Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: Major League Baseball premiered its new high-stakes, single game wild-card playoff round last night. But a controversial call involving a famously vague old rule is at the center of attention today. The - eh-eh - defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in that game. The Baltimore Orioles put away the Texas Rangers. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now. Morning, Tom.
Nearly two-dozen states are watching for new cases of a rare kind of meningitis, caused by fungal contamination in injections for back pain. Officials say the shots were custom made by a Massachusetts pharmacy that shipped about 17,000 doses to states from New York to California. While the disease cannot spread from person-to-person, at least five people have died and dozens more are sick. The outbreak first showed up in Tennessee as we hear from Daniel Potter of member station WPLN.
On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.
The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.
In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.
Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.
Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.
When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."
The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.
"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.
Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.
With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.
Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.
A massive graffiti mural in Cairo's Tahrir Square documenting the political turmoil in Egypt was whitewashed earlier this month. The next night, several hundred artists and supporters were back, covering the wall in new images and anti-government slogans.
Medical student and painter Doaa Okasha, 20, was outraged when she found out the original mural was gone.
"It's our history there. This wall explains a lot of what happened in the last months, and it's very important to us," she says. "They easily come and erase everything, and we don't accept that."
Don't try to pigeonhole Josephine Foster. She has recorded albums of psychedelic rock and Tin Pan Alley, music for children, blues, Spanish folk tunes, 19th century German art songs and a song cycle based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Although her soprano may be a little unusual, it's arresting.
Foster recently released a new album, Blood Rushing. She spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about finding her voice, collaborating with her husband, singing at funerals and embracing small-town life.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. There's new information tonight about the shooting of two border patrol agents along the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this week. One of the agents was killed in that incident. Well, the FBI now says that there are strong preliminary indications that the shooting was accidental and only involved the agents on the scene. NPR's Ted Robbins is following the story and joins me from Tucson. And, Ted, it sounds like the FBI is saying this is a case of friendly fire. What more do you know?
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 8:28 pm
The shooting death of a Border Patrol agent along the Arizona-Mexico border may have been the result of friendly fire. The FBI said a preliminary investigation indicates the death of one agent and the injury of another "were the result of an accidental shooting incident involving only the agents."
NPR's Ted Robbins tells our Newscast unit the FBI was investigating the possibility of friendly fire and that today Homeland Security Janet Napolitano flew to Arizona to review the case and meet with the dead agent's family.
U.S. Speedskating apologized today, after one of its athletes admitted that he tampered with the skates of a competitor.
"I speak for everyone at U.S. Speedskating — our staff, athletes and Board of Directors — when I say that we are shocked and disappointed by Simon [Cho's] actions," Tamara Castellano, marketing director of U.S. Speedskating, said in a prepared statement. "We would like to apologize to Speedskate Canada and Olivier Jean, as well as all of the Canadian athletes who competed in Warsaw, for the actions of our athlete."
Twenty-five years ago, The Princess Bride performed only so-so at the box office. But as you know if you have ever had it quoted to you — and who hasn't? — it's come to be one of the most beloved films of the 1980s. On Friday's All Things Considered, Mandy Patinkin, now starring in Showtime's Homeland but back then the Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya, talks to Melissa Block about the film and what it's like to be part of such a beloved piece of popular culture.