President Clinton prepares to sign legislation overhauling America's welfare system at the White House Rose Garden on Aug. 22, 1996. Today, the ranks of the nation's poor have swelled to a record 46.2 million — nearly 1 in 6 Americans — as the prolonged pain of the recession leaves millions still struggling and out of work.
Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.
A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what's often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.
On Friday, TV audiences got their first taste of the media frenzy that could come with a televised Trayvon Martin trial when a Florida judge granted bail to George Zimmerman. That decision, whether to televise or not, has yet to be made.
Writer John McWhorter thinks it would be a very good thing. And in the latest issue of The New Republic, he argues that it could become a bookend to another famous and racially charged trial: the O.J. Simpson case.
She closed the book, placed it on the table and finally decided to walk through the door. That's the starting sentence for Round 8 of Three-Minute Fiction. That's our contest where we ask you to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes. Our readers from across the country are combing through all of our 6,000 submissions this round. Let's hear a sample of their favorites so far.
Staying in the middle of the country, you might have heard that America's farmers are getting older. Something else you probably know: women tend to outlive men. So do the math and what do you get? More women in charge of land and some who aren't really sure how to take care of it. So as Iowa Public Radio's Sarah McCammon reports, female conservationists are reaching out to this growing group.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
President Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist rival Francois Hollande were the top vote-getters in the first round of the French presidential election today. They'll head to a runoff on May 6. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris sent us this report.