Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:17 pm
Once upon a time, in the long ago world of high school reading, Holden Caulfield was perhaps the epitome of angst: a young man suddenly an outcast in the world he thought he knew. The antihero of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was about to enter a perilous journey of self-discovery.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden. An international hostage drama has come to an end in Algeria. After four days, the Algerian army ended the bloody siege of a remote oil and gas facility where Islamist militants were holding dozens of Western hostages. The brutal assault was launched Thursday morning. Many people are dead, up to 23 captives and at least 30 Islamists, according to the Algerian state media.
(SOUNDBITE OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 2009 INAUGURAL ADDRESS)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My fellow citizens, I stand here today humbled by the task before us.
JACKI LYDEN, HOST:
The newly minted President Obama from his 2009 inaugural address. Another speech is surely coming together right now for Monday's inauguration. James Fallows of The Atlantic joins us, as he does most Saturdays. Hello there, Jim.
If you live along the East Coast, there's a pretty good chance that stink bugs may be lurking in your attic or even behind your curtains. The invasive insects from Asia, which exude a rubber-like stench when you crush them, are a nuisance for you, but a serious pest for farmers.
Crop producers received a reprieve from the bugs in 2012, but the insects may be coming back and with a greater spread of attack.
Bob Black says he was not in a good place in 2010.
Four years ago, when the nation's first African-American president was inaugurated, even conservative editorial cartoonists marked the moment with reverence.
As Scott Stantis, now of the Chicago Tribune, tells All Things Considered host Audie Cornish: "There are times in our history where we can just take half a step back from our partisanship and revel in the history and wonder of something."
On Tuesday, New York became the first state in the nation to pass a tough new gun control law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo convinced his state's Legislature to act, even before President Obama took executive action to limit access to guns.
The governor's legislative victory followed his impassioned State of the State address earlier this month, delivered the first day of the 2013 legislative session.
In an interview that aired last night on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Lance Armstrong confessed that he doped. That confession, added to mountains of other evidence, could cost him millions of dollars. There are three groups of people he may owe money to:
1. SCA Promotions
SCA is a company that underwrote millions of dollars of bonuses that Lance received for winning the Tour de France. Now that he's been stripped of those titles — they want their money back.
A presidential inauguration is an event defined by huge, sweeping optics: the National Mall full of cheering Americans; a grandiose platform in front of the Capitol building; the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. And the centerpiece: a speech.
On Monday, President Obama will give his second inaugural address — and he faces a challenge in crafting a speech for this moment.
Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.
The construction industry in the U.S. is staging a comeback. In one indicator, the Commerce Department announced Thursday that new homebuilding has reached its highest level in 4 1/2 years.
While that's a promising sign for the industry, more than 2 million construction jobs have been lost in the sector since employment hit its peak. While some might expect that means plenty of people are ready to fill the new jobs, many markets around the country are actually experiencing a shortage of construction workers.
The federal government hit its debt limit at the end of last year. Since then, the Treasury Department has been taking what it calls "extraordinary measures" to keep the government funded and avoid defaulting on U.S. obligations.
But those measures will run out sometime between the middle of February and early March. Then it's up to Congress to raise the debt limit.
House Republicans are wrestling with the best strategy at a retreat Thursday and Friday in Virginia. And some have been denying that there is a risk of default if the debt ceiling isn't raised.
The Aurora, Colo., theater where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting last summer reopens Thursday, with a private event for victims' families and first responders.
But some families are giving the event a pass, arguing that the decision to reopen is insensitive. Jessica Watts lives just a few miles from the theater where her cousin, Jonathan Blunk, and 11 others were killed and dozens more wounded.
Childhood vaccines for diseases like measles, polio and whooping cough have repeatedly been proved safe and effective. Even so, some parents still worry that the schedule of vaccinations — 24 immunizations by the age of 2 — can be dangerous. That worry is likely misplaced, according to a yearlong review of all available scientific data.
In Syria, the staple of most meals is a thin, round, flat bread that we would probably call pita.
Back in November, as fierce fighting raged across Syria, people started to run out of this bread. Government forces were attacking bakeries in rebel-held areas and cutting off electricity so mills couldn't grind flour. By late last year, Syrians were desperate.
As President Obama unveiled his gun control proposals Wednesday, he highlighted mass shootings at schools in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut. He also mentioned another group of children, not in school — the ones on the street corners of Chicago.
Chicagoan Annette Holt was at the White House during Obama's address. Her teenage son, Blair, was shot to death five years ago on a Chicago bus as he shielded a fellow student from a spray of bullets.
The Department of the Interior is huge — more than 70,000 employees manage a half-billion acres of public land, mostly in the West. The department does everything from operate national parks to administer Native American social programs and manage wild horses.
Millions of acres of marginal farmland in the Midwest — land that isn't in good enough condition to grow crops — could be used to produce liquid fuels made from plant material, according to a study in Nature. And those biofuels could, in theory, provide about 25 percent of the advanced biofuels required by a 2007 federal law.
But there are many ifs and buts about this study — and, in fact, about the future of advanced biofuels.
Lucas Codognolla's hands shake as he waits in line at the Bridgeport, Conn., DMV for his turn to take the road test.
"I don't know if it's nerves or the excitement, you know?" he says.
The 22-year-old's family emigrated from Brazil when was just 9. When he turned 16 and wanted to get his driver's license, his parents sat him down and told him the truth: He was in the country illegally.
Initially, he lied to his friends about why he couldn't drive, he says. But then, as he got older, driving simply became necessary.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In Afghanistan today, Taliban militants staged a brazen attack in the heart of Kabul. Their target was the headquarters of the National Directorate of Security or NDS - it's Afghanistan's equivalent of the FBI.
As NPR's Sean Carberry reports, the attack began with a suicide bombing, then five militants tried to storm the compound.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
Algerian Islamists attacked an oil and gas field at dawn this morning in the desert on the border with Libya. They claim to have taken nearly 200 people hostage. In addition to Algerians, they claim to hold seven Americans, as well as French, British and Japanese citizens.
NPR's Eleanor Beardsley in Paris reports the hostage-taking appears to be the first act of retaliation for France's actions in Mali.
In anticipation of Inauguration Day, NPR photographer Becky Lettenberger and producer Justine Kenin visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to ask Americans: "What do you want President Obama to remember in his second term?"
This video shows some of the answers we received outside the White House. But that was just the start of a project that we're calling "Dear Mr. President."
If you haven't been to Palisades Park — the famous oceanfront park in Santa Monica, Calif. — chances are you have seen its swaying palm trees and sweeping ocean vistas in movies and commercials.
Running up the wooden stairs that plunge to the beach is the workout to do in this city where it seems like you have to be fit to fit in. In fact, most early mornings before work hours, this park seems more like an outdoor gym than anything else, with running clubs, weight training and kickboxing classes.
The French defense minister says France is preparing for a possible land assault in Mali, so it plans to increase its troop levels to 2,500. Back home in France, authorities are girding for possible terrorist attacks in response to their intervention. Eleanor Beardsley has that story from Paris.