So six weeks to go before Election Day, but in-person early voting has already started in a handful of states. Many others will begin soon, and more and more of us are choosing to vote early. In Colorado, for example, where we just heard from Ari Shapiro, nearly 80 percent of votes were cast early in the 2008 presidential election.
Michael McDonald tracks these trends with the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.
A U.S. Navy boat is lowered to the sea from the deck of the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf on Sept. 22. More than 30 nations are participating in an exercise responding to simulated sea-mine attacks in international waters amid rising tension with Iran.
Credit Hasan Jamali / AP
A U.S. Navy speedboat passes in front of multinational military ships in the Persian Gulf on Sept. 21 as part of the military exercise. If attacked, Iran says it will close the Strait of Hormuz, which is a crucial shipping route.
The U.S. military, along with more than 30 allied countries, has just launched a new round of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf at a time when tensions in the region are running particularly high.
But U.S. officials say the aim is not to increase anxiety, but rather to ensure stability. More specifically, the exercises are designed to deal with mines that could hamper shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's oil supply transits.
Former political detainees, Michael Fernandez (left), 72, and Tan Jing Quee (second from right), 66, participate in a forum in Singapore. A notebook used by Fernandez to scribble notes while he was jailed is projected behind them at the event held in 2006. Fernandez and Tan are among the hundreds of Singaporeans detained by the government without trial for, they say, political reasons.
Credit Wong Maye-e / AP
The crowd cheers as Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (C) arrives for the annual National Day Parade celebrations in Singapore, Aug. 9. Critics of what they say are the city-state's repressive laws say Lee, Singapore's founding father, used laws such as the Internal Security Act to quash dissent.
After decades of enforced silence, Singaporeans who spent years in jail without charges or trial are shattering a political taboo by speaking out about their detention — and the colonial-era security laws that made it possible.
The affluent trading hub — known for its solid rule of law — still allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely.
But people who say that the laws were used to abuse them and silence their dissenting voices are now talking — which many see as a foreshadowing of bigger political changes for Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation.
Last year, after the Atlanta rock band Black Lips released the album Arabia Mountain, its members planned a trip to tour the Middle East, but the wave of Arab Spring protests forced them to change plans. Yet even with simmering anti-Americanism persisting throughout the region, singer-guitarist Ian St. Pe was determined to see this through. Cairo, where I spoke with them on Friday, was the band's second stop.
Tesla workers cheer on one of the first Tesla Model S cars sold, during a rally at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., in June. The company is now unveiling a new network of refueling stations for the vehicles.
Starting a new car company from scratch isn't tried often in the United States. The last time one was truly successful was about 100 years ago. And Tesla Motors, a startup from Silicon Valley, faces some unusual hurdles.
Still, despite the challenges Tesla faces, the electric car company and its CEO, Elon Musk, have gotten further than most automotive entrepreneurs.
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 1:05 pm
BuzzFeed says an email exchange between a journalist and one of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's top aides grew quite heated and profane on Sunday — marking at least the second time in recent months that a spokesman for a major political figure used an obscenity to get across his point.
This time it was the journalist who fired off the first word we can't repeat. But the Clinton aide deploys more verbal bombs.
Parents, have you somehow missed the YouTube videos of trampoline accidents?
There's the one of the kid who knocks his front teeth out trying a trampoline-assisted slam dunk. A whole bunch that show knuckleheads jumping from roofs then bouncing every which way and hitting the ground. And then there are the videos of a big kid bouncing a small kid into oblivion.
Journalist Robert Draper says the 27th Congressional District in South Texas looks like a Glock pistol. It's just one of several "funny shapes" you will see in states across the U.S. as a result of the redrawing of congressional boundaries — otherwise known as redistricting.
"These maps can be very, very fanciful — they're these kinds of impressionistic representations of the yearnings and deviousness of politics today," Draper tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.
And now the opinion page. The big winners at last night's Emmy Awards included Showtime's drama "Homeland," the HBO movie "Game Change," and, if you follow the Emmys in recent years, a very familiar title.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE 64TH ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS")
MICHAEL J. FOX: And the Emmy goes to "Modern Family."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Here are two really ugly words: unfunded liability. Across the country, states and cities are struggling to put enough money aside to pay for the pensions they've promised to past, present and future workers: cops, firefighters, teachers and all the rest.
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 12:20 pm
Kick a golf ball back onto the green. Sneak a peek at an opponent's cards in a friendly poker game. Grab a few hundred extra dollars in Monopoly. Duke University professor Dan Ariely studies cheating, and has figured out what drives us to to do it, and how we justify our actions.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll take a look at the big winners from last night's Emmy Awards, but first, we want to turn to a much more serious topic and this would be a good time to say this conversation may not be appropriate for some listeners.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll talk to the head of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. That's a U.S. government agency focused on pulling developing nations out of poverty. But first, it's the final stretch before Election Day. Polls show African-Americans' support, not surprisingly, is solid for President Obama.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, many parents encourage - some say pressure - their kids to become high achievers, but what if a child just says no? David Yoo discusses his memoir, "The Choke Artist: Confessions of a Chronic Underachiever." That's just ahead.
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 3:01 pm
When it comes to farm raised fish, it doesn't pay to let them be lazy. Fish like wild salmon, tuna and eel are built for the vigorous swimming required during migration.
These fish are "uniquely adapted to a physiology of high levels of exercise performance," says Tony Farrell, who studies fish physiology in the University of British Columbia Zoology department. "Therefore when we put them in constrained environments and remove predators, the consequences are they become a little more like couch potatoes."
If you listen to the music on Charmer, hearing Aimee Mann's vocals as just another lilting instrument, you'd probably think the album was just what the title suggests: a charmer. The melodies have an airy quality, at once floating and propulsive, and even without fixing on the words, you can hear that they're metrically precise, with carefully counted-out syllables and tight rhymes.
The first official presidential debate isn't until Oct. 3 in Denver. But as The New York Times writes, last night on CBS News' 60 Minutes there was something of a "shadow debate that offered a likely preview of the tone and substance" of what will happen on stage next week.