This Sunday, a landmark composition of the 20th century will be webcast by NPR, and led by the quintessential 21st century conductor: 31-year-old Gustavo Dudamel, who will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). Dudamel spoke about his experience of this earthshaking piece with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:31 pm
A big embarrassment came this week for the Republican Party, which has made voting integrity and fighting voter fraud a major issue.
A consulting firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in five battleground states has been let go after one of its workers apparently submitted over 100 questionable registration forms in Florida's Palm Beach County.
The party severed its ties with the firm — Strategic Allied Consulting — because it has "zero tolerance" for voter fraud, said RNC spokesman Sean Spicer.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 1:19 pm
An oddity of U.S. presidential politics is that candidates and their campaigns spend nearly all their time telling voters how superior they are to their rivals in virtually every area: the wisdom of their policy proposals; the soundness of their characters and judgments — everything, really.
Except for debating.
It's the old game of setting the bar high for your opponent and lower for your candidate, of course. That way, anything short of a disastrous debate performance can be claimed as a knockout victory.
Back in the 1920s, the U.S. government thought blimps might be the next big thing in warfare. So the government started producing helium. And they created the Federal Helium Reserve, a vast store of helium that sits underground in the Texas panhandle.
On the surface, the new coronavirus detected in the Middle East this month looks quite similar to SARS. It apparently causes severe respiratory problems, and can be lethal.
But with viruses, the devil is in their details — the genetic details.
Dutch virologists have just published the whole genome of the new coronavirus — all 30,118 letters of its code. And, the sequence reveals that the mystery virus is most closely related to coronaviruses that infect bats in Southeast Asia.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 2:52 pm
The Food and Drug Administration isn't sure, but Rita Desollar of Pekin, Ill., feels she knows what killed Heidi, her 7-year-old German shepherd. She feels it was the chicken jerky strips she bought at her local Walgreen's.
Desollar says on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, she gave two pieces of Waggin' Train jerky to Heidi as a treat. A few days later, Heidi was throwing up and "in a lot of distress," she says. By the time the holiday rolled around on Monday, Desollar says, Heidi was convulsing in her bed. She died that day, before Desollar could even take her to the vet.
Federal authorities in Southern California have arrested the man who produced the now infamous anti-Islam video, the one that recently sparked unrest in many Muslim countries. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was arrested for violating his probation from a previous bank fraud conviction. The judge at his hearing this afternoon denied Mr. Nakoula bail, calling him a flight risk, that's according to news agency reports. We now go to NPR West, and we're joined by NPR's Carrie Kahn, who has the latest on Nakoula's arrest.
First-grade teacher Euginia Miller reads to her class at Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. In this crucible of the civil rights movement, the city's schools are being reintegrated, as a handful of middle-class parents ignore the school district's poor reputation and enroll their kids in the city's public schools.
Credit Dan Carsen / WBHM
Avondale Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. In this crucible of the civil rights movement, the city's schools are being reintegrated, as a handful of middle-class parents ignore the school district's poor reputation and enroll their kids in the city's public schools.
When Laura Kate Whitney enrolled her 4-year-old, Grey, at Avondale Elementary, a public school in Birmingham, Ala., she and her husband were bucking a trend. Whitney and her husband are white, middle-class professionals. Public schools in Birmingham are 95 percent black, and 90 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch.
Whitney's is one of about two-dozen similar families who are not buying into the conventional tradeoff that if you live within city limits and have means, you send your kids to private schools.
Right now, as we near the end of the 2012 fall TV premiere week, there's a tendency for a sense of weariness to set in. So many of the new TV series are so bad this year, and not one of them is outstanding. It tends to get a little depressing.
But then you think about the rich bounty of returning series, and how good television drama has gotten lately, and there's cause to rejoice all over again.
Last week, Fox and Friends saw a photo on The Drudge Report and started saying that President Obama had time to sit down with a comical "pirate" but not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only problem: The photo was three years old.
Less than six weeks to go and President Obama seems to have opened up a lead in the battleground states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida. Aside from poor economic numbers and worsening international events, Mitt Romney's best hope lies in the debates, which begin next week. Also to no one's surprise — and Sen. Claire McCaskill's delight — Todd Akin stays in the Missouri Senate race.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for the latest political news in this week's roundup.
Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:08 am
The man charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 others at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20 threatened a University of Colorado psychiatrist about six weeks before the massacre and was barred from campus "as a result of those actions," according to local prosecutors.
They also say in court documents released this morning that James Holmes' alleged threat was reported to university police at the time.
The biggest news of the week was the walkout at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which forced the cancellation of the first Saturday night concert of the 2012-13 season. Management and the players wrestled over players' health care contributions. How does their compensation stack up, you may ask? "The current average salary of CSO musicians, who have a base salary of $145,000, is $173,000.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, violence erupted at the University of Mississippi 50 years ago when an African-American student tried to enroll. We'll look back on that day in just a few minutes.
But, first, to the United Nations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, the only way to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb is to draw a clear red line.
On Sept. 30, 1962, chaos broke out at the University of Mississippi — also known as Ole Miss — after an African-American man named James Meredith attempted to enroll.
That night, students and other protesters took to the streets, burning cars and throwing rocks at the federal marshals who were tasked with protecting Meredith. By the time the riot was over, observers said the grounds looked like a war zone, and the smell of tear gas hung in the air.
This Sunday, the U.S. Postal Service won't be able to pay its latest $5.6 billion dollar obligation. This will be its second default; on Aug. 1 it failed to come up with a $5.5 billion dollar payment. The Service is warning of expected losses this year unless something is done:
From left: Frank Wild, Ernest Shackleton, Dr. Eric Marshall and Jameson Adams head back to base camp after getting within 97 miles of the South Pole — closer than anyone had gotten before them — in January 1909.
Credit Hulton Archive / Getty Images
British explorer Robert F. Scott during his doomed Antarctic expedition, circa 1912.
Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 9:12 am
So you're headed out to explore the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic, facing one of the most punishing climates on Earth. What kind of medical supplies do you strap onto your sledge in case of emergency, miles from any sign of civilization?
While denying it did anything wrong, Bank of America announced this morning it will pay "$2.43 billion and institute certain corporate governance policies ... to settle a class action lawsuit brought in 2009 on behalf of investors who purchased or held Bank of America securities at the time the company announced plans to acquire Merrill Lynch."