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The Salt
7:02 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 7:06 pm

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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Music News
8:28 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Just Who Is That 'Mean Old Daddy'?

Joni Mitchell, pictured here in 1970, wrote the song "Carey" while living in Matala, Crete.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 8:49 am

This song may take you back a ways — say, about 43 years.

That's Joni Mitchell, back when her voice was high and light. It's "a helium voice," as she describes it in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

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Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Perry Wallace, Who Broke Basketball Barriers, Didn't Set Out To Be A Pioneer

Perry Wallace, playing for Vanderbilt University, blocks the shot of 'Pistol' Pete Maravich, circa 1970.
Frank Empson The Tennessean

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:44 pm

Language advisory: Quotes in this story contain language some find offensive.


Many people are familiar with the big stories of racial integration in sports — Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers, Althea Gibson at Wimbledon. But after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many lesser-known African American athletes became "firsts" — whether they liked that distinction or not.

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Books
3:09 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

How Washington's Odd Couple Transformed Welfare

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the U.S. Capitol Building in 1970.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 8:49 am

Most books about President Richard Nixon focus either on his foreign policies or on the crimes and misdemeanors that forced his resignation under threat of impeachment.

Not Stephen Hess's new book, The Professor and the President.

Hess, who has been writing about government for decades out of Washington's Brookings Institution, witnessed a rare partnership inside the White House.

The president — Nixon — was a Republican who felt obliged to do something about welfare.

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Author Interviews
4:44 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Author Of 'Bridge To Terabithia': Messages Are Poison To Fiction

Stories of My Life book cover

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 8:07 am

Katherine Paterson is the winner of two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. Her best-sellers include The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, and her most famous book, Bridge to Terabithia.

Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. She tells NPR's Arun Rath that she had an idyllic childhood until about the age of 5, when Japan invaded China. "Those years were very scary years," she says.

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Asia
2:57 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

'A Universe Beneath Our Feet': Life In Beijing's Underground

Zhuang Qiuli and her boyfriend Feng Tao sit on the bed in their basement apartment two floors below a posh condominium. Since this photo was taken, the couple has moved above ground.
Sim Chi Yin VII

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 11:26 am

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Claustrophobic Living Quarters

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Food
8:05 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Siblings Build A Butcher Shop For 'Meat'-Loving Vegans

No need to wonder what's in this bologna; The Herbivorous Butcher lists every ingredient on its website: Tofu, vital wheat gluten, tomato juice, tapioca flour, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, vegan beef bouillon, canola oil, soy sauce, agar agar, red beet powder, sugar, salt, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seed.
Jonathan A. Armstrong Courtesy The Herbivorous Butcher

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 11:44 am

Take a moment to imagine platters of andouille sausage, barbecue ribs and bacon. Now think of all of those dishes without meat.

It might seem like a contradiction, but brother and sister Kale and Aubry Walch — yes, Kale — are opening the first vegan butcher shop next spring in Minneapolis, to be called the Herbivorous Butcher. They plan to bring their customers all of those delicious meat flavors, minus the meat.

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Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Billions Of Years Go By, All In The Same 'Room'

A two-page spread from Here.
Courtesy of Pantheon

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 11:50 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
3:36 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

At 86, Poet Donald Hall Writes On, But Leaves Verse Behind

Donald Hall is a former U.S. poet laureate and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2010.
Linda Kunhardt Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At 86 years old, the poet Donald Hall can no longer write poetry. Not enough testosterone, he says. But the former U.S. Poet Laureate and recipient of the National Medal of Arts still has prose in him: He has just published a collection titled Essays After 80.

The book spans Hall's entire career, his family life, his addiction to smoking and his thoughts on his own beard.

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Author Interviews
5:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

First-Generation 'Boston Girl' Becomes Career Woman In Diamant's Latest

cover crop
Scribner

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 9:51 am

Anita Diamant's new novel Boston Girl begins with a question: a granddaughter asks her grandmother, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"

Addie Baum was "the other one"-- an afterthought — the youngest of three sisters, born in 1900 in Boston's North End to Jewish immigrant parents. It was a time when most women didn't finish school, couldn't vote, and worked at low-level jobs just until they were married, to men they likely didn't choose for themselves.

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Movie Interviews
5:48 am
Sat December 6, 2014

From Chic Manhattanite To 'Monk With A Camera'

Before becoming a monk, Nicky Vreeland apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.
Asphalt Stars

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 9:51 am

When we first see Nicky Vreeland in the new film Monk with a Camera, he's a middle-aged man in a burgundy robe and with a shaved head. In other words, he's a Buddhist monk — the abbot of Rato Dratsang, one of the Dalai Lama's monasteries, and director of The Tibetan Center in New York City.

But as Vreeland maneuvers through his present, we get glimpses of his past as the grandson of fashion icon Diana Vreeland. Once upon a time, he was a chic, young Manhattanite who hobnobbed in posh zip codes and apprenticed with the great photographers Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

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Code Switch
2:23 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Chris Rock On Standup, Sellouts And Defining Success

Chris Rock talked with Audie Cornish from NPR's New York bureau.
Brian McCabe

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:34 pm

Quick: Can you name your top five favorite singers? What about authors? And comedians? Chris Rock plays this game in his new movie, Top Five. The film, which Rock wrote, directed and stars in, tells the story of Andre Allen, a marquee comedian who has abandoned his standup roots for blockbuster film glory.

"He's languishing," Rock tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "He's not as edgy as he once was. He's kind of watered down; he's kind of sold out."

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Code Switch
1:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 5:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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StoryCorps
1:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 11:07 am

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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Politics
2:28 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

For Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Aiding Children With Disabilities Is Personal

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was a lead sponsor of a bill that would allow special savings accounts for people with disabilities. She spoke about her son Cole, who has Down syndrome, on the House floor.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:03 pm

The Achieving A Better Life Experience — ABLE — Act, which faced a House vote this week, hit close to home for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. "For me personally, this bill is about a little boy who was diagnosed with Down syndrome three days after he was born. His diagnosis came with a list of future complications," she said on the House floor.

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Music Interviews
4:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Around the Nation
8:25 am
Sun November 30, 2014

After Wrongful Conviction, Three Lifetimes Spent With Hope In Check

Kwame Ajamu grabs his brother Wiley Bridgeman's beard after his release in a gesture that dates from their boyhood.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 2:31 pm

The year was 1975. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese as American troops and civilians were forced to evacuate the country. Ronald Reagan entered the presidential race against Gerald Ford. A show called Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC.

And Ricky Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Bridgeman's younger brother, Ronnie, were charged with the murder of an Ohio salesman. Jackson was 18, Ronnie Bridgeman was 17 and Wiley Bridgeman was 20.

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Backstage With Janis Joplin: Doubts, Drugs And Compassion

Janis Joplin
Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:08 am

Janis Joplin felt a sense of outsider isolation throughout her life. She once said, "On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people. Then I go home alone."

But she wasn't alone — she had John Byrne Cooke.

Cooke was Janis Joplin's first and only road manager, from 1967 until her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. He was the one who found her body. In a new memoir, On the Road With Janis Joplin, he details the electrifying performances — and the drugs — that marked Joplin's tours.

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Movie Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

In 'Imitation Game,' An Outsider Takes Center Stage

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician and scientist Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; Charles Dance plays Commander Denniston. Director Morten Tyldum says the movie is set up like a mystery — "like a puzzle you're piecing together."
Jack English Black Bear Pictures

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 4:29 pm

The new film The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing — the eccentric, socially awkward British mathematician who led the effort to break the Nazi's secret Enigma code.

In part, it's a movie about a great intellectual achievement, instrumental to winning World War II — but the film also traces the bullying Turing faced as a child, and the trials he endured as a gay man in Britain at a time when homosexuality was a crime.

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History
9:15 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Jesus Started A Chain Letter — And Other Hoaxes

Published in London around 1795, this "copy" of a letter from Jesus in heaven was the imagined correspondence between Jesus and King Abgar of Edessa.
Sheridan Libraries JHU

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:26 pm

William Shakespeare wrote in the margins of his books. Noah washed up in Vienna after the flood. Jesus sent a letter back to Earth after his ascension to heaven.

Did you miss those artifacts of history?

Of course you did. They're all frauds, concocted to convince the unsuspecting — and often they did.

These frauds are part of a new exhibit, "Fakes, Lies and Forgeries," at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore.

Curator Earle Havens says the exhibit is timely — these days, the media presents us with fakes and lies all the time.

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StoryCorps
7:42 am
Sat November 29, 2014

A Decade After Battle, Medic And Wounded Soldier Reunite

Retired 1st Sgt. Keith Melick (right) and retired Army Special Forces Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Wilkins met when Melick, a medic, treated Wilkins after an IED explosion. They were reunited nearly 10 years later.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 10:05 am

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, Keith Melick was a medic in the Army, and Roy Wilkins was a command sergeant major in the Army's Special Forces.

They crossed paths in Afghanistan, where Wilkins was wounded in an IED explosion.

And then this August, by chance, they met again — in the gym at a VA medical center in North Carolina, where Wilkins was playing with his wheelchair basketball team.

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The Salt
5:46 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Chicken Confidential: How This Bird Came To Rule The Cultural Roost

Free-range chickens stand in a pen at an organic-accredited poultry farm in Germany.
Joern Pollex Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 10:05 am

If you looked at Earth from far off in the solar system, would it look like it's run by humans — or chickens? There are about three times as many chickens as people on this planet. And while horses and dogs are often celebrated as humankind's partner in spreading civilization, a new book argues it's really the chicken.

Andrew Lawler, author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?, tells NPR's Scott Simon about the chicken's malleability, its religious symbolism and the most disturbing thing he learned while researching his book.

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The Salt
4:05 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

Smoke and mirrors: Dave Arnold plays around with liquid nitrogen in a cocktail glass during his interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:36 pm

Dave Arnold can work some serious magic with a cocktail shaker. But he's no alchemist — Arnold, who runs the Manhattan bar Booker and Dax, takes a very scientific approach to his craft.

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Found Recipes
3:27 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

A Boozy Parisian Pineapple That Tastes Like The Holidays

Roasted pineapple
Alan Richardson Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 4:22 pm

"It almost tastes like Christmas."

That's how Dorie Greenspan describes Laurent's Slow-Roasted Pineapple, a sweet, spicy and boozy dessert she's perfected after much trial and error. The dish, she says, is a "true found recipe," because it took a great deal of cajoling to pry it out of its creator, Laurent Tavernier.

Tavernier cuts hair in Paris, where Greenspan, author of Baking Chez Moi, has lived part-time for years. He's a great cook, she says — but while he would show her photos of his creations on his phone, "I could never get a recipe.

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The Salt
10:37 am
Wed November 26, 2014

The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu

Renee Comet Photography Restaurant Associates and Smithsonian Institution

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 21, 2012.

Everyone knows the schoolhouse version of the first Thanksgiving story: New England pilgrims came together with Native Americans to share a meal after the harvest. The original menu was something of a joint venture, but over the years, a lot of the traditional dishes have lost their native flavor.

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The Salt
2:16 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Gluten-Free? Vegan? Thanksgiving Recipes For Alternative Diets

Baked Squash Kibbeh: Middle-Eastern kibbeh is a finely ground combination of beef or lamb, bulgur and onions either formed into balls and deep-fried or pressed into a pan and baked. For a vegetarian version of this flavorful dish, why not pair butternut squash with the warm spices?
Steve Klise Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 10:05 am

It's like the start of a bad joke: a vegan, a gluten-free and a paleo walk into a bar — except it's your house, and they're gathered around your Thanksgiving table.

More and more Americans are passing on gluten — some for medical reasons, most by choice. Others are adopting diets that exclude meat, or insisting on the kinds of unprocessed foods that early man would have hunted and gathered.

All of this is a challenge to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

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Author Interviews
3:08 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Box Of Love Letters Reveals Grandfather Didn't Escape WWII With 'Everyone'

cover crop
Riverhead

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 4:31 pm

Karl Wildman was the hero of his family — he escaped Vienna at the start of World War II and became a successful doctor in the United States. When Karl died, his granddaughter Sarah Wildman found a hidden trove of love letters from a woman Karl left behind in Vienna.

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Author Interviews
1:55 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Pope Francis As Reformer, Evangelizer — And Doctrinal Conservative

Henry Holt and Co.

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 9:32 am

In the short time since Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, he has made headlines around the world — both for his new, seemingly more humble approach to the papacy, and for comments on social issues that surprised many.

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Television
3:45 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

'Getting On' Star Niecy Nash: 'I Never Wanted To Be Funny'

Niecy Nash (right) plays DiDi, a nurse at an extended care facility, in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name. Betty Buckley plays one of her patients.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 11:51 am

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My Big Break
3:45 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

After Injury, Tony Little Told Himself: 'You Can Do It!'

Tony Little calls himself America's Personal Trainer. He was first inspired to produce workout videos after an injury left him largely homebound, and he saw Jane Fonda's exercise program on TV.
Courtesy of Tony Little

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 1:31 pm

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

You probably recognize him as the energized muscle man with the ponytail selling his exercise machine, The Gazelle, on late-night infomercials: Tony Little, also known as America's Personal Trainer.

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