Once upon a time when a car company introduced a new car, it was a new new car.
But at this year's L.A. Auto Show, you won't see any revolutionary new rides — at least not on the outside. You'll find the same sameness in your grocery store parking lot. A lot of cars look alike. Why is that?
"What they're relying on to distinguish these cars from one another is not so much the mechanical pieces of them or the design," says Brian Moody of Autotrader.com. "They're selling sort of a lifestyle or an experience or a philosophy."
Shaheen Dhada (left) and Renu Srinivasan leave court in Mumbai on Nov. 19. Dhada was arrested for a Facebook post questioning the shutdown of Mumbai for the funeral of a powerful politician; Srinivasan was arrested for "liking" the post.
Credit Julie McCarthy / NPR
Shaken by the reaction to his daughter's Facebook post, Farooq Dhada (shown here with Shaheen) says in India, freedom of speech "exists only on paper."
Credit Rajanish Kakade / AP
Thousands of mourners gather beside a truck carrying the body of Bal Thackeray, the leader of the Hindu hard-line Shiv Sena party, during his funeral in Mumbai on Nov. 18.
Shaheen Dhada is an unlikely looking protagonist in the battle under way in India to protect free speech from government restrictions in the new media age.
Slight and soft-spoken, Dhada perches on the edge of her bed in a purple-walled room that has been her own for the past 20 years. Outside, police officers are posted for her protection in the town of Palghar, 2 1/2 hours outside Mumbai.
Keith Gresham, 65, lines up four medications he takes at his home in Detroit in 2011. The self-employed painter was without health insurance for about a decade and was happy to finally turn 65 last year so he could qualify for Medicare.
Whenever the discussion turns to saving money in Medicare, the idea of raising the eligibility age often comes up.
"I don't think you can look at entitlement reform without adjusting the age for retirement," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on ABC's This Week last Sunday. "Let it float up another year or so over the next 30 years, adjust Medicare from 65 to 67."
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:28 am
A saxophonist, a pianist and a bass player walk into a bar. But the bar happens to be one of the world's preeminent jazz clubs, where they're regularly sighted on stage. And they're working as a new collective band: no drummer, no hierarchy. So much for that joke.
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale are singer-songwriters who've each written hits for country and rock acts, and have enjoyed extensive solo careers as performers and producers. Buddy and Jim is their first collaboration, a mixture of original songs and covers from earlier decades of country, rock, folk and soul music.
Record-high fuel prices have hammered airlines, forcing executives to eliminate flights, cut back on unprofitable routes and make passengers pay for many perks that used to be free.
Now the airlines are looking at other ways to save money. That means a new opportunity for a plane from the past.
On a typical day at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the "Plane Train" ferries some 200,000 travelers a day between terminals. One of those passengers, Rebecca Hamilton, is on her way home to Florida.
A worker inspects a huge target chamber at the National Ignition Facility in California, in 2001, where beams from 192 lasers are aimed at a pellet of fusion fuel in the hopes of creating nuclear fusion.
Credit Bloomberg / Getty Images
A hydrogen-filled target called a hohlraum is displayed inside the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California in 2009.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:18 pm
In Washington's latest game of chicken, President Obama is counting on voters who see things his way to give him the edge in his quest to get congressional Republicans to accept tax increases on the nation's wealthiest as part of any fiscal cliff deal.
To energize those voters, the president is ramping up a series of campaign-style events meant to educate the public about the stakes, as he sees them, of letting the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans expire if no agreement is reached by year's end.
Miles Lappeman (left) and his son Marc with the carcass of a rhino that was killed for its horn at their Finfoot Lake Reserve on Nov. 24 in South Africa. This was one of eight rhinos slaughtered by poachers.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 9:54 am
Determined not to be excluded from the post-election bipartisan talk of passing immigration legislation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday rejected two Republican proposals while outlining its own priorities.
Writing for the New York Review of Books at the beginning of November, Robert Malley, the program director for the Middle East and North Africa with the International Crisis Group, and Hussein Agha described the current situation in the Middle East:
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:58 pm
Mitt Romney refused to mix religion with politics in this year's presidential campaign, but that didn't repress people's curiosity about Mormonism. His candidacy brought the homegrown faith into the spotlight.
Patrick Mason, a professor and chairman of the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University, says attention paid to his faith has been twofold. On one hand, it's been good for attracting new converts. On the other hand, it's turned Mormonism into something of a cultural punch line.
Details are still emerging in the wake of a factory fire that killed more than 100 textile workers outside the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. Melissa Block speaks with Reuters' South Asia bureau chief, John Chalmers, about the latest from Bangladesh, where protests have raged for three days.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.
Now to the fragile truce between Israel and Hamas. The fighting may have stopped but a lot of work needs to be done for the cease-fire to last. In Cairo, talks are underway mediated by Egypt, on key issues such as easing the blockade of Gaza.
NPR's Philip Reeves reports those talks are being followed closely by people on land and sea.
Every year, restaurants throw away as much as 10 percent of the food they buy, as we reported yesterday, yet food waste ranks low on most chefs' list of priorities. But some restaurants want to do something about food waste in their quest to go green. That includes Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana, one of New York's trendiest restaurants.
The latest film for Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone, is a French art film about two broken individuals who find love at the edge of the sea. It's poetic, lyrical — and not necessarily playing at a theater near you.
That was not the case earlier this summer, when Cotillard appeared as one of the central characters in the blockbuster Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:30 pm
The GOP's roughing up of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, thought to be President Obama's top pick for his second-term secretary of state, brings to mind the last time the Senate rejected a commander in chief's choice for that most crucial position.
It was some six decades ago, and after bitter and tumultuous hearings — think allegations of communism and homosexuality, as well as a high-profile suicide — that senators dumped the president's nominee by a vote of 74-24.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader in the House, says she's optimistic that Democrats and Republicans will reach a deal that would avoid triggering a wide array of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in the new year and that experts say could send the economy into a recession.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 1:21 pm
Susan Rice is in many ways a prototypical Obama administration official: young, ambitious and accomplished, with a reputation for being direct and — at times — confrontational.
But unlike her colleagues, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is embroiled in a lingering controversy, over what she knew and what she said in the days after September's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.