Substance abuse. Violence. Even thoughts of suicide. These are some of the problems that many veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are struggling with.
Today it's called post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, but it has affected veterans going back much farther. While doctors and researchers put enormous efforts into developing new treatments, one group of veterans in Salt Lake City is finding relief in a very old tradition: a Native American sweat lodge.
Let's turn to another story we've been following in recent weeks: African-Americans and same-sex marriage. When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, some African-American religious leaders protested. But according to new polling data, African-Americans are no less supportive or, for that matter, opposed to gay marriage than any other group in the country.
Every few weeks on the program, we've been running an occasional series called Why Music Matters, where we bring you the stories of music fans in their own words, about how certain songs or even bands have changed their lives. Today's story comes from a young artist in Seattle. Her name is Vivi Perez, and she almost gave up on high school, that is until a community activist group called El Centro de la Raza introduced her to the music business.
VIVI PEREZ: I felt kind of, like, I didn't know where I was going a lot in high school.
We hear from veterans about their memories of those who died in combat. Stories are from Jill Knappenberger, who served in the American Red Cross during World War II; former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam veteran; and Butch Bracknell, an Afghanistan and Iraq serviceman.
The Associated Press recently reported on the growing numbers of veterans filing new disability claims after returning from war. Close to one out of two veterans who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan have now filed disability claims for service-related injuries — more than double the rate of previous wars. Marilynn Marchione of the AP offers her insight.
Hotshot political consultant Matt Mackowiak is a rising star in the very lucrative world of political consulting. His firm, the Potomac Strategy Group, helps Republicans win elections, but he's not working with Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign this election year.
People who are part of Mackowiak's tribe — the strategists, the opposition researchers, the pollsters — are discovering that they can have a much bigger impact working for outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money, unencumbered by the rules that restrict what a presidential campaign can do.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray was elected to office on a platform of anti-corruption. But just two years into his term, a federal investigation has left two former aides pleading guilty to misdeeds during the 2010 election. Gray has denied any wrongdoing. Host Guy Raz talks about D.C. politics with Washington Post reporter Nikita Stewart.