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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

A Young Artist Finds Solace In Creatures Of The Sea And Sky

Courtesy James Prosek and Waqas Wajahat, New York

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 11:30 am

In February, NPR's Backseat Book Club read a novel about a troubled kid who finds both strength and solace in the artwork of the renowned naturalist John James Audubon. The novel, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, takes place in 1968 in a little town in upstate New York where middle-schooler Doug Swietek is drowning in life's complications.

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Asia
2:34 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

At A Pakistani Mobile Library, Kids Can Check Out Books, And Hope

After decades living and working abroad, Saeed Malik (left) returned to his native Pakistan and wanted to do something to help rectify what he saw as a poor education system. He founded the Bright Star Mobile Library, which now serves about 2,500 children.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

On a cold, rainy morning, a van pulls up outside a rural elementary school on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. The fluorescent green vehicle provides a flash of color on this otherwise gray day. There's a picture of children reading books under a large apple tree, and the words "Reading is fun" are painted in English and Urdu, the national language in Pakistan.

This is the weekly visit of the Bright Star Mobile Library.

Volunteer Ameena Khan starts pulling books from shelves on either side of the van.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

With Audubon's Help, Beat-Up Kid Is 'Okay For Now'

Courtesy The Audobon Society

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Fourteen-year-old Doug Swieteck seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. He has just moved to a new town, where he doesn't have any friends, and where his teachers — and the police — think of him as nothing more than a "skinny thug."

So it's easy to understand why Doug, the protagonist of our latest book for NPR's Backseat Book Club, Okay for Now, is anything but a happy-go-lucky kid.

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Law
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

House Passes Expansion Of Violence Against Women Act

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

It has been a long, strange journey on Capitol Hill for the Violence Against Women Act. Today, after months of debate, the House finally passed an extension of the law, known as VAWA, and sent it to the president. It helps combat sexual assault and domestic violence. But the law had gotten tangled up over other hot-button political issues.

NPR's Ailsa Chang explains what happened.

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Middle East
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Syrian Rebels: New U.S. Aid Not Helpful Without Weapons

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For American policy analysts, today's announcement of direct food aid and medical supplies to Syrian rebels is a significant shift. But a top commander in the forces fighting the Syrian regime says it's not nearly enough. NPR's Deborah Amos met that commander in northern Syria today.

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Middle East
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Hezbollah Trial Offers Clues To How Militant Group Operates

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The sunny island of Cyprus has been a vacation haven for Arabs and Israelis alike. But recently, it's been the site of a much-watched trial of an admitted Hezbollah operative. He has described himself simply as a pawn in the militant group's hierarchy, tasked with doing surveillance on restaurants, hotels and buses serving Israeli tourists. But his trial has revealed a wide range of details about how Hezbollah operates and how it may be getting more sophisticated.

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Middle East
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

U.S. Offers Additional $60 Million In Humanitarian Aid To Syria

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 10:41 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new aid package for Syrian rebels. For the first time, the administration is vowing to send aid directly to the people who are fighting to topple the regime in Syria. At a meeting in Rome, Kerry had the chance to hear from some of them and from countries backing the rebels. NPR's Michele Kelemen has our story from Rome.

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Religion
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

As Pope Benedict XVI Exits, Catholic Church Faces An Identity Crisis

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pope Benedict XVI is now pope emeritus.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHURCH BELLS)

CORNISH: Bells tolled as Benedict left the Vatican by helicopter. Vatican TV followed the entire 15-minute flight to the papal summer residence.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

CORNISH: Once there, the people spoke to the large crowd that had gathered to greet him.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

CORNISH: He said thank you and good night.

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Around the Nation
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Budget Cuts Could Compromise Safety At Overcrowded Prisons

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Corrections officers in the federal prison system are bracing for possible staffing cuts and furloughs triggered by the sequester. The cuts come at a time when studies show that inmate crowding and staff shortages in federal prisons are already posing challenges for guards trying to maintain order behind bars.

Energy
2:32 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Outgoing Energy Secretary Could Be Remembered For More Than Solyndra

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The outgoing energy secretary, Steven Chu, got a rousing ovation this week when he spoke at a summit on energy innovation. But his tenure has been clouded by the department's investment in alternative energy companies that later failed, most notably Solyndra. As Chu leaves office, his real legacy may be the government's ongoing search for energy breakthroughs. NPR's Scott Horsley tells us more.

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The Two-Way
2:27 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

A Quvenzhane by Any Other Name... (Storified)

Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis is interviewed on the red carpet at the Academy Awards Sunday, when several journalists struggled with the young actress's name.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

After a weekend that saw journalists on the Oscars red carpet struggling to pronounce the name of 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, we decided to ask the Twitter masses for their funniest or most annoying stories about people mispronouncing their "unconventional" or "ethnic" names.

Here's a few of the best:

Do you have any similar stories? We'd love to hear them in the comments.

The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Former Massey CEO Accused Of Conspiracy In Court Hearing

Former Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Don Blankenship in 2010.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:45 pm

A relatively routine plea hearing in Beckley, W.Va, Thursday, took an unexpected and dramatic turn when a former Massey Energy executive implicated former CEO Don Blankenship in a criminal conspiracy.

It's the first time Blankenship has been publicly named as an alleged conspirator in the ongoing federal criminal investigation of the 2010 explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch coal mine.

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World Cafe
1:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra On World Cafe

Bryan Ferry.
Adam Whitehead Courtesy of the artist

Bryan Ferry says he only listens to 1920s jazz these days — and The Jazz Age, the new album from The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, backs up that claim. The Jazz Age finds Ferry doing a lot of listening, as he neither sings nor plays on the record.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
1:23 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Christie Dashiell, Alfredo Rodriguez On JazzSet

In his early 20s, Alfredo Rodriguez came to the U.S. with a spoken invitation from Quincy Jones.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 11:09 am

Though originally from North Carolina, Christie Dashiell attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and now studies with Peter Eldridge from New York Voices at Manhattan School of Music. No stranger to the Kennedy Center, she has participated in the Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead training program there, and sung with the a cappella choir Afro-Blue from Howard University.

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The Salt
1:16 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Dispatch From Poutine Fest, Chicago's 'Love Letter' To Canada

The Peasantry's entry. Note that poutine is not only a delicious snack but also a source of light and warmth in the universe." href="/post/dispatch-poutine-fest-chicagos-love-letter-canada" class="noexit lightbox">
Missy Ruminski prepares The Peasantry's entry. Note that poutine is not only a delicious snack but also a source of light and warmth in the universe.
NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 5:01 pm

There is no greater mystery in America than this: Why is poutine not available everywhere?

French fries with cheese curds, covered in gravy — there's nothing more American than this Canadian dish that's not actually American. And while you can find it stateside more easily than you used to, poutine should be in every restaurant in the country, and probably somewhere on our flag.

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The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Bradley Manning Thought Leaked Cables Would Be 'Embarrassing' Not Damaging

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (right) is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on June 25, 2012. His lawyer announced that Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 12:30 pm

Update at 5:52 p.m. ET. Judge Accepts Plea:

A military judge in Fort Meade, Md. accepted 10 guilty pleas from Army Pfc. Bradley Manning on Thursday.

Manning pleaded guilty to lesser charges, but he is still facing a court martial over the charge of aiding the enemy.

NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Manning says he misused classified information when he leaked thousands of war reports and diplomatic cables to the web site Wikileaks.

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The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

In Depressed Spain, ATMs That Dispense Free Cash

A Spanish man bought two theater tickets and gave them to an elderly couple after he received free cash from an ATM set up by Coca-Cola.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 10:53 am

Fancy some free cash? Don't even bother to insert your ATM card.

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

'I Love Him,' Dennis Rodman Says Of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, seated next to former NBA star Dennis Rodman (in black cap), at a basketball game Thursday in Pyongyang.
VICE media

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 5:55 am

Update at 7:45 a.m. ET, March 1. Kims Are "Great Leaders," Rodman Says:

On his way home Friday from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather have been "great leaders." According to The Associated Press, Rodman also said of the young North Korean leader that "he's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him. ... Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."

Our original post — Dennis Rodman To Kim Jong Un: 'You Have A Friend For Life':

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Planet Money
12:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The Last Time Congress Built A Doomsday Machine

Sequester 1.0
Lana Harris AP

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:30 pm

After years of tax cuts and a big hike in defense spending, deficits were rising. Then came a bitter battle over the debt limit. Three senators came up with a plan: Unless Congress and the White House could get the deficit under control, this thing called "sequestration" would do it for them.

The year was 2013 1985.

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Music Interviews
12:26 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper Emerges From Behind The Counter

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's debut album is titled Ripely Pine.
Shervin Lainez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 1:31 pm

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The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

In Maui, Wild Chicken Spurs Power Outage At Airport, Surrounding Area

Why are so many feral chickens crossing the road in Maui? To get a rental car, of course.
Stephanie Federico NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:31 pm

A roaming chicken's close inspection of a transformer caused a power outage and brief delays at Maui's Kahului Airport this week. The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon, when the bird wandered into a transformer at the airport's rental car area, leaving parts of the facility without power for more than an hour.

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Around the Nation
12:11 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

On Heels Of Sequestration, The Business Of Spending Cuts

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:56 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The metaphors become unbearably trite: the debt ceiling; the fiscal cliff and now the meat cleaver of the sequestration. Details are important, we'll get to those in a moment, but underlying the repeated rounds of budgetary crisis, lies a deeper political paralysis.

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Arts & Life
12:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The Case For Being Concise: Short Poems That Speak Volumes

In poetry, sometimes less is more.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 1:03 pm

Brad Leithauser likes to look for poetry in graveyards. A novelist and poet himself, there's something he values greatly in tombstone epitaphs: brevity.

"You really don't want to go on at great length," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "There's something very touching ... in seeing how they are meant to be commemorated, often in little bits of verse here and there."

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Around the Nation
12:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

After The Spill: The Environment And Economy Of The Gulf

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This week the federal government and Gulf Coast states took BP and its contractors to court seeking billions in civil damages for the disaster that began almost three years ago now, with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Some call it the trial of the century.

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Middle East
12:05 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Reporter's Notebook: The Agony Of Syria's Civil War

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:16 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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It's All Politics
12:01 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

$85 Billion Versus $42 Billion: The New Sequester Argument

Just how much will the sequester cut? It depends on whom you ask.

The White House has been saying spending will be reduced by $85 billion this year, unless the automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday are averted.

The Congressional Budget Office, however, just released a new report saying the cuts will only amount to $42 billion.

Why do they differ so much?

They don't, really. It's a technical difference, more than anything.

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It's All Politics
11:57 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Federal Gay Marriage Ban Hurts The Bottom Line, Businesses Argue

Starbucks is among the companies urging the Supreme Court to strike down the federal government's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:13 pm

After years of legal wrangling, the Defense of Marriage Act — the law that prevents the federal government from recognizing marriage as anything but a "legal union between one man and one woman" — comes before the Supreme Court next month.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Openly Gay Mayoral Candidate In Mississippi Found Dead

Marco McMillian, thought to be one of the first openly gay men to seek political office in Mississippi, was found dead near a levee, yesterday.

McMillian was running for mayor of the town of Clarksdale, a town known for its rich artistic history. (At one point or another it was home to the likes of Sam Cooke and Tennessee Williams.) The AP reports that McMillian was considered to be "a man on the rise."

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The Record
11:15 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Richard Street, Of The Temptations, Has Died

The Temptations circa 1974. They are, clockwise from the left, Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, Otis Williams and Damon Harris.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

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Movie Interviews
11:13 am
Thu February 28, 2013

'The Gatekeepers' Offer Candid Assessment Of Israel's Security

Director Dror Moreh was nominated for an Academy Award for his documentary The Gatekeepers.
Mika Moreh Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:30 am

Six former heads of the Shin Bet — Israel's security agency — speak to director Dror Moreh in his Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers. They are men who have signed off on brutal interrogations and targeted killings. They have given their lives to the cause of Israeli security.

What is striking is that all articulate their shared conviction that the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories will not lead to peace or a political solution for the future of the state of Israel.

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