Next Tuesday, a very unusual election will put conservative Republican Tea Party politics to a test. Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker, faces a recall vote. His opponent is the Democrat he defeated in 2010, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Wisconsin Democrats petitioned for Walker's recall after his aggressive stance against public employee collective bargaining rights. As we've reported here, money is flowing into the race. Nearly $60 million has been spent, about three quarters of that sum by the Republicans.
A federal appeals court in Boston ruled unanimously Thursday that a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Ultimately, however, the court said that it will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the federal government can deny economic entitlements to legally married same-sex couples.
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, says it's leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. The conservative organization of state legislators and corporate lobbyists has drawn criticism for advocating Stand Your Ground laws and strict voter ID standards. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
Now, from the high flying Spurs to a 2,400 foot skydive with nothing but a wing suit and a pile of cardboard boxes to break the fall. That's exactly what Gary Connery did. He had a parachute, but he didn't use it and - spoiler alert - he survived the jump and joins us now to talk about it.
Welcome to the program.
GARY CONNERY: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
SIEGEL: I've just said that you jumped with a wing suit as if I know what that means. I want you to describe what the wing suit was.
What is it about Brandi Carlile's voice that gets right inside you? The power? Her range? It may be the way she can crack open a note, as she does in her best-known song, "The Story," which was prominently featured on Grey's Anatomy.
This month, NPR's Backseat Book Club hits the high seas for an adventurous novel called Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. The book begins in 1841, and is based on the sprawling true-life tale of Manjiro, whose destiny was almost determined before birth as a son in a long line of fishermen. But a storm blew his life on a new course, and he became one of the first Japanese to set foot in America.
The next installment in NPR's Backseat Book Club heads back to where this all started: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. It was our 2009 interview with Kinney that sparked the idea for a special book club dedicated to kids. On the day before Kinney arrived at our studios, we asked our youngest listeners to send us the questions they would put to the author of the blockbuster series. We were floored by the response. An avalanche of emails hit our inbox from kids all over the country.
Poised to triumphantly clinch the Republican nomination for president, Romney instead was upstaged Tuesday by supporter Donald Trump's new birther-on-steroids shtick that stole the headlines and the candidate's big moment.
Then on Thursday, ready to embarrass President Obama by holding a "surprise" press event in front of Solyndra, the Obama-touted California solar energy company that failed after getting a $535 million government loan guarantee, Romney was upstaged yet again.