One issue that has received little attention in this year's presidential race is the war in Afghanistan. But according to Thomas E. Ricks, we should be paying attention — specifically to those in charge of the military there, because they can make the difference between long, expensive wars and decisive victories. That's the lesson Ricks explores in his latest book, The Generals.
Political commentators will be working overtime in the countdown to the presidential election. So will political comedians, including the candidates' impersonators.
Impersonators have been part of the political landscape for so long, it's hard to imagine a time without them: Rich Little, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Dan Aykroyd, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey and other comedians have all famously done their turns as candidates. Remember "I can see Russia from my house"?
Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 4:49 pm
There's a new development in the British investigation into the allegations of child sex abuse against a late BBC television host: U.K. media, including the BBC, are reporting that police Sunday arrested rocker and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter on suspicion of sex offenses.
One of the most common complaints from Afghan forces and officials is that they don't have the equipment they need to lead the fight in Afghanistan. They routinely call on NATO to provide more cutting-edge hardware for Afghan troops.
Certainly, when you see a U.S. soldier standing next to an Afghan one, the difference is striking. U.S. soldiers are often saddled with pounds and pounds of electronics and gadgets, ranging from GPS units to night-vision goggles and radio-jamming devices.
You know what the ticking means. It's time for Three-Minute Fiction, our contest where we ask you for original stories that can be read in about three minutes. Our judge in this round, the thriller writer Brad Meltzer, the challenge: to write a story that revolves around a U.S. president who could be fictional or real. And, of course, the story had to be 600 words or less. We received nearly 4,000 entries, and here are two that stood out.
Translation is everywhere — that's is the crux of a new book by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche: Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms our World.
From NASA to the U.N. to Chinese tattoo parlors, the book looks high and low for stories of the undeniable importance of language. One of those stories centers on a man named Peter Less, 91, an inspiration of sorts to interpreters and translators everywhere.
About 35 students meet every Sunday at an undisclosed location in Georgia to study. They are undocumented and banned from attending some of the most prestigious colleges in the state.
Georgia is one of three states to bar undocumented students from attending schools. But a group of professors at the University of Georgia has created a fledgling school to provide a place for students to learn.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden, in for Guy Raz.
NPR is keeping an eye on the progress of Hurricane Sandy as it heads up the East Coast. We'll update you on that in a moment. The weather is now officially dominating the headlines but not entirely. We do have an election on November 6th.
Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 12:37 pm
Back in the 1700s, there was a young printer's apprentice who lived in Boston. His name was Isaiah Thomas and he became one of the first newspaper publishers in the country. He also founded the American Antiquarian Society, which celebrates its 200th birthday this week.
Located in Worcester, Mass., the American Antiquarian Society houses the largest collection of materials printed in the United States. Its library has books, newspapers, letters, even board games dating from 1640 to 1876. Its members include some notable characters, including 14 presidents.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday considers whether to allow a challenge to a federal law that provides for large-scale electronic surveillance of international phone calls and emails. The case is not a direct test of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Rather, it is a test of whether the law can even be challenged in court at all.
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?