Would you pay for pain?
A car accident at age 16 left Michael Mills (left) paralyzed from the waist down. But he joined dozens of other men and women from all walks of life for the Go Ruck Challenge in Atlanta in late May.
June 7th, 2013
05:00 PM ET

Would you pay for pain?

By Tommy Andres, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - A lot of people that show up at a bar at one in the morning are probably wrapping up an evening of drinks with friends or a date that's gone well enough to last that long.

But if you were one of the several dozen folks who rolled into The Independent in Midtown Atlanta on the Friday before Memorial Day, your night was just getting started, and drinks were not on the menu.

These brave (or crazy) men and women had paid nearly $100 bucks to stay up all night and do some of the most grueling manual labor of their lives. Oh, and they would be yelled at the whole time. This is Go Ruck.

There are tons of obstacle races out there, but Go Ruck is not a race. There are no winners. In fact, you're punished if you surpass your team.

Go Ruck is U.S. Army Special Forces training for the everyman. It's push-ups and crabwalks, swimming and simulated operations. And all of it is done wearing a backpack stuffed with 55 pounds of weights.

In fact, that backpack is what started it all. It's called the GR-1 and it was created by a former Green Beret turned entrepreneur named Jason McCarthy. He says it was inspired by the ones he used in combat:

[1:23] "Here we had this bag, right? And we spent a lot of time on it. A couple years. But yet no one wanted to buy it."

Inspired by the exploding trend of obstacle races and the sense of teamwork he felt from his service, he started Go Ruck as essentially a marketing campaign for the backpacks. And it exploded. Since the first Go Ruck challenge in 2010 more than 12,000 people have participated in countries across the world.

So why do people pay for pain? Jason says it's all about learning that you're stronger than you think.

[6:37] "I think that when you show people what they're capable of, I think it's kind of like a drug. You see the world in a different place and you say this isn't that hard. Other stuff that you're doing, it's not that hard. And this is true of life as well. So, the popularity is just based on people seeing a better side of themselves and humanity."

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Filed under: Behavior • Health • Soundwaves • Sports • Stories
CNN Radio News Day: June 7, 2013
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at the Muffett Air Field in San Jose, California, on June 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad
June 7th, 2013
04:37 PM ET

CNN Radio News Day: June 7, 2013

CNN Radio News Day is an evening news program providing an informative, thoughtful and creative look at the day's events. It's posted Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm ET.

You don’t have to be at this blog to listen, we want you to take us with you! Click the download button in the SoundCloud player and put us on your smart phone or tablet and bring us with you in the car, on the train or while you’re working out.

(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day. Here are some of the stories we're covering in today's show:

  • First came Thursday's news that the National Security Agency has been storing the records of all Verizon phone calls for years. That was followed by revelations that the NSA's been accessing computers at Microsoft, Google and other companies – through a program called "Prism" – a program's existence that the government confirms. There's been strong and swift reaction over what many see as privacy encroachment in the name of national security. Today, President Obama responded:

"In summary what you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress...there are a whole range of safeguards involved...and federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout." FULL POST

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Geoffrey Fletcher's f-stop magic
"Precious" screenwriter, Geofrey Fletcher. His new film, "Violet and Daisy," follows two teenage girl assassins whose violent work takes an unexpected turn.
June 7th, 2013
01:45 PM ET

Geoffrey Fletcher's f-stop magic

Hosted by Michael Schulder

Follow Michael at: www.wavemaker.me

Editor's Note: Listen to the full interview in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Dear Fellow Parents:

When Geoffrey Fletcher was about 13 years old his father sat down beside him to teach him about F-stops on a camera. F-stops help determine how much light gets through the lens.

That moment, of a father sharing a hobby with his son, came back to Geoffrey Fletcher during this CNN Profile and moved him, as it will most anyone who hears him recount it.

Fletcher’s dad died when Geoffrey was only 19. But a deep foundation of a secure, loving household for Geoffrey and his two brothers was well established.

That foundation must have helped Fletcher get through what was to come after he graduated from film school. FULL POST

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Filed under: CNN Profiles • Culture • Entertainment • Media • Profiles • Voices
Closures signal perfect storm for public schools
Protesters march in Chicago, where 48 public elementary schools are being closed this summer.
June 7th, 2013
11:46 AM ET

Closures signal perfect storm for public schools

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @nova_safo

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - When Chicago students return to school after summer break, they will do so in 48 fewer elementary schools. The city is closing a record number of schools to deal with a $1 billion budget shortfall.

The closures are just the latest in a string of public school closings around the country, according to Emily Dowdall of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Dowdall has been looking into the causes of public school closures:

[4:08] "And those are a decline in the school-age population, the rise in charter school enrollment, and finally, tight budgets that are forcing districts to act."

In Chicago, the schools that are being closed are in mostly African-American neighborhoods, where the recession has hit hard. Lack of jobs and rising crime have driven out many middle class families, and their school-aged kids have gone with them. FULL POST

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Filed under: Education • Soundwaves • Stories
Chinese living in US look forward to Presidential visit
Chinese Ex-Pats in LA say Xi Jinping's visit to California is positive for both countries.
June 7th, 2013
10:46 AM ET

Chinese living in US look forward to Presidential visit

By Jim Roope, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit with President Obama in Southern California this weekend.

Chinese ex-patriots living in Los Angeles say the historic visit is good for both countries.

[1:04] “The two countries; the relationship more better. That is my wish.

Seventy-six-year-old Kit came to the US from China in the 1940s. He says he hopes the visit results in mutual respect between the two countries.


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Filed under: Culture • International • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories