Music

With a not guilty verdict on one count and the jury deadlocked on five others, it appears John Edwards' federal trial on campaign-finance charges ended with a whimper, certainly from the Justice Department's point of view.

At first blush, it can be argued that how the trial of the former U.S. senator from North Carolina ended may do little to deter politicians. They'll still be able to go forward and rake in money from supporters and, with some sleight of hand, spend that cash on practically anything.

Judy Blume Loves NPR

May 31, 2012

Author Judy Blume popped over to NPR West in April to talk with Here and Now host Robin Young about 40 years of Fudge, the now-iconic character from her book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

"I wouldn't do it if it wasn't true!" she said about joining the 'I Heart NPR' campaign.

Earlier this month, we told you the story of Brian Banks, who served five years in prison and then five years probation for a rape conviction that was thrown out.

As Mark wrote, he had to endure the "shame of being a registered sex offender and "not being able to get a job." And he thought his dream of playing in NFL was destroyed.

It's turning out to be a great year for jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette.

In January, he was named an NEA Jazz Master for lifetime achievement. He began celebrating his 70th birthday early — it's August 9 — by going on a short performance tour this month with his old friends, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. The celebration continues this summer, as he tours Europe with the Keith Jarrett trio. As if that's not enough, he also released one of the best albums of the year in any genre, Sound Travels.

In Texas recently there was a grand opening for what is now the largest refinery in the U.S. Shell and Saudi Arabia's national oil company, Saudi Aramco, have more than doubled the capacity of their Port Arthur refinery.

The refinery business has been going through a tough period in recent years. Americans are buying less gasoline and other petroleum products — about 10 percent less than in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Do you shop around for the best price on a visit to the doctor, a CT scan or surgery at a hospital? If so, it looks like you've got a little more company.

Provocative yet far from definitive, Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a critique of "breast-cancer culture." It could even be called a blitz on pink-ribbon charities and their corporate partners — though to use that term would be to emulate the war and sports metaphors the documentary rejects.

As one woman observes, describing the treatment of cancer as a "fight" or a "battle" suggests that the disease is always beatable if patients make a heroic effort. The implication is that people who die "weren't trying very hard."

The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2001, and throughout its brief history, it's mostly been a mechanism through which to honor whatever Pixar does every year.

'Found Memories' Revealed With Grace And Patience

May 31, 2012

The minimalist Brazilian drama Found Memories has a running gag, a small chuckle that gradually morphs into something profound: Madalena (Sonia Guedes), an elderly baker in a remote hillside town, walks her fresh goods to the local coffee shop every morning, where she removes the rolls from her basket and stacks them in a cabinet to be sold. The shop owner, Antonio (Luiz Serra), barks at her to stack the bread his way. But every morning, Madalena ignores him.

What Charlize Theron does for Snow White and The Huntsman in her role as the Wicked Queen is a bit like what Godzilla does for a Godzilla movie: She gives you something big and distracting to look at while a lot of thinly defined victims run around frantically trying to avoid a grisly death at her hand.

Drummer Jack DeJohnette was 23 when he made his first recording with The Charles Lloyd Quartet in 1966. Since that time, he's been a driving force in the world of jazz. This year, DeJohnette will celebrate his birthday all year long — the big day is actually August 9 — with special events, including his current tour with his old friends Chick Corea (piano) and Stanley Clarke (bass).

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked up two big endorsements this week from GOP foreign policy luminaries: former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz.

At this point in the presidential race, endorsements are pretty routine. But these particular endorsements are important, since Romney has encountered some skepticism from foreign policy experts in his party.

Some Republicans expected the long, bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to alter their party's traditional interventionist view. Those Republicans are disappointed in Romney.

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.

What a week it was to have been for Mitt Romney.

But what a week it wasn't.

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.

The other day, I had a conversation with Melody Gardot about space. Not outer space, but the space between notes in her music. These days, there's lots of it.

Spain's borrowing costs hit record highs this week and European stock markets have slumped over fears Madrid can't afford the price tag required to prop up its ailing banks. It's looking ever more likely the country will need some kind of bailout.

After watching Greece from afar for years, many Spaniards now believe Spain's number is up.

A tourist in Madrid might wonder where the crisis is. Traffic is heavy and the tapas bars are packed.

But listen in on some of the conversations, and it's clear that Spaniards are scared.

The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.

But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.

Bob Boilen and I are taking our show on the road! It's time we busted out of this two-bit joint and mingled with the world's great unwashed. So here's what we're doing: This summer, we'll visit different cities across the country and bring people together to hear and talk about great music.

Look for guest appearances from public radio's galaxy of stars, as well as surprise performances from our favorite artists. It's our version of a "listening party," and we want to see you there. Here's where we're going and when (more dates to be announced):

Old Faithful geyser, erupting just about every 90 minutes: for many years, this geological icon, and the camera-toting tourists who watch its super-heated water spew skyward, constituted my mental imagery of Yellowstone National Park. Sure, I knew bears and bison wandered this pretty wilderness area, too. All very nice, but I was in no rush to visit.

Sometimes I can get things wrong. Really, really wrong.

Six years ago, I finally went to Yellowstone. I've returned twice and the region's beauty lingers in my dreams.

Personal Reflections On Gone With The Wind

May 31, 2012

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

The novel "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell is an American classic. As with any great book, it inspires wildly different responses from readers. It's also the subject of our latest PG-13, where we hear from authors about the books that introduced them to the world of adult ideas.

Update at 4:24 p.m. ET. Not Guilty:

A jury in Greensboro, N.C. has found John Edwards not guilty on one count and the judge has declared a mistrial on the other five charges, the AP reports.

Portraits Of An American Metal Festival

May 31, 2012

Last weekend I was among the legion of ecstatic metalheads that had descended upon Baltimore to attend Maryland Deathfest. In its 10th year, the Sonar compound was bursting at the seams with fans from across the spectrum and around the globe, stoking a community that stays connected long after the outdoor stages on East Saratoga Street are taken down.

NPR Staff Confesses Love for "Teen" Reads

May 31, 2012

We've all experienced it: the shiver of nervous excitement as each turn of the page unveiled new, provocative ideas.

Pause. Get your mind out of the gutter!

By resisting efforts at the United Nations to bring concerted pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the killing in his country, Russia is "in effect, propping up the [Assad] regime at a time when we should be working on a political transition," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said earlier today in Copenhagen.

Clinton also told an audience that Russia's implicit support for Assad could "help contribute to a civil war" in Syria, The Associated Press reports.

Today on Latin Roots from World Cafe, NPR's Jasmine Garsd discusses the history of Reggaeton. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Garsd spent her teenage years hooked on Argentine rock. Garsd moved to the U.S. after high school and quickly encountered an eclectic mix of American music; now, she co-hosts NPR's Alt.Latino with Felix Contreras.

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is in a tight Senate race in Massachusetts against Republican incumbent Scott Brown, acknowledged for the first time that she told the law schools at Harvard and University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage.

From Bauhaus to street art, Berlin's history of design is rich and well-known, although few would cast the city among the gastronomic avant-garde.

Pages