Pundits and commentators are forecasting that this fall's general election will see an avalanche of negative advertising. But as voters gird for the onslaught, political scientists are asking a different question: Will it matter?
When the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on private advertising in elections, superPACs supporting President Obama and the most likely Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, promised to unleash negative attacks on the other side.
The chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is arguing a difficult case: that the commissions are not only fair, but can take pride of place alongside the civilian criminal justice system.
Brig. Gen. Mark Martins is the chief prosecutor for the commissions, the courts at the naval base that try high-profile terrorism suspects.
He has been called Guantanamo's detox man largely because he has made it his mission to show that the military commissions system at Guantanamo is no longer a toxic version of victor's justice.
Rapid growth in the U.S. Hispanic community has created another boom — in Hispanic media. In recent months, several major media players have announced plans to join the competition for the Hispanic television audience. There's a new Hispanic broadcast TV network coming, plus a host of new cable channels aimed at Latinos.
The numbers tell the story: According to the census, the U.S. Hispanic population jumped by more than 40 percent in the past decade. The nation's 50 million-plus Hispanics now make up 16 percent of the TV-viewing public.
When Loren Williams died in a motorcycle crash in 2005, his mother used his Facebook password to read posts on his wall.
"These were postings from personal friends that [said] he meant a lot to them in their lives, and it was very comforting," Karen Williams told KGW television in Portland, Ore. "There were pictures that I had never seen before of his life and just evidence of the wonderful relationships that he had established."
We had never read about Kathrine Switzer, but then we saw this astonishing picture cross our social streams:
That's Switzer, of Syracuse, being pushed off the Boston Marathon course by Jock Semple, one of the race organizers. The year was 1967 and as Switzer tells it, Semple jumped off the media truck and began yelling at her.
"Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers," she says he told her.
Poetry and social media join forces in April, as Tell Me More celebrates National Poetry Month with the Muses and Metaphor series. We'll feature poems exchanged via Twitter by NPR fans — always in 140 characters or fewer. Tweet your poem using the hashtag: #TMMPoetry.
Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 11:03 am
A mind reader, a clown and a comedian walk into a bar.
Actually, we don't know about a bar. But we do know they walked into a conference of federal workers held outside Las Vegas in October 2010.
And though it sounds like the start of a joke, it isn't. Someone at the General Services Administration, the federal agency charged with managing government property, actually approved using taxpayer money to pay the three to appear at the meeting.
Mitt Romney has had issues in this campaign with cars.
You may remember his "two Cadillacs" comment in February, immediately characterized as a gaffe for a candidate who has often seemed to struggle with how to address his wealth on the trail.
"I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles," said Romney in Michigan. "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann [his wife] drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually."
Before IBM's Watson and Deep Blue, there was another celebrity robot: Elektro.
The first robot introduced to Americans, Elektro was the 7-foot-tall man who greeted millions of visitors who streamed through the gates of the 1939 World's Fair. He even appeared on film, in The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair.
The robot was built as a showpiece for the manufacturer Westinghouse, which made clothing irons and ovens in Mansfield, Ohio, at the time.
In his 1995 autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon,Dr. John writes about his tumultuous music career, a decades-long heroin addiction and the time he spent in prison on a drug-possession charge. The book is candid in a way that most of his music is not — until now. On his new album, Locked Down, Dr. John takes a more personal approach.
Here's some good news about Americans' diets: Most of us are getting sufficient amounts of key vitamins and minerals. That's the finding of a nutrition report just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
Vitamins A and D, folate, iron and iodine are just a few of the nutrients assessed in the nationwide survey, which uses data collected between 1999 and 2006. Overall, less than 10 percent of the population appeared deficient in each nutrient.
Filmmaker James Cameron recently reminded us of the wonders of the sea by diving solo in a submarine to the deepest spot in the ocean. Next year, if all goes as planned, a rather different expedition will take place 1,000 miles south of that dive: An Australian company will start mining for copper, gold, silver and zinc on the seafloor off the shore of Papua New Guinea.
Voters in Wisconsin's GOP primary Tuesday are poised to help former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wrap up his dogged, well-financed quest for the Republican presidential nomination.
But the winner-take-all primary and Romney's drawn-out battle with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have been overshadowed by the campaign to recall GOP Gov. Scott Walker, whose anti-union efforts since his 2010 election have cleaved the Badger State.
You know who's got a country album out right now? Lionel Richie. The same Lionel Richie who started his career in the funk band The Commodores — that's right, the group that made "Brick House."
But on his new album, titled Tuskegee, country artists from Tim McGraw to Darius Rucker re-imagine the ballads that made Richie famous. These are the songs that have become slow-dance staples at proms and weddings everywhere.
The Egyptian city of Port Said is the northern gateway to one of the world's key shipping lanes, the Suez Canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. With its ornate buildings and clean streets, the sprawling city has one of the highest standards of living in Egypt.
But this year, Port Said has become known for something more sinister: It was the site of Egypt's deadliest soccer riot.
Many of the city's officials and residents say the tragedy has destroyed Port Said's reputation and left them in financial trouble.
Reporting that it has had the video "clarified" by a forensics company, ABC News is now saying that a police surveillance recording of George Zimmerman "shows the neighborhood watch captain with an injury to the back of his head."
Linguist David Crystal describes English as a "vacuum cleaner of a language." Speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy, and simply make up other terms.
In his new book, he tells The Story of English in 100 Words, using a collection of words — classic ones like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the the English language has evolved.
Crystal thinks every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and."
At least 70 countries, including the U.S., pledged millions of dollars in aid to the Syrian opposition. U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has set a deadline of April 10 for compliance with the U.N. peace plan. Some analysts believe it's too late for peaceful negotiations.