The funeral procession of Kim Jong Il brought back memories of an era when images of Communist propaganda were ubiquitous. The visual backbone of the images or illustrations were usually order and symmetry, enacted on a grand scale.
Wednesday's event was no exception. An overall view of the snowy procession had it all: the framed image of Kim Jong Il in the foreground, the masses of mourners lined neatly on the sidelines, the motorcade in perfect sync and the order that is associated with a totalitarian regime — a regime with access to Photoshop.
For the first time in more than six decades, the United States is exporting more gasoline and diesel than it imports.
To be clear, we're talking about finished petroleum products, not crude oil. The U.S. still imports about half the crude it consumes.
Refineries are touting this new export statistic — after all, gasoline and diesel are manufactured products. They say a boost in exports keeps more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But one reason exports are increasing is that demand for gas in this country is declining.
Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:25 pm
Cancer-fighter Avastin just came up short as a treatment for ovarian tumors.
Two studies found that the drug, which blocks the formation of new blood vessels, didn't extend the lives of patients with ovarian cancer.
Avastin did slow the progression of the cancers a little bit. But the patients getting Avastin as part of treatment with several medicines had more side effects, including blood clots and high blood pressure, than the people who didn't get it.
"'It would not be strange if they had developed the technology to induce cancer and nobody knew about it until now ... I don't know. I'm just reflecting,' he said in a televised speech to troops at a military base.
When University of Chicago professor William Dodd assumed the post of U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933, he hoped for an undemanding position that would allow him spare time to write a book.
At the time, few in the United States or Europe considered then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler a serious threat, and few expected him to remain in power long. Dodd was no exception, says Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.
Year's end always means a slew of top ten lists, the ubiquitous arbiter of the year's best films, books, albums and political stories. But Dallas Morning News film critic Chris Vognar has a confession: Those lists are not just subjective — they're often completely arbitrary.
Nearly two million home health care aides help seniors and people with disabilities to live independently. These caregivers often work long hours doing difficult work without overtime pay. The Labor Department has proposed rules to bring home care aides under federal minimum wage and overtime protections.
A child of Sri Lankan immigrants, music journalist S.H. "Skiz" Fernando, Jr. grew up eating Sri Lankan food regularly. But he didn't master the art of the cuisine until he moved to his family's homeland and enlisted the expertise of his four aunts.
For one year, Fernando spent his mornings scouring local markets for the best spices and ingredients. He then cooked for hours, using old cookbooks and family recipes. His aunts critiqued the dishes until Fernando perfected them — meaning Fernando ended up making each recipe at least 20 times.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 5:26 am
Another strong turnout this morning for Mitt Romney at a restaurant in Cedar Falls, though the small place wasn't quite as packed as yesterday's breakfast stop in Muscatine. Romney spent a lot of time shaking hands and posing for pictures with customers, supporters and restaurant staff, after he spoke for about 20 minutes. He usually takes a couple of questions from the crowd but did not today, preferring to spend more time than usual glad-handing.
When I'm considering a gourmet lunch, meatballs don't exactly spring to mind. So I was more than a little surprised to hear that haute cuisine chef Michel Richard was opening a meatball joint just down the street from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Our post-Christmas post about the estimated $41 billion worth of gift cards that haven't been redeemed since 2005 seemed to strike a chord. And our shout-out for ideas about what to do with cards you don't want or that only have a little bit of money left on them generated some good responses. Such as this:
"Four-star general-turned-CIA director David Petraeus almost resigned as Afghanistan war commander over President Barack Obama's decision to quickly draw down surge forces, according to a new insider's look at Petraeus' 37-year Army career."
2011 may go down as the year of the retraction in the scientific world.
Among the highly publicized discoveries that got debunked this year: a genetic basis for longevity; a new form of life; an explanation for autism; and a link between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome.
All of these non-discoveries have something in common. They involved findings that both scientists and the public badly wanted to believe.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 5:26 am
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich started Thursday's Iowa campaigning with a stop in Sioux City at The Coffee Works. Only about a dozen customers were there, but he was questioned critically by one about his comments on reforming the federal judiciary.
Linda Santi told Gingrich she didn't appreciate him "politicizing" the Iowa Supreme Court's 2009 decision that found unconstitutional a state law banning gay marriage. Santi said the decision was in accordance with the state constitution. Gingrich ended the conversation with: "We'll have to agree to disagree."
For many people, the New Year begins with popping a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine. It's the go-to drink for the celebratory moments in our lives.
Yet champagne is far more versatile than many people think. Beyond just pouring it into a glass, you can mix it with any number of spirits to create a range of champagne cocktails.
"One that starts off a little simpler is a French 75," respected mixologist Greg Seider tells Weekend Edition guest host Jacki Lyden. "[It's] gin, lemon juice, a slight bit of agave, topped with prosecco or champagne."
"U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history," The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, citing "people familiar with the matter."
Under orders from GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, state employees must answer the phone saying: "It's a great day in South Carolina." Two Democratic legislators want to ban the cheery mandate. They say no sunny hellos as long as unemployment is more than 5 percent in the state.
Former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania performed at a Philadelhia comedy club Tuesday night. He joked he'd already been in comedy for 30 years. But he added in politics, it's sit-down comedy rather than standup.
At NPR's Baghdad bureau, Isra' al Rubei'i has long worked as a reporter and translator. She submitted this short piece of fiction about a man standing before a judge — a character, who she says represents the Iraqi experience.
Linda Wertheimer talks to Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET, about Dump GoDaddy Day, a protest against the company for its initial support of proposed legislation to curb online piracy. SOPA is short for the Stop Online Piracy Act. GoDaddy is one of the largest accredited Internet domain registrar in the world.
Every year, thousands of Americans suffer severe injuries using the saws. But after a series of reports by NPR, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has started crafting new safety rules for table saws.