When Robert Klein was a busboy in the Catskills, he saw the best Jewish comedians of the day. From Rodney Dangerfield and Mel Brooks, to comedy in its modern form, Klein was there to see the evolution of what makes us laugh. It made him the perfect person to narrate the documentary that opened this week in New York City, When Comedy Went to School. It's a look back at how many famous comedians got their start by spending their summers in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans traveling abroad this weekend, as well as to many embassies and consulates, that it has learned of the possibility of a terrorist attack. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic.
Under a popular park in Washington, D.C., there is a 19th century burial ground that was once the largest African-American cemetery in the city. Advocates want to protect the park from further development and create space for a memorial. But how many other such burial grounds are in similar straits, and how have others solved the problem of co-existing with development and gentrification?
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:06 pm
Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe has been declared the winner in elections that give him another five-year term. But the opposition says the vote was rigged.
Mugabe won by 61 percent, with his main challenger, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, trailing far behind in the official results from the July 31 vote. Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union, also managed a comfortable win in parliamentary elections.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Time now for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: A big week for Major League Baseball. The trade deadline came, the trade deadline went, but the pennant races are close, games were won in the final at-bats, but everyone is still talking about a clinic in Miami - Biogenesis - and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the major leagues.
To break it down we're joined by Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Hi, Howard.
Twenty years ago today, Ted Parker, one of the world's great ornithologists and sound recordists died in a plane crash in Equator. He was only 40. Parker contributed nearly 11,000 wildlife recordings to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay library.
He could identify some 4,000 different bird species by sound alone. In this audio montage, the lab's director, John Fitzpatrick offers a remembrance.
JOHN FITZPATRICK: I've rarely met anybody as passionate about his love of nature and of birds than Ted Parker.
The Lyon, France-based international police agency noted that because al-Qaida was suspected to be involved in the jailbreaks, it was urgent to determine whether the organization was directly linked and to capture the escapees.
CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Bobcat Goldthwait, Roxanne Roberts, and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host, at U.S. Cellular Center Asheville in North Carolina, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. Thank you all. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listeners game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!
Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 leaked the top-secret Pentagon Papers detailing the history of U.S. policy in Vietnam, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday that unlike Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, he "did it the wrong way" by trying first to go through proper channels — a delay that he says cost thousands of lives.
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:
Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 9:57 am
This piece discusses plot points in detail from the first four and a half seasons of Breaking Bad, but nothing from the Aug. 11 season premiere.
If television's golden age has taught viewers anything, it is to expect that explosive, violent death is an integral part of serious storytelling. The history of literature and the history of film teach that there are other ways to achieve high stakes. But if you go looking for premium, celebrated television dramas that don't involve a lot of bloody kills, you will narrow your options considerably.
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:11 pm
The New York Times Co. has announced the sale of The Boston Globe to the principle owner of the Boston Red Sox for $70 million, a sum that represents a fraction of the $1.1 billion paid for the flagship newspaper two decades ago.
On race, Barack Obama often says he is not president of black America, but of the United States of America. Though he has not avoided the subject during his time in office, he tends not to seek out opportunities to discuss racial issues.
"He wanted to address them in a time and a way that accomplished specific objectives," says Joshua Dubois, who ran the White House's faith-based initiatives during Obama's first term.
Farmhands at work in Tlaxcala, Mexico. The FDA said Saturday it would step up its surveillance of "green leafy products" from Mexico, after a rare parasite linked to a lettuce supplier there caused illness in more than 400 people in 16 U.S. states.
Originally published on Sat August 3, 2013 1:20 pm
The FDA said Saturday it would step up its surveillance of "green leafy products" from Mexico, after a rare parasite linked to a lettuce supplier there caused illness in more than 400 people in 16 U.S. states.
The parasite, known as cyclosporiasis, was first identified at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska and has since been discovered in Texas and numerous other states.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Since 2000, the Third Coast International Audio Festival has been curating some of the best audio stories from around the world. One of the submission categories is: short documentaries. These are pieces no longer than three minutes. This year's theme for short docs was: appetite. Joining us from member station WBEZ in Chicago to talk about the winners is Third Coast's artistic director Julie Shapiro. Hey, Julie.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Members of Congress are back in their home districts this morning at the start of a five-week summer recess. They left town with more of a whimper than a bang. They leave a whole lot of unfinished business. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent, Tamara Keith. Welcome.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: Let's start with what the Congress did accomplish. There was student loan legislation. What else?
Four years ago, Iranian singer Mohsen Namjoo was touring in Italy when he learned when he learned he would not be able to go home. The Iranian Revolutionary Court had ruled that one of Namjoo's songs disparaged the Quran. He would have to serve five years in prison if he set foot back in Iran. But the music that concerned the court was somewhat unusual for Namjoo; most of his music actually steers clear of religion and politics.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. We begin in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe and his party are predicting a landslide victory in the election held earlier this week. But the opposition is crying voter fraud and threatening protests. From the capital, Harare, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
Employment Specialist Louis Holliday, right, helps an applicant file for unemployment at a Georgia Department of Labor career center last month in Atlanta. The jobless rate for African-Americans fell from 13.7 to 12.6 percent in July, but that's still twice the rate for whites.
The labor market continues its recovery; the economy added 162,000 jobs in July and pushed the unemployment rate to a 4.5-year low. After a string of bad news, things seem to be to turning around for African-American workers, too.
"The operative word is growth," says Bill Rodgers, an economist at Rutgers University.
Dear Guy Pearce: The Jack Irish stubble is working, though we're not feeling the giant butterfly art. We assume it's in a hoodlum's house, not Jack's, but we'll be watching this weekend just to confirm.
With Linda still out at the TCA gathering, TV is much on our minds. And as she noted yesterday, there's a whole big conversation going on about the newer modes of consuming what we still, for lack of a better word, generally call television.
(Actually, we probably don't need a better word, as "television" just means "far-sight" and doesn't have anything to do with broadcast or spectrum or modes of transmission or the technology involved, BUT I DIGRESS.)
In a musty, old row house in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Jim Bear is about to begin his radio show.
"Good afternoon, everybody," he says into the microphone. "You're listening to G-town Radio at GtownRadio.com. We are the sound from Germantown."
Right now G-town is just an Internet radio station. But if the folks at G-town Radio are successful, they'll soon be broadcasting their signal over low-power FM, a new class of non-commercial FM radio.
It takes a while to orient yourself when you're listening to the band Dawn of Midi. The new album Dysnomia is a 47-minute-long composition by what looks like a jazz trio — drums, bass and piano. But it sounds like something completely different — looping, minimal electronic music. And there's no improvisation here: It's performed the same way, note for note, every time.
On the Noodle Road is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?