By 2009, after years of losses, the all-black football team at Manassas High School in inner-city North Memphis, Tenn., was known as 'Whipping Boy Manassas' — one of the worst teams in the entire state. The new documentary Undefeated, recently nominated for an Oscar, captures the team's following season, and the struggles of its coach and players, on and off the field.
Co-directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin describe the team's recent history.
Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says the U.S. economic outlook is the most "uncertain" he has seen in his lifetime.
Given that he was born during the Great Depression (1938), and lived through the Cold War, the 1970s' inflation, a brutal 1980-82 recession and the recent global financial crisis, that may be saying a lot.
Rubin, who was President Clinton's Treasury secretary, is now co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a conference called "American Competitiveness: What Works," sponsored by General Electric.
The wind power industry in this country has grown fast in recent years, but that could come to a screeching halt.
The industry depends on a federal subsidy to keep it competitive with other forms of electricity. It's a tax credit wind farms get for the power they produce. That credit expires at the end of the year, and it's not clear whether Congress will renew it.
The tax credit was initially created to encourage wind energy, since it is a clean and secure source of electricity. But these days the argument is all about jobs.
Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:56 pm
Ready to say goodbye to a sliver of your Snickers? And how about a slightly slimmer Mars bar? By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark.
The 2-ounce Snickers currently sold in our NPR vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsize it will lose about 11 percent of its size. The fun-size and the king-size bars currently range from 70 to 540 calories, which means the new 250-calorie limit spells the end of the king-size bar.
It's the story that continues to, well, dog Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. And, according to some experts, it could jeopardize his standing with voters who care about animals. And yes, it turns out, that is not an insignificant voting bloc.
The incident happened back in 1983, and it's been public since 2007. But it seems that only now a critical mass of voters is hearing it for the first time.
Britain has a drinking problem. And it's not just a question of alcoholism, but how the country should grapple with what some call an ingrained tradition and others call a $4.24 billion nightmare. That's how much the National Health Service says it pays each year in alcohol-related incidents.
Now that the uprising in Syria has turned into a heavily armed conflict, many in the region are worried that the violence will spread beyond its territory.
Syria borders Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, as well as Lebanon, where clashes erupted last Friday in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.
Sunni Muslims in one Tripoli neighborhood began protesting against Syrian President Bashar Assad. They put up a huge banner on the side of a mosque that had a picture of Assad, wearing a military uniform, with a big red X across his face.
How do you say "Linsanity" in Chinese? Lin Shuhao feng.
And how do you quantify it? Jeremy Lin has more than a million followers so far on the Chinese version of Twitter.
The legend of Lin, the Asian-American point guard for the New York Knicks whose success story draws comparisons to a fairy tale, continues to grow. On Tuesday night, he scored 27 points, including the winning shot, in the Knicks' victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Advocates on all sides of the immigration debate are digesting the latest big, and perhaps historic, development: The U.S. government agreed to pay a $350,000 settlement to 11 Connecticut men arrested in raids in 2007.
The plaintiffs claimed immigration agents violated their rights during the early morning raids, which snared nearly three dozen people.
NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.
The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 million bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him:
Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 2:16 pm
Toyota and Ford won the most awards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which came out today. Vehicles made by Toyota led the way with eight awards, while Ford models received three. In general, vehicle dependability was the best since the study first began in 1990, according to J.D. Power.
Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 3:25 pm
The 2013 budget proposed by President Obama includes many cuts made to conform with new spending limits. But several arts and cultural institutions saw their allotment rise by about 5 percent in the proposed plan. The proposed spending of $1.576 billion — in a budget of $3.8 trillion — includes some good news for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowments for the Arts.
For the Newscast desk, Elizabeth Blair filed this report:
Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:11 pm
Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
President Obama's new budget is the talk of Capitol Hill this week. And while most of the headlines are about the ongoing fight over how best to reduce the federal deficit, the president's proposal also calls for a significant boost in education funding. It's yet another window into his administration's philosophy around education.
We implement zero-tolerance policies in our schools and businesses. We improve on the atomic clock with the quantum-logic clock that is twice as precise. We use multi-angle instant replay cameras in certain professional sporting contests to make sure the referees' calls are flawless. We spend millions on plastic surgery. We strive for higher fidelity, resolution, definition, everything.
The stories in Nathan Englander's new collection are based largely on his experiences growing up as a modern Orthodox Jew with an overprotective mother.
In What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, Englander writes about his own faith — and what it means to be Jewish — in stories that explore religious tension, Israeli-American relations and the Holocaust.
The Brits: You've got to hand it to them. The Empire may be long gone, but they still reign supreme when it comes to effortlessly exuding mordant wit. For anyone who savors the acerbic literary likes of Evelyn Waugh or the Amises, father and son, Helen Simpson is just the ticket.
Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 8:44 am
Valentine's Day brought new attention to an old issue. Is the amount of lead found in lipstick a health hazard?
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consortium of consumer and environmental groups, thinks so. They've argued that there's no safe level for lead in lipsticks — especially for pregnant women and kids — and want the agency to do something to bring the amount of the metal down.