Rita Thompson Swords was sterilized by a doctor after delivering her second child. She was 21, unwed and poor, a combination that made her unfit for more children, according to the North Carolina Eugenics Board.
Credit Julie Rose for NPR
John Railey of the Winston-Salem Journal says the eugenics program in North Carolina "was always hiding in plain sight."
North Carolina was poised to become the first state to compensate people who had been sterilized against their will under decades of eugenics laws. More than half of states had forced sterilization laws, but North Carolina's were particularly aggressive.
A bill to pay the victims nearly passedin recent months. But "nearly" isn't enough for the victims who risked their reputations to go public with their stories.
Now they — and their advocates — wonder what comes next.
Afghan soldiers (right) patrol with U.S. troops in the Panjwai district of southern Afghanistan in May. The two armies have been working together for years, but Afghan attacks against U.S. and NATO forces have been rising recently.
In the past two weeks, seven Afghans in uniform have opened fire on Western forces. The most recent incidents occurred Friday. First, a newly recruited policeman in western Afghanistan turned his gun on U.S. military trainers, killing two and wounding a third. A short time later in southern Kandahar province, an Afghan soldier shot and wounded two foreign troops.
A report made public today by the Department of Defense finally gives us details on what caused the downfall of Four-Star Gen. William "Kip" Ward.
More than a year ago, Ward gave up his post as leader of U.S. Africa Command and Stars and Stripes reported in May that he would be stripped of two of his stars, pending an investigation. But the reasons why were kept quiet, as Stars And Stripes reported.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 3:48 pm
U.S. health officials recommended this week that baby boomers — that is, anyone born between 1945 and 1965 — should get tested for hepatitis C. Why? New treatment options mean it will be possible to cure many more of the infected before they develop deadly diseases of the liver.
But there is an interesting story lurking beneath the headlines.
A study released today by the Government Accountability Office says that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) used appropriate data and scientific methods in drafting new regulations aimed at limiting the amount of coal dust miners are exposed to at U.S. operations.
As NPR's Howard Berkes reported for us last month, some House Republicans had blocked implementation of the regulations until GAO issued its report.
Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:26 pm
The Friday offer from President Obama's campaign to Mitt Romney — that if the GOP presidential candidate releases his tax returns for the past five years, it won't attack him for not releasing more — was immediately rejected by the Romney campaign.
But the give-and-take keeps Romney on the defensive, and promises to keep the issue of Romney's taxes going for weeks to come.
Up next, math books get a makeover. You may remember my next guest from her acting roles on "The Wonder Years." Winnie Cooper may ring a bell or "The West Wing." But for thousands of girls today, she's the writer and personality behind a bestselling series of books that aim to teach girls about math. First, there was "Math Doesn't Suck," then "Hot X: Algebra Revealed," and now we're onto geometry.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow, who's out today. This week, the FDA approved a new influenza vaccine for this year's flu season, and soon enough summer will be over and you'll be standing in line again at your pharmacy or doctor's office, participating in that yearly ritual - your annual vaccination allocation.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Do you know your blood type? You may have wondered about it this week if you heard news linking blood type to your risk of heart disease. In that study, researchers determined that those with blood type O had the lowest risk of heart disease and those with AB the highest.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. We're in the midst of the worst drought in over 50 years. Water tables are dropping faster than they can be replenished, and at the same time an op-ed in the New York Times today says that the United States is estimated to lose about one in six gallons, one in six gallons of clean water every day due to leaky pipes in the ground.
You might take that sound for granted. I know I do. That's because most of us hear it all the time, at least in this country. Toilets are everywhere here in the U.S. But a lot of people around the world don't hear that sound every day, because two-and-a-half billion people, with the B, don't have a safe, sanitary place to go to the bathroom, according to the World Health Organization.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, and I'm Flora Lichtman. On any given day, visit the website brainpickings.org, and you'll find posts on topics ranging from Charles Darwin's notes on marriage, to a birthday tribute to Julia Child, to the poetry of Patti Smith.
This interview was originally broadcast on July 26, 2011. Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time is now out in paperback.
Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a tiny hamlet in southern Ohio. In the 1950s, Knockemstiff had three stores, a bar and a population of about 450 people. Most of those people, says fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock, were "connected by blood through one godforsaken calamity or another."