"Russia is a hypothetical culture. Ruled by despots for most of our history, we are used to living in fiction rather than reality," writes Nina L. Khrushcheva, who teaches international affairs at The New School. She is also the great granddaughter of the late communist leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York tries to play tennis a couple of times a week. Sports have been part of her life for a long time, going back to high school when she played tennis and soccer.
Later, at Dartmouth in the late 1980s, Gillibrand served as co-captain of the squash team. What the future senator did not do in college was participate in student government. "I'd gone to one or two young Democratic events, and interestingly, it was almost all male — and all of the men were very aggressive," she says. "And so I didn't really feel like I fit in."
The Biblical tale of Noah's Ark isn't the likeliest of big screen blockbusters. But that didn't stop Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, Black Swan) from pitching it to a Hollywood studio.
"When I first went to the studio, I said, 'Hey, what's the only boat more famous than the Titanic?' " he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. Arun Rath is away. I'm Kelly McEvers.
This month, the U.S. is projected to hit two million deportations since President Obama took office. That number has sparked protests by pro-immigration reform activists across the country. Next week, Obama will meet with the Hispanic caucus in Congress, but expectations are low now that comprehensive immigration reform is stalled in the House.
Jasmine Mendoza's family is one of the millions that's been separated by deportation.
Border Patrol checkpoints aren't always near the border. Some aren't even on roads that go to the border. Take Arivaca Road; it's an East-West route 25 miles north of the Mexican border in Southern Arizona.
A Border Patrol checkpoint has been operating there around the clock for seven years. Some residents of the town of Arivaca say agents at the checkpoint go well beyond their legal authority; searching vehicles and questioning citizens without cause. So they've begun their own monitoring — to inspect the process.
Activists who support an overhaul of the immigration system are angry and frustrated. The immigration bill that passed in the Senate in June is stalled out. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is on pace to deport some 2 million illegal immigrants since taking office six years ago.
A group of independent researchers has found that the chemical crude MCHM is still present in some West Virginia homes. That's the coal-cleaning chemical that spilled into the Elk River back in January out of a storage tank operated by the company Freedom Industries. The spill contaminated drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. The research group was formed by West Virginia's governor after public pressure.
Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports on the research group's latest findings.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Kelly McEvers.
People across the state of Washington observed a moment of silence today to mark one week since a landslide washed over a square mile of land in the town of Oso.
Bonnie Rose manages a restaurant and ranch in Oso. She had to evacuate 150 people from the building. Now, the restaurant has become a kind of community center for survivors. Bonnie, welcome to the show.
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 12:08 pm
Essentially a one-man show, writer-director-star Luke Moran's Boys of Abu Ghraib observes a soldier's deployment at the prison during its most notorious post-Saddam year, 2003. As such, the movie works pretty well. But spotlighting a single GI sidesteps the group dynamic of what happened at the U.S.-run jail, where poorly supervised guards incited each other to behave in ways that were, at the least, unprofessional.
It's a case that has stunned California's political community: A prominent Democratic lawmaker has been accused in a federal complaint of participating in an elaborate conspiracy involving guns, gangs, drugs and bribery.
State Sen. Leland Yee was known as a champion of open government and gun control, but not any more. A 137-page federal affidavit accuses the lawmaker of soliciting and taking bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for political favors.
Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 10:05 am
Calling a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unconstitutional, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill that would have made it a crime to carry out such a procedure in West Virginia. Tomblin said the bill was a "detriment" to women's health and safety.
Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 5:23 am
The official death toll in the mudslide that turned a community into a disaster area in Oso, Wash., remains at 17, as officials work to locate and identify victims.
Update at 11:01 p.m. EDT: New Numbers
The number of deaths climbed by one Saturday to 18, while the number missing and unaccounted for decreased dramatically from 90 to 30, officials from the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management told reporters.
That number had been expected to fall, as partial reports and duplicates were sorted out.
While global attention has been focused on Malaysia Airlines' missing 777 this week, Boeing's best-known aircraft, the 747, was also in the news. The Federal Aviation Administration ordered Boeing to immediately fix a software glitch that could cause problems during landing.
The software flaw is not the only problem for the enormous 747. Over four decades ago, it was the original "jumbo jet," but the newest version of Boeing's iconic plane has not sold well. On Monday, Japan's All Nippon Airways announced it will officially retire its aging 747 passenger fleet.
Fresh Air Weekendhighlights 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:
Now on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can. Each correct answer is worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL: We have a tie for first place. Roy Blount, Jr. and Tom Bodett each has three points. Kyrie O'Connor has two.
PESCA: Kyrie, so you're in third place. You're going to go first. The clock will start when I begin your question. Are you ready?
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 12:10 pm
Every week I hear something amazing, see something inspiring and want to pass it on. These events are sometimes fleeting, sometimes iconic, but they stop me in my tracks. Bob's Rainbows is the place where I'll highlight the very best of my weekly music intake. [Editor's note: Why rainbows? They're the only naturally occurring phenomenon that can make Bob take his headphones off.]
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 10:32 am
The Russian troops who are holding Crimea won't be sent into Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says. "We have absolutely no intention of — or interest in — crossing Ukraine's borders," Lavrov told a Russian TV station Saturday, according to a translation by Reuters.
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 8:10 am
As officials from Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission were about to announce the closing of several polling stations due to insecurity on Saturday, the Taliban reinforced the message by launching an attack on the IEC headquarters in Kabul.
Would Tennessee whiskey by any other name taste as sweet?
A debate in Tennessee simmers over a legal definition of what makes Tennessee whiskey "Tennessee."
The state legislature passed a bill last year saying whiskey can be labeled "Tennessee" only if it's made in the state from a mash that's 51-percent corn, trickles through maple charcoal, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels.
Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 9:57 am
An earthquake shook part of Southern California Friday night, breaking water pipes and rattling nerves with aftershocks that went on into the night. The 5.1-magnitude quake hit at a shallow depth about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
While the quake didn't inflict severe damage in the area around its epicenter, it caused many problems, from water main breaks to a rockslide. Thousands of people felt its effects; there haven't been reports of serious injuries.
How long do good friends keep growing up with each other? Leland, or Lee, is a rock star. He tours the world but keeps coming back, if not back home, to the place where he grew up - Little Wing, Wisconsin, a fictitious Midwestern town that feels as real as Eau Claire, which is where the author, Nickolas Butler grew up. His new novel, "Shotgun Lovesongs" interlaces the stories of friends who keep coming back to each other and try to get hold of where they are in the world.
Archie Panjabi is part of the cast of CBS's The Good Wife, which has spent much of this week hearing an earful about a major plot development on last Sunday's episode. (They discuss her feelings about the reaction, but do not specify what the development was.)
The U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a new ruling as early as next week that could undo existing limits on regulating political money. But on the other hand, a coalition of liberal groups has started pushing for the public finance of elections. They essentially want to give money to candidates so they don't have to chase big donors. And the current fight is going on in New York's state capitol, Albany. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
Now to the misfortunes of another U.S. transportation giant. Late on Friday, General Motors recalled more than 800,000 cars because of faulty ignition switches. Now, that's in addition to more than a million and a half cars that the company recalled last month. Those faulty ignition switches have led to a dozen deaths as well as multiple investigations into why it took General Motors as long as a decade to tell the public about safety problems.