This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Most of the countries where same-sex couples enjoy the same rights as heterosexual ones are in Western Europe. Their governments have legalized marriage and adoption rights for gays and lesbians. Now, Germany has been acclaimed for being especially welcoming to gays and lesbians but its government is lagging behind in giving them equal rights.
From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.
Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as "symphonies" in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.
President Obama has had a tough year. He failed to pass gun legislation. Plans for an immigration overhaul have stalled in the House. He barely escaped what would have been a humiliating rejection by Congress on his plan to strike Syria.
Just this week, his own Democrats forced Larry Summers, the president's first choice to head the Federal Reserve, to withdraw.
Former Clinton White House aide Bill Galston says all these issues have weakened the unity of the president's coalition.
"One simple, dynamo-technology, low voltage switch stood between the United States and a major catastrophe."
That is the blunt 1969 assessment of Parker F. Jones, the then supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia National Laboratories, in a newly declassified document that sheds light on a 1961 accident in which the United States almost nuked North Carolina.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 7:38 pm
For those old enough to remember, the government shutdown skirmishing now underway in Washington brings back some not-so-fond memories of late 1995 and early 1996.
That's the last time a divided government, unable to settle its differences before the money from previous years' spending bills ran out, forced dozens of agencies to close. Some 800,000 federal workers were told to stay home and millions of Americans were shut out of everything from their national parks to small-business loans.
Jeff Garlin is a Chicago-born comedian who became well-known playing Larry David's manager on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He's got a new sitcom on ABC called The Goldbergs and a new film, Dealin' with Idiots, which he wrote, directed and stars in.
Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 9:51 am
Vocalist Patti Austin made her debut at age four at the Apollo Theater. In her career she has been a prolific session musician and top performer on commercials, which earned her the moniker "Queen of the Jingles." Her duet partners have included Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross.
Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 8:58 am
It seems that every time researchers estimate how often a medical mistake contributes to a hospital patient's death, the numbers come out worse.
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine published the famous "To Err Is Human" report, which dropped a bombshell on the medical community by reporting that up to 98,000 people a year die because of mistakes in hospitals. The number was initially disputed, but is now widely accepted by doctors and hospital officials — and quoted ubiquitously in the media.
President Obama took his fiscal fight with congressional Republicans to America's heartland Friday. Speaking at a Ford assembly plant near Kansas City, Mo., Obama warned that the federal government could turn into a "deadbeat" unless Congress passes a stopgap spending bill and agrees to raise the debt limit within the next few weeks.
An official assessment of the damage caused by news leaks about government surveillance programs suggests that terrorist groups are changing their communication methods in response to the disclosures, according to officials at the National Security Agency.
Brazil is known for its music and distinctive dances, not necessarily for its paintings or photography. But that is changing. Not only are Brazilian artists now getting big play in major museums around the world, but something new is happening inside Brazil: There's a burgeoning appetite for art.