President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney are getting ready to answer any and all possible questions about foreign policy for Monday night's debate, the last one before the Nov. 6 election.
Iran, Israeli-Palestinian talks and China are among likely topics for the debate — and also major issues awaiting the next president. Each case is a matter of building and maintaining alliances while applying pressure to protect U.S. interests.
About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.
Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.
Just two weeks until we announce the winner of Round Nine of our Three-Minute Fiction contest here on WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, that's where we ask you to come up with an original piece of fiction that can be read in about three minutes. In this round, we received nearly 4,000 stories.
Now, graduate students from a dozen schools, including from the University of Houston and Indiana University, have read through all of them. And now, our judge this round, Brad Meltzer, is making his decision.
Whenever 19-year-old Robbie Walsh tells friends and family back home in Maryland that he goes to Lynn University, they do a double-take.
"They go, 'Lynn University? What?'" he says. "Then I have to tell them it's in Boca Raton, Florida, and a lot of them say, 'Oh, FAU,' or 'The University of Miami.'"
Many of Lynn's students and faculty who gather at the campus cafe say they hear that sort of thing all the time. But university spokesman Joshua Glanzer says a new T-shirt showing up on campus gives it right back.
Seventy-five years ago, J.R.R Tolkien wrote a book for his children called The Hobbit. It isn't just a landmark piece of fantasy literature; it's a movement — a work that's inspired everyone from director Peter Jackson to the band Led Zeppelin to Leonard Nimoy (who recorded his own homage to the book in the late 1960s — "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins").
As with food, as with fashion, as with film, there does seem to be a distinct French style when it comes to composition. The much-heralded English pianist Stephen Hough has been studying what makes a piece of music uniquely French. It's resulted in his latest collection: the French Album.
With works by Debussy, Faure, Poulenc and a number of lesser-known composers, Hough says he considers this new album "a sort of musical dessert trolley."
Former Sen. George McGovern died early Sunday in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90 years old, and had been in failing health. McGovern served two terms in the House and three in the Senate, but was best known as the Democratic Party's ill-fated nominee against President Nixon in the election of 1972.
Former Sen. George McGovern, the liberal senator from conservative South Dakota, died on Sunday. He was 90 years old.
McGovern lost the 1972 presidential race to Richard Nixon by a landslide, carrying only Massachusetts. But his candidacy and opposition to the Vietnam War were embraced by a new generation of voters.
The defining moments in McGovern's life included not only winning the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, and not just the dismal loss to Nixon that followed, but also safely landing an airplane that the German army had tried to blow out of the sky.
If the thought of eating horse meat makes you queasy, what about strong, sturdy oxen? A small Vermont college that emphasizes sustainable living will soon slaughter two beloved campus residents: Bill and Lou, a pair of oxen. Green Mountain College plans to serve the meat from the oxen in its dining hall, but the plan has drawn international outcry and a massive Facebook petition to save the oxen.
When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney meet for their third presidential debate on Monday, there will be some rules for the candidates — and the audience.
In the first debate, Jim Lehrer of PBS demanded "Absolute silence!" Although Lehrer caught some flack for letting the candidates freewheel in that debate, he meant business when it came to keeping the audience quiet.
"If you hear something that's really terrific, sit on it!" he told the audience. "If you hear something you don't like, sit on it!"
Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 10:24 am
In the end, it's an argument about competence.
The Obama administration's response to the Sept. 11 killings at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, has become a staple of the campaign. It's bound to come up again during Monday's debate about foreign policy.
Mitt Romney will use the event — which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens — to question President Obama's veracity and his handling of foreign policy in general.
Sometimes it feels like everything that should be said about President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has already been said.
But maybe there is a way to talk about politicians in a fresher, cleaner way — without talking about politics. Like — or as — poets do it. Speaking metaphorically.
Sometimes you can say more about someone by not really talking about the person, but talking about something else. My love is like a red red rose, Robert Burns wrote. He is a feather in the wind, Led Zeppelin sang.
Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 1:07 pm
Apples — right off the tree, baked in a pie, pressed into cider or mashed into sauce — are a basic element of American culture. October is the month to celebrate them, thanks, in part, to Johnny Appleseed.
You've probably heard of the legendary character who traveled the Midwest planting trees, but he's not a myth. Johnny Appleseed's real name was John Chapman, and he was born in Massachusetts in either 1774 or 1775.
Friday, Twitter agreed to pull racist tweets after a French organization threatened to sue. The company has resisted efforts to police its content. But hate speech is illegal in many European countries, and anti-hate groups there are grappling with how to deal with the challenge of social media.
With the final presidential debate on Monday tackling foreign policy issues, surely China will be a familiar topic. It seems every four years, the U.S. relationship with China takes a beating during campaign events. Host Guy Raz speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about why candidates attack China yet presidents always balance their rhetoric.
Host Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Don Gonyea, who has just spent two weeks on the campaign trail. Along the way, he met some undecided voters. In swing states, undecided voters are being bombarded by advertising, and Gonyea explains what is keeping them from making up their minds.
Sunday, Pope Benedict canonizes seven Catholics. Among them are two Americans, putting the total number of Americans among the thousands of officially recognized saints at 12. Host Guy Raz talks about the newly recognized saints with the Rev. James Martin, contributing editor at Catholic magazine America and author of the book My Life With the Saints.
Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino heard something strange on the radio last Tuesday. A local sports show host, Marc Hochman of The Ticket, said that while he might tune in to the Yankees vs. Tigers game that night instead of the presidential debate, he would definitely watch the third and final debate.
"That will really decide my vote at this point because I'm one of those undecided voters," Hochman said.
Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 4:20 pm
Thailand's Phi Phi Islands are famous for the sun during the day and beach-side cocktail parties at night. This summer, two Canadian sisters set off for a rite-of-passage trip to the islands' white sands. They never came back.
Noemi, 25, and Audrey, 20, Belanger were found dead in their hotel room. Their deaths were among the latest in a series of mysterious deaths in Southeast Asia. Over the past few years, nearly a dozen young travelers, mostly Western women, have inexplicably died while traveling in the region.
Death Cab for Cutie is known for bittersweet love songs, stirring melodies and frontman Ben Gibbard's unmistakable voice, soft and sincere. After 15 years in the band, Gibbard is releasing his first solo album, Former Lives.
"Over the years, I've accrued a number of songs that I've always been very fond of but didn't fit tonally, lyrically, musically in with the palette of songs that were in front of us for a Death Cab for Cutie record," Gibbard tells NPR's Guy Raz.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING)
RAZ: For the past few weeks, we've been reading close to 4,000 stories about fictional and real presidents - stories that were submitted by you to our writing contest, Three-Minute Fiction, here on WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. That was the challenge by our judge this round, the thriller writer Brad Meltzer. Your story had to revolve around a U.S. president who could be fictional or real.
What business would you tell a young person to go into these days? Plastics? Oooh, that can mean lots of regulations. Wind turbines? Solar panels? Who knows how long those may take to pay off? App development? How many Angry Birds does the world need?
Then what about superPACS? They're political-action committees that can spend unlimited amounts of money to laud, mock or bash any political candidate.
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:
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:38 am
As the caseload of fungal meningitis linked to a tainted steroid drug climbs, experts are learning more about this human-made epidemic. The signs indicate that cases could still be emerging until Thanksgiving or beyond.
The latest count is 268 cases of meningitis and three patients with fungal joint infections, spread across 16 states from New Hampshire to Texas and Idaho to Florida. Twenty-one people have died.
As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, our focus is veterans affairs and defense spending.
Paying For War
Question from Sue Hoben of Canton, Conn.: "Why don't we increase taxes when we wage a war? For instance, Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely if national interest is at stake, then we should be willing to pay the price rather than add to the deficit."
A German-American nun will become a saint Sunday, nearly a century after her death. Mother Marianne Cope is the second person to be honored in this way for caring for people in Hawaii with leprosy, now known as Hansen's disease.
If you take a trip to see autumn foliage in Western Massachusetts this weekend, beware. Local moose do not offer photo ops. Pete Brown, who's a logger, learned this last month when he saw a moose while he worked in the woods. He tried to get a picture. Instead, Mr. Brown, who has two hip replacements, got the run of his life. Pete Brown joins us from his home in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Thanks for being with us.