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The Salt
12:44 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Guerrilla Grafters Bring Forbidden Fruit Back To City Trees

Guerrilla grafter Tara Hui grafts a fruiting pear branch onto an ornamental fruit tree in the San Francisco Bay Area. She doesn't want the location known because the grafting is illegal.
Lonny Shavelson for NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 5:00 am

Spring means cherry, pear and apple blossoms. But in many metropolitan areas, urban foresters ensure those flowering fruit trees don't bear fruit to keep fallen fruit from being trampled into slippery sidewalk jelly.

But a group of fruit fans in the San Francisco Bay Area is secretly grafting fruit-bearing tree limbs onto those fruitless trees.

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World Cafe
12:22 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

New Multitudes On World Cafe

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker Needle, and Yim Yames make up New Multitudes.
Courtesy of the artist

Often, an artist can be defined by his or her influences. Woody Guthrie's legacy demands instead that he be remembered for the legendary writers he influenced. Guthrie's music inspired musicians from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, and his career as a Dust Bowl troubadour became representative of more than just American folk music.

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Book Reviews
12:03 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

100 Years Later, Titanic Lives On In Letters

The ill-fated Titanic rests at Harland and Wolff's shipyard, Belfast, in February 1912.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 4:23 pm

When I hear the word "Titanic," I picture a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the bottom of a gilded staircase while the voice of Celine Dion swells in my mind. It's all Edwardian glitz and glamour, decadence and passionate love, the kind best enjoyed in a dark theater with plenty of popcorn. And then I quickly remember that the ship sinks, and that Titanic is more than just an epic film from my youth. On April 15, a century will have passed since the ship plummeted into the icy Atlantic, and it is the tragedy we should remember, not just the mythology surrounding it.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
11:59 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together

Gideon Shoes co-founder Matt Noffs with youth from The Street University, the nonprofit youth center that launched the fair trade company.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 10:16 am

You don't go through corporate communications to meet the executive steering committee at Gideon Shoes.

Instead, you walk through a basketball court with graffiti-covered walls and into a sound studio. There, Gideon employees are warming up their talking points: rap lyrics.

"There's no excuses in this life, so I'm fighting on. ... The flame inside my heart is more like a firestorm," they rap.

The team is made up of Suhkdeep Bhogal from India, Thane Poloai from Samoa and Allan from New Zealand, who doesn't want to give his last name.

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Economy
11:49 am
Fri April 6, 2012

For Long-Term Unemployed, Help Is Running Out

Job seekers line up to enter a career fair in Los Angeles. Both Congress and states are cutting back on unemployment benefits.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Diane Turner can't find work. She spent 30 years managing dental practices in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, but lost her last job in that field a couple of years ago.

She worked for a while greeting customers at an auto body shop, but lost that job a year ago. "It was very depressing," Turner says. "I always worked, and I was always able to get a job."

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Shots - Health Blog
11:19 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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Movie Reviews
11:08 am
Fri April 6, 2012

'Damsels': A Daffy, Earnest Return For Whit Stillman

College do-gooders Heather (Carrie MacLemore), Violet (Greta Gerwig) and Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) take it upon themselves to improve the lives of everyone around them — including those smelly frat boys — at their fictional upper-crust school.
Sabrina Lantos Sony Pictures Classics

Director Whit Stillman is 60 now, and hasn't made a film since 1998's The Last Days of Disco, but his preferred milieu is still the world of privileged young people with the luxury of taking time to figure themselves out. It's a rarefied realm, where vocabulary and self-confidence outstrip experience, and wisdom and adulthood are still to be embraced.

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The Two-Way
11:02 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Reports: F-18 Fighter Jet Crashes In Virginia Beach

The burning fuselage of an F/A-18 Hornet lies smoldering after crashing into a residential building in Virginia Beach, Va. on Friday.
AP

A Navy fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. Television images showed thick, black smoke billowing near a row of apartment buildings.

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET April 7. No Fatalities, Officials Confirm

Fire officials say they have accounted for everyone who lived at an apartment complex in Virginia where a Navy fighter jet crashed on Friday.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Fri April 6, 2012

VIDEO: Rapping Federal Worker Adds To Evidence Of Waste And Excess

From the GSA employee's rap video.
House Oversight & Reform Committee

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Poll: Opinion On Trayvon Martin Case Divided Along Racial Lines

Shirley Jackson (right), a teacher in Miami Dade school system, joins hundreds of other people in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood during a rally on Wednesday in Miami, Florida.
Angel Valentin Getty Images

Opinion about the Trayvon Martin shooting is sharply divided by race, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds.

The divide is clear, when pollsters asked if George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot and killed the black, unarmed teenager, was guilty of a crime.

A little more than half of the African Americans polled said he was "definitely guilty," while only 15 percent of non-blacks shared the same opinion.

The poll also found:

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Arts & Life
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Texan Poet Says, Spend Some Time Among The Clouds

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from storyteller and poet Anne McCrady of Henderson, Texas. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

Economy
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

March Jobs Report Offers Mixed Messages

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:44 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Governing
10:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Deal Might Be The Key To Save Detroit

The city's leaders agreed to a compromise with state officials this week, that may save Detroit from bankruptcy. But Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley tells host Michel Martin that a lot more work needs to be done to save the struggling city. They're also joined by NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.

Movie Interviews
9:59 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Whit Stillman: An Indie Auteur Returns, Wink Intact

Whit Stillman, the whimsical director of Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, returns after 13 years with Damsels in Distress -- which he calls "a comedy of ideas, even if they're lame ones."
Gareth Cattermole Getty Images

A little short of two decades ago, I served with Whit Stillman on the Dramatic Competition jury at the Sundance Film Festival, alongside actor Samuel Jackson and directors Atom Egoyan and Darnell Martin. During voting meetings, we were a fractious bunch, but otherwise we all got along great. Never had jury duty been so much fun — when I wasn't fretting about whether Stillman had seen my surly review of his 1990 first feature, Metropolitan.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
9:48 am
Fri April 6, 2012

It's All Politics, April 5, 2012

Steven Senne ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Listen to the Roundup

Mitt Romney's sweep in Tuesday's primaries essentially signals the beginning of the general election campaign. And President Obama joins the fray, attacking Romney by name in a speech to news editors; the former Massachusetts governor returns the favor a day later. Paul Ryan draws attention from the president as well as those speculating on the GOP ticket. NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin have the latest in this week's political roundup.

Sports
9:37 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Behind The Plate, A Baseball Catcher Tells All

Ausmus (left), playing for the Houston Astros in 2006, talks with pitcher Brad Lidge on the mound during a game.
David. J Philip AP

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:39 am

This interview was originally broadcast on August 18, 2011.

Brad Ausmus has spent most of his career in a squatting position. As a major league catcher, he crouched behind home plate for roughly seven months a year while playing with the San Diego Padres, the Detroit Tigers, the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

How did he practice for games? Even more squats.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Check It Out: St. Louis Keeps Adding To Its Chess Prowess

When it comes to chess, St. Louis is in the game.
Tom Gannam AP

We're seeing headlines today about an entire college championship team moving from one school to another. And though the story's about two months old, it's still so unusual and has enough interesting angles to warrant passing along.

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Music Reviews
9:35 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Finding And Curating The Roots Of Soul Music

The Burden Lifters.
Tompkins Square Records

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 9:50 am

Some years back, I was driving across the South with a German friend, leaving early Sunday morning from Athens, Ga., and heading to Louisiana. I turned on the radio and found a black church service in progress, and a woman with a remarkable voice singing. "Who's that?" my friend asked. I told him I had no idea. "But with a voice like that, she must be famous," he said. Some miles down the road, when the station had faded out, he still didn't believe me.

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The Salt
9:34 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Lust, Lies And Empire: The Fishy Tale Behind Eating Fish On Friday

Did the pope really make a secret pact to sell more fish? No, but the real story of eating fish on Fridays is much more fantastical.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:07 pm

It sounds like the plot of a Dan Brown thriller: A powerful medieval pope makes a secret pact to prop up the fishing industry that ultimately alters global economics. The result: Millions of Catholics around the world end up eating fish on Fridays as part of a religious observance.

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Movie Reviews
9:14 am
Fri April 6, 2012

A Sublime, Impressionistic 'Deep Blue Sea'

Rachel Weisz plays the adulterous Lady Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea, turning in a performance as luminous as a Pre-Raphaelite portrait.
Music Box Films

Terence Davies' films aim for and often achieve a state of music, the camerawork in harmony with the soundtrack, the images connected by emotion rather than narrative.

Adapting Terence Rattigan's 1952 play The Deep Blue Sea, he throws out the drama's tidy structure and much of the dialogue, and shows the events through the eyes of the adulterous Lady Hester Collyer, played by Rachel Weisz.

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Education
9:10 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Fractions Curriculum Strikes Right Note In California

A student at Allen Elementary fills out a worksheet where music notes are converted into fractions.
Caitlin Esch KQED

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 6:03 am

Math teachers know that fractions can be hard for the average third-grader. Teachers at a public school in San Bruno, Calif., just south of San Francisco, are trying something new. They're teaching difficult math concepts through music, and they're getting remarkable results.

At Allen Elementary School, a roomful of third-graders sits facing music instructor Endre Balogh, their backs straight, eyes ahead, beating a mouse pad with drumsticks. As Balogh taps a rhythm, the students follow.

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Monkey See
9:02 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Sex Comedies And Marshmallow Peeps

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

On this week's podcast, we decided to ruminate about teen sex comedies — in part because of spring break season, and perhaps in part because we're all surrounded by discussions of American Reunion. We chat about the ebb and flow of teen comedy in general, the ways in which Superbad was and was not influential, and the relationship between teen comedies, sex comedies, and teen sex comedies. This also leads us down a strange path about what kinds of vaguely dirty movies we did and did not have access to as kids.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:00 am
Fri April 6, 2012

No Need For The Knife? Antibiotics May Suffice In Some Appendicitis Cases

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:04 am

Acute appendicitis generally means a speedy trip to the hospital for surgery. But British researchers say antibiotics might be a safe and effective alternative in uncomplicated cases.

"The general consensus was that the appendix has to be taken out the moment you feel it was inflamed," Dr. Dileep Lobo, professor of gastrointestinal surgery at the University of Nottingham and Queen's Medical Centre, tells Shots.

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The Two-Way
8:24 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Life In Prison For Man Who Planted Pipe Bomb In Colorado Mall

An undated photo, released by the Denver FBI, of Earl Albert Moore.
AP

Earl Albert Moore, who in April 2011 on the 12th anniversary of the Columbine school shootings placed a pipe bomb in a nearby Colorado shopping mall, has been sentenced to life in prison.

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Economy
7:12 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Jobless Rate Slips; Fewer New Jobs Than Expected

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's talk about the surprisingly weak jobs report that came out from the Labor Department today. The numbers for March show just 120,000 new jobs were added to U.S. payrolls. That's considered a disappointment, even though the unemployment rate did decline slightly, to 8.2 percent.

NPR's John Ydstie is here to talk with us about what all this means. Hi, John.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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The Two-Way
6:34 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Just 120,000 Jobs Added, But Jobless Rate Dips To 8.2 Percent

The changes in payroll employment over the past two years.
NPR

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 8:37 am

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.

Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.

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The Two-Way
6:10 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Coast Guard Sinks Japanese 'Ghost Ship' Set Adrift By Tsunami

The Ryou-Un Maru after being fired upon and before it sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Alaska.
U.S. Coast Guard

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Barack Obama
5:31 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Obama Is The Best And The Worst President. Discuss

President Obama inspires strong feelings, some positive, some negative. This composite image shows Obama at two separate events.
AP and Getty Images NPR

Close your books, America. It's time for a pop quiz.

Do you believe Barack Obama is:

a) The best of presidents? A blogger who goes by the name Troubadour on Daily Kos, Brian Altmeyer, pretty much makes the claim in a recent post: "Barack Obama is either the best President we've ever had, or more humbly, equal to the best Presidents we've ever had (and thereby one of their number)."

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The Two-Way
5:30 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Board Recommends Marine Be Discharged For Comments About Obama

Sgt. Gary Stein.
Facebook.com

A U.S. Marine sergeant who posted "contemptuous" comments and images about President Obama on the Web should be dismissed and given an other-than-honorable discharge, a Marine Corps administrative board recommended late Thursday evening.

The case against Sgt. Gary Stein, 26, has raised questions about how far the military can go to restrict the First Amendment rights of its personnel.

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