cake and eat it and then say all of the things that are upsetting them about the situation into the sheet cake, which was kind of funny. And she had a lot of great lines. But, you know, I think people criticized her, particularly online, for appearing to suggest that Americans can avoid this violence and stop counterprotesting against the neo-Nazis, which people kind of objected to.

BROWN: With all the news out there, it was a big week, though, for late night to respond. CNN.com had a piece this week saying the late-night shows have morphed into a new form – comedy outreach. Do you agree?

DEGGANS: Well, what I think is going on here is that late-night hosts have always had this weird role on television, which we saw particularly during David Letterman’s time on the air. Most of the time, they’re just trying to make us laugh. But when important, jarring, really socially important things happen, they also step up, and they help us figure out how to feel about it. And this week, you know, I saw a guy do that who we don’t normally associate with that kind of talk – with political talk – Jimmy Kimmel on ABC. He spoke directly to Trump voters. And we’ve got a clip of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!”)

JIMMY KIMMEL: It’s exciting because this was your guy. You picked a horse at, like, 35 to 1 and somehow it paid off. So now he’s the president. So he gets in there, hires his daughter. He hires his son-in-law, demands an investigation of voter fraud even though he won the election.

(LAUGHTER)

KIMMEL: He calls the prime…

DEGGANS: Yeah, and this guy, he goes on for two minutes, listing all of these things that Trump did that seemed out of the ordinary that were very peculiar and odd. And Kimmel is this comic who always comes across as kind of an every guy, you know. He pokes a lot at political correctness and people who can’t take a joke. So when he turns to a Trump voter and says they should admit deep down that they made a mistake, and they need to accept that Trump should leave office, that feels like something significant.

BROWN: And Kimmel heard from a lot of Trump voters, as well. He actually read some of those tweets the next day. But I can hear folks out there saying this is just entertainment. Is it possible we’re expecting too much of TV shows that are mostly trying to get ratings and make people laugh?

DEGGANS: Well, you know, you can ask Sarah Palin how Tina Fey’s impression of her, I’d say, kind of crystallized the public image of what she was about in a way that I think still affects her. But, you know, at a time when we’ve got cable news channels that are supposed to be 24-hour sources of information, devoting so much time to just having televised food fights? I think people need a more fun, less traumatizing way to process the day’s events.

BROWN: That’s NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. Thanks, Eric.

DEGGANS: Always a pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF LATYRX’S “LADY DON’T TEK NO”)

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

In ‘Patti Cake$,’ An Aspiring Rap Artist Reaches For The Stars

Aug 20, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on In ‘Patti Cake$,’ An Aspiring Rap Artist Reaches For The Stars



DWANE BROWN, HOST:

For dreamers, there are few places on earth that beckon like New York City. And it’s especially tempting for those on the other side of the Hudson River, in New Jersey. The tension between big dreams and daily doldrums is at the center of a new film called “Patti Cake$,” which is out in theaters right now. The film stars Australian newcomer Danielle Macdonald as the title character, also known as Killa P or Patricia Dombrowski. Patti is a 23-year-old aspiring rapper trapped in a rundown home town, and she sees music as her ticket out of the Jersey suburbs. And just a heads-up for our listeners, her rhymes can get a little salty.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “PATTI CAKES”)

DANIELLE MACDONALD: (As Patti, rapping) Patti and Jerry (ph), we will be legendary from the bottom like [expletive], the game up missionary. I’m in my own trap as I flick the world the birdie. My verse is full of curses ’cause I’m stuck in dirty Jersey. Let’s move to New York City. We’ll make a couple millies (ph), split that [expletive] up 50/50. I’d give my left titty and a kidney just to cross a [expletive] river. Brooklyn tunnel, come on, Jerry, sing it with me.

BROWN: To hear more about the film, I’m joined by its director and writer, who seems to be chuckling after hearing that clip, Geremy Jasper, and lead actress Danielle Macdonald from WBEZ in Chicago. Geremy, Danielle, thanks for joining us, guys.

GEREMY JASPER: Thanks for having us.

MACDONALD: Thank you.

BROWN: Geremy, can you start off, just give us a sense of who is Patti Cake$, and and what is she up against in this film?

JASPER: Patti is a young lady who’s – has a lot of talent and a very vivid internal world, who’s fighting a very greedy reality. And she’s someone who knows inside, in her heart, she has all this potential and all these things to say, but the world doesn’t – or at least her neighborhood doesn’t really want to hear.

BROWN: And she’s in New Jersey, which is across the Hudson.

JASPER: That’s where I’m from. And New York is like – it’s Oz. It might as well be 3,000 miles away or the moon, but you can – you feel like you can reach out and touch it, but it seems impossible to get to.

BROWN: And, Danielle, we know you’re not from Oz, but you’re originally from Australia. And I understand you didn’t have any particular connection either to rap music or Jersey when you first read the script. So what drew you to the part?

MACDONALD: The story. The character. I – I mean, first of all, it was like a amazing story about finding yourself, bit of an underdog story, which I always love. But it was done in a really interesting way. I think Geremy just had a very strong vision. I felt like the style was so cool. And I just kind of fell in love with who Patti was as a person.

BROWN: And, Geremy, give us a sense of how this story came to your mind as you wrote it down because this is your first time out as a film director, writer.

JASPER: It is. It’s my first screenplay. And they always say, write what you know. Well, what I know is that I was a chubby little blond kid in the suburbs of New Jersey who was obsessed with hip-hop when I first heard it at 9 years old and filled endless secret notebooks full of songs and kind of harbored this dream to be a musician and then found myself at 23 living in my parents’ basement taking care of my grandfather with a broken hip and just, you know, working dead-end jobs and not feeling like I was going to get out. And I felt like I was living inside a Bruce Springsteen song. And so when I did finally get out, I decided to channel that into this character Patti. And that’s really her struggle.

BROWN: Well, let’s play a clip from the film. This is from early on in the movie, when we are actually introduced to Patti’s main partner in crime, Jerry. Jerry works a day job at a pharmacy. And when Patti walks in to visit him, he takes it upon himself to usher her arrival in style.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “PATTI CAKES”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, over loudspeaker) Lords and ladies of the royal court, bow down. The queen is in the building. Introducing Ms. Patricia Dombrowski, aka Patti Cake$, aka White Trish (ph), aka Juicy Luciano (ph), aka Marilyn Mansion (ph), aka Jane Doe (ph), aka Killa P.

MACDONALD: (As Patti, over loudspeaker) And introducing the ladies’ choice, the voice that gets you moist. It’s going to be an Indian Summer, y’all. Mr. Jerri Curls, aka Young Stamos, aka Dipac Shakur (ph) aka the Durag Davinci (ph), aka Rawdog Zillionaire, (ph) aka the Quiet Storm. Boys and girls, I give you my soulmate, my homie-o (ph), it’s Jeromeo (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As character) This isn’t “Showtime At The Apollo,” OK? We have customers here. Play make-believe on your lunch break.

BROWN: So that’s reality, right? You aspire to be one thing but reality slaps you in the face and reminds you that you’re at work. This is not the place to do hip-hop. This is not the place…

JASPER: To become your superhero alter-ego.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: When you think about this, Danielle, you never rapped before. You’ve certainly never had the thick Jersey accent. Is it true that you even had a coach to help you with the rap?

MACDONALD: Oh, yeah. I kind of started off – just Geremy would send me a new song to learn each week. And I would try and figure out how on earth I was meant to learn it and record it and send it back to him. So I kind of had to figure out how to breathe, which was pretty difficult, and just kind of learn rhythm and flows. And I listened to a ton of different songs, different artists and different styles of rap to see what I could naturally do better than – and what I really was bad at as well.

And then, about a month before we started shooting, I got a rap coach and he was awesome. He’s a local Brooklyn-based rapper named Skyzoo. And he’s got a very different style than, like, Geremy for example. So it was really cool to figure out Patti with different influences. And he taught me how to get out of my head, how to move through my body. He helped me so much.

BROWN: Geremy, so much of the film is really about dreams deferred or unrealized. What has that meant for you to finally see this movie come together and go out into the world?

JASPER: You know, I’ve been making stuff and struggling to make stuff for over 20 years now. So the fact that all of that hard work, dreaming of being an artist since I was a little kid, and it took me 40 years to do it, but it feels like everything that I’ve been struggling to do – the writing, the music, filmmaking – has all come together. Now that the Patti’s in the Jerry’s out there in small towns can actually see this film, that’s the most exciting thing for me.

BROWN: That’s director Geremy Jasper and actress Danielle Macdonald. They spoke with us from member station WBEZ in Chicago. Their new film “Patti Cake$” is in theaters now. Geremy, Danielle, thanks for speaking with us.

JASPER: Thank you so much.

MACDONALD: Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Dick Gregory, Comedian And Civil Rights Activist, Dies At 84

Aug 20, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Dick Gregory, Comedian And Civil Rights Activist, Dies At 84

Dick Gregory, known for his sharp commentary on race relations during the 1960s civil rights movement, is considered a pioneer in using satire to address social issues.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images


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Dick Gregory, known for his sharp commentary on race relations during the 1960s civil rights movement, is considered a pioneer in using satire to address social issues.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Dick Gregory, the comedian and civil rights crusader, died Saturday. He was 84.

His family announced the news on his public Facebook page.

“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, DC,” his son Christian Gregory said in the post. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time. More details will be released over the next few days.”

According to The Associated Press, Gregory, who was recently in and out of the hospital, died following a severe bacterial infection. NPR has not independently confirmed the cause of death.

After falling ill earlier this month, he was readmitted to the hospital last Saturday, his son says in a Thursday Facebook post: He “remains hospitalized with a serious but stable medical condition. His prognosis is excellent and he should be released within the next few days.”

Gun-Carrying Protesters Create ‘Tricky’ Question For ACLU

Aug 19, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Gun-Carrying Protesters Create ‘Tricky’ Question For ACLU

A protester wears a pistol in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. The ACLU says it will consider the potential for violence when evaluating whether to represent potential clients.

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A protester wears a pistol in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. The ACLU says it will consider the potential for violence when evaluating whether to represent potential clients.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

After representing the organizer of a far-right rally that became a brutal melee, the ACLU says it will consider the potential for violence when evaluating potential clients — including whether protesters plan to carry guns.

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told The Wall Street Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else.”

The ACLU says this isn’t a change in policy. “[W]e don’t feel we have to represent any group – including white supremacists – seeking to demonstrate with firearms,” ACLU spokeswoman Stacy Sullivan wrote in an email to NPR. “We examine these situations on a case-by-case basis, recognizing that the presence of firearms may suppress speech by others in the public space.”

Charlottesville Violence Highlights Cities' Struggle To Balance Rights And Safety

ACLU’s board policy since October 2015 has been to support “reasonable” firearms regulation, Sullivan says.

“The tricky part here is that 46 states allow some form of open carry of firearms,” she explains. “We are now looking at the question of whether government can regulate the First Amendment rights of demonstrators who insist on being armed during public protests.”

The ACLU’s legal representation of white supremacist groups has been under scrutiny this week, after it represented the organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally in his fight to keep the group’s permit to protest at Emancipation Park in downtown Charlottesville. A participant in the far-right rally plowed his car into pedestrians, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Charlottesville Victim's Mother Says She Will Not Take Trump's Calls

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe mentioned the ACLU by name on NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday, lamenting the city’s foiled attempt to move the protest.

“The city of Charlottesville asked for that to be moved out of downtown Charlottesville to a park about a mile and a half away, a lot of open fields,” McAuliffe said. “That was the place it should have been, we were unfortunately sued by the ACLU and the judge ruled against us. “

The ACLU of Virginia responded that it had “asked the city to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and ensure people’s safety at the protest. It failed to do so. In our system, the city makes the rules and the courts enforce them. Our role is to ensure that the system works the same for everyone.”

'The Resistance' Faces A New Question: What To Do With All That Money

But not everyone found that stance satisfying. A member of the ACLU of Virginia’s board, Waldo Jaquith, tweeted Saturday that he was quitting his post. “What’s legal and what’s right are sometimes different. I won’t be a fig leaf for Nazis.”

“We need the ACLU,” he added. “We need it *so much*. But we also need it to change, just a tiny bit: don’t defend Nazis to allow them to kill people.”

Donations to the ACLU skyrocketed after Donald Trump was elected president. The group raised more than $80 million between November 2016 and March 2017, and the group’s website currently features of a photo of Trump, with the words “The fight is on. Donate monthly.”

But new donors don’t necessarily understand that the group’s causes are not always aligned with the political left, and that it has for decades represented hate groups in civil liberties cases.

Portland, Maine resident Ella Mock said she had been making monthly donations to the ACLU, but she told Maine Public Radio that in the wake of Charlottesville, she would end her membership .

“[T]o know that I have funded in part this activity is pretty terrifying honestly,” said Mock. “I have many many friends whose lives and well being I fear for due to this action.”

In 1978, the group defended neo-Nazis who wanted to march through Skokie, Ill., where many Holocaust survivors lived. The ACLU won its case, but lost 30,000 members — though the Nazis opted to rally in downtown Chicago instead. The following year, the group faced a $500,000 budget deficit.

So while it’s not new for the ACLU to represent clients unpopular among its membership, the presence of armed protesters – like those who showed up in Charlottesville — has pushed the group into new territory.

“We’ve had people with odious views, all manner of bigots,” Sullivan told the Associated Press. “But not people who want to carry weapons and are intent on committing violence.”

Charities Pull Fundraisers Planned for Trump’s Mar-A-Lago

Aug 19, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Charities Pull Fundraisers Planned for Trump’s Mar-A-Lago

Charities are canceling plans for fundraising events at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The cancellations come in the wake of his controversial comments about the events in Charlottesville, Va.

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Charities are canceling plans for fundraising events at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The cancellations come in the wake of his controversial comments about the events in Charlottesville, Va.

Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, three well-known charities — the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen — announced they are canceling plans for fundraising events at President Trump’s Palm Beach country club, Mar-a-Lago.

The three joined a growing list of nonprofits that have severed ties with the exclusive, Trump-owned resort. Others include the Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society.

The cancellations come in the wake of Trump’s controversial comments made earlier this week when he said that “both sides were to blame” for last weekend’s deadly violence involving white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump has been under heavy criticism all week for his remarks, which prompted many corporate leaders to bail out of White House advisory boards. So many CEOs resigned that the president responded by disbanding three committees — one focused on shaping business strategy, another on boosting manufacturing and third on improving infrastructure.

Trump Disbands 2 Business Advisory Councils After String Of Resignations

After the CEOs started refusing to work with the president, pressure increased on charities to give up their annual trips to Mar-a-Lago for galas.

For example, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove had served on one of the disbanded business councils. And a day after that dismantling happened, the hospital announced that “after careful consideration,” Cleveland Clinic would not hold its 2018 event at Mar-a-Lago.

Earlier this year, despite a petition drive by doctors and medical students, the hospital had refused to cancel its fundraiser there. When medical students and other groups renewed the push recently, Cleveland Clinic remained firm, saying Mar-a-Lago met its needs.

Now, it does not.

The American Red Cross said in its statement that it must provide “assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions.”

The charity’s connection with the president’s club “has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” it said.

The Salvation Army issued a similar statement, saying its event at Mar-a-Lago helped raise money for disaster victims and the homeless. “Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event,” the group says, “we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago.”

Susan G. Komen, a charity that invests in breast cancer research, confirmed it is also withdrawing from Mar-a-Lago and is seeking a new venue for its fundraising event.

Mar-A-Lago Offers Trump And Abe A Spectacular Place To Get Acquainted

The rash of high-profile cancellations has created something of a scramble in Palm Beach as charities look for other suitable venues. The Palm Beach Post says other nearby hotels and the Palm Beach County Convention Center are hearing from interested groups.

For Trump, the cancellations will mean a significant loss of income, unless the staff at Mar-a-Lago finds new customers who want to book a 20,000-square-foot ballroom embellished with 24-karat gold leafing, modeled, as Trump told Florida Design magazine, after Versailles.

Oldest Kids In Class Do Better, Even Through College

Aug 19, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Oldest Kids In Class Do Better, Even Through College

Study authors found that, on average, demographically similar September-born children performed better than younger August-born students, all through their academic careers.

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Children who start school at an older age do better than their younger classmates and have better odds of attending college and graduating from an elite institution. That’s according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Affairs.

Many parents already delay enrolling their children in school, believing they’ll do better if they’re a bit older. It’s sort of “academic red-shirting,” says one of the study’s authors, David Figlio, an economist at Northwestern University, using a term that originated in college athletics and refers to recruits who are held out of games for a year.

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It's Not So Easy

The study focused on differences between Florida children born just before and after the Sept. 1 cutoff date for starting kindergarten. That means the youngest children in any class were born in August and the oldest in September of the previous year. Figlio and his co-authors found that, on average, demographically similar September-born children performed better than their younger August-born classmates, all through their academic careers.

Previous studies have also concluded that older children do better in school, but there were still questions about whether the advantage continued beyond a few years. This new research found that the advantage extends through college. In an interview with NPR, Figlio said that if you look at test scores, the achievement gap could be equivalent to about 40 points on the 1600-point SAT.

The age a child starts school could also affect college attendance and graduation rates. Among families in the middle socioeconomic group, the older, September-born kids were 2.6 percent more likely to attend college and 2.6 percent more likely to graduate from an elite university. On the downside, August-born children were 1 percent more likely to be incarcerated for juvenile crime. Figlio acknowledges these are not “massive differences,” but he says they are “meaningful.”

Study: Holding Kids Back A Grade Doesn't Necessarily Hold Them Back

Figlio said the study’s most surprising finding was that the gap between August- and September-born children occurs at all socioeconomic levels and is not easily closed, even in high-income families. The Florida birth and education data allowed the researchers to compare the performance of August- and September-born children in the same families. Even in high-income families, says Figlio, there was a gap in achievement between children who started school at a young age and siblings who started when they were older.

Figlio says that surprised him because he thought high-income families would have the resources needed to close the gap between siblings.

There’s no clear remedy to the problem, he says. But he believes educators and officials should look for solutions. Figlio says one possibility may be grouping same-age students in separate classes, rather than having classes where some children can be nearly a year younger than their oldest peers. He says that in the early primary years, the cognitive and social differences between children who are nearly a year apart can be very dramatic, and teaching for each group could be tailored to their development levels.

'Helping Children Succeed' Starts At Birth; A Case For The Power Of Nurture

2 Police Officers Shot And Killed Near Orlando

Aug 19, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on 2 Police Officers Shot And Killed Near Orlando

Editor’s note: This is a developing story; we’ll provide updates as they become available.

Police in Kissimmee, Fla., just south of Orlando, reported late Friday that two officers there had been shot.

Both were killed, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs confirmed on Twitter.

A suspect has been arrested, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“There are no county or jurisdiction lines when it comes to our Law Enforcement Brotherhood,” Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. wrote in response to the shootings.

Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes told the Sentinel that one person was in custody.

Details of the shootings, including whether the officers were on duty or responding to a call at the time, have not been released yet, the Sentinel reported.

Further north in Jacksonville, the local sheriff’s office also reported that two of their officers had been shot, with information about the circumstances or their conditions withheld until family members were notified.

Faces Of NPR: Daniel Zwerdling

Aug 18, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Faces Of NPR: Daniel Zwerdling

NPR Investigations Unit Correspondent Daniel Zwerdling poses for the Faces of NPR portrait at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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NPR Investigations Unit Correspondent Daniel Zwerdling poses for the Faces of NPR portrait at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Emily Sullivan/NPR

The Basics

Name: Daniel Zwerdling

Twitter Handle: @dzwerdling

Job Title: Correspondent, Investigations Unit

Where You’re From: Silver Spring, Maryland

An Inside Look

You’re a Correspondent in the Investigations Unit at NPR. What does that mean?

It means that my big bosses at NPR give my colleagues and me the support and time we need to identify social problems that affect lots of people – hundreds or thousands or potentially millions of people — and then to investigate why the public officials or corporate executives responsible for fixing those problems aren’t doing their jobs. We usually interview scores of people for a single story, track down hundreds or thousands of pages of documents, and end up with hours and hours (and more hours) of audio interviews. Finally, each one of us writes and produces both an audio story, or series of stories, for NPR’s shows and web pieces for NPR.org.

Investigative reporting must be so much easier than doing a daily beat, because you often get months and months to do a single story – right?

Wrong. I’ve done both – and investigative reporting is just as hard, just in a different way. Daily reporters have to crash to meet their deadline, but then the story’s on and it’s over – they can go home and let go. The longer our investigative projects take, the more anxious and insecure we feel that the story won’t pan out, or we’ll make a mistake and get slammed, or the story won’t get much attention, and so our listeners might think, “So what took you so long?” I’ve asked other investigative reporters, and most of them acknowledge it can be emotionally exhausting.

How did you get started here?

I’d been writing freelance investigative pieces for magazines and newspapers, often about environmental issues, and NPR’s news director asked me, kind of out of the blue, if I’d come and launch an environmental beat. I said, “Thanks — but no thanks, I don’t want to give up my independence.” NPR’s intrepid John Ydstie, who was then producer of Morning Edition, took me for a picnic lunch at DuPont Circle and tried to change my mind. Then the executive producer of All Things Considered, a persuasive guy named Chris Koch, took me to lunch at a fancy restaurant (which was a shrewder tactic than a lawn picnic). Chris said, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if you came to NPR and tried it out for a year?” “I won’t like it.” “OK,” he said, so you’ll go back to doing what you’ve already been doing for years. And everything will stay the same. But what’s the best thing that could happen if you try out NPR?” I said, “I might like it.” Chris stared at me without talking. “Ok,” I told him, “I’ll give it a year.” That was in 1980.

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Lesson: Grab new opportunities when you can!

What’s your favorite #NPRLife moment?

Traveling new places and getting to spend hours meeting and interviewing people. What a gift to have people let you into their intimate lives. And Tiny Desk Concerts. What a gift to get up from your desk, walk up a flight of steps and hear fabulous, creative musicians serenade you.

What are some interesting things you’ve worked on?

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Every story has stirred me in some way. Trekking across the desert in Chad during the crippling drought of 1985. Meeting women and girls who walked all day just to find a few buckets of water. Telling the story in 1990 of young girls who got kidnapped and sold into slavery in Pakistan — and then got put in prison, because when they told police that their owners raped them every day, they acknowledged they had sex out of wedlock. Getting to know hard-working immigrants in the mid 2000’s who were terrorized and injured by vicious attack dogs in U.S. jails, just because sadistic guards felt they could do what they want with immigrants. Meeting combat soldiers and their spouses, for years now, who can’t fathom why their government isn’t helping them — yet they keep struggling against the odds and fighting for justice.

What’s on your desk?

Photos of my grandkids, my wife, growing piles of stuff, and souvenirs that colleagues have brought me from their travels.

Favorite Tiny Desk?

Yusuf/Cat Stevens. If only we could all age so gracefully. I told him that I sobbed when I heard his then-new song, “Wild World,” in 1970, because I had just broken up with a college girlfriend. He said, “That’s why I wrote it – it had just happened to me.”

Favorite places in Washington D.C.?

I always slow down when I’m walking or driving down 7th Street across the National Mall. First I gaze at the Capitol, then at the Washington Monument. And then I often get teary, thinking of the history behind them, and what they symbolize to people around the world. I also worry whether they’ll still mean that much 10 or 20 years from now.

First thing you do when you get to the office?

Answer emails. Straighten one messy pile. Then boil water and go through my zen ritual of making drip coffee from locally roasted beans.

What are you inspired by right now?

Our colleagues who’ve been creating podcasts – they’re venturing into new(ish) territory and trying something new.

Our colleagues at Code Switch: America needs to pay more attention to this amazing unit. They’re talking about issues you rarely hear or see in mainstream media.

What do you love about public radio?

The amazing, compelling, thoughtful voices – of the thousands and thousands of people we interview, and also of my colleagues who interview them.

Once Shot For Advocating For Girls’ Education, Malala Is Going To Oxford

Aug 18, 2017   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Once Shot For Advocating For Girls’ Education, Malala Is Going To Oxford

Malala Yousafzai is congratulated after collecting her A-level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, England.

Darren Staples/Reuters


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Darren Staples/Reuters

Malala Yousafzai is congratulated after collecting her A-level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, England.

Darren Staples/Reuters

Malala Yousafzai was only 15 when she was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for campaigning for the education of girls. Now, she has been accepted to Oxford, one of the world’s elite universities.

Malala tweeted, “So excited to go to Oxford!!!” She also congratulated other students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who received news Thursday about their university futures.

At Oxford Malala will study philosophy, politics and economics.

Gaining a place at an elite university is just the latest of Malala’s achievements. She is also the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She was co-laureate in 2014 with Kailish Satyarthi, an advocate for the rights of children in India. The Nobel committee cited their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

A little more than a month ago, Malala posted this on her last day of secondary school: “I enjoyed my school years and I am excited for my future. But I can’t help thinking of the millions of girls around the world who won’t complete their education. I was almost one of those girls.”

Malala Yousafzai: A 'Normal,' Yet Powerful Girl

Malala’s story is compelling. She was born in Pakistan and spent her childhood in the Swat valley. Her father, an educator, was determined she would go to school. But in 2007 Taliban militants took control of Swat and banned the education of girls. It was then that Malala began blogging for the BBC about life under Taliban domination.

When the Pakistani army finally weakened the Taliban’s hold in 2011, Malala returned to school and began publicly advocating for girls’ education. While she was going home from classes one day in 2012, a masked gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, then shot her in the head, neck and shoulders. She survived but was flown in critical condition to London for treatment. After multiple surgeries, she relocated with her family to Birmingham, England.

Following news of Malala’s acceptance to Oxford, her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, expressed his gratitude in a tweet: “We are grateful to Allah,” he wrote, and thanked all “who support @Malala 4 the grand cause of education.”

Malala and her father established the Malala Fund in 2013, an organization dedicated to giving all girls access to education.

In a speech before the United Nations on her 16th birthday, Malala urged other young women to take action. “If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now and not wait for anyone else,” she said.

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