It didn't take long for the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo to become part of the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney jumped in first. In a statement last night before Ambassador Stevens' death had been announced, Romney accused President Obama of sympathizing with those who waged the assault. The Obama campaign responded, saying it was shocked that Romney would launch a, quote, "political attack" at this moment. And the politics have continued today as NPR's Mara Liasson reports.
The numbers for West Nile virus cases continue to rise, up 35 percent in the last week. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confident the nation has turned the corner on its worst-ever epidemic of West Nile virus disease.
Every election season Republicans and Democrats tried to rally their base and to go after undecided voters. They're increasingly using the Internet in Get Out The Vote efforts.
NPR correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who reports on social science research, joins me now to talk about how Facebook could become a potent weapon in going after the biggest untapped voting bloc in the nation. Shankar, welcome.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Melissa.
BLOCK: Who are these mystery voters, this untapped voting bloc that we mentioned?
A Syrian documentary film producer whose disappearance two weeks ago prompted concerns for his safety and a letter of support from the Toronto International Film Festival is now free, according to reports.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 2:47 pm
This summer in Maine, I ate more lobster than at any other time I've been there – twice in one day on a couple of occasions. We lobster lovers had the glut of soft-shells, which started in June as the lobsters began to shed earlier and faster than usual, to thank for the more affordable market price of around $4 or less a pound.
Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:07 pm
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says the three jailed members of the politically radical punk rock band Pussy Riot should have their sentences commuted to time served.
"In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody," The Associated Press quoted Medvedev as saying during a televised meeting with members of his United Russia Party.
Spanish-language network Univision announced Wednesday that, along with Facebook, it will host discussions with the presidential candidates next week, calling them "the first-ever events of their kind targeting Hispanic Americans."
The "Meet the Candidate" events — featuring Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Sept. 19 and President Obama on Sept. 20 — will be held at the University of Miami and will be broadcast on Univision and streamed online in English.
Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 11:07 am
The order to tighten security at all U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe following attacks in the Middle East may be necessary, but it will come at a cost.
There has been an enormous increase in security precautions at American embassies and consulates over the past 30 years, and the bubble that many diplomats now operate under makes it more difficult for them to interact with people in other countries, limiting their ability to gather information and promote the American "brand."
Every New York story ever written or filmed falls into one of two categories. The first — like Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or the musical On the Town — regards New York as the representativeAmerican city, a jam-packed distillation of the country's dreams and nightmares.The second group views New York as a foreign place — a city off the coast of the U.S. mainland that somehow drifted away from Paris or Mars. Think every Manhattan movie ever made by Woody Allen.
Author Michael Lewis made a radical request to the White House that he says he was almost certain would be denied: He wanted to write a piece about President Obama that would put the reader in the president's shoes.
To do this, the Vanity Fair contributing editor would need inside access. So what did he propose?
Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:02 pm
Most Americans knew nothing about Innocence of Muslims. That's the film that has set the Muslim world on fire, causing protests in Egypt and Libya that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
This year's presidential debates have no Latino moderators on the slate. So one network is taking matters into its own hands. Univision's Jorge Ramos is set to moderate discussions with each of the major party presidential candidates. He tells host Michel Martin it's time for the Commission on Presidential Debates to move into the 21st century.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, he is the biographer of Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois and Jackie Robinson, and now Arnold Rampersad is the winner of a prestigious lifetime achievement award for his body of work. We'll speak with this legendary writer in just a few minutes.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We've been talking a lot about the economy in the past couple of weeks. The issue was at the forefront of the two political conventions that just ended and put a further exclamation point on the debate over whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would be the best person to address the issue.