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:
'Going Clear': A New Book Delves Into Scientology: Lawrence Wright's Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief looks at the world of the controversial church and the life of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986.
Spain's economic woes have forced municipalities across the nation to cut back on all kinds of basic services. In the small town of Montserrat, 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean, not even the school bus was spared.
To restore service, neighborhood mothers came up with a rather racy idea to raise money: They transformed themselves into calendar girls.
Hundreds of veterans and military spouses meet with prospective employers at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., in December. Veterans say they're still having trouble finding jobs and getting other types of assistance.
Credit Larry French / AP/National Chamber Foundation
As thousands of troops are set to return from Afghanistan over the next two years, veterans on the homefront say they want to see increased reintegration support this year.
The latest jobs report — and the first of the new year — shows a dismal picture for the nation's newest veterans. Unemployment among those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan stands at 10.8 percent — far higher than the national rate of 7.8 percent.
It's a number that has veterans and their advocates concerned.
This essay by NPR correspondent Eleanor Beardsley was borne out of the personal exasperation of living in a beautiful city with one thing she found very, very wrong.
When you walk down the grand boulevards of the City of Light, you have to be careful where you step.
Every day, my senses are assaulted by the piles I have to dodge in the Parisian streets. There are the fresh ones that leave me feeling angry, and the ones from the previous days that have begun to smear down the street on the bottoms of people's shoes.
Two young Syrian activists, Mohsen and Sara, say they met and fell in love on Facebook while monitoring the country's uprising. They didn't want their faces shown, but provided this photo, taken in the Old City of Damascus.
Credit Courtesy of Mohsen and Sara
Yusef puts a wedding ring on his fiancee Ghada's finger in the war-torn city of Aleppo in northern Syria on Jan. 17. They met on Facebook and were wed by a rebel commander.
Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 8:35 am
Syrian activists tend to spend long nights on Skype and Facebook, sending and receiving updates on the battle to oust the government.
And online is also where they sometimes fall in love.
Mohsen, an activist from Hama, says he first met Sara, his girlfriend of nearly two years, on Facebook.
She sent him a friend request because she saw he worked in the field of journalism, and for months they chatted casually about the Syrian uprising. Then, after government troops stormed Hama, Moshen fled to Damascus, where he and Sara finally met face to face.
Vice President Joe Biden participates in a round-table discussion on gun violence at Virginia Commonwealth University with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., on Friday. The panelists included people who worked on gun safety after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
In their first big party gathering since Election Day, Republican leaders from around the country met in Charlotte, N.C., this week.
The GOP is promising a great deal of change in advance of the next election, but one area where there will be no change for the party is in its leadership. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was elected to another two-year term.
In his acceptance speech, he cited a simple reason why Republicans failed to win the White House and lost seats in the House and Senate in November.
Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.
Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.
Egyptian soccer fans of Al-Ahly football club celebrate in front of their club premises in Cairo on Saturday. An Egyptian court sentenced 21 people to death in relation to a soccer stadium riot last February.
Credit Amr Nabil / AP
Thousands of Egyptian protesters gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, marking two years since the start of the country's revolution.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:47 pm
Fox News is not renewing Sarah Palin's contract, The New York Times and other news outlets are reporting.
After her failed vice presidential run in 2008, Palin resigned as Alaska's governor in 2009. When she took the job at Fox, she quickly became a staple on the cable news channel and one of the leading voices of the conservative movement in the United States.
In a bombshell decision on the limits of executive power, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., has invalidated President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
Legal experts say the court's reasoning upends decades of conventional wisdom and deals a big victory to Senate Republicans in an era of congressional gridlock.
A key federal panel Friday recommended placing new restrictions on Vicodin and similar prescription painkillers.
At the conclusion of an emotional two-day hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 19-10 to recommend the agency change how drugs that contain the opioid hydrocodone are classified as controlled substances.
Sarah Collins Rudolph was with her sister Addie Mae Collins when a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The 1963 bombing killed her sister and three other girls, and Collins Rudolph was seriously injured in the attack.
Credit Frank Couch / AL.COM /Landov
Mourners outside funeral services for Carol Robertson, one of four girls killed in the 1963 bombing.
Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Planted by white supremacists, the bomb killed four young girls preparing to worship. It was an act of terrorism that shocked the country and propelled Congress to pass the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.
When Sgt. Brandon McCoy returned from Iraq, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife, Alicia, remembers him being on edge in public.
"I'm watching him, and his trigger finger never stopped moving, constantly," says Alicia.
Four years later, after he returned from a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, she says, she'd wake up with his hands wrapped around her throat. She told him: Get help or get a divorce. So he scheduled an appointment and — along with Alicia — trekked to the Fort Campbell hospital located on the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
This rock target in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of Mars' Gale Crater is called "Sayunei." The image covers an area about 1.3 inches by 1 inch (3.4 by 2.5 centimeters). The illumination came from one of MAHLI's two groups of white LED pairs. This allowed surface features to cast shadows and provide textural detail.
The illumination for this picture came from MAHLI's two ultraviolet LEDs. The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals.
The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares is one of many buildings owned by the Catholic Church in Alcala de Henares, Spain. The town, which is outside Madrid, is broke and is pursuing a plan to have the church pay additional taxes.
Credit JMN / JMN/Getty Images
The Catholic Church owns more than just places of worship. It also owns apartments and retail buildings. Here, arcades line the busy Calle Mayor (Main Street) in Alcala de Henares, Spain, in 2008.
Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 2:00 pm
Not many Americans are fans of the Electoral College. But trying to change the way electoral votes are allocated makes lots of people unhappy, too.
That's what Republicans in a number of states are finding just now. There are a half-dozen states that President Obama carried last November where both the legislature and the governor's office are controlled by the GOP — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia.
In most of those states, there are efforts under way to change how electoral votes are distributed.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:15 pm
Lots has been made about Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and her glasses. New York Magazine, for example, ran a photo gallery of how Clinton used her glasses to convey emotions during the Benghazi hearings on the Hill.
Today, State Department spokesman Philippe Reines responded to the magazine's photogallery providing a serious explanation for the new accessory:
Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.
It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., won't seek re-election next year, he announced Friday.
The conservative Capitol Hill veteran faced recent criticism from the right for seeking a bipartisan compromise on deficit issues, and for being among the first high-level Republicans to question fidelity to Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge after the November elections.
Those stances had raised speculation about a possible Tea Party-backed GOP primary challenge next year, when Chambliss would have been seeking a third six-year term.
In this Oct. 20, 2012 photo, people line up to enter a newly opened Apple Store in Beijing. Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter.
Apple stock has dropped sharply since it announced earnings that disappointed analysts. Now the tech tastemaker is paying another price, losing its crown as the world's most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.
Exxon's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding stock, was about $417 billion Friday. Apple's was about $413 billion.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 2:38 pm
You thought the economic recovery in the United States was anemic? Try the United Kingdom.
The country learned today that their economy shrank 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. This puts Britain on the precipice of what The Guardiansays is an "unprecedented" tripple-dip recession. That is, its third recession in four years.
It's that time again, the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. Regulars are gathered here. With me are Flora Lichtman, correspondent and managing editor of video for SCIENCE FRIDAY, Annette Heist, our senior producer. And this month, we had a page-turner, "The Andromeda Strain."
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Yes.
FLATOW: It goes very quickly, that book, doesn't it? Poof.
LICHTMAN: It did. I was thinking of 300 and something-odd pages, but I, you know, in one sitting, was halfway through. I couldn't put it down.