Steven's father had been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors didn't think he would make it. Pale and bald, he didn't look himself. Steven wanted to take a picture, made a video, just in case. Dad refused. "I got so mad," Steven remembers. "I regret not just coming up to him and saying, 'Dad, five minutes.' "
Steven's dad died on June 12, 2011. "The only time I can hear his voice is on our answering machine for two seconds," Steven says. "Hi, Heinz family, leave a message."
Then-U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (left) shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2011. During his 37 years as a diplomat, Crocker served as ambassador to six Muslim countries.
Each week,Weekend Edition Sundayhost Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.
Ryan Crocker is a long-time U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador in six Muslim countries. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush.
Born into a military family, Crocker says he was drawn to the foreign service because he grew up overseas and spent time traveling in the Middle East.
In the late 1970s, activists in Iran had a brief moment of hope. The revolution had succeeded; the shah's repressive regime had been overthrown. But things quickly turned for the worse. The newly formed Islamic Republic threw vocal dissenters in prison, and in 1988, it quietly executed thousands of them.
The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn't reach the court any sooner.
They didn't want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.
With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.
Louis Parsons in his late teens, circa 1946, standing beside an Aeronca Champion airplane, a typical trainer plane for aspiring post-war private pilots.
Credit Parsons Family Photograph
Louis Parsons in November 1960, shortly before he gave up flying and started a family. The truck in the background says "Parsons Airpark," after the private airport he built in Carpinteria, Calif. In the 1950s, movie stars would sometimes fly in on their way up to Santa Barbara.
My dad was a mild-mannered guy. Never bragged. Hated sports. Mom won the arguments. He was an avocado farmer near Santa Barbara, but being dad was his No. 1 job.
He read me bedtime stories, never missed a piano recital or a family dinner. And he played it safe: Dad's idea of adventure was driving his Ford Taurus to town without the wiper fluid filled to the top.
Egyptian employees of the Cairo Opera House and opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi hold placards during a demonstration inside the opera's compound in Cairo on May 30, following the dismissal of the head of the opera house. The firing is the latest salvo in a cultural war between artists and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
Credit Amr Nabil / AP
Enas Abdel-Dayem, former head of the Cairo Opera House (center), is greeted by employees and activists on May 30 as they chant anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a protest demanding the resignation of Egypt's culture minister.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts SI and the second word starts with T. For example, given "unadorned set of facts," you would say, "simple truth."
Last week's challenge: Name a movie in two words — five letters in each word. Both words start with vowels. Take one letter in the first word, move it two spaces later in the alphabet, and rearrange the result. You'll get the second word in the movie's title. What movie is it?
Cattle stand in a heavily irrigated pasture in Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin. The state has ordered ranchers in the region to shut down irrigation. The move is aimed at protecting the rights of Indian tribes who live downstream.
Credit Amelia Templeton for NPR
Don Gentry, chairman of the Klamath Tribes, says the tribes have not been able to fish for suckerfish for the past 27 years. "The condition of our fish is just so dire," he says.
So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.
Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.
So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?
Rebecca Solnit begins her new memoir, The Faraway Nearby, with a question: "What's your story?"
"It's all in the telling," she says. "Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of the world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice."
It's hard to go unnoticed in New York City, with everyone checking out the latest fashions and hairstyles. As the weather warms, some women who are shedding those winter layers are finding themselves the object of more cat calls, whistles and roving eyes than they'd like.
Artist Tatayana Fazlalizadeh is not going to take it anymore.
Under the cover of darkness, wearing a black knit hit, black leather jacket and black Chuck Taylors, Fazlalizadeh is nearly invisible. She's scouring Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a blank canvas.
The White House is taking its first tentative steps toward arming Syrian rebels. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, about the U.S.' ongoing struggle to determine when is the right time to intercede. They also discuss moderate candidate Hasan Rowhani's victory in the Iranian presidential election.
Amid the protests and clashes in Istanbul's Taksim Square, a pianist has been hauling in his instrument at night to entertain the crowds. Each time he does, the raucous crowd stills itself while he plays. In between tunes, chants rise up and he stands on his piano bench to conduct the crowd.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The Iranian interior minister has announced on state TV that Hasan Rowhani has won that country's presidential election. Mr. Rowhani reportedly won 53 percent of the vote. He's considered a moderate on Iran's political spectrum. Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and joins us. Thanks very much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And I wait all week to say: time for sports.
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SIMON: Finals time - on ice and the hardwood. The Heat and the Spurs are tied at two games each in the NBA Finals. And tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins in game two of hockey's Stanley Cup. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us from the studios of New England Public Radio in Amherst. Howard, thanks for being with us.
Google has launched — quite literally — a new idea to bring the Internet to some of the world's remotest places.
The tech giant's engineering hothouse, Google X, is testing the use of 12-mile-high helium balloons to get coverage in areas where it's impractical to put in conventional infrastructure.
Google said Saturday that it has 30 of the balloons, or "high-altitude platforms" (HAPS), flying over New Zealand as part of something called Project Loon. They will hover at about twice the altitude of a passenger jet.
Syrian rebels take part in a battle Thursday in the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan. The U.S. says it will begin providing arms to the rebels, who have been losing ground recently to the Syrian army.
Credit Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
Salim Idris, the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army, says his forces badly need additional weapons and would not share them with extremist Islamist factions.
Now that President Obama's administration says it's prepared to arm Syria's rebels, this raises a question relatively few people can answer: Who exactly are these guys?
The rebels have been fighting President Bashar Assad's regime for about two years, and more than 90,000 people have died in Syria's civil war. But in the U.S. and elsewhere, the rebels have not established a clear identity.
Here are five things worth knowing about the rebels:
Turkish riot police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing tear gas and water cannons to dislodge protesters after two weeks of anti-government demonstrations.
The police moved into the square hours after an ultimatum issued by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that security forces "know how to clear" the area. Erdogan had given the demonstrators until Sunday, but police made their move late Saturday.
Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 12:08 pm
Facebook and Microsoft Corp. say the government has given them permission to reveal orders they've received to hand over user data, but that they are still prevented from giving anything other than very broad figures.
Facebook says it received 9,000 to 10,000 requests during the last six months of 2012, while Microsoft says it got 6,000 to 7,000 requests, affecting as many as 32,000 accounts.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Now, panel, who will flee the country next? Bobcat Goldthwait.
BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: Oh, I didn't - I wanted - I thought it was who I wanted to leave.
SAGAL: All right. Well...
GOLDTHWAIT: I'd hate to make it personal again, but every time my ego (unintelligible) after I do this show, there's this one person that's really mad that I'm on the show that I always find commenting. And all I can say to this guy is like, hey way to be all inclusive. Can't a guy from "Police Academy" be on WAIT WAIT?
Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 12:17 pm
Firefighters near Colorado Springs say that a surprise rainstorm and cooler weather have rallied their efforts to push back devastating wildfires that have destroyed at least 473 homes in recent days. Two people have been killed.
Authorities say that some evacuations of residents in the Black Forest, Colo., area have been lifted and that the largest of the fires is about one-third contained.
On Friday, several thousand people were allowed back into their homes, but an estimated 30,000 are still being told to stay away.
A bomb ripped through a bus in southwestern Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 14 students from a women's university in Quetta. Shortly afterward, militants burst into a nearby hospital that was treating the injured. Pakistani security forces stormed the hospital and regained control after a five-hour standoff.
Our original post continues:
A bomb on a bus in Pakistan has killed at least 11 female university students and teachers, and hurt 20 others. Militants later attacked the hospital where the victims were taken.
NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.