Today, flying is like riding a bus. But it wasn't always that way. Vaulted from the sands of Kitty Hawk and freed from military exigencies by the end of World War I, aviation soared into the 1920s and '30s on a direct course to tomorrow. Here are three flyers who not only helped open the skies, but also brought literary gems back from the cutting edge of progress, from a time when flying was the most exciting thing in the world.
Poor Rutherford B. Hayes. It wasn't bad enough that the 19th president, a Republican, was called "His Fraudulency" by Democrats during his one term in office (1877-1881) because of the unusual circumstances of how he "won."
Now, the current occupant of the White House, President Obama, was spreading a most assuredly inaccurate story, according to experts, about Hayes' reaction to an early telephone.
A former Rutgers University student was found guilty today on 15 counts, including a hate crime. Dharun Ravi face charges related to spying via computer while his roommate had an intimate encounter with a man. The roommate, named Tyler Clementi, committed suicide soon afterward. The court case centered on tweets and a digital cache of texts and instant messages. Nancy Solomon of New Jersey Public Radio tells us about the verdict.
Here's one more piece of legal news. The U.S. Supreme Court will make same-day audio available of the upcoming arguments on the health care overhaul. The court says it's responding to extraordinary public interest in the case. Here's NPR's Nina Totenberg.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 2:16 pm
A highly popular episode of This American Life in which monologuist Mike Daisey tells of the abuses at factories that make Apple products in China contained "significant fabrications," the show said today.
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 10:42 am
Illinois is in the worst fiscal shape of any state in the country.
Its pension system is $85 billion short of what it will need to pay promised retirement benefits, while it's already $8 billion behind on its everyday bills — money for schools, hospitals and private vendors for work already done and approved.
All of that could be good news next week — at least politically — says Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 12:14 pm
The "family friend" who told The Oregonian that its editorial page editor was in his car on Saturday when he died of a heart attack turns out to have been another editor at the newspaper. She says she was trying to protect Caldwell's family from the public embarrassment that would come with the truth: that he had been in the apartment of a young woman with whom he was allegedly having sex.
Alain de Botton is the author of Religion for Atheists.
A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 1:31 pm
Some of the documents seized last May after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan show that the al-Qaida leader "boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Barack Obama and Gen.
Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student "accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate's love life has been convicted of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy in a case that exploded into the headlines when the victim of the snooping committed suicide" in September, 2010, The Associated Press writes.
The 20-year-old "could face 10 years in prison when he's sentenced," the AP adds.
Is the battle for the GOP presidential nomination about history? Or is it about math? Santorum may be getting big headlines with his primary wins, but it's Romney who is advancing further to the magic 1,144 number. And more defeats mean more pressure on Gingrich to pull out. Plus: a tribute to the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theater. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.
Scientists on the trail of "pine nut mouth," a nasty metallic aftertaste that some people get after eating the tender little nuts, have been stumped in their latest effort to zero in on the cause of the mysterious affliction.
Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 12:03 pm
Two Senate Democrats want the Justice Department to share more details about how it interprets a key provision of the Patriot Act. The lawmakers say the public has a right to know about a sensitive intelligence gathering program.
So Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Colorado Democrat Mark Udall have sent a letter of complaint to the attorney general. The senators say people would be stunned to know how the government is going about getting business records and other information under the U.S. Patriot Act.
The student government at the University of California, Irvine voted Thursday night to call for the resignation of Dr. Hazem Chehabi, who is the chairman of its school's foundation. He also serves as the Syrian consul general in California. He is a personal friend of Syria's dictator Bashar Assad.