This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
Nearly nine years after the Iraq War began, the U.S. is winding down its involvement there. U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by December 31st. The Obama administration says what comes next will be a new phase in the relationship with Iraq. What that involves will most likely be part of the discussion when Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, heads to Washington to meet with President Obama tomorrow.
Whoever winds up winning the Republican nomination will get a chance to be president, and one of the most trying parts of that job is dealing with Congress. Joining us now is NPR congressional correspondent David Welna to walk us through the issues still on the table as Congress approaches its Christmas recess. Hi there, David.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a newfound eagerness to talk to reporters — some of them, at least.
To hear Romney tell it, you'd think he had always welcomed the press corps.
"You're going to see me all over the country, particularly in early primary states," Romney said last week to Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "I'll be on TV — I'll be on Fox a lot because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters. I want them to hear my message and have an opportunity to make their choice."
When you think of spandex, 1970s disco mania may come to mind. Spandex came off the dance floor and into everyone's closet — stretchy leggings, jumpsuits and leg warmers were the rage. But spandex had a life before disco. It was invented by two DuPont chemists. It made its debut in 1959, first used in bras and jockstraps, as well as in workout gear.
Alvanon is the largest maker of mannequin body forms in the world. The Manhattan-based company uses a device called AlvaScan to create these forms — which are then used to create clothing sizes. "We are so diverse that in any given size, there are probably four or six different body types that are represented," says the company's president, Ed Gribbin.
Credit Courtesy of Alvanon
A model's measurements are scanned. Then, after adjustments are made, a 3-D body is created, followed by the final mannequin form.
Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 6:44 pm
Are you size 4? A 6? An 8? Often women shoppers don't know. And they can actually be all those sizes without gaining or losing an ounce.
Ed Gribbin, president of Alvanon, a clothing size and fit consulting firm in New York City, says everyone has a number in their head. When you go shopping, you instinctively look for your size, but more often than not, the item doesn't fit.
A convoy of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne line up at Contingency Operating Station Kalsu, a U.S. base about 60 miles south of Baghdad. For many U.S. troops, it is the last stop in Iraq on the way out of the country.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
A driver of an armored vehicle waits for fuel. More than 30,000 troops have passed through the Kalsu base as the U.S. shutters its military bases in Iraq.
In the ever-swirling pool of Republican presidential candidates, political endorsements — formal and informal — are being tossed around like life jackets. Will they help the struggling wannabes sink or swim?
"Endorsements are only one of many cues that determine how a person votes," says Robert C. Wigton, a political science professor at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Six GOP presidential hopefuls met in a two-hour-long debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday night, and this time the gloves came off.
This was the first such event since former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich moved into the front-runner spot. It had been anticipated that Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — the top two in most polls — would square off as each hopes to win the Iowa caucuses, now just over three weeks away. They did, and the jabs got personal at times.
Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 10:43 am
The $10,000 bet offer.
If Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, is remembered for anything, it may be for that moment where Mitt Romney made what seemed to many a substantial blunder by offering to wager Texas Gov. Rick Perry $10,000 on whether the governor had his facts right about Romney's record.
Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer says he and other wealthy Americans should pay their fair share in order to give the middle class tax relief. Hanauer is also the author of <em>The Gardens Of Democracy</em>.
Originally published on Sun December 11, 2011 12:00 pm
Thousands of wreaths were laid around the country Saturday and at Arlington National Cemetery as part of the 20th anniversary of an effort honoring the nation's veterans for their service.
The pristine white tombstones at Arlington were dotted with bright green holiday wreaths and big red bows. Wreaths Across America executive director Karen Worcester says volunteers laid nearly 90,000 wreaths in a little over an hour.
"We had a tremendous crowd," Worcester said. "They're telling me we had close to 20,000 [people]."
In jazz, to be a bassist usually means playing in someone else's band. The bassist-as-bandleader is a fairly rare thing, with the torch being passed over the years from Charles Mingus to Ron Carter ... and now to Philadelphia-born Christian McBride.
For the first time in history, an Arab woman has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At a ceremony in Oslo, Norway today, Tawakkul Karman, known as the mother of Yemen's democratic revolution, shared the 2011 prize with two Liberian women: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, who helped lead the protests that ousted former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
A new study shows that it is more difficult to "move up" in America than other developed countries. In America, kids are more likely to stay at the bottom of the economic ladder if their parents had low socio- economic status. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with Erin Currier, manager of the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts, about why the U.S. ranked worst for economic mobility among the countries in the study.
Turning now to domestic politics. The Iowa caucuses are just about three weeks away now. Herman Cain is gone. Newt Gingrich is the new front-runner. And Mitt Romney is slipping somewhat in the polls. Meanwhile, the attacks among the GOP contenders are getting sharper. And against that backdrop, there's another debate tonight. This one at Drake University in Des Moines.
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:
Most of the names announced for induction to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this week are familiar: Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The name Laura Nyro may need some explaining.
She was the daughter of a New York jazz trumpeter, who took her along to his gigs. She sold her first song, And When I Die, to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5,000 when she was just a teenager; left New York's School of Music and Art; and became a star at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 20.
Methodist Pastor Oscar Ramos conducts English classes for Latino immigrants in New Orleans. The majority of the immigrants say they arrived after Katrina to work in reconstruction and intend to stay.
Credit Richard Gonzales / NPR
Day laborer Yohanni Castillo from Honduras waits for work outside a Lowes home improvement store in New Orleans. He said he jobs are drying up. He hadn't worked for four days and even when he does work, he isn't always guaranteed he'll get paid.
Since Katrina, the Hispanic population in the New Orleans metro area has skyrocketed by more than 33,000 people. That's a 57-percent increase in the past decade, much higher than the national average.
They came for the construction jobs — and they've chosen to stay. Often, you can find about a dozen Latino men hanging out near a home improvement store looking for work near a mostly black neighborhood.
This week, the Senate blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general chosen by President Obama to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It boils down to yet another partisan fight: Republicans say the agency has too much power, and the White House says they won't weaken an agency that is supposed to protect consumers. Host Scott Simon talks with Joe Nocera, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times.
European Union leaders completed a marathon of treaty negotiations overnight to address the continent's debt crisis. Host Scott Simon checks in with NPR's Philip Reeves about how this new plan will impact Europe.
Opposition politicians and press pundits in France warn that the Sarkozy-Merkel plan to save the Euro will make France subservient to Germany. They say France will lose its sovereignty by giving a German-dominated EU control over French fiscal policy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley pounded the pavement of Paris for days, however, and could not find a single rank-and-file French citizen who shared these fears.
Word came this week that scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found the two largest black holes known to exist. Each is 10 billion times the size of our sun, and more than 300 million light-years away. Now, we should explain, black holes are known to hold some of the mysteries of our universe. They are so dense, they have so much gravitational pull, that not even light can escape. That makes this discovery all the more remarkable.
The nation's oldest black church reopens to the public this week after a $9-million restoration fueled in part by federal stimulus funds, and completed in painstaking detail despite the recession. Shannon Mullen tours Boston's African Meeting House with the woman who led the project.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Diplomats in the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa are still struggling to bring that meeting to some sort of close. Still no deal from the talks, which was supposed to coordinate international efforts on global warming. Diplomats are hoping that all the talk won't prove to be just a lot of carbon emissions. We're joined now from the talks by NPR's Richard Harris. Richard, thanks for being with us.