Iowans Laura (Jennifer Garner, front right) and Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) fight to remain the first couple of state-fair butter sculpting.
A butter sculpting prodigy (Yara Shahidi, second from left) has a chance to end the Picklers' reign with the help of her friend (Brett Hill) and her foster parents (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone).
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:20 pm
Unless you've attended a Midwestern state fair — or perhaps a Renaissance-era banquet — you might be unfamiliar with the ephemeral but much beloved art of butter sculpture.
Yes, the creamy dairy spread, when chilled to between 32 and 60 degrees, achieves a consistency ripe for carving, and artisans working with hundreds of pounds of the stuff can fashion almost anything: cows, the Liberty Bell, cows being milked, Mount Rushmore, cows jumping over moons, Yoda, Newt Gingrich on a horse.
If you want to vote in the November elections and you aren't registered yet — you'd better hurry. The registration deadline in five states is this weekend. By the following weekend, the deadline will have passed in more than half the states.
And finally this hour, it's time for a literary take on one of our top stories today. Reporters step aside. Spin doctors drop those talking points. We've asked two writers to reflect on last night's debate in poetry. One from the right and one from the left. This is still politics, after all. First up, conservative commentator Mark Steyn, author of the book, "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon." He was inspired by the fact that last night's debate coincided with the president's 20th wedding anniversary.
Among the most animated exchanges last night was a disagreement between the candidates on the cost of Mitt Romney's tax proposal. Romney forcefully defended his plan, saying, among other things, that it would not add to the deficit. He also offered a few more details to a plan that has been relatively short on details up to this point. We've asked NPR's John Ydstie to walk us through what we do and don't know about Romney's broader tax policy. Welcome, John.
Pakistani pop singer Shehzad Roy (right) sings for teenage prisoners at a prison in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2008. Known originally for fluffy pop songs, Roy's music has taken a harder, more political edge, protesting injustice in Pakistan.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Roy is shown here at the Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi, a poor public school being refurbished by his education nonprofit, Zindagi Trust.
Credit Lauren Frayer for NPR
Handmade decorations adorn the refurbished Fatima Jinnah girls school, where stray dogs once roamed the classrooms.
Tensions remain high along the Turkish-Syrian border, a day after an exchange of artillery fire that left five Turkish civilians dead. The Turkish parliament has authorized cross-border operations if there are any further provocations from the Syrian side. Damascus is appealing for restraint and says it is investigating Wednesday's mortar attack on Turkey. Peter Kenyon talks to Audie Cornish.
The Major League playoffs begin tomorrow, spinning off a dizzying last day of the regular season, and there's a ton of drama to talk about with Joe Lemire, baseball writer for Sports Illustrated. Welcome, Joe.
JOE LEMIRE: Thanks for having me.
BLOCK: That dizzying last day featured a remarkable finish by the Oakland A's. They won the American League West, but they were all but dead three months ago. They were 13 games behind the Texas Rangers. What happened?
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Today, a long legal battle came to an end. On one side, Google; on the other, book publishers. The two have reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit that's dragged on for seven years. But this does not end Google's legal trouble, as it tries to digitize the world's books. An even more important lawsuit remains unresolved - with thousands of authors of those books that Google has scanned. NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
Even though he has the face and build of a leonine Celtic warrior, there's also something gentle and mouselike about Liam Neeson. That's what makes him such an unlikely and invigorating action hero, and it's part of what made the 2008 thriller Taken so disreputably pleasurable: Somehow, watching this sad, sweet galoot zap Albanian bad apples with a jillion volts of electricity just felt so right.
The Swiss canton of Vallais isn't exactly South Central, but it does have a crime problem: His name is Simon, and he seems to have found the perfect racket. Sister's 12-year-old protagonist (Kacey Mottet Klein) steals skis, gear and clothing at an upscale mountain resort that's just a short tram ride above his bleak flatland apartment.
Not only is the ski lodge convenient, but it's frequented by people who are too rich to sweat the loss of their stuff. ("They'll just buy a new one," Simon explains to one of the townies who buy his purloined goods.)
Drug abuse is primarily a medical problem, not a crime against society. American anti-drug policy is a means of social control that's rooted in racial and ethnic prejudice. The country's incarceration industry has become a self-sustaining force, predicated on economics rather than justice.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:22 pm
Dang if Home for the Holidays season hasn't rolled around again — that jolly time of year when screenwriters dust off childhood memories of mildly distressed families and distress them further for our sentimental education. Yet if it seems a little early-autumn yet for that sort of thing, please welcome a surprisingly superior specimen of the genre, courtesy of the best indie ensemble money can buy.
Every filmmaker has the right, of course, to remake his own film. And what filmmaker wouldn't relish the chance to redo something he felt he didn't get quite right the first time around, either for lack of funds or for lack of support from a studio?
The words "florid" and "inert" are not quite antonyms, but it would nonetheless seem impossible for those two adjectives to apply to the same thing. And yet here comes The Paperboy, a swamp noir so spectacularly incompetent that even the ripest pulp attractions are left to rot in the sun, flies buzzing lazily around them.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 3:03 pm
Despite President Obama's celebrated gift for oratory, the Obama supporters least surprised by his underwhelming performance against Mitt Romney may have been two of his top advisers.
Senior strategists David Plouffe and David Axelrod have long doubted Obama's debating skills. Their concerns date back to the 2008 presidential campaign, as Plouffe wrote in his book, The Audacity to Win. He put it plainly: "Historically, Obama was not a strong debater."
Stephen Colbert has no idea how other news pundits find time to write books. But he felt certain that his character on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, needed to have another one.
"My character is based on news punditry, the masters of opinion in cable news, and they all have books," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We don't have time to write a book and feed and wash ourselves, so something has to go out the window. And [for me] it was family, friends and hygiene for the past year."
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 2:37 pm
Once again, our friends at Weekend Edition want to put your questions to NPR reporters. Last time the subject was foreign policy, but this weekend they're looking for election-related questions from you:
"As we approach Election Day, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates. This week, we want to hear your questions about the presidential candidates' positions on taxes and housing policy.
The story of the birth of accounting begins with numbers. In the 1400s, much of Europe was still using Roman numerals, and finding it really hard to easily add or subtract. (Try adding MCVI to XCIV.)
But fortunately, Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) started catching on, and with those numbers, merchants in Venice developed a revolutionary system we now call "double-entry" bookkeeping. This is how it works: