The Bark River is my backyard, childhood river. And yet, in a lifetime of travel, I'd never explored it.
I knew it carved the land from the Ice Age to settlement times, from the Black Hawk War of 1832 (in which young Abraham Lincoln appears) to the era of grist mills. But the Bark also flows past impressive Indian mounds. It nurtured poets, naturalists and farmers.
When former Marquette University professor Milton Bates published his Bark River Chronicles through the Wisconsin State Historical Society, I jumped at the chance to learn about the river with him.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 1:10 pm
It was not a good year for people, weather and climate. The winter was strangely warm in many places and the summer ridiculously hot. As a large fraction of the country suffered through extreme or even extraordinary drought many folks naturally wondered, "Is this climate change?" Then along came a presidential election in which the words "climate change" disappeared from the dialogue. Now, just a week or so before voting day, the convergence of westbound Hurricane Sandy with a eastbound cold front is creating a massive storm, a Frankenstorm even, that is threatening millions of Americans.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:48 pm
"The time for preparing and talking is about over." That's the message from Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as Hurricane Sandy, the monstrous superstorm that's churning its way to the U.S. East Coast, threatening millions of people.
Moonshine used to be big business in the South, an illegal business that also kept the federal courthouses busy. Now one of those facilities, once on the front lines of the war on homemade booze, is shutting down.
The Johnson J. Hayes Federal Building is in Wilkesboro, N.C., where distilling corn whiskey in backwoods breweries was once the town's main trade. It's one of six federal courthouses closing in the South over the next year or two.
Not so long ago, many Chinese commentators wrote in a cautious, oblique style designed not to offend the nation's famously humorless leaders — then came the Internet, blogs and a cheeky young man named Han Han.
The voice of China's post-'80s generation, Han is ironic, skeptical and blunt — writing what many young Chinese think but dare not say publicly.
Now 30 years old, Han has boy-band good looks, drives race cars and has 8 million followers on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
One of the most bitter congressional races is in the suburbs of Chicago, where controversial freshman Republican Joe Walsh is fighting to keep a seat he was actually drawn out of.
The Tea Party favorite's bombastic rants frequently get him into trouble, even with members of his own party, and Walsh is facing a tough Democratic opponent in Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in combat.
His story begins a decade ago in Brooklyn, where he grew up fighting in New York's public housing before discovering another kind of power. After three felony convictions and time served at Rikers Island, Lemon Andersen didn't have many places to turn except to his words. Now he's a Tony Award winner with a rave-reviewed one-man show called County of Kings.
He spoke with weekends on All Things Considered guest host Jacki Lyden about his life and the new independent documentary film about it, called simply, Lemon.
In the late 1990s, Beth Orton set the music world buzzing with her singular sound: part folk, part electronica. But six years ago, she found herself at a life-changing juncture: pregnant with her first child — and dropped from her record label.
There are 11 gubernatorial races this fall, and one of the most competitive is in the swing state of New Hampshire.
There, Republican Ovide Lamontagne and Democrat Maggie Hassanare vying to replace a popular Democrat who opted not to seek a fifth term. Both political parties and outside advocacy groups are pushing hard in a race where neither candidate enjoys a clear edge.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:43 pm
Reporting in Afghanistan isn't just challenging because of the security concerns and the complexity of society and the stories here; it's challenging because "facts" are often in the eye of the beholder. Just last week, an incident that seemed to be factual is now an open question: Was there a deadly firefight or not?
Political campaigns have been transformed in so many ways over the decades. But you wouldn't want to wear a silicon chip or a yard sign in your lapel. Mort Berkowitz has made political buttons since 1976, and says business is still good. He joins us now from member station WBUR in Boston. Mr. Berkowitz, thanks for being with us.
MORT BERKOWITZ: My pleasure.
SIMON: You've seen a lot of buttons over the years, haven't you?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.
Halloween is almost here, so perhaps it's no surprise that the film "Paranormal Activity 4" led the box office in its opening weekend. It is the latest entry in an already successful movie franchise. As Beth Accomando of member station KPBS reports, film audiences still enjoy a good scare - but what scares us keeps changing.
BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: Horror renaissance man Clive Barker says the first person to scare him was Walt Disney.
In the months leading up to the cease-fire, combatants on both sides have escalated the scale of weaponry used in the conflict. The war in Syria is notoriously difficult to cover, making it very hard to know exactly what weapons are being used. Eliot Higgins runs the Brown-Moses blog, which is often cited as an authoritative source on the weapons used in the Syrian conflict. We've reached him in the United Kingdom. Mr. Higgins, thanks so much for being with us.
Big week for Microsoft. The company introduced Windows 8, its new operating system, and entered the ever-expanding tablet market. These are major steps for a company that has been perceived as lagging behind Apple and Google in innovation. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn in Silicon Valley.
Steve, thanks for being with us.
STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Oh, my pleasure.
SIMON: Why is Windows 8 considered such a defining moment for Microsoft?
For more about the implications of the scandal with the BBC, we're joined by Martin Bell, OBE. He has a distinguished career as one of the BBC's most famous war correspondents. He covered 11 conflicts, reported from 80 countries over the course of 30 years. Martin Bell was seriously wounded by shrapnel while reporting the war in Bosnia, and if that weren't punishment enough, he then went on to be an independent member of the British parliament from 1997 to 2001.
Martin Bell joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.
Eid al-Adha is one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar. The day marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. It's the feast of the sacrifice, when any Muslim who is able should sacrifice an animal and donate the meat to the poor.
There is little to celebrate in Syria's largest city, Aleppo, however. A cease-fire called for the holiday is already crumbling, and in some areas it never took hold.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Want to know how tight the presidential race is? President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney spent the week barnstorming across a handful of battleground states - mostly the same states, including Iowa, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado - to fire up supporters and make a pitch to win wavering voters. We're joined now by NPR's Scott Horsley, who's been covering President Obama's reelection campaign. He's in our studio. Thanks for being with us, Scott.
An Italian court on Friday sentenced former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to four years in jail for tax fraud in connection with the purchase of broadcasting rights by his Mediaset television company. Weekend Edition host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Baseball comes to Motown for game three of the World Series. But, will Detroit's heavy hitters show up? The International Cycling Union says none of the above, or below, won the Tour de France in the years that Lance Armstrong copped the title and it plans for some organizational soul-searching. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us.
And this morning, we're following the progression of a major storm, hurricane Sandy, which is turning toward parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The National Hurricane Center briefly downgraded Sandy to a tropical storm, but this morning restored it to a category one hurricane. Parts of the east coast are bracing for destructive winds and heavy flooding once Sandy makes landfall in the coming days.