<strong>Great Odin's Raven!</strong> Will Ferrell's cheerfully idiotic Ron Burgundy and Christina Applegate's whip-smart Veronica Corningstone are back for a comedy sequel that critic Ian Buckwalter says is essentially an avalanche of one-liners.
Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 2:13 pm
Make no mistake, Ron Burgundy is a terrible human being. In 2004's Anchorman, it's true, he learned a lesson (sort of) about the dangers of his overinflated ego and the lies of his culturally inherited misogyny. But everything came out OK in the end, and he ended things as a semi-likable rogue — casually misogynist, lackadaisically racist, generically insensitive and oblivious, but still a guy who loves his dog, his lady and his Scotch, and who isn't afraid to cry.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 8:43 am
I'll say this for Neil LaBute: The man sticks to his guns. Critics may carp about his sour vision of human nature, but he keeps plugging away at his micro-studies of the cruel struggle for interpersonal domination.
LaBute is a master of stagecraft, of course; I'm not sure why he works in film at all, other than to broaden his audience. Aside from the substantially more cinematic Nurse Betty, almost all of his movies are essentially stage plays, ably transposed to the screen but with minimal concession to the switch in medium.
In 2009, snowboarder Kevin Pearce was riding high, soaring skyward, twisting his body into breathtaking acrobatics. He was 22, one of the world's top halfpipe riders, and a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
On Capitol Hill today, a truce in the budget wars. A dozen Republican senators agreed to let a bipartisan budget deal proceed to a final vote. That was the bill's last obstacle. It's expected to easily garner the 51 votes it needs for passage.
But as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the deal still has many critics in the Senate on both sides of the aisle.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. The government's health insurance website has a new Mr. Fixit. The Obama administration has hired a former Microsoft executive to oversee improvements. Kurt DelBene will take over for Jeff Zients, the former management consultant and White House staffer who was brought in in late October to help turn the troubled website around.
News of DelBene's appointment comes as President Obama met today with a group of high tech CEOs. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
If you want to understand the tension between tech workers in San Francisco, who often make six figures, and many of the city's other residents, try standing on the southwest corner of 24th Street and Valencia around 7:30 on a weekday morning.
Today, one of the biggest drug companies in the world announced changes to its marketing practices. GlaxoSmithKline says the idea is to be more transparent about how it sells its drugs. Among the changes, the company will stop paying doctors to tout its products to other doctors.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the public interest community says this is a step in the right direction for an industry that's faced many legal problems.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
Russia has agreed to a multibillion-dollar bailout for Ukraine. The deal comes amid a political crisis in Ukraine, as tens of thousands of demonstrators keep up a weeks-long protest. They're demanding the country's president step down. As NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow, the bailout may buy some breathing room for President Viktor Yanukovych, but it triggered new outrage among his opposition.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
We're going to venture out onto the sea now off the coast of Britain. Yesterday, we heard about a British cultural institution called the Shipping Forecast. Every night, landlubbers who know nothing of the sea tune into BBC radio, to hear about sea and weather conditions off the British Isles. Songs and poems have been devoted to the forecast.
A decade ago, President George W. Bush announced an unprecedented global health initiative: $15 billion over five years to fight HIV in developing countries.
"There are whole countries in Africa where more than one-third of the adult population carries the infection," Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address. "Yet across that continent, only 50,000 AIDS victims — only 50,000 — are receiving the medicine they need."
Nicholas Mevoli smiles while diving in Curacao in October. He died a month later following an attempted dive in a free-diving competition in the Bahamas.
Credit Daan Verhoeven / Barcroft Media/Landov
Polish free-diver Mateusz Malina (second from right), accompanied by judges and safety divers, at the Little Blue Hole free-diving competition in Dahab, Egypt, last month. Malina blacked out on this dive, but on the previous day he broke the Polish national record for free-diving without fins by diving 272 feet.
Dahab, Egypt, just north of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, is perfect for free-diving. A diver can have tea in a simple beach cafe and then take just a handful of steps into the Gulf of Aqaba, where the seafloor plunges more than 100 yards into a wine-glass-shaped blue hole.
That lawsuit over NSA surveillance would likely never have happened if former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hadn't leaked classified documents that showed what the agency was doing. Snowden also revealed that the U.S. government was monitoring the communications of foreign leaders, among other secret activities. Intelligence officials say they're still coping with the ramifications of all these unauthorized disclosures.
NPR's Tom Gjelten has been covering the Snowden leaks since they became known in June, and he joins me now.
We're going to focus now on the National Security Agency. It's had a bad year, at least publicly. In a moment, we'll take a broader look at the significance of the thousands of documents that Edward Snowden leaked this year on NSA surveillance. Those leaks have raised big questions about whether the agency is violating the Constitution.
Well, yesterday, a federal judge here in Washington, D.C., ruled that the NSA's program to collect the phone records of virtually every American likely crosses that line.
And finally this hour, an unlikely twist in the story of Occupy Wall Street. For the past several years, the movement has critiqued everything from the structure of banking to low wage pay. Well, now, you can own a part of Occupy. It's a large panoramic poster of protesters camped out in New York's Zuccotti Park. And as NPR's Margot Adler reports, you can only buy it online at Wal-Mart.
A long-lost diary kept by a top aide to Adolf Hitler was formally transferred to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday. Scholars say the 425-page document gives a glimpse into the mind of Alfred Rosenberg, and a view of his role in shaping the Nazi regime's genocidal policies.
Rosenberg's meticulous script runs straight as a ruler across the sepia-colored pages. The notes are from 1936 through 1944.
Museum Director Sara Bloomfield says it took years — and the help of many — to procure the diary.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 4:05 am
NPR's Corey Flintoff reports that Russia has agreed to a massive bailout package for Ukraine, a deal that could keep the country from bankruptcy next year – but the deal has outraged the political opposition which has protested closer ties with Moscow.
As we reported on Monday, the deal is aimed at keeping the cash-strapped former Soviet republic in the Russian sphere of influence.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:17 pm
Were access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest span, closed as political retribution against a mayor who didn't publicly endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election?
The governor denies that politics played a role in the traffic-snarling decision, but the controversy has put an ever-growing stain on Christie's glossy November re-election victory. And the episode could have an impact on Christie's White House ambitions.
Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.
In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:07 pm
Mioara stands on her doorstep in rural Romania, an infant clinging tightly to her neck and a toddler attached to each leg.
The 36-year-old Roma woman is the mother of eight. Her two oldest children are blind and attend a free boarding school in Iasi, on the border with Moldova. Mioara — whose last name has been withheld out of concern for her children — is eligible to collect a small amount of money from the government to help with the three youngest kids, who won't leave her side.
In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo released by U.S. Navy, USNS Tippecanoe, center, refuels Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Escort Flotilla ships Ikazuchi, right, and Kongo during a joint military exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
Joel (left) and Ethan Coen wrote and directed <em>Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men</em>, <em>A Serious Man</em> and <em>True Grit.</em> Their latest film is<em> Inside Llewyn Davis.</em>
Credit Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images
An orange tabby cat co-stars alongside Oscar Isaac in the Coen brothers' <em>Inside Llewyn Davis. </em>"The whole exercise of shooting a cat is pretty nightmarish because they don't care about anything," Ethan Coen says.
Credit Alison Rosa / Long Strange Trip/CBS Films
Jeff Bridges (from left), John Goodman and Steve Buscemi starred in the Coen brothers' 1998 film <em>The Big Lebowski. </em>It didn't do particularly well in the theaters, but on the home movie market,<em> </em>"it became some sort of cult thing," says Joel Coen. "How do you explain that? I have no idea."
If you ask the Coen brothers about how they write their films, you might not get a straight answer. "It's mostly napping," Ethan tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
"We go to the office, we're there, we're in a room together," Joel adds. "We take naps, but, you know, the important thing is that we're at the office, should we be inspired to actually write something."
The brothers don't split up writing responsibilities — they "talk through" the dialogue and "work it out together," Joel explains.
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so that his brain can be examined for signs of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions.
A realty sign in front of a home in The Lakes neighborhood in Las Vegas. Nevada, which was hit hard by the housing bust five years ago, remains the state with the highest number of homes with negative equity.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 1:00 pm
Although most of the housing indicators have been looking up recently, there are still about 6.4 million homes with "underwater" mortgages, in which the homeowner owes the bank more than the house is worth.
According to the CoreLogic Equity Report, "nearly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the third quarter."
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:51 pm
President Obama just wrapped up a meeting with high-tech luminaries at the White House, focusing on an agenda of how to clean up HealthCare.gov, and how to stop the snooping by the National Security Agency from continuing to cast a pall over high-tech profits.
The group has a lot to discuss. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's collection of millions of telephone records may be unconstitutional.
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:57 am
When I was growing up my mom gave me a multivitamin every day as a defense against unnamed dread diseases.
But it looks like Mom was wasting her money. Evidence continues to mount that vitamin supplements don't help most people and can actually cause diseases that people are taking them to prevent, like cancer.