Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and an NPR commentator.
When I was five, my father made a promise he never intended to keep. He had returned from a long trip, with presents. I got a fossilized shark tooth, and spent the next month asking about fossils.
At some point, my father made the mistake of describing a massive fossil bed somewhere in Germany. I begged him to take me. There were good reasons that could never happen. Dad knew nothing about fossils; Germany was far away; I was five. But I would not be deterred.
The major central banks of the world moved Wednesday to prevent a banking crisis in Europe. They're providing more liquidity to the European banking system in hopes that big banks there will remain solvent and continue to make loans. The coordinated move by the central banks sent stock markets soaring. But it will not even begin to fix Europe's fundamental economic problems.
Melissa Block and Guy Raz read emails from listeners about a report on Kentucky's Berea College, about Melissa's remembrance of Vermont poet Ruth Stone, and about the other person responsible for that mega-hit earworm "Moves Like Jagger."
Now, if you've been following events in the eurozone over the past few months with equal parts anxiety and confusion, you're not alone. To help put today's news into a broader debt crisis context, we're joined by Felix Salmon. He blogs about finance for Reuters.com. Felix, welcome.
FELIX SALMON: Thanks, Guy.
RAZ: In your blog today, you call this coordinated action by the central banks, and I'm quoting you, "a holiday greeting card to the financial markets." Why?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Myanmar, also known as Burma, to see if the county's leaders are serious about political reform. Myanmar has long been under international sanctions because of the repressive nature of the military junta that held power until recently. But there are signs that a new civilian government is loosening the military's grip.
Researchers and ranchers are studying whether cattle grazing could significantly reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in rugged areas of the southwest. As Laurel Morales reports from the Fronteras Changing America Desk, firefighters had the toughest time fighting recent record-setting fires in steep terrain where dry grasses and other fuels had built up.
Rep. Barney Frank, the long-time liberal voice (and a fast-talking, brusque one at that) who announced he won't be running for re-election, discussed with NPR's Guy Raz, co-host of All Things Considered, the items of unfinished business he plans attend to during his remaining year in Congress.
Welcome to the second installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! Every month, we invite kids to read a book along with us, and then send in their questions for the author.
Our book club selection for November is a classic that's celebrating a big anniversary. The Phantom Tollbooth — written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer — was published 50 years ago. Juster tells NPR's Michele Norris that the story sprang from his own childhood.
Joining us now to talk about what the U.S. hopes to accomplish at the UN climate talks in Durban is the chief negotiator for the United States, Todd Stern. He's been negotiating on behalf of the U.S. off and on since the Kyoto Protocol was first forged back in 1997. Todd Stern, welcome to the program.
TODD STERN: Thanks very much, Guy. Happy to be here.
RAZ: As we just heard, the expectations are pretty low for a treaty that limits emissions coming out of Durban. What needs to happen at Durban for you to consider it a success?
American Airline's parent company AMR has filed for bankruptcy protection. American will continue to operate its flights as usual. The airline will use bankruptcy to off-load some of the debt that is weighing it down.
Business was booming today just north of the U.S.- Mexico border. As Jill Replogle reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk, some Mexican shoppers came a long way to get in on Black Friday sales.
The Red Rock National Conservation Area outside of Las Vegas has stunning red colored sandstone and desert vistas that draw millions of visitors each year. It turns out 190 million years ago, the park had a very early visitor no one previously knew was in the area—a dinosaur. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Jude Joffe-Block reports.
The water inside Montezuma Well-part of the Montezuma Castle Monument near Rimrock, Arizona- is ten to thirteen THOUSAND years old. The Arizona Water Company operates two commercial wells near the monument and now another water company wants to open their own high-production well just 300 feet from the boundaries of the national park.
An Atlanta woman has told a local TV station that she had a 13-year-long sexual relationship with GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain. For several weeks now, Cain's campaign has been dogged by several accusations of sexual harassment. Melissa Block talks with NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.
Flocks of geese, cranes and ducks aren't likely to find a warm welcome in the drought stricken sanctuaries of Texas. As Monica Ortiz Uribe reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk, that may be good news for bird watchers in New Mexico.
The Government Accountability Office has released a report showing that only a fraction of human-caused fires in Arizona were investigated in the past five years. Of those, illegal border crossers may have started almost half.
There's a proposal in a U.S. Senate committee to cut funding for a program which helps reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in places like New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas. Ruxandra Guidi reports from the Fronteras Changing America Desk.
The number of people who need help buying food has risen more than 20 percent for southwestern states including New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Nevada. That’s according to the most recent statistics from the U-S Census Bureau.
A federal judge nixed a $285 million settlement agreement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission involving a major financial case. U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff said the proposed agreement is "neither far, no reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest." Under the deal, Citi would have settled charges that it misled investors in mortgage debt prior to the collapse of the housing market. Rakoff has been a persistent critic of the SEC's oversight of Wall Street. Guy Raz talks to NPR's Jim Zarroli for more.
Millions of voters go to the polls in the Democratic Republic of Congo Monday in only the second election in its history. The mood in the country is tense. The current president Joseph Kabila is deeply unpopular, but many in Congo believe he will go to any lengths to hold onto power. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.
Egyptian voters in Cairo, Alexandria and several other major cities are voting Monday in the first stage of the country's parliamentary election. Turn out is heavy and so far there has been no major violence. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.
In the mid-'90s, the big banks set up the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, to track mortgages as they're traded by investors in mortgage-backed securities. It's a system set up to let banks skip the process of paying recurring filing fees at county courthouses each time a mortgage was bought or sold. Now, many cash-strapped local governments, big and small, are filing lawsuits against MERS. Politicians contend their communities are owed millions of dollars.
Whether you want to or not, you've probably heard the songs on the top-100 list in the U.S. But do you know what's hot right now in West Africa or China? Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin finds out what music is popular in Hong Kong and Dakar by talking to music critics Ben Sin and Rose Skelton. They each pick three favorite songs that best represent the music scene in their cities.
Writer-director Paddy Considine's debut film, Tyrannosaur, is a favorite of critics this year. It's generating Oscar buzz and has earned Sundance Festival awards for Considine's directing and the film's lead actors. the film tackles dark themes like death and spousal abuse, but a message of hope manages to shine through. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Rachel Martin talks to Paddy Considine about writing and directing the film, which is in theaters now.
NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday. The MSL is five times heavier than the rovers currently on Mars and has twice as many scientific instruments. It will take nine months for the spacecraft to reach the Red Planet, and there's plenty of things for it to do before then.