For decades, the great Marian McPartland illuminated public-radio airwaves with her duets and conversations as the host of PIANO JAZZ. Since 1979, she spoke and played with established artists like Herbie Hancock, Alice Coltrane, Carla Bley and - of course - Dr. Billy Taylor. Next week, a new kind of PIANO JAZZ launches on NPR. The show will feature young talents who shine through their energy, innovation and artistry.
On an October night in 1859, 21 men staged a takeover of a national armory in tiny Harpers Ferry, Va. Though unsuccessful, the raid drew the nation's attention to its electrifying leader, a man named John Brown — and helped set the nation on the path to war.
Brown went on to become perhaps one of the most polarizing figures in American history. The devout Calvinist and abolitionist is remembered as a traitor and terrorist by some, and a hero by others.
Arab League observers arrived in Syria Monday, prompting a tentative calm between anti-government protestors and security forces. But many Syrians are skeptical that the monitors can permanently quell the unrest.
If you've ever lamented the time and effort it takes to brew or procure a cup of coffee, this might perk you up. "Breathable Energy. Anytime. Anyplace."
That's the campaign slogan for AeroShot, a plastic inhaler, roughly the size of a lipstick tube, filled with a powdery, calorie-free mix of caffeine, B vitamins, and citrus flavors. It's slated to hit stores in January, just in time for the New Year.
But some aren't so sure selling caffeine in pocket-sized tubes — and marketing it to young people — is a great idea.
This month, consumer confidence jumped to its highest level since April, a sign that the U.S. economy is starting to mend. But the housing market isn't going along yet with this cheerier mood: Home prices were down 3.4 percent for the year as of October, according to a new report released Tuesday.
Critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad have been debating whether it would be better to threaten him with prosecution or encourage him to go into exile. Here, Syrians hold a rally supporting Assad in Damascus this month.
The death toll in Syria keeps mounting, as do the calls for the ouster of President Bashar Assad. But in dealing with Assad, should the international community threaten him with prosecution at the International Criminal Court or offer him a comfortable exile?
That question is being widely debated, and came up several times earlier this year with the ouster of other Arab autocrats. Last month, a United Nations commission found that Syrian security forces loyal to Assad had killed hundreds of children and perpetrated other "crimes against humanity."
Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:09 am
As you know, numbers can often be looked at several ways.
There's the headline that "dozens of Kmart, Sears stores to close" and the topline news that "between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores" are going to be shut down as the retailer looks to trim costs and move ahead after it endured a pretty poor holiday shopping season.
Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:14 am
What gunk lurks in the bathroom sink drain? A fungus that can cause infections in humans, for one thing.
The fungus in question (genus Fusarium) can cause sinus infections and funky toenails. On rare occasions it kills people with weak immune systems. More recently, it has caused serious eye infections in people who wear contact lenses.
Margo Martindale is Mags Bennett, a charmingly villainous moonshiner in the FX series Justified. For her performance, Martindale drew on her roots in East Texas and Kentucky. "It's all part of my makeup. It's something I really understand," she says.
With just one week until the caucuses, Republican presidential candidates will be everywhere in Iowa this week. Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are all riding buses around the state while Ron Paul makes multiple appearances — a last-minute bid to motivate Republicans to come out and vote for them next Tuesday.
But no candidate has spent more time in Iowa than former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The day after Christmas was a holiday for most, so Santorum went hunting — with cameras.
Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 8:49 am
"Syria's army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs," The Associated Press writes, "and began withdrawing its tanks Tuesday just as Arab League monitors visited the area and met with local leaders, activists and officials said."
You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.
The presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say "I got this on the way over here."
And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.
NPR's business news starts with Sears closing stores.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: The holiday shopping season has gone well for some retailers, but apparently not for Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart. It plans to shut down up to 120 stores. Sears operates 4,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada right now. The company says Kmart sales of clothing and consumer electronics fell, and at Sears there was not much demand for home appliances.
Isaiah Cutler, 18, is in jail accused of burglarizing a market with three friends and taking thousands in cash and merchandise. An hour later, he supposedly posted pictures of the fellows and their stash on Facebook. A relative saw the photos, alerted grandma and she called the cops.
In Texas, a private intelligence company has apparently been hacked by the loosely organized activist group Anonymous. Some members claim they obtained personal information about Stratfor's clients, as well as thousands of credit cards numbers which were then used to make donations to charities. But other members have disavowed the hacking job. Freelance journalist Quinn Norton, who has profiled Anonymous for Wired Magazine, talks to Linda Wertheimer about the breach.
As the debt crisis spreads across Europe, the economy in the region is slowing to a crawl. One place that's starting to feel the impact of the slowdown is the massive port of Rotterdam in Holland. It's the biggest port in the world outside Asia. Much of what's bought and sold in Europe goes through Rotterdam.
U.S. officials may be giving up on their goal of strong relations with Pakistan. That's the suggestion, anyway, in the details of a report by The New York Times. The report describes the U.S. preparing for a much more limited relationship after U.S. forces in Afghanistan killed Pakistani troops across the border. Eric Schmitt, who authored the report, talks to Steve Inskeep about deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.
As North Korea prepares for the funeral of leader Kim Jong Il, attention is being focused on the country his son, heir apparent Kim Jong Un, will inherit. Like almost everything to do with North Korea, the picture of how the country's economy works is cloudy.
We're nearing the end of an unusual year for movies. No single film has dominated the conversation in Hollywood. Some celebrated films this year refer to the past of the movie industry itself, like the silent film "The Artist," or "Hugo," which becomes a tale of old film preservation.
Nearly three decades ago, Kenny Buchanan decided to drop out of school. Over the last 26 years, he's jumped from job to job and unemployment. He now has a full-time job and for the first time in years, he and his family have health insurance and can enjoy a few luxuries.