Selective leaks from Congressional staff interviews with IRS employees in Cincinnati have been dribbling out for weeks. The workers are at the center of questions regarding the use of "Tea Party" and "Patriot" labels for flagging tax exemptions applications for additional scrutiny.
Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 11:37 am
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Last year on December 14, the front page of the weekly newspaper in Newtown, Connecticut, was peppered with the usual stories: holiday preparations, school budget troubles. That same morning, the community changed forever. Today marks six months since the shootings that left 20 children and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. And for journalists at the Newtown Bee, June 14 is just another day in a community struggling to move forward. Neena Satija of member station WNPR has that story.
The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.
Horrific and uplifting, the excellent documentary Call Me Kuchu is partly framed as a portrait of David Kato, Uganda's first openly gay man. An activist of enormous courage and persistence — against odds that make the U.S. fight for marriage equality seem like a cakewalk — Kato was a savvy political strategist, with wit, charm and joie de vivre to burn. And he loved a good party, with his friends in drag where possible. But he was terrified of sleeping alone on his farm.
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?