Ever so quietly this week, the national arts scene became a bit more fragmented, a bit more stratified and a lot more invisible. The Associated Press has just spiked a chunk of its opera, dance and off-Broadway coverage. And in this case, no news is bad news.
In an email, AP chief theater writer Mark Kennedy described the decision to me:
Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.
As New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007, James Gandolfini created a character that helped open television to a new era of great and nuanced acting. When he died in Italy on Wednesday at the age of 51, fans around the world were shocked.
And as Fresh Air's television critic David Bianculli noticed, there was an instant online outpouring that celebrated "what an iconic performance he gave us in terms of television."
For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?
We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.
Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.
A person having a stroke may not be in a war zone, but his or her life is in danger all the same. That's enough to trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in some stroke survivors, researchers say, with symptoms like panic attacks, nightmares and flashes of anger.
Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.
The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.
When the State Department released its annual report on human trafficking Wednesday, we got a chilling reminder that even in 2013, slave labor is still embedded in the global food system.
As many as 27 million men, women and children are estimated to be trafficking victims at any given time, according to the report. And some of those victims, the State Department says, are later forced to work in agriculture and food processing (though no one has a good idea how many).
Soldiers approach armored vehicles after a training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January.
Credit Tony Gutierrez / AP
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the commanding officer at Fort Bliss until last month, spearheaded efforts to break the taboo on seeking help for mental issues. Pittard, shown here at Fort Bliss in 2012, also implemented mandatory interactive suicide prevention training.
Dee Dee Bridgewater's smile says it all: she's singing this week on JazzSet from the Caramoor Jazz Festival.
All summer, Caramoor presents chamber music, opera, Latin music, a resident orchestra and more — rain or shine. And it did rain in 2012, though the audience stayed dry under the Venetian Theater roof with Bridgewater and her awesome band.
Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 10:53 am
We don't know how, but we missed a major scandal brewing in the Navy for decades. It's important, so even if we're a little late to the story we still wanted to point it out: Cap'n Crunch is an impostor.
The Cap'n was unmasked on June 14 by a food blogger, who noticed the uniform he wears on cereal boxes had the stripes of a commander, not a captain. That is: A captain has four stripes on his sleeve, while a commander has three.
In the battle-scarred land of Westeros, there exist esteemed kings, queens and knights. But they have got to sit somewhere. While this round actually has nothing to do with the HBO series Game of Thrones, it is indeed a game of thrones. House musician Jonathan Coulton doles out clues to different types of chairs.
Plus, Coulton concludes the game with a royal cover of Dave Edmunds' "Queen of Hearts."
How well do you know your television history? In 1926, NBC was created as a radio network, moved toward television in the thirties, then aired Today, followed by The Tonight Show and eventually, Saturday Night Live. We're sure other important things happened in between. In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg offers up the names of three similar-sounding TV show titles, and you have to put them in chronological order.
Do you identify as a Beatles fan? Thought so. Listen as house musician Jonathan Coulton takes some of Fab Four's most beloved hits and transforms them into trivia questions about famous people. Is nothing sacred?
You don't need a medical license to solve these clues. Host Ophira Eisenberg offers literal interpretations of phrases that involve parts of the body--"I'm so awkward and clumsy, I'm entirely pollical digits!" You may think this game is a real pain in the cervical vertebrae (but not literally).
Those two little dots that get placed over vowels are known either as umlauts or diaereses. They're used to indicate that the vowel is pronounced in an unusual way, and sometimes they're used in people's names because they're foreign. Or pretentious. (Just ask Anaïs Nin or Chloë Sevigny.) Puzzle guru Art Chung leads this final round full of double-dotted words.
Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:02 am
The Supreme Court has struck down a law mandating that nonprofit organizations adopt a policy opposing prostitution as a condition for receiving federal funds for HIV/AIDS programs abroad, saying such a requirement violated the groups' free-speech rights.
In the 6-2 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts led the majority, with Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself.
Now we want to talk about the way people are getting new music across the globe. Earlier this week, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z announced he's teaming up with Samsung to release his next album "Magna Carta Holy Grail." Here he is advertising that release.
(SOUNDBITE OF JAY-Z COMMERCIAL)
JAY Z: The idea is to really finish the album and drop it, giving it to the world at one time and then letting them share it when it goes out.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, music may often get Brazil into the move for a carnival, but it's also inspiring and being inspired by protests going on in that country. We'll hear some of it in just a few minutes.
Music has influenced - and been influenced by - many social movements. As protesters flood the streets in Brazil, NPR's Alt Latino co-host Jasmine Garsd discusses popular Brazilian protest songs with guest host Celeste Headlee.
Alfredo Corchado, the Mexico bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, has dedicated his life to investigating government corruption, murders and ruthless drug cartels in his native Mexico.
He received death threats multiple times, and doesn't feel safe, but he says he has "learned to embrace the fear." Corchado, an American citizen, has written a memoir about the complicated relationship he has with the country of his birth, entitled, Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness.
The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Barry washed ashore just north of Veracruz, Mexico, at about 8 a.m. Central Time.
According to the latest data, Barry's top sustained winds were about 45 miles per hour as it headed inland. The storm is expected to lose strength rapidly and fall to tropical depression status by tonight. But, the Center warns, "Barry is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 5 inches, with maximum amounts of 10 inches over southern Mexico."
Young women listen to a talk on domestic violence and HIV prevention near Lome, Togo, in April. Abused women in sub-Saharan Africa and India are at higher risk for HIV than women who haven't experienced violence.
Credit Dinuka Liyanawatte / Reuters /Landov
Two women in Colombo, Sri Lanka, attend a March protest calling for government action against domestic violence and rape.
Credit Courtesy of the World Health Organization
Prevalence of rape and domestic violence in each region of the world.
Thirty-five percent of women around the world have been raped or physically abused, according to statistics the World Health Organization released Thursday. About 80 percent of the time this violence occurs in the home, at the hands of a partner or spouse.