It's fair to say that the bakery employees who hooted and jeered "tax maaaaaan" when mild-mannered auditor Will Ferrell showed up in Stranger than Fiction were no fans of the Internal Revenue Service. In that, they're like a lot of us, no?
So it's intriguing that Hollywood generally treats tax inspectors as nice guys. On the big screen, it's typically their IRS bosses who are the bad ones.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 7:37 am
The new batch of Pulitzer Prize winners has just been announced, with novelist Adam Johnson winning the fiction prize with The Orphan Master's Son. The winners of the prizes for Americans' best work in journalism, drama, music, and writing also receive a $10,000 cash award.
The explosions happened in quick succession four hours after the beginning of the race, the world's oldest and one of the most prestigious road races in the world. At that point, the majority of 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line. Thousands, however, were still out on the course.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:20 am
Germany is preparing for its most important terrorism trial in decades.
Ten people — eight of them of Turkish descent, one of Greek extraction and one a German policewoman, were gunned down between 2000 and 2007. For years, German authorities failed to see a link between the crimes, even though the same gun was used in all of the shootings. They also rejected any link to right-wing extremism.
Bitcoins are a digital currency, attractive to those who prefer not to leave a paper trail when they buy and sell things online. Over the past two years, the Bitcoin community has widely expanded and the value of the currency has fluctuated wildly.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Imagine April 15 but without tax returns, without the mad scramble to finish them, the long wait at the post office, the piles of receipts piling up for deductible expenses, in other words an America without tax returns.
In 2003, police in Somerset County, N.J., arrested a hospital nurse named Charlie Cullen who was suspected of injecting patients with lethal doses of a variety of medications. Cullen would turn out to be one of the nation's most prolific serial killers, murdering dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in nine hospitals over a 16-year period.
Journalist Charles Graeber spent six years investigating the Cullen case, and is the only reporter to have spoken with Cullen in prison. In his new book, The Good Nurse, Graeber pieces together the elements of Cullen's story.
Vietnam has sent what analysts believe could be the remains of a member of the American military who died in the country during the Vietnam War. After a repatriation ceremony at the airport in Da Nang Sunday, the remains were sent to Hawaii for examination and possible identification.
No one is certain why food allergies are on the rise. By now nearly 15 million Americans have a food allergy, ranging from moderate to severe. One of every 13 children has one. Nuts, soy, milk, egg, wheat and shellfish are some of the foods that most commonly set off allergic reactions. In some cases, the reaction can be so severe that it results in the throat swelling up and closing, leading to death. For a child with a severe food allergy, every meal that isn't made under appropriate supervision can be hazardous.
Oh Sit! (The CW, 8:00 p.m.): When the CW first announced that it was going to have a show called Oh Sit!, which would basically be a game of musical chairs with a punny scatological name, it seemed like it would be exciting in its sheer stupidity. But as it turns out, having seen the previews, it seems like it's really just ABC's Wipeout in disguise. I feel defrauded somehow, as if I was promised a wretchedness diamond and received a cubic zirconia.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:27 pm
Hi, it's another installment of Ask A Banker. We've gotten lots of good questions, and also lots of bad questions, on Twitter and email, but answered only a fraction of them, in part because in some columns I just answered questions that I or Planet Money made up. Sorry. So let's make up for lost time by giving short answers to a bunch of real questions from real people, or at least real email accounts.
More than 23,600 people were victims of human trafficking in Europe during a recent three-year period, according to a new European Union report that says the problem is growing worse. Its authors say the official figures do not come close to describing the crime, which has "hundreds of thousands of victims."
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 2:54 pm
Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa won the men's division at this year's Boston Marathon on Monday, finishing the 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 22 seconds. It's the first win at Boston for the 23-year-old.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o supported independence from Britain for his country, but when he felt it necessary, he criticized the new government's human rights abuses. For that he was arrested, jailed and hounded into exile, but never silent. He joins us for a Wisdom Watch conversation, a special rebroadcast, as we settle into our new headquarters. And that's in just a few minutes.
Next, the latest in our series Muses and Metaphor. That's how we're celebrating National Poetry Month. We're hearing your Twitter poems of 140 characters or less. Today, we hear from renowned poet Elizabeth Alexander. You might remember her from President Obama's first Inauguration in 2009. She composed and read the poem, "Praise Song for the Day" for that occasion. Not only that, she's published six volumes of poetry. She's chair of the African-American Studies Department at Yale University.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:10 pm
Maybe Barack Obama would be happier as a governor.
It's early days in his second term, but the president's agenda doesn't appear to have a whole lot of momentum. His budget last week was greeted with more criticism than applause from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:41 pm
Any comics fan of any seriousness can rattle off female superheroes who have either had their own books or appeared in other or ensemble books.
But what about ordinary absorbers of culture?
The same people who don't actually read comics but can tell you that Superman is the idealized, square-jawed fighter for good, while Batman is the darker, more conflicted survivor of tragedy and Spider-Man is the scrapper barely concealing an ordinary kid — how many women can they name who have worn capes, particularly ones that aren't superhero derivatives like Supergirl or Batgirl?
Since President George W. Bush left office in 2009, The Dallas Morning News writes, he has been "a punching bag for [President] Obama, Democrats and even some Republicans."
But while Bush told the Morning News during an interview for a long story posted over the weekend that "nobody likes to be criticized all the time," he also indicated that the criticism hasn't caused him to question his decisions:
"I'm comfortable with what I did," he said. "I'm comfortable with who I am."
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 10:36 am
Satellite TV distributor Dish Network has offered to buy telecom giant Sprint Nextel Corp. in a $25.5 billion deal, a move that could derail a similar offer by the Japanese phone company SoftBank.
Dish says that it has offered $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock for Sprint. After the news was announced on Monday, Sprint's stock jumped 15 percent in pre-market trading, according to The Associated Press.
Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 10:45 am
Federal aviation officials have ordered that more than 1,000 Boeing 737s be examined to see if a key part on the plane's tail section needs to be replaced, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued the airworthiness directive for a pin that holds the 737's horizontal stabilizer to the rest of the tail, to see if it is in danger of failing prematurely. The horizontal stabilizer — also known as the tail plane — enables the pilot to control the aircraft's pitch.