At courthouses around the world, a statue of justice stands with a set of scales in one hand. to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the cases brought before her. In her other hand, she holds a double-edged sword symbolizing reason and justice. There are an estimated 1.5 million people in American prisons; and people of all political persuasions believe the system is bursting, and that incarceration is not a punishment that fits all crimes.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The trial of a former high-flying Chinese politician began this week. Bo Xilai is accused of corruption, bribery and stealing millions of dollars, and the possible implications for China's leadership could be huge. We're joined now by Cheng Li. He's the director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. East Coast seabirds have had a tough year. They've been battered by storms and disruptions in the food chain. Among them, the sturdy little Atlantic puffin. Now, here in the United States, their numbers dwindle to just a single nesting pair by 1901. Since then, thanks to the Audubon Society's Project Puffin, they've made a comeback. But as WBUR's Fred Bever reports, the puffins are now facing some new threats.
Sandwiched between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, the island of Idjwi had no Internet access until last month. Host Scott Simon speaks with Jacques Sebisaho, a doctor and native of Idjwi Island, about how the community has responded to the Internet.
Naomi and Sally Durance are heroes of the Great War, that war which was supposed to end all wars. It didn't, but it did help these two Australian sisters overcome sibling suspicion and grow closer to each other.
In a time when recollections can be reduced to just a few words, Jean Shepherd delivered monologues, soliloquies and musings. He was a raconteur.
Shepherd served in the Army during World War II — that same Army that stormed the beaches on D-Day, though Shepherd and his unit would never see the front lines. They were the homefront Army: stocking, re-stocking, sending, schlepping and training for a war they helped win — but only at a distance.
These days, the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, Ariz., has lots of space. Since the federal budget cuts known as sequestration began, the office has lost a quarter of its staff to layoffs or furloughs.
Under the Constitution, clients still need legal representation, so judges have to appoint private attorneys to replace the public defenders.
The sequester was supposed to save money. But in this case, the sequester is costing federal dollars.
An essayist, cultural theorist, novelist, educator and biographer who died on August 18 at 97, Albert Murray spent more than five decades developing his thesis that America is a culturally miscegenated nation. His contention was that blacks are part white, and vice versa: that both races, in spite of slavery and racism, have borrowed from and created each other. In all of his writing, jazz music — derived from the blues idiom of African-Americans — was the soundtrack at the center of his aesthetic conception.
Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 12:10 pm
Wednesday marks the 50th celebration of the March on Washington — perhaps you've heard something about it? — and it's a little hard to resist the urge to compare the America of 1963 to 2013, to see how they've diverged.
Elmore Leonard was a writer who hated — and I don't mean disliked; Elmore had a contempt for putting pretty clothes on hard, direct words, so I mean hated — literature, or at least what he believed a lot of people mean when they say liter-a-ture, as if it were a Members Only club.
Elmore Leonard wrote for a living, from the time in his 20s when he turned out ads for Detroit department stores and vacuum cleaners during the day, and wrote cowboy and crime stories for pulp magazines at night.
If you've been to a fancy restaurant, you've probably seen a sommelier — those wine experts who make sure you get the best possible match for your meal. But what if you don't want a chardonnay or pinot? What if you want a nice cold beer?
A new program is working to bring this same level of knowledge to the world of malt and hops by turning out batches of certified beer experts known as Cicerones.
Bread and Puppet Theater has been a familiar presence at political demonstrations since the anti-war protests of the 1960s. Its giant puppets and raucous brass band also marched against wars in Central America, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 1982, Bread and Puppet led a parade in New York that, according to police estimates, consisted of more than a half-million anti-nuclear protesters. Though massive street protests may be a thing of the past, Bread and Puppet's work is still unapologetically political as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis Discusses ESPN's Decision On 'All Things Considered'
ESPN President John Skipper released a statement Friday defending the network's journalistic integrity after it pulled out of an investigation of the NFL.
ESPN had been a partner with PBS's Frontline on a forthcoming series about concussions in the National Football League. A trailer for the two-part investigation says Frontline "investigates what the NFL knew and when they knew it" regarding the lasting effects of head injuries.
Are we seeing the beginning of a trend from the occupant of the Oval Office — a President Obama unbound?
That's the question after Obama cast aside his usual caution while speaking at a town hall-style meeting in Binghamton, N.Y., on Friday. Asked about his proposals for attacking soaring higher education costs, Obama said: