Scandal star Kerry Washington's turn hosting NBC's Saturday Night Live this Saturday has revived criticism of the show's lack of black female cast members. The issue was raised earlier this year when SNL announced five new cast members — four male, all white. The show's lack of black women — only three have ever been cast in 38 years — forces the show's black males to dress as black women, which echoes historic, demeaning issues for black male comics.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki will meet with President Obama Friday, and is expected to ask for more and stronger military aid. Iraq is suffering increased sectarian fighting, and a resurgent Al-Qaida presence. Robert Siegel talks with Iraq's Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, about what the leadership in Baghdad is asking for, and whether they're doing enough to merit assistance.
The leader of the Pakistani Taliban is reported to have been killed by a U.S. drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud's group is believed responsible for attacks across Pakistan. He is also implicated in the attack that killed seven CIA employees at a CIA base in Afghanistan in late 2009. Mehsud has been reported to have been killed before, but sources are confident this time.
An East Los Angeles rivalry has become the largest high school football game west of the Mississippi. The football teams of Garfield High School and Roosevelt High School will meet on the gridiron Friday night for the 79th year. The game is expected to draw 20,000 fans.
A lone gunman opened fire Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, police say. Police fired on the alleged shooter, who is now in police custody. The attack left one TSA officer dead and at least seven people needing medical treatment (including the shooter), officials said. The shooting forced the evacuation of a terminal and more than 45 flights into and out of LAX have been cancelled.
And now the latest twist in the ongoing NSA story, this time in the form of a coffee mug. A satirical artist, Dan McCall, makes a living off creating political parodies and selling them on mugs and T-shirts and bumper stickers. And in response to the revelations of leaker Edward Snowden, McCall decided to put the NSA seal to good use with a few tweaks.
DAN MCCALL: I put peeping while you're sleeping on the logo, which is sort of an homage to a Snoopy Doggy Dogg song, which I thought was kind of funny.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:06 pm
A federal appeals court has sided with the owners of a fruit and vegetable distributor who challenged part of the 2010 health care law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Federal courts have split on the issue, which is the subject of dozens of similar cases.
According to the National Women's Law Center, "a total of 88 lawsuits have been filed" over the issue of contraceptive coverage. Of that number, 63 cases are still pending; the other 25 have been closed.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:12 pm
If the Republican establishment doesn't get its preferred candidate in Tuesday's Alabama special congressional runoff election, it won't be for want of an overwhelming cash advantage.
Bradley Byrne, a former head of the state's community college system, has outraised Tea Party favorite Dean Young $689,000 to $260,000, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. And Young's total includes $175,000 the real estate developer and political consultant has lent himself, meaning the actual fundraising ratio is more like 8 to 1.
In February 1959, the great illustrator and magazine artist Norman Rockwell was on Edward R. Murrow's celebrity interview show, Person to Person. For decades, Rockwell had painted scenes that told stories of wholesome, G-rated life in small-town America, and Murrow interviewed Rockwell at his home in just such a small town: Stockbridge, Mass.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:44 pm
Time-travel movies usually have a clear end in sight, some situation that needs fixing. Marty McFly needs his parents to get together; John Connor needs to avoid Terminators long enough to grow up; the guys from Hot Tub Time Machine need to stop messing up the past and get back in their ... hot tub time machine.
In the seven months since he was elected, Pope Francis has shaken up the Catholic world and beyond with off-the-cuff homilies, phone calls to ordinary folk and unscripted interviews. His Twitter followers now exceed 10 million. Described by the Vatican as "conversational," the new papal style is drawing praise from large numbers of Catholics and nonbelievers alike.
But it's also making some conservative Catholics deeply uncomfortable.
When the federal health exchange marketplace opened Oct. 1, we visited jazz musician Suzanne Cloud in Philadelphia. She tried to start an account early in the morning, but technology thwarted her plans.
She wasn't alone, as it became clear quickly that the unprecedented system for Americans in 36 states to shop and enroll for health insurance was broken in several places. A week into her failed attempts, Cloud stayed positive.
Texas good ol' boy Ron Woodroof was a player — drugs, alcohol, women, gambling. As Dallas Buyers Club starts, he's at a rodeo, snorting cocaine, with a fistful of bets, when he gets it on with two prostitutes. Not a "healthy" lifestyle — one that's left him gaunt, weak, coughing.
With the advantage of hindsight, what's ailing him seems obvious now. Back in 1986, it didn't, until doctors did a blood test and told him he had 30 days to live.
Pianist Carli Muñoz's musical journey has taken him from Puerto Rico to the studios and clubs of Los Angeles and back to the island of his birth. His musical career has followed a similar trajectory. He left jazz to perform with big names in pop such as The Beach Boys and Rickie Lee Jones, then returned to his first love, filling the role of a jazz-club owner.
Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham — one of the most famous practitioners of his dangerous craft — died of cancer on Oct. 25 at age 82. We'll listen back to a conversation with Needham from Feb. 7, 2011, when he had just published a memoir, called Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life.
Hal Needham spent most of the 1950s and '60s falling off horses, wrecking stagecoach wagons and falling from really, really high places.
Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.
But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:14 pm
A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.
The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.
A lone gunman walked into one of the nation's busiest airports Friday in Los Angeles and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least one transportation security officer and wounding another, police and TSA officials say.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 8:40 am
This week's news that the Food and Drug Administration found that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated was a little disheartening.
As the FDA reported, all kinds of nasty stuff hitch a ride with spices into the country — from insects to animal excrement to pathogens. The agency looked closely at pepper and sesame seeds, but says this is an issue with lots of other spices, too.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:48 am
News outlets are all over this story today:
Documents released by a congressional committee reveal just how few people successfully enrolled in health insurance plans on the troubled HealthCare.gov website in early days after its Oct. 1 launch. (That summary is courtesy of our colleagues on the NPR Newscast Desk.)
A year after Hurricane Sandy, recovery efforts are still ongoing, and questions remain about how to rebuild and prepare the coastlines for the next storm. A group of experts discusses rebuilding and protective options — from sea walls to "oyster-tecture" — and considers calls for a "managed retreat" from the shore.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael with us from Cleveland. Joining us from Boston, healthcare consultant and contributor to National Review magazine, Dr. Neil Minkoff. Here in our Washington, D.C. studios, Dave Zirin. He is sports editor at The Nation. And Corey Dade is a contributing editor for The Root. Take it away Jimi.