Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 10:15 am
The drama over the fiscal cliff and the familiar up-against-a-deadline dysfunction of Congress have largely overshadowed the leave-taking of some Capitol Hill originals.
So we wanted to remember a few true congressional trailblazers whose long Washington careers are ending. They include the first openly gay member of Congress, a leader of the libertarian movement, the first Jewish candidate to run on a major party presidential ticket, and the most fervent supporter of a U.S. Department of Peace.
Many signs are in the Cyrillic alphabet. The men and women sitting in the cafes are speaking Russian. The shops sell vodka, black bread, pickled herring and Russian-brewed Baltika beer. You have to pinch yourself to remember where you are.
This scene, with all its echoes of the former Soviet Union, is not in St. Petersburg or Vladivostok, or anywhere else in that vast sweep of bleak northern lands. It is in Ashdod, Israel, a palm-lined, pastel-colored port city that sprawls along the mild shores of the Mediterranean.
In a mile-long building on the edge of Fort Worth, Texas, an assembly line is taking shape to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lockheed Martin, which got the contract to build the jet back in 2001, is slowly cranking up production. It's hard to keep a plane current, when it takes so many years to develop.
But Lockheed's Kevin McCormack says the F-35 is designed to change as technology evolves.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:03 pm
The budget negotiations that led to a frantic New Year's deal on taxes confirmed many lessons about the way Washington works today.
For one thing, many of the most important relationships in the capitol appear to be broken. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner led negotiations on a budget deal for most of the post-election period, but once again they came up empty.
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman because she had been speaking out against that group's efforts to stop Pakistani girls from going to school, will be staying in Great Britain.
There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), says the NCAA badly overreached itself when it imposed punitive financial sanctions on Penn State over the handling of sexual predator and former Penn State assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky. Corbett is filing a federal anti-trust lawsuit against the collegiate athletic association, saying it ignored its own disciplinary rules in its rush to castigate the Pennsylvania university.
Vicki Yohe may look like a country western singer with her blond hair and blue eyes. But she's an urban gospel star. Yohe's latest album is titled, I'm at Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience. For Tell Me More's In Your Ear series, Yohe shares the songs that lift her up in tough times.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee sitting in for Michel Martin, who is under the weather. Coming up, you either loved him or hated him, but if you ever saw him perform, you certainly remember him and his catchphrase - dyn-o-mite - from the classic sitcom "Good Times." We'll talk to comedian Jimmie J.J. Walker later in the program.
Comedian Jimmie Walker is best known for his Good Times sitcom character J.J. Evans. But there's more to Walker than just laughs. For Tell Me More's Wisdom Watch series, host Michel Martin talks with Walker about his long career in showbiz, detailed in his memoir, Dyn-O-Mite: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times.
We'll listen back to a 1989 interview with actor Harry Carey Jr., who died Dec. 27. Carey co-starred with John Wayne in the classic Westerns She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and 3 Godfathers. He talked to Fresh Air about filming epic cavalry-versus-Indian scenes — and his most challenging stunts.
Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained is a spaghetti western-inspired revenge film set in the antebellum South; it's about a former slave who teams up with a bounty hunter to target the plantation owner who owns his wife.
The cinematic violence that has come to characterize Tarantino's work as a screenwriter and director — from Reservoir Dogs at the start of his career in 1992 to 2009's Inglourious Basterds -- is front and center again in Django. And he's making no apologies.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:08 pm
Though more big battles lie ahead in Washington, Wall Street is following the lead of financial markets around the world in giving a thumbs-up to the deal that kept the federal government from going completely over the so-called fiscal cliff.
Gangsters have been part of life in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, for decades. And nowhere is their rule more notorious than in the slums of Lyari, a dusty warren of low-slung tenement houses in the south central part of Karachi.
The pop culture gay flavor of the minute? White gay dads.
"We're having a baby, Bri!" croons one of the leads on NBC's The New Normal. "This is our family. You, me and that kid forever."
It's a mini-boomlet, says real-life white gay dad and sociology professor Joshua Gamson. Not too long ago, he says, pop culture mainly defined gay men as promiscuous and deviant, rather than monogamous and devoted to their families.
"It does seem like a strong counter-stereotype of how gay men have been portrayed over the past, whatever, 50 years," he says.