This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.
"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."
On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.
Human Rights Watch is calling on Egypt's president to make public a report that documents police and military abuses against protesters from January 2011 to June 2012. Parts of the report have been leaked to a local newspaper Al Shorouk as well as the British publication The Guardian. In the leaked chapters there are descriptions of police violence and military torture of detainees. While a lot of this is already known about the police and military, the report was referred to the presidency in December and so far no action has been taken.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block.
And we begin this hour with a mixed message on North Korea's nuclear threat. Yesterday, we told you about a U.S. intelligence report that suggested North Korea has developed a nuclear weapon small enough to launch on a missile. Well, today, traveling in South Korea, Secretary of State John Kerry largely debunked that report. He insisted the North has not perfected the technology.
In the wake of two high profile corruption arrests this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing laws that are supposed to make it easier to catch corrupt politicians. Good government groups say it might also help to take some of the money out of politics in New York — and other states too.
Nearly 500,000 people have petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission to make publicly-traded corporations disclose their political spending. The question is: How much clout do 500,000 people actually have?
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 3:43 pm
Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.
The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president's desk by unanimous consent.
The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.
In the age of hundreds of cable channels, millions of 140-character bulletins and an untold number of cat videos, a fear has been growing among journalists and readers that long-form storytelling may be getting lost.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 4:54 pm
While many in Chicago immediately thought of the famous "Billy Goat curse," when a severed goat's head was delivered to Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field this week, I immediately wondered if it was a message from the "Rahm-father," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
After all, Ricketts is in the midst of intense negotiations with Emanuel's administration over renovating the iconic 99-year old ballpark, as I reported last week.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 6:04 pm
Coachella, the massive outdoor music festival that kicks off this weekend in Indio, Calif., has become an "incubator" not just for new bands, but for rising food entrepreneurs, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the launch of FWD.us, an organization promoting immigration and eduction reform. But it's not the first issue he's taken up. In the past, he's donated money to superPACS, politicians and education.
Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders in Silicon Valley are banding together to push for comprehensive immigration reform, the Facebook co-founder announced this week. But Zuckerberg has dabbled in politically charged matters in the past.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 11:51 am
Pianist and 2010 Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood was born in Salisbury, N.C., and grew up in Texas and Illinois. He took up piano at age 6 and showed a knack for improvisation early on, playing his own versions of pieces by Bach and Chopin. In 1988, Hobgood relocated to Chicago, where he met an up-and-coming vocalist named Kurt Elling.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, pianist and 2013 NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri brings along bassist Hugo Duran and percussionists Jose Claussell, Richie Flores, and Mark Quinones for a raucous set of original tunes with an Afro-Caribbean flavor.
Jonathan Winters, known to one generation for his 1960s comedy albums, frequent Tonight Show with Johnny Carson appearances and comic movie characters, and to another generation as Robin Williams' baby on Mork & Mindy, has died. The news is coming from The Associated Press, TMZ, the NPR Arts Desk and other news outlets.
Winters was 87. TMZ says he died Thursday night "of natural causes in Montecito, Calif. ... surrounded by friends and family.
It has been more than six years since Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, concluded his enormously popular 13-volume young adult series, A Series of Unfortunate Events. Handler recently revived the Snicket narrator, however, in his YA novel Who Could That Be at This Hour?
The voiceovers from Terrence Malick's To the Wonder, which has a lot of them, are intoned on the soundtrack while the characters stare into sunrises or sunsets — whenever the light is right, what cinematographers call, "the magic hour." This film and Malick's last, The Tree of Life, suggest that he's evolved into a blend of director and Christian minister: These are psalms writ on film.
"Deep inside the heart of this crazy mess, I'm only calm when I get lost within your wilderness."
That's a key line in this song, "Joy," by Iron and Wine, the project of Sam Beam. Sam is a songwriter who has a way of making the personal very universal. It's also the line that piqued the interest of director Hayley Morris, who made a video for "Joy." Morris writes to us:
There's something to be said for unconventional artists who can still connect to an audience. The band Broadcast funneled oddball library-catalog music through dreamy space-pop. Shabazz Palaces is hip-hop's cubist Sun Ra. Altar of Plagues, which works outside the roots of black metal, knows a thing or two about unconventional sounds. But the Irish band has, until now, strictly been a longform outfit, stretching drones and abrasive tones across sides of vinyl.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:33 pm
Woody Allen has made some movies that some people really like.
Ignore how mildly that statement puts things for a moment, if only to recognize that if anyone were looking for a movie with that brain-achingly simplistic idea at the heart of its premise, they'd need look no further than Paris-Manhattan, a meandering muddle that's equal parts tepid Allen homage and shallow exploration of what it means to live life by lessons learned from Allen movies.
The announcement came from President Vladimir Putin as he spoke to orbiting astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Cosmonaut's Day, the 52nd anniversary of the first manned space flight by Russian spacefarer Yuri Gagarin.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, March Madness 2013 is now a memory, but there's still one champion yet to be announced. Yes, we are going to announce the winner of our TELL ME MORE March Madness Challenge. That's just ahead.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll speak with the Reverend Jim Wallis. He's a well-known evangelical leader. He's known for stepping into the political fray on issues he cares about. So we'll ask him why he chose to step out of the spotlight during last year's presidential campaign. That's later in the program.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 11:03 am
Zack Kopplin has been fighting to have the "Louisiana Science Education Act" overturned since it was first passed in 2008, and he was in high school. Critics of the SLEA say it's used to introduce creationism and other non-scientific theories into public school science class. Kopplin, now at Rice University discusses his continuing campaign against the act.
A few days after Rehtaeh Parsons' mother turned off the hospital life support systems and allowed her daughter to die, computer activists claiming to be affiliated with the hacker group Anonymous are threatening to reveal the identities of Parsons' alleged rapists.
It may be temporary, but it was a week of promise. There's been movement on guns and immigration. Obama hopes to work out a deal on the budget. And Rand Paul reaches out at Howard University. But a return of Anthony Weiner? It could only happen in a post-Annette Funicello America. NPR's Mara Liasson joins Ken Rudin for this week's podcast.