Sunday night, 92-year-old Andy Rooney bid farewell to his regular weekly segments on 60 Minutes, explaining that he sees himself as a writer and not a "television personality," and after all, "writers don't retire," but he's no longer going to be talking on television every week about fruit or the post office or whatever other nagging matter has his attention.
Working with grasshoppers, fruit flies, mice and human cells, the three scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine opened important windows on how all these creatures defend themselves against microbial invaders and refrain from attacking their own cells – except when they don't.
It's intricate and complicated stuff, but the two main concepts you need to know are: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
Note: This report contains an offensive racial epithet. It is an essential part of the story, however.
"Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign pushed back quickly and forcefully Sunday against a Washington Post story that linked Perry to a hunting camp known to some by a racially insensitive name," the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Originally published on Mon October 3, 2011 7:00 am
The Nobel Prize in medicine has been awarded to three scientists whose discoveries about the human immune system "opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases," the Nobel committee announced earlier today.
NPR's board of directors announced Sunday that it had dipped into the world of public television for its new president and CEO: Gary E. Knell, chief executive of the company behind the beloved children's show Sesame Street.
Knell, 57, said he hopes to "calm the waters" at NPR after a rocky year in which the institution lost several top executives and faced renewed challenges to its funding.
The fabled Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan was home to Mark Twain, Virgil Thomson and Brendan Behan. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, there. Jack Kerouac worked on On the Road. Bob Dylan wrote "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands." Artists Larry Rivers and Mark Rothko, and scores of painters and photographers also spent creative time there. But now the future of the hotel is up in the air.
Drug shortages mean a growing number of Americans aren't getting the medications they need. That's causing drug companies and doctors to ration available medications in some cases.
"We're now at 213 shortages for this year," says Erin Fox of the University of Utah, who tracks national drug shortages. "That surpasses last year's total of 211. And it doesn't seem like there's an end in sight."
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — also known as the supercommittee — created by Congress this summer has just seven weeks to agree on a plan reducing projected deficits by more than a trillion dollars.
If that panel of six Democrats and six Republicans deadlocks, or if Congress rejects its work, by law automatic across-the-board budget cuts — half of them from defense spending — will be triggered. Already, talk is growing of undoing that trigger.
Gary Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop – producers of the Sesame Street educational children's TV show — has been named the new CEO and president of NPR. The news was broken this hour on Weekend All Things Considered. Knell will take the positions on Dec. 1.
A protest in New York dubbed "Occupy Wall Street" appears to be settling in for the long term. Twice a day, protesters leave the tents, makeshift kitchen and free bookstore set up in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and begin a slow march down the sidewalk.
The Syrian government is continuing its brutal crackdown against protesters. For much of the past week, there have also been clashes between security forces and armed militants in the central town of Rastan and elsewhere. Most of those resisting the government with arms are thought to be defectors from the Syrian army. Host Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Deb Amos from Beirut, where she has been monitoring the Syrian crisis.
This past week, Bank of America announced plans to charge most of its debit card users $5 a month if they use the card to make purchases. The decision is meant to offset anticipated revenue losses from regulatory changes that took effect on Friday. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois introduced those changes to last year's Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation. Durbin joins host Audie Cornish to explain why he thinks the legislation is important.
Texas governor Rick Perry spent the last two days in New Hampshire, his first visit since the Republican debate in which he defended a Texas law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at state colleges. As Jon Greenberg reports, Perry faced headwinds among Republican primary voters.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. The Supreme Court returns to the bench this week after its summer recess. The new term begins tomorrow with some 50 cases on the docket. Several of them deal with hot-button political issues. Joining us for a primer on what to expect is NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Nina, welcome.
For 2,000 years, the Dead Sea scrolls were seen by no one. Today, they can be viewed by anyone with access to the Internet. Google and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem teamed up to put high-quality images of the scrolls online. Images of the relics - the oldest known copies of biblical text - went live on the Web last week. Jon Stokes writes about technology for Wired.com. He is also a scholar of biblical history. And he joins us from KALW in San Francisco. Jon Stokes, welcome to the program.
A Detroit high school boy's football team had its equipment stolen and its season jeopardized. But through the goodwill of the community and an NFL player, the season will go on. Host Audie Cornish has more.
Friday's drone strike in Yemen eliminated two Americans who have played a key role in the development of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were, above all else, the group's bridge to the West. The group is largely made up of Yemenis and Saudis who have hardly stepped foot out of the Middle East. That made Awlaki and Khan unique. Host Audie Cornish talks with NPR's Dina Temple-Raston.
In a surprising about-face, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears to be abandoning his government's long-standing effort to hold peace talks with the Taliban in Pakistan, saying they aren't serious about negotiations. NPR's Quil Lawrence reports.
As the field of Republican presidential candidates jostle against each other in straw polls and debates, there are rumors that the field is not done growing. This past week, the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was in the spotlight. Headlines were written about his potential to run for the highest office in the land, but in the end, he left things more than ambiguous.
NPR's media correspondent, David Folkenflik, has this advice for journalists: Don't ask political figures if they're running for president.
Detroit is a surprisingly green landscape during the spring and summer months. The site of many houses that are crumbling, boarded up or missing altogether is tempered by community gardens and even some urban farms.
There are some serious urban gardeners in this country, but few can match the agricultural output of Paul Weertz.
"I farm about 10 acres in the city, and alfalfa's my thing. I bale about a thousand bales a year," he says.
On each Sept. 30, the nation wraps up its old budget, and on Oct. 1, it starts a fresh spending cycle. Or at least, that's what is supposed to happen.
But once again, Oct. 1 has come and gone, and the country still has no formal budget in place. Instead, Congress last week approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating temporarily, just as it has done time and again since the 1970s.
Originally published on Sun October 2, 2011 8:28 am
This year, the annual budget fight has become especially muddled. That's because Congress and the White House are actually engaged in three different, but related, budget debates that are going on simultaneously.
Ultimately, the three battles involve just one question: How much money should government take in and spend? But the separate tracks involve different time horizons, and each problem has to be resolved in a different way.
Here is a fresh look at the three ongoing budget battles:
Voters in West Virginia will choose the state's next governor on Tuesday, in a special election to finish the term of Democrat Joe Manchin. The popular former governor left office after being elected to the U.S. Senate last November.
On the ballot are the man who has been acting governor, Democratic state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, and GOP businessman Bill Maloney.
But Republicans are trying to make the race a referendum on someone not on the ballot: President Obama.