In thinking about the last week's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I keep coming upon the word epidemic. While the death of one child is too many, the death of nearly two dozen in one place, of hundreds in the span of a year — especially by violence, is intolerable. Or at least it should be.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program I will share a few thoughts in my Can I Just Tell You essay but now it's time for our Wisdom Watch conversation. That's the part of the program where we speak with those whose work has made a difference. Today we are speaking with a hip-hop pioneer.
In some ways, the film Not Fade Away is an extension of the friendship between the film's writer and director, David Chase, and its executive producer and musical supervisor, Steven Van Zandt.
Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, first encountered Van Zandt on TV, when Van Zandt introduced the Rascals to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. Chase soon cast Van Zandt as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, and the two became close, bonding in particular over their love of pop music from the 1960s.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 9:22 am
Making the case that the "Plan B" proposed by House Republicans to keep the federal government from going over the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year "does not meet the test of balance," the White House announced this morning that President Obama would veto such legislation if it came to his desk.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 11:26 am
Robert Bork, who was at the center of Senate hearings that "marked the modern battle lines over judicial nominations," as NPR's Nina Totenberg has said, is dead, according to The New York Times, Fox News and The Associated Press.
Swiss banking giant UBS AG has agreed to pay $1.5 billion in fines to regulators in the U.S., Britain and Switzerland for its part in a scheme to manipulate the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), which is used to set rates on contracts around the world.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:13 am
The world of acoustic music is about to get a new household name. The music of The Lone Bellow is born from tragedy and told with heart and simplicity. Zach Williams, a singer and songwriter for this Brooklyn-based group, is originally from Georgia, and his words began to flow following his wife's catastrophic horse riding accident that nearly left her paralyzed. Listen to The Lone Bellows' song "Two Sides of Lonely," from the band's forthcoming self-titled album.
Adam Mansbach is the author of the forthcoming novel Rage is Back.
Stealing my 9-year-old nephew's copy of The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill was the best thing I did last summer. I was his age the first time I read it, and twice his age the last time I went back to it. I'm twice that old again now, but as soon as I dove into this intimate, majestic tale of war writ small — of a battle between the pushcart peddlers and the truckers of New York City — I realized how timeless, and how deeply a part of me, the story was.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 8:56 am
Mean girls and their ingenious female creators top my mysteries and thrillers list this year. Maybe it takes the special discernment of a female writer (who's presumably suffered through the "Queen Bee and Wannabee" cliques of middle school) to really capture the cruel mental machinations that can hide behind a pair of shining eyes and a lip-glossed smile.
Companies that make firearms are facing some tough choices in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Yesterday, the private equity group Cerberus Capital Management said it is getting out of the gun business. And one of the largest outlets for firearms, Dick's Sporting Goods, says it is suspending sales of certain kinds of rifles. Wal-Mart has removed a website listing for a rifle similar to the one used by the gunman in Connecticut.
NPR's Sonari Glinton looks at what the gun debate could mean for big business and big retail.
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Even before the events of the last few days, Congress had a busy agenda. Lawmakers are negotiating over taxes and spending that could affect the economy in the year ahead, not to mention almost every part of the federal government and the take-home pay for millions of Americans.
One person who did have a lot to say about gun control is Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. He spent several days with grieving residents in Newtown. The Democrat then returned to Washington, and on the Senate floor yesterday, made an emotional plea for stricter gun control. We spoke to him just afterwards.
Senator, this has been a horrible time for the people of your state. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
NPR's business news begins with a global bank settlement.
It's the big Swiss bank, UBS. It announced this morning that it will pay a total of $1.5 billion in fines for its role in rigging the interbank lending rate known as LIBOR. The settlement will be paid to Swiss, British and American regulators.
Greece got a rare bit of good news late yesterday. Standard and Poor's upgraded the country's credit rating six notches to a B minus. I mean, not the worst grade on your report card, but in the financial world this is junk bond status.
Still, Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens that there is a more stable outlook.
Pakistani gunmen staged new attacks Wednesday on health workers carrying out a nationwide polio vaccination program. Six workers were killed Tuesday as they went house to house to administer the immunizations to area children in Karachi and the northwest city of Peshawar.
Although there were additional attacks, the Pakistani government vowed to continue the vaccination campaign — and eradicate the disease — even if there is bloodshed.