Chris Benderev

Some parents see it coming. Natalie was not that kind of parent.

Even after the director and a teacher at her older son's day care sat her down one afternoon in 2011 to detail the 3-year-old's difficulty socializing and his tendency to chatter endlessly about topics his peers showed no interest in, she still didn't get the message.

Her son, the two educators eventually spelled out, might be on the autism spectrum.

"I was in tears at the end," she says. "When I got home, I was just devastated."

This story is part of a series on coal country by NPR's Embedded podcast. Episode audio is below.

On May 5, 2016, Donald Trump led a campaign rally in Charleston, W.Va.

He put on a hard hat and pretended he was shoveling coal. The crowd loved it.

And he made a promise — a variation on one he had been making throughout the campaign — to coal miners.

Saturday saw protesters take to the streets from New York to Los Angeles — from Nigeria to Iraq. Various incarnations of the second annual Women's March demanded social change, promoted female empowerment and declared a resistance to President Trump on the anniversary of his inauguration.

With the commander-in-chief busy touring the Asian continent, Vice President Mike Pence stepped in Saturday to commemorate Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery with a speech that ended on a remarkably personal note.

Pence — dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a striped red tie — began his remarks just before noon to a crowd of veterans and their supporters on an unseasonably cold November morning by expressing President Trump's greetings.

"Our president is halfway around the world, but I know his heart is here," Pence told the crowd.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced five Trump administration nominees for lifetime positions as federal judges on Thursday, special attention was paid to one of them: 36-year-old Brett Talley.

Talley's résumé, which features a J.D. from Harvard but limited experience as a practicing attorney, raised eyebrows and dissent from the committee's Democrats.

"It seems to me that when you get to the bench of a federal trial court, it would be helpful to have tried a case before," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the committee's ranking member.

If you're having trouble deploying that famous mnemonic, let's make this easy:

This is the one where you get one more hour of sleep.

After years of talks and speculation, Sprint and T-Mobile announced Saturday that they have ended discussions about a merger.

In a joint statement, the third- (T-Mobile) and fourth-largest (Sprint) wireless carriers in the U.S. explained that they were unable to agree on the terms of a deal.

Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito of Massachusetts signed a bill Friday, approved one day earlier by the state's Democrat-led Legislature, outlawing so-called bump stocks, accessories that allow semi-automatic firearms to mimic the rapid firing action of machine guns.

Massachusetts is the first state to enact a ban on bump stocks in the wake of last month's shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern American history.

The NAACP — which at 108 years old must balance both its storied legacy as the nation's oldest civil rights group and the potential for irrelevance amid a fresh wave of racial justice groups born of social media such as Black Lives Matter — decided to shake things up a bit on Saturday.

The organization announced its new president and CEO and its intention to alter its tax status to a non-profit category that permits more aggressive political lobbying.

It was all, in effect, over before it even began.

In the face of overwhelming popular and political opposition, a far-right activist canceled a press conference hastily scheduled for Saturday afternoon that some feared would provoke violent confrontations in the heart of San Francisco. This came less than 18 hours after organizers also called off two highly publicized right-wing rallies planned for the Bay Area this weekend.

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