Isaiah Sheffer, host of public radio show Selected Shorts and the driving force behind Symphony Space in New York, has died. In the late 1970s, Sheffer turned an abandoned theater in New York City into a thriving arts complex. He died after a stroke at the age of 76.
An unusual list of words popped up recently on China's Twitter equivalent, Weibo. The words are in English, but they've gone viral on the Chinese Twittersphere. Chinese "netizens" have come up with satirical misspellings of "democrazy" and "freedamn."
At nearly 80, Willie Nelson remains impressively prolific: lots of songs, lots of kids and, fittingly, lots of autobiographies. The country singer's latest memoir is called Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, after a song on his Heroes album, released earlier this year. Nelson says those seeking earth-shattering revelations about his life should look elsewhere; that wasn't his intention in writing the book.
Vegetarians don't need your sympathy on Thanksgiving, says Dan Pashman, host of a food podcast and blog called The Sporkful. Pashman is an omnivore, but he spoke to vegetarians and found "it actually makes them feel uncomfortable when a host goes to extreme lengths to make something special just for them."
Americans own an estimated 300 million guns. It's a level of gun ownership that no other country in the world comes close to matching. It's also a source of controversy in the U.S., where groups on both sides of the issue seem to have dug deep into the debate.
Sen. Barbara Boxer says we can finally stop using the term "Year of the Woman" once the Senate reaches a 50-50 split of men and women. "That's the goal," she says.
We're not quite there yet. But in 2013, more women will be serving in Congress than ever before. There will be 20 women in the Senate. When Boxer took her seat in 1993, there were six — and that was after tripling from two the term before.
So what does the California Democrat have to say about the fact that there's still a gender gap? Let's put this in perspective.
On a street corner in Midland Beach on Staten Island, volunteers have set up a makeshift stand. There's no tent here, no corporate logos — just a couple of folding tables and cardboard boxes full of food, clothing and cleaning supplies.
Ross Decker is the guy in charge.
"Anytime we run out of something, I tell the people just come back in 20 minutes, it'll be here," he says.
Decker says the site, badly flooded during Superstorm Sandy, was picked by a handful of local churches. This volunteer operation seems to be stocked mainly through the kindness of strangers.
Special Note:Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the deadline for this week's puzzle is Wednesday by 3 p.m. Eastern.
On-air challenge: Each clue is a two- or three-word description of a famous person in which the initial letters of the description are also the initials of the person. For example, given the clue "Motown great," the answer would be Marvin Gaye.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Intensive diplomatic efforts are under way in the Middle East to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas. Those efforts haven't stopped the two sides from escalating their attacks. And if the diplomacy fails, Israel could decide to invade Gaza. NPR's Anthony Kuhn joins us now from Gaza with the latest. Anthony, what's been happening today so far?
The conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip continues to escalate after Israeli airstrikes flattened key targets in Gaza, and Palestinian rockets threatened deeper into Israel than ever before.
The death toll in Gaza doubled overnight to at least 39 people, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City. Around 300 airstrikes overnight hit the Hamas prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels, among other targets.
Director Ang Lee's new film, Life of Pi, tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who is the lone survivor of a terrible shipwreck. Pi Patel finds himself lost at sea, alone on a boat with a Bengal tiger.
The film is based on Yann Martel's fantasy novel of the same name. The book won the 2002 Man Booker prize for fiction and was optioned to be turned into a film even though it was considered by many in Hollywood to be unfilmable: How do you make a movie that takes place almost entirely on a boat? And with a real tiger?
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:30 am
Sarah and Yael Levintin raised their wine glasses to the sky and toasted the Iron Dome system that had just been deployed outside Israel's commercial center.
The two sisters decided to leave their apartment Friday evening after two rockets fired into the Tel Aviv area were successfully intercepted by the system.
"We had stayed home all day because we didn't want to take the chance that, you know, we'd be away from the bomb shelter," said Yael Levintin. "We aren't used to war. I guess we are kind of babies about it."
Former Bears Coach Mike Ditka was hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke on Friday. The Hall of Famer says doctors have assured him the stroke was slight, and he told The Chicago Tribune, "I feel good right now and it's not a big deal." As the Tribune explains:
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 1:53 pm
For the sake of argument, let's agree that when we use the word "inauguration" in this particular post, we are talking about the multiday, ball-bestrewn, soiree-soaked, tuxedo-dappled extravaganza that costs tens of millions of dollars and often leaves many Americans out in the cold — figuratively and literally.
As President Obama and congressional leaders started negotiations Friday to find a way to avoid the nation's going over the fiscal cliff, it was fairly plain that even some of those who are wisest in the ways of Washington couldn't agree on whether policymakers would actually be able to prevent the federal government from becoming a cliff diver.
Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.
President Obama hasn't even named his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who plans to step down at the end of this term. But there's been a lot of heated rhetoric this week over one of the front-runners, Susan Rice.
Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke on behalf of the administration on five Sunday talk shows days after the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. At the time, she suggested the attack began as a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video. U.S. officials now say it was a terrorist attack.
Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 12:16 pm
David Petraeus' resignation from the CIA further complicated the debate over the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Petraeus, a key figure in the events, stepped down as director after admitting to an extramarital affair. But members of Congress were so anxious to hear from him that they brought Petraeus back to Capitol Hill on Friday to get his version of the Benghazi story.
Fresh off his re-election, a politically fortified President Obama summoned the top four congressional leaders to the White House on Friday for the first of what could be many rounds of talks for a deal to avert fiscal calamity.
The meeting was part of the opening moves to keep the nation from sailing over the so-called "fiscal cliff" — those across-the-board tax hikes and deep spending cuts set to kick in at year's end.
In welcoming the quartet of lawmakers, Obama struck a conciliatory note.
Legislative leaders made 16 thousand pages of documents related to redistricting available online Friday. Earlier this year, leaders in the Utah Democratic Party requested all documents related to 2012 redistricting process. It’s the largest legislative records request in state history and earned them a more than 15 thousand dollar bill the legislature refused to waive. Democrats then refused to pay the bill in full and filed a lawsuit in the third district court over the matter.