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Snake handlers dwell at the edge of the spiritual frontier — a community of people who are willing to die for their faith three times a week in church. Members of the Pentecostal Holiness Church take up venomous serpents to prove their faith in God. The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.
Pastor Jamie Coots warns about the scent in the snake room behind his house in Middlesboro, Ky.
The White House has cancelled President Obama's trip to Asia, where he was planning to attend some major international summits. Instead, Kerry will attend these meetings while Obama deals with the government shutdown at home.
Day four of the government shutdown brings no signs of any progress in resolving the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats. It may be some small solace to know that this is by no means the first time the government has been largely closed because of disputes between Congress and the White House. In fact, by some accounts this is the 17th time that an impasse has shuttered federal agencies.
The health care law is partly funded by a tax on medical devices. Republicans and some Democrats from states with medical device companies want to repeal the tax. Leading Democrats say that's not happening if it's meant to scale back Obamacare. But the device tax could be an area of compromise later in a broader budget deal.
Melissa Block talks with regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution and David Brooks with The New York Times. They discuss the federal government shutdown, why it happened, what's happening now and what happens next.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: I'm Scott Horsley. President Obama took a rare trip outside the White House grounds on foot this afternoon. It wasn't because his driver's been furloughed. Aides say the president just wanted to enjoy the sunshine. He and Vice President Biden strolled about a block from the White House to a sandwich shop that's offering discounts and a free cookie to federal workers who've been idled by the shutdown.
Obama says that's a good example of the way the American people look out for each other.
Not long ago, the government shutdown was all about the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans' attempt to defund it. But in recent days, it seems to have become more about finding some way for House Speaker John Boehner to claim some sort of victory.
For many people, says Michael Tanner, it pays not to work. People on welfare — that's everything from food stamps to Medicaid to heating assistance — can make more in 35 states than they would if they had a minimum wage job, according to Tanner.
Job seekers line up outside a work support office in London in 2009. New measures proposed by the Conservative-led government will require recipients of unemployment benefits to do unpaid community work, spend workdays at a job center or participate in intensive programs to help solve personal issues that prevent them from working.
Credit Oli Scarff / Getty Images
"No one will be ignored or left without help. But no one will get something for nothing," British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told the Conservative Party's annual conference. "Because a fair welfare system is fair to those who need it and fair to those who pay for it, too."
Britain's Conservative-led government delivered a one-two punch to more pillars of Britain's social benefits system this week. It announced more cuts to the country's social welfare programs — moving ever closer to "workfare."
The general who helped end French colonial rule in Vietnam has died. Vo Nguyen Giap was 102. He famously surprised and overwhelmed French troops at Dien Bien Phu. Later in 1968, Giap led the Tet offensive, catching U.S. commanders and the American public by surprise. After Tet, many wondered is victory in Vietnam even possible? Michael Sullivan has this look back at a man considered one of history's greatest military tacticians.
Questions about the appropriate use of lethal force have been raised after police fatally shot Miriam Carey Thursday near the U.S. Capitol. Carey had tried to breach a White House security checkpoint with her car before speeding toward the U.S. Capitol. Melissa Block talks with Eugene O'Donnell, a former officer with the New York Police Department and certified police trainer, about the standard protocols for using deadly force.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
We're learning more about the woman who led police on a chase through the District of Columbia yesterday. The car chase ended with a shootout that left the woman, Miriam Carey, dead. Carey's family positively identified her body this afternoon. And to learn more about her background, we're joined by NPR's Laura Sullivan. And, Laura, first, what have you learned this point about Carey's mental state?
Thanks to the federal government's partial shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics skipped its monthly Big Reveal at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
There was no September employment report.
Without access to the BLS numbers, data junkies were left to scrounge around for lesser reports. Maybe if they could suck in enough small hits of other statistics, they could feel that old familiar rush?
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:59 pm
Before President Obama canceled his Asia trip, some of us wondered how he could possibly leave the U.S., especially for the exotic resort island of Bali, during the federal government shutdown.
Forget the logistical complications caused by having so many staffers unable to work the trip. What about the optics of having the president at a lush tourist destination while hundreds of thousands of government workers were furloughed and worried about missing paychecks?
Obama solved that potential problem by canceling his overseas trip, which would have started Saturday evening.
Movie lovers have Netflix, music lovers have Spotify — and book lovers (whether they read literary fiction or best-selling potboilers) now have Scribd. The document sharing website has been around since 2007, but this week it launched a subscription service for e-book lending.
Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 8:12 am
Until recently, if you wanted to find out the rules for raising goats in Hollywood, bees in Bel Air or squash in a community garden in South Central Los Angeles, it would have been pretty tough — like standing in various lines at the DMV.
Many of the special effects in the action-adventure film <em>Gravity</em> were generated by computers — but star Sandra Bullock also had to put in a good deal of work, with choreographed movements simulating weightlessness.
Credit Warner Bros.
Bullock, on the <em>Gravity</em> set with co-star George Clooney and director Alfonso Cuaron, spent most of the shoot alone, in a box, to create the required sense of isolation and weightlessness.
The eye-popping new movie Gravity will make you very grateful you're planted on terra firma. It's a thriller directed by Alfonso Cuaron, in which shuttle astronauts on a spacewalk are stranded after a collision with a vast cloud of space debris.
And one of those astronauts — played by Sandra Bullock — is left on her own, hundreds of miles above Earth. She's running out of oxygen and tumbling untethered through the void of space.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Carline Ray is Marian McPartland's guest for a session recorded in 1997. The two veteran performers get together to perform a set including tunes by Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke, and more.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:42 pm
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress this week that the partial federal government shutdown has forced the furlough of some 70 percent of employees throughout the intelligence community.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Clapper, a 50-year veteran of intelligence work.
So what impact is all this having on the spy world?
In a season in which we're all talking about AMC's phenomenal Breaking Bad and Netflix's elating Orange Is the New Black, Hollywood needs you, your kids and everyone in Europe and China to get out from behind those TV monitors and into theaters. Movie studios are falling behind on compelling narratives. But they can give you what TV can't: absolute, total bombardment.
Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 7:07 am
It must be draining to do eight interviews in a row, but Benjamin Netanyahu seemed energized by it. The Israeli prime minister walked into our meeting in a New York hotel room bantering and smiling. He commented on the shades (pulled down to avoid a backlit photo) and noticed a novel that our engineer had brought along. Netanyahu picked it up and looked it over — a novel by Joe Hill, the pen name for the son of Stephen King.