The canvas is epic, the themes are profound, the execution is ... clunky. Welcome to Christopher Nolan's third and allegedly final Batman picture, The Dark Knight Rises — that so-called rising taking hours, by the way. No Batman film ever had less Batman.
Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor Wednesday in an apparent attempt to shame Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and other House GOP lawmakers who recently questioned whether a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a fifth columnist for the Muslim Brotherhood.
And now we turn to the Mississippi River. The drought has brought parts of the Mississippi to near record low water levels. Those shallow conditions pose difficulties for barge traffic on the river and we turn now to Mark Mestemacher who is co-owner of Ceres Barge Line. It's based in East St. Louis. Welcome to the program.
MARK MESTEMACHER: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And how low is the river in East St. Louis?
Today's violence in Syria has prompted the U.N. Security Council to delay a vote on a new resolution on the crisis. Kofi Annan, the international envoy to Syria, requested the delay so that the deeply divided Security Council would have more time to reach a consensus. NPR's Jackie Northam has that story.
Cities and cars share a conflicted relationship these days. Environmental concerns, growing traffic congestion and an urban design philosophy that favors foot traffic are driving many cities to try to reduce the number of cars on the road. In cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Boston, some people go so far as to claim there is a "war on cars."
Jerry Seinfeld's new series is called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and the promos promise exactly that. The comic toodles around in his vintage wheels, drinking java with his pals Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards and Larry David, and discussing (among other things) the effrontery of ordering herbal tea when invited out for coffee.
But the next act from the man behind the most popular sitcom on television won't be on television. It's a webseries.
Americans' methods for commuting to work vary by city. Some drive alone or carpool, while others use mass transportation. Use this map to explore the geographic differences in how residents in cities with more than 100,000 workers get to work.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
In an effort to make posting video on YouTube safer for activists, YouTube has announced a new tool that automatically obscures faces.
"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old's basketball game without broadcasting the children's faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," Amanda Conway, a policy associate at YouTube wrote in a blog post.
Maybe you've agreed to be an organ donor. There might be something on your driver's license — a red heart, a pink dot or the word "Donor" — to show it. That also means you've very likely agreed — even if you don't realize it — to donate more than just your organs.
I know that I'm an organ donor. I signed up years ago, when I renewed my driver's license. But I had no idea that I'd also signed up to donate my tissue. That is, until Laura Siminoff, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school, explained it to me.
Reports vary on the number of deaths in Bulgaria today from an explosion that tore apart a bus carrying Israeli tourists, most of them reportedly young people in the Black Sea city of Burgas on vacation.
Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:20 pm
Capital One Bank has agreed to refund two million of its customers $140 million over allegations that it used deceptive marketing tactics to pressure or mislead customers into buying add-on products, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today. The bank and credit-card lending company will also pay a $25 million penalty.
This is the consumer watchdog agency's first public enforcement action.
With the addition of 29 counties in eight states today, there are now 1,297 counties across the nation so stricken by drought and heat that they've been declared natural disaster areas, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced. That's about one-third of all U.S. counties, he said.
Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:27 am
In most every uprising that topples a government, there's a pivotal moment when the momentum swings dramatically to the opposition and a regime that once seemed sturdy suddenly appears extremely vulnerable.
That moment may have come with Wednesday's bombing inside the National Security building in Damascus, the most powerful blow the Syrian opposition has yet delivered to President Bashar Assad's regime since the uprising began in March 2011.
Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 3:30 pm
In a lawsuit filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights allege the United States violated the Constitution's gurantee of due process when it ordered the targeted killing of three United States citizens.
The groups filed the suit against top military and intelligence officials on behalf relatives of the three Americans who were killed in drone strikes in Yemen last fall.
NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Reporter David Kirkpatrick covered Washington's political scene for many years for The New York Times. But early last year, he decided that he was ready for a change of scenery. Kirkpatrick volunteered to move to Egypt to become the Times' Cairo bureau chief — and boy, was his timing good.
News that first broke in the New York Post would seem to signal that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't going to be the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee.
The Post reports that "the word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey. ... Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech" at the GOP convention in Tampa next month.
Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 12:25 pm
Crony capitalism is a term very much in vogue because of Mitt Romney's accusations that President Obama has engaged in the practice, allegedly rewarding the business interests of political supporters with federal taxpayer dollars.
Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.