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The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
3:56 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Sequester Puts Some Needing Housing Aid 'Back To Square One'

Roger Bottomley of Fairfax, Va., has been homeless for 10 years. He expected to get a housing voucher, but then his appointment with the local housing authority was canceled because of sequestration. He keeps his belongings in a locker at a homeless day center.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:01 pm

Congress decided last week to ease the effects of the across-the-board federal spending cuts on travelers upset over airport delays. But low-income Americans who rely on government housing aid are still feeling the pain.

Housing authorities across the country have all but stopped issuing rent vouchers as they try to deal with the cuts known as sequestration. Many newly issued vouchers have been rescinded, leaving some people homeless or doubled up with family and friends.

And the cuts come at a time when there's a severe shortage of affordable housing across the country.

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The Two-Way
3:53 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Spanish Judge Orders Bags Of Blood Destroyed In Doping Case

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, left, arrives at a court house in Madrid on January 28, 2013.
Dani Pozo AFP/Getty Images

By all accounts, it was a less-than-spectacular end to one of Spain's biggest doping cases. El País, the country's biggest newspaper, summed up the trial of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes saying it ended without blood and without a sentence.

Fuentes was convicted of endangering public health and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $6,000 fine and a four-year ban from practicing medicine. Most people sentenced under two years in Spain skip prison.

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The Salt
3:52 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Caffeine-Laced Gum Has Energized The FDA

Wrigley says its new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum gives consumers the power to control how much caffeine they get.
Wrigley Incorporated

The caffeinated chewing gum has pushed the FDA over the edge.

The federal agency held its tongue when caffeinated potato chips, jelly beans, chocolate, sunflower seeds and energy bars hit the market.

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Music Reviews
3:52 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Marc Ribot Isn't Trying To Comfort Anyone

Ceramic Dog is Marc Ribot, Ches Smith and Shahzad Ismaily.
Barbara Rigon Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:01 pm

After six years as a sideman for many soul veterans, Marc Ribot made his name in 1985 with Rain Dogs, the album that marked Tom Waits' permanent transition from eccentric singer-songwriter to truly weird singer-songwriter. Ribot has held down straight gigs since then, but his work has tended toward the avant-garde. That's much less true on the song-oriented second album by the trio he calls Ceramic Dog.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

No More Politics For Pakistan's Musharraf, Court Orders

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is escorted from a courtroom on April 20.
Aamir Qureshi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been banned for life from running for political office, a high court ruled on Tuesday.

The move by the Peshawar High Court appears to end the possibility that Musharraf, who returned to the country last month after four years in self-imposed exile, will stand in the May 11 parliamentary elections as he had hoped.

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The Two-Way
3:40 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Qatar Covers Nude Statues, Greeks Take Them Back

This ancient Greek statue, from 520 B.C., is one of two nudes that were covered up in a Greek exhibit that went on display in Qatar. The statues were sent back to Greece.
Nimatallah / Art Resource, NY

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:43 am

The ancient statues depict young men, naked and muscled, in their physical prime. The two sculptures were supposed to celebrate the purity and kinetic beauty of ancient sport in a traveling exhibit, "The Olympics — Past and Present."

But when the Greek exhibit reached the conservative Muslim emirate of Qatar, the two statues were placed behind a screen of sheer black cloth.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Cyprus Passes Tough Financial Bailout Package

A Cypriot left-wing supporter sits in the shade during a protest outside the Parliament in Nicosia on Tuesday.
Patrick Baz AFP/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Cyprus approved a controversial $13 billion bailout from international lenders that's aimed at keeping the country from a messy default and withdrawal from the eurozone.

The agreement, which totals $30 billion when Cyprus' own contributions are included, passed 29-27 in the 56-seat Parliament.

The ruling center-right Democratic Rally party and its ally, the Democratic party, voted for the measure.

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Mountain Stage
3:20 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Taj Mahal On Mountain Stage

Taj Mahal.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, a.k.a. Taj Mahal, started performing in his native New England, and developed his roots- and blues-influenced performance style after moving to California and playing in bands with Ry Cooder, among others. He often shared billing with '60s rock acts at the Fillmore West, and grew into a popular attraction at folk, blues and jazz venues around the world.

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Political Junkie
2:55 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 4:38 pm

An openly gay basketball player? Next thing you know, there will be openly clever ScuttleButton puzzles.

Only not this week.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

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The Two-Way
2:53 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Female Soldier Sentenced To 10 Months Over Desertion

The first female to desert during the Iraq war was sentenced to 10 months in prison after she pleaded guilty late Monday during a court-martial.

The AP reports that Pfc. Kimberly Rivera, 30, deserted during a two-week leave in 2007. Rivera headed to Canada when she was ordered back to Iraq for a second tour.

The AP reports:

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U.S.
2:50 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

On California Prisons, It's The Governor Vs. The Courts

Gov. Jerry Brown in January calls for federal judges to return control of California prisons to the state. This month, a federal appeals court denied Brown's request and ordered the state to reduce its prison population immediately.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:32 pm

California Gov. Jerry Brown is locked in a legal battle over control of his state's prison system. Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the state to drastically reduce its prisoner population. Brown claims the state has made substantial progress, but the governor has stopped short of complying fully with the court order.

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Latin America
2:39 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

As Youth Crime Spikes, Brazil Struggles For Answers

A youth smokes crack in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A crack epidemic is one factor contributing to the sharp rise in crime committed by Brazilian minors.
Felipe Dana AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 9:34 am

In Rio de Janeiro, tourists are drawn to Copacabana for its wide beach and foliage-covered cliffs. But a month ago, not far from the tourist hub, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted. She was brutally gang-raped; he was beaten.

Perhaps what was most shocking to Brazilians, though, was the age of one of the alleged accomplices: He was barely in his teens.

"Why? That's what you ask yourself," says Sylvia Rumpoldt, who is walking with a friend at dusk by the sea in Rio. "It's horrible. It's criminal energy."

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The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

NBA Player Jason Collins Could Snag Endorsements, Speaking Gigs

Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards rebounds against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center earlier this month in Chicago.
Jonathan Daniel Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 4:04 pm

For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.

Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

'Sign Painters': A Close-Up Focus On An Endangered Art

Marquee painted by Norma Jeanne Maloney on "Honky-tonk Row" in Nashville, Tenn.
Faythe Levine and Sam Macon Princeton Architectural Press

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 5:31 pm

Before the age of computers and vinyl printers, sign painters worked by hand to illustrate storefronts, billboards and banners. Local craftsmen often developed a signature style that could distinguish a neighborhood, or even a city.

But technology made creating signs less expensive — and less expressive. Sign Painters, a new book and documentary written and directed by Faythe Levine and Sam Macon, focuses on dozens of artists who are keeping the art alive.

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NPR Story
2:05 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

To Avoid Or To Embrace: How Actors Navigate Stereotypes

Retta as office manager Donna Meagle on NBC's Parks and Recreation.
Colleen Hayes/NBC

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 2:26 pm

On NBC's Parks and Recreation, former stand-up comedian Retta plays office manager Donna Meagle. Donna is mostly in the background of the show, but is known for obsessing over her Mercedes SUV and for creating the Parks and Rec Treat Yo Self holiday.

Retta says this character is quite different from the roles she was offered in the beginning of her acting career.

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

The NBA Has An Openly Gay Player: What Changes?

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 1:40 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. With just a few words, NBA journeyman Jason Collins made sports history. "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black, and I'm gay." With that announcement in the May 6th edition of Sports Illustrated, Collins became the first man still active in a major team sport to come out.

Most reaction has been positive. Earlier today, President Obama actually returned to the microphones at the end of that news conference to say a few words.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS CONFERENCE)

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The Two-Way
1:54 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Hic, Hic, Hic: TV Weatherman Keeps Going Despite Hiccups

KHOU-TV's David Paul, hiccuping his way through his forecast Monday night.
KHOU.com

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:12 pm

We admire KHOU-TV meteorologist David Paul's good-natured determination.

Check how he handled it when a case of the hiccups hit during his time on the air Monday evening.

And in the comments thread, please share any stories of a time when hiccups hit. Also: your surefire cure.

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NPR Story
1:49 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

An Intimate Portrait Of The Tsarnaev Family

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:58 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As the investigation continues into the Boston Marathon bombings, countless questions remain about the two prime suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. This past Sunday, the Washington Post ran a long profile that offers a complicated portrait of the family.

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NPR Story
1:45 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Letters: Life After Survival, Signing Up For SNAP, MOOCs

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:58 pm

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous segments including the aftermath of sudden, tragic events, the decision to sign up for food stamps and the pros and cons of massive open online courses.

The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Teen's Punch Reportedly Lands Soccer Referee In Critical Condition

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 2:11 pm

A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.

After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the 46-year-old official later lost consciousness — leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," The Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

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