The art of the piano is a study in evolution — of both an instrument and of human talent. Among us there have been a rare few whose gifts included the physical dexterity, the innate musicality and the creativity to make the instrument sound brilliant.
Veterans Day is the day when Americans remember and thank members of the armed forces who fought in foreign wars. Nearly 1.4 million men and women have left the service since serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. A group of musicians in San Marcos, Texas, just down the highway from Austin, has started a songwriting workshop especially for returning veterans, believing that composing music can help a person heal from the wounds of war.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi delivers an address to Italy's Senate in December 2010. Berlusconi, whose political survival skills are legendary, promised to step down after the Senate approved an austerity package.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 1:10 pm
The man known as Italy's Great Seducer may have finally lost his charm.
Silvio Berlusconi, the country's scandal-plagued prime minister, survivor of some 50 confidence motions over the years and twice thrown out of office, says he will exit from the Italian political scene now that the nation's parliament has passed an austerity package.
That resignation could come as early as this weekend, although there has been speculation that Berlusconi could hang on until as late as February, when new elections are expected to be held.
Mexican authorities say Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora, "the highest ranking official in the country after the president" and the person in charge of the fight against drug cartels, has been killed in a helicopter crash, The Associated Press reports from Mexico City. Seven other people also died, according to the Mexican government.
Reuters says that local media are reporting that the minister's helicopter went down south of Mexico City.
A variety of hair-straightening products used in professional salons can expose both hairdressers and their customers to formaldehyde, an independent study finds. And the chemical can be really irritating, literally.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 1:58 pm
Russians are feeling pretty gloomy after spending days trying to contact a spacecraft aimlessly orbiting Earth.
The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft was destined for one of Mars' moons. As we reported earlier this week, it was supposed to scoop up some rocks and return home with its specimens, but one of its boosters failed to ignite and now it's stuck.
Improvements in medical care and equipment mean fewer troops are dying on the battlefield. But more troops are returning home severely wounded, with injuries that require lifelong care and cost millions of dollars in medical bills.
"Volatile" is one of the words that probably best describes the race for the Republican presidential nomination and a new CBS News poll captures that flux. The national poll indicates a three-way tie, showing Herman Cain at 18 percent and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich at 15 percent each.
That's essentially a tie since the margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
"My heart aches for the victims and the families and my mind searches for answers," Penn State University's interim president, Rodney Erickson, just said at the opening of a meeting of the school's board of trustees.
Here are some of the latest developments in the scandal at Penn State, where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been charged with sexually abusing young boys for more than a decade (he says he's innocent) and head coach Joe Paterno has been fired after coming under withering criticism for not having done more to investigate the allegations:
Angry that her daughter was eliminated from a 4-H competition, Jeannie Groat of upstate New York protested, using the F-word. According to the Walton Reporter, she was charged with disorderly conduct and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Even prosecutors say they didn't ask for such a harsh penalty. Another judge blocked the jail time.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. You may think it's Veteran's Day, but that's not what one social club celebrates tonight. The Corduroy Appreciation Club loves this date because it's 11-11-11. They say it most resembles the fabric corduroy. I guess because of all the vertical lines. Anyway, this is a real club which denounces velvet as the poor man's corduroy and is meeting tonight in New York. In order to get in, you may wear at least three items made of corduroy. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Fri November 11, 2011 7:01 am
Before we move on to the day's news, serious and silly, we want to pause for a moment to note that it's Veterans Day.
As President Obama's declaration states, on this day Americans "pay tribute to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families." And, the proclamation adds, "to honor their contributions to our Nation, let us strive with renewed determination to keep the promises we have made to all who have answered our country's call."
When the war in Iraq began, I worried there would be a draft. What if my son was called? How would he ever recover from going to war?
I decided that I wanted to meet the young men and women who voluntarily sign up. I began at Fort Drum in upstate New York where I photographed soldiers between tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was little conversation as I asked each soldier to adopt a vulnerable, intimate position, and lay his or her head on a table. I did not give these images captions.
Karl Marlantes is the author of What It Is Like To Go To War.
I returned to America in October of 1969 after 13 months as a Marine in Vietnam. While I was there, I would comfort myself by imagining all the girls I ever knew hugging me in a huge warm group embrace. Somehow, I thought something similar would be waiting for me when I came home.
Florida Tea Party activists helped push presidential candidate Herman Cain to the head of the GOP pack at the state Republican straw poll in September. Since then, a series of women have come forward with sexual harassment allegations against him. Cain's campaign has raised $90 million since Oct. 1 — more than double the amount raised in the previous 9 months.
A law passed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill requires the government to assess the biological damage from big spills so fines can be fixed and damage paid for. The National Academy of Sciences has a report describing the methods and metrics of determining the "ecosystem services" that have been lost due to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The new movie J. Edgar is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover who headed the FBI for 48 years. Hoover championed scientific crime fighting in general and the use of fingerprints in particular.
The rating agency Standard and Poor's sent out an alert downgrading France's debt on Thursday. It turned out to be a false alarm, but it took nearly two hours for S&P to clarify that. S&P says it's investigating the mistake.
Michigan is expected to be a battleground in next year's presidential election. The state has a double-digit jobless rate but also has an auto industry that's being revived after getting federal help in 2009. President Obama points to that as a success story. But Republican candidates maintain the bailout was a bad idea. Among them, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney — a Michigan native whose father once ran a car company.