Two mysterious men pull up to the courthouse and head to the public records office. They're strangers, and they ask a lot of strange questions like, "I'd like to look at Mayor John Doe's property deeds." Or, "I want to see Congressman Smith's voting records."
The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.
Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.
There's a Mystery Machine sitting outside Andrew Borakove's nondescript warehouse on a quiet street in Lincoln, Neb.
"I can never be depressed driving around town, because there's always some 4-year-old waving to me manically," Borakove says.
The mystery about the Scooby Doo replica van starts to fade, however, once you notice the bumper stickers on the back. Black background, white font, like a "Got Milk?" ad: "Happiness Is a Warm Gong." "Gongs, Not Bongs." "My Child Is an Honor Gong Player."
Suzanne Ciani's start in music was traditional enough. She was classically trained, majored in music at Wellesley College, and got a fellowship to study composition at UC Berkeley. But when she arrived there in the mid-1960s, just in time to witness the student protests that consumed the Bay Area during that decade, her focus shifted.
Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN: Jennifer Lopez travels through 20 countries to find and showcase the most outstanding Latin singers, dancers and performers in Q'VIVA! THE CHOSEN premiering Saturday, March 3 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Credit Robert Sebree / Fox
Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez travel to Latin America in search of talent in Q'Viva! The Chosen, premiering Saturday, March 3 on Fox.
Their marriage may be over, but singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have come together for a new TV show that seeks out talent from throughout Latin America. It's been airing on Spanish language TV in the U.S. and in 21 countries. And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on today's All Things Considered, the show will also premiere on Fox this weekend, with English subtitles.
All winter long, we've brought you songs that evoke the season. Yeah, we know it's March, but since winter doesn't officially end for another few weeks, we still have time to bring you a musical memory of a cold night from one of our listeners, Amanda Sauermann from Gracey, Ky. Her winter song is "Horchata" by Vampire Weekend.
Robert De Niro's last outing with director Paul Weitz was less than auspicious: The comedy Little Fockers received terrible reviews. Being Flynn, their second collaboration, is a more serious affair about the estranged relationship between a fractious father and his son.
Kristin Chenoweth talks to Jacki Lyden on today's Weekends on All Things Considered, and if the only thing you got from the interview was Chenoweth warbling a bit of the first solo she ever did in church, it would be well worth it.
The Emmy-winning actress stars on ABC's new GCB, a sort of Desperate-Housewives-ish dishy, soapy comedy-drama premiering Sunday night at 10. She's come quite a long way since, as she explains, her father negotiated her first contract.
The federal government is deciding whether to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list, as some populations have stabilized. From the Fronteras Changing Americas Desk, Laurel Morales reports.
Jobs are coming back, or at least it seems that way. New claims for unemployment benefits are near a four-year low. And there’s some evidence that a group that’s been hit harder than others in this recession-Latinos-may be getting back into the workforce more quickly. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Jude Joffe Block reports.
Across the country it’s not uncommon for a creditor to electronically disable a car if the owner falls behind on payments. This technology has been around for more than a decade and is quite effective. But on the vast and remote Navajo Nation it’s a problem. And a recent lawsuit charges that Navajo law makes them illegal. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk Laurel Morales reports.
What does the real estate market have to do with the Mexican drug war? A whole lot, South Texas realtors say. The mere perception of violence spilling north of the border is leaving bountiful land by the Rio Grande sitting idle. No one wants to buy it. From the Fronteras Changing Americas Desk, Hernán Rozemberg reports.
On its opening weekend, the Navy SEAL's movie Act of Valor grossed over $20 million at the box office. The military movie is believed to be the first to feature active duty military personnel as actors in the film.
Mitt Romney's decisive victory in Arizona on Tuesday won him every one of that state's 29 delegates in what was a winner-take-all election. But it was quite a different story in Michigan.
Even though Rick Santorum finished 3 percentage points behind Romney, Santorum ended up with the same amount of delegates: 15. That's because Michigan awards most of its delegates according to congressional districts.
Every one of the 10 states voting next week on Super Tuesday will also award delegates on a proportional basis.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Deadly tornadoes swept through the Midwest overnight and this morning, killing at least eight people. The storm system hammered parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, where it still poses a threat.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, hardest hit is the small city of Harrisburg in southern Illinois.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who narrowly won Michigan's Republican primary on Tuesday, traveled south to campaign in Toledo, Ohio on Wednesday. Ohio holds its primary next week on Super Tuesday.
In defiance of Congress, the Obama administration has issued new rules on how it will comply with a defense law mandating that many al-Qaida suspects be sent into military custody: It will issue waivers in many cases. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the trouble with waivers and the need for flexibility in dealing with suspects.
Robert Siegel talks to three former GOP party chairmen and governors about the results of Tuesday's primaries in Michigan and Arizona. Haley Barbour of Mississippi says the campaign should now focus on social issues. Marc Racicot of Montana agrees, but says attention must be paid to those who care about such issues, and Jim Gilmore of Virginia says he feels a connection must be made between the GOP and blue collar voters.
Forensic specialists in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua are working to identify human remains found scattered on a mountainside across the border from Ft Hancock, Texas. Monica Ortiz Uribe reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk.
For the first time ever, the number of U.S. adults with bachelor’s degrees has surpassed 30 percent. But as Adrian Florido reports from the Fronteras Changing America Desk, new data shows the education gap between Latinos and other ethnic groups is widening.
Arizona’s GOP primary tomorrow will once again focus national attention on the Latino vote in the southwest. One prominent Latina who has gotten much attention in the past year is New Mexico's Republican Governor Susana Martinez. She’s a rising star in the Republican Party, and the GOP hopes she’ll draw in more of that critical Latino vote. But as Monica Ortiz Uribe reports for the Fronteras Changing America Desk, some Hispanic voters accuse her of pushing an anti-immigrant agenda.
It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.
On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.
Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.
Wang Shu's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Zhu Chenzhou /
In 1997, Wang Shu founded the Amateur Architecture Studio in Hangzhou with his wife, Lu Wenyu.
Credit Lang Shuilong /
Wang's Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo, China, received acknowledgment from the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.
Credit Lu Wenyu /
The Pritzker Jury citation said Wang is "capable of creating buildings on an intimate scale," as demonstrated above in his Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.
Credit Lv Hengzhong /
Wang's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Lu Wenyu /
In Wang's Vertical Courtyard Apartments, residents plant small trees that are special to them, to differentiate their tower from others.
For the first time, the Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to an architect based in China. Wang Shu, 49, is interested in preservation, working slowly and tradition — ideals that sometimes seem forgotten in today's booming China. Wang says in the 1990s he had to get away from China's architectural "system" of demolition, megastructures and get-rich-quick — so he spent the decade working with common craftspeople building simple constructions.
"I go out of system," Wang says, "Because, finally I think, this system is too strong."