This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Danny DeVito, a short, funny guy with a long and winding career in movies, TV, on-stage and online, from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" off-Broadway and onscreen, to the TV shows "Taxi" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and online films. His latest project transports him to the land of Truffula trees and singing fish.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE LORAZ")
DANNY DEVITO: (as The Lorax) I'm playing poker. He's playing Go Fish. And I think he's hungry.
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:
This morning, the death toll rose in areas affected by extreme weather in the Midwest and the South. Towns have been wrecked and the number of people missing is unclear. Now, residents are starting to sift through the wreckage and recover what they have left.
At least 28 people have been reported dead. (Note: This number is bound to change, and we'll update as we have more information.)
The White House meeting next Monday between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be the most critical encounter for the two men since they took office.
Netanyahu is expected to argue that time is running out on efforts to discourage Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Obama may say the Israelis can count on U.S. support, but that they should give sanctions and diplomacy time to work before turning to military action.
The remains of a U.S. Army private arrive at Dover Air Force Base for a transfer ceremony last November. The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base has come under accusations that body parts of the nation's war dead were cremated and the ashes dumped in a Virginia landfill.
The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, said Friday that Quinton Keel had resigned and that it is in touch with Air Force officials about their final decisions on disciplinary action against the two other accused officials.
NPR has obtained a report from the Inspector General of the Labor Department that describes an incident last year in which the nation's coal mine safety chief and agency lawyers withdrew a legitimate safety citation and order "not based upon the merits" but "to avoid the appearance of retaliation and possible Congressional scrutiny."
An image released Nov. 14, 2011, by the Australian Federal Police shows cocaine seized during the yacht raid in Bundaberg. Drug smugglers take advantage of Australia's long coastline and many harbors.
Credit Courtesy Australian Federal Police
Australian authorities discovered more than 100 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine concealed in cases of Mexican beer in a sea cargo shipment last October.
Credit Australian Federal Police / EPA/Landov
Cocaine seizures are up sharply in Australia, and Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel is believed to be involved in large-scale smuggling. Authorities seized about 660 pounds of cocaine and more than $3.2 million from a yacht in Bundaberg, Queensland, in November 2011. Four Spanish nationals were arrested.
Australia is a huge island, with stretches of lonely, rocky coastline that extend for thousands of miles. What's more, there are lots of harbors and airports.
In short, opportunities are plentiful for an enterprising Mexican drug trafficker to move his product 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to service the vibrant new market Down Under.
One such drug lord is Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, head of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. He's a cunning, small-statured, exceedingly dangerous outlaw recently dubbed "the world's most powerful drug trafficker" by the U.S. Treasury Department.
New York hotel workers protest at a hearing for former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn in June 2011. Under a new contract, workers will receive "panic buttons" to use if they fear for their safety. They also won several other significant benefits.
When the New York Hotel Trades Council ratified a new contract for hotel workers last month, much of the media coverage focused on "panic buttons." Coming after the sexual assault allegations against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the idea of housekeepers wearing a badge that could call for help was all over the news.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez was the face of frustration when his Atlanta Braves collapsed last year and missed the playoffs on the last day of the season. If this season's rules had applied, he might've been smiling: The Braves and the Boston Red Sox would've made the postseason.
In a move certain to bring even more attention to one of the latest media tempests, President Obama on Friday got on the phone to encourage the Georgetown University law student disparaged by conservative radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with misogynistic epithets.
Sandra Fluke, who is also an activist, was about to appear on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports when she took a phone call from the White House. It was the president. As an emotional Fluke explained once she was in front of the cameras with Mitchell:
There were widespread allegations of fraud in Russia's parliamentary polls in December. In advance of Russia's presidential election Sunday, Russian citizens abroad have been allowed to vote early. This woman casts a ballot in Kyrgyzstan on Feb. 26.
Credit Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP/Getty Images
A portrait of Russian prime minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, bearing the slogan "For Putin! And That's It!" hangs on a building in Moscow.
Just three months ago, Russia's parliamentary elections prompted widespread allegations of fraud and drove thousands of protesters into the streets in the days afterward.
The Russian government and government critics both say they are trying to prevent a similar outcome in Sunday's presidential poll.
Valdimir Putin, who has been either the president or the prime minister for the past 12 years, is widely expected to win another six-year term as president. But the credibility of Russian elections is also at stake.
Estelle Swaray is a Londoner. But for the past few years, the British singer best known for the song "American Boy" (her 2008 Grammy-winning hit with Kanye West) has called the U.S. home. It was a particular American boy, she says, who convinced her to make the move.
Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN: Jennifer Lopez travels through 20 countries to find and showcase the most outstanding Latin singers, dancers and performers in Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN premiering Saturday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Credit Robert Sebree / Fox
Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez travel to Latin America in search of talent in Q'Viva! The Chosen, premiering Saturday, March 3 on Fox.
Their marriage may be over, but singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have come together for a new TV show that seeks out talent from throughout Latin America. It's been airing on Spanish language TV in the U.S. and in 21 countries. And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on today's All Things Considered, the show will also premiere on Fox this weekend, with English subtitles.
All winter long, we've brought you songs that evoke the season. Yeah, we know it's March, but since winter doesn't officially end for another few weeks, we still have time to bring you a musical memory of a cold night from one of our listeners, Amanda Sauermann from Gracey, Ky. Her winter song is "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend.
Robert De Niro's last outing with director Paul Weitz was less than auspicious: The comedy Little Fockers received terrible reviews. Being Flynn, their second collaboration, is a more serious affair about the estranged relationship between a fractious father and his son.
"The U.N.-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Libya says in its report published Friday that "international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, were committed by Gadhafi forces."
White bread, like vanilla, is one of those foods that's become a metaphor for blandness. But it wasn't always that way.
Aaron Bobrow-Strain, professor of food politics at Whitman College, tells Weekend Edition's Rachel Martin that white bread was a deeply contentious food — ever since the early 1900s' ideas of "racial purity" up to the cultural revolution of the 1960s. He documents that cultural legacy in his new book, White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf.
We're going to venture that just by nature of the fact that you're reading this blog, you count yourself as a member of the social mediarati.
If so, you, and a lot of other people, may sooner turn to Epicurious or Facebook to plan your next meal than your grandmother's recipe box or the Nestlé Toll House bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard. That's the word from the Hartman Group, a consumer research firm, and Publicis Consultants USA, a marketing agency.
Kristin Chenoweth talks to Jacki Lyden on today's Weekends on All Things Considered, and if the only thing you got from the interview was Chenoweth warbling a bit of the first solo she ever did in church, it would be well worth it.
The Emmy-winning actress stars on ABC's new GCB, a sort of Desperate-Housewives-ish dishy, soapy comedy-drama premiering Sunday night at 10. She's come quite a long way since, as she explains, her father negotiated her first contract.
There's been something wacky with the weather this winter, and many forecasters never saw it coming.
Among them was the Old Farmer's Almanac, the quirky, centuries-old mix of historical data, prognostications and folk wisdom. Millions of people consult the quirky, centuries-old almanac, which uses a secret formula to come up with its annual, year-long weather forecasts, even though meteorologists say it has a dubious track record.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, an old play that's even more relevant today. An off-Broadway production of the play "Galileo" - Bertolt Brecht - just opened here in New York. It stars F. Murray Abraham in the title role. Brecht wrote the play in 1938. That's more than 70 years ago. I saw the play this week. And I'm no theater critic, but the message and the theme of the play about a Renaissance-era astronomer written by a Cold War-era playwright, it feels like it could have been written last week.