Public schools in Macon, Ga., and surrounding Bibb County have a lot of problems. Most of the 25,000 students are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced lunch, and about half don't graduate.
Bibb County's Haitian-born superintendent Romain Dallemand came into the job last year with a bag of changes he calls "The Macon Miracle." There are now longer schools days, year-round instruction, and one mandate nobody saw coming: Mandarin Chinese for every student, pre-K through 12th grade.
A radical proposal to restore one of Cuba's most important architectural landmarks is rekindling a 50-year-old controversy. At the center is ballet superstar Carlos Acosta, who left the island and went on to a lead role in London's Royal Ballet. Acosta wants to return to the island and restore an abandoned ballet school with help from one of the world's most famous architects.
But the proposal has opened old wounds from the school's past and stirred a debate about the future of Cuba's state-sponsored cultural model.
Stephen Tobolowsky calls his book, The Dangerous Animals Club, a group of "pieces." They are partly essays, partly short stories, partly memoir. They are anecdotes, stories and insights that are shuffled in and out of order, like cards in a deck.
The Miss Navajo contest is not your typical beauty pageant. Instead of swimsuits and high heels, you get turquoise and moccasins. One of the talent competitions is butchering sheep, and speaking Navajo is a must.
The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."
This election season, Three-Minute Fiction is getting political. Weekends on All Things Considered has a new judge, a new challenge and a new prize for Round 9. For this contest, submit original, short fiction that can be read in about three minutes, which means no more than 600 words.
The judge for this round is writer Brad Meltzer. He's the author of seven novels, including the best-seller The Inner Circle.His newest thriller, The Fifth Assassin, will be out in January.
American Paralympian Matt Stutzman won the silver medal in archery this week, a feat he accomplished despite being born without arms. In the men's compound open final, he was narrowly beaten by Finland's Jere Forsberg, who has the use of both arms.
In the gold medal match, Forsberg fired a perfect 10 on his final arrow to avoid a shoot-off with Stutzman.
The Paralympics have helped Stutzman, who is from Fairfield, Iowa, become something of a celebrity, thanks to his competitive spirit and his refusal to let his talents go to waste.
Joining us now to talk about today's jobs numbers is Alan Krueger. He's the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Welcome.
ALAN KRUEGER: Thank you.
SIEGEL: Is it fair to say that the good news here, the lower unemployment rate is produced by bad news, so many people leaving the workforce and that 96,000 jobs in a month is a discouraging jobs report?
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:10 pm
Downed a few too many drinks at the office happy hour? The shape of the glass may be at fault — at least in part — for encouraging drinkers to overindulge. The reason, scientists say, is simple: A curved glass interferes with the ability to judge alcohol intake.
Melissa Block talks to Robert Farley, deputy managing editor of FactCheck.org, to truth squad some of the comments made Thursday night by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 4:18 pm
The highest speed limit in America will be officially unveiled in November, when drivers on one portion of a Texas highway will be allowed to reach 85 mph without keeping an eye out for police cars and speed cameras.
As Transportation Nation reports, the new speed limit allows drivers to "legally drive faster than hurricane force winds."
The "Bumper Car Psychos" are easy to spot. While the other bumper cars at New Jersey's Keansburg Amusement Park spin wildly from one collision to the next, the Psychos cruise gracefully around the track, grinning from ear to ear as they slam their targets into the wall.
This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.
NPR listener Mel Fisher Ostrowski wrote in to tell us about how Don McLean's "American Pie" helped her "bridge a gap between my long-deceased father and baby boy." Hear the radio version at the audio link above — and read a lightly edited version of Ostrowski's original letter to NPR below.
What do you do when, after 30 years, your husband tells you he is leaving you for someone else? If you're poet Sharon Olds, you grab your spiral-bound notebook and write about it. And though the marriage ended in 1997, she has waited 15 years to tell us about it — half as long as her marriage lasted.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 11:40 am
A storm has been brewing for decades in the South China Sea, and it has nothing to do with the weather.
Instead, it's a virtual typhoon of competing claims over tiny, uninhabited island chains that ring the South China Sea and reach even farther north. They all have one thing in common: China has claimed control of them.
Long before Bridesmaids convinced studio executives that a raunchy, female-centric comedy could find a huge audience, Leslye Headland was busy adapting her play Bachelorette into a movie. So this isn't a copycat rom-com, but the themes do overlap. Each film turns on a female rivalry: In Bridesmaids, it's between the maid of honor, Kristen Wiig, and the bride's rich friend, played by Rose Byrne. In Bachelorette, the rivalry is more complicated, more ... ugly. It's between the three, 30-ish, unmarried central characters and the bride.
Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 1:34 pm
When former President Bill Clinton referred to present President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention as "cool on the outside," Clinton was underscoring the notion that Obama is, well, cool.
Sandra Fluke found herself in the center of a media storm earlier this year. She became a political target after she testified in favor of President Obama's policy to require most employers' insurance plans to cover contraception. Fluke spoke at this week's Democratic convention, and talks about it with host Michel Martin.
President Obama's acceptance of the Democratic nomination capped two weeks of speeches at the political conventions. Host Michel Martin discusses hits and misses with Mary Kate Cary, former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush; and Paul Orzulak, former speechwriter for President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.