Piper Kerman was a 24-year-old Smith College graduate in 1993, when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord.
This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with a woman who was part of what Kerman describes as a "clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-30s." That woman was involved in a drug-smuggling ring, and got Kerman involved, too, though Kerman left that life after several months.
If you're like me, you probably feel exhausted just thinking about how much cultural stuff is out there. A friend recently told me he was reading an acclaimed Hungarian novelist whose books I've never opened. "Please tell me he stinks," I begged, "so I don't have to read him."
"Actually, he's great," came the reply, and I groaned. This was something I didn't want to know.
Starter: You know, with all the talk in recent years of "bounty hits" — tackles designed to knock opposing players out of professional football games — among players in the NFL, it may be easy to forget that professional baseball players have a similar system that, in a way, could be even more dangerous: It's called retaliation.
And now we turn to a very different kind of fashion/history story. Last year, clothing and accessories line Paul Frank hosted a powwow and dream catcher party that offended a lot of people, not just Native Americans. Bloggers like Adrienne Keene demanded an apology and the company obliged. But Paul Frank Industries didn't stop there. They decided to team up with native designers to create a line that showcases art from the many Native American cultures.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. We turn now to the future of aging in America. By the year 2050, one in five Americans will be over the age of 65. That's according to the U.S. Census. And when we talk about getting older, most of us think about, what? Saving for retirement, Medicare, Social Security.
You're listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the elderly population is booming and people wonder what it'll take not only to survive but to thrive for the millions of Americans living past the traditional retirement age.
But first, let's talk a little politics. President Obama took questions from the press for the first time in months on Friday before he headed off to vacation on Martha's Vineyard.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 5:56 am
When Chris Ategeka was 9, his younger brother died while Ategeka was helping to carry him to the nearest hospital — 10 miles from their village in Fort Portal, Uganda.
There was no quicker way to get his sick brother, who was coughing and had a bloody stool, to medical care. "I did not understand the concept of lack of mobility being the biggest factor until it got later in life. I realized how that could have helped so much," he tells Shots.
Record producer Huey P. Meaux's career was, to put it mildly, a checkered one. It had two chapters, each of which ended with him in prison. But both times, he discovered some amazing Texas and Louisiana artists who made great music. Researchers are still piecing together the first half of the story, which saw hundreds of singles released on labels like Jet Stream, Tear Drop, Jet, Pacemaker and Eric. Now some of those songs have been collected on a compilation called South Texas Rhythm 'n' Soul Revue.
Bloomberg scored the big scoop and got Elon Musk — the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Paypal — to explain his vision for a high-speed mass transit vehicle that could deliver you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in an astonishing 30 minutes. Musk explained that the Hyperloop pods would leave every 30 seconds and would run inside "low pressure" tubes. Bloomberg continues:
When Cecile Kyenge became the first black government minister in Italian history, the appointment was hailed as a landmark for diversity. But since Kyenge became integration minister, she has been the target of death threats and vicious racial slurs.
The debate highlights growing intolerance and what Prime Minister Enrico Letta has called a shameful chapter for Italy.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 9:47 am
A Tennessee judge ordered a baby's name changed from Messiah to Martin last week, after the boy's parents went to court to fight over their son's last name. The boy's mother, Jaleesa Martin, says she was shocked by the decision and that she'll appeal the judge's order to rename her baby Martin DeShawn McCullough.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 9:42 am
"It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally."
That's the reaction of spectator Perry Beam to Saturday's appearance at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Mo., of a rodeo clown wearing a mask meant to look like President Obama and what happened during his performance.
Videos that Beam took show some of the scene and capture some of what the rodeo announcer and another clown were saying. The Kansas City Star has posted two of the clips on its YouTube channel.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 9:49 am
Vacationers staying in a luxury villa in central Florida awoke to creaking and crashing sounds Sunday night, as the three-story building they were staying in began to collapse. A large portion of the structure was pulled into a sinkhole at the Summer Bay Resort near Disney World. It seems the process was slow enough that it allowed everyone in the building to get out safely.
She's dated Democrats in the past, but she found their acceptance of abortion heartbreaking and their support of President Obama nearly as off-putting.
"He was going off to celebrate Obama becoming president, and I felt betrayed and like he didn't understand me," recalls Northrup, who is 30 and works in real estate in Chattanooga, Tenn. "I think that's why eventually the two can't be together. It's such a big difference."
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 9:33 am
The key to the discovery of California teen Hannah Anderson and her alleged kidnapper on a mountain in Idaho appears to have been a chance meeting they had with an ex-sheriff, his wife and two friends who were out riding their horses.
Originally published on Mon August 12, 2013 1:50 pm
(We put a new top on this post at 1:40 p.m. ET.)
Arguing that it is "well past time to address persistent needs and unwarranted disparities," Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday laid out more of the Obama administration's thinking on changes it wants to make to the way nonviolent offenders are prosecuted and how they are punished.
"Our system is in too many ways broken," Holder told the American Bar Association at its annual meeting in San Francisco. "The course we are on is far from sustainable."
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. It's a truism that people say what they really mean, talking politics with a cabby. This summer, some taxi riders in Oslo got a surprise when they discovered Norway's prime minister behind the wheel. It was part of his reelection campaign, recorded on a video just released. Besides politics, he got an earful on his not so great driving, prompting him to concede the country is better off with him in high office than driving a cab. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
You know that feeling of relief when someone let's you borrow their phone charger? Well, a couple artists think that sense of emotion could save us. They helped design a new satellite to look like a giant gadget charger. There's an inscription: Greetings Beleaguered Space Traveler. Welcome to the Universe's First Celestial Charging Station. One designer said he hopes this will make invaders stop and say: These guys are nice - we're not going to destroy their planet.
Each month, NPR Music asks public radio personalities at member stations across the country to tell us about a song they can't get enough of. At member station WEXT, Ernesto Lechner is the co-host of the weekly music program, The Latin Alternative. His choice for August's installment of "Heavy Rotation" is "Lluvia Con Sol" by Orquesta el Macabeo.
We're going to hear now about a play on stage here in Los Angeles, though it's set in another hot city, it's called "One Night In Miami," and it's based on a real event. On February 25th, 1964, the young Cassius Clay defeated world heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Clay, who would soon change his name to Muhammad Ali, celebrated his victory in a small hotel room with three of the most prominent African-Americans of the time.
Wildfires are raging across the West. Colorado resident and Morning Edition commentator Craig Childs, a veteran of many fires, describes the long-term damage to the landscape. Child's latest book is Apocalypse Planet: Field Guide to the Future of the Earth.
Two big restaurant delivery websites — Grubhub and Seamless — have announced a merger. Together, they'll allow diners in 500 cities the convenience of ordering from thousands of restaurants with just a few clicks on their computer. For restaurants, the costs of being on these websites can be hard to swallow.
At a time when much of the world is mired in economic torpor, China still enjoys enviable growth rates. Yet there's no question that its economy is growing more slowly these days.
Just ask Yan Liwei, a salesman for a construction materials company, who was visiting a park in Shanghai this weekend.
"The number of new construction projects is declining somewhat. It's taking longer for many of our clients to pay us what they owe," Liwei says. "Many small and midsized developers are feeling a cash crunch."
Research intended to help people with muscle-wasting diseases could be about to launch a new era in performance-enhancing drugs.
The research has produced several muscle-building drugs now being tested in people with medical problems, including muscular dystrophy, cancer and kidney disease. The drugs all work by blocking a substance called myostatin that the body normally produces to keep muscles from getting too big.