First things first: FEAR NOT. This is a non-spoilery Breaking Bad discussion. If you don't believe me, consider that even two of the people in the room haven't seen the whole run of the series, so if there were spoilers, we'd know (and get punched). Instead, we try to put the themes of the series in the context of a bigger discussion about what kinds of protagonists we can and cannot root for, what kinds of television are growing and shrinking, and what kinds of conversations we want to have about the shows we love.
(POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The obituary of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap was prepared three years ago and includes observations by Giap biographer Cecil Currey, who died in March.)
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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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And I'm Renee Montagne. Let's remember, now, a legendary Vietnamese general. Vo Nguyen Giap has died at 102. It was Giap who defeated the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, which effectively ended a hundred years of French colonial rule in Southeast Asia.
On South Carolina's steamy Johns Island is a fern-draped, centuries-old live oak that has withstood hurricanes, the creation of the United States and every government shutdown to date.
But conservationists worry that the tree known as the Angel Oak could fall victim to encroaching development. They've got two months to come up with enough money to buy the land where it has stood for more than 400 years.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 7:16 am
Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. Of course, it's hard to be happy if you're one of the more than two million federal workers either furloughed or working without pay, or one of the millions of other Americans whose lives are disrupted by official Washington's dysfunction. It's Day Four of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition. And an end to the disagreement still doesn't seem in the offing.
On that grim note, here are some items of political interest worth mulling over this morning.
Good morning. I'm David Greene with a new reason to yell four. Look out, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods - Sammy is the biggest new star in pro golf. And he's a baby squirrel. Golfer Davis Love scooped up the lost critter at the President's Cup tournament yesterday, worried he'd get struck. By the end of the day, Sammy's cute face had stolen the spotlight and he was named the unofficial mascot for Team U.S.A.
Some people skydive, others build websites. Designers Chris Hirst and Leo Zhao have now done both, at once. The stunt was to promote their product, Designbymobile. The message: We've made Web designing so easy, you can do it anywhere. On their first jump, they gathered video. On the second, they used that footage to create a website. It only took a minute, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the 8,000-foot plunge.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.
From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.
The government shutdown grinds on with no immediate relief in sight.
President Obama says he's willing to talk with Republican lawmakers about adjustments to the health care law and other issues, but only after they re-open the government and lift the threat of a federal default.
"I'm happy to negotiate with you on anything. I don't think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom. But you don't negotiate by putting a gun to the other person's head," Obama says.
Experts in negotiation say the president's stance may be justified, but it's also risky.
This week on the program, we've been talking to and about prodigies: children with extraordinary abilities far beyond their age. Yesterday, we talked about how hard it is to find the right balance, encouraging these kids without setting expectations too high, something that can hurt them later as adults. This is largely up to their parents, who face some incredibly difficult choices. And today we'll hear from two parents: the mother of a teenage computer wonder and the father of a pint-sized tennis phenom.
The partial shutdown of the federal government involves real lives, people out of work and also politics, the blame game. It's a wide-ranging story that forces news outlets to confront a familiar question. How do you present the story, remain even-handed and explain accurately what's happening? Here's NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV NEWS BROADCASTS)
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: A lot of headlines and coverage has sounded something like this.
And all of that happened yesterday in what has been a charged week at the Capitol. Republicans in the House stuck to their demands to defund the Affordable Care Act and parts of the government remain shut down.
Across the U.S., many part-time workers have joined the millions shopping for coverage in the new health care marketplace. Some are uninsured. Others are being pushed into the new exchanges because their employers — companies that include Trader Joe's and Home Depot — decided to drop coverage for part-timers.
And today's last word in business: beer and a shot of vegan?
Munich's Oktoberfest - the Bavarian festival of beer - ends on Sunday. It normally brings in over $1 billion and draws some six million visitors to the German city.
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Lots of bratwurst and chicken and of course beer get consumed. This year, festival goers have been treated to something else, thanks to the Lorenz Huckett(ph), a 21-year-old cook who took time from working in the kitchen of his father's festival tent to talk to us.
Twitter gave potential investors the first peek at its financials as the company heads toward its initial public offering. Twitter plans to raise $1 billion in its IPO and will trade under the ticker symbol TWTR. While Twitter has quickly transformed the way people communicate and comment on events, it has yet to establish itself as a business.
One of pro basketball's most colorful figures is not on the court, but he's now in court. Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, defended himself yesterday on civil charges of insider trading.
From member station KERA in Dallas, BJ Austin reports.
NPR's business news begins with no new jobs report.
The Labor Department says it's not releasing the September employment report today as scheduled. The jobs report is almost always released on the first Friday of the month. Not this time. That's thanks to the shutdown, which is in its fourth day.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:04 pm
Congress: On Day 3 of the shutdown, a Washington made tense by partisan acrimony was put even more on edge by a bizarre incident. A woman who drove erratically near the White House and then the U.S. Capitol, causing the legislative complex to be locked down, ended up dead after a high-speed chase that left a Capitol Hill police officer injured.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
Twitter is revealing more details about its planned initial public offering. Late this afternoon, the company announced its intention to raise a billion dollars by selling stock, and revealed detailed information about its finances for the first time. We're joined now by NPR's Steve Henn to discuss this peek behind the Twitter curtain. Hey there, Steve.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:02 pm
Preston Bates considers the budget stalemate a good return on investment.
Bates is executive director of Liberty for All, a libertarian-leaning superPAC that last year spent more than $3 million helping to elect Republican congressmen such as Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan.
Those two are among the core group of House members refusing to support any deal that would reopen the government without delaying, defunding or destroying the Affordable Care Act, the health care law also known as Obamacare.