Nation/World

'Hotels Of North America' Gets 4 Stars

Nov 12, 2015

Rick Moody wrote one of my favorite short stories of all time, a novella called "The Albertine Notes." He wrote one of the most affecting books of my young adulthood, The Ice Storm — and to a white-bread suburban kid who idolized the guts of Hubert Selby Jr., William Burroughs' crooked middle finger to all literary convention and the beautiful ugliness of Charles Bukowski's Skid Row vision, reading The Ice Storm was like swallowing a hand grenade.

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1990s revivalism may be entering its dwarf-star phase without ever having shed proper light on itself. Last week, the 22-year-old rapper Vince Staples argued that for his generation, hip-hop's official Golden Age matters less than the viral onset of 21st-century stars like Soulja Boy.

A controversial political action committee aligned with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is being shut down amid concerns that it was feeding a pay-to-play political culture in the nation's capital.

FreshPAC's treasurer, Ben Soto, said in an email that the group had become "too much of a distraction for the mayor."

Founded by supporters of the Democratic mayor, the group took advantage of a little-known campaign-finance law that allows PACs to raise unrestricted donations in nonelection years.

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Something encouraging happened yesterday in China's sputtering economy. It was Singles Day, and Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, generated more than $14 billion in online sales.

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Stan Lee is a legend. Along with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee helped populate the Marvel Comics universe with heroes like the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

Their most famous creation — Lee calls him "Spidey" — is everywhere in this office, as a painting, a life-size doll, and even a pinball machine. "Nobody plays pinballs anymore," Lee tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "And it's really a good thing, because it doesn't work anymore."

At 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, you'll find Mark Gaither standing on Gough Street in southeast Baltimore. He's outside Wolfe Street Academy, the neighborhood elementary school where he's the principal.

Gaither has a huge umbrella in case it rains, and thick gloves for when it snows. He's here each morning to greet students and families as they come to school — which should make for at least 225 "good mornings."

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


You either get The Grateful Dead or you don't, to the point where it's virtually impossible to explain. So why bother?

Note: NPR's audio for First Listens comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking your input to answer a question: How should the agency define "natural" on food labels?

Disagreement over what "all natural" or "100 percent natural" means has spawned dozens of lawsuits. Consumers have challenged the naturalness of all kinds of food products.

For instance, can a product that contains high fructose corn syrup be labeled as natural? What about products that contain genetically modified ingredients?

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Tim Wolfe is not the first college administrator to come under fire for responding poorly to campus racism. And Wolfe, until this week the head of the University of Missouri System, isn't likely to be the last.

College presidents who have themselves been in crisis have learned there's a right way — and a wrong way — to respond.

A street drug made of various chemicals sprayed on tea leaves, grass clippings and other plant material continues to send thousands of people suffering from psychotic episodes and seizures to emergency rooms around the country.

In 2015, calls to poison control regarding the drug already have almost doubled, compared to last year's total, and health professionals and lawmakers are struggling to keep up with the problem.

It's Veterans Day in the U.S. and Armistice Day in much of Europe, a holiday that has its roots in the end of World War I.

President Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, where Marines in dress uniform lined the road leading to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Obama placed a wreath at the tomb to honor America's fallen veterans, before moving to an amphitheater for a ceremony that included honor guards from America's wars.

The president said:

Earlier this week, we went on a speed date — yes, a real speed date — with some of the most talented change-makers from the developing world.

Seven employees of a Florida real estate firm were among those who died when their small plane crashed into an Ohio apartment building Tuesday, the firm said today.

The plane, a 10-passenger Hawker business jet, was approaching Akron Fulton International Airport when it slammed into a four-unit apartment building at about 3:00 p.m., killing nine people including the crew.

Results are in from the first year of a bold change to the way hospitals get paid in Maryland, and so far the experiment seems to be working.

We recently reported on the unique system the state is trying to rein in health care costs. Maryland phased out fee-for-service payments to hospitals in favor of a fixed pot of money each year.

Abuse of older people, which can take the form of sexual or emotional abuse, physical violence and financial manipulation, affects at least 10 percent of older Americans, according to a review article published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Just after midnight this morning, the city of Montreal began dumping raw, untreated sewage into its main waterway, the St. Lawrence River. Over the next six days, the city will dump around 2.1 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the river, which runs from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, along part of the U.S.-Canada border.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Tracey Lindeman of the CBC in Montreal, about why the city is dumping so much sewage into the river, and what the environmental implications could be.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Kabul on Wednesday to demand justice after the brutal killings of seven members of a Shiite minority group. The protesters blame the deaths on Islamist militants. The crowd followed the coffins as they were carried toward the presidential palace in the center of the city.

NPR's Phillip Reeves reports for the Newscast unit:

Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his plan to deport the nearly 11 million immigrants illegally in the U.S.

As an example that it could be done, Trump brought up a program instituted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 9, 1954.

Here & Now co-host Robin Young is saying farewell for several weeks. She’s getting knee surgery with Dr. Dennis Burke (whom she encourages you to Google). Wednesday, Nov. 11 is her last day on the show before surgery.

President Obama will be featured on the cover of Out Magazine's "Out 100" issue as the publication's Ally of the Year.

Obama earned the distinction for his administration's support in helping secure the legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this year. His appearance on the cover — the first time a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT publication, according to the magazine — is a historic moment in itself.

From the Jakarta Ritz-Carlton to Kerala guesthouses to the Detroit Marriott, environmental journalist and educator Simran Sethi has eaten more room service meals than she can count. "I'm sure it's in the thousands," she says.

And why was she so often eating alone in her hotel room?

"I was always ashamed to go to a restaurant alone and ask for a table for one," she says.

Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam spoke with NPR's Ask Me Another about what it was like having Donald Trump host the show last weekend. Plus, Killam explains what goes into the perfect Trump impersonation. Hear the bonus segment at the audio link above. For more, subscribe to the podcast.

By now, you've probably heard about the video from Monday of protesters at the University of Missouri asking a student photographer — shooting on assignment for ESPN — to leave them alone, chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go!" and pushing him away.

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