This Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of tourists are descending on the nation's capital. Many will spend time inside of Washington, D.C.'s free museums. Only a small fraction will take the drive across the Potomac River to a museum of a different sort, that's in the Pentagon. NPR's Shula Neuman reports.
Lance Cpl. Travis Williams, 29, is an Iraq War veteran — and the only post-9/11 Marine to lose every other member of his 12-man squad. It happened in August 2005, when Williams and his teammates were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq.
"That morning, we loaded into the vehicle," Williams recalls. "And I get tapped on the shoulder, and I got told that I need to bounce up to the next vehicle. I said, 'Catch you guys on the flipside.' And that was the last thing I ever said to them."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. In the two weeks since the Internal Revenue Service scandal erupted, the acting commissioner has been ousted, the head of the relevant section has been put on administrative leave. The Justice Department has begun investigating the scrutiny given to conservative groups that sought tax exempt status and three congressional committees have held hearings bombarding IRS officials with questions.
Hundreds of volunteers have come to Moore, Okla., this week to help the community after Monday's deadly tornado. Some people are cleaning debris, others are bringing out water and supplies to people whose lives have been turned upside down. NPR's Kirk Siegler stopped by one volunteer-powered relief group that's working east of town.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A federal judge in Arizona has ruled against the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff. The judge ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department has used racial profiling to enforce the state's tough immigration laws. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has maintained that his department has the authority to round up undocumented immigrants. NPR's Ted Robbins has been following the case and joins us now. Ted, thanks for being with us.
The Cleveland story. The escape of three women who were kidnapped and held captive for 10 years has attracted notice around the world. Of course, it's also an all-consuming local story. And the Cleveland Plain Dealer provided continuous coverage along with in-depth profiles of the three women, the neighborhood where they were held captive, and the man who allegedly kidnapped them.
This weekend at Carnegie Hall, a giant returns to the podium. James Levine will lead the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for the first time in two years after a string of health challenges from shoulder injuries to spinal problems. He's considered by at least one critic to be the most influential American conductor since Leonard Bernstein. That critic is Anthony Tommasini, lead classical musical critic for the New York Times.
A University of New Hampshire professor announced this week he's come close to solving a centuries-old problem proving something called the twin prime conjecture. We asked our math guy - Keith Devlin, of Stanford University - to join us, as he does now from their studios. Keith, thanks very much for being with us.
KEITH DEVLIN: Thanks, Scott. Nice to be with you again.
You can legally drink and drive in the United States, but there's a limit. In every state, drivers can't get behind the wheel if their blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, but the National Transportation Safety Board wants the states to lower the legal limit to .05 or even lower. Now, that would bring the United States into agreement with much of the rest of the world.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Pair of unrelated stories this week, both involving the news media, served to remind a lot of Americans of how little information that we may assume to be private, really is private. One story involves the U.S. Justice Department's efforts to find out who reporters are talking to; the other, reporters secretly monitoring their sources' activities.
We're joined now by NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik, from New York. David, thanks for being with us.
In the seven years since her last album, Audra McDonald has kept busy. She spent several years in Hollywood, filming the television series Private Practice. She's gotten divorced and remarried, absorbed the shock of losing her father in a plane crash and watched her daughter, Zoe, grow up from a kindergartener to a middle-schooler.
Despite attacks in the days and weeks leading up to Saturday's voting — and deadly bombings and other attacks on the very day they're going to the polls — Pakistanis are showing they're willing to "defy the violence," NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Lahore.
Mothers have eyes in the back of their heads. They may not show up on X-rays, but they're there.
Like a lot of youngsters, I used to get my mother to turn her head so I could search through her hair for the eyeballs she claimed to have back there, telling her, "No you don't! No you don't!" But when I'd scamper off to another part of the apartment and pick up an ashtray or fiddle with the window blinds, I'd hear my mother's voice ring out, "I can see you! I know what you're up to!"
And this final note on the blues. Two years ago on this show, we profiled Gip's Place, a real juke joint nestled in a residential neighborhood in Bessemer, Alabama.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: It's not like going to a bar. It's not like going to a club. It's like going to your best friend's house and putting on just the newest record and sitting there and enjoying it together. Literally, there is truly a mix between the musicians and the audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Welcome again. Y'all ready to get started?
The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has been in the Middle East, Rome and Russia this week trying to find some kind of diplomatic end to Syria's civil war. He's also been trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Kerry has been the U.S. secretary of state for just over 100 days, spending more than a third of that time overseas.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on how his tenure at the State Department seems to be shaping up.
And the deaths in Bangladesh have prompted a number of American clothing companies to disclose where their products are made. Everlane is an online clothing retailer based in San Francisco that has always done that. Michael Preysman is the CEO and founder of Everlane, and we asked him where and how his company's T-shirts are manufactured.
Yngwie Malmsteen is the king of the neoclassical shred guitar. Since 1984's Rising Force, the Swedish musician and composer has somehow bridged centuries, from Paganini to his own arpeggiated acrobatics.
It's been 70 years since the letters of John Pryor were understood in their full meaning. That's because as a British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Pryor's letters home to his family also included intricate codes that were recently deciphered for the first time since the 1940s.
Pryor's letters served their purpose in World War II, as Britain's MI9 agents decoded the messages hidden within them — requests for supplies, notes about German activities — before sending them along to Pryor's family in Cornwall.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama is in Costa Rica today. He's talking with leaders of Central American nations about security and economic trade. Yesterday, the president wrapped up a two-day visit in Mexico, where he tried to steer the focus away from contentious issues like immigration and drug violence. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City.
CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: During their quick visit, Presidents Obama and Pena Nieto stuck to their focus: the economy.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The economy added 165,000 jobs in April. That exceeded the expectations of economists. It also drove down the unemployment rate to a four-year low, 7.5 percent. Unfortunately, the biggest gains were in lower-paying fields like hospitality and temp agencies. And as the school year comes to a close and young people start looking, the question is will there be enough work for them. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
The 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival wraps up Monday. This weekend and last, 12 stages have mixed such marquee names as Fleetwood Mac, Phoenix and Los Lobos with dozens of local bluesmen, soul belters and Cajun fiddle players.
Burt Bacharach has written huge hit songs, each recognizable after just a couple of notes: "Alfie," "What the World Needs Now," "That's What Friends Are For" — the list goes on. He's written 73 Top 40 hits, along with musical comedies and other collaborations. He's won Oscars and the Gershwin Prize. His songs are often poised on the edge between poignancy and joy, or sometimes the reverse.
April is National Poetry Month. And throughout the month, WEEKEND EDITION is speaking with younger poets about the importance of poetry in daily life. This morning, we hear from translator and poet Kazim Ali.