Behind most politicians is a speechwriter, typing rapidly somewhere in a small office and trying to channel the boss's voice.
The man who has held perhaps the most prominent speechwriting job of the new millennium is Jon Favreau, a 31-year-old from Massachusetts who was President Obama's chief speechwriter until this month. He started writing for Obama when the president was just a senator in 2005.
He tells Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered, that writing for the president means walking a line between two worlds.
The Education Department has launched an investigation into discipline rates in Seattle public schools.
Students of color have long been punished in far higher numbers than white students in Seattle, but now the department's Office for Civil Rights is looking at whether black students are disciplined more frequently and more harshly than white students for the same behavior.
Senator Rand Paul did get a lot of attention for his nearly 13-hour filibuster, but the Kentucky Republican wouldn't even crack the top five for the longest talking filibusters. The top spot goes to South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond back in 1957. He held the floor for over 24 hours. For more on that and other notable filibusters, we talked to Senate historian Donald Ritchie. He says back in 1957, Senator Thurmond came to the Senate floor ready.
The opening shot of Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills may look somewhat familiar. As in the Romanian writer-director's previous film, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, a young woman strides purposefully while a handheld camera follows mere inches behind. She's on a mission to help a close friend, her resolve demonstrated by the way she marches against two lines of travelers who've just disembarked from a train.
Arnel Pineda's journey from obscurity to international fame as the new frontman for the rock band Journey is the narrative thread that drives <em>Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.</em>
Credit Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Journey takes a pragmatic-old-pros approach to integrating its new lead singer; though <em>Don't Stop Believin' </em>emphasizes Pineda's rags-to-riches story, it's clear from the film that the band's main goal is the continuity of its business and brand.
Some bands are born of passion and deep camaraderie, a collective desire to rebel against authority — or at least to look cool. Others are born because a major label threatens to drop them if they don't find a lead vocalist.
This still from the alphabetically themed horror anthology <em>The ABCs Of Death</em> is the only one publishable on a website that caters to a broad audience — which says a lot about the tone and content of the 26 short films included.
Despite a reputation for unevenness, anthology films still hold a certain appeal. There's the opportunity to see a few shorts — a form that tends to get bulldozed by feature films due to the economic realities of the industry. There's also the chance to see a number of directors all in once place, trying out something different; it's the cinematic equivalent of a rock 'n' roll supergroup.
President Obama continued his outreach to congressional Republicans on Thursday with a lunch with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the Budget Committee and author of a plan to balance the budget in a decade.
Boeing's Dreamliner 787s remain grounded. And neither investigators nor Boeing can say exactly what caused a battery fire on a Japan Airlines jet. Nevertheless, Boeing thinks it has a fix, and while the Federal Aviation Administration is poised to allow Boeing to begin proving the redesign will be effective, the planes won't be back in service anytime soon.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The city of Plainview, Texas has been a center of the cattle industry for decades. But a few weeks ago, after more than 40 years in operation, Plainview's beef processing plant shut its doors. Plant owners blame years of drought and the dwindling supply of cattle. As Mose Buchele reports from member station KUT, the closure could be a preview of things to come for the Texas plains.
The first major gun bills in nearly two decades had their first hearing in the Senate on Thursday, including an assault weapons ban and a ban on so-called "straw purchases." Still, even in the aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., the legislation faces an uphill battle. Ailsa Chang talks to Melissa Block.
Think your job is bad? Quit whining, unless you're a shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico.
Commercial fishermen have the highest rate of on-the-job fatalities of any occupation in the country — 116 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2010. A majority of the deaths happen when a fishing vessel sinks. About a third occur when someone goes overboard.
Several female mushers in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are trying out new attire that allows them to skip bathroom stops. Here, a musher and his team pass fans at the ceremonial start of the race in Anchorage.
<em>The Newsroom, </em>starring Jeff Daniels, is one of the most popular American TV series in China. It's a favorite among a cadre of young, informal translators who see it as a way to challenge conventional Chinese thinking.
At least three translating groups in China focus on British drama <em>Downton Abbey</em>. For many young Chinese, it provides a window onto a foreign world of privilege and class dynamics.
Every week, thousands of young Chinese gather online to translate popular American movies and TV shows into Mandarin. Some do it for fun and to help people learn English, while others see it as a subtle way to introduce new ideas into Chinese society.
Among the more popular American TV shows on China's Internet these days is HBO's The Newsroom. One reason is an exchange between a college student and a news anchor played by Jeff Daniels. The young woman asks the aging newsman why the United States is the greatest country in the world.
Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 2:54 pm
A swarm of locusts that has devastated crops in Egypt made its way into neighboring Israel this week. And with Passover just around the corner, many news outlets couldn't resist noting the shades of the biblical tale of Exodus, when the insects were one of 10 plagues that descended upon Pharaoh and his people.
After an epic filibuster by Sen. Rand Paul that lasted into the early morning hours, the Senate voted this afternoon to confirm the nomination of John Brennan as the country's next Central Intelligence Agency director.
As we reported, Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, stood on the floor of the Senate for nearly 13 hours, repeatedly asking for an explanation of the Obama administration's targeted killing program.
Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:18 am
One of the defining graphs of our time (yes, there are defining graphs of our time) comes from the blog Calculated Risk. It tracks the job market in every U.S. recession and recovery since WWII — and it shows just how brutal the the past few years have been.
Just before leaving for Venezuela to attend the funeral of Hugo Chávez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad penned a laudatory tribute for the late president.
"[Chavez] is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all," Ahmadinejad wrote in a letter he sent the Venezuelan vice president.
Back in 1988, it wasn't until the 62nd round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally picked Mike Piazza. Nobody expected him to make it in the big leagues. But he did. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 1992, and he hit his first home run just 12 days later.
Yesterday, Republican Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, filibustered the Senate floor for nearly 13 hours in protest of the administration's use of drones.
SENATOR RAND PAUL: This is not about partisanship. I have allowed the president to pick his political appointees, but I will not sit quietly and let him shred the Constitution. I cannot sit at my desk quietly and let the president say that he will kill Americans on American soil who are not actively attacking a country.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:22 pm
As he rose to begin his nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said "no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court." He would filibuster John Brennan's nomination to be CIA director, Paul said, because he wanted a clear statement from the Obama administration acknowledging that U.S.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. It's an American story as old as Horatio Alger: Hard work, determination and presto, you can change your station in life. But increasingly many Americans find themselves stuck where they are on the economic ladder, that American dream just out of reach.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:08 pm
The student victims of the Connecticut school shooting rampage that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead in December have been granted an unprecedented one-time waiver on taking standardized tests.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 12:19 pm
China's citizens do not report as much as $2.34 trillion of what they make every year, hiding "gray income" that would represent nearly 20 percent of the country's GDP, Chinese economics scholar Wang Xiaolu says, in a report from the news site Global Voices.
Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 11:38 am
Before The Two-Way launched in May 2009, a smart decision was made: We would sit with, and work closely with, the producers, editors and anchors on the NPR Newscast Desk. It made sense to put the hosts of a breaking news blog with the team that gets breaking news on the air. The Newscast team has helped us in countless ways.
The Two-Way lost a dear friend Thursday, someone who brought her sharp mind and editing skills to NPR's newscasts and always gave us good guidance. She also had a wickedly funny sense of humor that made it fun to come to work.