Gridlock is the term many use to describe what happens when legislation gets stalled in the U.S. Congress.
But gridlock suggests that people in Congress at least run into each other. I've had enough casual, personal conversations with representatives in both parties in recent years to begin to think a more critical problem might be that politicians of opposing parties are almost strangers to each other.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.
TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.
Lyle Talbot was born in 1902, just around the time when movies were getting started. He joined a traveling carnival, toured in theater troupes and wound up in Hollywood, where he became a reliable B-movie player. Eventually, Talbot became a fixture of family-friendly television on Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
Superstorm Sandy has put the topic of climate change front and center once again.
Just after Sandy staggered his city, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote "Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week's devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action."
Twelve days after Hurricane Sandy smacked the eastern seaboard and beyond, tens of thousands of people still lack basic necessities - food, water, even shelter. NPR's Richard Gonzales sent us this postcard about three men from Chicago who took it upon themselves to bring some comfort to Sandy's victims.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In parts of New York and New Jersey, life is returning to the way it was before Hurricane Sandy hit. Power has been restored. Schools have reopened. But there are still thousands of people without electricity and areas where homes are unlivable. This is the case of New Jersey's barrier islands. Yesterday, residents of Seaside Heights returned to their homes for the first time since the storm struck.
Scott Gurian of New Jersey Public Radio was with them and filed this report.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: The NFL season at the half-way point. Big game this weekend. Sunday, tomorrow night, two 7-1 teams in a classic face-off. Ha-ha. One of them's the Bears. In college football, Notre Dame and Kansas State are in the top 5. What is this, 1997? And the L.A. Lakers send their coach packing. Are they already chanting ohm in Santa Monica?