NPR Blogs

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:23 am
Fri April 12, 2013

For The Love Of The Game: Play Ball!

The Mets' Lucas Duda celebrates a homerun against the Phillies with Kirk Nieuwenhuis on Wednesday. Despite the shot, the Phillies won 7-3.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

For some not inconsiderable portion of the population, life reorganizes itself each spring with the start of the baseball season. Until now, my role in the baseball eco-system has been clear. I am a fan. I watch baseball, and I think about it. A lot. My ex-wife once referred to herself in my presence as a baseball widow. I don't really think that was fair. But it is true I don't miss a game the Mets play, time zones be damned. And it is true that love has a lot to do with it. Love of the game, yes. But really: love of my team.

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Monkey See
9:13 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Mad Men,' Madmen And A Fond Farewell

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With Trey out this week, we called upon one of our very favorite people, Barrie Hardymon, to join us. We start this week with a discussion of the two-hour season opener of Mad Men, which isn't dropping any major bombs about plot, I don't think, but which isn't tiptoeing either, so use your judgment. We talk about Stephen's first exposure to the much-honored series, the reasons why Barrie likes it better when it stays in the office, how things are changing as we cruise into the late '60s, and why Peggy is really just the best thing ever.

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Wholesale Prices Plunge, But So Do Retail Sales

A steep drop in gasoline costs fueled a 0.6 percent decline in wholesale prices from February to March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors, the so-called core rate of inflation was also in check: those prices rose a modest 0.2 percent.

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The Two-Way
8:01 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Dodgers' $147 Million Ace Greinke Breaks Collarbone In Brawl

Ouch! Carlos Quentin (left) of the San Diego Padres charged the mound Thursday after Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke (right) hit him with a pitch. In the brawl, Greinke broke his left collarbone.
Denis Poroy Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 8:05 am

Talk about an expensive bust:

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Book News: DC Comics Introduces First Transgender Character

An image of Batgirl from the cover of "Batgirl 19," in which it is revealed that Batgirl's roommate is transgender.
DC Comics

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Kerry Warns North Korea, But Holds Out Hope For Diplomacy

A North Korean soldier on the bank of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, along the Chinese border.
Jacky Chen Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:00 pm

Walking a line meant to show both resolve and willingness to trust in diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry warned North Korea on Friday not to engage in more warmongering — but also said the U.S. is willing to talk with that communist state if it's serious about discussing denuclearization.

"No one is going to talk for the sake of talking," Kerry said, but the U.S. does want to see a peaceful resolution of the latest crisis on the Korean peninsula.

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The Two-Way
5:43 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

A Blooming Mistake: Irish James Joyce Coin Misquotes Author

James Joyce
Fran Caffrey AFP/Getty Images

"A man of genius makes no mistakes," James Joyce wrote in Ulysses. "His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." Looks like Ireland's Central Bank has taken that message to heart.

The bank announced Wednesday the launch of a limited-edition coin to honor the Irish writer. The coin features a portrait of Joyce and a quotation from Ulysses, arguably his most famous novel. Trouble is Joyce was misquoted.

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The Two-Way
5:39 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

North Korea May Have A Nuclear Warhead To Put On A Missile, Says Pentagon

A South Korean soldier stands at a military checkpoint connecting South and North Korea at the Unification Bridge last week in Paju, South Korea.
Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 7:13 am

The Pentagon's intelligence arm has "moderate confidence" that North Korea may have developed the technology to create nuclear weapons that are small enough to fit on a long-range missile.

NPR's Larry Abramson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Defense Intelligence Agency assessment says such a weapon would probably not be very reliable. This is the first time the U.S. has concluded that Pyongyang's nuclear efforts have reached this point.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Report: Democrat Says Liberal Kentucky SuperPAC Behind McConnell Recording

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 5:40 pm

A Democrat on the committee of the Jefferson County (Kentucky) Democratic Party says a liberal SuperPAC was responsible for surreptitiously recording a strategy session between Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and some of his campaign aides.

As Mark reported on Tuesday, a McConnell aide is heard saying that actress Ashley Judd, who mulled a run against McConnell, was "emotionally unbalanced."

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The Salt
4:17 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

A Legal Twist In The Effort To Ban Cameras From Livestock Plants

Cows wait to be milked at a California dairy farm.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 4:38 pm

For years, undercover videos documenting animal cruelty at farms and slaughterhouses have cast the nation's meat and dairy farmers in a grim light.

In response, the livestock industry supported legislative efforts in multiple states designed to keep cameras from recording without permission in livestock plants. The Salt reported on these efforts, which activists call "ag gag" bills, last year.

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The Two-Way
4:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Price Tag On Cyprus Bailout Goes Up

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 6:08 pm

It's going to cost more to bail out Cyprus than originally projected, with officials now saying the cost will be $30 billion instead of the original estimate of $23 billion.

"It's a fact the memorandum of November talked about 17.5 billion [euros] in financing needs. And it has emerged this figure has become 23 billion [euros]," government spokesman Christos Stylianides was quoted by the BBC as saying on Thursday.

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Monkey See
3:42 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Cook, Illustrated: A New Graphic Novel That Live-to-Eat Types Will Savor

Lucy Knisley eats better than you do.

Face it: she knows more than you about what makes food delicious and satisfying. She's a former cheesemonger who monged her odoriferous wares with verve and aplomb. She's spent her life in kitchens, and has developed the skills to prepare meals with passion and something very like grace.

So, yes: her carbonara is way, way better than yours.

These are just facts. Accept them.

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The Two-Way
3:20 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

On Cuba Trip, Jay-Z Responds To Washington With Verse

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, right, tours Old Havana as a body guard, left, and tour guide, right, accompany them in Cuba on Thursday, April 4.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 8:14 am

This week, Washington took on hip-hop royalty, when two Florida representatives went after Jay-Z and Beyonce for their recent trip to Cuba.

"We're saying that no one is above the law, even if you are the diva Beyoncé, and that's wonderful that she's famous and rich, and Jay-Z, everybody loves him, too. Terrific. But no one's above the law," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told CNN.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

'Just Another Provocation,' Says Argentina About Thatcher Funeral Snub

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez.
Javier Soriano AFP/Getty Images

Argentina is shrugging off Britain's decision to leave President Cristina Fernandez off the guest list for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"What do I care if I'm not invivted somewhere I never intended to go," Argentina's Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman told Radio Del Plata. "It's just another provocation."

But he also added: "The woman has died; let the family mourn her in peace."

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