This interview was originally broadcast on May 7, 2012.
Lena Dunham was just 23 years old when her second feature film, Tiny Furniture, won the best narrative feature prize at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The movie's success led to Dunham striking a deal with HBO for a comedy series about a group of 20-something girls navigating New York City.
If you feel bombarded by emails, phone calls, text messages and the daily stress that comes with them, there could be a solution for you. Some people have found relief in perfect silence. Host Michel Martin learns more about the popularity of silent retreats.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new rules for mortgages this week. But neither the banking industry, nor consumer groups are completely happy. Host Michel Martin gets a sense of the current state of mortgages and foreclosures with real estate columnist Ilyce Glink and Keli Goff, political correspondent for The Root.
Vice President Joe Biden met with members of the National Rifle Association and other supporters of gun rights yesterday. But what will come of the talks? Host Michel Martin checks in on that and more with the 'Barbershop' guys.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 9:06 am
Why would the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the people who helped bring the world stealth fighters and GPS — fund research into man-made proteins that could make it easier for some Americans to eat pizza?
That's what we wondered when we read that the Pentagon's gee-whiz research arm provided support for work on a drug to treat celiac disease, a condition that interferes with the digestion of gluten in wheat and other foods.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who has been outspoken about the lack of freedom in his homeland and was imprisoned in what he and his supporters say was an effort to keep him quiet, told our colleagues at Boston's WBUR this week that the lack of truth in China is "suffocating ... like bad air all the time."
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:29 am
Drugmaker Merck just stuck a fork in a vitamin-based drug to prevent heart disease and stroke.
The company is withdrawing Tredaptive, a long-acting pill combining niacin (No. 3 in the long list of B vitamins) and laropiprant, a chemical that reduces the unpleasant skin flushing caused by high doses of niacin.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:50 am
If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person.
As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report "widespread" outbreaks. The flu's been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 children, the AP adds.
Of all the cable comedies returning with new episodes Sunday, Girls is the most ambitious — as well as the most unpredictable, and occasionally unsettling.
When thirtysomething premiered on ABC more than 25 years ago — yes, it's been that long — that drama series was both embraced and attacked for focusing so intently on the problems of self-obsessed people in their 30s. What that drama did for that generation, Girls does for a new one — and for an even younger demographic, by presenting a quartet of young women in their mid-20s.
Nearly seven decades ago, a young soldier from Indiana left his green duffel bag on a French battlefield in World War II. This week, William Kadar's granddaughter, also an Army veteran, presented him with the bag still stenciled with his name and serial number. A teenager in France had found it in his own grandfather's house. Kadar was captured by the Germans, and has said: It's a miracle I came home.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:05 pm
Update at 9:42 a.m. ET. Review Ordered:
Saying that "we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents," Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta confirmed Friday morning that his agency has ordered a review of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems in recent days, including fuel leaks and an electrical fire.
The planes are not being grounded. Boeing says it welcomes the review and is confident in the aircraft's safety.
Humboldt State University invited Jimmy Kimmel to come see for himself. The TV host mocked the university for its marijuana research program. He ran a fake commercial, saying graduates could enjoy careers like dog walking or Occupying Wall Street. The university and student body presidents wrote a letter saying the skit was funny, but unfair. And now the school has invited Kimmel to deliver its commencement address. No word if he'll bring a match.
And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Last summer the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.
Major League Baseball has enacted new anti-doping policies that are being described as unprecedented in American professional sports. Yesterday, Major League Baseball and its Players Union said that starting next year they will be fighting the use of human growth hormone and testosterone - two allegedly popular banned substances.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been covering this story. Tom, good morning.
A man buys the latest edition of Southern Weekly at a newsstand near the newspaper's headquarters in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on Thursday. The staff at the influential weekly rebelled to protest censorship by government officials; the newspaper was published Thursday after a compromise that called for relaxing some intrusive controls.
Credit Vincent Yu / AP
A policeman points to a supporter of Southern Weekly before taking him away during a protest near the newspaper's headquarters Thursday.
In China, one struggle over censorship has been defused — for the moment, at least.
Journalists at one of the country's boldest newspapers have published a new issue after a weeklong standoff that started when censors replaced a New Year's editorial. Now the week's events are being parsed for signals about the direction of China's new Communist leadership.
Evidence of loss remains even three years after a massive earthquake claimed the lives of as many as 200,000 people in Haiti. In the middle of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a cathedral whose sun-washed walls reach into the sky where a roof used to be.
A lone flagpole marks the spot where the National Palace, a symbol of Haiti's government, once proudly stood.
And on a downtown street that once bustled with storefronts, there is now a row of vendors who sell their wares under tent poles and umbrellas.
Part of the nation's physical landscape is changing. Nature writer and commentator Craig Childs has been watching the dramatic transformation of a mighty river that is running dry.
Small porpoises once swam in the brackish estuaries of the Colorado River delta. Jaguars stalked the river channels and marshes. It's not like that any more, though. The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea in Northern Mexico. It hasn't since 1983.
An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.
"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."
A traveler stands at the check-in lobby at Havana's Jose Marti International Airport last year. On Jan. 14, Cuba scraps a much-reviled, decades-old exit permit requirement, easing most Cubans' exit and return.
For the first time in five decades, Cubans will no longer need an "exit permit" to travel. The change, which takes effect Monday, is part of a broader immigration reform by President Raul Castro making it easier for Cubans to go abroad — and also to return.
But critics say the communist government continues to treat travel as a privilege, not a right, and a useful tool to punish dissent.
The second season of HBO's critically acclaimed series Girls begins Sunday night, but the show about 20-something girls navigating their social and work lives in New York has itself been criticized for not being diverse enough.
By now, most of you have heard the buzz about Girls: It's written by 26-year-old Lena Dunham, and stars a quartet of young women whose plans sometimes crash face-first into life's nasty realities.
The show's smart dialogue attracted writer Allison Samuels, a cultural critic for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.
The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.
We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.
American Express Co. announced Thursday that it was cutting 5,400 jobs, primarily in its travel business, and take a $287 million restructuring charge associated with those layoffs.
The charge is likely to lower the company's adjusted fourth quarter net income by 46 percent from a year earlier. Excluding the charge, however, the company said its fourth quarter adjusted net income was $1.2 billion, or $1.09 per share.
When the rumored rebellion against House Speaker John Boehner's bid for a second term played out last week, the very first Republican to not vote for Boehner was Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., just three names into the alphabetical roll call.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:26 pm
The creators of The Thrilling Adventure Hour proudly call it "fake radio." It's less an homage to old-time radio and more of a clever update. A live monthly performance at Largo, a 200-seat, scruffy-chic Hollywood nightclub is also available as a popular podcast through Nerdist.
Barry Lopez is known for writing about the natural world. His books include Arctic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men, where he explores the relationship between the physical landscape and human culture. But in a new essay in the January issue of Harper's Magazine, Lopez writes that he was sexually molested by a family friend when he was a boy, and says the man was never brought to justice.