In the film Unfinished Song, Arthur is a curmudgeon of a man with a heart of crust who is married to Marion, a luminous woman who is gracefully confronting the end of her life. Actor Terrence Stamp joins Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon to talk about the new movie and working with actor Vanessa Redgrave.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Congress continues its hearings into the IRS flagging of Tea Party groups that apply for tax-exempt status. What may have been overlooked is the fact that this status would have offered little practical benefit to most of the groups that were targeted.
Joining us now to help explain all this is NPR's S.V. Date who coordinates campaign finance coverage for NPR. Shirish, thanks very much for being with us.
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:
Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 11:49 am
Update At 11:30 a.m. ET:
Secretary of State John Kerry called the current situation in Syria "unacceptable by anyone's standard" and lashed out at the government of President Bashar al-Assad for using Hezbollah in the fight against rebels.
"Assad chose to raise the stakes militarily," Kerry said. "He chose to attack the Syrian people, but this time using Iranian supporters and using Hezbollah, which is a terrorist organization.
BILL SUPERNOR: I was in a business lounge at an airport in Newark. I look at my phone and I'm moving the buttons and it was definitely behaving a little strange, maybe it was a little slow. I ripped the back off the phone, I pulled the battery out. I mean, I got off the network quickly and I didn't turn the phone back on again until I was out of that airport.
Tawny crazy ants are invading ecosystems and homes in states including Texas and Florida, wiping out other ant species and overwhelming homeowners. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks to Texas A&M research scientist Robert Puckett, who says the ants are "ecological steamrollers" that reproduce so fast they are nearly impossible to get rid of.
Now, we're going to remember the man known as Mr. Valet. He pioneered valet parking in Los Angeles more than sixty years ago. He died this past week at the age of 93. NPR's Mandalit del Barco profiled Herb Citrin a few years ago, and we're going to hear a bit of her story right now.
Here in the United States, the NSA revelations are also prompting concerns about privacy as well as questions about the involvement of private companies in government spying. Robert O'Harrow, an investigative reporter with The Washington Post wrote in his 2005 book, "No Place to Hide", about what he calls the security industrial complex in this country. Mr. O'Harrow believes the NSA's dealings with private companies are much wider than what we've been told.
Indigenous leaders from Brazil's Terena tribe attend a meeting with government officials in the capital, Brasilia, on June 6. Brazil's Indians have been demanding greater land rights and are increasingly coming into conflict with large ranchers and farmers.
It was once the cattle farm of a former congressman, but now his stately house in the western Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul is a burned-out shell. Thatch huts are being built in the shade of flowering palm trees. Once the purview of one farmer's family, it now is occupied by dozens of indigenous ones.
For one Vermont couple, "local" doesn't mean heading to the farmers market. It means finding a natural salad bar at your picnic spot — or maybe even in your backyard.
Nova Kim and Les Hook live on a lush farm between a large lake and the Connecticut River near the Vermont-New Hampshire border. Over the decades, they've become skilled gatherers of edible wild foods, which they sell to high-end restaurants. But on this drizzly day, they're in their own kitchen, making dressing for a picnic green salad.
Out-of-school suspensions are on the rise across the country, a troubling statistic when you consider being suspended just once ups a student's chances of dropping out entirely. That's why many districts are hoping to keep kids in school by trying an alternative to suspension.
The great Nat King Cole had many firsts. He was the first African-American musician to have his own show — on network radio, then television. He was also one of the first, if not the first American artist to record an album in Spanish: Cole Español. It was a huge, rather unexpected hit in 1958, when Latin American music was still relatively unknown in the U.S. His success with Cole Español was so great, he recorded two more albums in Spanish.
Emma Watson, who shot to global fame as the level-headed, resourceful Hermione Granger in the <em>Harry Potter</em> films, admits there's a certain irony in her playing a teenager who burgles the homes of celebrities.
Sofia Coppola is no stranger to filmic explorations of fame, privilege and self-loathing in the modern age. In her newest movie, The Bling Ring, she considers the case of a gang of well-off L.A. teenagers whose obsession with celebrity took them to some unexpected places — including the homes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, where they stole millions of dollars' worth of jewelry and clothes and shoes.
President Obama meets with speechwriter Jon Favreau in the Oval Office in 2009.
Credit Pete Souza / White House via Getty Images
President Obama presents outgoing press secretary Robert Gibbs with a framed necktie in the White House briefing room on Feb. 11, 2011. Obama had borrowed the tie from Gibbs to wear for his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
President Obama walks through his Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in 2012.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama shakes hands with Jacob Lew after nominating him for Treasury secretary in January.
Between his trip to Europe last week and his travels to Africa next week, President Obama is doing a lot of gift exchanges with foreign leaders.
In the past, he has gotten mixed reviews. Four years ago, he was panned for giving the queen of England an iPod. Other presents have gone over better. But the president does not personally select these gifts — a staffer does.
Medicaid and controversy seem inseparable in many states lately. For the most part, the wrangling is about a new wrinkle in Medicaid — the expansion of the health program for the poor and disabled under Obamacare.
Mississippi, though, is raising the stakes. Democrats and Republicans in the state are in a fight, and the outcome could threaten the very existence of the entire Medicaid program there.
Protesters display a cutout figure of President Obama in Berlin on Wednesday. Germans were protesting the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on foreign communication.
Credit Gero Breloer / AP
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sparred, politely, over U.S. spying on foreign communications during their joint news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. But Germany is quietly carrying out its own domestic spying.
Revelations of widespread U.S. spying on foreign Internet communications put a damper on President Obama's first state visit to Berlin. The German chancellor and other officials there say they want to know more about what the National Security Agency is looking at.
Yet the backlash has been more muted than expected. One reason is that the German government is doing similar surveillance.
He's still a would-be world-conquerer by day, but Gru (left, with minions) has been settling into his role as an adoptive dad by night. His new responsibilities make him a likely recruit for the Anti-Villain League, which asks him to ... well, we shouldn't give too much away.
There will be hits and misses at movie houses this summer, but it's a decent bet Despicable Me 2 will end up in the that-went-well column.
The star, a would-be world-dominating supervillain named Gru, is a hulking, blustering figure with an appetite for mayhem — and a surprising soft spot. He'll boast that he's about to pull off "the crime of the century," then sit down to read his little girls — he's recently, reluctantly, adopted three of them, and they're adorable — a bedtime story.
NPR has learned that the U.S. Department of Justice has prepared the documents to formally charge Edward Snowden with espionage. Snowden is the former contractor who has publicized details of two U.S. surveillance programs through the British newspaper The Guardian. NPR's Carrie Johnson joins us now with the latest, and Carrie, everyone's been waiting for this shoe to drop. What do we know about the government's plans to proceed?
The Mermaid Parade at Coney Island draws hundreds of thousands of revelers each June. After sustaining significant damage during Superstorm Sandy, the nonprofit that runs the parade was almost unable to host this year's event, scheduled for Saturday.
Credit Eric Thayer / Reuters/Landov
Dick Zigun (right) with a Mermaid Parade reveler. Zigun founded Coney Island's Mermaid Parade in 1983.
Credit Laure A. Leber / Courtesy of Coney Island USA
Not even Superstorm Sandy could keep the mermaids from coming back to Brooklyn.
The Mermaid Parade is a nautically themed and occasionally naughty parade that draws close to a million people to Coney Island, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, each June. Sandy nearly drowned the organization that hosts the parade, but supporters donated more than $100,000 to get the parade back on its fins this year.
Copies of <em>The Orange County Register</em> slide through the presses. <em>The</em> <em>Register</em> is the country's 20th most-read daily, with a circulation of about 285,000.
Credit Grant Slater / KPCC
Jeffrey Cook, chief communications officer at Cal State, Fullerton, says <em>The Orange County Register</em>'s proposal to have local universities fund the paper's coverage of them seemed almost too good to be true.
Credit Courtesy of California State University, Fullerton
This spring, readers of The Orange County Register in Southern California started seeing much more coverage of local universities. What they probably did not know is that the stories are paid for by the schools. Depending on whom you ask, it is either a smart way to bring in revenue, or a serious breach of journalism ethics.
Disgraced former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling — convicted of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading related to the 2001 collapse of the Houston-based energy company — has gotten a decade subtracted from his 24-year sentence.
Skilling, 59, has been in prison since he was convicted and sentenced in 2006. With the sentence reduction on Friday and time off for good behavior, he could go free in 2017.
Out in Alaska's Bering Sea, about 90 miles from Nome, sits a small, rocky island that used to be home to a couple of hundred Inupiat Eskimos. They lived in houses built on stilts, perched on rocky cliffs.
Then, about 50 years ago, the threat of rock slides, the spread of tuberculosis and the loss of men to World War II forced residents to relocate to the mainland. King Island has been a ghost island ever since.
Joshua Kyler Hoggan of Roy, Utah, probably wasn't thinking this far ahead when he conspired to blow up his high school last year.
Hoggan, now 18 and a student at Weber State University, has declared his candidacy for mayor of Roy, challenging two-term incumbent Joe Ritchie and City Council member Willard Cragun, according to the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
Roy is a suburban community about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City.
Anthony Marshall, the 89-year-old heir to the Brooke Astor fortune, is heading to prison in New York after exhausting appeals in his 2009 conviction for defrauding his famous mother.
A judge in Manhattan ordered Marshall to begin serving the one- to three-year prison term on charges that he exploited his philanthropist mother's ailing mental health to loot her millions. She died in 2007 at the age of 105.
President Obama has formally nominated James Comey, a registered Republican and former Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to become the next FBI director. If he's confirmed by the Senate, Comey will replace outgoing director Robert Mueller, who has held the post since 2001.
Comey is best-known for his actions in 2004 when he rushed to the hospital bedside of Attorney General John Ashcroft to keep Bush aides from reauthorizing a warrantless-wiretapping program. Comey has described the incident as the most difficult night of his career.