Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart walks the halls of his jail every day. With 10,000 inmates, this place is a small city — except a third of the people here are mentally ill.
Dart has created some of the most innovative programs in the country to handle mentally ill inmates, hiring doctors and psychologists, and training staff. But if you ask anyone here, even this jail is barely managing.
"I can't conceive of anything more ridiculously stupid by government than to do what we're doing right now," Dart says.
"I don't know why you're on Mars, but whatever the reason for going to Mars is, I'm glad you're there and I wish I was with you."
That was a part of astrophysicist Carl Sagan's message, recorded a few months before he died in 1996, to the future human inhabitants of Mars.
Some of the earliest science fiction imagined voyages to the Red Planet. We now have the space-faring technology, and getting humans to Mars actually seems within reach. It would certainly involve massive resources and a lot of danger, but some believe the rewards would be massive.
"Captain Phillips" is one of those films, a true life story of war and drama. It's based on the story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. Five years ago, pirates attacked the freighter ship off the coast of Somalia. The film star is Tom Hanks as the title character, Captain Richard Phillips, and Barkhad Abdi as the man who leads the charge to capture the ship and crew.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Rhinoceros horns now sell for more on the black market than cocaine or heroin. Demand from Southeast Asian consumers is primarily to blame. In order to cash in, thieves have begun targeting a different kind of rhino habitat: museums. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with journalist Adam Higginbotham about the so-called "Rathkeale Rovers," a gang suspected of several thefts.
On Monday, the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran officially kicks in. But this agreement is just a first step in a long negotiation process. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Karim Sadjadpour, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about what to expect from additional disarmament talks.
Also this week, there was more tough news for Americans who rely on federal unemployment benefits.
At the end of last year, Congress failed to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which helps the long-term unemployed. And on December 28th, about 1.3 million people lost benefits.
This week, members of Congress brought the program back up for debate, but they could not agree on how to pay for the benefits. And each week, the number of people losing their unemployment checks grows. They're watching Congress closely.
Now to something quite a bit older - the paper on which Abraham Lincoln wrote the early plans to end slavery in the United States. While many important documents from American history find a home at the National Archives, behind protective cases and security, this Lincoln document is displayed at a church in Washington, D.C. Heather Taylor brings us the story.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
This was a bad week for advocates of net neutrality. A federal court struck down Federal Communications Commission rules intended to prevent broadband service providers from, for example, favoring one website over another.
NPR's Laura Sydell says consumer advocates are worried, the decision could ultimately mean higher prices for your Internet service.