Phyllis Diller, one of the first and one of the few female comic headliners of her generation, died Monday at the age of 95.
Diller performed in the persona of a crazed housewife. She usually dressed in outlandish, bad-fitting clothes with her hair teased into a disheveled mop. Then she'd fire off long strings of self-deprecating gags. She was so unattractive, she used to tell her audiences, that Peeping Toms asked her to pull her window shades down. Onstage, she called her husband Fang. Diller told Fang jokes like her male counterparts told wife jokes.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 12:54 pm
The Olympic motto says it all. It translates to: "Faster, Higher, Stronger." But as athletes come up against the limits of human potential, writer Emily Sohn wondered, how do they continue to improve? The answer, she found, has to do with technology, psychology and access to a range of sports.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 12:34 pm
Paul Ryan's controversial plan to reshape Medicare has provoked conversation, some of it confusing, about entitlement reform. Traditionally a campaign rallying cry for Democrats, Republicans seem to be putting President Obama on the defensive about Medicare and the new health law.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 12:55 pm
After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus posed a question: "Is it any wonder Americans hate politics?" Republicans, she says, reacted just strongly enough to serve their own interests. And Democrats, Marcus argues, do their own part by driving voter cynicism.
China is planning to increase investments in Pakistan, and some Pakistanis feel China is trying to become a new colonial power. Amid these tensions, a bomb went off near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, on July 23. The blast injured two people.
Credit Rizwan Tabassum / AFP/Getty Images
Ali Hassan, president of the Sindhi National Movement, speaks at an anti-China rally in Karachi on Aug. 9. Local activists were protesting the construction by China of an industrial megacity, Zulfiqarabad, in their province.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Crowds of Sindhi nationalists hold an anti-China rally in Karachi on Aug. 9. Local activists have called for a boycott of Chinese-made products.
With all its current troubles, Pakistan has not been attracting much foreign investment recently. In fact, China seems to be the only country that's prepared to pour money into Pakistan in a big way.
But a boost in Chinese investment has sparked resentment in southern Pakistan, where activists accuse China of trying to be a new colonial power. A bomb blast recently hit near the Chinese Consulate in Karachi — an ominous sign of the rising tensions.
Despite tough economic times, Nike is about to go where it has never gone before: Its Lebron X sneakers are expected to retail for $315. That's the first time a pair of its kicks breaks the $300 barrier.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the price hike comes after the company saw some steep drops to its gross margins. But the company may be taking its customers too far. The Journal reports:
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:19 am
It is a truth universally acknowledged that health insurance companies can be a pain for patients. What may be a surprise is that hospitals often complain, too. And the reasons aren't so different from those of consumers: Denied claims. Low reimbursement. Late reimbursement. Thickets of red tape.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:53 am
New reports from the presidential campaigns show that Republican Mitt Romney last month widened his cash advantage over President Obama. But the numbers reported to the Federal Election Commission paint a more complex picture of the race and the vast amounts of money fueling the campaign.
The Obama campaign committee, Obama for America, reported raising about $39 million, almost $11 million more than was raised in July by the Romney campaign committee, Romney For President.
Cities may be the defining element of human civilization.
The path from hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era 25,000 years ago to the high-tech, high-wonder jumble we inhabit today runs straight through cities. In traveling that path, our construction of cities has always been a dance with physics. In some cases, that physics was explicitly understood; in others, its manifestation was only recognized in hindsight.
As our cities have become more complex the physics embodying their behavior and organization has also become more nuanced, subtle and profound.
U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin apologized for his remarks about rape and pregnancy, but calls have intensified for him to withdraw. Plus, a new e-book claims the Obama campaign is in a constant state of conflict. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America and Joy-Ann Reid of TheGrio.com.
Ethiopians today are facing an uncertain future after the death of their leader, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He was last seen in public in June, and he reportedly died in a Belgian hospital. Guest host Viviana Hurtado discusses the implications of Meles Zenawi's death for the region with NPR Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.
I'm Viviana Hurtado and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. You know it had to happen. Summer break is over in some parts of the country, or almost over. Children are heading back to school.
Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 9:27 am
From the window of my room at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Pittsburgh, I can see a sliver of the hotel fitness center. This morning I looked down there and saw a guy with an earpiece. Secret Service.
So I wasn't entirely surprised to walk into the tiny exercise room a little after 7 a.m. and find the Republican vice presidential candidate working out. There was a row of about half a dozen elliptical machines and treadmills, one workout bench, a small rack of dumbbells, an inflatable exercise ball, and a folding workout mat.
An aircraft that had been set to fly Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey out of Afghanistan today was damaged by shrapnel from rockets fired at the Bagram air field north of Kabul from outside its fences.
Two maintenance workers on the ground were slightly wounded, NPR's Tom Bowman reports. Dempsey was not near the aircraft at the time. He later left Afghanistan on another plane.
A moment ago we heard warnings that Todd Akin will lose financial support if he stays in the race. For a campaign, of course, money is like oxygen, and the presidential campaigns have set out their latest reports on how they're breathing. President Obama and Mitt Romney each have an advantage, depending on which bank account you're looking at. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
The airline industry is having a better than expected summer. Airline stocks have been on the rise and customer service is improving. These days, airlines are less likely to lose your luggage. They're also seeing the highest percent of on-time arrivals since the government started keeping track in the late 1980s.
NPR's Sonari Glinton reports the industry is getting some help from an unlikely source.
NPR's business news starts with a really big apple.
It was bound to happen. Apple has surpassed Microsoft as the most valuable company ever. That happened when Apple stock hit $665 per share yesterday, boosting its market value to nearly $624 billion. Microsoft had held the record for market capitalization since 1999. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
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President Obama will be out talking to voters today, with events in the battleground states of Ohio and Nevada. But by this time in an election year, a sitting president is campaigning even when he's home. The president made a surprise appearance, yesterday, in the White House briefing room. You can imagine what most of the questions were about. Here's NPR's Scott Horsley.
The business school at UCLA wants to go into business for itself. The Anderson School of Management is part of a public university. Of course, it's in California and the school's leaders find that being part of public education in California right now is a little maddening. Budget battles and state budget cuts have become normal.
Will Stone reports on what the school wants to do instead.