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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 2:54 pm
A computer glitch in the reservations system at American Airlines caused all of the carrier's flights to be grounded for at least two hours on Tuesday.
"American's reservation and booking tool, Sabre is offline," American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan told Reuters in an email. "We're working to resolve the issue as quickly as we can. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."
NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports that the outage was announced about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.
This week — when many of us at NPR rushed to file our U.S. federal income-tax returns, then moved to a new headquarters — I'm reminded of a moment in jazz history. Namely, the mid-1940s, when a new style called bebop came into popularity.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:35 pm
Hospitals can make much more money when surgery goes wrong than in cases that go without a hitch.
And that presents a problem for patients. The financial incentives don't favor better care.
"The magnitude of the numbers was eye-popping," says Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an author of the study, which was just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It was much larger than we expected."
The general consensus is that food labels that advertise lower sodium are a good way to help people make more healthful choices. But after that, what we think those labels mean gets a bit fuzzy, according to a new study.
Nutrition researchers were wondering just how we interpret the various sodium-related claims slapped on food packages: claims like "low in sodium" but also how a food product will reducing the risk of disease like hypertension, or "help lower blood pressure."
Pope Francis' doctrinal chief has reaffirmed the Vatican's intention to overhaul the largest organization of U.S. nuns, dashing the hopes of some that the newly installed pontiff would take a more conciliatory approach than his predecessor.
Ken Burns has said that no matter what subjects he tackles in his documentaries — baseball or jazz, Mark Twain or the Civil War — they always seem to boil down to two things: "race and place."
That's certainly true with his latest film, TheCentral Park Five, which tells of the violent assault and rape of a female jogger in 1989. The place was New York City — and because of citywide racial tensions at the time, the story was seized upon by New York tabloids and national TV newscasts alike.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. We are so saddened and outraged by the bombings yesterday at the Boston Marathon - we're going to start the show, today, with a brief call to Dan Shaughnessy, a Boston Globe sports columnist who's covered many of the Boston Marathons. He's been named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year eight times and seven times has been voted one of America's top 10 sports columnists by AP sports editors.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 3:28 pm
What does it take to ride a bicycle at 100 miles per hour? That's the question being explored by Britain's Donhou Bicycles and frame builder Tom Donhou, who has mounted a mammoth chainring onto a custom bicycle. He says the steel machine has already hit 60 miles per hour on the open road.
Hugh Heffner's empire has run afoul of conservative politicians in India, who have decided to halt plans for the country's first Playboy Club.
PB Lifestyle, the Indian firm with rights to the Playboy brand, had hoped that the club in the southwestern state of Goa would be the first of eight to be constructed over the next three years. They were hoping for as many as 120 such clubs in the coming decade.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Though the Gang of Eight has postponed the full, public unveiling of their immigration bill until tomorrow, the rollout began in earnest over the weekend with Republican Senator Marco Rubio making the rounds on Sunday talk shows.
President Obama makes a statement about Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon. Morning Edition co-hosts David Greene and Steve Inskeep speak to NPR reporters covering the story in Washington and Boston.