The Texas multimillionaire Bob Perry died this past Saturday. Perry made his money building suburban homes. He then spent much of it in ways that changed American politics.
NPR's Peter Overby tells us more.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Bob Perry died at age 80. He never said much in public about his politics. The money spoke for him. In 2004, he plowed four and a half million dollars into the group that produced this ad.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 5:36 pm
Once every decade, the literary magazine Granta publishes an issue called "Best of Young British Novelists," with short excerpts from the novels of 20 emerging authors. In the past, the list of names has proved unusually prescient, with authors such as Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and Zadie Smith featured before they were widely read.
And now, to Capitol Hill where lawmakers are debating several big ideas these days. There's the gun control bill in the Senate and a possible compromise on immigration reform. But that's not all. In just a few months, another fiscal fight could steal the spotlight.
NPR's Tamara Keith has this look forward to a potential battle over the debt ceiling again.
The 2013 Pulitzer Prizes were awarded today in journalism, fiction, poetry, drama and music. Among the winners: many of the most prominent news organizations and some less prominent. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us now from our bureau in New York. And, David, tell us about some of today's winners.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour with the horrific story unfolding today out of Boston. Just over four hours into the Boston Marathon, two explosions ripped into a crowd of onlookers and runners not far from the finish line. Boston Police have confirmed at least two people dead, and 23 injured. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick spoke just moments ago, along with the city's police commissioner, Ed Davis.
Medical geneticist Dr. Harry Ostrer (center) talks to the press outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The court heard oral arguments on the highly charged question of whether human genes can be patented.
In a case considered pivotal to the future of science and medicine, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical Monday about a claim that human genes can be patented.
Contending that genes can be patented are the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, which see patents as the keys to new scientific exploration. On the other side are doctors, patients and many scientists, who see gene patents as an attempt to monopolize and block future exploration in the new universe of genetics.
Anne Mostue is a reporter from member station WGBH, in Boston. She was there, covering the race, at the time of the explosions, and she joins us now. And Anne, where were you, exactly, when these bombs went off?
ANNE MOSTUE, BYLINE: I'm - I was a block away, just on Newbury Street, which is parallel to Boylston - where those bombs went off.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:33 am
People near the finish line of the Boston Marathon described horrific scenes of the chaos that followed two loud explosions in quick succession this afternoon, sending spectators rushing away from the scene in panic as others lay bloodied and wounded on the ground.
One witness, Aaron Michael told member station WGBH that he heard first one explosion and then another.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:16 pm
Texas homebuilder Bob Perry was a behind-the-scenes political player who helped bankroll the Mitt Romney campaign last year, and who even before the era of superPACs spent tens of millions of dollars to influence the nation's politics.
Imagine for a second what it would be like if you could talk to your radio, and your radio would actually listen. To get an idea of what this might be like, I downloaded an app called Talk to Esquire, from the magazine of the same name.
When I opened it, the app asked me a question: What's your favorite type of liquor? That's a little forward, but it's Esquire so I played along and told the app that I'm more of a beer drinker.
Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey and Billy Smith drive down a desolate highway toward a prison in East Texas. They've all been there before, serving hard time — 63 years among the three of them.
But this time it's different. They're driving a Hummer. They're dressed to the nines. And they're on a mission. They aim to get an inmate out — a friend of Scott's named Jimmy O'Steen, aka Big O. But this will be a slow-motion prison break. Scott, Lindsey and Smith are all exonerated prisoners.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 3:06 pm
Is small-batch hard apple cider the next microbrew? It seems everybody and their brother is experimenting with ways to make the potent stuff profitable. Sales of domestically produced hard cider have more than tripled since 2007, according to beverage industry analysts — and that's not counting Europe, where it has held a steady popularity for centuries.
The paying and collecting of taxes might not be the sexiest plot point in an industry that depends on sizzle. But that doesn't mean revenuers haven't made their mark on screen.
Credit 20th Century Fox / Getty Images
Death And Taxes: In 1964's What a Way To Go!, Paul Newman plays a successful artist married to a woman (Shirley MacLaine) who's got so much money she's decided to give it away to the IRS. The film is one of three pictures in which Newman gets entangled with widows and the tax code.
Credit MGM / Photofest
Window Dressing: In 1939's Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) dresses to impress Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) so he'll help her pay off back taxes on the family plantation.
It's fair to say that the bakery employees who hooted and jeered "tax maaaaaan" when mild-mannered auditor Will Ferrell showed up in Stranger than Fiction were no fans of the Internal Revenue Service. In that, they're like a lot of us, no?
So it's intriguing that Hollywood generally treats tax inspectors as nice guys. On the big screen, it's typically their IRS bosses who are the bad ones.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:37 am
The new batch of Pulitzer Prize winners has just been announced, with novelist Adam Johnson winning the fiction prize with The Orphan Master's Son. The winners of the prizes for Americans' best work in journalism, drama, music, and writing also receive a $10,000 cash award.
The explosions happened in quick succession four hours after the beginning of the race, the world's oldest and one of the most prestigious road races in the world. At that point, the majority of 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line. Thousands, however, were still out on the course.
Police in Munich, Germany, stand watch last week as activists protest against right-wing violence. A trial is set to begin next month for men charged in the killings of nine immigrants and a German policewoman.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:20 am
Germany is preparing for its most important terrorism trial in decades.
Ten people — eight of them of Turkish descent, one of Greek extraction and one a German policewoman, were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. For years, German authorities failed to see a link between the crimes, even though the same gun was used in all of the shootings. They also rejected any link to right-wing extremism.
Bitcoins are a digital currency, attractive to those who prefer not to leave a paper trail when they buy and sell things online. Over the past two years, the Bitcoin community has widely expanded and the value of the currency has fluctuated wildly.
Maglena Gomez waves an American flag as she and others participate in a march that organizers said was an attempt to get the U.S. Congress to say yes to immigration reform on April 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Imagine April 15 but without tax returns, without the mad scramble to finish them, the long wait at the post office, the piles of receipts piling up for deductible expenses, in other words an America without tax returns.
In a new book, Charles Graeber tells the story of Charlie Cullen, a registered nurse who was was dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media after he was implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients.
Credit Gabrielle V. Allen / Twelve Books
Medical student turned journalist Charles Graeber has written about science, crime and business for The New Yorker, Wired and New York Magazine, among other publications.
In 2003, police in Somerset County, N.J., arrested a hospital nurse named Charlie Cullen who was suspected of injecting patients with lethal doses of a variety of medications. Cullen would turn out to be one of the nation's most prolific serial killers, murdering dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in nine hospitals over a 16-year period.
Journalist Charles Graeber spent six years investigating the Cullen case, and is the only reporter to have spoken with Cullen in prison. In his new book, The Good Nurse, Graeber pieces together the elements of Cullen's story.
Vietnam has sent what analysts believe could be the remains of a member of the American military who died in the country during the Vietnam War. After a repatriation ceremony at the airport in Da Nang Sunday, the remains were sent to Hawaii for examination and possible identification.