It's a politics-filled Saturday as Republicans hold a presidential candidate forum and the Democrats have their Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. This year's dinner features Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the keynote speaker; four years ago the dinner launched then-Sen. Barack Obama's presidential candidacy into high gear. Guest host Linda Wertheimer talks with NPR's Don Gonyea about the events.
The bipartisan supercommittee enters the final weekend prior to its Nov. 23 deadline with little tangible progress to show for over two months of work. NPR's Andrea Seabrook tells guest host Linda Wertheimer that several of its members are huddling in Washington this weekend, trying to come up with a way to reduce the government's budget deficit.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:38 am
In the crowded race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney may be the tortoise, but Newt Gingrich is the newt. And newts are highly adaptive salamanders that regenerate limbs when wounded and emit poison when challenged.
Conventional — and up-to-the-minute contemporary — wisdom pegs Gingrich as the ascendant favorite, knocking other candidates off their posts and platforms like an Angry Bird.
The congressional supercommittee has only a few days left to come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. One of the areas on the chopping block is the nation's defense budget, and Pentagon officials are pushing back against any cuts beyond the $450 billion they've already been asked to make.
The defense budget is an easy target when it comes to cutting the deficit, because it makes up half of the federal government's entire discretionary budget, says Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
According to HRL Laboratories that is an "ultralight metallic microlattice" sitting atop a dandelion. The material was developed by scientists at HRL, The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine.
The material is 99.99 percent air and 100 times lighter than styrofoam.
Originally published on Mon December 19, 2011 9:00 am
Paul Simon's music can feel timeless even when it's filled with new ideas. In his interview with World Cafe host David Dye, Simon reflects on his friend Bert Jansch, who recently died, and discusses their friendship, which lasted more than 30 years.
At an Aravind hospital in Madurai, a city on India's southern tip, the waiting room is packed. A clinical assistant calls out the names of patients, and they're escorted to examination rooms. This hospital alone screens around 2,000 patients a day — and tour guide Shawas Philip says this day is busier than usual.
"We might break that record today — of the number of patients that are seen on a particular day. That's exciting," he says.
The self-help guru responsible for three deaths at a 2009 sweat lodge ceremony in the Arizona desert was sentenced to two years in prison, today.
At his sentencing James Arthur Ray begged for forgiveness. The AP reports:
"Ray said during his sentencing hearing that he would have stopped the ceremony near Sedona had he known people were dying or in distress. He turned to the more than a dozen family members seated in the courtroom, tearfully taking full responsibility for the pain and anguish he caused them.
Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential stock is rising in the polls. And his newfound popularity is also bringing new scrutiny to what he's been up to since he stepped down as Speaker of the House in 1998.
Joe Paterno's son said his father has lung cancer, but that it was treatable.
The AP reports:
Scott Paterno says in a statement provided to The Associated Press by a family representative that the 84-year-old Joe Paterno is undergoing treatment and that "his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery."
The government of Myanmar bars or severely restricts reporting by foreign correspondents. NPR is withholding the name of the veteran journalist who recently entered the country and filed this story, in order to protect his identity and his ability to return in the future.
The newest — and nicest — road in Myanmar is, paradoxically, one of the emptiest as well: Only a handful of cars travel along the desolate four-lane highway to nowhere, or so it seems.
Saying it is deeply troubled by "tragic events" alleged to have happened at Penn State, the NCAA has told the school it is launching an examination of whether the university has "institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics program, as well as the actions, and inactions, of relevant ... personnel."
Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:41 pm
It's hard to miss the irony: Leon Panetta, as President Clinton's budget guru, backed billions of dollars in Pentagon cuts. Now, as secretary of defense, he's warning that the U.S. could become a "paper tiger" if his department's budget is further reduced.
The Roman Catholic Church is about to buy a beacon of Protestant televangelism.
The Crystal Cathedral, a temple of glass in Garden Grove, Calif., will be sold to the Catholic Church for $57 million — a decision that left some congregants furious and their future up in the air.
When the Crystal Cathedral declared bankruptcy last year, it soon became clear that the legendary building would have to be sold. There were several offers, but in the end, the church's board favored the Catholic diocese in Orange County.
Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 4:55 pm
Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.
These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world.