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Movies
3:44 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Revisiting, Reappraising Cimino's 'Heaven's Gate'

Jeff Bridges as John L. Bridges, Isabelle Huppert as Ella Watson and Kris Kristofferson as James Averill in the 1980 Western Heaven's Gate, a director's cut of which was released in November.
Criterion Collection

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 9:38 am

The director Francois Truffaut once remarked that it takes as much time and energy to make a bad movie as to make a good one. He was right, but I would add one thing: It takes extraordinary effort to make a truly memorable flop.

The best example is Heaven's Gate, the hugely expensive 1980 movie by Michael Cimino that is the most famous cinematic disaster of my lifetime. It's part of that film's legend that it not only took down a studio, United Artists, but was the nail in the coffin of Hollywood's auteur filmmaking of the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

As Two States Legalize Pot, Tommy Chong Isn't Nostalgic About The Old Days

Tommy Chong.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:11 pm

With Washington state set to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana just after midnight tonight, and Colorado set to decriminalize pot next month, All Things Considered today turned to "stoner" comic Tommy Chong to get his perspective.

Needless to say, the half Asian half of Cheech and Chong is very happy. He's planning to move to both states, Chong joked.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Egads! Aussie DJ Pretends To Be Queen, Gets Hospital To Talk About Kate

Hullo: The real Queen Elizabeth II, we swear, in 1961.
PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 6:00 pm

Oh dear:

"The hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge ... 'deeply regrets' giving out information about her condition to hoax callers from an Australian radio station," the BBC writes.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

The Election, Gay Marriage And The GOP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:25 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Standstill, nowhere, nothing happening - House Republicans ask the president to talk, but they know taxes top his Christmas list. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Naughty and nice...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

How History Created The Cult Of The Catcher

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:28 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Earlier this week, Deacon White was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. And yes, we know, you've never heard of him. White's career began in 1871, at the dawn of professional baseball. He played catcher in the days when catchers use no equipment at all: no glove, no pads, no facemask. They became heroes celebrated for their courage and their wits, and Deacon White stood out as one of the best.

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NPR Story
2:06 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Chemical Weapons And The Syrian Civil War

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 9:12 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As more and more of Syria slips out of government control, concern deepens over what's believed to be an enormous stockpile of chemical weapons. Last weekend, several reports cited suspicious activity at some chemical weapon sites in Syria.

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Food
7:21 am
Wed December 5, 2012

British Burger Is Hot, Red Hot

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
7:14 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Famous Rudolph, Ohio, Postmark Will Shine On

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. The famous Rudolph, Ohio postmark shines on. After the staff of the village post office was cut to one, it wasn't so clear that the 80,000 Christmas parcels and cards that flow in would get the special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer postmark. But the Toledo Blade reports nearly 75 volunteers have stepped up to keep the tradition going. Like Christmas elves, they're picking up shifts at the Rudolph post office and stamping away. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Reality TV Moves In A Different Direction

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:54 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

From the story of a literary star to one of a reality TV star, Mike Rowe, host of the television show "Dirty Jobs," quietly announced last month that his show has been cancelled by the Discovery Channel. TV critic Eric Deggans says the trend in reality TV is moving away from the kind of programming Rowe brought to the screen.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: For eight seasons, Mike Rowe was the guy who dared poke things, go places and do jobs no typically blow-dried TV host would touch.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "DIRTY JOBS")

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Cooper Union Students Protest Threat To Free Tuition

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a student occupation is entering its third day in New York City. It's happening at Cooper Union. The school of art, architecture and engineering is famous for not charging undergraduates tuition.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, student protesters are unhappy about what they see as threats to that tradition.

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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Senate Fails To Ratify U.N. Treaty On Disabilities

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And amid that budget debate, a wall of Republican opposition to a new United Nations treaty kept it from being ratified in the Senate. The treaty is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people. And even though it was inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Republicans argue that it would harm U.S. sovereignty and even interfere with home schooling. Here's NPR's David Welna.

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The Salt
2:36 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Milk Producers Peer Over The Dairy Cliff

Dairy farmer Bob Andrews feeds heifers in the same barn his grandfather used. He says today "the harder you work, the further you get behind."
David Sommerstein NCPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

There's more than one cliff drawing controversy this month. The federal farm bill is one of many items caught in congressional gridlock. The bill resets U.S. agriculture policy every four years, and most farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season. But there's one exception: dairy.

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Education
2:35 am
Wed December 5, 2012

When The Art Of The Deal Includes Improv Training

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Some top-tier business schools are offering more than just finance and marketing these days: Duke, UCLA, MIT and Stanford are all teaching improv. Professors say these techniques help students increase collaboration, creativity and risk taking.

In an improvisational leadership class at MIT's Sloan School of Management, instructor Daena Giardella coaches a scene where a hospital administrator is firing surgeons after a horribly botched operation.

Giardella, who does professional improv, boils it down to a rule known as "yes, and."

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It's All Politics
2:35 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Is A Recess Appointment Valid If The Senate Says It's Not Really Gone?

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

In a tug of war between President Obama and Congress, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Wednesday on the legality of Obama's controversial recess appointments.

The White House says it was forced to install three new members of the National Labor Relations Board in January because of inaction by Senate Republicans. But those lawmakers argue the Senate wasn't really in a recess at the time.

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Sweetness And Light
10:03 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Navel-Gazing: Why Golf Should Embrace Belly Putters

Carl Pettersson of Sweden putts for birdie on the eighth hole during the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in April. The long putter he uses is in danger of being banned.
Hunter Martin Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:20 pm

When did "issues" become such an all-purpose, often euphemistic word for anything disagreeable? We have issues now where we used to have problems, and concerns, and troubles, and hornet's nests. Like for example: The American and British big wheels who run golf have "issues" with putting.

Now understand, modern golfers have kryptonite drivers with club heads as large as prize pumpkins, and steroid balls that would not pass the drug test, even if the hapless International Cycling Union were doing the random sampling.

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Crime On The Farm: Hay Thefts Soar As Drought Deepens

That's a valuable commodity: A hay bale at a farm in Eatonton, Ga., earlier this year.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Your crime fodder ... sorry, make that blotter ... news of the day.

From St. Louis:

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Politics
6:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:34 am

The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.

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The Two-Way
5:32 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The First Book Printed In British North America And A Church's Decision To Sell It

Jeff Makholm holds the Bay Psalm Book.
Monica Brady-Myerov WBUR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 11:34 am

This past Sunday, the Old South Church in Boston made a decision that cuts to the heart of not only the congregation's history, but to the very beginning of this country's founding.

With an overwhelming 271 to 34 vote, the church decided to give its board the power to sell one copy of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book ever printed in British North America.

Only 11 of the original 1,600 copies of the book printed in Cambridge in 1640 remain. And of those, the church owns two.

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Shots - Health News
5:20 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

The Perilous Politics Of The Health Insurance Tax Break

MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who explained the ins and outs of health overhaul in a comic book, says that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is a terrible idea, at least from an economist's point of view.
Macmillan

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

There's not much in health care that economists agree on. But one of the few things that bring them together is the idea that excluding the value of health insurance from federal taxes is nuts.

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Music Reviews
4:44 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Two Malian Guitar Greats, Gone But Still Wailing

Malian guitarist Lobi Traore died in 2010, at just 49. His last album is called Bwati Kono.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Back in 1985, a young Malian named Zani Diabate became one of the first African musicians to release a successful album in Europe. He was soon crowded out by a flood of superstar African singers, but for anyone who experienced Diabate's rocking guitar tone and edgy African phrasing, the sound is unforgettable.

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It's All Politics
4:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

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Shots - Health News
4:17 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breed Digital Discontent For Some Doctors

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 6:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:49 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Alisa Weilerstein Plays Elgar: Exploring Music With An Intense Past

Cellist Alisa Weilerstein
Jamie Jung Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 10:26 am

British composer Edward Elgar wrote his cello concerto in 1919 — soon after the end of World War I — and it's suffused with the dark weight of that war.

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Books
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Fleeing North Korea Through 'Asia's Underground Railroad'

Though it is a capital offense to leave the country, more people attempt to flee North Korea each year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 3:21 pm

North Korea remains one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world.

Each year, though fleeing the country is a capital offense, a brave few attempt an escape to freedom using a secret network of safe houses and routes from North Korea to Southeast Asia.

In her book Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, writer Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the harrowing stories of North Korean defectors who attempt to escape from a place she calls "hell on Earth."

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Politics
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Outgoing Political Mavericks Reflect On Careers

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 3:33 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. When the 112th Congress adjourns, some of the most vivid politicians of our times will leave the stage. We've already spoken with Democratic Representatives Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Today two political mavericks.

One ran for president of the United States, the other for vice president. Both at one time or another left their parties. Both left indelible marks on politics and on Washington, D.C.

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From Our Listeners
2:45 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Letters: Dementia Crisis, Dolly Parton

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 3:33 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last Tuesday, during our discussion about parents with a physical or cognitive disability, we heard from Maribeth(ph) in Denver: My daughter and son-in-law are congenitally deaf, she wrote. Both are graduates of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and lived there when their first child was born, who was hearing and did not suffer from not hearing spoken word from her parents.

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Author Interviews
1:40 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

'Inventing Wine': The History Of A Very Vintage Beverage

iStockphoto.com

Wine is our original alcoholic beverage. It dates back 8,000 years and, as Paul Lukacs writes in his new book, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures, was originally valued more because it was believed to be of divine origin than for its taste. And that's a good thing, Lukacs tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, because early wine was not particularly good.

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Television
1:06 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Boxes Of TV Fun, Old And New, For The Holidays

The new five-DVD, one-CD box set The Incredible Mel Brooks is crammed full with comedy gold — and includes Brooks and Carl Reiner (above) doing their iconic skit "The 2,000-Year-Old Man."
William Claxton Demont Photo Management, LLC

I'm biased, of course, because I'm a television critic — but to me, giving someone a gift of a TV show you yourself enjoyed tremendously is somehow very personal. You're giving something that you love, and that in many cases will occupy many hours, if not days, of their time. And during that time, they'll occasionally be reminded of you.

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It's All Politics
8:58 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Obama Changes Tack With Congressional Republicans

President Obama speaks at the National Defense University in Washington on Monday. Since his re-election four weeks ago, Obama is showing signs of a new, more aggressive leadership style.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 12:37 pm

Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.

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Animals
8:42 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Puppies May Help Students Ace Finals

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It's finals week for many college students. And to keep the blood pressure down, one Canadian university opened a puppy room for students. It's full of borrowed therapy dogs to cuddle. Therapy animals are a proven stress reliever. The students who organized the puppy room at Dalhousie University say the idea has gone viral. Come to think of it, sharing the puppy story on social media sites might itself be therapeutic. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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