Spc. Lance Pilgrim was among the first Army troops to enter Iraq in March 2003. Eventually, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and died from an accidental overdose in 2007 at the age of 26.
His father, Randy Pilgrim, says he first realized something was wrong when his son broke down at the sight of an animal that had been run over. The image had triggered the memory of a traumatic time overseas.
Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Mara Liasson about whether the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans can find some common ground and overcome the political gridlock that characterized much of the president's first term.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's autobiography, My Beloved World, debuted this week, and NPR's Nina Totenberg sat down with her to talk about her youth and schooling and career. Sotomayor discusses the role that books played in her life, from Nancy Drew to Shakespeare.
House Republicans held their annual retreat this week in Williamsburg, Va., to figure out their next steps. They dropped a demand to have spending cuts for ever dollar the debt ceiling is raised, at least for the next three months. GOP lawmakers are now pinning their hopes for deficit reduction on other looming budget battles.
The Algerian government gave no advance notice that it was planning to launch a military operation to rescue hostages at the remote In Amenas natural gas field, despite offers of support and advice by many nations, including the U.S.
The anger and disappointment in Washington is muted, however, because the U.S. sees Algeria as a critical ally in the fight against terrorism.
Cristina Pato is a jazz pianist from Spain who also plays flute and sings. But on her new album, Migrations, there's a striking sound not often heard in jazz: a bagpipe. Pato has been playing the traditional gaita (pronounced "GY-tah"), a version of the bagpipe from her native region of Galicia, since she was 4 years old.
If you live along the East Coast, there's a pretty good chance that stink bugs may be lurking in your attic or even behind your curtains. The invasive insects from Asia, which exude a rubber-like stench when you crush them, are a nuisance for you, but a serious pest for farmers.
Crop producers received a reprieve from the bugs in 2012, but the insects may be coming back and with a greater spread of attack.
Bob Black says he was not in a good place in 2010.
On Tuesday, New York became the first state in the nation to pass a tough new gun control law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo convinced his state's Legislature to act, even before President Obama took executive action to limit access to guns.
The governor's legislative victory followed his impassioned State of the State address earlier this month, delivered the first day of the 2013 legislative session.
For editorial cartoonists, Obama's ears are his signature. In some depictions, they've grown throughout the years, but Matt Wuerker says cartoonists have gotten lazy. "We did the same thing to George W. Bush. By the end of his administration he was just Dumbo."
Credit Courtesy of Scott Stantis
Scott Stantis calls himself a conservative, and his cartoons frequently criticize President Obama. But for the inauguration in 2009, he simply chose to mark the moment as historic.
Credit Courtesy of Matt Wuerker/Politico
Matt Wuerker borrowed the concept of "standing on the shoulders of giants" in his cartoon for the inauguration in 2009.
Credit Courtesy of Scott Stantis
Scott Stantis says the issues the president faces haven't changed, so he plans to continue critiquing government spending in his cartoons.
Four years ago, when the nation's first African-American president was inaugurated, even conservative editorial cartoonists marked the moment with reverence.
As Scott Stantis, now of the Chicago Tribune, tells All Things Considered host Audie Cornish: "There are times in our history where we can just take half a step back from our partisanship and revel in the history and wonder of something."
With time running out on efforts to monitor Iran's nuclear program, 2013 could well be the year when the United States must decide whether to take military action to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner arrives at O'Hare international Airport in Chicago in November. Aviation authorities in the U.S. and abroad have grounded the planes because of problems with batteries on board.
Credit Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images
A Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes part in a flying display during the second day at an air show in England on July 10, 2012. Aviation authorities in the U.S. and abroad have grounded the planes because of problems with batteries on board.
This photo, provided by the Japan Transport Safety Board, shows the distorted main lithium-ion battery and its lid, left, of the All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787, which made an emergency landing Wednesday in Japan. At right is the battery in normal condition.
Boeing announced late Friday that it is postponing deliveries of its new 787 Dreamliner because of problems with its big batteries. Aviation authorities in the U.S. and abroad grounded the new jetliners after those batteries failed in two planes operated by Japanese airlines, including one battery that burned while the plane was on the ground.
These lithium-ion batteries are new to jetliners. They're powerful and lightweight, and, unfortunately, they're also fragile.
A presidential inauguration is an event defined by huge, sweeping optics: the National Mall full of cheering Americans; a grandiose platform in front of the Capitol building; the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. And the centerpiece: a speech.
On Monday, President Obama will give his second inaugural address — and he faces a challenge in crafting a speech for this moment.
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:47 pm
At least some of the hostages seized by Islamic militants in Algeria reportedly died during a military rescue operation, once again illustrating the tough choices and dangers inherent in such efforts.
While many details are far from clear, NPR's Tom Bowman says U.S. officials believe three Americans were among those seized when the natural gas site was attacked by a group calling itself "the Signatories of Blood" on Wednesday.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:57 am
As the flu season grinds on from news cycle to news cycle, there's some flu news of a different sort. Federal regulators have approved a next-generation type of flu vaccine for the second time in two months.
The two new vaccines are the first fruits of a big government push to hasten and simplify the laborious production of flu vaccines.
Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on 21 counts of bribery and other corruption charges by a federal grand jury. When he became the city's mayor in 2002, Nagin, a former cable TV executive, promised to revive New Orleans' economy, and its trust in the city's government.
We are hoping your best dress is ready and your tux is pressed because President Barack Obama will be sworn in for a second term on Monday. But even if you don't plan to attend any of the events, you can dress up and watch at home.
And here to get us ready is Kenneth C. Davis. He is the author of the best-selling "'Don't Know Much About" series of books. His latest is "Don't Know Much About the American Presidents." And he's with us now.
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 3:34 pm
In a move that could head off another bruising battle over increasing the nation's debt ceiling, GOP leaders in the House plan to approve a three-month increase in the nation's borrowing authority next week, NPR's S.V. Date reports.
But, he tells our Newscast Desk, Republicans want to tie a longer-term increase to the passage of a budget that cuts spending.
His report continues:
"The plan comes from Majority Leader Eric Cantor as House Republicans wrap up a retreat in Southern Virginia.
Three of the six moles served at Casa Oaxaca of Washington, D.C. Some of these mole recipes were passed down to chef Alfio Blangiardo by his grandmother.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
Eric Evans, a chef in Washington, D.C., uses bananas, peanuts, walnuts, sesame seeds and almonds to make black mole. He prefers keeping the skins on the nuts for the color and the intense flavor they'll release.
Credit Karen Castillo Farfán / NPR
The main ingredient in mole is dried chili peppers; to prepare them for cooking, one must remove the seeds, toast the seeds with tortillas, then rinse the seeds, then roast the skins, rehydrate them and finally blend and cook them together with all the other ingredients.
Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 6:29 am
May the eagles of democracy soar above the covenant that binds our great nation in an era of new beginning ... or something.
Have you ever watched an inaugural address and wondered: How DO those guys (because they're always guys) do it? Well, we've prepared this handy guide so you, too, can give a speech like the chief executive.
Our instructions are based on a century of recorded footage. William McKinley's address was the first to be recorded by a "motion picture camera" (in 1897). Calvin Coolidge was the first to be broadcast over the radio (in 1925).
Sonia Despiar, right, a nurse with Gouverneur Healthcare Services, injects Imelda Silva with flu vaccine on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, in New York. At least 10 elderly people and two children in New York have died from the flu and hospitalizations are climbing as the illness hits every county in the state.
Federal health officials say this year's flu season shaping up to be especially severe for the elderly.
According to the latest update from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people age 65 and older who are getting the flu jumped sharply in the last week or so. They are being hospitalized at a rate of about 82 per 100,000 cases. That's the rate that is seen during severe seasons, officials said.
In New York City, the failure to agree on a plan for evaluating its teachers is being widely criticized, especially because it means the city will now miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars in state financing.
At stake was $250 million in state aid, and another $200 million in grants, according to WNYC's Schoolbook education blog.
I was weaned on horror movies and love them inordinately, but the genre has gone to the dogs — and to the muscle-bound werewolves, hormonal vampires, flesh-eating zombies, machete-wielding psychos, etc. It's also depressing how most modern horror pictures have unhappy nihilist endings in which everyone dies and the demons pop back up, unvanquished — partly because studios think happy endings are too soft, but mostly because they need their monsters for so-called franchises.
The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We are heading into inauguration weekend and in a moment we will hear about some of the great and not-so-great moments of inaugurations past.
Along with the public ceremonies that are a part of the presidential inauguration, many people, including the president, will also be honoring the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend, and on Monday, when his birthday is observed as a national holiday.
And now it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality, and as you just heard, the Barber Shop guys were talking about the very strange story involving Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o. He's in the news because the story of his girlfriend's tragic death and the girlfriend herself turned out to be a hoax.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, ahead of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and inauguration date both being observed on Monday, we will hear about some of the less well known speeches made by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.. And some of the less well known bits of history around presidential inaugurations. That will all be later in the program.
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 1:03 pm
Data scientist Edward Tufte (dubbed the "Galileo of graphics" by BusinessWeek) pioneered the field of data visualization. Tufte discusses what he calls "forever knowledge," and his latest projects: sculpting Richard Feynman's diagrams, and helping people "see without words."
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Solar wind, geothermal - now there's a new renewable energy source to add to that list. It's free, completely reliable and totally unlimited: the force of gravity. Two British designers have invented a lamp that runs on gravity alone. Their GravityLight - yes, that's its name, aptly named - uses, you guessed it, the pull of gravity on a weight to generate up to 30 minutes of light.