The 113th Congress, which just ended its first year, has come to be defined more by what it hasn't done than what it has. With two warring and ideologically polarized parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill, Congress has more or less become a quagmire for policy.
Still, one of the least productive Congresses of the modern era was able to accomplish a few things in 2013. Here are five of them:
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:30 pm
Egyptian security forces carried out widespread arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members just days after the government labeled the group, which supports ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a terrorist organization.
Three people were reported killed in Muslim Brotherhood-led protests and some 265 people were arrested as part of the nationwide crackdown, which came as the political group renewed calls for massive anti-government rallies.
This isn't our first live episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour: Almost exactly a year earlier, we recorded a show in an abandoned bank during an NPR merchandise sale. But this one, recorded Dec. 10 at NPR's Studio One, is the first live show we've recorded on an official studio soundstage, complete with a seated crowd, food and drink for sale, and tickets that had to be purchased in advance.
One of Amy Schumer's comedy routines begins with the declaration, "I'm a little sluttier than the average bear. I really am."
Degrees of sluttiness may be hard to define, but Schumer does talk frankly about many subjects — including sex — that can be uncomfortable for people, both in her stand-up act and on her Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer, which was recently renewed for a second season.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.
Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:51 pm
A federal judge has ruled that the National Security Agency's bulk gathering of the telephone records of millions of Americans is legal — less than two weeks after another federal judge ruled that the program violated the Constitution.
Over the 60 years that Mel Brooks has been in the entertainment business, his name has become synonymous with comedy. He is the man who broke Broadway records for most Tony Award wins with The Producers (an adaptation of his own movie); who satirized Westerns and racism in Blazing Saddles; and who poked fun at monster movies with Young Frankenstein.
When Camilo José Vergara first began taking photos in Harlem in 1970, he expected to be documenting the deterioration of the historic neighborhood. In some ways he has. But over the decades, he also saw changes in Harlem that weren't so stark — growth, gentrification and racial integration.
His new book, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto, shows more than 40 years of change in the capital of African-American culture.