Abraham Lincoln is not just America's greatest president. To many, his very face is an emblem of America: honest, homespun, strong and sad, haunted, brooding and humorous.
So where does some famous Yale Law School professor get off writing a novel in which President Lincoln is accused of subverting the Constitution?
In Stephen Carter's new novel, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, the man we know as the Great Emancipator imprisons critics, invokes martial law, suspends the writ of habeus corpus, and throttles the press — all to win the Civil War.
Jesse Reed was convicted of first-degree murder in 1985. He was sentenced to 27 years to life. Now on parole, Reed counsels incarcerated young men through a program run by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Credit Elisabeth Fall / Life After Murder
In Life After Murder, journalist Nancy Mullane follows the stories of five convicted murderers (from left) Jesse Reed, Don Cronk, Ed Ramirez, Phillip Seiler and Rich Rael.
Can a murderer ever be redeemed? That's the question journalist Nancy Mullane takes on in her new book, Life After Murder: Five Men in Search of Redemption. Over the past few years, Mullane has made dozens of trips to California's San Quentin prison to interview men locked up for committing the most heinous crimes.
Siblings Charles Hagood and Nancy Hagood Nunns grew up in Junction, Texas, in the 1950s. Charles says the drought drove ranchers to find other types of work.
Credit Michael O'Brien / Michael O'Brien
When Mort Mertz, 88, returned from the Korean War in 1952, he started ranching in New Mexico and West Texas. He later moved with his new wife to the Mayer Ranch outside San Angelo to raise sheep, cattle and horses and to fight the drought.
Credit Michael O'Brien / Michael O'Brien
The long drought affected Sandy Whittley, 74, and her neighbors while she was residing in San Angelo.
In Texas, there is still the drought against which all other droughts are measured: the seven-year dry spell in the 1950s. It was so devastating that agriculture losses exceeded those of the Dust Bowl years, and so momentous that it kicked off the modern era of water planning in Texas.
From 1950 to 1957, the sky dried up and the rain refused to fall. Every day, Texans scanned the pale-blue heavens for rainclouds, but year after year they never came.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: And Wimbledon is underway, the world's oldest, most esteemed, greenest and strawberries and creamiest tennis tournament. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic seem set on the collision course for a semifinal. Maria Sharapova on course for a potential showdown with Kim Clijsters. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com, ESPN the magazine, and ESPN the full grain, fibrous and nutritious snack cracker on the line from the All England Club.
Of course, Egypt has a new president - an Islamist from the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Mohamed Morsi took the oath of office in Cairo today, a day after appearing at Tahrir Square to proclaim that the people are the real source of power, not the generals and the supreme military council. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Cairo that despite the swearing-in ceremony, Mr. Morsi may not have really taken hold of the reins of power.
PRESIDENT MOHAMED MORSI: (Foreign language spoken)
Firefighters are slowly gaining ground on the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado. It's scorched about 17,000 acres and believed to have claimed two lives.
More than 300 homes have burned. There's been a lot of talk about how many houses were lost in the fire, but Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown wants you to know there's a flip side to that: He says crews worked hard to minimize damage.
The heat and drought that brought much of Colorado Springs into danger has also hit the Midwest. Temperatures broke 100 degrees in the Great Plains, and the heat and the lack of rain is endangering what was expected to be a bumper crop of corn. Tim Lenz is a farmer near the town of Strasburg in south central Illinois, where he grows corn and soybeans. Mr. Lenz, thanks for being with us.
TIM LENZ: Thank you.
SIMON: What's it been like there for the past couple of weeks?
For more than 30 years, Richard Miles and Reg Mead scoured the fields of their native Jersey with metal detectors, hoping to one day come across an ancient coin or two. Earlier this week, the detector beeped and they found the world's largest-ever stash of Celtic coins. Host Scott Simon speaks with Reg Mead about their find.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama told residents of Colorado yesterday that the country has their back. The president visited an evacuation center and met with some of the firefighters who have been battling the deadly Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs.
Facing an unexpected ruling validating the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress promised to redouble efforts to repeal it, starting with another vote in the House early next month. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's David Welna to explain the battle ahead.
Now, to our occasional WEEKEND EDITION series Taste of Summer.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME")
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: (Singing) Hot fun in the summertime.
SIMON: A few weeks ago, Alton Brown shared some grilling secrets with us. Today, it'll be ice cream. Whether plain old standard vanilla, or artisanal organic squash blossom rhubarb poblano crunch - a flavor I just made up, by the way - summer is the season of ice cream. And so today, we head to the Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis.
It came down to the wire, but finally, Republicans and Democrats agreed on a deal that keeps the interest rate on government-backed student loans from doubling. It will save the average borrower about $1,000 a year, but the compromise is likely to cost students a lot more than that over the long term.
The agreement that lawmakers passed Friday will keep interest rates at 3.4 percent for another year. Anthony DeLaRosa, a 23-year-old University of Colorado graduate, says it's a big victory.
More than 10,000 athletes are headed to London this summer to run, swim, cycle, shoot, fence and compete in the events of the Olympic Games. Each of them has a story — what they've won, what they've lost and what they've sacrificed just to get their chance to get there.
Chris Cleave's latest novel, Gold, tells the stories of three world-ranked cyclists — Zoe, Jack and Kate — who are training for their last chance at Olympic gold. Zoe and Kate are friends as well as rivals; Jack and Kate are raising an 8-year-old who suffers from leukemia.
George Needleman is the chief bean counter of an investment bank who, in Madea's Witness Protection, is too consumed with family problems to realize he's being set up to take the fall for a Ponzi scheme. When he grasps what's going on, he's placed in witness protection — at Madea's house.
Tyler Perry, who wrote and directed the movie, plays Madea, as well as most other members of her family. Needleman, the latest fussy, funny, bushy-eyebrowed, precise and put-upon man, is portrayed by Eugene Levy.
This summer, Weekend Edition Saturday is listening to the sounds of music al fresco. Today, we present an audio postcard of a trumpeter we recently heard blowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just down the street from NPR.
The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.
The Pew Research Center says Asian-Americans are now the fastest-growing ethnic and immigrant group in the United States: 18 million Americans, almost 6 percent of the population. Pew says Asian-Americans also tend to be the most educated and prosperous.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The presidential campaign shifted focus a bit this week as President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney both reached out to the fast-growing population of Latino voters. The two men spoke to a national gathering of Hispanic politicians in Florida. Immigration, of course, is an urgent issue after Mr. Obama's decision last week to try to stop deporting some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
We get two perspectives on President Obama's policy shift on immigration and the election year efforts to reach Hispanic voters. Host Scott Simon speaks with Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, co-chair of Obama campaign and head of Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who served alongside Mitt Romney when he was governor in Massachusetts and is now an adviser to the campaign.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With the eurozone crisis well into its third year, the leaders of the four major eurozone countries tried once again in Rome to reach agreement on how to try to salvage the single currency. For the first time, the focus shifted away from austerity to growth and job creation. But as NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, agreement was not reached on how to end the sovereign debt crisis.
The soccer game - they call it football - between Greece in Germany in Poland yesterday was always about more than just sport. Of course, there's friction between these two countries because of that eurozone crisis and both sides said they'd try to set aside politics for the day just to enjoy the entertainment. Now, of course, as has been widely reported, Germany won the game. They head to the semi-finals of the European championship. NPR's Philip Reeves was there and he sends us this account of an unusual day.
The British computer pioneer and wartime code-breaker Alan Turing was born 100 years ago Saturday. With today's world so dominated by the computer, Turing's work impacts all our lives on a daily basis. Host Scott Simon talks with Stanford professor Keith Devlin about this remarkable man.