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In Baltimore, Rec Centers Provide So Much More Than Just Fun

On a recent day at Baltimore's Lillian S. Jones Recreation Center, adolescent boys play basketball, while a group of girls play Monopoly at a nearby table. There's also air hockey, foosball and a computer room in back.Director Brandi Murphy says there are also swim classes, science lessons, arts and crafts. But the center gives the kids — students age 5 to 12 who come after school and in the summer — far more than fun things to do."We are mom, dad, aunt, cousin. They come here to get what...
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NPR News

I've had this phrase running through my head since we started updating our Commencement Speeches database a few weeks ago: "If you're too big for a small job, you're too small for a big job."

Who said that? It was Katie Couric at American University last year.

Who knew that a commencement address could get stuck in your head? Well, the best of these speeches have a lot in common with a great pop song. They are simple, emotional, and pack a universal message into just a few words.

Georgia Leads A Push To Help Ex-Prisoners Get Jobs

2 hours ago

In the 1990s, states went on a prison-building binge. Today, millions who spent time in those prisons are back in society — and many are struggling to find work.

Jay Neal is in charge of Georgia's new office of re-entry. Its purpose is clear: "Helping Georgia's returning citizens find training, assisting Georgia's returning citizens find jobs," he reads off the website.

Returning citizens is America's new term for ex-prisoners, ex-cons and former inmates.

The Nidaa mosque in northern Baghdad looks grand, with clean, modern lines swooping up to a blue-mosaic dome. But inside it's squalid, with piled-up mattresses, cooking pots and almost 60 families. Most are Sunni Muslims who fled the western province of Anbar when the self-proclaimed Islamic State advanced against the Iraqi security forces two months ago.

"We suffered a lot in our journey," says Wafaa Ahmed, a widow who walked for days with three sick children. "But the worst suffering was here in Baghdad."

Economists surveyed by Reuters are predicting that employers added about 230,000 jobs to their payrolls. That's less than the month before but still a pretty strong showing.

Because of the Independence Day holiday, the unemployment report is being released on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. It is normally issued on a Friday.

The U.S. economy slowed a lot over the winter, but as the weather has improved so has the job market. On Wednesday, the payroll processing company ADP said private employers added about 237,000 jobs in June — the biggest gain since December.

First Listen: Stacy Barthe, 'BEcoming'

9 hours ago

Stacy Barthe's debut album, BEcoming, is all about brutal, fearless honesty. Having already written songs for a string of modern R&B and pop stars, Barthe first began to break through as a headliner in 2013, as she surfaced on lists of artists to watch and, ultimately, the year's best music.

If you were about to talk to President Obama and suggest that he try adding fresh peas to guacamole, don't. The Twitterverse learned this when someone asked Obama what he thought about a recipe The New York Times published that suggested adding fresh peas. The recipe drew a lot of rotten tomatoes from average folks, and someone asked Obama what he thought.

When it comes to premature death and disease, what we eat ranks as the single most important factor, according to a study in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. Yet few doctors say they feel properly trained to dispense dietary advice. One group, at least, is trying to fill that knowledge gap.

Cities in drought-plagued California took water conservation seriously in May. Residential water use went down by 28.9 percent in May, according to a press release from the State Water Resources Control Board.

A group of 12 U.S. senators is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to help World War II veterans who were exposed to mustard gas, after an NPR Investigation found the VA broke a decades-old promise to provide them compensation.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Dinosaurs have been rampaging through movie theaters for weeks. And now, just in time for Independence Day, they are joined by robots and male strippers. Critic Bob Mondello says let the block busting go on.

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Music News

June CD: Robert Glasper's "Covered"

One of the most important artists in music today returns with a brand new release on the Blue Note Label, and continues to move music forward. Pianist and composer Robert Glasper is hot off the heels of his Grammy-award-winning Black Radio 2 with his Experiment Band. Now he returns to his straight-ahead roots with Covered, recording once again with his original acoustic trio comprised of bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid, who recorded Glasper’s first two releases for Blue Note...
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