Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

Asia
3:18 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Illegal Fishing, Molotov Cocktails, A Daring Escape

Vannak Prum of Cambodia was trafficked onto a Thai fishing boat and forced to work for three years before he escaped by jumping overboard. He was honored at the State Department in Washington on Tuesday as the U.S. issued its annual report on human trafficking around the world.
Becky Palmstrom and Shannon Service for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 10:47 am

The State Department on Tuesday cited abuses in Thailand's huge fishing industry as part of an annual worldwide report on Trafficking in Persons. The report noted that men from Cambodia and Myanmar, also known as Burma, are trafficked aboard Thai ships and forced to work against their will. They include men like Vannak Prum, a Cambodian who spent three years on such a boat. Prum was among those honored at the State Department on Tuesday.

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Education
3:15 am
Wed June 20, 2012

A New Union Battle As Chicago Teachers, Mayor Clash

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to reporters after casting her ballot in a strike authorization vote. Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the first strike in 25 years if the city and the union can't come to terms this summer.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:08 am

There hasn't been a school strike in Chicago for 25 years. But the current contract between Chicago teachers and the Chicago Public Schools expires at the end of next week, and tensions between the teachers union, the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are ratcheting higher.

Chicago Teachers Union members outmaneuvered the mayor, school officials and anti-union education groups by overwhelmingly approving a measure that allows teachers to strike if contract negotiations fall flat.

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Sports
3:08 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Runner Has Eyes On Two Prizes: Olympics, Ph.D.

Runner Shannon Leinert, 24, hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympic track and field team to compete in the 800-meter race.
Chris Auckley Courtesy of Chris Auckley

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:30 am

Among the dozens of athletes hoping to leap, throw or run their way to London as part of the U.S. track and field team is 24-year-old runner Shannon Leinert.

Leinert, who will compete in the 800-meter dash, has dreamed of the Olympics since she was 10 and winning races in St. Louis, her hometown. If that weren't enough, she's also working on a doctoral degree in special education.

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National Security
3:07 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Are Drones Obama's Legacy In War On Terrorism?

President Obama's use of drones, and his direct involvement in whom they target, has both U.S. and international communities questioning the administration's secret drone policy.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:17 am

The Obama administration's use of drones to kill suspected terrorists in foreign countries may be President Obama's biggest legacy in the fight against terrorism.

One privilege — or burden — of the Oval Office is that each inhabitant gets to decide how dirty to get his hands in wartime. President Truman made the ultimate decision to use the atomic bomb, while President Kennedy chose not to use a nuclear weapon in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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Election 2012
3:06 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Obama's Immigration Move Disrupts Rubio's Dream

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., leaves the stage after speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations on May 31 in New York.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:19 am

With a single policy directive last week, President Obama took control of an issue of special importance to Hispanics this election year. Obama announced illegal immigrants younger than 30 who are brought to the U.S. as children and who meet other standards will not be subject to deportation.

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Election 2012
3:04 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Big Political Donors Shy Away From Public Scrutiny

Charles Koch of Koch Industries speaks in 2007 about his book The Science of Success in Wichita, Kan.
Bo Rader MCT /Landov

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 10:19 am

Several dozen wealthy donors have taken advantage of this post-Citizens United world, writing seven-figure checks to political superPACs.

Yet it seems there's something wealthy donors weren't counting on when they wrote those checks — attracting attention, including from the political opposition and the media.

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Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Title IX At 40: What Has Changed, And What's Next

The adoption of Title IX has spurred growth in women's collegiate sports, including soccer. But a women's pro league has struggled, cutting its season short this year. Here, Notre Dame celebrates winning the NCAA College Cup in 2010.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:08 am

Saturday is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which, although almost nobody anticipated it then, resulted in women's gaining the right to participate in sports commensurate with their numbers attending college.

Title IX not only had a huge effect on women's participation in sports, but also, culturally, it influenced the way both men and women view the idea of women and athletics. It's mattered greatly in our American society.

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U.S.
6:54 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Senators Get Time In Solitary Confinement

An exercise area for inmates in solitary confinement in California's Pelican Bay prison. Inmates are allowed to leave their windowless cells for 2 1/2 hours daily to exercise and bathe.
Michael Montgomery Center for Investigative Reporting

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 6:59 pm

At any given moment, about 15,000 men and women are living in solitary confinement in the federal prison system, housed in tiny cells not much larger than a king-sized bed.

"It is hard to describe in words what such a small space begins to look like, feel like and smell like when someone is required to live virtually their entire life in it," says Craig Haney, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

But Tuesday, Haney, who has studied life inside prisons for three decades, had an opportunity to paint that picture.

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The Salt
6:44 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Surviving A Food Festival Without Getting A Tummy Ache

The Fancy Food Show floor in 2011.
Embajada del Ecuador en Estados Unidos Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 8:07 pm

I've never in my life desired a low-sodium biscuit, but I let the well-groomed woman at the Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C. this week goad me into eating one.

"They're soooo good, I swear," she says.

It's perfectly fluffy and edible, this low-sodium biscuit, but seconds after it's gone I'm regretting having just wolfed down the whole thing. That's precious space in my stomach that I've just forfeited for an unremarkable food I'd never be interested in eating again.

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