In the back and forth between Congress and the White House over immigration, both sides seem to agree that people now in the U.S. illegally should wait at "the back of the line" for legal residency — meaning no green card until all other immigrants get theirs.
But that presents a problem, because the wait for a green card can take decades.
Maria has been waiting in line with her husband for 16 years and counting for what the government calls a priority date for legal residency. Because she is in the U.S. without documents, Maria asked NPR to use only her first name.
Nearly half of all Native American tribes across the country are benefiting from casinos and other gaming revenues. For most, it's their largest source of income. But growing threats to that revenue due to competition from non-Indian gaming are forcing many tribes to look for other investment opportunities.
In a dramatic example of that diversification, one group of Native Americans is buying nearly half the hotel rooms in Minnesota's capital.
The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.
Those baggage fees, cramped seats and tiny pretzel bags to the contrary and notwithstanding, airline passengers enjoyed good times in 2012, according to an annual recap from Airlines for America, the industry trade group.
It's hard to imagine an upside to the civil war now causing unspeakable suffering in Syria. But the conflict has turned out to be a break for the makers of Inescapable, a feverish political thriller written and directed by Ruba Nadda, a Canadian of Syrian origin whose last film was the languorous 2009 romance Cairo Time.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 8:08 am
You might know him best as Ray, the self-centered, arrogant coffeehouse manager from Lena Dunham's Girls. Or as Jed, the self-centered, arrogant date from Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture.
But in two features out this week, Alex Karpovsky is much more than that: He's the psychotic obsessive Paul in the psychological thriller Rubberneck, and an anxious filmmaker named ... well, Alex Karpovsky, in the road comedy Red Flag.
And yes, there's may be some self-centered arrogance to those characters as well.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 3:47 pm
The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s inspired several black artists to explore their African heritage and the black experience in America, from enslavement to life after emancipation and migration to cities in the north. In the musical world, pianist James P. Johnson composed Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody, a 12-minute portrait of a black community in Savannah, Ga. Yamekraw was orchestrated for a 1928 performance at Carnegie Hall by black composer William Grant Still, who would write his own Afro American Symphony in 1930.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:27 pm
For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican of Kentucky, is returning a large part of his office's operating budget to the Treasury.
According to a press release, Paul presented taxpayers in Louisville with an "oversized" check for $600,000.
"I ran to stop the reckless spending, and I pledged to the people of Kentucky that I would work to keep their hard-earned money out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats whose irresponsible spending has threatened our country's economic health," Paul said.
It began with the crisis on Wall Street in 2008. Alexis Cuadrado, from Barcelona and now Brooklyn, remembered the poetry of the surrealist Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), whom all Spanish students study in school.
I first saw Cat Martino at the best concert of my life. It was the summer of 2011 and Sufjan Stevens was performing at Celebrate Brooklyn. But within the spectacle -– a troupe of maybe a dozen performers on stage — was a singer and dancer named Cat Martino. I know that because a number of my friends at the show knew Cat and were screaming her name at the top of their lungs.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's bloody sock and spikes are displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Schilling, whose video game company went bankrupt, is selling the bloodstained sock he wore during baseball's 2004 World Series.
Credit Mike Groll / AP
Schilling tends to his right ankle during Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in 2004.
Sicily's Mount Etna early this week, as seen from space. The bright red is lava. Snow is blue-green. Clouds are white. "Shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light" combine to produce the colors.
Frustration over a change in federal copyright policy that makes it illegal to unlock new cellphones has resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on a petition at the White House's website, meaning the executive branch must now respond to calls to rescind the ruling or "champion a bill that makes unlocking permanently legal."
Four former executives from Peanut Corp. of America and a related company are facing federal criminal charges for covering up information that their peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
The charges are related to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella back in 2009. More than 700 people became ill, and federal investigators traced the source of the bacteria to peanut butter manufactured in Blakely, Ga., by the Peanut Corp. of America. The company is no longer in business.
Health officials around the world are on constant lookout for the deadly bird flu. Here a worker collects chickens on a farm in Kathamndu, Nepal, where the virus was suspected of infecting poultry last October.
Credit Prakas Mathema / AFP/Getty Images
Research on the H5N1 virus is conducted in high-containment laboratories with airlock systems that make sure nothing can escape.
Credit Bryce Richter / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bird flu researchers use ferrets to study how the virus mutates and spreads. Here virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka points to the ferret cages in his laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Credit Bryce Richter / University of Wisconsin-Madison
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:29 pm
Several explosions ripped through Damascus on Thursday morning in what was one of the deadliest days in the Syrian capital since the uprising began nearly two years ago.
A huge blast in the al-Mazraa neighborhood was the work of a suicide car bomber, according to media reports. More than 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured, according to both the Syrian state media and opposition groups.
What happens when we die? Wouldn't we all like to know. We can't bring people back from the dead to tell us — but in some cases, we almost can. Resuscitation medicine is now sometimes capable of reviving people after their heart has stopped beating and their brain has flat-lined; Dr. Sam Parnia, a critical care doctor and director of resuscitation research at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, studies what these people experience in that period after their heart stops and before they're resuscitated. This includes visions such as bright lights and out-of-body experiences.
I don't have a good track record when it comes to raving about Karen Russell. Last year, along with my two fellow judges, I nominated Russell's novel, Swamplandia!, as well as two other finalists, for the Pulitzer Prize. Result? The Pulitzer Board made headlines by deciding not to give out the award in Fiction. Nevertheless, I rave on: this time about Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 4:08 pm
Every year around this time, all four members of the All Songs Considered roundtable gang (Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, Ann Powers and me) each dredge through more than 1,000 MP3s by bands playing the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. We base our coverage and festival schedules on the music we've researched in advance — and have found some of our favorite artists, like Kishi Bashi in 2012, as part of these blind pre-fest taste tests — and this year, we want to be sure we're considering yours.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am
The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.
As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 12:09 pm
We've all heard that drone strikes directed against al-Qaida and other militants have been on the rise, but now Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has put a number on deaths by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle: 4,700.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, rattled off the death toll during a talk he gave to the Easley Rotary Club in Easley, S.C., Tuesday afternoon.