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Arkansas is scheduled to execute convicted murderer Kenneth William tonight, who has been on death row since 2000.

Williams is set to be the fourth and final inmate executed there this month, after the state initially scheduled eight condemned inmates to die over 11 days — the fastest pace of executions in decades.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed an executive order aimed at improving the way the state negotiates with its unionized workers. The order establishes that money set aside for collective bargaining will now include salary increases and health care costs.

Until now, that so-called "salary pot" only included cost-of-living increases. The change could make it easier for lawmakers to factor in the total cost of employees when they work on state agency budgets.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley introduced climate legislation Thursday to completely phase-out fossil fuels.

Called the ‘100 by 50 Act,’ it aims to run 100 percent of the country on clean and renewable energy by 2050.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., supported the launch. “Mr. President your job is to listen to the scientific community which is virtually unanimous in telling us that we’ve got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” he said.

The president went on a tweetstorm Thursday hyping the idea of a potential shutdown and blaming Democrats on a variety of issues:

But Congress isn't likely headed for a shutdown. It is likely to vote on a spending measure Thursday or Friday that would keep the government open for another week. And negotiators are working on a plan to fund the government for the rest of the year.

So what's going on?

The Pentagon is investigating whether Michael Flynn broke the law by receiving money from a foreign source after retiring from the service, according to a letter written by the Department of Defense's acting inspector general to House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

New York City is set to begin giving body cameras to its police officers on Thursday.

Under the police department's pilot program, 1,200 officers in 20 precincts will receive the cameras. The officers will also be studied by scientists to see what effect the cameras have on policing.

As police don body cameras across the country, scientists are increasingly working with departments to figure out how the cameras change behavior — of officers and the public.

The Defense Department says two U.S. servicemembers died in action in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the headquarters of United States Forces — Afghanistan, "Two U.S. Servicemembers were killed in action and a third was wounded in action on Wednesday evening when they came under attack during a raid against insurgents in Nangahar Province."

The statement says "The servicemembers were conducting a partnered operation with Afghan National Defense and Security Forces."

World Gone Gray

2 hours ago

Read by Carrie Fountain

When the ice starts to shiver,

When the fire starts to fade,

When all the water's in the river,

When you finally get paid.

The world gets cold and gray,

The sea no longer beautiful,

The night is in the day,

Beauty no more, the Earth is dull.

The world is cold or heartless,

It feels like hope is lost,

The smart one from the smartest,

Can’t even help our cause.

The underdog can’t save us all,

‘Cause no one seems to care,

The pretty birds no longer call,

This world I cannot bear.

Fabricated Reality

2 hours ago

My dreams are different patterns hidden in thread throughout a fabric

That hides them from my fading memory.

They are no longer the bright, rich colors of a brocade fabric

They’ve become faded, torn, and threadbare;

No longer soft as silk and gentle like cotton.

Instead they fade like rough and thick denim.

Once a beautiful chiffon,

Now a coarse polyester.

My once beautiful, full dreams

Are now tattered and unwanted cloth.

Shattered Whole

2 hours ago

I feel as though

The whole we once

Thought we were

Has been shattered,

Yet still tethered together with invisible tape.

Over time the shattered shards

Have been slipping

Plink, plink,

One by one into the

Shadowy darkness.

Even though our once wholesome whole

is quietly crumbling,

It resembles its shape,

Shuddering silently every time

Another shard slips.

Not everyone can sense the split second

A shard slips,

But those who can

If Racism Was a Natural Disaster

2 hours ago

It’d be a drought,


the cracked ground we walk on,

the beating sun pushing us down.

“But it rained a couple of times,”

they tell us, while the heat


is scorching our skin


and dust is in our eyes.


“Get over it,” they tell us


from their green, watered lawns.

We sit in the sun, baking for generations,

waiting for the forever rain,


no trees to protect us.


The trees were never there to protect us. 

When Dee Dee Bridgewater learned that she would become a 2017 NEA Jazz Master, a succession of thoughts and feelings flooded her mind. The news came as a total shock, as she tells it: "It was so far out of my orbit and just my whole sphere of thinking," she said in a conversation at NPR this spring, hours before she formally received her award.

Maria Soria Castañeda grew up in North Carolina but was born in Mexico. She moved to the US with her family when she was 3. She’s also undocumented and, now, a junior at Swarthmore College, where she feels like a bit of a pioneer.

"We don’t really know what undocumented students they had before, but we were under the impression there weren't that many," says Castañeda. "Once we got here, we had to be the ones to sort of bring up what we would like to have here."

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