We've been hearing the latest employment numbers show things moving in a positive direction, but the economy and jobs market are still weak. That's, of course, a major factor in an election year. Our friend from the business world, Joe Nocera, joins us. He's an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Joe, thanks for being with us.
JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.
SIMON: As we heard, of course, the economy added more jobs in February than economists had expected. Is this a trend or true stability?
Host Scott Simon reports on the other candidates for the Republican nomination for president: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. This week, they've been campaigning in the South and Midwest in the hunt for votes and nominating delegates.
As the candidates stump for votes, Republicans in Kansas and two U.S. territories will caucus today, and pick their choices to be the Republican nominee this fall. Many voters will show their support for a particular candidate. Long before they cast any votes, they might put up a poster or plant a yard sign for their candidate. These signs spring up like mushrooms every campaign season. Do they actually work?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.
Anthony Hopkins has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and has played Richard I, Richard Nixon, monarchs, statesmen, geniuses and heroes. He won an Academy Award playing one of the most notorious movie villains in history: Hannibal Lecter, the criminal cannibal with an affinity for Bach. Now, Hopkins is making his own music.
Carolina Chocolate Drops breathed new life into old-time music with the 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig, which put a contemporary spin on Southern string tools from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That collection went on to win a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founder's of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, are part of a group of business leaders trying to raise money for Occupy Wall Street to help it regain its earlier momentum. Host Scott Simon talks with them about how they've already raised $300,000 and aim to raise $1.5 million more.
As the candidates battle it out, there's a key fact always worth remembering: 53 percent of those who cast votes in the last presidential election were women.
Michelle Bernard is a political analyst who studies voting trends among women. She is the founder and CEO of the conservative Bernard Center for Woman, Politics, and Public Policy. Thanks for being with us.
MICHELLE BERNARD: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: Let's try and clear this up. Is there a women's vote?
Three years ago this month, President Obama said he hoped to promote more cooperation between the U.S. and Russia. It would be hard to see where that may have happened recently, as Vladimir Putin approaches power again. Host Scott Simon speaks with the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, about Sunday's elections in Russia.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Danny DeVito, a short, funny guy with a long and winding career in movies, TV, on-stage and online, from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" off-Broadway and onscreen, to the TV shows "Taxi" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and online films. His latest project transports him to the land of Truffula trees and singing fish.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE LORAZ")
DANNY DEVITO: (as The Lorax) I'm playing poker. He's playing Go Fish. And I think he's hungry.
Ciaran Hinds seems to show up in every other movie you may have seen over the past decade, including There Will Be Blood, The Road to Perdition, Harry Potter and The Debt. He's currently starring in the hit television series Above Suspicion based on the Lynda La Plante novels. Host Scott Simon speaks with Hinds about his career.
Estelle Swaray is a Londoner. But for the past few years, the British singer best known for the song "American Boy" (her 2008 Grammy-winning hit with Kanye West) has called the U.S. home. It was a particular American boy, she says, who convinced her to make the move.
Hollywood's elite are gathering in Los Angeles tonight for the Academy Awards. If you're hosting your own viewing party, here are some tips on how to keep your guests flush with Oscar-themed food, drinks and challenging trivia, courtesy of Dan Shapiro. He's a big-time movie buff and co-owner of Modern Bite Bakery in Los Angeles, and he knows how to host festive Oscar parties.
As the assault against Homs continues, Secretary of State Clinton is urging Syrian security forces to disobey orders from their own commanders and stop the violence against protesters. Aram Nerguizian researches Middle East military strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. We asked him about the possibility of further defections among the ranks.
Events as disparate as the cruel, escalating violence in Syria and the congested, unnerving conditions where Apple's iPads and iPhones are made at the Foxconn assembly plants in China raise a recurring question:
When do a country's internal affairs become the business of the world? And when do we make that our personal business?
You can take that question back through atrocities, crimes and outrages of recent history.
The northeastern Greek town of Soufli flourished in the 19th century because of its vibrant silk trade. Silk farming declined in the 20th century with the invention of synthetic silk, but a few families have hung on. Despite the economic crisis, one of those families opened a silk museum in the hopes of drawing tourists and life back to a forgotten Greek town.
There's a limited humanitarian effort already underway in Syria. The Red Cross is in the process of evacuating injured people from the embattled Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr. At least 27 people are reportedly receiving medical treatment after being driven out in ambulances yesterday. The evacuation comes after a week in which Baba Amr was pounded by some of the heaviest artillery attacks by the Syrian government.
During the summer of 1972, five men were arrested in the middle of the night for breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate office building in Washington, D.C.
The breach went to the very top. Watergate toppled the Nixon administration and became an iconic (and exhaustively studied) American political scandal. In his new novel, Watergate, Thomas Mallon gives the story a fresh twist, retelling it from the perspectives of the involved parties — from seven different points of view.
Fifty years ago, John Glenn was alone on top of a rocket waiting to blast into space and around the Earth. In these times, when people can become suddenly famous for doing so little, it may be good to recall the daring and imagination of that moment on Feb. 20, 1962.
Two Russians, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, had already dauntlessly orbited the Earth. The Soviets kept their missions secret until they were under way, but John Glenn would fly with the eyes of the world watching every second.
There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?
Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.
PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.
As Phil reported, things are still pretty tough for the people of Ireland, but there's one man who thinks things there will start to look up before too long. He's prepared to put money on it, billions in fact.
Michael Hasenstab is what's known as a contrarian investor. He's just about the only person prepared to bet that Ireland's fortunes will greatly improve over the next couple of years. Michael Hasenstab joins us from Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California.
It's the beginning of the beginning of baseball season, and two major thumpers have jumped leagues. Plus, basketball makes it to a midpoint, and suddenly you have to ask: Who's really the best team in Los Angeles? Host Scott Simon talks with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the sports of the week.