Election 2012
3:27 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

New Target In Voter ID Battle: 1965 Voting Rights Act

A voter casts his ballot in a West Miami, Fla., fire station during the Republican primary in January.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 8:49 am

A landmark federal law used to block the adoption of state voter identification cards and other election rules now faces unprecedented legal challenges.

A record five federal lawsuits filed this year challenge the constitutionality of a key provision in the Voting Rights Act. The 1965 statute prevents many state and local governments from enacting new voter ID requirements, redistricting plans and similar proposals on grounds that the changes would disenfranchise minorities.

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The Two-Way
3:22 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

At 'English-Only' Hearing, Rep. Conyers Delivers His Statement In Spanish

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

It was a controversial hearing to begin with. This morning, a House subcommittee was looking into a bill that would make English the official language of the United States and require that government functions like naturalization ceremonies be conducted in English.

Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan was not a fan, so he decided to deliver his opening statement in Spanish.

First he thanked the chairman, then he proceeded to assail the measure.

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Theater
3:07 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Playwright Fugard Bucked South Africa's 'Racist Ideas'

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard was a thorn in the apartheid regime's side. Now 80, he calls any suggestion that he would slow down "nonsense."
Gregory Costanzo

South African playwright, actor and director Athol Fugard describes the time Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 as "a period of euphoria that was the most extraordinary experience of my life."

He says he was also convinced he would be the country's "first literary redundancy."

"My life had been defined by the apartheid years," he tells Michel Martin, host of NPR's Tell Me More. "Now we were going into an era of democracy ... and I believed that I didn't really have a function as a useful artist in that anymore."

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Economy
3:01 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

What Can We Do To Fix The Economy?

Courtesy of Jared Bernstein

U.S. employment is stalled, growth is anemic, and the Federal Reserve has decided not to take action for at least another month.

Most economists weren't expecting the Federal Open Markets Committee, which sets the Fed's monetary policy, to announce another round of quantitative easing — a fancy term that basically means the central bank buys bonds to increase the money supply and make borrowing cheaper — at this week's meeting. Still, that's exactly what a number of them think is needed.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Knight Capital Says It Lost $440 Million Because Of Computer Glitch

Remember the computer glitch that caused market turmoil Wednesday morning?

As we told you, it was caused by a computer glitch that accidentally forced Knight Capital Group to buy a great number of stocks.

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Music Reviews
1:52 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Digging Up The 'Newly Discovered Works Of Gil Evans'

Ryan Truesdell has turned unheard Gil Evans scores into richly textured works on Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans.
Dina Regine

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 8:47 pm

Gil Evans, born a century ago this year, was a leading jazz arranger and composer starting in the 1940s, when he wrote for big bands. He helped organize Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool sessions, then arranged Davis' celebrated orchestra albums like Sketches of Spain. Evans, who had his own big bands that went electric in the 1970s and '80s, died in 1991, but some of his rare music has been newly recorded.

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NPR Story
1:33 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Drive For Profit Wreaks 'Days Of Destruction'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 1:19 pm

In his latest book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges takes a look at the tensions that arise between profit, progress, technology and the pursuit of the American dream. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, written with co-author Joe Sacco, critiques an economic system that they say abandons too many Americans.

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Planet Money
1:26 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Can You Get A Patent On Being A Patent Troll?

A 15th-century depiction of the ouroboros, a serpent devouring itself.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 2:34 pm

The patent wars have been heating up. Apple and Samsung are duking it out in California.

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The Torch
1:20 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Women's Sabre Teams: No Medal For You

Russia's Sofya Velikaya (left) fences against South Korea's Kim Ji Yeon in their sabre gold medal bout Wednesday. Because of a limit on medals, there is no women's team sabre title at the London 2012 Games.
Toshifumi Kitamura AFP/Getty Images

It's hard to find a discipline that Team USA has dominated more than the women's sabre. The team is anchored by two-time medalist Mariel Zagunis. And before Zagunis was upset in the bronze medal match Wednesday, five of the six medals that had been awarded since 2004 went to Americans.

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Mental Health
1:15 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Mindfulness: Using Your Brain To Beat Stress

Ellen Langer is also the author of On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.
Nancy Hemenway

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 8:58 am

When psychologist Ellen Langer asked participants at a seminar to talk about someone or something that just drove them nuts, one woman spoke about her husband always being late for breakfast — a minor, everyday annoyance that Langer suggested might be reframed: Focus on the gift of a few moments alone.

A small thing maybe, but over more than 30 years, Langer has conducted a series of ingenious experiments that show how small and seemingly simple changes in our lives can reduce stress and help us lead healthier, happier lives.

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