Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:52 pm
Watch enough TV or movies these days, and you're likely to witness a throat getting slit. Not off-screen, or in a flash, but performed in full view of an unflinching camera. Call it authenticity, call it chutzpah or call it sadism, it takes only a few episodes of, say, Boardwalk Empire or Breaking Bad to realize that our visual storytellers are increasingly going for the gore.
After James Gandolfini's death this past June, the actor's turn in <em>Enough Said, </em>where he stars opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a man looking for a second chance at love, has taken on a tinge of the bittersweet.
Credit Lacey Terrell / Fox Searchlight
Catherine Keener, a frequent collaborator with Nicole Holofcener, takes on a supporting role as Albert's ex-wife — who's Eva's new client.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:40 pm
It was writer-director Nicole Holofcener's good fortune, and her bad luck, to have snagged James Gandolfini for Enough Said, her comedy about two imminent empty-nesters dipping their toes into fresh romantic waters. Given his untimely death,the film is likely to be remembered less for its own modest virtues than as a last chance to say a bittersweet farewell to its star.
Originally published on Sun September 22, 2013 6:27 am
Israeli director Eran Riklis often depicts characters separated by borders. In The Syrian Bride, a Druze woman leaves Israel to marry, knowing she can never return to visit her family; in Lemon Tree, a privileged Israeli woman and a disadvantaged Palestinian regard one another warily from opposite sides of the fence between free and occupied territory.
Zaytoun is different: This time, the director allows his characters to cross the frontier. That makes for a story that's sweeter, but also less convincing.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:37 am
If anyone thought Denis Villeneuve's attacks on his favorite targets might be tempered by his move from the art house to Hollywood-thriller territory, Prisoners should shut that line of thinking down in a hurry.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:40 pm
House Republicans, meet Sen. Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, House Republicans.
Given the surprise expressed by some House members at the Texas senator's approach to the defunding of Obamacare, perhaps an introduction was in order.
A few dozen House members Wednesday morning successfully coerced a reluctant Speaker John Boehner into tying the Obamacare language to a must-pass government funding bill. This came after weeks of television ads featuring Cruz and fellow Senate Republican Mike Lee advocating exactly that plan, regardless of the consequences.
Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 7:24 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the gigantic packets of 401(k) information we chuck directly into the fireplace is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request from a reader who seeks cheerful music for the mopey, beardy indie-rock soul.
In the quirky little college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, home to many unconventional ideas over the years, there's now a small insect factory.
It's an unassuming operation, a generic boxy building in a small industrial park. It took me a while even to find a sign with the company's name: EnviroFlight. But its goal is grand: The people at EnviroFlight are hoping that their insects will help our planet grow more food while conserving land and water.
While NPR's Melissa Block is in Brazil, we'll be showcasing the work of several Brazilian writers. On Tuesday we heard Tatiana Salem Levy's love letter to Rio. Now we turn to 20-year-old Yasmin Thayná, who discovered her love for writing as a teenager when she participated in a local program aimed at cultivating artistic talent in low-income communities.
Now, more on the SNAP program. Close to 16 million American households, nearly 14 percent of households, receive food stamps. That's 48 million Americans. Who are they and how would a cut affect them? Well, we're going to put those questions to Stacy Dean at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Welcome to the program.
STACY DEAN: Thanks for having me.
SIEGEL: What does that population look like? Who are those 48 million Americans?
The House today is voting on a plan pushed its Tea Party wing to slash $40 billion from food stamps. That's twice as much as the original House farm bill contemplated, and eight times as much as the Senate bill.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:19 pm
When the Mars Curiosity made its dramatic and first-of-its-kind landing on Mars in August of 2012, the hope was that the $2.5-billion rover could confirm what scientists had suspected: that there was life on Mars.
Today, in a paper released in the journal Science, researchers explain that if the Red Planet is harboring life, the instruments on the rover have been unable to sniff it out.
NPR's Joe Palca filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:12 pm
They never quite get over it.
Whenever there's a mass shooting, a tragedy that occurs with depressing frequency, survivors of earlier events have their own memories brought back vividly and horribly.
Kristina Anderson, one of dozens of people who was shot at Virginia Tech in 2007, now works across the river from Washington, D.C. When the news of the Navy Yard shootings there broke on Monday, her day melted into tears.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:11 am
New FBI Director Jim Comey said the man who went on a rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday was "wandering around looking for people to shoot" and had no apparent rhyme or reason for killing 12 people.
In his first remarks to reporters since taking office this month, Comey said the gunman, Aaron Alexis, ran out of ammunition for his legally purchased, sawed-off shotgun, exhausting a supply in his cargo pants pocket, and then began using a Beretta wrestled from a guard he had shot.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:52 pm
Clicking the "Like" button on Facebook is tantamount to other forms of protected speech, a federal court decided on Wednesday. That is, clicking Like is protected by the First Amendment as a form of assembly or association.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:41 pm
Greece's premier has vowed not to let a neo-Nazi party undermine democracy after the killing of a Greek hip-hop and rap singer by a right-wing extremist.
"This government is determined not to let the descendants of the Nazis poison our social life or commit crimes," Antonis Samaras said in a national television address.
An extremist with possible ties to the right-wing Golden Dawn party has admitted to stabbing to death musician Pavlos Fyssas, who goes by the stage name Killah P. The incident has sparked outrage among many Greeks.
Appalachia has a distinct culture of sipping soda constantly throughout the day. "Here in West Virginia, you see people carrying around bottles of Mountain Dew all the time — even at a public health conference," says public health researcher Dana Singer.
Execution witness Don Reid stands in the death chamber of the Texas State Penitentiary on July 31, 1972, where he officially watched 189 men die in the heavy oak electric chair. The Supreme Court struck down capital punishment on June 29 of that year.
Evan Mandery is also the author of three novels: <em>Dreaming of Gwen Stefani</em>; <em>First Contact: Or, It's Later Than You Think</em>; and<em> Q: A Love Story</em>.
In the mid-1970s, Arkansas' electric chair was being used by the prison barber to cut hair, and the execution chamber in New Hampshire was being used to store vegetables. That's because in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked the nation by striking down Georgia's death penalty law, effectively ending executions in the United States. But the decision provoked a strong backlash among those who favored the death penalty, and within four years the high court reversed course and issued a set of rulings that would permit the resumption of executions.
If you're on Twitter, you might want to think twice before bragging about all those followers you've been racking up. Some of the people who follow you might be fake — and there are now websites designed to expose them.
NPR's product manager for social media, Kate Myers, talks to Tell Me More's Michel Martin about how to spot fake accounts, why they might be following you and what you can do to stop them.
Sesame Street kicked off its new season this week, and it's putting a special focus on Hispanic heritage. There's also a new character on the block: Armando (also known as Mando). He's played by actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He earned a bachelor's in fine arts from New York University and has appeared in several films and the CBS drama The Good Wife. He's currently performing off-Broadway.
Don Cheadle may be one of Hollywood's quietest superstars. He was known for having high impact in supporting roles before Hotel Rwanda catapulted him to fame. He earned an Oscar nomination for playing the real-life hotel manager who protected more than a thousand Tutsis from the Hutu militia during the Rwandan civil war. Cheadle appeared in other critical and box office hits like Crash and Flight. He's now earned an Emmy nomination for his role in the TV show House of Lies.
Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:41 pm
The French government has taken a step toward saying non to beauty pageants for girls younger than 16. Earlier this week, the upper house of Parliament voted in favor of banning such contests as part of a larger bill on women's rights.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 2:32 pm
The little plastic sample tray is empty, but the man behind the counter quickly replaces it with one full of a mooncake cut into teeny-tiny pieces. I grab a piece (OK, a couple) before the jostling crowd behind me can get to it. Samples are, after all, the only reason to visit Costco in the middle of a Sunday. There's a large display of square tins, each decorated with a painting of a Chinese man. I take one back to my mother and ask, "Can we get one?"
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:25 pm
On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what's coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 10:08 am
Capitol Hill is rife with rich people — "hillionaires," if you will.
Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Carnes, a public policy professor at Duke University, points out that millionaires show up in only 3 percent of American families. But more than 60 percent of the Senate, most members of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court — and the president himself — are millionaires.
An appeals court in Texas has overturned the 2010 conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who had been found guilty of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates during the 2002 campaign cycle.