I can't think of anything I loved more than talking to Leonard Bernstein. Or, more accurately, listening to him talk — about music or any topic under the sun. I remember a long discourse we had about one of my favorite books, Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, and Bernstein's summarizing statement: "Well, of course, every author spends his whole life writing the same book."
In the spring of 1963, as the U.S. was mired in conflicts with Vietnam and Cuba and the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy called his old friend David Hackett to express his frustration at the U.S. men's ice hockey team — and their miserable record overseas.
JFK: Dave, I noticed that in the paper this morning that the Swedish team beat the American hockey team 17-2. Hackett: Yeah, I saw that. JFK: Christ! Who are we sending over there? Girls?
In Utah, the state's lone Democratic congressman is in a tough battle for a seventh term. Jim Matheson's opponent, Mia Love, has the support of national GOP superstars and, if elected, would become the first black Republican woman in Congress.
In a state where only about 25 percent of residents vote as Democrats, Matheson has successfully gotten enough Republicans to vote for him and keep him in office for the past 12 years. He can trace his political roots back to his father, Scott Matheson, the state's last Democratic governor.
Los Angeles County's sheriff is under fire. A blue-ribbon commission issued a scathing report Friday accusing Sheriff Lee Baca of failing to address long-standing allegations of inmate abuse in his jails. The accusations include deputies beating inmates, cover-ups and a persistent culture of violence.
The sheriff has been able to weather many storms during his 14-year tenure, but this may be the toughest fight of his political career.
The emoticon, punctuation to depict a facial expression, began 30 years ago this week. Using three keystrokes, the colon, dash and parenthesis, to suggest a smile may not be a great scientific advance, like the coronary stent or computer chip. But the emoticon has been simple, useful and enduring.
There had been previous hints of emoticons. A newspaper transcript of Abraham Lincoln drawing a laugh in 1862 follows it with a semi-colon and parentheses, but that may have simply been a printer's typo.
Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.
Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax return this week in an effort to quell fiscal controversy about his personal finances. The Romney Campaign accompanied the release with a letter from his accountant that says the candidate paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes in each of the past 20 years.
Both campaigns tried to appeal to older voters yesterday. President Obama and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan addressed thousands of members of the AARP in New Orleans. Changes to Medicare and Social Security topped the agenda for both, but NPR's Ina Jaffee reports, there was more to these voters reactions to the candidates.
If you live in a swing state, the political ads on TV right now are inescapable, and they're only going to get more intense in the seven weeks before Election Day. NPR's Ari Shapiro wanted to see the impact that all this advertising's having on one community. He's been in Colorado Springs for the last week reporting a pair of stories that will air on Morning Edition and All Things Considered on Monday. Ari joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us.
It's been more than a quarter century since the federal government enacted any immigration legislation which wasn't about enforcement and over that time, the government has spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircrafts, detention centers and agents. NPR's Ted Robbins looks at what taxpayer money has bought and why it's not likely to go away, even as budgets shrink and illegal immigration lessens.
Ray Mancini carried hopes and ghosts into the boxing ring. He was the son of a great contender, Lenny Mancini, who was wounded in World War II before he ever got a chance at a championship. Mancini inherited his father's ring nickname — "Boom Boom" — and his championship dreams. In 1980, Mancini succeeded in winning the lightweight championship of the world, earning him widespread adoration.
Saturday marks the 150th anniversary of a crucial moment in U.S. history. On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, announcing his intention to free the slaves in the states rebelling against the Union.
Unemployment is rampant in Spain and full-time jobs are scarce. Here a woman works at a street stall in Madrid. Some Spaniards are signing up for "time banks," where individuals perform services based on their skills, and receive another service in return. No money changes hands. A woman is shown here working at a street stall in Madrid.
Rickie Lee Jones' new album<em>, </em><em>The Devil You Know</em>, is a collection of covers. "I think [I recorded the album] partially to remind people that a singer is the one who interprets the song," she says. "And once you do that, it's yours."
Eric San, who goes by the name Kid Koala, plays the blues. But just as Kid Koala isn't a traditional blues name like Blind Lemon Jefferson or Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss, he isn't a standard blues man.
Kid Koala is a DJ. Big turntables, fast hands, scratching old-fashioned vinyl records — the whole deal. Now, he's taken that DJ equipment and produced a "turntable blues" album titled 12 Bit Blues.
So how did a Canadian DJ discover the blues, exactly? San says it all happened in high school.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There have been unexpectedly violent protests across much of the Arab world this week. The first was in Cairo. Then, of course, in Benghazi, Libya, protesters attacked and killed four U.S. embassy staff there.
Since then, protests have broken out across the region, again in Egypt, in Tunisia and in Yemen. NPR's correspondent in Benghazi is Leila Fadel. She joins us now. Leila, thanks for being with us.
We turn now to Egypt where, as we mentioned earlier, the protest started this week. More than 250 people have been reported injured in clashes there that began when protesters scaled the embassy wall in Cairo and tore down an American flag. Many of them are demonstrating against a film, which portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a religious fraud.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Chicago Teachers Union and city school officials have reportedly reached what they call a framework for an agreement that would end a five-day teacher strike. The walkout has shut down school for 350,000 students this week. They could be back in class as early as Monday.
We're joined now by NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez. Claudio, thanks for being with us.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: Baseball's pennant races are in full swing. Will the words Baltimore, October, and baseball be heard in the same sentence for the first time since Cal Ripken Jr. was in short pants? But times are more trying for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And the battle in the American League Central between the surging Tigers and some nimble pale hose. For more, we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine.
Tom Reiss is the author of <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4518533">The Orientalist</a>. His biographical work has appeared in <em>The New Yorker</em>, <em>The New York Times</em> and other publications.
Gen. Thomas-Alexandre Dumas was one of the heroes of the French Revolution — but you won't find a statue of him in Paris today.
He led armies of thousands in triumph through treacherous territory, from the snows of the Alps to the sands of Egypt, and his true life stories inspired his son, Alexandre Dumas, to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
In Paul Thomas Anderson's <em>The Master,</em> Amy Adams plays Peggy Dodd, the spouse of a charismatic spiritual leader, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adams says her character is smart and educated but feels "more powerful behind a man than in front of a man."
Amy Adams has played a Disney princess, a puckish Amelia Earhart, an innocent young nun and a blogging Brooklynite who wants to follow the recipe for being Julia Child.
But she takes a more steely turn in her latest role in The Master, which has just opened in New York and Los Angeles. The film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.
At 11 a.m. on a weekday, Calexico rehearses for its upcoming tour in a cramped studio on the south side of Tucson, Ariz. The stereotypical musician would just be getting up, but lead singer and songwriter Joey Burns has been up since dawn with his twin baby girls.
Trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela arrives late to the rehearsal — and that's because his washing machine broke and he had to deal with a small flood. Valenzuela grabs his trumpet as the band launches into "Splitter," the first single from Calexico's new album.