As a journalist and essayist, Bob Shacochis has covered conflict in the Balkans and Haiti, the abuse of American power overseas, spycraft, and the sexual politics that divide men and women. He is also a novelist and the winner of a National Book Award. His new novel, The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, was a long time coming, but critics are saying it was well worth the wait.
The Woman Who Lost Her Soul is a 700-page work that spans continents and generations. It's been compared to the work of Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Norman Mailer.
Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have the news of the weird covered: they're the creative masterminds behind the popular sci-fi podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Though only a year old, the spooky Night Vale — which channels David Lynch, Orson Welles and H.P. Lovecraft in its descriptions of a small, weird desert town — has rocketed up the iTunes ratings list to claim the number one most downloaded spot.
Tom Cole is a U.S. congressman from Oklahoma. He's a Republican and has served in the Congress since 2003. Congressman Cole, thank you for being with us.
REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: Thank you.
LYDEN: Congressman, you signed a letter with more than 100 of your colleagues asking the president to consult with Congress before acting in Syria. Well, President Obama now says he will do exactly that. Are you happy with the president's approach?
With us now to talk about congressional reaction to the president's announcement this afternoon is NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Thanks for being with us.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: You're welcome. Good to be here.
LYDEN: So it seems the president has been listening to the rancor this week, Ailsa, from members of both parties. What's been the reaction from congressional leaders you've had a chance to speak to since the announcement?
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
It was a stunner today for pundits on the Potomac. President Obama announced in the Rose Garden that while he has the authority to unilaterally attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons, he won't use it. Only 24 hours after Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for military action, the president made the case for congressional approval.
The U.S. will not be acting alone if and when it launches military strikes against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. French President Francois Hollande spoke with President Obama today. France and the U.S. will act together after congressional discussions.
As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, this Franco-American alliance is a complete turnabout from the lead up to the war in Iraq 10 years ago.
If you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
The chemical weapons attack in Syria on August the 21st was the first time in a quarter century that such weapons had been used against civilians during a conflict. In 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi city of Halabja was subjected to a gas attack by Saddam Hussein. At least 5,000 people died.
A transcript of President Obama's remarks on possible U.S. military action in Syria, as released by the White House:
Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.
President Obama said Saturday he had decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, but that he will seek a congressional authorization for the action that could come "tomorrow, or next week or one month from now."
Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president said he believed that he had the authority to act without Congress, but said, "I know the country will be stronger if we take this course."
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 10:15 am
As we pause this Labor Day weekend to celebrate the Great American Worker, we can't help but wonder: Whatever happened to the Great American Slacker?
It wasn't that long ago that slackers ruled the earth. OK, maybe ruled is a bit over the top because slackers, by definition, didn't really rule — or try very hard or take full responsibility. Whatever. But they sure were omnipresent there for a while.
U.S. forces transfer a missile for a fighter plane as the military prepared for war in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia in 1990. American presidents have been calling on the military frequently since the end of the Cold War more than two decades ago.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 10:22 am
When the Cold War ended two decades ago there was a widespread belief that the greatest threat to U.S. troops would be boredom. It seemed they faced a future with little to do besides polishing their boots and staging the occasional military exercise.
Yet U.S. presidents are calling on the military more often than ever, with U.S. forces carrying out more than a dozen separate operations since the first Gulf War in Iraq in 1991.
Police say the convicted 18-year-old was one of five men who lured the 23-year-old victim and her male friend onto a bus in the capital, New Delhi, where she was repeatedly raped and beaten in December.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
'America's Test Kitchen' On Grilling Peaches, Tofu And Burgers: Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop advise using ripe fruit, extra-firm tofu and poking your hamburgers so they don't puff up like tennis balls.
Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:26 pm
Nelson Mandela is still in the hospital, despite reports to the contrary.
CNN and the BBC, quoting sources close to Mandela, reported Saturday that the ailing 95-year-old anti-apartheid leader and former South African president had returned to his Johannesburg home after a long hospitalization.
It's the time of year when people are flocking to their farmer's market seeking out fresh fruits and vegetables for the summer picnic basket. But what about meat for the sandwich? One Rhode Island chef collects all of his ingredients at the farmer's market, including the meat, to make the perfect pork loin sandwich.
Providence chef Matt Jennings' sandwich gets its start down a gravel road, around an old, red barn where a couple of light pink pigs roll in the mud to keep themselves cool in the midday heat.
Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed letters insisting that the president submit plans for any military strike in Syria for authorization. Host Scott Simon talks with Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who has signed one of the letters.
While many Americans take time off this weekend, a group of conservative activists are meeting in Florida. Americans for Prosperity, a group that was founded by David and Charles Koch, is holding its annual summit in Orlando. That gathering includes several rising stars among conservatives - Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But in terms of issues, NPR's Greg Allen reports, one seems to stand above all - stopping Obamacare.
The Taliban conducted a series of deadly attacks across Afghanistan this week, killing civilians, Afghan forces and several NATO service members. But they are targeting far fewer NATO troops these days, because those troops are focused on training and advising the Afghan army. NPR's Sean Carberry spent five days with U.S. Marines in one of Afghanistan's chronic hot spots and speaks with host Scott Simon.
What would Iraq and Israel do if the U.S. launches military action against the Syrian government? Former analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency Joshua Foust speaks with host Scott Simon about the wider consequences for the Middle East.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A U.N. inspections team left Syria this morning and that team is making its way back to Europe where it will analyze samples that were collected at the site of a poison gas attack outside of Damascus. In Washington, D.C. the Obama Administration says it is already convinced that Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons during that attack, and yesterday the White House released a summary of intelligence that says that more than 1400 civilians were killed by chemical weapons.
To Damascus now, as Syrians prepare for what might be coming. Nada Keuttnen works helping visiting journalists there in Damascus, including several NPR reporters. She joins us over Skype. Nada, thank you very much for being with us.
NADA KEUTTNEN: You are welcome.
SIMON: What's Damascus like today?
KEUTTNEN: It doesn't seem different than two, three, even a week ago. The life is going on. People are a bit may be worried and they're trying to buy extra dry food, expecting that something will happen but nothing is.
Now, let's take a look at what the U.S. military might do in Syria. The Pentagon has prepared military options that would allow the U.S. to launch a punitive strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has been at the center of that military planning, even as he visited Asia this past week. NPR's Larry Abramson has been traveling all week with Secretary Hagel. He's had a unique vantage point on those deliberations and joins us now. Larry, thanks for being with us.
The small town of Waldoboro, Maine, boasts two attractions: Moody's Diner, reputed to be one of the oldest in the country, and the Toy Museum. It was founded in 1996 by John Fawcett. Karen Michel paid the museum's founder a visit as she wrapped up her summer vacation.
KAREN MICHEL, BYLINE: The sign says world class museum enjoyed by adults, a Maine vacation delight - open.
As the Obama administration argues for a military intervention in Syria in response to a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, analysts say the case for a strike lacks a legal framework.
President Obama said Friday that the decision to act is part of a U.S. obligation as a world leader to make sure that regimes are held to account if they are found targeting their own people with weapons prohibited by international norms.
"If there's a sense that if nobody's willing to enforce them, then people don't take them seriously," he said Friday.