NPR News

Remembering Marion Barry

Nov 24, 2014

Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington, D.C., died early yesterday morning. For more than 40 years, Barry was one of the most powerful and controversial figures in the nation’s capitol.

The four-term mayor and longtime council member was part of the generation of civil rights leaders voted onto the district’s first locally-elected government in the 1970s. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, WAMU’s Jacob Fenston has this remembrance.

Many years ago, Laurie Colwin began an essay she wrote about the magic of roast chicken like this: "There is nothing like roast chicken. It is helpful and agreeable, the perfect dish no matter what the circumstances. Elegant or homey, a dish for a dinner party or a family supper, it will not let you down." Substitute the phrase "Laurie Colwin's writing" for the words "roast chicken," take some poetic allowances with the word "dish," and you'll have an approximate description of Colwin's own elusive magic.

The Rise And Fall Of Comedian Bob Hope

Nov 24, 2014

For his first book, Comedy at the Edge, about standup comedy in the 1970s, Richard Zoglin interviewed comedians like Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld about who influenced their careers. He says he was surprised that none of them mentioned Bob Hope.

"It was very strange," Zoglin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It made me realize how off the radar he was."

The comedians instead mentioned people like Lenny Bruce, Groucho Marx and Jack Benny. Zoglin says he thought that it was "unjust" and that Hope wasn't getting the credit he deserved.

When you donate to a food drive, do you ponder the nutritional labels of the can in your hand? Or do you grab a packet of ramen or a bag of marshmallows from the dark corners of your pantry and hope it hasn't expired?

Healthfulness isn't typically a well-intended food donor's top concern, says hunger advocate Ruthi Solari. The ramen and marshmallows, along with a container of Crisco and a few other items, were basically the entire contents of a food box delivered to one of her volunteer's grandmothers who received food aid, Solari says.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down. President Obama made the announcement in an East Room appearance minutes ago.


Thanksgiving is remembered for feasts, family gatherings and ... awkward conversations.

You know what I'm talking about. You're back with relatives you haven't seen in years, and the conversation takes a frightening turn toward politics, religion or, worse, your love life.

You need help. You have to switch to a newsy but neutral topic. Here's a handy list of conversation changers you can use at any time.

Just start each sentence with, "Hey, did you know that ... " and here are the safe categories:

The Road

Katmandu is giving itself a face-lift.

Tomorrow is the opening of the 18th summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Seven regional heads of state, whose countries are home to large numbers of the world's poorest and hungriest people, are arriving in the city for two days of talks to explore greater trade and political cooperation within the region. And the cash-strapped government of Nepal wants its capital to look its best.

Israel's Cabinet approved a draft law on Sunday that defines the country as "the nation-state of the Jewish people." The move has angered not only Israel's Arab citizens, but also some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government.

NPR's Emily Harris is reporting on the measure, which must still be approved by Israel's Parliament. Here's what she told our Newscast unit:

It's now Goliath versus Goliath in the quest for an Ebola vaccine.

Until now, the two leading candidates for a vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus were being led by global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline on the one hand, and a tiny company in Ames, Iowa, that was virtually unknown, on the other.

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