With the Supreme Court hearing arguments this week on same-sex marriage, I'd like to point out a parallel evolution in what I see as a Hollywood mini-genre: films in which gay characters are either taken to court or seek redress in court for issues involving their sexuality.
Arguably the most famous question ever asked in a courtroom about a line of poetry — "What is the love that dare not speak its name?" — was originally put to playwright Oscar Wilde in 1894 by a British prosecutor. It was an attempt to trap Wilde into admitting to then-illegal homosexual conduct.
We continue our series now on a dangerous and illegal practice that kills, on average, 16 people in the U.S. each year. It's called Walking Down the Grain. Employers at farms and grain elevators send untrained and ill-equipped workers into bins to break up wet or clustered grain. In the last four decades, more than 660 people have died because of the quicksand effect of grain.
But preventing these deaths is relatively simple, as NPR's Howard Berkes reports from inside a massive grain bin in Homestead, Iowa.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
What should government do for the country's most vulnerable citizens, for people who just aren't making it? It's a fundamental question. And as we've been reporting this week, America's disability programs have become, in part, a default answer. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with changes we made to our social safety net back in the mid-1990s.
Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.
The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.
Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.
Robert Siegel talks to Joseph Cotterill, writer for the Financial Times, about what may happen if the European Union's bailout plan for Cyprus succeeds and which country may be poised to take on the role as the next Cayman Islands of Eastern Europe.
One could be forgiven for being confused about the Syrian rebels, who's in charge and what their demands are. At this week's Arab League summit in Doha, the capital of Qatar, opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib sat in Syria's seat. Al-Khatib, formerly an imam at a prestigious mosque in Damascus, recently resigned his post as president of the rebel coalition.
Now, we're going to take a few minutes to listen to some of today's examination of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court. The court usually doesn't provide such speedy access to audio, so this is a rare opportunity to hear the arguments on the same day they happened.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In a second day of historic arguments on gay marriage, the Supreme Court wrestled with DOMA today. The Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal law and it affects the administration of more than 1,000 federal programs, everything from Social Security and family leave to the estate tax.
For some analysis of today's arguments, we turn again to Tom Goldstein. He's publisher and regular contributor to the website SCOTUSblog. Tom, good to have you back.
TOM GOLDSTEIN: Thank you so much.
CORNISH: All right. So this time around, I had a little bit more trouble following along. And at the beginning of the arguments there was this issue of jurisdiction which got very technical. What's the upshot of this question?
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:30 pm
A group of astronomers believe they have found a new kind of "mini" supernovae that appear to share traits with other previously known types.
Until now, only core-collapse supernovae, the grand finale of stars approximately 10 to 100 times more massive than our sun, and Type Ia, which occur when certain conditions exist in binary (two-star) systems, were known to exist.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:48 am
One day, the legislature in the state where you live passes a new law: Until further notice, you're not allowed to take your money to another state.
There are exceptions. You can take a few thousand dollars with you if you go on a trip. You can do some out-of-state shopping on your credit card, but not too much. Beyond that, all your money — your checking account, your savings account, the cash you buried in your backyard — has to stay in your state. You're free to leave the state, as long as you don't take your money with you.
The British government has suffered another loss in its attempt to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada back to Jordan.
While Qatada has never been charged with anything in the United Kingdom, he is accused of being a spiritual inspiration for some of the those involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The BBC reports that today a Special Immigration Appeals Commission decided the government of Prime Minister David Cameron could not send him back to Jordan, where in 1999, he was convicted on terror charges in absentia.
When we heard a few weeks ago that Illinois was considering banning lion meat, our first thought was, who's eating lion meat? And why Illinois?
Turns out, lion meat has been gaining traction among adventurous foodies who argue that the meat can be an ethical alternative to factory-farmed animals — if the meat comes from American-raised circus and zoo animals that were sent to the slaughterhouse in their old age.
Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 2:25 pm
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal benefits for and recognition of same-sex marriages.
Audio of the arguments is available above, and a transcript, as prepared by the court, follows.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 12-307, United States v. Windsor, and we will begin with the jurisdictional discussion. Ms. Jackson?
Russian investigators have descended on the offices of nongovernmental organizations across the country, demanding to inspect financial records and other documents.
This follows the recent passage of a law designed to impose tighter controls over these NGOs, especially those that receive funding from abroad. Critics say it's part of a broader crackdown on dissent since Vladimir Putin regained the presidency last year.
The offices of the human rights group Memorial are still abuzz after a team of government inspectors paid an unannounced visit
Repeated American attempts to work with Russia on Syria have foundered on a fundamental difference. Vladimir Putin insists on a deal that includes Bashar al-Assad as part of Syria's future. So the civil war grinds on and the situation of civilians there grows ever more dire. So why? Arms exports? Access to the port of Tartus? Standing up for old allies?
Jonathan Dee likes to write about rich, good-looking people falling apart — and who among the 99 percent of us can't enjoy that plot? In The Privileges, the dad of the family was a Wall Street trader, tempted by existential boredom into larceny; in A Thousand Pardons, the dad of the family is a partner in a New York law firm, tempted by existential boredom into a disastrous workplace affair.
On Monday evening on MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes will premiere, making the 34-year-old the youngest prime-time anchor on any of the major cable news channels. For the past 18 months, he has hosted an early morning weekend show — Up with Chris Hayes — on MSNBC, but he's already a familiar face to MSNBC evening viewers: He has frequently filled in for Rachel Maddow and has been a popular guest on her show.
Even in still moments, particles incite microscopic riots. Brooklyn-via-Boston composer and multi-instrumentalist Ashley Paul is used to making a huge racket, most regularly with her husband Eli Keszler. On her Line the Clouds, there's tension in patience as she navigates a singer-songwriter's reactions.
Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 1:07 pm
Jared Loughner, the gunman responsible for the 2011 rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, acted erratically in the days leading to the shooting but was quiet and otherwise polite with officers after his arrest, according to newly released documents.
Details from the investigation were made clear Wednesday after the Pima County Sheriff's Department released 2,700 pages of documents requested through the Freedom of Information Act.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Another Democrat steps away from the Senate, the price of previous presidents, and the present president calls out Congress on immigration. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Political courage...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Ernie Button was putting a Scotch glass left out overnight into the dishwasher when he noticed something — a white, chalky film on the bottom of the glass. He held it up to the light and, upon closer inspection, could see a series of fine, lacy lines running along the inside of the glass.
As a hobbyist photographer whose work often focuses on showcasing the beauty of everyday objects, Button was intrigued by this discovery. "Wow, there's something to that," he recalls thinking.
Taiye Selasi brings the African immigrant experience to readers in her debut novel, Ghana Must Go.
The novel begins with the Sai children preparing to travel from the United States to Ghana for the funeral of the family patriarch, Kweku Sai. Before they leave, Selasi gives readers a glimpse into the events that unfolded while they were growing up in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Mass.