The rise of Rick Santorum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination hasn't exactly gone unnoticed by rival Mitt Romney or his friends. Turn on a TV in Michigan this weekend, and chances are you won't have to wait long to see an ad attacking the former Pennsylvania senator.
"America is drowning in national debt," a narrator intones in one ad, a product of Romney's campaign. "Yet Rick Santorum supported billions in earmarks."
Senegal's capital of Dakar remains jittery, with the youth and the riot police locked in running street battles.
The police are using teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon spray to chase away angry opposition demonstrators, including rappers from the Y'en a Marre movement. Their name means "We're Fed Up, Enough is Enough."
This past week, a planned overnight sleep-in protest was broken up by the security forces. Founding member and rapper, Djily Baghdad, blames Abdoulaye Wade for the ban, the crackdown and for overstaying his welcome as president of Senegal.
Not known as a hotbed of experimentation, the world of publishing has been slow to embrace the transition from print to e-books. This past week in New York, however, the Tools of Change digital publishing conference attracted entrepreneurs and innovators who are more excited by, rather than afraid of, the future.
It was the kind of crowd where some were more inclined to say "Steal my book!" than to argue over what that e-book should cost. These are people who see digital publishing not as a threat, but as an opportunity.
Do-it-yourselfers have made everything from bamboo bicycles to 3-D printers, but nothing as ambitious as what's happening on a farm in northwest Missouri where tractors and other industrial machines are being made from scratch.
Marcin Jakubowski earned a Ph.D. in physics, and his doctoral thesis deals with velocity turbulence and zonal flow detection, whatever that is. But when Jakubowski graduated in 2004, he wanted nothing to do with physics or academia.
It was one of the more surreal photo ops this week: Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, live on Iranian TV, visiting a nuclear reactor. Ahmadinejad trumpeted his country's nuclear progress, but denied, once again, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
In Washington, officials weren't buying it.
They rushed to repeat the official U.S. line — a line President Obama himself is fond of delivering.
"Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal," he said.
A troubled starlet dies in a helicopter crash off the Irish coast after sending a series of mysterious text messages. Three years later, a hungry young reporter desperate for work takes an assignment to write a quickie celebrity biography of her — but finds complexity and danger.
That seemingly accidental death is the catalyst for the events in Bloodland, a new thriller by Irish author Alan Glynn.
One of the most talked about personalities on the Republican presidential campaign trail — Callista Gingrich — rarely says a word.
That changed at the Conservative Political Action Committee earlier this month when she spent three minutes introducing her husband. Politico quipped it was the "longest most people have ever heard her speak."
In this presidential campaign, as in the past, the candidates' spouses play a very particular role.
In a victory for the White House, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an extension of the payroll tax cut on Friday after weeks of refusal. Host Mary Louise Kelly speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about the political reasoning behind the vote.
So here's a conundrum for parents. If you have kids, you get told over and over limit their screen time. And you're also told, instead of screen time, get them reading more, which is all well and good, except that these days, many children do their reading on a screen, which raises some interesting questions about how children read today and what direction things are headed in children's book publishing.
"Loose lips sink ships." "Only you can prevent forest fires." "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." "Take a bite out of crime." Sound familiar?
Those tag lines are just a few of the many ads created by the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that was founded in the 1940s by the leaders of the advertising industry and President Franklin Roosevelt.
Fifty years ago, John Glenn was alone on top of a rocket waiting to blast into space and around the Earth. In these times, when people can become suddenly famous for doing so little, it may be good to recall the daring and imagination of that moment on Feb. 20, 1962.
Two Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, had already dauntlessly orbited the Earth. The Soviets kept their missions secret until they were under way, but John Glenn would fly with the eyes of the world watching every second.
Throughout this last week while the Chinese vice president was visiting the United States, there was a lot of talk about America and American business finding new opportunities in China, selling more to Chinese consumers instead of just buying so much from the world's second largest economy. Many Americans also see China as an unstoppable economic force that's surpassing the United States. But how does all this look from China? We're going to now to NPR's Shanghai correspondent, Frank Langfitt. Frank, thanks for being with us.
That Michigan primary is just in 10 days and the contest there is turning to be closer than expected. Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. His father, George Romney, ran a car company there. He was the governor. But Santorum has come on strong and even ahead in current polls. We're joined now by another son of Michigan, NPR's Don Gonyea, live in our studio, who spent the week in his home state. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.
There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?
Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.
As Phil reported, things are still pretty tough for the people of Ireland, but there's one man who thinks things there will start to look up before too long. He's prepared to put money on it, billions in fact.
Michael Hasenstab is what's known as a contrarian investor. He's just about the only person prepared to bet that Ireland's fortunes will greatly improve over the next couple of years. Michael Hasenstab joins us from Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California.
It's the beginning of the beginning of baseball season, and two major thumpers have jumped leagues. Plus, basketball makes it to a midpoint, and suddenly you have to ask: Who's really the best team in Los Angeles? Host Scott Simon talks with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the sports of the week.
The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.
The best bobsled racers in the world are in Lake Placid, New York this weekend, competing in the World Championships. There's big drama this year for the American team. After capturing a historic gold medal two years ago at the winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the U.S. has struggled, and lost ground to the Europeans. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, American sledders hope to prove on their home track that they can still compete.
Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 9:54 am
How do you know you're in Kansas City, Missouri? Follow the smoke, and listen for this:
"Hi, may I help you?"
At the famed Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, "May I help you?" is a kind of mantra.
It's how people standing in front of the barbecue pits greet all who walk in the door, while ribs, brisket, turkey, and for all I know, pillow stuffing sizzle, pop, and get saturated with smoke and the signature sauce of Ollie Gates, the barbecue master.
On a recent wintry day, Kansas City eighth-grader Yak Nak sat before a Missouri state Senate committee. He was there to tell lawmakers why his family had sacrificed to send him to a parochial school.
"Even though it was a struggle for my family, the reputation of the public schools in my area was not as good as my parents would have hoped," he said. "They knew there was no time to waste when dealing with young minds, and education was more valuable than any money they could save."
Consider this: Yak Nak and his family are refugees from Sudan.
Originally published on Sun February 19, 2012 8:04 am
Stepping out of my hotel on Friday evening, I could see cars backed up for miles, stretching all the way around the Benghazi's biggest lake, not far from the shores of the Mediterranean.
Horns blared in every direction, but not just car horns: bull horns, oo-gahhorns, vuvuzelas, aerosol-powered horns, even a bagpipe or two. The air smelled of exhaust, gasoline and the occasional whiff of hash. It was a cacophonous mess, overwhelming, painful to the ears, joyful, extraordinary.
Every year, roughly 750,000 high school dropouts try to improve their educational and employment prospects by taking the General Educational Development test, or GED, long considered to be the equivalent of a high school diploma.
The latest research, however, shows that people with GEDs are, in fact, no better off than dropouts when it comes to their chances of getting a good job.
This is raising lots of questions, especially in school districts with high dropout rates and rising GED enrollments.