It's incredibly calming to watch Glenn Jones play acoustic guitar. Whether he's appearing by the train tracks or in one of our Tiny Desk Concerts, there's nothing flashy about his style, only careful consideration as he gently hops over the frets like a lily-padding frog.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 12:52 pm
Margaret Thatcher, the prime minister whose time leading Great Britain in the 1980s brought joy to conservatives and despair to liberals, was remembered Wednesday for "a life lived in the heat of political controversy."
With her death last week at the age of 87, "there is great calm" for the Iron Lady, added the bishop of London, the Right Reverend Richard Chartres, during a funeral service at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep, with good luck to Sean Parker and his bride-to-be. She's a singer; he's a Facebook billionaire and founder of Napster. Mr. Parker committed $10 million to their wedding. He paid for waterfalls, bridges and ancient ruins created for the occasion. Guests will wear outfits created by the costume designer from "Lord of the Rings."
To celebrate National Poetry Month this April, NPR Books reached into the archives for some interviews with the nation's official poets. Poets Laureate past and present have revealed their eloquence and insight in these interviews, where they discuss their inspirations, their heart-breaking memories, their confrontations with aging — and, in the case of Ted Kooser, how his wife felt about his thousands of Valentines.
Chris Holmes worked at a London airport, but his true love was always making cakes. So Holmes decided to quit his job to run his own bake shop, which brings us to his resignation letter. He wrote it on a cake with icing. He said he wanted more time with his family. He wished his colleagues well. It took two hours, more time than he had ever spent on a birthday message or anniversary wish. A photo of his work went viral, publicity that he really felt was icing on the cake.
From the first explosion in Boston on Monday to the second, just 15 seconds elapsed. And in those 15 seconds, three people were mortally wounded, including an 8-year-old boy. The number of injured topped 100, and for those of us watching, it was a profound reminder of a reality we'd prefer to ignore.
There's been a major push to prevent bullying in America's schools but some are now worried in our enthusiasm to tackle this social problem, we are creating new problems. Indiana is the latest state to pass a tough anti-bullying law. It requires schools to develop prevention programs and adopt rules for disciplining bullies, among other measures.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
We spoke to Emily Bazelon about this. Her new book on bullying is called "Sticks and Stones." Emily, thanks for joining us.
NPR's business news begins with fresh but not easy.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Britain's largest retailer is taking a big loss as it announces it will shut down its West Coast grocery store chain Fresh & Easy. Tesco launched the chain in 2007 with nearly 200 stores throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.
And today's last word in business is: out of this world - which is where the Dutch airline KLM will send two lucky customers at the start of next year -space, the final frontier.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
OK. To win the space journey, contestants have to correctly guess how far up a high-altitude balloon can make it before popping. Piece of cake - I know that's what you're thinking, right? Guesses submitted on KLM's website will be tested on April 22nd, when the company releases a balloon in the Nevada desert.
Google Glass is no longer merely a prototype. The company began delivering its high-tech glasses to a select group of test customers Tuesday.
The gadget looks kind of like a pair of eyeglasses, except it doesn't always have lenses and it has a tiny screen, about the size of the end of my pinkie, perched just above and to the right of the wearer's right eye.
Well, yesterday was not a day that you wanted to be traveling on American Airlines. The carrier cancelled all of its main routes for several hours, and also many of its commuter flights, as well. Almost 2,000 flights were infected in all. American blames computer networking problems.
Now, the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon struck at a very special type of sporting event. Marathons have been called the most democratic of sports, with the fewest physical barriers between athlete and spectator.
NPR's Mike Pesca examines whether the attack could permanently damage that accessibility.
Yet another movie about Jackie Robinson arrived as baseball held its annual commemorative celebration of No. 42, but officials of the game are fretting over the fact that only 8 1/2 percent of current major leaguers are black.
Given that African-Americans only constitute about 13 percent of the U.S. population, and that rarely do we have any industry or school system or community population that correlates exactly to the whole country's racial or ethnic makeup, baseball's somewhat smaller black cohort hardly seems like an issue to agonize over.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:02 am
My in-laws live in a half-wild, magical place perched along the edge of the Northern California coastline about an hour from San Francisco. On nice days — and even when it rains — my husband and I will take their black Lab for a ramble up into the woods behind the house where banana slugs carpet the narrow trail, salamanders creep shyly through the trees alongside it, and the air is full of birdsong and the good, damp smells of the growing things.
Christopher Knight, whose 27 years of living in near-total isolation in Maine's wilderness made him an object of fascination after he was arrested for stealing food and supplies, appeared by video for a court hearing Tuesday, when a Kennebec County judge set his bail at $25,000 cash.
Though he began his career as a drummer for The Band, Levon Helm kept working long after the group's dissolution. The documentary Ain't in It for My Health captures his final years as a working musician.
Credit Kino Lorber
The documentary gives a raw portrait of Helm's final years, but the true charm of the film are the moments filled with music.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:57 am
Rock 'n' roll is filled with "one lives it, the other writes about it" pairings, from Mick Jagger drawing on the observed excesses of Keith Richards on down the line. But such arrangements only work when both parties feel like they benefit.
When The Band came into its own as a self-contained group in the late 1960s — after stints backing Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan — its songs drew inspiration from a mythic vision of the American South that was itself inspired by The Band's only Southern member, drummer Levon Helm of Turkey Scratch, Ark.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 5:30 pm
On Monday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and some others made a point of highlighting President Obama's failure to use the words "terror" or "terrorism" in his first remarks following the Boston Marathon bombings.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 5:45 am
Quoting "congressional and law enforcement sources," CNN is reporting that an envelope sent to a senator's office has tested positive for the poison ricin.
"After the envelope tested positive in a first routine test, it was retested two more times, each time coming up positive, the law enforcement source said," CNN reports. "The package was then sent to a Maryland lab for further testing."
The legislative process on Capitol Hill is often slow and grinding. There are committee hearings, filibuster threats and hours of floor debate. But sometimes, when Congress really wants to get something done, it can move blindingly fast.
That's what happened when Congress moved to undo large parts of a popular law known as the STOCK Act last week.
Wanda Rayborn, 63, was homeless for nine years and was living under a tree in downtown San Diego two years ago. She now lives in a newly renovated efficiency apartment — part of an initiative to help get homeless people off the streets.
Credit Pam Fessler / NPR
The use of the temporary winter shelter — which was scheduled to close April 1 — has been extended for another three months by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and the city council.
Two years ago, we reported on an ambitious campaign to end homelessness in downtown San Diego, a city with one of the largest homeless populations in the nation. The effort involved an unprecedented coalition of business leaders, community groups and government agencies.
At the time, some advocates for the homeless — after years of seeing other, failed efforts to get people off city streets — were skeptical that the campaign would amount to much.
Credit Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library Archives
Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail."
Credit Kathy Lohr / NPR
Charles Avery Jr. was 18 in 1963, when he participated in anti-segregation demonstrations in Birmingham. "I'll never forget the time or the date. It's etched in my mind forever," he says.
Credit Bill Hudson / AP
Alabama segregationist Bull Connor ordered police to use dogs and fire hoses on black demonstrators in May 1963.
It's been five decades since Martin Luther King Jr., began writing his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," a response to eight white Alabama clergymen who criticized King and worried the civil rights campaign would cause violence. They called King an "extremist" and told blacks they should be patient.
But the time for waiting was over. Birmingham was the perfect place to take a stand.
Listening to her ethereal sound, you might not guess that Rachel Zeffira was classically trained as an opera singer. But on her solo debut, The Deserters, she's not just singing: She also plays piano, synthesizers, vibraphone, cathedral organ, violin, viola, oboe and English horn.
Zeffira makes her home in London now, but she grew up in a small town in rural British Columbia and began playing music at a young age.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:03 am
As investigators combed through evidence in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, seeking both motive and perpetrator, we turned Tuesday to a security expert for guidance on how the investigation may be unfolding.
Bryan Cunningham, a former CIA officer, assistant U.S. attorney and deputy legal adviser for the National Security Council, served in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He is now a senior adviser at the consulting firm the Chertoff Group, co-founded by former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff.