The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. But now it's become a hot political topic, thanks to a Republican presidential debate in which candidate Michelle Bachmann inveighed against "innocent little 12-year-old girls" being "forced to have a government injection."
Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that's won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community.
European governments seem to be having a hard time deciding whether to come together or drift apart at a time of economic uncertainty.
Years from now, historians will no doubt say this was a crisis waiting to happen. The people who came up with the idea of a eurozone stopped halfway. The participating countries would use a common currency, but they wouldn't have common tax and spending policies â€” a monetary union but not a fiscal union.
Political experts are keeping a close eye on Texas because it will pick up four new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives next year, thanks to a soaring Latino population. But civil rights groups and the U.S. Justice Department are signaling they may have some concerns about the redistricting process in Texas and whether it could put Latino voters at a disadvantage.
Before he became a Professor of literature at Harvard, and way before he wrote his classic Shakespeare biography, Will in The World, Stephen Greenblatt was an I'll-read-anything kind of kid. One day, he was standing in the campus book store, and there, in a bin, selling for ten cents (good price, even in 1961) he noticed a thin, little volume called On the Nature of Things, by a Roman writer named Lucretius.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this summer has been the second-hottest ever recorded in the United States, helping to push power demand in homes to record levels. As some worry that the growing use of fossil fuels to produce electricity for cooling is unsustainable, one man is urging Americans to live without air conditioning.
Parents used to think that once their kids were out of elementary school, they were done with vaccines. But the rules are changing.
In California, middle schoolers and high schoolers now have to prove that they're immunized against pertussis, or whooping cough, in order to attend school. It's one of dozens of states that have recently passed laws requiring vaccines for teens and tweens.
In 1948, President Truman endorsed the creation of an Israeli state. Nearly three decades later, before finalizing the Camp David accords, Jimmy Carter became the first U.S. president to call for the creation of a Palestinian "homeland." Presidents have put their own spins on that effort ever since. Here's a sampling:
March 16, 1977 â€” Carter, at a town hall meeting in Massachusetts, said that after Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist, "There has to be a homeland provided for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."
AMC's Mad Men is one of the big favorites at Sunday night's Emmy Awards â€” and this past season's most memorable character may have been Don Draper's new secretary, Miss Ida Blankenship.
Played by Randee Heller, Miss Blankenship was a departure from the attractive, attentive young girls that usually wait on Draper. She stole every scene she was in, even in death. Her passing was both shocking and comical and became one of the most talked-about moments of the TV season.
Former President Jimmy Carter urges the United States to not veto the Security Council vote for Palestinian statehood anticipated to take place next week.
"If I were president, I'd be very glad to see the Palestinians have a nation recognized by the United Nations," Carter tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered. "There's no downside to it."
Carter admits that for President Obama, failure to veto "would have some adverse effects perhaps on his political future."
The Big 12, an athletic conference composed of 10 colleges from the Central U.S., may soon need to rebrand itself as the Big 8. The possible departure of two of its members â€” Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma â€” may destabilize not only the Big 12, but also the college football landscape.
The Republican presidential hopefuls will meet in Orlando on Thursday for their next debate. It's an additional opportunity for the candidates to try to set themselves apart in a crowded field. It's also a chance to take stock of the debate moderators.
NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik has this tip for the moderators: Don't get distracted.
He tells Weekend Edition host Audie Cornish that the "theatricality" of some debates can make people forget their purpose.
On Monday, President Obama will lay out his new plan for reducing the federal deficit. His proposal will also include specific recommendations to the bipartisan deficit Super Committee on how to offset the cost of his $447 billion jobs plan. Host Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Mara Liasson.
With unemployment at 9.1 percent and the economy as the top issue of the 2012 presidential race, the president faces a tough fight for re-election. Still, he might find some encouragement in the history books. Host Audie Cornish chats with presidential historian Michael Beschloss about Obama's odds for re-election.
There was a bit of a dust-up at last week's Republican candidate debate. It had to do with Texas governor Rick Perry's 2007 mandate that middle school girls in his state receive the HPV vaccine. Host Audie Cornish gets the facts on that vaccine from Dr. Jessica Kahn of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly this Friday, and take his statehood bid directly to the Security Council.
Maen Rashid Areikat is the Palestinian Liberation Organization's representative to the United States. He's part of the delegation that will introduce the bid at the U.N. this week. He explained the Palestinians' approach.
Israel and the United States strongly object to the Palestinian effort to seek UN membership. Host Audie Cornish talks about the possible repercussions of the Palestinians' statehood bid with Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States.
An old Beatles performance contract set to be auctioned gives some new insight into the values of the Fab Four early in their career. The document is for a 1965 concert and states that the group "not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience." Host Audie Cornish has more.
It's the final chapter for Borders. The once-dominant bookseller will close Sunday, a victim of growing online sales and other problems. NPR's Jeff Brady talks to customers in Pennsylvania making one last purchase.
The presidential campaign has been a roller coaster for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
From a back-of-the-pack start, the Tea Party favorite won an upset victory in the Iowa straw poll. Then, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got in the race and eclipsed her as a media headliner, and Bachmann's star fell. After a feisty debate appearance last week that put her back on an upswing, Bachmann headed to southern California to try and get her groove back.
Researchers at Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon have spent the past two years documenting the park's natural sound. Often, microphones will pick up the sound of falling trees, elks snacking and coyotes howling.
In even the most remote parts of the park, however, researchers are also hearing airplane noise 15 percent of the time.
Sperm donation has long been shrouded in secrecy, and that seemed in the best interest of both the donors and the couples who used their sperm. But now a generation of donor-conceived children has come of age, and many believe they should have the right to know who their biological parents are.
President Obama flies to New York on Monday for an annual presidential tradition that this year could become a diplomatic disaster.
It's the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, when world leaders gather to address the world's problems. The Palestinians plan to ask the U.N. to recognize them as an independent state this week, which puts Obama on a collision course with some of America's closest allies.
The death toll rises to 9 in Friday's plane crash at a Reno, Nevada, air show. The pilot and at least eight other people died when a World War II-era plane crashed into the crowd. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz gets the latest from Brian Duggan, a reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal, who's at the site of the crash.
While campaigning to become Kansas' secretary of state, Kris Kobach held a press conference to make the case for a photo ID requirement at the polls. In his argument, he noted that a man named Alfred K. Brewer, who died in 1996, had voted in the 2010 primary.
There was just one problem with that: Brewer wasn't dead.
Shortly after the press conference, Brewer's wife received a call regarding her husband's "passing."
"And she says, 'Well, why do you want to talk to me? He's out raking leaves,'" Brewer says.
A new New York Times-CBS News poll shows President Obama with an approval rating of 43 percent. That, and other tough news for the president have prompted at least one major Democratic voice, James Carville, to call for a round of White House firings. Weekends on All Things Considered Guy Raz speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about what Obama needs to do to right the ship.