The Marines of Darkhorse Battalion suffered a high rate of casualties during their seven-month deployment to southern Afghanistan. Their mission was to go after the Taliban in a place called Sangin — a crossroads of insurgency and drug trafficking. At the time, officials in the military and all the way up to the secretary of defense asked why the Darkhorse Battalion was taking so many casualties. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is reporting all week on the battalion.
Republican lawmakers have released new documents showing that high level officials in the Obama Administration Justice Department in Washington D.C. were aware that federal agents in Arizona were allowing guns to be walked into Mexico.
The Navajo Nation plans to issue its first bonds to raise funds for local infrastructure projects. Unlike their state and municipal counterparts, tribes typically face more challenges borrowing money. As Laurel Morales reports from the Fronteras Changing America Desk, this move may pave the way for other tribes looking to stimulate their economies.
Markets slumped from Asia to Europe to the U.S. on word that the Greek prime minister will put the European Union rescue package to a referendum. What now? Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Eric Westervelt for more.
Guy Raz speaks with Leslie Bruce, senior writer the Hollywood Reporter, about the money behind reality star Kim Kardashian's wedding to basketball player Kris Humphries. The reportedly multimillion dollar wedding actually earned the Kardashian family money through various deals with entertainment television and magazines. But Kardashian filed for divorce Monday after 72 days of marriage.
Robert Siegel speaks with Ken Bensinger, business reporter for the Los Angeles Times, about used car sales lots known as "Buy Here Pay Here" dealerships. Bensinger has written a three-part investigative series on this type of business. He tells Robert that "Buy Here Pay Here" lots are very common, and they prey on people with low incomes and bad credit. They charge high prices and very steep interest rates. And in many cases the buyer defaults on the loan, and the car is repossessed and resold again and again.
Bank of America canceled plans to impose a $5 monthly fee on customers who use debit cards in stores and restaurants. The bank's original decision to charge the fee came under sharp attack from consumer groups and individual customers.
The buzz in Los Angeles for Halloween includes enthusiasm for the interactive play, called Delusion. In the words of the blurb, "This inclusive scare-down has audiences as participants in an interactive play by creator and professional stuntman Jon Braver, who uses his Hollywood background to pack punches in a twisted story of a mad asylum genius gone bad."
<p><strong>"I could be wrong, you know</strong><strong>:"</strong> John Hodgman notes that while his book <em>That Is All</em> is intensely concerned with "the coming global superpocalypse," it also contains much information about travel and sports and wine, and is "not depressing." </p>
If there's anything guaranteed to lift the heart of an NPR nerd, it's the sound of All Things Considered'sRobert Siegel losing his composure. This is a news anchor, after all, who can deliver the song title "Party 'Til You Puke" with all the gravity of a president announcing the death of a hero. (No, really. This happened.)
A year ahead of the 2012 presidential election both Democrats and Republicans are competing for Hispanic votes. In states like Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona the Hispanic vote could tip the scale in favor of one party over the other. Yesterday White House officials went to Las Cruces to hold a community summit aimed at Hispanics. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Monica Ortiz Uribe reports many voters in that area are still undecided.
Glenn Stout has served as the editor of the Best American Sports Writing series since 1991. His latest book is Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year.
Baseball is over again and — for a while — so am I.
Syrian President Bashar Assad warned of an "earthquake" if any outside forces intervened in his country. Meanwhile, protesters say dozens of people were killed in the last few days, making this one of the bloodiest weekends since the uprising began.
This round of Three-Minute Fiction attracted 3,400 original stories. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from Sleep Lessons by Chad Woody from Springfield, Mo., and Susan Stamberg shares parts of The Edge by Andrew Morris from Andes, N.Y. To see these stories and others go to npr.org/threeminutefiction.
His father, Nat Riccobono, and his uncles came to New York City from Sicily and made money by running shady businesses throughout New York in the late 1940s. After his father was deported and his mother died, Roberts moved from home to home until he was 16 and joined his uncles in the Mafia.
By the time Roberts was 26, in 1978, he was a practiced criminal — committing robberies and dealing cocaine in New York City; but he was getting bored. That's when he moved to Miami and started working with the Colombians, importing cocaine.
The thought of army music evokes a certain tradition — say, trumpets and drums in the style of "Pershing's Own." But that tradition was set on its ear back in the late 1960s and early '70s, when the PFCs stationed overseas formed their own pop bands. And instead of breaking them up, Army brass sent them on tour.
<p>Mark Twain's story "<a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/141688755/the-50-funniest-american-writers-an-anthology-of-humor-from-mark-twain-to-the-on?tab=excerpt">A Presidential Candidate</a>," in which he jokingly announces that he is running for president, kicks off Andy Borowitz's comedy collection.</p>
Credit Ernest H. Mills / Getty Images
<p>Andy Borowitz is a writer and comedian whose work has appeared in <em>The New Yorker.</em> He also runs the satirical website <a href="http://www.borowitzreport.com/">BorowitzReport.com</a>.</p>
Writer and comedian Andy Borowitz says he initially got into comedy for one simple reason: girls.
In addition to using his jokes to charm women, Borowitz has also written for The New Yorker and runs a satirical blog called The Borowitz Report. His latest project is The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion.
It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)
<p><a href="http://www.neilgaiman.com/">Neil Gaiman</a> is also the author of <em><em>Coraline</em></em><em>,</em><em> Amer<em>ican Gods</em>, <em>Anansi Boys</em>,<em>Stardust</em> </em>and<em> <em>M Is for Magic</em>. </em>He was born in Hampshire, England, and now lives near Minneapolis. You can follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/neilhimself">@neilhimself</a>.</p>
Welcome to the first installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! We've invited all of our younger listeners to join us for conversations with authors of kids' books. We kicked off the club with The Graveyard Book, a thrilling Halloween treat from Neil Gaiman that won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Gaiman loves Halloween and all the creepy fun that goes along with it.
Thursday in Pittsburgh, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appeared to shift his position on climate change. Speaking at the Consol Energy Center, he said, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." In his book No Apology and in earlier public appearances, Romney has said that he believes climate change is occurring and that humans are a contributing factor. At a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, back in August, Romney emphasized questions about the extent of the human role.
The Department of Homeland Security is under scrutiny in Congress over recent changes to immigration enforcement, including deportations. From our Fronteras Changing America Desk, Ruxandra Guidi has our story.
The Obama Administration released this week its plan to ban new uranium mining on land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park for 20 years. But this may not be the end of the battle. For the Fronteras Changing America Desk Laurel Morales reports from Flagstaff.
What if you could time-travel back to Memphis' Sun Studios in the 1950s? Behind the console would be none other than producer Sam Phillips. You might hear such classic songs as "My Happiness," "Crazy Arms" or "Walk the Line," originally recorded at Sun Studio by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, respectively.
Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester. He is a regular contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.
What is going to happen when our machines wake up? What will happen when all these computers that run our lives suddenly become intelligent and self-aware? It's a question that makes sense to ask today, as the world marks the recent passage of John McCarthy.