Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 10:27 am
It's a big month for origin stories: first the Man of Steel, now the Eye of Green and the Abominable Furball of Blue — aka Mike and Sully, top scarers at Monsters, Inc. How did they become the best of the best, you ask? You didn't ask? Well, Pixar's got the answer anyway: They trained at Monsters U.
World War Z is clearly out to make a buck — and needs to, since with its well-publicized overruns, rewrites and production delays, it looks to have cost gazillions in screenwriter salaries alone — but for its first hour or so, you'd never guess this sprawling contagion epic had anything on its mind but action storytelling.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. All this week, I'm in Birmingham, Alabama, where the city is in the midst of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the tumultuous and influential civil rights protests that occurred here. One place that might not come to mind when you think about this period is the golf course.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Edie Falco as his wife, Carmella, in a scene from The Sopranos. Gandolfini died of cardiac arrest in Italy, according to reports citing a doctor at the hospital where was admitted.
Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm
The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)
It's impossible to open the newspaper or turn on the TV these days without seeing some outrageous example of new Asian money. From a castle modeled on Versailles in Changsha to billion-dollar penthouses in Bombay to the Marina Bay Sands casino in Singapore, with its seven celebrity-chef restaurants, the inescapable truth looms before us: We Asians are not just rich but also, frankly, somewhat crazy.
In the wake of the dome's mysterious appearance, the townspeople are cut off from access to TV, phones and the Internet, and must make do with the people and objects they have at their disposal.
You Shall Not Pass: The CBS series Under the Dome tracks the dramas that unfold when an invisible dome isolates the residents of a New England hamlet. (Natalie Martinez and Josh Carter play a couple separated by the sudden development.) Based on a Stephen King novel, the show is the first on-screen collaboration between King and Steven Spielberg.
Britt Robertson plays Angie McAlister, a medical center volunteer who longs to escape the town and become a full-fledged nurse.
Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.
The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
For the first time in modern history, Shiite fighters are crossing borders to wage jihad, much as Sunnis traveled to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and to Iraq to fight Americans. These days, the draw is Syria. The cause is not a foreign invader but a rival sect. And some say, it's about fulfilling a thousand-year-old prophecy, as NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
Special U.S. courts charged with authorizing electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists gave permission to the NSA to retain in certain cases "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications, The Guardian reports.
Pilou Asbaek (right) plays ship's cook Mikkel, a new dad who desperately wishes to return to his family, but is instead forced to prepare menus at gunpoint as the cargo vessel's owners negotiate for its release.
You might expect big action from a movie about the hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates. But after a preliminary flurry of roughing-up, the Danish drama A Hijacking is mostly about the excruciating process of getting to "yes" when language is the least of the barriers between two very different mindsets.
Finally, a big jump and a mystery in Chicago. Police are searching for three men who jumped off the top of the 92-story Trump Tower late last night with parachutes. They managed to land and escape before police arrived.
NPR's David Schaper has been gathering reaction in Chicago.
The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?
The U.S. House defeated its version of the farm bill this afternoon. The bill would have cut the food stamps program and transformed subsidies for farmers from direct payments to crop insurance premium support. But Republicans lost 60 of their own members who voted no, along with most Democrats.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with what appears to be a major breakthrough in the Senate on immigration. The legislation has been stalled, as some senators complained that it did not do enough to secure the border with Mexico. Well, today, a compromise has been struck. It would nearly double the number of border patrol agents at the Mexican border.
Tomorrow, Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the Middle East and South Asia. In a week's time, he'll be meeting with Jordanians, Palestinians and Israelis, hoping to advance the prospects for peace. Those prospects are not especially bright, even by the usual dim standards of Middle East diplomacy.
Six women have been selected for the trial of George Zimmerman, right, on second-degree murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was in court Thursday with his defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
A jury has been settled upon in the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The six-member panel is made up entirely of female jurors; five of them are white women, according to reports.
Attorneys in the trial finished questioning potential jurors around mid-day Thursday; they are also selecting four alternate jurors for the trial.
In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly pulled his representatives out of planned peace talks because of the flag and the nameplate at the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar. Both were legacies of the time the Taliban ruled the country and illustrated how sensitive such symbols can be.
A flag and a nameplate: Those seemingly innocuous items were apparently the reason that Afghan President Hamid Karzai abruptly refused to participate in peace talks also involving the Taliban and the U.S.
The flag was the same white flag the Taliban used when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. The nameplate bore the words "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name used by the old Taliban government.
Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."
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."