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:
Almost 5 million Americans are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they have been searching for work for at least six months.
This week, their plight is getting a bit tougher as the government cuts their unemployment benefits — part of the automatic reductions in federal spending that took effect recently.
On a recent day, about 40 people turned out at a Manhattan jobs center run by the New York Labor Department to get advice on looking for work. These are all people who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.
You might think alarm bells would be sounding in Washington, given the warnings coming out of North Korea. But when they talk about North Korea, U.S. officials are sounding like exasperated parents responding to a child's tantrum.
At the White House on Friday, spokesman Jay Carney said the United States "would not be surprised" if North Korea actually carries out a missile test.
Roger Ebert was a critic, not a blowtorch. He could be sharp if he thought a movie insulted the audience, but had a champ's disdain for a cheap shot.
Many critics ridiculed the film Deep Throat when it came out in 1973. Who couldn't mock its absurdities? Roger just wrote, "If you have to work this hard at sexual freedom, maybe it isn't worth the effort."
Roger Ebert was a Chicago newspaperman who typed with two fingers — it sounded like a machine gun, columnist Bob Greene remembered on Friday — who was from the age when reporters were fueled by ink and booze.
"We are attempting to fulfill as many customer orders as possible," CPI said. "If you've had a recent session, your portraits may be available at your Sears, PictureMe or Kiddie Kandids portrait studio."
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Brian Babylon, Roxanne Roberts and Peter Grosz. And here again is your host, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in Rockford, Illinois, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
I can't believe it but it is time for our final game Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players now has 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as they can; each correct answer now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: We have a two-way tie for first place, Peter. Roxanne Roberts and Peter Grosz, they both have three points, and Brian Babylon has two.
Tumult defines the Central African Republic. The landlocked nation in the heart of Africa is rich in natural resources such as diamonds, gold and uranium, but it remains one of the world's poorest countries. It has suffered from decades of misrule and coups.
The latest uprising occurred last month, when a rebel alliance seized control of the country and ousted the president. What followed were days of violence and looting, leaving the country in shambles: gas stations without pumps, hospitals without equipment, the university without computers.
The writer J.M. Ledgard leads multiple lives. He's a journalist and covers East Africa for the Economist, but Ledgard is also a novelist. Here's Alan Cheuse with a review of his latest book, "Submergence."
ALAN CHEUSE, BYLINE: James More, a British secret agent, has been captured by a Somalian affiliate of al-Qaeda, a peripatetic fringe group that keeps moving him back and forth across the mostly barren terrain of northeastern Africa, trying to hide from drone attacks and make jihad at the same time.
The nation's capital has been undergoing something of a building boom. Dozens of construction cranes dot the Washington, D.C., skyline.
So it comes as no surprise that the federal government is hoping to take advantage of the real estate values and unload what's seen by many as an eyesore on Pennsylvania Avenue: the J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
At first blush, it might seem like good news from the Labor Department this morning: The unemployment rate that has been dropping in recent months fell again. It fell to 7.6 percent in March. But job growth was much weaker than expected. And the main reason that the rate went down is that a large number of people decided to leave the workforce. NPR's Yuki Noguchi joins us now. Hi, Yuki.
Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 2:36 pm
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.
Baby boomers have never needed more care to ease their pain and suffering. But there simply aren't enough specialists to get the job done.
There's a shortfall of as many as 18,000 physicians focused on palliative care and hospice care. Right now, there are 5,150 hospice programs and 1,635 hospital palliative care teams in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.
The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.
"This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions," the FAA said in a statement. "Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System."
Authorities are looking into the possibility that white supremacist prison gangs may have been involved in a series of shootings of public officials in Colorado and Texas. If so, criminologists say, this would be part of a larger pattern of prison gangs extending their reach.
"Increasingly, these prison gangs are spilling out onto the streets," says Mark Potok, an editor with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Pope Francis told his staff to take "decisive action" when it comes to cases of clerical sex abuse of minors.
In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff ordered the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty."
Lead poisoning in kids is hardly the problem it used to be, now that we've stopped using lead in house paints and gasoline. But the lead that lingers outside and in old homes is still dangerous if kids are exposed to it.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program, we will speak with a Christian leader who's led his church to rethink both its politics and its worship. It's the Reverend Cecil Williams of San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church. He and his wife, who's also a church leader, will join us for a Faith Matters conversation in a few minutes.
Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 10:42 am
The first day of the latest talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group about the Persian nation's nuclear ambitions has ended with reports of a "shaky" start and Western diplomats saying they are puzzled by what Iran brought to the table.