8:05am

Sat October 6, 2012
Simon Says

Does Voting Early Prompt Hasty Choices?

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Voters cast their ballots during early voting in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began Oct. 2 in the battleground state, five weeks before Election Day on November 6.
J.D. Pooley Getty Images

Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.

Read more

7:46am

Sat October 6, 2012
Latin America

Chavez's Socialism At Stake In Venezuelan Election

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 9:17 pm

A picture of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was on display this week at a state-run market that provides subsidized food and basic goods in Caracas.
Eitan Abramovich AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his most serious election test in 14 years of power. Though he has easily beaten his adversaries in the past, Chavez now confronts a 40-year-old former governor who has been electrifying the crowds.

The stakes are high. If Chavez loses, it could mean the end of his socialist experiment in the oil-rich nation.

In speech after speech, Chavez is like the Chavez of old — bombastic, loud, defiant, with grand dreams about projecting Venezuelan influence worldwide.

Read more

6:26am

Sat October 6, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

The MacArthur 'Genius' Bow Maker Who Makes Violins Sing

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Over the past four decades, Benoit Rolland has made more than 1,400 bows for violins, violas and cellos.
Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.

Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.

Read more

5:59am

Sat October 6, 2012
Author Interviews

A Love Song To Family, New York In 'Sunlight'

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Hulton Archive Getty Images

When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."

Read more

5:58am

Sat October 6, 2012
Economy

Holiday Jobs Come With Uncertainty For Workers

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Retailers expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra holiday workers this year, but the hours can be scarce — and unpredictable.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Retailers across the country expect to hire hundreds of thousands of extra workers this holiday season to help with the anticipated spike in sales. Retail workers who have been hustling year-round for more hours are looking at that news with a jaded eye — because the vast majority of these seasonal jobs will disappear after December, sending many of these workers back scrounging for more work.

With a 17-hour workweek, Onieka O'Kieffe is left with a lot of time on her hands. Too much time. She said she very often sleeps 12 hours a day just because she can.

Read more

5:58am

Sat October 6, 2012
Asia

U.S. Drones Navigate Murky Legal Path In Pakistan

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:15 pm

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone sits on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in southern Afghanistan in 2010. The U.S. has been using drones in Pakistan for years. The Pakistanis initially claimed the drone attacks as the work of their own military, but the strikes have become a source of friction.
Massoud Hossaini AP

The U.S. has been carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan for some eight years, but it's done so under a policy that has emerged piecemeal over that time.

"It started in 2004, when drones were really an oddity," says Daniel Markey, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was on the State Department's policy planning staff when it all started during the Bush administration.

Read more

5:57am

Sat October 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Fallout From Financial Crisis: Thousands Of Nigerian Kids Poisoned By Lead

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:27 pm

Women and their children wait for medication and instructions on how to use it at the clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. Treating children with high levels of lead is a painstaking process that works only if their environment at home is free from lead.
David Gilkey NPR

Gold in general has great PR. It's slick, it's hip, it's bling. But in a remote corner of West Africa, it's killing children.

Lead from illegal gold mines in northwestern Nigeria has sparked what Doctors Without Borders has called the worst case of environmental lead poisoning in years.

The catastrophe is part of the fallout from the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

Read more

5:57am

Sat October 6, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Romney Health Care Debate Claim Gets Corrected By His Own Staff

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:17 pm

Mitt Romney speaks during the presidential debate Wednesday in Denver.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.

Read more

5:56am

Sat October 6, 2012
Middle East

A Whitewashed Wall Erases Egypt's Revolution

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 8:43 pm

An Egyptian man waves a bullet casing in front of a mural that was painted on a recently whitewashed wall in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Mohammad Hannon AP

A massive graffiti mural in Cairo's Tahrir Square documenting the political turmoil in Egypt was whitewashed earlier this month. The next night, several hundred artists and supporters were back, covering the wall in new images and anti-government slogans.

Medical student and painter Doaa Okasha, 20, was outraged when she found out the original mural was gone.

"It's our history there. This wall explains a lot of what happened in the last months, and it's very important to us," she says. "They easily come and erase everything, and we don't accept that."

Read more

2:03am

Sat October 6, 2012
Music Interviews

Josephine Foster: A 'Vibrating Voice' To Shake The Soul

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 7:55 pm

Josephine Foster's newest album is titled Blood Rushing.
Jessica Knights Courtesy of the artist

Don't try to pigeonhole Josephine Foster. She has recorded albums of psychedelic rock and Tin Pan Alley, music for children, blues, Spanish folk tunes, 19th century German art songs and a song cycle based on the poems of Emily Dickinson. Although her soprano may be a little unusual, it's arresting.

Foster recently released a new album, Blood Rushing. She spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about finding her voice, collaborating with her husband, singing at funerals and embracing small-town life.

Read more

Pages