Kent Couch made news back in 2008, when he tied a lawn chair to a cluster of helium balloons and flew it 235 miles from Oregon to Idaho. Yesterday, Couch boarded a plane and announced he was headed to Baghdad to attempt a similar trip with Iraqi extreme sports enthusiast Fareed Lafta.
Couch's story has been making the rounds in Oregon since Wednesday. But it's now beginning to make its way across the country. Here's how he describes his plans for Iraq on his website:
I became fascinated with Jeanne d'Arc Au Bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake) by Swiss-French composer Arthur Honegger many years ago, when I first heard a snippet of the piece on the radio. It was one of those arresting moments where I felt I'd heard the music before and couldn't place it for the life of me. As it turns out, I'd never heard it, but it's understandable why I thought I had.
The baby boomers were born in the two decades after World War II and known for their anti-establishment liberalism in the 1960s. But their beginnings have not made them a predictable Democratic voting block. In 2008, boomers narrowly backed Barack Obama, but they swung over to Republicans in 2010.
Lance Cpl. Jake Romo does physical therapy at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. He lost both legs in an explosion in Sangin, Afghanistan, in February 2011, while serving with the 3/5 Marines.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
After losing his leg, Chischilly underwent rehabilitation in San Diego. He uses a recumbent bike equipped with hand pedals. He finished 16th in the wheelchair portion of the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 30 in Washington.
Credit All photos by David Gilkey / NPR
Jake Romo, 22, lost both his legs while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, in Sangin, Afghanistan. Here, he does physical therapy at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
Cpl. Marcus Chischilly patrols in southern Afghanistan in October 2010. This photo was taken a day before he stepped on an explosive device and lost his left leg.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Lance Cpl. Josue Barron lost his left leg and left eye in Sangin, Afghanistan, while serving with the 3/5 Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif. He now has a glass eye that is emblazoned with the 3/5 insignia.
A year ago, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marine officers and enlisted men of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment deployed to restive Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. By the time their tour ended in April 2011, the Marines of the 3/5 — known as "Darkhorse" — suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the past 10 years of war. This week, NPR tells the story of this unit's seven long months at war — both in Afghanistan and back home.
Seventy-five years ago this month, Henry Luce, who had launched Time magazine in the 1920s, created his third great magazine: Life. Over the coming years it would come to be known as the weekly with the most and the best photographs. It would show Americans what war and peace looked like. There were photographs in Life of the Spanish Civil War and of V-J Day in Times Square that are rare cases for which the term "iconic" truly makes sense. And there were dozens of others, too.
Choosing a Triple Whopper burger off the menu may say a lot more about feeling inadequate than it does about feeling hungry. In a new study, people chose jumbo portions of food and drink when they felt they lacked power and status.
If true, this data nugget could go a long way towards explaining why 32 percent of Americans are obese. Who doesn't have a day when they feel powerless and dissed? A Super Big Gulp or an extra-large pizza could seem like a quick, cheap fix.
Don't panic if you're a fan of those tiny beads of ice cream. They're still going to be available.
But the cold, hard fact is that Dippin' Dots this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to WPSD-TV in Paducah, Ky., where the company that makes the so-called ice cream of the future is headquartered.
The United States Justice Department announced, yesterday, that it was dropping a proposed controversial rule that would allow it to deny the existence of sensitive documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, sent a letter to the Justice Department about the rule and in a press release said the department had told him it was dropping plans to implement it. Grassley said:
In its initial public offering, Groupon is selling about $700 million in stock. As The Wall Street Journal puts it that's "the biggest tech IPO of its kind since Google's stock-market debut."
If you're not familiar, Groupon is an Internet deals company. It for example, sells $50 worth of food at a restaurant for $25. It splits the profits with the restaurant on coupons redeemed and keeps the ones that customers don't use.
George Papandreou is not the only European politician who is nervous about his job. Greek's prime minister wouldn't be the first leader to lose his position as a result of the ongoing euro crisis, and more are likely to follow.
Papandreou faces a vote of confidence on Friday, which could bring down his government. Even if he survives this test, he may not remain in power for long.
Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 2:40 pm
Since McDonald's announced the seasonal revival of its popular McRib sandwich last month, there's been a round of reports about what's in the sandwich that have ranged from glib (on its 70 ingredients) to McFib (on the alleged inhumane treatment of the pigs that
In Bangkok, floodwaters are rising in some parts of the city, leading to charges that the government is sacrificing the homes and businesses of the poor while protecting the rich . On the west side of Bangkok (shown here Nov. 1), areas are mostly submerged, while the opposite side of the Chao Phraya river is dry.
Credit Pornchai Kittiwongsakul / AFP/Getty Images
A traffic policeman directs vehicles during flooding in Bangkok on Nov. 3. Parts of Bangkok are being actively protected by floodgates, and water levels there are low.
Heavy monsoon rains that began two months ago in Thailand have killed more than 400 people and show no sign of abating as the floodwaters make their way south into the crowded capital, Bangkok.
Anxious residents have stripped store shelves bare of water, rice and other essentials as they wait. And tempers are flaring as some poorer residents complain that their homes and businesses are being sacrificed to protect more affluent and industrial areas closer to the city center.
"I will get stronger. I will return" to Congress, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D-Ariz.), vows in a new book she has written with her husband about the devastating injuries she received last Jan. 8 when a gunman opened fire during an event she was hosting in Tucson.
It's one of the surest signs yet that she intends to remain in politics and seek re-election next year.
Hoodia may not help you lose weight. But the supplement, derived from an African plant, may help you lose your vacation house, if you're marketing the stuff with claims that go too far in the eyes of regulators.
The Federal Trade Commission said it has reached a settlement with David J. Romeo and two companies he controlled that bans them from "making any weight-loss claims while marketing foods, drugs, and dietary supplements."
Students at St. Mary's College of Maryland are starting an impromptu semester at sea — sort of. They will live on a cruise ship that's docked in a river just off campus. The 300-foot Sea Voyager will serve as a floating residence hall because two dorms infested with mold spores were deemed uninhabitable.
Joseph Urgo is president of the small liberal arts college, which is on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay in St. Mary's City. He says the floating residence hall on the St. Mary's River makes perfect sense for the college.
There's been anecdotal evidence, and certainly plenty of signs on social media, that many Republicans still say Herman Cain is their choice for president despite the revelation that the restaurant trade group he once headed paid monetary settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment.
The It's All Politics blog is handling most of NPR.org's coverage of the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain — who has said the charges that stem from his time as head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s are baseless.
Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 7:15 am
Shares of the daily deal company Groupon hit the Nasdaq stock exchange Friday after an IPO raised about $700 million. The company has been dogged by investor concerns over management and questions about its accounting methods.
NPR's business news starts with Jon Corzine out of a job.
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INSKEEP: The Wall Street veteran and former governor of New Jersey stepped down today from his latest high-powered job as chairman and CEO of the securities firm MF Global. That company filed for bankruptcy earlier this week.