NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

Reading For Life In South Bend, Ind.

Aug 29, 2012

Seven years ago, Alesha Seroczynski became a central character in an incredible story about second chances for juvenile offenders in South Bend. With the University of Notre Dame, she developed Reading for Life, a program that combines reading literature, studying seven classic virtues — Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, Fidelity, Hope, Charity — and being mentored to help students make better life choices.

Alesha and more than 30 volunteer mentors have graduated 150 juveniles from the program — 97 percent have not re-offended.

The Associated Press and The Huffington Post have gotten their hands on early copies of No Easy Day. As Mark wrote earlier this month, the book is a firsthand account of the secret military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Flu is most deadly for children with neurologic problems and disorders, an analysis of swine flu fatalities finds.

The results come from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who looked at childhood fatalities during the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, when there were five times the usual number of deaths.

In all, 43 percent of the deaths occurred in children who had neurologic diseases, such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy, or developmental disorders.

It's become a perennial problem for Republicans, but not one that the party yet knows how to solve.

The eye of Isaac made its first landfall at Plaquemines Parish, a stretch of thin land southeast of New Orleans that extends into the Gulf from Louisiana.

According to the parish president, the damage there is just as bad, perhaps even worse, than what happened during Katrina.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Billy Nungesser said the parish's levee had been overtopped and parts of the parish that had never flooded during a hurricane were under 5 feet of water.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its GDP numbers today, saying that during the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate.

That's up from its original estimate of 1.5 percent.

The BEA reports:

When we arrived in Tampa for the Republican convention, much of the buzz centered on vice presidential pick, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Finding A Home In Arlington, Va.

Aug 29, 2012

Who: A family looking for a dog and a black dog named Phillip

What: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue adoption event

When: Sat., Aug. 18, 2012

Where: Dogma Dog Bakery, Arlington Va.

Why: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is an all-volunteer, non-profit animal rescue organization devoted to saving the lives of homeless animals and spreading the word about responsible pet ownership.

Caroline Lacey is a photographer in suburban Washington. She listens to WAMU.

The Latest at 10:20 p.m. ET. More Than 650,000 Power Outages In La.

That tidbit emerged in a letter from gov. Bobby Jindal to President Obama in which he requested expedited major disaster declaration for the state as a result of damage caused by Isaac.

Here's more from the letter:

Like a lot of Republicans, Jane Jech is excited about Paul Ryan. Maybe even more excited than she is about Mitt Romney.

Ryan, a seven-term representative from Wisconsin and the chairman of the House Budget Committee, will formally accept the Republican Party's nomination for vice president on Wednesday.

His speech is expected to touch on all the hallmarks he's emphasized since getting the nod as running mate on Aug. 11, including the need to get the federal deficit under control, in part by curbing entitlement programs like Medicare.

In case you missed it, the theme here in Tampa at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday was: "We Built It." Intended as a reference to building a business, the three words also suggested another construction project under way — a bridge to female voters.

Certain forms of art are performed in private. The painter is alone when he paints, the writer likewise.

But the most pertinent aspect of the performing arts is that they are watched. Dance, music, drama and sport are most challenging — and most thrilling — precisely because they are real, before our eyes.

When women go on a diet, we tend to avoid our favorite restaurants because they are filled with temptations — bread, booze and desserts. But are we doomed to sit in our kitchens eating salad alone while everyone else is headed out on the town if we want to keep the weight off?

Take heart, ladies. A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds they could eat out and still succeed at long-term weight loss.

Mitt Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention on Thursday will be his chance to tell his story to the world. Perhaps the most unique part of that story is his devout Mormon faith.

Romney comes from a prominent Mormon family. He's held important leadership positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But he rarely talks about his faith. When he does, he seems uncomfortable.

A soft murmur of familiarity rippled through the packed GOP convention hall Tuesday night when Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, spoke not of their "storybook marriage" but of one touched by cancer, multiple sclerosis and the trials of raising five sometimes screaming children.

"A storybook marriage? Not at all," she said, during her much anticipated prime-time speech. "What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage."

It was that moment that encapsulated the job that Ann Romney had to do, and how well she managed it.

If you missed some of Tuesday's action at the Republican National Convention, we were live blogging here and you can always read through it to see how the day and evening went.

But if you'd like to save some time, here are five things that struck us:

Alexander Reber may not be the youngest delegate at the Republican convention — that honor goes to his fellow Virginia delegate, 17-year-old high school senior Evan Draim.

But Reber, 21, who is an alternate, is certainly doing his part to lower the average age in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention opened Tuesday.

Many travelers using United Airlines faced delays Tuesday, but they weren't connected to Hurricane Isaac. Instead, the airline's computer network crashed, leaving large parts of its system paralyzed Tuesday afternoon.

First noted around 2:15 p.m. EDT, the problems persisted until about 6:30 p.m. EDT, when the airline tweeted that it is "in the process of resuming operations and rebooking customers."

The mission of Circles Wyoming, part of a national anti-poverty movement, is "to build intentional, diverse and long-term relationships as people move from barely surviving to thriving."

Trained "intentional friends" are matched with someone who is looking to escape poverty, explains Director Tim Thorson. They do everything "from having coffee once a month to talk about financial goals to going to the gym together ... things that any friends would do."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says America will have a different view of Mitt Romney by the time he accepts the Republican nomination for president.

Rubio will introduce Romney on Thursday, the final night of the Republican National Convention. He may have provided a preview of his speech to a gathering of Florida delegates Tuesday.

The Latest At 11:06 P.M. ET Little Change In Strength

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Isaac will continue moving near or over the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Tuesday night, and move inland during the next day or so.

"Little change in strength is forecast tonight," it said at 10 p.m. CDT. "Slow weakening is expected after that."

As we reported earlier, widespread flooding was expected. Isaac was moving toward Baton Rouge, La.

Many cities around the nation are trying to revive their downtowns, adding more apartments and condominiums — usually high-rises — to lure new residents.

But as urban dwellers grow in numbers, they need places to get outside. Yet, in many cities, like Miami, neighborhood parks can be hard to find. The Trust for Public Land ranks Miami 94 on a list of 100 cities when it comes to park acreage per 1,000 residents — just 2.8 acres per 1,000 residents, versus 4.5 in New York and 6.2 in Los Angeles.

One of the biggest debates in Washington, D.C., these days has nothing to do with taxes, health care or the economy. It's about baseball and whether the Washington Nationals should end the season of their young pitching star, Stephen Strasburg, just as the team may be headed for the playoffs.

Two years ago, Strasburg's promising career was threatened when he tore a ligament in his pitching arm. He needed surgery and couldn't pitch for a year.

Why Does Pregnancy Last 9 Months?

Aug 28, 2012

Babies are lovely but altogether helpless creatures.

Wouldn't it be better if tiny humans were born able to walk, like horses, or generally were readier for the rigors of the world, like, say, chimps?

Among primates, human have the least developed brains at birth, at least when compared to adult human brains. If humans were born as far along on cognitive and neurological scales as rough and ready chimps are, though, human pregnancy would have to last at least twice as long. Eighteen months in the womb, anyone?

Ever wondered whether convention delegates hold political views that are more extreme than most members of their own parties? You could ask them.

Malcolm Browne was a first-rate reporter who spent decades at The New York Times, covered wars around the world and won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing about the early days of the Vietnam war.

And yet he will forever be remembered for one famous picture, the 1963 photo of a Buddhist monk who calmly set himself on fire on the streets of Saigon to protest against the South Vietnamese government, which was being supported by the U.S.

The president of Colombia admitted today that his government and the country's biggest rebel group have engaged in "exploratory talks." The public admission could set the stage for peace talks to end one of the world's longest armed conflicts.

From Bogota, NPR's Juan Forero filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"President Juan Manuel Santos, in a brief televised address, said talks had taken place with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

In August 2004, Tracy Rittel was in a fatal car accident near Fargo. While Tracy battled for her life, her family had trouble finding a place to stay near the hospital.

From that experience, the Rittels created Tracy's Sanctuary House in Bismarck for families who find themselves in a similar situation. Since 2005, some 1,500 families have used the home.

A dozen volunteers "put their hearts and souls into making sure the house is kept up," says Tracy's daughter Kelsey Zottnick.

Republicans are now trying to pack the best of their vote-for-Mitt-Romney message into three nights in Tampa in a weather-abbreviated convention. Here are some of the highlighted speakers.

With a program designed both to tell the American people more about Mitt Romney and to make the case that Republicans' ideas for solving the nation's problems are better than Democrats', the 2012 GOP National Convention got going today and Romney officially became the party's presidential nominee.

Delegates also officially made Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin the party's vice presidential nominee.

We live blogged through the afternoon and evening. Scroll down and read "up" if you want to see how the story developed.

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