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:
George Needleman is the chief bean counter of an investment bank who, in Madea's Witness Protection, is too consumed with family problems to realize he's being set up to take the fall for a Ponzi scheme. When he grasps what's going on, he's placed in witness protection β at Madea's house.
Tyler Perry, who wrote and directed the movie, plays Madea, as well as most other members of her family. Needleman, the latest fussy, funny, bushy-eyebrowed, precise and put-upon man, is portrayed by Eugene Levy.
This summer, Weekend Edition Saturday is listening to the sounds of music al fresco. Today, we present an audio postcard of a trumpeter we recently heard blowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just down the street from NPR.
It's a bit less likely now than a week ago that you'll hear people accuse the Supreme Court of being politicized.
That's because this week, the court ended its session with two controversial decisions β neither one of which was decided on the usual and predictable split between the five justices appointed by Republican presidents and the four appointed by Democrats.
But that doesn't make the court any less of a political animal.
The Greece Central School District in Western New York has decided on a punishment for the students seen bullying their 69-year-old school bus monitor on a YouTube video that went viral earlier this month.
Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said the parents of the four middle school students agreed to a one-year suspension and 50 hours of community service with senior citizens. They will also be required to complete a bullying prevention program.
When the Supreme Court upheld the central tenet of President Obama's health care law, it meant that several lower court fights on other aspects of the sweeping legislation can move forward.
Those cases, including high-profile lawsuits by Catholic organizations challenging the law's contraception coverage rules, would, obviously, have been affected if the court had found the individual mandate unconstitutional or struck down the law in its entirety.
But with the law intact, the lawsuits β many of them held in abeyance pending the high court's decision β will proceed.
We've chosen some popular books for our monthly Backseat Book Club selections, but nothing quite like the boffo best-sellers in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
How popular are these books? Consider the numbers: There are six books, and a seventh is on the way. They've been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide. And it was our 2009 interview with author Jeff Kinney that originally inspired us to start a book club just for kids.
The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.
This week, the Supreme Court struck down mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles. Youth Radio's Sayre Quevedo looks at one case in Michigan that may be affected by the court's decision.
We're going to try to break down now just what those penalties will be for those who don't buy health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office projects in the year 2016 four million people will pay the penalty. I'm joined now by Timothy Jost. He's law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and he's been looking into these numbers. We should say, Professor Jost, first off, you are also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, right?
In 2009, as President Obama was trying to convince Congress to pass his health care legislation, he stridently refused to characterize as a "tax" the penalty that would be imposed for not obtaining insurance under the law's individual mandate.
On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts begged to differ β while using the tax classification to save Obama's signature domestic accomplishment by a single Supreme Court vote.
Corruption is usually thought to be a bad thing. But in China, the answer is no longer crystal clear.
For decades, the country's Communist Party has declared that corruption threatens its very survival. But there are signs that this is changing. Recently, the state-run media have begun arguing that corruption can't be stamped out, so it should be contained to acceptable levels. And some corruption appears to be tacitly condoned.
By a vote of 373-52, the House passed a massive bill that among other things keeps the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.
"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive bill on Friday combining funding for transportation programs, low-interest student loans, and the National Flood Insurance Program," the Reuters reports.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This weekend, three members of the crew onboard the International Space Station will be returning to Earth after over six months in orbit. Flora Lichtman had a chance to chat with some of them, and she's here with us. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. That's right, just another day at SCIENCE FRIDAY, calling space.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's not often that people pay tribute, even eulogize, an animal, unless it's a famous film star like Lassie or maybe Trigger. But this week, they are remembering Lonesome George, the famous giant Galapagos tortoise thought to be over 100 years old and the last known member of his subspecies.
When it comes to climate change, you've heard of melting icecaps and rising sea levels, but just how high will the sea levels rise in 20, 30 or 100 years? Will it be enough to notice the difference? New research now says the oceans will swallow up more and more of our coastline, rising not just inches but feet according to two new reports released by the National Research Council and the U.S. Geological Survey.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your telephone is a computer, really. Your microwave, it's got a computer in it. Your television, it's got a computer there. Even, of course, your computer has a computer. Your iPhone, your cellphone. Everything - just about everything in electronics these days has a computer, and they all work the same way like a Turing machine. Decades before your PC, your Mac or your Commodore, Alan Turing was designing a machine which could calculate almost anything: a universal computer.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Imagine walking through Times Square, and every step you take it converted into a tiny electric current by the special pavement underfoot. Now multiply by the third of a million people who walk through Times Square on any given day. Wow, it could be a pretty awesome source of renewable energy, right, perhaps enough to power all those neon lights and flashing billboards.