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In a split decision, the Arkansas Supreme court has ruled that the laws governing executions in the state were unconstitutional.

The court found that only the legislature should control the process and Arkansas had given that power to its department of corrections.

This weekend, gay pride celebrations will mark the first year since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the law that banned gays from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Denny Meyer, 65, is a veteran who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. During a recent visit to StoryCorps, he remembered what it was like to be both gay and a sailor in the late 1960s.

"In those days, we served in silence. And not one day passed when you didn't worry that you were going to be found out," he says.

From Our Readers: TV? What TV?

Jun 21, 2012

Our piece about a Supreme Court's decision to dismiss fines against ABC and Fox, led to comments from households that have greatly reduced their television intake. Of course, most acknowledged the obvious — they're still on the internet (hardly a space known for its sterling regulation of decency), and did we detect a little of one-up-manship?

The credit rating agency Moody's Investor Services just downgraded the ratings of 15 of the world's largest banks.

Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs were among them.

The AP reports:

"The ratings agency said late Thursday that the banks were downgraded because their long-term prospects for profitability and growth are shrinking.

The political fundraising numbers filed this week are revealing a new crop of million-dollar donors.

Cash flowed into the superPACs supporting President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney last month. Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama superPAC, got $4 million, while the pro-Romney equivalent, Restore Our Future, pulled in $5 million.

So who are the big spenders?

A lawyer for Jerry Sandusky's adopted son says Matthew Sandusky was also a victim of the former Penn State assistant football coach.

In a statement released by Andrew Shubin, Matthew Sandusky said he was prepared to testify against his father.

The Patriot-News first broke the story and Shubin confirmed his statement to NPR.

Many kids who grow up in big cities have lots of opportunities to experience science hands-on. There are zoos, museums, planetariums and school field trips.

But those amenities are sometimes out of reach for lower-income children. And in some rural areas, those opportunities simply don't exist at all.

In California — as in many states — public school science programs have faced deep budget cuts. Many kids have been left behind.

Dan Sudran has taken it upon himself to help close the gap.

Instilling A Love Of Science, Early On

A Fight To The Finish For Tennessee Mosque

Jun 21, 2012

The first minarets in Murfreesboro, Tenn., are about to be placed atop a new mosque. But when construction is complete on the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, located about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, no one will get to move in.

An ongoing court battle has stalled the project, one of several Islamic centers around the country that, like the so-called ground zero mosque, have encountered resistance from local communities.

Kosher: The Hottest Word On Food Labels

Jun 21, 2012

Grandma's can of matzo ball soup and jar of gefilte fish have never seen such love.

Worries about a slowing world economy took its toll on the markets today: At close, the Dow was down 250.82 points or 2 percent. Standard & Poors was down 2.2 percent and Nasdaq was down 2.4 percent.

That was the worst drop in three weeks and the second worst drop of the year.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

It almost certainly won't solve the European sovereign debt crisis. But the way it's being framed, tomorrow's European Championship quarterfinal is starting to sound like its next chapter: Greece vs. Germany; austerity vs. stimulus; intact eurozone vs. one without Greece.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some have dubbed the game a "debt derby" that pits "the euro zone's most cash-strapped nation against its Teutonic task- and paymaster." The Journal adds:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney softened his tough primary-campaign tone on immigration, if not his positions, during a speech Thursday to national Hispanic leaders.

In comments to thousands gathered at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Fla., the former Massachusetts governor criticized President Obama's failure to take action on comprehensive immigration reform.

Iran's intelligence minister says his country has uncovered a "massive cyber attack" he says was launched by the United States, England and Israel to coincide with nuclear negotiations that happened in Moscow.

Press TV, Iran's official, English-language news outlet, reports that Heidar Moslehi said Iran had "taken necessary measures" to protect itself against the attack.

Moslehi added:

A United Nations investigator on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions says the United States drone strikes may challenge international law.

The Guardian reports that Christof Heyns made the comments in a meeting organized by the American Civil Liberties Union in Geneva.

Eating disorders aren't just a problem for teens and young women.

Many women over 50 grapple with issues related to body image and food, a new study finds.

Update at 1:31 p.m. ET. Case Goes To Jury:

The Patriot-News, which is following the Sandusky case live, reports that the prosecution has delivered its closing arguments and the case has now been turned over the jury.

Our Original Post Continues:

By an 8-0 vote, the Supreme Court today threw out fines the Federal Communications Commission filed against Fox and ABC.

The court did not address whether the FCC rules violated anyone's First Amendment right to free speech. Instead, the justices ruled that the FCC "failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent."

George Zimmerman's written, audio and video accounts of what happened when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin have been put online by his defense team. Much of what is in the materials has been previously reported, but their release offers the most detailed looks so far at his claim that he acted in self defense.

The materials, posted here, include the statement Zimmerman wrote on Feb. 26 — the day of his fatal encounter with 17-year-old Trayvon in Sanford, Fla. In it, the neighborhood watch volunteer writes:

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: The Supreme Court is done issuing opinions today and its take on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care overhaul was not among them.

The next likely day: Monday.

Our Original Post:

What we said on the last two Mondays applies again today:

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