Start your day here: Cardona says schools can do more to keep kids emotionally safe; Biden to meet with divided Democrats

Published October 19, 2021 at 7:59 AM EDT
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies before a Senate panel in September.
Scott Olson
Pool EPA
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies before a Senate panel in September.

Good morning,

Here's what we're following today:

Students' emotional health: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says schools can do more to support kids' well-being.

A Native American nominee for the National Park Service: Chuck Sams, who faces set for a confirmation vote today, would also be the agency's first full-time director since the Obama administration.

Justin Trudeau's mea culpa: Canada's prime minister delivers an apology for taking a vacation on the country's first Truth and Reconciliation Day.

🎧 Also, on Up First, our daily podcast, the latest on mental health needs for children.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Rachel Treisman, Carol Ritchie, Nell Clark, Scott Neuman, Chris Hopkins)

Bones forecast

This floppy teenage pug can tell you what kind of day you're going to have

Posted October 19, 2021 at 11:34 AM EDT

Bones or no bones?

No, it's not a Halloween thing. It's a forecast of the day's vibe, as predicted by a 13-year-old pug named Noodle and endorsed by his growing legion of TikTok devotees.

Noodle and his owner, New York City-based Jonathan Graziano, have won over the Internet with their near-daily videos of a game called "no bones." They're are mostly posted to TikTok, but also shared on Noodle's Instagram account.

"Good morning everyone, and welcome back to yet another round of 'no bones,'" Graziano says at the beginning of most of these videos. "The game where we find out if my 13-year-old pug woke up with bones and, as a result, we find out what kind of day we're going to have."

The premise is straightforward, and adorable. Graziano hoists a sleepy-looking Noodle out of his fluffy bed. If the pug flops back down, it's a "no bones" day — a time to lay low, avoid risks and cancel plans without regret. If he remains standing, it's a "bones" day, which is a sign to get out there and indulge.

"You've got to treat yourself today," Graziano said on Monday, the most recent bones day. "The Japanese fried chicken you were gonna order for lunch — get the curry to dip it in. All those festive gourds? Buy 'em! That raise you deserve but haven't asked for yet? You totally deserve it, ask for it!"

Viewers are catching on. Graziano (and Noodle) have amassed more than 2 million followers on TikTok, where the hashtag #nobones had clocked nearly 194 million views as of Tuesday morning. And "Bonesday" was a top trending topic on Twitter on Monday.

Some admirers have posted videos of their own, using the pug's bones or lack thereof as a barometer for whether they should do things like go to work, make plans, impulse shop or get out of bed.

One user said they turned in their two-weeks' notice on the last bones day, while another blamed their broken coffee machine on a no bones day. One even made a song on the topic.

Graziano earnestly thanked followers for their enthusiasm and participation in a video posted last week, in which he provided a little context for Noodle newcomers.

"We've just been doing this for years," he said. "I adopted Noodle when he was seven and a half years old, and we learned very early on that when he doesn't want to go on walkies, he will not go on walkies. And it's just insane to be able to share this with you guys and see the response. So I really appreciate it."

He also noted that not every day can be a bones or no-bones day, since Noodle has to be a "special kind of mushy" in order to take on the task.

"You can't just force the bones, right, the bones have to be ready," he added.

But on those days when Noodle is ready, his fans will surely be watching his every move closely — make no bones about it.

Mental Health

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says schools need to do more to keep kids emotionally safe

Posted October 19, 2021 at 10:32 AM EDT

The U.S. Department of Education believes the youth mental health crisis has reached a critical point, exacerbated by pandemic-induced isolation and deaths in many students' families.

In response, the departmentissued new guidance today that it hopes will advise schools on using extra pandemic funding to best support school-aged children's mental health.

The resource, called Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Mental Health, recommends best practices to boost social and emotional well-being, such as hiring specialized staff like school psychologists.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona joined NPR's Scott Detrow on Morning Edition to discuss the plan's suggestions. Listen to the conversation here or continue reading for highlights from the interview.

On the scope of the problem:

Before the pandemic, about 13-22% of school-age youth experience some mental health challenge. Now, researchers estimate that that number is up to 80%. Students have experienced a lot — not only isolation away from their peers, but sadly, in many cases, loss of work for family members or loss of life in their families. So our students are in great need right now.

On whether remote learning hurt students’ emotional well-being:

I would disagree with that as a father, first of all, my own two children, I wanted to make sure that their health and safety is the priority for the district. We know that there was a period where we were learning how COVID spread, and we were learning the mitigation strategies, and when it was appropriate, we implemented the mitigation strategies not only in the state where I was leading but across the country. And we know they work, and when we can follow the mitigation strategies, our students are safe. Now, it's about making sure that they're not only physically safe, but emotionally safe. And we have to restructure our schools. We have to implement strategies to address the social-emotional needs of our students. So I think we know the pandemic affected our students. But putting students in harm's way to me is no alternative to making sure that we're prepared to meet whatever their needs are, whether they're social, emotional, hunger, whatever their needs are, when they come back. We have to be prepared.

On getting parents involved:

When we required states to submit plans to receive the last third of the American Rescue Plan, we said they must focus on addressing the inequities that were made worse by the pandemic and they had to increase stakeholder engagement. And that means getting parents’ voice[s] in the conversation, but also making sure we're communicating openly and being transparent about how we're supporting our students. ... So to me, the political back and forth is more of a distraction. Educators know what to do. Effective educators engage parents, communicate with parents regularly and address the whole needs of the child. And they do that in partnership with parents.


Norwegian police say victims in last week’s attack were stabbed, not shot by arrows

Posted October 19, 2021 at 9:51 AM EDT
Two police vehicles cordon off an empty street with brown leaves on the ground, in front of a white building with many brown windows.
Pal Nordseth/AP
Police cordoned off one of the sites where a man killed several people last week, pictured in Kongsberg, Norway, last Thursday.

Five people who died in an attack in Norway last week were not killed with a bow and arrows, as police first suggested, but instead were fatally stabbed by the lone assailant.

Norwegian police initially said that last Wednesday’s attack in the town of Kongsberg, near Oslo, occurred "after a man was seen walking around with what was supposedly a bow and arrow.”

But after witnesses first saw the man, and before the killings took place, he apparently dropped the bow and opted for other, unspecified “stabbing weapons,” officials say.

In a news conference on Monday, police inspector Per Thomas Omholt acknowledged: “When it comes to weapons, we have previously stated that a bow and arrow has been used.”

“Other weapons that have been used are stabbing weapons. We don't want to go out with what kind of stabbing weapons were used as all witnesses at the scene haven't been questioned yet,” he said.

Authorities have "seized stabbing weapons that can be linked to the actions" but declined in a statement to give further details, according to Euro News. Police said last week they had recovered three weapons, including a bow and arrows.

Following last week’s attack, the Norwegian-born suspect, Andersen Braathen, was arrested and confessed to police. Braathen said he had converted to Islam and police initially thought he may have been radicalized. Since then, however, authorities have backed off extremism as a likely motive.

Omholt reiterated on Monday that Braaten’s apparent mental illness was being viewed as the key cause of his actions, according to The Associated Press.


Kanye West is now officially ‘Ye’

Posted October 19, 2021 at 9:39 AM EDT
A Black man wearing a gold necklace and blue-and-brown blazer holds a phone to his ear while looking away from the camera.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Getty Images North America
Ye, then known as Kanye West, attends the Versace fall 2019 fashion show on December 2, 2018 in New York City.

The rapper formerly known as Kanye West is officially now "Ye."

A Los Angeles judge approved his petition for a name change on Monday, Deadlinereported. He had filed the paperwork back in August, citing "personal reasons."

But the change has been in the works for even longer — or at least since 2018, when the famously polarizing artist released a studio album by that name and made his persona Twitter-official.

He explained the name's biblical significance in an interview promoting the album that same year.

"I believe ‘ye’ is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible, it means ‘you,'" he said. "So I’m you, I’m us, it’s us."

No word yet on what the judge's decision will mean for Ye's estranged wife Kim Kardashian West, who has kept his (now-former) last name despite filing for divorce in February. He was among the list of celebrities she skewered while hosting Saturday Night Live earlier this month.


The National Park Service could soon have its first Native American director

Posted October 19, 2021 at 9:27 AM EDT
Oregon Governor's Office
Charles "Chuck" F. Sams III is President Biden's pick to lead the National Parks Service.

Charles "Chuck" F. Sams III could soon become the first Native American to head the National Park Service in the agency's 105-year history.

Sams is an enrolled member, Cayuse and Walla Walla, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and has decades of experience in land management. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will meet today to consider his nomination.

The Bidenadministration nominated Sams in August, noting his leadership in state and Tribal governments, including as the former national director of the Tribal & Native Lands Program for the Trust for Public Land.

Sams' confirmation would bring change to an agency that hasn't had a permanent Senate-approved director in more than four years. The department has been helmed by a series of acting directors since the last director of the National Park Service retired in 2017, after which the Trump administration failed to nominate anyone for the role.

Sams is a U.S. Navy veteran and lives on the Umatilla Indian Reservation with his wife and their four children. The announcement of Sams' nomination was met with celebration from Native groups as well as Sams' local community.

“It’s one of those things that we’re going to talk about for generations,” Modesta Minthorn, who has known Sams for years, told theEast Oregonian.“I can see (myself), talking to grandkids, telling them, ‘Be more like that guy.’”

Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indiansrecognized Sams as uniquely qualified to lead the agency.

“As the Park Service’s first Native American director, Chuck is well-positioned to balance recreational uses and stewardship with our Tribal Nations’ needs to maintain our traditional and ancestral ties to these lands,” Sharp said.

As NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, the next Park Service director will be faced with a backlog of maintenance and critical infrastructure projects at national parks, as well as the consequences of record-breaking crowds during the pandemic.

The Park System covers more than85 million acres in all fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The National Park Service is a bureau of the Department of the Interior, which is led by Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. She made history when she was confirmed as the first Native American Cabinet secretary in March.

Haaland and Sams' nominations come as more Indigenous people are gaining leadership positions nationwide and as some states are working with Tribal leaders to use Native eco-stewardship practices such as traditional burns to manage wildfire threats.

The hearing will be broadcast live on the committee's website beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

Deep sea discovery

An Israeli scuba diver discovered a sword that likely belonged to a Crusader knight

Posted October 19, 2021 at 8:50 AM EDT
A man standing outside holds a shell-encrusted sword in front of his torso. The sword has a short hilt and longer blade.
Ariel Schalit/AP
Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds a sword that experts say dates back to the Crusaders in Cesarea, Israel, on Tuesday.

Talk about a deep dive through history.

An amateur Israeli scuba diver stumbled upon a bunch of ancient artifacts near his local beach, including a large sword that experts say likely belonged to a Crusader knight some 900 years ago.

Shlomi Katzin was diving off the Carmel coast on Saturday when he discovered the trove of treasures, which Israel's foreign affairs ministry says included anchors made of metal and ancient stone, pottery fragments and an "impressive sword with a one-meter-long blade and a hilt measuring 30 cm [nearly a foot] in length."

Katzin took the sword ashore and reported it to the Israel Antiquities Authority, where experts were able to fill in its backstory.

"The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a Crusader knight," Nir Distelfeld, inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit, said in a statement. "It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but is apparently made of iron. It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, with knights, armor and swords.”

One of many treasures unearthed off the Carmel coast

The sword is just one of several recent — and ancient — discoveries in these particular waters.

The Carmel coast contains natural coves, which offered shelter to ancient ships during storms and larger coves that allowed for the formation of settlements and ancient port cities, explained Kobi Sharvit, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Marine Archaeology Unit.

"These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds," he added.

Experts were able to determine that the anchors were used as early as the Late Bronze Age — or 4,000 years ago. Auhorities said that the discovery of the sword suggests the natural cove was also used in the Crusader period (between 1095 and 1291).

So why are they just surfacing now?

The foreign ministry said that Katzin's finds were uncovered by waves and shifting undercurrents. They called such finds "very elusive," since they depend on the movement of the sands.

Still, the antiquities experts said that a growing number of swimmers and leisure divers have discovered ancient artifacts in recent years, as those activities become more popular.

“Underwater surveying is dynamic," Sharvit said. "Even the smallest storm moves the sand and reveals areas on the sea bed, meanwhile burying others. It is therefore vitally important to report any such finds and we always try to document them in situ, in order to retrieve as much archaeological data as possible."

The Israel Antiquities Authority says the sword will be displayed to the public after it's been cleaned and researched.

And while Katzin turned over his findings, he won't necessarily be leaving empty-handed: The ministry says he got a "certificate of appreciation for good citizenship."


Car horns in India could be replaced with the sound of traditional instruments

Posted October 19, 2021 at 8:49 AM EDT
An overheard view shows bumper-to-bumper cars in one lane of the road and cyclists in the other, with a row of buildings lining the street.
Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images
A traffic jam in Allahabad, India on June.

Traffic jams in India could soon sound a lot sweeter.

The country's transportation minister would like to replace all vehicle horns with the sounds of traditional Indian musical instruments.

Nitin Gadkari said earlier this month that he plans to introduce a measure to change the horns, and is also looking into replacing the sirens of police cars and ambulances "with a more pleasant tune played on the All India Radio," as the Times Of India reports.

“I am studying this and soon planning to make a law that the horns of all vehicles should be in Indian musical instruments so that it is pleasant to hear," he said. "Flute, tabla, violin, mouth organ, harmonium."

Here's what that would sound like.


Justin Trudeau apologizes for skipping a ceremony for Native boarding school victims

Posted October 19, 2021 at 8:34 AM EDT
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a speech during his visit to the Secwepemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Monday.
Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a speech during his visit to the Secwepemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Monday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized in person to Indigenous leaders after skipping a remembrance for victims and survivors of residential schools.

Trudeau visited the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation on Monday to offer his mea culpa to Chief Rosanne Casimir for missing the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, approved by Canada’s parliament in the spring. The prime minister reportedly did not acknowledge invitations to attend the Sept. 30 ceremony, opting instead for a seaside holiday with his family.

"I am here today to say I wish I had been here a few weeks ago, and I deeply regret it," Trudeau told the community in British Columbia.

“Instead of talking about truth and reconciliation, people talked about me, and that’s on me,” he said. “I take responsibility for that.”

From 1831 until the 1990s, Canada’s residential school system forcibly separated some 150,000 Indigenous children from their families — subjecting many to starvation and physical and sexual abuse. Read on that history and the reaction to Trudeau's apology below the fold.

The Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc nation is located near one such school in Kamloops, British Columbia, where the unmarked graves of 215 children were discovered in May. More bodies have been found in other Indigenous communities, and the Canadian government has acknowledged that thousands of children died of disease and other causes.

Casimir said the First Nations sent two letters to Trudeau’s office inviting him to attend the ceremony as a way of showing his “commitment to rectifying the historical wrongs of residential schools and to grieve with our residential school survivors.”

Instead, the community learned from a journalist on Sept. 30 that the prime minister, whose official itinerary placed him in private meetings in Ottawa, was in fact on vacation with his family Tofino on Vancouver Island.

“The shock and sorrow and disbelief was palpable in our community,” she said Monday, adding that “Today is about making some positive steps forward and rectifying a mistake.”
Trudeau had spoken by phone with Casimir earlier this month to offer his apology for the snub, but Monday was his first in-person meeting with her.

The event was sparsely attended, according to The Globe and Mail, which said it was “a reflection of the community’s anger” directed at the prime minister. Several speakers called on Trudeau to offer more than “empty words,” according to the newspaper.

"It was a mistake and I understand that it made a very difficult day even harder," Trudeau said Monday. "You didn't have to invite me back, I know that. Thank you for doing so."


Biden and Democrats will meet today to talk spending package

Posted October 19, 2021 at 8:32 AM EDT
A man in a suit walks outdoors toward the door of a large white building, with a row of green hedges and purple and white flowers in the foreground.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
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President Biden returns to the Oval Office after delivering remarks at a Teachers of the Year awards ceremony at the White House on Monday.

President Biden is meeting with two different groups of House Democrats about the legislative package that would fund key pieces of his agenda but is stalled by conflicts within his party.

Moderates and progressives will visit the White House this afternoon for continued negotiations, as Democrats remain at an impasse over how much to spend and what to include in the bill. (More on the challenges they face.)

Biden spent much of the weekend talking to lawmakers about it, and met with Rep. Pramila Jayapal — a prominent House progressive — on Monday, according to the White House.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the administration is “encouraged by the accelerated page of talks” on the infrastructure bill and on the package of spending on social programs and climate measures. She expressed a sense of urgency that negotiations come to an end.

These conversations are just a slice of a busy week for Biden: The president plans to travel to Scranton, Pa., on Wendesday to promote the spending packages, and is scheduled to fly to Europe next week for the G20 and other meetings.


Unpacking Trump's lawsuit over the release of Jan. 6 documents

Posted October 19, 2021 at 7:45 AM EDT
A video screen in an empty White House briefing room shows former President Donald Trump, in a suit and red tie, speaking outside.
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
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U.S. President Donald Trump is shown speaking on a monitor in the White House briefing room about the violence during the ratification of the 2020 election on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Former President Donald Trump is going to court to try to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

He's suing the Democratic-led House select committee that's investigating the attack, as well as the National Archives, which is where presidential records are held.

NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas walks us through it on Morning Edition.

The backstory: The committee had subpoenaed the records to gain insight into what Trump was doing and saying ahead of the insurrection and on the day itself. It requested materials from the National Archives, Department of Homeland Secutity, the Pentagon and other departments.

The argument: Trump's lawsuit slams that request as "almost limitless in scope" and an "illegal fishing expedition," saying the committee doesn't have a legitimate legislative purpose for those documents.

It also says a lot of that information is covered by executive privilege — the idea that the president can keep certain documents and discussions (with senior advisers, about official duties) private. But that only applies to the sitting president, not former ones.

The reaction: The White House says Trump abused his office by trying to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, and that those actions shouldn't be shielded by executive privilege. (Trump's lawyers have criticized the Biden administration's waiver of executive privilege as a "myopic, political maneuver.")

The leaders of the Jan. 6 committee characterized the lawsuit as "an attempt to delay and obstruct our probe," adding that precedent is on their side.

Read the lawsuit — and more about the reaction to it — here.

Also, Steve Bannon: The committee is set to vote today on whether to refer Steve Bannon to the Department of Justice for a criminal contempt investigation. Bannon, one of the first people subpoenaed by the committee, refused to show up for a deposition last week. If the committee approves, the criminal contempt referral will go to the full House for a vote, then to the DOJ for possible prosecution.