If the sheer variety of holiday music that pops up each winter is any indication, there's no genre that can't handle a little Christmas spirit. This year, Louisiana country singer Sammy Kershaw decided to test that theory with the sounds of the bayou. His new album of Cajun-infused holiday songs is called A Sammy Klaus Christmas.
They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.
I've never had any interest in hunting. Among other things, I'm a terrible shot, but I have friends who hunt, and it appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable sports hobby — certainly every bit as honorable as fantasy football. Moreover, shooting a deer or a duck with a bullet seems to me no more inhuman than catching a trout or a marlin with a hook.
Oh, sometimes I get a little piqued that those who hunt and fish are ennobled as "sportsmen," while people who play golf are just golfers and people who bowl are just bowlers. But then, that's just me being picayune.
Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye, the Senate's senior member, died at a Bethesda, Md., hospital Monday. He was 88 years old and was suffering from a respiratory ailment. The Japanese-American was known for his heroism in World War II and for breaking racial barriers.
Born to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii in 1924, the young Inouye dreamed of becoming a surgeon, but world events intervened as he was listening to the radio on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named a fellow Republican, Rep. Tim Scott, as the state's next senator on Monday. He replaces retiring Republican Sen. Jim DeMint and will make history as the first black senator from the South since 1881.
Haley, however, wanted everyone to know her selection was based on Scott's merit, not his race.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has been called the law firm for black America. Once run by Thurgood Marshall, the group played a major role in desegregating public schools and fighting restrictions at the ballot box.
Now, the Legal Defense Fund is preparing for a new leader — just as the Supreme Court considers cases that could pare back on those gains.
Her presidential campaign rallies present blaring pop music and dancing supporters, but Park Geun-hye's campaign involves managing some tricky legacies.
Her father, Park Chung-hee, was a military dictator who ran the country from the time he carried out a 1961 military coup until his assassination in 1979. His memory still stirs mixed emotions among South Koreans.
The population boom in Williston, N.D., has been a blessing and a curse for many local businesses. Williston, the fastest growing small city in America, is enjoying an oil boom and has seen its population double in the past two years.
At the city's brand new McDonald's, manager Vern Brekhus struggles every day to maintain his staff of nearly 100 workers.
American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, "Canteen Girl" Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.
For KEM's What Christmas Means, the R&B singer wanted to cover several aspects of the season: the birth of Christ, for one, but also Christmas as a "romantic holiday."
"You spend time cuddled up by the fire, warm and cozy with your wife or your husband," KEM tells NPR's David Greene. "You spend more time being intimate with shopping — we're doing things with the kids, we're together. There's a lot of sincerity, a lot of warmth."
There are Christmas displays, and then there's the one in Wall Township, N.J. It has synchronized lights, lasers, fog machines, strobe lights, 20-foot flames and the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. There's no charge — they only accept donations for a local charity.
Hayden Carlo was recently pulled over near Dallas for having an expired registration sticker. He said he had a choice: either feed his kids or get a new registration. The officer issued a citation, and when Carlo unfolded it, he found $100.
After the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, many parents dropping their kids off at school this morning are facing a lot of anxiety. Today in Your Health, we asked NPR's science correspondent Shankar Vedantam to come by to talk about how tragedies shape our perceptions of risk.
Shankar, good morning.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, David.
GREENE: So tell us what we know from school shootings of the past. I mean, what sort of impact will this tragedy have on parents and how they think?
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:05 am
There's still no budget deal to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect at the end of this year. There are some tax deductions, credits and other breaks lawmakers are weighing in this budget debate.
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party won resoundingly in parliamentary elections Sunday that both Washington and Beijing were watching carefully. The conservative LDP's hawkish leader, Shinzo Abe, will become Japan's prime minister for the second time and has pledged to take a harder line on China.
Speaking on Japanese TV, Abe had a message for Japan's most important ally, America, and another for Japan's biggest rival — China.
A federal court in Texas on Monday will take up the case of a high-school student who refuses to wear her location-tracking school ID.
The 15-year-old sophomore says the ID badge, which has an embedded radio frequency identification tag, is a violation of her rights. The student, Andrea Hernandez, believes the ID is "the mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation.
An old complaint about the safety of childhood vaccines is finding new life at the United Nations.
The U.N. Environment Program is considering a ban on thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that is widely used in developing countries. The program expects to make a decision sometime after a final meeting on the issue in January.
Behind a tall metal gate in a nondescript nook of Kabul sits the Bamboo Wood Industries factory. It's not a place you're likely to stumble across by accident. Inside, a handful of men are cutting, painting and assembling desks and cabinets. The pieces being made are chocolate brown and quite modern looking.
Sitting in a spartan, unheated office above the factory floor is Fatima Jafari, the owner of the company. The 30-something woman started the business a little over a year ago.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:14 am
That's what the University of Chicago is asking. The admissions office received mail addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., aka Indiana Jones. The character is said to have attended the school. The package contained a dust-covered replica of the journal in the Raiders of the Lost Ark film.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:02 am
The bank UBS has been in the middle of a huge investigation into interest rate manipulation. There are several reports that a subsidiary of UBS is making a settlement deal with U.S., British and Swiss officials.
The term "right to work" has been in the news a lot this week. On Tuesday, Michigan became the 24th state to enact right-to-work legislation. It means unions can no longer require workers to pay full dues, even if they're working in a union shop.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:51 am
In an interview with David Greene, outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro reflects on her tenure at the agency, and the disappointment that she wasn't able to overhaul money market funds. She leaves the job on Friday.