Miguelo Rada doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd have extra cash. He just spent 32 years in prison, he lives in a halfway house in West Harlem, and his current income comes only from public assistance.
He uses food stamps for food, wears hand-me-down clothes and buys almost nothing. He is also an unofficial bank.
"If somebody asks me, 'Can I borrow $20?' If I have it I'll say, 'Here!' " he says.
This kind of borrowing is one way people do what economists call "consumption smoothing" – basically making spending more regular, even when income is not.
Cynthia Sayer is widely regarded as one of the best banjoists in the world, able to perform in virtually any genre. Her accolades include the National Banjo Hall of Fame, a New York Philharmonic appearance and performances for two U.S. presidents. Sayer has played with Woody Allen's jazz band for more than a decade, and on this episode of Piano Jazz With Jon Weber, she whips up a fresh take on an old-time sound. Her latest album is titled Joyride.
Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.
In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed "Green Granges," which work together to advance the issues they care about.
Janis Siegel has been a member of the seminal vocal group The Manhattan Transfer for 30-plus years. Along the way, the group has recorded more than 20 albums and collected eight Grammy Awards, and Siegel also has nine solo albums under her belt.
"The United Nations, and in particular I, have been making it consistently clear that providing arms to either side would not address this current situation," Ban told reporters during a briefing. "There is no such military solution."
One word sums up my reaction to Joss Whedon's film of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing: Huzzah!
Here is the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer — and the director of The Avengers — working with American TV actors who have little or no training in verse-speaking. Who could have predicted such a team would produce the best of all filmed Shakespeare comedies?
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 12:35 pm
In recent years, programs that double the value of food stamp dollars spent at farmers markets have generated a lot of attention. The basic idea: Spend, say, $10 in food stamps and get an extra $10 credit for purchases at the market.
Horror films are filled with the things that nightmares are supposedly made of: monsters, madmen, murder, assorted blood and guts.
But those are really just the props of nightmares — representations of the psychological terrors that really plague us: our fears about mortality, isolation, abandonment and failure. Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio is one horror film that opts to skip the usual frolic among those metaphorical monsters in favor of a deeply unsettling dive into the subconscious.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 10:53 am
American politics has become like a big square dance. When the music stops after an election, people switch to the other side on a number of issues, depending on whether their party remains in power.
That was pretty clear this week, when polls revealed more Democrats than Republicans support tracking of phone traffic by the National Security Agency — the exact opposite of where things stood under President George W. Bush.
Sanford Under The Spotlight As Trial Begins The national media has descended on the town of Sanford, Florida, for the trial of George Zimmerman. He's the man accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. Host Michel Martin speaks with Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett to find out how emotions are running in his town.
Breaking the norms of faith isn't always easy — especially for Orthodox Jews. But Ruth Balinsky Friedman wants to take up the traditionally male-dominated role of faith leader. She speaks with host Michel Martin about what a woman can bring to the position.
Millions of Iranians cast ballots Friday in elections to replace incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a race that is being characterized as a potential challenge to the country's ruling Islamic clerics.
A slate of conservatives tacitly backed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are facing off against the lone moderate, Hasan Rowhan, a former nuclear negotiator.
Other candidates include Saeed Jalili, also a nuclear negotiator; Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf; and Khamenei's diplomatic adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati.
Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:51 pm
Look through a series of 15th-century woodcuts, and you'll find that the leper is as much an icon of medieval art as the crown or the cross.
Leprosy was so common in Europe during the Middle Ages that it's estimated 1 in 30 people was infected with the bacteria. But by the turn of the 16th century, after the Crusades had swept across Europe, the disease mysteriously disappeared. And it never returned.
This left scientists puzzled. Did the bacteria mutate to become less harmful, or did Europeans become resistant to the germs?
This week's podcast highlights the familiar choice facing Americans in the wake of the NSA news: privacy vs. security. The case of Edward Snowden offers up another choice: hero or traitor? For Massachusetts voters, it's Ed Markey vs. Gabriel Gomez. In New Jersey, it's Cory Booker vs. the rest of the field. The real choice facing our nation: Ken Rudin vs. Ron Elving.
The European Union is a big fan of traveling pets. It has pet passports that allow them to travel through all the member states. Still, until this week there was a limit. Travelers could only take up to five pets across the borders. Now, thanks to a pet-loving member of the EU Parliament, those who prefer to travel with herds of animals are now free to roam, as long as they're heading for a competition or a sporting event.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This summer, you can expect to be profoundly haunted by some of the best works of speculative fiction the season has to offer. The protagonists in these novels are mobbed by the ghosts of history, by the re-awakened dead, and by their recollections of traumas so formative that they transcend personal experience to become species memory. They are also, somewhat humorously, dogged by all the secret truths that have been edited out of Wikipedia entries.
In Syria's ally Iran, people are voting for president today. It is Iran's first presidential election since the stunning vote in 2009. Back then, a surprisingly early declaration of victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a wave of protests, followed by years of government repression. This time around, six candidates are contending for power amid widespread skepticism about the election, and intensive security on the streets.