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StoryCorps
3:30 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Chapel Hill Shooting Victims Were 'Radiant,' Teacher Says

Yusor Abu-Salha was one of the victims in Tuesday's shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C. She sat down with her teacher, Mussarut Jabeen, at StoryCorps last May.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 11:54 am

Yusor Abu-Salha was one of the young students killed in Tuesday's shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C.

She and her former third-grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen, spoke to StoryCorps in May. In fact, all three victims in the shooting — Abu-Salha, 21, her husband, Deah Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 — attended the Al-Iman School in Raleigh, N.C., where Jabeen taught.

Jabeen returned to StoryCorps Wednesday to talk about that 2014 conversation with Abu-Salha.

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Author Interviews
5:04 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Tumultuous Relationships, But Not Much Gossip, In Langston Hughes' Letters

Langston Hughes, pictured above in 1961, was a poet, novelist, playwright and "inveterate letter writer," says editor Arnold Rampersad.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 6:27 pm

In addition to poems and plays and stories, Langston Hughes also wrote letters — a lot of letters. The letters — compiled for the first time in Selected Letters of Langston Hughes -- offer insight into a man deeply devoted to his craft, and chronicle his often tumultuous personal and professional relationships.

"He was an inveterate letter writer," Arnold Rampersad, co-editor of the compilation, tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "He would write sometimes 30 or 40 working late into the night, into the early morning. He believed in letters and he also saved them."

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Author Interviews
2:44 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do'

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist who has worked in war zones for well over a decade.
Kursat Bayhan Courtesy of Penguin Press

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 9:07 am

In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

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All Tech Considered
5:16 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Q&A: Sen. Ed Markey On Protecting Data Our Cars Are Sharing

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., says our cars are becoming increasingly vulnerable to hacking.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 6:27 pm

Cars and trucks today are computers, and a new report overseen by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., comes with a warning: As more vehicles have wireless connections, the data stored in them is vulnerable to stealing, hacking and the same invasions faced by any technical system today.

How safe are we in our connected cars?

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Around the Nation
7:19 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

To End Solitary Confinement, Rikers Steps Out Of The Box

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tours and meets with youth Dec. 17 at Second Chance Housing on Rikers Island in New York City. Second Chance Housing is an alternative for incarcerated adolescents, instead of punitive segregation, also known as solitary confinement.
Susan Watts Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 1:09 pm

New York's Rikers Island is the second-largest jail in the U.S., and one of the most notorious.

But with a single move, Rikers has taken the lead on prison reform on one issue: Last month, the prison banned the use of solitary confinement for inmates under 21 years old.

Amy Fettig, senior staff counsel for the ACLU's National Prison Project, says the use of isolation is too widespread and that it's being used for the wrong reasons. Often young people are even isolated for their own protection.

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Code Switch
6:40 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Korean Dictator, All-American Dad: One Actor's 'Very Unique Year'

Randall Park and Constance Wu co-star as husband and wife Louis and Jessica Huang in Fresh Off the Boat.
Gilles Mingasson ABC

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:53 am

When Randall Park realized just how big a deal Fresh Off The Boat was going to be, he got cold feet. The stakes were high for the first network sitcom in 20 years to feature an Asian-American family.

But he'd already filmed the pilot, in which he starred as family patriarch Louis Huang, a Taiwanese immigrant and firm believer in the American Dream. (The sitcom, which centers on Louis' son Eddie, begins as Louis uproots his young family from Washington, D.C., to suburban Orlando to open a steakhouse.)

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Code Switch
5:56 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

100 Years Later, What's The Legacy Of 'Birth Of A Nation'?

Actors dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia for scenes in 1915's The Birth of a Nation.
Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:56 pm

One hundred years ago Sunday, the nascent film industry premiered what would go on to be its first blockbuster: The Birth of a Nation.

As the house lights dimmed and the orchestra struck up the score, a message from director D.W. Griffith flickered on the screen: "This is an historical presentation of the Civil War and Reconstruction Period, and is not meant to reflect on any race or people of today."

But its effects on race relations were devastating, and reverberations are still felt to this day.

Epic Film, Embedded Bigotry

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Music Interviews
5:35 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Bird Of A Feather: Rudresh Mahanthappa On Learning From Charlie Parker

Rudresh Mahanthappa's latest album is Bird Calls.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:53 am

In the early 1980s, when a young sixth-grader in Colorado first heard Charlie Parker, his life was transformed. Now a world-class saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa is paying homage to Parker with his new album, Bird Calls. Mahanthappa says it's a tribute to Charlie Parker — but there are no Charlie Parker songs here.

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Monkey See
5:25 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Live-Blogging The Grammy Awards

Beyonce performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. The singer is up for six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.
Mark Davis Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 8, 2015 9:42 pm

UPDATE: Perhaps it's a sign that we have to give up our nostalgic attachment to live-blogging, but technical difficulties and a totally broken live-blog have sent Stephen and me back to Twitter, where we — at @nprmonkeysee and @idislikestephen — will be tweeting at the hashtag #NPRGrammys. Thanks for your patience.

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Author Interviews
4:55 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Obama's 'Body Man' Looks Back On His Presidential Education

Barack Obama hands a gift from a supporter to his assistant Reggie Love during his 2008 campaign for presidency.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:54 pm

Reggie Love was Barack Obama's body man during his first campaign for president and into his time in office. It was a demanding job: part personal assistant, part aide, part whatever the boss needs you to do, whenever he needs it.

Love, the author of the new memoir Power Forward: My Presidential Education, tells NPR's Arun Rath that he remembers the first time he met then-Senator Obama. He had traveled to Washington for a job interview.

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Movie Interviews
5:48 am
Sun February 8, 2015

What Do We Do 'In The Shadows'? Dishes, Mostly

Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (top) play bloodsucking housemates struggling with mundane things like rent and chores.
Unison Films

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 6:31 am

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My Big Break
6:56 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

From Touchdowns To Takeoff: Engineer-Athlete Soared To Space

Leland Melvin with his dogs, Jake and Scout. "I snuck them into NASA to get this picture," Melvin says.
Courtesy of Leland Melvin

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

You may recognize retired astronaut Leland Melvin from his famous 2009 NASA portrait with his two dogs, Jake and Scout. Or maybe you've seen him on the Lifetime channel hosting Child Genius.

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Fine Art
6:23 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

'War Rugs' Reflect Afghanistan's Long History With Conflict

Afghan war rugs reflect the nation's long history of conflict through one of its most ancient art forms.
Courtesy of Kevin Sudeith

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

Afghanistan has suffered through long decades of war; conflict with the Soviet Union, civil war and 13 years of a U.S.-led NATO combat mission. Among the political, economic and cultural impacts of this violence, there's an artistic transformation: the history of violence is reflected in the country's ancient art of rug making.

Kevin Sudeith, a collector, tells NPR's Arun Rath that he has long been impressed by the craftsmanship of Afghan rugs.

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Author Interviews
5:15 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

We Went From Hunter-Gatherers To Space Explorers, But Are We Happier?

Until about 30,000 years ago — around the same time these animals were drawn on the walls of France's Chauvet Cave — there were at least five other species of humans on the planet.
Jeff Pachoud AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

In his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, scientist Yuval Noah Harari attempts a seemingly impossible task — packing the entirety of human history into 400 pages.

Harari, an Israeli historian, is interested in tackling big-picture questions and puncturing some of our dearly held beliefs about human progress.

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Author Interviews
11:19 am
Sat February 7, 2015

An Expansive View Of Vietnam In 'She Weeps Each Time You're Born'

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:44 am

A woman named Rabbit is a kind of miracle: She was pulled out of her dead mother's grave beside the Ma River in Vietnam, on the night of a full moon — when folklore says that a rabbit walks the moon. Rabbit is the center of poet and author Quan Barry's new novel, She Weeps Each Time You're Born.

The Vietnam War is raging; American troops have just begun to pull out, and Rabbit grows up in a landscape of leveled homes, shattered lives, and barren, poisoned fields, her life slipping between present tense and parable.

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Theater
5:14 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Much To His Chagrin, On Broadway Larry David Has To 'Wait And Talk'

Larry David hasn't been in a play since the eighth grade, but he's written and stars in a new comedy called Fish in the Dark, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. "I didn't think it was going to get any laughs at all," he says. "The first time we did it, like every laugh was a surprise to me because I was expecting nothing."
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Philip Renaldi Publicity

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

These days, when Larry David leaves work at the stage door of the Cort Theater, fans are lined up for his autograph. At age 67, David is now a Broadway star — and that's new, scary territory for him.

David was co-creator of the TV sitcom Seinfeld and starred as himself — a cantankerous guy who says exactly what's on his mind — in the raucously funny HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. He hasn't been in a play since he was in eighth grade, but now he's written one called Fish in the Dark, and it's his name in lights.

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Parallels
6:23 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

In 'Red Notice,' Success Draws Treachery, Tragedy In Putin's Russia

Bill Browder crosses Red Square in 2004, at the height of Hermitage Capital Management's success.
James Hill Courtesy of the Browder Family Archives

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 11:48 am

William Browder's new book, Red Notice, is named for the type of warrant the Russian government has sought from Interpol in hopes of capturing him.

The hedge fund manager made huge profits with Hermitage Capital Management, a company he started in Russia in 1996. That, he says, drew the attention and machinations of a corrupt group of Russian officials.

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Around the Nation
4:03 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Stuck In Traffic? It's Likely To Be Worse In 30 Years, Report Says

Traffic clogs the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 1:27 pm

Moving from crisis to crisis — for too long that's been America's strategy for dealing with the challenges of an aging transit infrastructure, from roads to bridges to ports. The result is a system that's crumbling and in desperate need of attention, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The massive study both looks at the current state of the country's transportation systems and forecasts the challenges that lie ahead.

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My Big Break
5:32 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

From The Ivy League To 'The X-Files': David Duchovny's Big Break

David Duchovny says The X-Files was his biggest break — not because it was successful but because that's where he went from youthful ambition to an adult understanding of what it means to work.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 11:30 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Here's something you probably know about David Duchovny: He played one of the 1990s' most iconic roles, FBI agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files.

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Around the Nation
5:24 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

To Save 2 Cows, All It Took Was A Good Icebreaker

A cow walks away from an icy pond after firefighters rescued it and one other cow that had fallen through the ice.
Darin Anstine AP

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 8:26 am

The Fountain, Colo., Fire Department handles a lot of animal rescue calls. But in 11 years with the department, Fire Captain Rick Daniels says the call he got on Jan. 26 was "one of the more challenging animal rescue calls that I've had."

No one's exactly sure how or why, Daniels tells NPR, but two brown cows had wandered out over a frozen pond, and fallen through the half-foot of ice.

Someone driving by the pond called 911 and described seeing just the heads of two cows peeking out over the sheet of ice. The cows were up to their necks in frigid water.

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On Aging
5:24 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

As America Grays, A Call For Dignity In Aging And Elder Care

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 11:42 am

The baby boomers are getting older: This year, 4 million people in America will turn 65.

In her new book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America, author Ai-jen Poo says that means the country is on the cusp of a major shift.

"The baby boom generation is reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 people per day," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "What that means is that by 2050, 27 million Americans will need some form of long-term care or assistance, and that's the basis for this book."

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The Sunday Conversation
7:49 am
Sun February 1, 2015

'Mormon Stories' Podcast Founder Contemplates Excommunication

John Dehlin tells NPR's Rachel Martin he thinks "excommunication is definitely the path that the stake president's going to take."
Catherine Weber Scott Courtesy of John Dehlin

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 4:43 pm

John Dehlin started a popular podcast and website called Mormon Stories as a space for people to question Mormon teachings. Next Sunday, he'll face a disciplinary hearing where he expects to be officially excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dehlin is charged with apostasy for publicly supporting same-sex marriage, the ordination of women, and for questioning church doctrine.

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Shots - Health News
7:38 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Family Struggles With Father's Wish To Die

Robert Schwimmer, 66, and his son Scott Schwimmer, 21, spoke with NPR about Robert's wish to hasten his death under certain circumstances. Here — as in the family photo above — they're in Kauai, Hawaii, on the family's "last big trip" after Robert received a 6-month prognosis in October.
Courtesy Scott Schwimmer

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:36 pm

When 66-year-old Robert Schwimmer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013, he didn't take it all that seriously. His doctors told him it was "operable," and that was the only word he seemed to hear.

Now he's in hospice care and, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, he accepts that he's no longer trying to prolong life, but rather living out what's left of it.

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Author Interviews
5:36 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Be More Awesome — With Help From Kid President

Originally published on Sun February 1, 2015 11:39 am

Kid President has a vision for America, one of ferocious positivity. And corn dogs. Robby Novak — now 11 years old — and his older brother-in-law Brad Montague created the character in 2012.

In a series of YouTube videos, Robby appears in a suit and speaks to America from a cardboard Oval Office. He extolls the virtues of corn dogs, interprets Robert Frost, and delivers pep talks to America. The videos quickly became an Internet sensation, garnering tens of millions of views.

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Author Interviews
6:30 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Impressions From The Ice: A Poet Returns From Antarctica

Last year, a poet arrived at the end of the earth: Jynne Dilling Martin spent six weeks, funded by the National Science Foundation, living in Antarctica.

She spent the summer (winter, to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) shadowing scientists as they went about their work, and writing about the people who call the icy continent home.

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Middle East
11:41 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Four Years After Revolution, Libya Slides Into Chaos

Bullet holes from recent clashes riddle an apartment building in Tripoli.
Bilal Hussein AP

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 3:55 pm

There was hope in Libya and around the world for Libya after Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown four years ago.

But today, Libya is a country torn apart. There are now two competing governments, in different cities with their own parliaments and their own military.

A traveler first needs a visa from one government to land in Tripoli, then a so-called "landing permission" to fly east to the other government's territory — and has to hopscotch around jihadist-controlled areas along the way.

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StoryCorps
4:20 am
Fri January 30, 2015

African-American NASCAR Driver Raced Like 'A Great Artist'

Wendell Scott's son Frank Scott (left) and grandson Warrick Scott at StoryCorps in Danville, Va. Wendell Scott, who died in 1990, was one of the first African-American NASCAR drivers to win a race at the elite level.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:05 am

The NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts an African-American driver for the first time Friday night.

Wendell Scott drove during the Jim Crow era, and he was the first African-American to win a race at NASCAR's elite major league level. He died in 1990.

Scott's career began in 1952, and his racing team was his family. They would travel to races together from their home in Virginia, and his sons served as his pit crew.

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Author Interviews
6:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 10:16 am

What if you could drink the elixir of life — sip from a magical spring that would make you live forever? Would you do it? That's the question at the heart of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, a celebrated book for young readers that's marking its 40th anniversary this year.

In the book, 10-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. The father, Angus Tuck, takes Winnie out in a rowboat to explain how unnatural it is to live forever; how the great wheel of life has to turn:

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Book News & Features
5:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder entertained generations of children with her Little House series, which was loosely based on her family's pioneering life. Her memoir, Pioneer Girl, was published in 2014.
South Dakota State Historical Society

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 8:35 am

In 2014, the South Dakota State Historical Society published the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. Her memoir, titled Pioneer Girl, sold like hotcakes. The initial print run of 15,000 was snapped up in just a few weeks. So was an additional run of 15,000 more copies. Now, the historical society is waiting on a third run of 45,000 books — enough to fill current demand and have some leftovers.

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Parallels
4:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After Father's Death, A Writer Learns How 'The Japanese Say Goodbye'

Marie Mutsuki Mockett says the Japanese tradition of Tōrō nagashi — lighting floating paper lanterns in honor of loved ones — reminded her that she was not alone in her grief.
Alberto Carrasco Casado Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:30 pm

Several years ago, when her father died unexpectedly, writer Marie Mutsuki Mockett became unmoored. Lost in a deep depression, Mockett turned to Japan's rituals of mourning for a way forward.

Mockett's mother's family owns and runs a temple just 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The plant melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mockett begged her cousin, the temple's priest, to leave, but he refused — he said he needed to stay to care for the souls of the ancestors.

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