Teens Breaking Up Over IM News worth an honorable mention: Los Angeles drops Muslim profiling; survey says teens prefer to breaking up over IM; Merrill Lynch picks a leader outside of the company for the first time in 93 years; and a third of Britons are not smarter than a fifth grader.
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Teens Breaking Up Over IM

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Teens Breaking Up Over IM

Teens Breaking Up Over IM

Teens Breaking Up Over IM

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News worth an honorable mention: Los Angeles drops Muslim profiling; survey says teens prefer to breaking up over IM; Merrill Lynch picks a leader outside of the company for the first time in 93 years; and a third of Britons are not smarter than a fifth grader.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. Luke Burbank to my left.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Hello.

STEWART: Rachel Martin to my right.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hello.

STEWART: And I'm Alison Stewart, sitting in the middle. It's time for not a set of news you need, but it's probably the news you want. Those little nuggets buried inside the newspaper. We like to call it The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: I'm going to go first. For the first time in its 93-year history, Merrill Lynch has picked a boss from the outside. You remember this whole thing - we did a Make Me Care on it right here in the show…

BURBANK: Mm-hmm.

STEWART: …where the CEO of Merrill Lynch had to step down, but he left with a jabillion(ph) dollars…

BURBANK: Right.

STEWART: …in his (unintelligible) parachute because he presided over a $2.24 billion loss. Okay, that's kind of bad for Merrill Lynch. You might remember back in 2002, Merrill Lynch paid out 200 million in fines for a settlement over a lawsuit brought by then Attorney General New York Eliot Spitzer.

So that might make a little sense why they're going to go outside of the company for a new CEO. His name is John Thain. He is stepping down as the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange effective December 1. He'll be reporting for duty at Merrill Lynch.

MARTIN: Hmm.

BURBANK: Still, if you're, you know, some guy who just got done doing 50 years at Merrill Lynch and you're on the, you know, highest executive level. And then they bring in some guy from another place.

STEWART: Yeah.

MARTIN: It depends.

BURBANK: Crying in your scotch at the…

STEWART: Yeah.

BURBANK: …downtown or…

STEWART: (Unintelligible) haze him.

MARTIN: Okay. I'm going to go the next. I'm going to tell you about the story of, I think, we talked about it on the show. About a week ago, the LAPD announced these plans to map out where Muslims live in the greater Los Angeles area to try to target them with social services, et cetera, et cetera.

STEWART: Uh-huh.

MARTIN: Well, as you might imagine, that whole mapping thing didn't really go over well. There are a lot of civil rights groups that said that's not really such a good idea. Muslim groups said that's racial profiling. So they dropped it. They're not going to map it anymore. But they say they're still going to reach out to these communities in hopes of serving them better.

BURBANK: Voluntarily, though, people can be fitted with those little things they put in a dog so you can find them if they get lost.

MARTIN: A little homing device.

BURBANK: Yeah. You know, just totally so they can help with services.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm.

BURBANK: Absolutely. Way to go LAPD.

MARTIN: Social services. Yep. Good job.

BURBANK: Well, speaking of mapping of questionable background. This does my heart good because there are constantly these reports at about how, you know, American school kids are last in developed nations in terms of their math skills and their reading and other things.

Well, it turns out one-third of Brits can't find Mount Everest on a map. In fact, they can't even put their finger on the correct half of the globe.

MARTIN: See, we think they're so smart because they have those accents. They're not.

BURBANK: I know.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: It is - it definitely throws you off, though, I tell you. A survey of U.K. adults found that one in three thought the world's highest peak was in Europe or in Britain. Are there even mountains in Britain?

MARTIN: No. They're like rolling hills. They're not mountains.

BURBANK: Only half of the respondents knew the Nile is the world's longest river. And, you know, again, at the BPP, we take great heart on this. And it almost makes us feel better about this event.

(Soundbite of 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant)

Ms. CAITLIN UPTON (Miss South Carolina Teen USA): I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as. And I believe that they should - our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries.

BURBANK: Oh, Miss South Carolina.

STEWART: Because we don't have enough maps. I think that was her original reasoning.

BURBANK: Well, such as. I mean, U.S. Americans. By the way, this little footnote, Everest was named for a Brit. Colonel Sir George Everest was surveyor general of India in the 1830s and '40s. So take heart, Miss South Carolina and the rest of us.

MARTIN: Mm-hmm.

STEWART: All right. Did you ever have something kind of awkward and uncomfortable to say?

MARTIN: Never.

STEWART: Well, here's…

MARTIN: Always, always have.

BURBANK: I call that the first hour of the show, I think.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, apparently, instant messaging is the way to go. Forty-three percent of teenagers, whenever they have something difficult to do or to say, they do it verse(ph) via IM. That's according to a new survey by AOL. So, you know, they're in the IM business, we should say that. Thirteen percent said they'd even use instant messaging to break up with someone. That makes the post-it breakups seem almost quaint.

BURBANK: Yeah. Right.

STEWART: At this point, one teenager who was quoted said, "I've had some crazy ex-girlfriend saying that in person would probably not be the best idea for my physical safety." So he's using the physical safety explanation for why he texted.

MARTIN: Beats(ph) me. I bet there are plenty of adults who do that, too.

STEWART: That's - you know, you've got a very good point.

BURBANK: I have to say as far as text messaging goes in my life, that has become - I got busted by Dan Pashman on this, this morning. That's my best way to break bad news to people.

That is The Ramble. Thank you for enjoying it along with us.

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