At the end of July, when NPR's Robert Siegel set off on the longest vacation since his honeymoon 39 years ago, he packed a few books, including the new book The Art of Procrastination by John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford.
After two weeks in Delaware, two weeks in Iberia and a week of work in Tampa, Fla., Siegel finally finished it Wednesday night. He says his timing is fitting: The book is 92 small, double-spaced pages.
It expands on a short confessional essay Perry wrote in 1996 called "Structured Procrastination."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama took the stage in Denver to accept his party's presidential nomination. He spoke of overcoming partisanship and economic turmoil. Well, tonight, President Obama will do it again with four years of experience under his belt. Since taking office, he has struggled to overcome a crushing recession, a weak recovery and a deeply divided electorate.
NPR's Scott Horsley has this story on the path the president has traveled.
I recently listened to the first single from the new Cat Power album with some fellow fans, and the room was deeply divided. Some thought the song was fabulous, but others were startled and upset — which I could understand, sort of. Chan Marshall's songs generally speak to pain and trauma with a hushed and intimate musical vocabulary. But this song, "Ruin," was different — not just a rock 'n' roll song, but one you might even want to dance to.
Your cellphone is a tracking device collecting a lot more information about you than you may think, says ProPublica investigative reporter Peter Maass.
"They are collecting where we are — not just at one particular moment in the day, but at virtually every moment of the day," Maass tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "They are also taking note of what we are buying, how we're purchasing it, how often we're purchasing it."
Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Kathleen Turner stars in the play Red Hot Patriot. In the one-woman show, Turner plays the sassy newspaper columnist Molly Ivins, whose liberal wit first drew attention during her coverage of the Texas Legislature in the 1970s.
A rare moment of dissention at the Democratic National Convention. After a routine adoption of the party platform on Tuesday, critics pointed out that the document omitted any mention of the word God and did not identify Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Then yesterday the chair of the platform committee, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, proposed amendments.
Martin Bayne entered an assisted living facility at 53 after he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease. The disease affected his nerves so severely, it was impossible for him to take a shower and get dressed by himself.
"When I was in my 40s, I was physically fit and very active," Bayne tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And to have to give all that up and stay in a wheelchair now and be helped by so many people to do the simplest of things — it takes a little getting used to."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. We know the facts: More than one-third of U.S. adults and nearly one-fifth of American children are obese. Our doctors have the unhappy task to tell us to eat less, drink less and get more exercise, or else. But sometimes that conversation doesn't happen, and when it does, it's often not very productive.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last week, the Obama administration just about doubled fuel efficiency standards. By 2025, cars and light trucks will have to average better than 54 miles a gallon. That's a goal that pleases environmental groups and carmakers.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 3:59 pm
Foreign policy and defense matters are normally a source of vulnerability for Democrats, but they're getting a fair amount of attention from speakers down in Charlotte.
"There are more mentions of Osama bin Laden than unemployment in the Democratic national platform," says Micah Zenko, a fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. "You play to what your strengths are."
President Obama sounded a bit subdued when he called into a conference call for supporters shut-out of his acceptance speech today.
"My main message is we can't let a little thunder and lightening stop us," he said. "We're gonna have to roll with it."
Yesterday, the campaign announced that because of the threat of thunderstorms, they were moving Obama's acceptance speech from the Bank of America Stadium, which holds more than 65,000 people to the Time Warner Cable Arena, a much smaller venue.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 3:09 pm
In another sign of Democrats' growing embrace of gay-rights issues, an Iowa man who gained national attention for his story of growing up with lesbian mothers was to address the party's national convention Thursday.
Zach Wahls became a bit of an Internet star last year after testifying against a proposed same-sex marriage ban before members of the Iowa House of Representatives. A video of his statement went viral online, garnering millions of views.
Some details are emerging from Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's new book about the 2011 battle between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the budget, taxes and deficit reduction.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 11:45 am
Almost 28 percent of the detainees transferred out of the U.S.-run detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have either returned to terrorism or are suspected of having done so, the Director of National Intelligence says in a new report.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 1:15 pm
President Obama won't be giving the speech he might wish to give tonight.
All presidents accepting their party's renomination seek to shift from a message of hope and change to one of progress and accomplishment. Although Obama will certainly talk up the highlights of his term, he won't want to sound triumphant — not with a jobs report due tomorrow that's expected to show a 43rd straight month of U.S. unemployment above 8 percent.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, for the first time, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon, is leading the Republican presidential ticket. In recent years, Mormons have often been identified with conservative politics, but not all agree. We'll meet a group of Mormon Democrats in a few minutes.
But first, it was another big night for the comeback kid.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
BILL CLINTON: We are here to nominate a president, and I've got one in mind.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Just ahead, it's early fall and, as we've been talking about, the presidential campaigns are now in full swing and it's also the beginning of school, so we decided to give you a crash course on education policy and who stands for what. That's in a minute.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, fall is here and that means a new round of television shows are starting up. We've invited television critic Eric Deggans to tell us what's different this season, especially during daytime. That's in just a minute.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 10:17 am
Party platforms are like contracts: No one bothers to read them until something bad happens.
We all know that parties to any agreement should study the fine print in advance, and surely that applies to the national political parties. The delegates really ought to spend some of their time in the host city studying the document they are voting to adopt.
But hey, it's a convention. It's a party. Who wants to sit in their hotel room and read?
Though Brazil's Amazon has been the focus of environmental groups for decades, the deforestation rate there has fallen dramatically in recent years as clear-cutting of Amazonian jungle in eight other countries has started to rise.
As a result, the 40 percent of Amazonia located in a moon-shaped arc of countries from Bolivia to Colombia to French Guiana faces a more serious threat than the jungle in Brazil. The culprits range from ranching to soybean farming, logging to infrastructure development projects.
OK, over in Europe there's been a lot debate on what to do about the troubled currency. And today the European Central Bank announced a new plan to bolster the euro at a meeting in Frankfurt. Bank president Mario Draghi is under immense pressure to prevent the collapse of Europe's monetary union. The bank did not lower interest rates, as some investors hoped, but did unveil steps to ease the eurozone's debt crisis. NPR's Jim Zarroli is in Germany, following the events, and he joins us now. Good morning.