I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chair for a shapeup this week are author Jimi Izrael, civil right attorney and author Arsalan Iftikhar, from the Log Cabin Republicans, executive director R. Clarke Cooper. He is also an Army Reserve captain. Thank you for your service.
And now it's time for BackTalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. We also update you on some of the stories we've been covering. Ammad Omar is here with me once again. He's an editor here at TELL ME MORE. Welcome back, Ammad.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll hear what some of you have to say about this week's program. Our BackTalk segment is in just a few minutes. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality, and once in a while, the intersection with sports.
We need a heart-warming story and this fits the bill:
"At Kmart stores across the country," The Associated Press writes, "Santa is getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents."
The fourth Mission: Impossible picture is nonsense from beginning to end — and wonderful fun. The director is Brad Bird, of Ratatouille and The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, and there's no doubt now, in his live-action debut, that he's a filmmaker first and an animator second. Part 4, titled Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, is in a different league from its predecessors.
Six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) "knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans" and have now been accused of securities fraud in a civil suit, the Securities and Exchange Commission just announced.
Sugary drinks like soda are a big cause of obesity, but public health types haven't had much luck convincing the public of that.
But what if you knew that it would take 50 minutes of jogging to burn off one soda?
When researchers taped signs saying just that on the drink coolers in four inner-city neighborhood stores, sales of sugary beverages to teenagers dropped by 50 percent. That tactic was more effective than a sign saying that the drinks had 250 calories each, or a sign saying that a soft drink accounts for 11 percent of recommended daily calories.
An "astonishing" scene has already played out at the just-opened military court hearing about the case against Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who stands accused of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, The Guardian reports.