Americans More Stressed Out

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News worth an honorable mention: Americans are more stressed out; Massachusetts principal tries to cut out stress; new evidence in a Memphis murder case; and a Georgia Tech student goes on a $53,000 dollar spending spree at a strip club.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Wow, we have people handing us scripts hot off the press.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Are they warm? Let me feel.

BURBANK: Freshly baked news. It's a kind of…

STEWART: Oh, look, it is warm.

BURBANK: It's only the freshest and newest news for you here on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT. From NPR News, I'm Luke Burbank. That's Alison Stewart. And, you know, all this news has got me in the mood for something, Ali.

STEWART: What would that be, (unintelligible)?

BURBANK: Well, it'd be the news that you probably can't use but, you know, you want it and we like to call it, The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Here's a story that will stress you out just thinking about it.

Almost half Americans say they're more stressed today than they were five years ago. Now, this study is from the American - excuse me - Psychological Association. It looked at the habits of about 1800 Americans from all around the country. The main cause of stress: money and work, and they tend to go together. The most common maladies caused by stress: headaches, 44 percent; upset tummies, 34 percent; this is what I do when I'm just grinding teath, 17 percent.

BURBANK: Well, a good place to get your chakras aligned - I don't even know what chakras are.

STEWART: Oh, they're little energy centers. They go up and down your spine.

BURBANK: Well, a good place to de-stress anyway would be Needham High School, Needham, Massachusetts. Needham High's principal, a guy named Paul Richards, has been convening a stress reduction committee there. He's looking at ways to make student life less stressful.

Last year, he outraged some parents by abolishing the honor roll because parents were apparently obsessing over it. And so - he also, this year, has instituted yoga classes, and he's asked teachers not to assign homework over holidays.

One member of the committee though - the de-stress committee - varsity tennis captain Josh Goldman had to miss a recent meeting; he's also president of the Spanish club and a member of the student council as well. Principal Richards told a reporter, Josh is a perfect example of why the students need to slow down because he's got 100 things going on.

STEWART: Over speaking.

Hey, there are other ways to loosen up for students, heading to a local gentlemen's club, otherwise known as a strip club, and blowing $53,000 there. Just make sure your dad's not getting the bill. This kid down and I believe it was Georgia; his name is Tommy, 24, graduated from Georgia Tech. He was having his college graduation party put on his dad's tab. It came to $53,000 at Club 10 - actually, I'm sorry, it was in Florida.

The final bill included 19 bottles of Champagne costing about $150 to $2,000. Now here's the deal though, Tommy's dad is disputing the charges. He said he only authorized 600 bucks to go on his tab, and the owner of the club saying, hey, you know what, Tommy was lucid; he signed the credit card slips, but Tommy's dad is saying now only the first signature on the first slip is actually his son's so to be continued.

BURBANK: I think we might be burying the lead. His dad approved him spending $600 at a strip club.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: That's a lot of dinero.

STEWART: But only for graduation gift. Come on now.

BURBANK: Happy graduation to you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Defense attorneys in the West Memphis 3 case have filed some long awaited new evidences. This is the case from 1994 where three guys in the West Memphis, Arkansas, were convicted of killing and mutilating three 8-year-old boys in what was as that time portrayed as a satanic ritual. These convicted men were actually teenagers at the time.

They were also the subject of an HBO documentary called "Paradise Lost," which got all kinds of attention a few years back. The film kind of poked a lot of holes, what seemed to be holes in the case against the men, for instance, the lack of any physical evidence linking them to the crime scene.

Now, this new evidence from the defense claims that a hair found on one of the victim's bodies belongs to one of the other victim's stepfather, and that this mutilation of the boys, which was the really horrific part of the case, the mutilation included castration. The defense says that that castration, that mutilation was actually the work of wild animals not a satanic ritual.

The three men are still in prison; one of them Damien Echols is on death row. I think this is a story that you're going to be hearing a lot about coming up, so we'll keep an eye on it.

STEWART: And that does it for this edition of The Ramble.

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