NPR News

Pages

Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest
12:30 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Why Forest-Killing Megafires Are The New Normal

Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:46 am

Second of a five-part series

Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.

One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.

Read more
Movies
12:22 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Summer Movies: Older Movies With Modern Themes

Excited about The Expendables 2? Try renting The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or The Wild Bunch.
Frank Masi

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 7:43 am

The Avengers and Expendables 2 are two of the summer's biggest movies, and they share a common theme: a band of heroes trying to save the day.

Film buff Murray Horwitz — with some help from Talk of the Nation listeners — suggests alternative movies to watch at home if you like that theme, but don't want to stand in long lines at the box office.


The Magnificent Seven

Read more
The Salt
12:09 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

So, Who Sent Those Sick Cows To The Slaughterhouse?

A security guard opens the gate at the Central Valley Meat Co., the California slaughterhouse recently shut down by federal regulators after they received a graphic video of cows being mistreated.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:00 am

Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.

Read more
Politics
12:07 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Jane Mayer: Obama In 'Impossible Bind' Over Donors

President Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from such groups. He is shown above speaking during a campaign stop in Oskaloosa, Iowa, last week.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:12 pm

When the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark Citizen United case in 2010, the landscape of presidential elections shifted. SuperPACs — entities that can't make direct contributions but are allowed to engage in limitless spending and fundraising independently of the campaigns — have allowed for the some of the largest indirect gifts by wealthy Americans in the nation's history.

Obama is on record as opposing superPACs for normalizing gigantic donations, but his campaign has hesitantly decided to accept donations from these outside groups.

Read more
Participation Nation
12:03 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Group Gardening In San Antonio, Texas

Angela Hartsell, community gardener.
Courtesy of Jason Winn

My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:43 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Will Tropical Storm Isaac Blow The GOP Convention Off Course?

Republican National Committee officials unveiled the stage inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week ahead of the Republican National Convention, which may or may not begin Monday.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:05 pm

Hurricanes and politics don't mix. That's why next week's gathering in Tampa, Fla., might be the second-consecutive Republican National Convention to be delayed by a storm.

Read more
NPR Story
11:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

'Green-On-Blue' Attacks Challenge Afghan Security

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As the U.S. and NATO start to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan, many in Kabul are considering the lessons of history this summer, and two years in particular: 1989 and the withdrawal of Soviet troops after 10 years; 1992 and the Afghan civil war.

Read more
NPR Story
11:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Preventing The Spread Of West Nile Virus

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:10 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2012's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. The mayor of Dallas recently authorized an aerial spraying program to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which provoked protest from area residents.

NPR Story
11:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

A Sneak Preview Of The 2012 Paralympics

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 12:17 pm

The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics, and begin August 29th. 4,000 elite disabled athletes will compete in 20 sports. Many of the sports are familiar, but others — like boccia and goalball — are unique to the Paralympics.

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:10 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Ivan Dies At 50: A Gorilla Life, Remembered

Ivan chews on his finger at Zoo Atlanta in 1996.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 12:11 pm

I've written before in this space about how an animal obituary may help mark a life of significance. Here is my obituary for Ivan the gorilla.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:02 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Drought's Still Deep In Nation's Midsection

The week of Aug. 21.
National Drought Mitigation Center

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:04 pm

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

Read more
Author Interviews
10:57 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Paul Auster Meditates On Life, Death And Near Misses

Paul Auster is the author of fiction including The New York Trilogy and In the Country of Last Things.
Lotte Hansen Picador

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:28 pm

Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.

Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:55 am
Thu August 23, 2012

One Poll Finds Zero Percent Of Blacks Support Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP annual convention in Houston, Texas in July.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Over at The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart writes that few poll numbers "make me gasp."

Read more
Election 2012
9:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Is Tampa Ready For 2 Oncoming Storms?

The Republican National Convention is being held in Tampa, Florida, and it's expected to bring the city tens of millions of dollars. But many are wondering if Tampa is ready for two oncoming storms — the whirlwind of people descending on the city, and brewing tropical storm Isaac. Guest host Viviana Hurtado talks with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Around the Nation
9:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Cop Car Death Ruled Suicide, But Doubts Remain

Questions are swirling around the death of a 21-year-old Arkansas man who died in police custody in July. An autopsy report lists Chavis Carter's death as a suicide. But his family is asking how he could have shot himself in the head while handcuffed in a police car. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with Associated Press reporter Jeannie Nuss.

Africa
9:28 am
Thu August 23, 2012

South Africa Mine Shooting Hints At Deep Divisions

Memorial services are being held for miners shot dead recently by police at a South African mine. The violent images were compared to the darkest days of apartheid. Guest host Viviana Hurtado speaks with prominent Johannesburg radio host John Robbie to gauge the mood in the country.

The Two-Way
9:04 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Former Penn State President Launches 'Full-Throttle Defense'

Then-Penn State President Graham Spanier and then-head football coach Joe Paterno last fall, before the Jerry Sandusky scandal cost them both their jobs.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Graham Spanier, who lost his job as president of Penn State University for allegedly not doing enough to investigate whether former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was molesting young boys, has "launched a full-throttle defense" against charges that he cared more about the university's reputation than Sandusky's victims, Harrisburg's

Read more
Participation Nation
9:03 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Saving Landmarks In Eldon, Iowa

Volunteers in Eldon.
Courtesy of TAGHC

From a volunteer pool of more than 30 — most past retirement age – friendly folks greet visitors at the American Gothic House Center.

Unpaid guides provide pitchforks so tourists can pose in front of the house that inspired Grant Wood's recognizable painting. And they dispense information about one of America's most celebrated artists.

Read more
The Salt
8:32 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Kids Ditching Full-Sugar Soda For Diet Drinks, Just Like Mom And Dad

Even Junior is drinking diet soda now. But is it good for him?
Todd Keith iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 9:00 am

Diet soda, once the soft drink of choice for adults watching their calories, isn't just for grown ups anymore. Increasingly, kids are getting their fix, too.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:32 am
Thu August 23, 2012

No Parole For Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's Killer

Mark David Chapman in May 2012.
NYS Dept. of Corrections Reuters /Landov

The man who murdered Beatle John Lennon in December 1980 has been denied parole for a seventh time, The Associated Press reports.

Mark David Chapman, New York State Corrections inmate No. 81A3860, is now 57-years-old. He's serving a prison term of 20 years to life.

Lennon was gunned down at the entrance to his Manhattan apartment building.

Read more
Around the Nation
7:52 am
Thu August 23, 2012

From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 2:17 pm

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

Read more
The Two-Way
7:43 am
Thu August 23, 2012

His Nakedness Should Not Be Shown, Palace Says Of Prince Harry's Photos

That's Harry, but not the prince: The Sun recreated the scene.
@suttonnick

The fuss over photos of Prince Harry enjoying some billiards-in-the-buff fun with a lady or two in Las Vegas has led the queen's office to contact Britain's Press Complaints Commission to warn that newspapers in the U.K. better not publish them.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Jobless Claims Rose Slightly Last Week

There were an estimated 372,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, up by 4,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

Another way of measuring, to show the recent trend, also rose: "The 4-week moving average was 368,000, an increase of 3,750 from the previous week's revised average of 364,250."

Overall, what we've said the past two weeks still applies:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:33 am
Thu August 23, 2012

SEAL's Book On Bin Laden Raid, Woodward Book On Obama Due Sept. 11

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other members of his national security team as they monitored the mission that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Pete Souza White House

Those old-fashioned things called books can roil campaigns, and two that are due to hit stores on Sept. 11 certainly have that potential.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
6:07 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Even In Vacation Season, Office Noises Can Sap Your Concentration

What's all that racket?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:48 pm

In offices around the country, the ranks of workers are pretty thin as people grab their last moments of summer vacation.

For those of us left to toil in our cubicles, the absence of disruptions might seem like a help for productivity. So why is it still so hard to focus?

Read more
The Two-Way
5:31 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Isaac Could Be A Hurricane By Friday; Florida And GOP Convention Brace

The projected track as of 11 a.m. ET today. The path has moved slightly to the west.
National Hurricane Center

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 1:00 pm

  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on 'Tell Me More'

Here's the latest on tropical storm Isaac, which could hit Florida this weekend and drench the Republican National Convention in Tampa early next week:

-- The National Hurricane Center says the center of the storm should pass "to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today ... [then] approach the Dominican Republic tonight and Friday."

Read more
Europe
5:22 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Good Deed Ruins Prized Spanish Fresco

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:09 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Drought Assists Police With Marijuana Finds

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Participation Nation
5:03 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Backpacks For Kids In Punta Gorda, Fla.

Back Pack Kids in Punta Gorda.
Courtesy of Yah Yah Girls

Several years ago, Jolene Mowry, president of the Yah Yah Girls of Punta Gorda, heard about a program in another state that provided food on weekends to needy schoolchildren.

So every Friday since 2010, the Yah Yahs deliver backpacks full of healthy, non-perishable, child-friendly food to schools throughout Charlotte County. The packs are given to Back Pack Kidz who have been identified — by the principals and school nurses — as likely to be hungry on weekends.

Read more
The Picture Show
3:38 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Our Changing Forests: An 88-Year Time Lapse

1909. Facing nearly due west from ridge northeast of Como Lake. Light selection cut in open ponderosa pine. Ground cover is comprised of perennial grasses and forbs, including basalmroot. A few low-growing bitterbrush plants can be seen in the vicinity of horses and in distance on left. A group of willows can be seen behind horsemen at left center.
Photo 87357 U.S. Forest Service

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 10:35 am

Intense forest fires have been raging across the western United States this summer. So far this year, nearly 43,000 wildfires have torched almost 7 million acres of land.

As NPR Science correspondent Christopher Joyce and photographer David Gilkey report from Arizona and New Mexico this week, the forests of the American Southwest have become so overgrown that they're essentially tinderboxes just waiting for a spark.

Read more

Pages