Adele Jedynak makes monkey sounds to a group of kids who are steps away from playing Sock Monkey bowling and plush-primate parachuting. It's all part of the Sock Monkey Madness Festival, the eighth annual festival dedicated to the sock monkey in Rockford, Ill.
Every so often, pieces of heaven crash into Earth.
They can come from our own solar system, or millions of light years away. Few of us are lucky enough to get our hands on one of these space rocks. But for meteorite hunters and dealers such as Ruben Garcia, touching a piece of outer space is a daily routine.
The Best Hunting Grounds
One of Garcia's favorite spots to go meteorite hunting is an enormous dry lake bed in southern Arizona.
The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.
Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.
There's a Mystery Machine sitting outside Andrew Borakove's nondescript warehouse on a quiet street in Lincoln, Neb.
"I can never be depressed driving around town, because there's always some 4-year-old waving to me manically," Borakove says.
The mystery about the Scooby Doo replica van starts to fade, however, once you notice the bumper stickers on the back. Black background, white font, like a "Got Milk?" ad: "Happiness Is a Warm Gong." "Gongs, Not Bongs." "My Child Is an Honor Gong Player."
Spanish politicians spent $220 million on the sparkling new Castellon airport on Spain's Mediterranean coast — $40 million alone was spent on TV ads and other marketing. They also paid $600,000 for ferrets and falcons to kill birds that endanger aircraft.
Yet no plane has yet taken off. Construction, which began in 2004, went over budget, partly to fund a 75-foot statue of a local politician out front.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney received a key endorsement Sunday morning when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia endorsed Romney on NBC's Meet the Press.
Cantor cited the economy as the top issue of the campaign.
"What I have seen is a very hard-fought primary. And we have seen now that the central issue about the campaign now is the economy," Cantor said. "I just think there's one candidate in the case who can do that, and it's Mitt Romney."
When President Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, he is expected to try to convince Netanyahu to put off any plans his government may have to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Martin Indyk, director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Residents in parts of the Midwest and South are recovering from a wave of deadly and destructive tornados and storms. Host Rachel Martin speaks with Pastor B.J. Donahue of Piner Baptist Church in Piner, Ky., who describes what his town looks like now.
Russians are voting today in an election that's expected to return Vladimir Putin to the presidency. There's not a lot of suspense about the choice, but there are big questions about whether a growing segment of Russian society will accept the result. Russia's parliamentary elections, in December, were tainted by allegations of massive vote fraud. This time, thousands of volunteer poll watchers have been deployed to try to curb any attempts to rig the vote.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pulled ahead of his rivals in Washington State's presidential straw poll on Saturday, with more than one-third of the votes. Romney finished well ahead of Ron Paul, who himself squeaked past Rick Santorum by just over 500 votes. Newt Gingrich had to settle for about one vote in 10.
Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.
In Israel, a country where citizens serve a mandatory military service of two to three years, the exemption of some is a topic of heated debate. That debate is even fiercer now that Israel's Supreme Court has struck down a law that excused ultra-Orthodox Jews from serving in the military.
The decision highlights growing tensions between the religious and secular elements of Israeli society. As the ultra-Orthodox population continues to grow, many are asking what part they will play in the Jewish state.
In southern China, a village that rebelled against corrupt Communist officials has elected the main protest leaders as its new village committee leaders. Reformers are hoping this could be a template for defusing unrest through grassroots democracy, but others say the experience of the rebellious village is unique.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh apologized today to a Georgetown University law student he called a "slut" and a "prostitute" this week. His comments about Sandra Fluke, who testified on Capitol Hill that insurers should provide no-cost contraception, outraged women's groups and others, including the president, who called her on Friday.
Former Judge Mark Ciavarella leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa., in 2009. Ciavarella was convicted last year of racketeering and conspiracy for taking nearly a million dollars from the developer of two for-profit prisons.
Credit David Kidwell / AP
Ciavarella sentenced Hillary Transue to a wilderness camp for building a MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal.
More than 2,000 young people in Pennsylvania are trying to put one of the nation's worst juvenile justice scandals behind them. It's been a year since a former judge was convicted in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.
New rules intended to protect the rights of children took effect this week, but questions about Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system remain.
A cross with the words "Promises Made"-- referring to statements from BP and government officials — stands in front of a pile of crosses symbolizing things that were impacted by the spill, in a front yard in Grand Isle, La.
The deal was announced late Friday and prompted a federal judge in New Orleans to postpone a Monday trial, but the proposed settlement solves only one piece of BP's legal exposure from the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The animal disease center that the Homeland Security department has maintained since Sept. 11 has fallen into disrepair. A proposed new location in Kansas has been riddled with neighborhood concerns, safety threats and escalating costs. Laura Ziegler of Harvest Public Media reports.
Mormons around the world are getting this warning Sunday: Stop posthumous baptisms of "unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims."
"Our preeminent obligation is to seek out and identify our own ancestors," says a letter to be read in every Mormon congregation. "Those whose names are submitted for proxy [baptisms] should be related to the submitter."
The Syrian government continued shelling the city Homs overnight. The latest United Nations report estimates 7,500 people have been killed since unrest began nearly a year ago. The government has also continued to refuse entry to the International Committee of the Red Cross. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founder's of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, are part of a group of business leaders trying to raise money for Occupy Wall Street to help it regain its earlier momentum. Host Scott Simon talks with them about how they've already raised $300,000 and aim to raise $1.5 million more.
As the candidates battle it out, there's a key fact always worth remembering: 53 percent of those who cast votes in the last presidential election were women.
Michelle Bernard is a political analyst who studies voting trends among women. She is the founder and CEO of the conservative Bernard Center for Woman, Politics, and Public Policy. Thanks for being with us.
MICHELLE BERNARD: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: Let's try and clear this up. Is there a women's vote?
Three years ago this month, President Obama said he hoped to promote more cooperation between the U.S. and Russia. It would be hard to see where that may have happened recently, as Vladimir Putin approaches power again. Host Scott Simon speaks with the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, about Sunday's elections in Russia.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
BP is beginning to settle the financial bill it faces from a 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A group of individuals and businesses who sued the company have agreed to settle for nearly $8 billion. The plaintiffs all say they were harmed when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 men, and leading to the massive spill.
As the violence in Syria continues, the international community has been unable to do much more than continue to condemn it. Host Scott Simon talks with Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy about the mounting debate over intervention and the new humanitarian access to the country.