Backed by the federal government, doctors in Michigan are trying to expand the use of a controversial form of organ donation that raises disturbing ethical concerns, including questions about whether the donors are really dead. Defining dead turns out to be pretty complicated. There are two ways to declare someone dead.
Pope Benedict stuck to mostly spiritual themes on a visit to communist Cuba's most sacred shrine. This morning, the pontiff leads a mass in Havana's Plaza of the Revolution. As Nick Miroff reports from Havana, so far even Benedict's gentle push for greater religious and political freedoms for Cubans has been rejected by the government.
Florida state investigators are continuing to look into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. His family has been part of a widespread campaign calling for the arrest of the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the 17-year-old high school student. Yesterday, the parents of Trayvon Martin were up on Capitol Hill attending a forum on hate crimes and racial profiling. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from the Capitol.
Folklorist Alan Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. Now thousands of the songs and interviews he recorded are available for free online, many for the first time. It's part of what Lomax envisioned for the collection — long before the age of the Internet.
Last year, several states passed strict laws aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Those laws are now being challenged in federal court, and next month the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Arizona's immigration law — but that hasn't stopped some Southern states from moving forward with more restrictions.
Texas and the federal government are going at each other again, this time over Planned Parenthood.
The Texas Legislature cut off all Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood because of its involvement in abortions; in response, the federal government has suspended funding for the state's reproductive health program.
After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?
This year's Final Four seems more like Best in Show at the Westminster. Such pedigree: Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State and Louisville –– four of the very top dogs in the history of the sport. Well, it's a Meryl Streep kind of year, isn't it?
But if the Final Four might delight fans by giving them aristocracy in its teams, unfortunately the whole of college basketball is plagued by anonymity in its players, and external issues that have diminished the popularity of the game.
Good grief. This year, there has been more buzz about Mad Men than about March Madness.
Japan is home to Asia's oldest and largest motion-picture industry, with its own unique genres and traditions. While every film industry has stuntmen, only Japan has a class of actors whose main job is to be sliced and diced by samurai sword-wielding protagonists. But the decline of period dramas means that this class of actors is literally a dying breed.
In its second-to-last argument over the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ponders a what-if.
Specifically, if the justices decide that Congress exceeded its constitutional authority in enacting the part of the law that requires most Americans to either have health insurance starting in 2014 or pay a penalty, does that invalidate the rest of the law? And if not, how much, if any, of the rest of the law should it strike down?
Activists who want genetically modified food to be labeled in the U.S. say there's more support than ever for their cause. As evidence, a coalition calling itself Just Label It released the results today of a survey it commissioned from The Mellman Group, a national pollster. The survey found that 91 percent of voters favor the labeling of food with genetically modified ingredients.
Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 9:09 am
A British student has been sentenced to 56 days in jail for posting racist tweets about a soccer player who collapsed on the pitch.
Liam Stacey pleaded guilty to "incitement to racial hatred," after he let loose a barrage of tweets that contained the n-word and crude sexual references. It all started earlier this month, when Fabrice Muamba, a soccer player, collapsed on the pitch and Stacey tweeted that he was dead, followed by "#Haha."
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:12 pm
It was a question that seemed to be one of the most difficult for the current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr., to answer persuasively, at least to the obvious satisfaction of the conservative justices: If the individual mandate for the purchase of health insurance was found constitutional, what would limit Congress from passing other laws requiring people to buy products from broccoli to cellphones?
Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 10:31 am
This summer, U.S. archer Khatuna Lorig hopes to return to the Olympic Games. But she's already helped put archery into The Hunger Games this spring — by training the film's star, Jennifer Lawrence, to shoot.
In the kill-or-be-killed competition in the film drawn from Suzanne Collins' book, Lawrence's character, Katniss Everdeen, relies on her ability with a bow. And Lorig worked with the actress to ensure she had proper form.
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 7:58 pm
Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, a onetime Republican candidate for president now seeking the nomination of both the Reform Party and Americans Elect, said he could be a problem in November for Barack Obama and the eventual GOP nominee.
President Obama went to South Korea to talk about nuclear security, only to find that the presidential campaign followed him there.
Obama is now facing sharp criticism from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other GOP figures following comments he made Monday, in seeming confidence, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
As reporters gathered for a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Obama leaned over to his Russian counterpart. Without realizing a microphone was open, he said:
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 5:11 pm
The talent show outside the U.S. Supreme Court continued Tuesday as activists for and against President Obama's health care law sought to outdo each other with ever more artistic forms of protest.
At one point a middle-aged group of women started singing in harmony with a young drummer at their side. "Health care for everyone, I'm gonna let it shine," they sang soulfully to the tune of the hymn "This Little Light of Mine."
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 6:21 pm
Presumably, most people who've been paying attention know by now that Mitt Romney is very, very rich.
But to say that he possesses a fortune estimated at up to $250 million can be too abstract for most people. From an opposing campaign's point of view, better to provide voters with a concrete example of how Romney differs from most people.
And it's hard to find a more concrete example, literally and figuratively, than a supersized basement.
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 8:11 pm
A clearly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the centerpiece of President Obama's health care law: its requirement that by 2014 individuals have insurance coverage or face a penalty.
In contrast to Monday's dense and technical arguments, Tuesday's session was filled with sharp rhetorical volleys and clever analogies. Here are some of the more telling exchanges between the lawyers and the high court justices.
The swift downfall of ambitious Chinese politician Bo Xilai exposed a bitter power struggle in the highest echelons of government. Now his victims are telling their stories, exposing a darker side to Bo's signature clampdown on organized crime.
Charismatic and outspoken, Bo seemed headed for the country's top leadership body, the Politburo Standing Committee, before he was removed abruptly from his post — as party secretary of the major southern city of Chongqing — earlier this month.
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:
'Mad Men' Creator On What's Next For Don Draper: Matthew Weiner offers his thoughts on Sunday night's Season 5 premiere, the character development of Don Draper, and what may be in store for the staff of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
Rapper Baloji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but raised in Belgium. He's built a reputation for incorporating Congolese music into his mix, though he mostly raps in French, his deep voice full of cocky brashness. You can catch his vibe without translation, but it's worth reading the liner notes to get his messages, as well. Baloji raps with brazen ease about the indignities of life as an African in Belgium, but also the tragic, bloody history of his homeland on his second album, Kinshasa Succursale.
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 3:20 pm
An Army officer and a soldier were arrested earlier this month for allegedly plotting a murder-for-hire scheme, the Justice Department said.
1st Lt. Kevin Corley, 29, and Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28, were arrested after police said they cut a deal with federal officials posing as members of a drug cartel to raid a Texas ranch were they believed 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by members of a rival cartel. Police said Corley, who took the lead in striking the deal, also agreed to kill the rivals using a small team in exchange for $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine.
Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 3:14 pm
A JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas made an unscheduled landing in Amarillo, Texas, this morning after a man identified by passengers as the captain left the cockpit and then started shouting and pounding on its door before he was restrained.
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He's been a congressman, a governor, the head of a bank, and now he wants to be president. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana was running as a Republican. He dropped out of that race and is now seeking the nomination of the Reform Party and of Americans Elect, a new online platform for third-party candidates. Buddy Roemer says he won't take contributions of more than $100 and he won't take PAC money.