America is the land of opportunity — that's the bedrock of the American dream. Many expect each generation to do better than the last.
That dream of economic mobility is alive and well for Pam Krank and her husband, Brian McGee. The two are proud owners of The Credit Department Inc., a successful business in the Minneapolis suburb of Mendota Heights.
"Mostly manufacturing companies around the world will hire us to study their customers and tell them how much ... unsecured credit they should grant to each customer," Krank explains.
It's a long, detailed look at how the president has "placed himself at the helm of a top secret 'nominations' process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical."
For the past two months, the Philippines and China have been locked in a standoff over territory in the South China Sea that both countries claim.The Philippine navy accused Chinese boats of fishing illegally in the area. Protesters in the Philippines are shown here marching in Manila earlier this month.
Credit Philippine Navy / AP
Filipino naval personnel look at giant clam shells onboard a Chinese fishing vessel at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea last month. Both countries claim the area, but say they are seeking a diplomatic solution.
A local resident entertains visitors to the Kawah Kamojang geothermal field in West Java. He puts a length of bamboo to the steam coming from the ground to make a whistle, then throws soda cans into the vent, which shoots them high into the air. The Dutch colonial government drilled Indonesia's first geothermal wells at Kamojang in 1926, when the country was still known as the Dutch East Indies.
Credit Yosef Riadi for NPR
Geysers puffing steam and bubbling, sulfurous hot springs are plentiful in the Kawah Kamojang geothermal field in West Java. The field is located in a caldera, the crater of a volcano that has erupted and collapsed.
Indonesia, the country with the world's largest number of active volcanoes, is betting that all the hot rocks will provide a clean and reliable energy source for the future.
The country is believed have 40 percent of the world's geothermal energy resources. But making geothermal energy economically feasible will require adjusting the country's heavily subsidized energy prices. And that issue is a political hot potato.
An Afghan girl takes part in a boxing training session around in a training room at the Kabul stadium, in Kabul in January 2011.
Credit Ahmad Shafi for NPR
Saber Sharifi has been recruiting and training female boxers in Afghanistan over the past five years. He has often faced resistance from the families of the girls, but there are now 30 boxers on the team, and one will be going to the London Olympics this summer.
Forget the calendar. With The Avengers, Battleship, and Men In Black already battling aliens at the multiplex, Hollywood's summer has arguably been under way for weeks.
No doubt, the tent-pole blockbusters — Ridley Scott's Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Bourne Legacy, and the rest — will offer plenty of entertainment value, but there are a couple of hardy, resourceful little girls you might want to attend to, too.
Substance abuse. Violence. Even thoughts of suicide. These are some of the problems that many veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with.
Today it's called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, but it has affected veterans going back much farther. While doctors and researchers put enormous efforts into developing new treatments, one group of veterans in Salt Lake City is finding relief in a very old tradition: a Native American sweat lodge.
Every few weeks on the program, we've been running an occasional series called Why Music Matters, where we bring you the stories of music fans in their own words, about how certain songs or even bands have changed their lives. Today's story comes from a young artist in Seattle. Her name is Vivi Perez, and she almost gave up on high school, that is until a community activist group called El Centro de la Raza introduced her to the music business.
VIVI PEREZ: I felt kind of, like, I didn't know where I was going a lot in high school.
Let's turn to another story we've been following in recent weeks: African-Americans and same-sex marriage. When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, some African-American religious leaders protested. But according to new polling data, African-Americans are no less supportive or, for that matter, opposed to gay marriage than any other group in the country.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned Syria for an attack in the central part of the country yesterday that left at least 90 people dead, dozens of them children. The council once again called on Syria's government to halt further violence against its civilians. Here's NPR's Kelly McEvers with more from Beirut.
Returning now to veterans on this Memorial Day weekend. Close to one out of two veterans who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan have now filed disability claims for service-related injuries - everything from hearing loss and back problems to mental health claims like PTSD. The percentage of vets making claims now is more than double the rate of previous wars. The total cost could eventually come to close to a trillion dollars.
Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reported on the staggering increase and what might explain it.
Hotshot political consultant Matt Mackowiak is a rising star in the very lucrative world of political consulting. His firm, the Potomac Strategy Group, helps Republicans win elections, but he's not working with Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign this election year.
People who are part of Mackowiak's tribe — the strategists, the opposition researchers, the pollsters — are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact working for outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money, unencumbered by the rules that restrict what a presidential campaign can do.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray was elected to office on a platform of anti-corruption. But just two years into his term, a federal investigation has left two former aides pleading guilty to misdeeds during the 2010 election. Gray has denied any wrongdoing. Host Guy Raz talks about D.C. politics with Washington Post reporter Nikita Stewart.
The Denver folk group The Lumineers was founded in 2002 by Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, who grew up together in the New Jersey suburb of Ramsey. In its early days, the band had its sights on nearby New York as the gateway to success.
When parents deploy to a war zone overseas, their absence can have ripple effects that are felt long after they return. Parents and their children often struggle to figure out how to be a family again after leading separate lives for months or years. Now, there's an effort to make the transition from combat life to home life less rocky.
Big K.R.I.T. will turn 26 in August and seems halfway to stardom. His Def Jam debut, Live from the Underground, will feature a B.B. King cameo and is scheduled for a June 5 release. It should hit the charts high.
President Obama is applauded after signing the health care overhaul during a ceremony in the White House on March 23, 2010. Then-Gov. Mitt Romney signs a Massachusetts health care overhaul at Faneuil Hall in Boston on April 12, 2006.
From now until November, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at one of those similarities: They both signed health care overhaul laws based on an individual mandate.
Five years in prison. Then five years of probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device. The shame of being a registered sex offender. Not being able to get a job. His dream of playing in the NFL destroyed, possibly forever.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. In New York City, a decades old missing child case may have been solved. In 1979, a 6-year-old boy named Etan Patz disappeared as he was walking to school. Thirty-three years later, almost to the day, police say they have a suspect under arrest and his confession. That suspect is Pedro Hernandez, now 51 years old.
English teacher Eleanor Terry started a Facebook page last fall for the High School for Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn. She uses it for the school's college office to remind seniors about things like application deadlines. The seniors use it to stay in touch with each other.
"There was a student who got into the University of Chicago," she says, "and the way we found out about it was that they scanned their acceptance letter and then tagged us in it."