It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
It seems less and less likely that a deal to avert the fiscal cliff will be reached before the New Year. And much of that may have to do with a divided opposition. James Fallows of The Atlantic is with me now, as he is most Saturdays. Jim, hello.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, a number of religious charities offered their assistance. Now, a coalition called Atheists Giving Aid wants to raise $50,000 to help pay for funeral costs and counseling services for the victims. NPR's Brenda Salinas reports.
BRENDA SALINAS, BYLINE: Amanda Brown is an activist. She runs a campaign called We Are Atheism. She calls it an "it gets better" campaign for atheists. When she heard about the shooting on the news, she wanted to help in whatever way she could.
In the 1980s, few musicians matched the consistent brilliance and staggering fame of Prince. The Purple One earned legions of young fans back then, including one doting girl in California named Maya Rudolph — the same Maya Rudolph who would find fame herself as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and co-star of the film Bridesmaids.
Originally published on Sun December 23, 2012 8:22 am
Update Dec. 23, at 5:30 a.m.:
Egypt's constitution appears to have passed with 64 percent of Egyptians voting "yes," according to preliminary results issued by state-run media. But the document passed under a cloud of controversy as the opposition to the Islamist-backed document cried fraud.
Originally published on Sat December 22, 2012 6:25 pm
Waves of angry demonstrators were repelled by tear gas and water cannons in New Delhi on Saturday as they marched on the president's residence to protest the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a private bus last weekend.
With cries of "be ashamed," thousands flowed through central Delhi, trying to break through steel barricades as the seesawing battle lasted into the evening. It's the fourth straight day of protests that have shaken the government and taken police aback.
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:
'Guilt Trip': Streisand On Songs, Films And Family: In her new movie, singer, actor, writer, director and producer Barbra Streisand plays a well-meaning if overbearing Jewish mom. The star says her own mother both encouraged her talents and was jealous of them.
Visitors at the Chichen Itza archaeological park in Yucatan state, Mexico, celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar cycle. Even a failed apocalypse has value, in reminding us that life is fragile and unpredictable.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am
Yesterday came and went, but I never finished Ulysses. I never took up skydiving. Come to think of it, I didn't even really finish cleaning up my closet before the "Mayan Apocalypse," which did not occur yesterday, Dec. 21.
I remember thinking,"Finally, I get a Friday off — but there's an apocalypse."
Police officers detain a protester outside the lower house of Russia's parliament on Wednesday. This week, Russian legislators passed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children after the U.S. passed a law that rebukes Russia for human rights abuses.
Credit Misha Japaridze / AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Moscow on Thursday. Putin has voiced support for a measure that would ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
Russian lawmakers have approved a measure that would bar Americans from adopting Russian children, a move that comes in retaliation for a U.S. law that seeks to "name and shame" Russian officials who violate human rights.
President Vladimir Putin has voiced support for the adoption ban, but it's not clear whether he'll actually sign the measure, which has potential pitfalls.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:40 am
An update on last weekend's rape of a student in New Delhi, an incident which provoked widespread outrage, and calls for a crackdown on sexual violence in India. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Julie McCarthy in India.
As we've just heard, this breakdown in negotiations within the Republican Party is troubling for Speaker Boehner. It also stifles negotiations to avert the combination of deep spending cuts and tax increases. That will come without a bipartisan agreement.
We're joined by Norm Ornstein, an experienced observer of Congress and politics. He's resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Thanks for being with us.
Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks with Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg about the massacre in Newtown, Conn. He wrote the cover story in this month's issue, titled "The Case For More Guns — And More Gun Control." In it, Goldberg posits that it's impossible to reduce gun crime with the number of guns already on the street, and that maybe the answer is to allow more people to carry them.
Discovering Brazil has been a series of wonderful revelations for me. As principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra for the past year, I have been deeply moved and even changed by my exposure to this culture of passion and positivity.
Brazil's inherent societal belief that music improves quality of life, contributes to improved social behavior, and is an important vehicle to establish a peaceful society filled with tolerance and respect is a philosophy I once thought existed only in my utopian dreams.
If there's one common language that some recent immigrants in Dayton, Ohio, seem to share, it's soccer.
The first Dayton World Soccer Games kicked off earlier this year, an initiative hosted by the city to welcome an influx of immigrants. On the field, a rainbow of brightly colored jerseys represented nearly 20 of the different immigrant communities in the city.
"I've been really surprised to see that there's a lot of soccer going on in Dayton," says Adolphe Bizwinayo, who left Rwanda as a refugee.
There's snow across much of the country this weekend. In eastern North Carolina, where it doesn't snow a lot, snowflakes are an occasion for some folks to flock outside, scooping up what falls to make "snow cream."
That's ice cream made from fresh snow — but you have to mix it fast, before it melts.
Chloe Tuttle runs a bed and breakfast in Williamston, N.C., and she's a bit of an expert on snow cream. She tells Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon the trick is to use soft, freshly fallen snow.
The nation's largest gun owners group had said little in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But the National Rifle Association's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence Friday with a call to place armed guards at all of the nation's schools.
The idea was met with immediate criticism from Democrats in Congress.
In a news conference Friday, President Obama said there were still things the parties could agree on about the automatic tax-rate increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. But he said parties would have to work together to get a plan approved in the next 10 days.
"Call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done," he said, after meeting with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and speaking to Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., gets into his pickup truck after voting in Wrentham, Mass., on Nov. 6. Brown lost the election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, but both he and his truck could be back on the campaign trail soon.
Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 5:55 pm
President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.
And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.
On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.
The New York borough of Staten Island was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy. Almost two months after the storm hit, many residents will not be back in their homes by the Christmas holiday.
One organization is trying to make the season a bit brighter for uprooted families with a free toy store on the island. This all-volunteer effort looks like a real toy store, but it feels more like a community of neighbors.
The shop boasts shelves filled with toys like model cars, Monopoly, dolls, craft supplies and books — almost everything you would want in a regular toy store.
A the U.S. wages a debate on its gun laws, some Australians are urging Americans to consider their experience.
For Australia, the turning point came on April 28, 1996, when a lone gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination in the state of Tasmania.
Cathy Gordon was there that day, escorting six visiting musicians as part of her job with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. They were leaving a cafe just as the shooter, Martin Bryant, pulled out an AR-15 assault rifle.
An entrepreneur says he's got a plan to curb urban blight in parts of Detroit. He's buying up acre after acre of abandoned lots and planting thousands of trees. But where backers of the plan see a visionary proposal, critics see a land grab.
Entrepreneur and Detroiter John Hantz, owner of Hantz Farms and the tree-planting effort called Hantz Woodlands, wants to plant at least 15,000 trees on about 140 acres. Hantz promises to clear out all the trash and keep the grass cut, things the city cannot afford to do now.
In 10 days, virtually all Americans will be hit with a tax increase and deep government spending cuts will follow shortly behind. That is, unless Congress and President Obama can find a way to avert the "fiscal cliff."
It's not looking very promising at the moment. On Thursday night, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled the plug on a measure he was calling his "Plan B" and sent his members home for Christmas.
Kristen Miller, a colonoscopy patient, sits with Dr. Stephen Hanauer at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago in 2010. They're looking at an interactive computer program describing benefits and risks of the procedure.