Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 7:51 pm
They were so young, the folks who invented America. James Madison, on July 4, 1776, was 25. James Monroe was 18, Alexander Hamilton, 21, Marquis de Lafayette, 18, Aaron Burr, 20, Betsy Ross, 24, Gilbert Stuart, 20. Ben Franklin, of course, was much older, grander and world famous. But he was the only one.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:47 am
In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.
But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.
It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:19 pm
On Jan. 17, 1961, President Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn Americans that:
"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
The trial of four men accused of killing Rafik Hariri and 22 others began Thursday in Leidschendam, Netherlands, on Thursday nearly nine years after the former Lebanese prime minister was assassinated by a massive car bomb in Beirut.
Speaking outside the court, Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, who has also served as a prime minister, said his presence and those of family members is "proof that our stance, since the first moment, and every moment, was and will continue to be: seeking justice, not revenge, punishment and not vengeance."
Teju Cole's novel Open City may have won him critical acclaim and many fans, but that doesn't mean he can stop thinking about how to connect with his readers. "I actually do have to work hard for whatever attention my work gets," Cole tells NPR's Michel Martin.
And he is using unconventional methods to get that attention.
After a recent, "much needed break from the hectic environment that Twitter sometimes can be," his 120,000-plus followers noticed some activity on his feed.
The U.S. Marine Corps "is attempting to determine the authenticity of photos published by TMZ.com that the entertainment website says show Marines appearing to burn bodies of dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004," The Associated Press reports.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:32 pm
Ever since the Oscars expanded the Best Picture field to include up to 10 nominees, they've been taking advantage of that extra space, and this year was no exception. While the original chatter was about the possibility of including more crowd-pleasers (there was much discussion of whether the expanded field would have helped The Dark Knight), what's consistently happened is that the "extra" nominations have gone to films that might have been too small to be nominated, not too "pop" to be nominated.