So tomorrow night for the first time in the history of the Bowl Championship Series, two teams from the same conference, the Southeastern Conference, the two best teams in college football, Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama, will face off in the BCS National Championship in New Orleans. Who's going to win? Well, to help us answer that question, Mike Pesca joins me now.
Best-selling e-author Amanda Hocking grew up in the small town of Austin, Minn., which, she says, is known for Spam. Spam as in the food, not the e-mail spam.
"We invented Spam," the 27-year-old novelist tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
Hocking's dad was a truck driver. Her mom was a waitress. Even as a very young child, she had always been a kind of natural storyteller — especially when it came to fantasy stories. Stories about dragons, unicorns, pirates and more.
When it comes to last words, there's a kind of poetry in even the oddest ones. Oscar Wilde hated the wallpaper in the room where he died: "One of us has to go," he muttered. Salvador Dali: "Where is my clock?" Steve Jobs: "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow," according to his sister, who was in the room.
Timothy Goeglein (left) spent nearly eight years in the White House as President George W. Bush's key point of contact to American conservatives and the faith-based world and was often profiled in the national news media.
Tim Goeglein worked in the George W. Bush White House for eight years, and it was in the Oval Office that the president forgave him.
While working as an aide to Bush, Goeglein repeatedly plagiarized columns he sent to his hometown newspaper under his byline. When his actions were discovered, he went to Bush to apologize, fully expecting to be fired.
"Before I could get barely a few words out," he says, "he looked at me, and he said, 'Tim, grace and mercy are real. I have known grace and mercy in my life, and I'm extending it to you. You're forgiven.' "
Each of the Republican presidential candidate claims to be the true conservative — but who is? And what does that mean, anyway? Host Guy Raz looks at the state of conservatism particularly as it applies to the GOP candidates in a roundtable discussion with Dan McCarthy, editor of The American Conservative; Matthew Franck, director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.; and Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.
This is the season of the presidential super PACs: They flooded Iowa with attack ads and now they are looking ahead to primaries in South Carolina and Florida.
Super PACs (political action committees) can solicit big, corporate contributions — something candidates can't do. And, according to the law, super PACs are barred from coordinating their ads with the candidates they support. But it's not nearly that simple.
Hairy-chested yeti crabs, seven-armed sea stars, white octopuses — all these creatures were seen for the first time by researchers in the Antarctic. Robert Siegel talks to biologist Alex Rodgers of the University of Oxford, who led the expedition.
One of the last remaining Navajo Code Talkers from World War II has died. Keith Little, who transmitted codes in important Pacific battles such as Iwo Jima and Saipan, died Tuesday at 87. He led the Navajo Code Talkers Association in recent years and fought to get recognition for the Code Talkers, who were ordered to keep their contribution to the war effort secret for decades after the war ended.
Syrian officials are vowing to respond with an iron fist to a suicide bombing in Damascus today, 25 people were killed. It was the second deadly bomb attack in the Syrian capital in recent weeks. The government and opposition activists traded accusations as to who was responsible. And the bombing raised fears of escalating violence, as the Arab League presses Syria to implement a peace plan.
NPR's Peter Kenyon is monitoring developments in Syria from Istanbul.
The Justice Department is redefining the criminal definition of "rape" for the first time since the 1920s. It will now include same-sex assaults and a definition beyond actual intercourse. This will change the way local police departments report crime statistics.
The NFL kicks off an exciting weekend of games Saturday when it starts its playoffs. Meanwhile, there's big news in the sport that most of the rest of the world calls football. Fox television is making a major play to air more soccer games in this country, including an English Premier League game before the Super Bowl. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis talks with Robert Siegel about the news in both kinds of football.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Today, new evidence that the pace of job growth is picking up. The government's employment report for December showed 200,000 jobs added to payrolls. The unemployment rate continued its downward trend falling to 8.5 percent.
And while that may be welcome news, as NPR's John Ydstie explains, the December report could be overstating job growth.
Now, a story with this you-can't-make-it-up headline: Americans Rescue Iranian's From Pirates. According to the U.S. Navy, yesterday in the North Arabian Sea, a Navy battle group came across a fishing vessel in distress. The crew was Iranian and they'd been held hostage for weeks by pirates. And here's the irony: The American battle group included the same aircraft carrier that Iran's government threatened earlier this week.
Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times. They discuss the jobs numbers, Obama's recess appointments and presidential campaign developments.
Rick Santorum has been upsetting elections from the beginning.
He was only 32 years old when he toppled a seven-term incumbent in a majority Democratic district in western Pennsylvania.
Just four years later, Santorum rode the Republican wave of 1994 into the Senate representing Pennsylvania. And from the beginning, Santorum has stood for unwavering social conservatism, especially on the issue of abortion.
"Give the baby a chance to live," said Santorum while delivering a speech on the Senate floor in 1997.
Photographer Eve Arnold died Wednesday, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Arnold is best known for her intimate portraits of both the rich and famous — including Marilyn Monroe, Malcolm X and Joan Crawford — and of the down and out.
As Robert Capa, one of the founders of the agency Magnum Photos, once put it: Arnold's work "falls metaphorically between Marlene Dietrich's legs and the bitter lives of migratory potato pickers."
Robert Siegel talks to Brigitte Lardinois, associate director photography at the University of the Arts in London, about the late photographer Eve Arnold whose work captured the lives of the rich and famous — and the down and out. Arnold died Wednesday at 99.
When Heather Peters of Los Angeles bought a 2006 Civic Hybrid, she was told the car would get 50 miles per gallon. But, the car never got more than 42 miles per gallon on its best day, she says — and only 30 miles per gallon after a system upgrade. She declined an offer to join a class-action suit brought by similarly frustrated Civic Hybrid owners, and she is now suing the automaker Honda in a California small claims court — asking for $10,000. Melissa Block speaks with Andrea Chang of the Los Angeles Times, who's been covering the story.
Charlie Rose may very well be the best interviewer on the planet. If there's something important in the news, chances are he has left his mark on the story — from the events unfolding in North Korea to the modern relevance of Shakespeare.
Originally published on Tue January 3, 2012 7:19 pm
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In about an hour, Iowans will begin caucusing in the nation's first presidential contest of 2012. Republicans are gathering at sites representing more than 1,700 precincts. While voters can write in any name they like, six candidates leave the field. The top vote-getters will head into next week's New Hampshire primary with fresh momentum and while those at the bottom could find their campaigns on life support.
The third stage in Egypt's parliamentary elections got underway Tuesday. In upper Egypt, tensions between Muslims and Christians have intensified in the aftermath of the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Qena is a stronghold of the ultra-conservative Salafi movement, and its members have clashed repeatedly with local Coptic Christians over the past year.