In case a thousand thousands of internet words haven't informed you, last night was the final episode of 30 Rock, and in addition to taking a moment to appreciate the show itself, we decided to use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of "meta" humor — what it is, when it works, and when it just comes off like a crutch. You might be surprised to hear meta traced all the way back to childhood, but hey, that's what we're here for.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:46 am
China burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined--and has 300 more coal plants in the works. But China also leads the world in solar panel exports and wind farms, and has a national climate change policy in place. Is the U.S. falling behind on climate? Ira Flatow and guests discuss how the world is tackling global warming--with or without us--and what it might take to change the climate on Capitol Hill.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, unemployment is up, the GDP is down, but economists are still kind of happy - well, as happy as economists get. NPR's Marilyn Geewax is going to interpret all that for us in just a few minutes. But first, we turn to a debate that our national leaders are finally taking up again over how to fix an immigration system that just about everybody agrees is broken.
Congress passed an emergency aid package for Superstorm Sandy victims earlier this week. But three months after the storm, many hard-hit neighborhoods are still suffering. Host Michel Martin checks back with Monsignor John Brown of St. Francis de Sales in Rockaway, Queens, to discuss how the community is recovering.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 12:14 pm
When Jozef Van Wissem plays the lute, he doesn't sit. Instead, the New York-based Dutchman stands, looming over his low-hanging instrument like the "figure in black" character in "Black Sabbath" — that'd be the song "Black Sabbath," from the album Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath — that scares the living bejeezus out of everyone.
"If Zimbabwe was a private company it would have closed down," Zimbabwean finance minister Tendai Biti told reporters this week. At a meeting in Harare, the capital, Biti told a group of reporters his country had just $217 in the treasury, according to the Guardian.
Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 2:43 pm
Here in the depths of winter, U.S. economic numbers aren't looking so hot. This week, new reports showed growth started to freeze up last fall, and the unemployment rate rose a bit in January, to 7.9 percent.
But most economists say you shouldn't let those cold facts fool you: This spring's data could look much brighter if the housing market continues to heat up.
The Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers centers on Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but from an unusual vantage — not the Palestinians or Israelis on the ground, but six men at the pinnacle of the country's security apparatus: the former heads of the security agency Shin Bet.
Today the Glock pistol has become the gun of choice for both criminals and law enforcement in the United States.
In his book Glock: The Rise of America's Gun, which came out in paperback in January, Paul Barrett traces how the sleek, high-capacity Austrian weapon found its way into Hollywood films and rap lyrics, not to mention two-thirds of all U.S. police departments.
This week's versatile V.I.P. has had spells as an author, an ordained minister, a fortuneteller, and a bartender — which serves her well during a delectable drinking game. And with quizzes covering highfalutin children's literature, crossbred celebrities and a geologist's favorite Queen song, this week's contestants show a little versatility, too.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:39 am
Anyone who gives up gluten, either by choice or medical necessity, will inevitably feel a twinge of regret bidding adieu to bread, pasta or pastries. But for some, the greatest hardship may be saying no to beer — especially at times like Super Bowl Sunday, when having a cold one in hand is part of many people's game day tradition.
So it's no small thing that a growing number of brewers are offering gluten-free beers that are both tasty and satisfying.
Hugely good news for all you wandering minstrels: After years of pressure from groups like the American Federation of Musicians, the FAA has just passed a bill that (finally!) allows musicians to carry their instruments as carry-on luggage or, for larger instruments, to buy an extra seat. However, the federal agency has a year to implement the new standards.
Fireworks inside a truck exploded on a major roadway in the central Chinese province of Henan today, as the driver was taking the devices to a Chinese Lunar New Year's event. The blast caused a highway overpass to crumble, and several vehicles plunged as much as 100 feet to the ground, says the Associated Press.
Thursday night in Midland City, Ala., there was a candlelight vigil for bus driver Charles Poland, who was killed Tuesday before a gunman snatched a 5-year-old boy — who is being held captive in an underground bunker.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. China's incoming president wants to be seen as a man of the people. And he seems to know what the people don't want from their politicians. So for this year's opening of parliament, the president has banned extravagant banquets, gifts, flowers in rooms.
And in a parliament filled with hand-picked delegates used to launching to endless praise of the party, also banned are long-winded speeches; plus, empty talk is discouraged.
The San Francisco 49ers are the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but the Baltimore Ravens have a special source of fuel. Raven Jacoby Jones is from New Orleans, where the game will be played, and his mom made the team 150 plates of food. Jones describes the feast as, quote, "gumbo, jambalaya, potato salad, bread pudding, macaroni - the whole nine yards."
Finally, somebody used that cliche in a sport where it makes sense.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 9:49 am
Authorities in Mexico City said Friday morning that at least 32 people had been killed and another 120 or so injured by the explosion Thursday afternoon at the headquarters of Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company.