World

Books
6:22 am
Sat August 24, 2013

'Bummers, Blisters And Boondoggles': A Jokester Joins The Army

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 2:59 pm

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.

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A Blog Supreme
5:28 am
Sat August 24, 2013

What Albert Murray Taught Us About Jazz

Albert Murray in 1974.
Craig Herndon The Washington Post/Getty Images

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.

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Code Switch
5:28 am
Sat August 24, 2013

What The March On Washington Called For, And What We Got

Crowds gather in front of the Washington Monument during the "March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom" in 1963.
AP

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.

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Simon Says
5:27 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Remembering Elmore Leonard, A Writer Who Hated Literature

Many of Elmore Leonard's stories have been adapted for the screen, from the movie Get Shorty to the TV show, Justified.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

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.

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Theater
5:25 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Bread And Puppet Marks 50 Years Of Paper Mache And Protest

Bread and Puppet Theater performs during a protest in New York in June 1982.
AP

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 11:39 am

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.

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Shots - Health News
6:53 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Doctors Fleeing Medicare? Not So Fast, Feds Say

How many doctors are taking new patients under Medicare and private insurance?
HHS

Are doctors so fed up with Medicare's stagnant pay and bureaucratic rules that they're bailing out of the program?

Short answer: Yes, some are. Long answer: Not as many as you might have thought.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently, the number of doctors who opted out of Medicare tripled between 2009 and 2012. Tripled!

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The Two-Way
6:49 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

ESPN Says It Backs Reporting As It Pulls Out Of NFL Series

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:12 pm

  • 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.

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The Two-Way
6:33 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

NSA Says Some Analysts Willfully Violated Spying Authority

The National Security Agency says that on rare occasions some of its analysts deliberately violated the agency's surveillance authorities.

NPR's Tom Gjelten tells our Newscast unit that the violations generally do not involve surveillance of U.S. citizens' telephone or email data. He filed this report:

"The NSA this week briefed members of Congress on employee compliance with surveillance authorities. In a new statement the agency summarized what it reported.

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It's All Politics
6:29 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Is This The Beginning Of Obama Unbound?

President Obama speaks at a town hall-style meeting at SUNY Binghamton on Friday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

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:

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The Record
6:25 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Haven't I Heard This Song Before?

The hook in Vanilla Ice's song "Ice Ice Baby" was based on a passage from "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen, but the rapper denied the similarity at first.
Time & Life Pictures Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

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The Two-Way
6:12 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Mei Xiang, Giant Panda At National Zoo, Gives Birth To A Cub

Mei Xiang, who gave birth Friday, enjoying a piece of fruit on Dec. 19, 2011, at the National Zoo.
Fang Zhe Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 6:35 pm

The Smithsonian National Zoo has some happy news this evening: Mei Xiang, a giant panda, gave birth to a cub at 5:32 p.m. ET.

In some ways this was a surprise, as the zoo did not know the panda was pregnant until earlier this month, when she began to act like she was expecting.

The zoo says their panda team heard the cub vocalize and saw Mei Xiang cradle her cub.

The zoo reports in a press release:

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Announces His Resignation

Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego speaks at a news conference in July.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:19 pm

Embattled Mayor Bob Filner on Friday announced that he would step down at the end of the month following allegations by more than a dozen women that he sexually harassed them.

With equal measures of remorse and defiance, Filner, speaking before the City Council, apologized to his supporters and to "all the women I have offended."

"I had no intention to be offensive, to violate any physical or personal space," he said.

"I never had any intention to be a mayor who went out this way," he said.

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The Two-Way
5:56 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Discrimination Suit Dropped Against TV's Paula Deen

Cooking show host Paula Deen in an appearance on Fox & Friends last December.
Slaven Vlasic Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:28 pm

An agreement has been reached to dismiss a sexual harassment and discrimination suit against Food Network personality Paula Deen and her brother.

The Associated Press reports that a document filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah, Ga., said the parties had reached agreement "without any award or fees to any party."

Lisa Jackson — a former employee of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, a restaurant owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers — charged that she suffered from sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

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Environment
5:49 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

The 'Consensus' View: Kevin Trenberth's Take On Climate Change

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Next month, a scientific committee sponsored by the United Nations will put out its latest assessment of climate change. The report is expected to underscore yet again that climate change is a serious problem and human beings are largely responsible.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents a consensus view of hundreds of scientists from around the world. The effort shared the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

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Newport Jazz Festival
5:08 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Joshua Redman Quartet, Live In Concert: Newport Jazz 2013

The Joshua Redman Quartet performs at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

The sight of saxophonist Joshua Redman raising his foot at the apex of a gritty solo has become common to Newport Jazz crowds — and always entirely welcome too. His latest record, Walking Shadows, is a collection of ballads, but this program from the main stage isn't quite so calm. Here's how the set began.

Set List

  • "Summertime" (Gershwin/Gershwin/Heyward)
  • "Doll Is Mine" (Blonde Redhead)

Personnel

  • Joshua Redman, saxophones
  • Aaron Goldberg, piano
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Sports
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

ESPN Backs Out Of Brain Injury Documentary After NFL Pressure

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. As a television network, ESPN pays billions of dollars to sports leagues for the right to show their games, but its reporters also cover those leagues. Those two roles came into conflict this week when ESPN announced it is pulling out of a project investigating the concussion crisis in the National Football League. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins us now, as he does most Fridays. Hey there, Stefan.

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Asia
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Corruption Trial Not Working Out As Communist Party Had Hoped

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

China's Communist Party had hoped a high profile corruption trial this week would send a message that the party punishes its own and operates under the rule of law. But so far, the trail of former Politburo member Bo Xilai hasn't quite worked out that way. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on how China's biggest case in decades is toying with the expectations of the millions of people following the trial.

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Middle East
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Did Publicizing The Terror Alert In Yemen Help?

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

The partial reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, which was the focus of a recent terror alert, suggests that the immediate threat of a terrorist attack has passed. Officials cannot be certain whether the alert disrupted planning for a possible attack, whether the threat was a bluff or whether the intelligence that led to the alert was flawed. The issuance of warnings is a specialty within the intelligence community, but the recent episode underscores how much uncertainty surrounds the field.

Middle East
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Former Ambassador: Syria Will Fight No Matter What U.S. Does

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There are growing calls for international military action if it's proved that Syria used chemical weapons in an attack this week that's believed to have killed more than 1,000 people. Britain, France and Turkey are among those calling for a forceful response. In an interview today on CNN, President Obama sounded a cautious note.

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Middle East
5:01 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Obama Still Wary Of U.S. Military Intervention In Syria

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama continued his back-to-school bus tour today, visiting college campuses in New York and Pennsylvania. Back here in Washington, D.C., administration officials wrestled with how the U.S. should respond to this week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Obama says Wednesday's attack around Damascus, if verified, raises grave concern and could threaten core national interests of the United States.

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