Whether or not you give a damn for Superman, you know who he is. Even if you've never read a comic book in your life, no one can hear the name "Superman" without a flash of recognition: red-and-yellow S on blue background, red cape, the dark-haired man in flight, jaw set, blue eyes fixed on a distant destination. He's on his way to save the world.
Firefighters conduct a search and rescue on Thursday of an apartment building destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, late Wednesday. The massive explosion at the plant killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160.
Now, President Obama had promised to put the full weight of his office behind getting Congress to pass new gun control legislation. That weight was apparently not enough. When the legislation failed yesterday, Obama went into the White House Rose Garden and made a blistering speech, calling it a shameful day for Washington.
Two prominent Harvard economists have admitted there are errors in an influential paper they wrote on government debt. This paper was widely cited in recent budget debates. But the economists insist their mistakes do not significantly change their research.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: In their 2010 paper, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Rinehart argued that economic growth falls significantly when a country's debt level rises above 90 percent of its Gross Domestic Product or GDP.
Like many California cities hit hard by the real estate crash, Indio (near Palm Springs) has been forced to make steep cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. But unlike other cities, Indio hosts the highest-grossing music festival in the world — Coachella — which wraps up this weekend. It has made city leaders eager to capitalize on Coachella's riches.
Sam Torres, plumber by day, Indio city councilman by night, says he was prepared to become the most hated man in the city, and he very well may have achieved that goal. His offense? Proposing a 6 percent tax on Coachella tickets.
April 18, 2013, is a big day for Superman. The Man of Steel, more powerful than a locomotive, turns 75. Most of us know Superman's story — faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Less well-known is that the superhero is not native to the lost world of Krypton, nor the rural Kansas burg of Smallville. Superman is Cleveland's native son — at least as far as the city's residents are concerned.
Spc. Tad Donoho screams with pain in 2008 after being administered a "pink belly" for his birthday in Korengal Valley, Kunar province, Afghanistan. Each member of the platoon strikes his stomach until it begins to bruise, hence the name pink belly. From the book Infidel.
A soldier rests at the end of a day of heavy fighting at the Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. This image won the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year award. "The funny thing about war, it actually almost never hardens people," Junger says. "It almost always humanizes them, and I think war humanized Tim tremendously because it inflicted so much pain on him."
Soldier Ryan Lizama sleeping at an outpost in the Korengal, June 2008. From the book Infidel. "Tim said, 'This is what the American public never gets to see, because any nation is self-selecting in the images it presents,' " Junger remembers. " 'And we want to see our soldiers as strong.' "
"Doc" Kelso sleeping, Korengal, July 2008. "Soldiers in their combat fatigues, their gear, their weapons — they look very formidable," Junger reflects. "But then you take their gear off them and they go to sleep, and they really do look very vulnerable and very young."
Forward observer Murphy sleeping, Korengal, July 2008. "I thought nothing was going on because there was no combat," Junger recalls. "And Tim saw potential in everything, including a situation where nothing's happening."
Liberian rebels bomb the nation's capital, Monrovia, using American-manufactured mortars, in 2003. More than 1,000 people died during the siege. "One of the scary things about working in civil wars like that is, you're not even sure you can trust the people you're with," Junger says. "They're very young, they're very hopped up, and it's very easy to feel like they can turn on you in an instant."
An anti-aircraft brigade member exchanges a brief tender word with his girlfriend during heavy fighting in Monrovia in 2003. "It's kind of an ugly environment ... and they're holding each other and they're looking at each other with just incredible love," Junger says. "And it's just — the look on both of their faces is so beautiful, and that's what Tim was looking for in war reporting."
A young rebel fighter with a hand grenade, Tubmanberg, Bomi County, Liberia, 2003. "It wasn't the ugliness; it was the beauty and the love that happens in those very intense situations," Junger says. "And [Tim] would capture it."
Members of a Libyan family with undetonated ordnance, reportedly fired into their homes by Gadhafi forces, in Misrata, Libya. "Where I got nervous was when he emailed me and said he was going to Misrata by boat," Junger remembers. "Something about that just seemed rife with potential problems: a besieged city, you can only get in and out by boat. ... It just seemed like it could go really badly."
During fierce fighting on April 20, 2011, rebel fighters cleared Tripoli Street. They encountered another family stranded in a small, parallel dead-end street. With assistance from an ambulance, the rebels evacuated the family before coming under extremely close small-arms and RPG fire from Gadhafi loyalists at the end of the street. The family was unhurt.
Hetherington's last photograph, taken April 20, 2011, the day he was fatally injured in a rebel mortar attack. After hours of fierce fighting at Tripoli Street, rebels secured the area and found a truck full of loyalist army supplies. Photographers at the scene concluded that the hole in this helmet had been shot by rebel forces at close range as they vented their anger at regime forces.
Spc. Tad Donoho exhibits a "pink belly," in which soldiers hit a colleague's stomach until it bruises for his birthday. "[Photographer Tim Hetherington] had this tremendous interest in human beings," Sebastian Junger tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "In some ways, the photography wasn't even the point. What he really wanted to do was engage with people ... and as a result his work was phenomenal."
Sebastian Junger (left) and Tim Hetherington are seen at an Academy Awards luncheon in February 2011. Junger's new documentary explores the life of Hetherington, who was killed in Misrata, Libya, in April 2011.
At the 2011 Academy Awards, the film Restrepo was among the documentaries nominated for an Oscar. It follows an American platoon on a remote mountaintop in what was, at the time, the most dangerous place in Afghanistan.
To make the film, writer Sebastian Junger teamed up with British photojournalist Tim Hetherington — who, walking the red carpet that night at the Oscars, might as well have been a young actor straight out of central casting: tall, handsome, charismatic.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 8:10 pm
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police must generally obtain a warrant before subjecting a drunken-driving suspect to a blood test. The vote was 8-to-1, with Justice Clarence Thomas the lone dissenter.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:26 pm
Are the antibiotics the livestock industry uses on animals responsible for antibiotic-resistant infections in people? Bacteria are notoriously hard to follow from farm to fork, but more pieces of the puzzle are coming together that suggest the answer is yes.